Deep upthread someone asked how you win a debate against people who willfully disregard facts and reason.
If I have a political project in my participation in these threads, it's in observing the ways that people presume that political disputes are resolved through debate and reason, and then observing how in all of those cases those disputes are instead resolved through organization and action. All of those cases — I stand by the strong universalizing claim here.
So the way you beat them is by out-organizing them, by getting more people on our side than theirs, by denying them space in the room where decisions are made, through materially demonstrating that our side can beat their side, not in the domain of reasoned dispute but in the domain of who can get there the first with the most, in the domain of who can be sneakiest when being sneaky matters, in the domain of effectively disorganizing and demoralizing everyone not on our side.
Debate plays almost no role in this. Rhetoric, now rhetoric plays a huge role, as does propaganda, and effective knowledge of human psychology, and material resources — money, media outlets, control of institutional processes. Debate is a sideshow. Facts matter insofar as having the right facts can point you toward the most effective organizational strategy and the most effective way to disorganize your opponents, but simply having more accurate facts than the other side means nothing.
The reason why I am insistent on railing against liberal Enlightenment ideology is that it leads to miserable, ineffective tactics. There's a liberal idea, baked deep into our pre-2016 culture, that says that reasoned debate between formal equals is the best way to resolve disputes, and that therefore the best decision making processes involve constructing a sandbox where we pretend that reasoned debate is how disputes are resolved, and then act according to what we decide on within that sandbox. This idea was so deep in our culture that we forgot that the sandbox was a sandbox; we started to think that that was how the world really worked. And so, just like in 1933, we were helpless when people who recognized the sandbox was a sandbox walked over to the sandbox, took a healthy shit in it, then flipped the whole thing over.
The thing is, it's not just that the sandbox is susceptible to sudden major attack from outside, from people who are like "fuck debate I'm taking what I want." It's that the reality outside the sandbox of reasoned debate is always intruding, and reasoned debate is never determinative of decision-making processes, no matter how intent you are in establishing an abstraction that lets you think that reason rules. The bosses and the capital-owners always put their thumbs on the scale of reasoned debate by buying the participants and the judges, the cops always abuse their position as enforcers of law derived by reason to their own unreasoned benefit. The sandbox is a leaky abstraction; there's always buffer overruns and always people ready to exploit them.
This is why I'm always dismissive of people here and elsewhere who are like "well we just gotta fix our processes by [reforming campaign finance laws/doubling the size of the house of representatives/whatever weird shit Lessig is on about these days]. It's not about processes. It's about organized power. It's about who owns what. It's about who can convince whom of what, not about what's true or what's right. This is the distinction between left and liberal: liberal solutions involve funding fair processes — about trying to patch up the sandbox so we can go back to pretending reason rules — while left solutions are about acknowledging that the sandbox is impossible and (governed by our collective senses of fairness, justice, reason, empathy, and love) making those solutions real in the world.
This is a hard grim thing, though, because if you're coming from the liberal position you can pretend there's a rock-solid foundation for your actions. You can say "well, we have a process, and that process allows for decision making based on reasoned debate, and we followed that process and here's the result it yielded, so we know we have good reason to do what we're doing." If you admit that that foundation, which seems rock-solid, is built on sand, you have no way whatsoever to be certain that what you're doing is right. And because you can't rely on a process to ensure that the conditions you want remain extant, there is no end to the process of struggle — struggle informed by reason, but never governed by it, because reason can't govern, and if you trick yourselves into thinking reason can govern you've gone and made yourself susceptible to attack by nazi thugs who are quite eager indeed to show you your error.
It's a hell of a world we're living in. But living in it beats the alternatives.
Which, not that I'm :100: down with this (I suspect the illusion-of-sandbox & trying to reinforce it as an ideal holds some value), but it's a hard thing to avoid grappling with, because the core point holds fairly well.
It's all well and good to hold to sandbox rules until someone comes along who wants their goal more than they want to avoid upsetting the sandbox, and forgetting the map/territory distinction there means getting blindsided.
See also: Yonatan Zunger's Tolerance as Treaty, not Moral Precept article & similar.
It can be a useful corrective when somebody points out the implicit power relationships in society. Because it is easy to conflate the status quo with 'good' or 'just' or even 'neutral' and 'equal'. But every society has a pattern of power relations and we need to inspect the relations of our society and not blind ourselves to power imbalances.
On the other hand, it seems easy for people who think a lot about power relations to start thinking they are the only thing that matters. Reading this article, I'm left with no reason to ally with the 'left'. If the world really is just different groups competing for power, why should I root for one over the other? The only wise course of action in such a world is to ally with the side that will grant me the most power in exchange.
In order to have a reason to pick one side or another, I have to have more than the knowledge of power relations. I have to have a standard of truth and a standard of justice. If these are discarded in favor of the pursuit of organized power, then it doesn't matter who wins any more.
And this is where defending the process and the sandbox comes in. Because the institutions and processes of society aren't just imaginary, though they do depend on most people following them most of the time. They are also real. They are embodied in our law enforcement services (however flawed) and our elections (even if they don't go our way) and our property (even when unequally distributed). The sandbox isn't an automatic thing. And we have to recognize that it can be threatened and be willing to defend it. But it is a real thing that is worth defending.
The sandbox has been overturned many times in our history. Many of the people who did it had righteous causes and they were filled with a deep sense of fairness, justice, reason, empathy, and even love. But each time it happens, the blood of the tyrants is spilled, the blood of the weak is spilled, the blood of the powerless is spilled. And the new sandbox that was created still had power relations and injustice and unfairness and corruption. And the new tyrants oppressed the new weak and powerless.
The world is better now than it has been in centuries past. But it is not because of those who overturned the sandbox. It is because of those who spent years or decades slowly improving the sandbox they already lived in. Sometimes with better laws. Sometimes with new ways to prevent corruption. Sometimes just with a new way to till the land.
i dont understand half of the words here but god if this isn’t the funniest thing i’ve ever read
im pretty sure red and blue weren’t programmed but just sort of… mutated into cartridges
Red and blue are why QA teams were invented
for fuck’s sake they weren’t badly programmed. They were bleeding edge. It’s so easy to forget that but Red and Blue were literally pushing the limits of what they could fit on the cartridge.
They used every trick in the book. In that way, the programming behind them is GENIUS. It’s frankly a lost art, in this era where hardware is insanely cheap and scalable, when you can just keep throwing more resources at the problem. But Red & Blue were when programmers had to get creative. Not currently using a piece of memory? Repurpose it, we can’t just leave it lying around. Only have a couple registers? Juggle them, keep careful track so we can restore them when we needed. Does this data need to be single purpose, or can we also use it for, say, a seed value?
And all this WORKED. I guarantee you 99% of children playing this never saw a bug in casual play. MODERN games are buggier by a landslide. Remember when X&Y came out and there was an ENTIRE CITY you couldn’t save in because it’d DELETE YOUR SAVE? Imagine that happening in the days of Red&Blue. It couldn’t have. I can turn on my red cartridge TODAY and have it work. And the bugs that did exist, those edge cases they missed? They produce this behavior because the game REFUSES TO CRASH. Sure, you can make it crash if you try hard enough, but goddamn it’s resilient. It just plugs away with garbage data in memory for as long as possible.
Y'all looking down from your 64-bit quad-core smartphones with 128GB SD cards like Red & Blue were programmed by amateurs. What, you also going to bitch that the Wright Brothers didn’t make a jet engine? These are artifacts from pioneers who wrote the goddamn book that others would use as gospel.
why would you pay someone for 26-51 weeks for doing nothing
you have a very, very odd definition of “doing nothing”.
On a scale from zero to American society, how much do you hate women and children
In what sense is giving birth helping the company and why would they get payed for it.
1. Many of these countries have systems where the government pays for it.
2. Consider, maybe it makes more financial sense to actually take care of your employees instead of having to hire and training someone totally new whenever anyone has a baby.
3. Consider, maybe things can have value even if they don’t directly produce profit.
The rest of the world has figured this out. Literally the rest of the world.
1. Well that’s really a completely different argument all together then, should people be compensated just for having children, and if so, why?
2. maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, maybe companies do better when they don’t pay someone for over a year during which time they bring nothing to the company
3. Well that’s completely contradictory to point two, a company thrives on monetary profit, not ethical values, that’s how companies work.
Now to be clear: if the companies are doing this on their own, I fully support their decisions to do so, good on them for providing more benefits for their employees. But if the governments of these nations is doing it at the expenses of the taxpayers I do not support this system, a person should not be paid for choosing to have children, and I can’t really see any argument for why that isn’t emotional or argues based upon some ethical claim for “a better tomorrow”
So providing maternity leave (or even better, parental leave for both parents!) is a way to help new families bond and for mothers to physically heal without, ya know, starving?
So a society that has any value for mothers and infants will want them to not go into financial hardship immediately after birth.
Also, paid maternity leave is linked to lower infant mortality, better school readiness, and higher return rates for women reentering the workforce. Sooooo seems like the kind of thing worth spending tax dollars on.
I think that having it be government funded is the best path, but like, I also would argue that maternity leave is a basic benefit that is part of any fair compensation package and companies that fail to provide it in the absence of government assistance are at best low key exploitative.
Yes I agree with most of what you’re saying but you’re not understanding my point, it doesn’t matter how much time a mother must take to recover from child birth, I never disputed how long it takes, it could make her bedridden for a full year and that wouldn’t be any more relevant to the discussion of whether it is the company she works for’s responsibility to support her during her healing from something that she chose to do to herself. Saying maternity leave helps improve childhood life quality is irrelevant too, just because something is good doesn’t mean it is the taxpayers responsibility to pay for it.
Again, just because something is good doesn’t mean it is anyone’s responsibility to pay for it for you. I still don’t see how it is the company’s (or the taxpayers in case of publicly funded healthcare) to support a mother after birth, even if it helps them (the company/taxpayers) in the long run.
In Café Trappisten, they order Trip-Trap. The little bar sits directly across the road from the large estate of the Abbey of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the village of Westmalle. It’s the property of the monks, the only café they own. The bus stop outside the café is simply called “Abdij” (Abbey).
Trappisten’s location was once the mid-point between the cities of Antwerp and Turnhout in the Campine region of Flanders (“Kempen” in Flemish). A steam tram, now no longer in operation, took day-trippers from both cities to the “Trappist station.” As visits to the monastery and the brewery are not permitted, a trip by beer lovers to Westmalle today starts and ends at at the café.
Before public utilities, a pipeline crossed the 500 meters underground from the Abbey to supply the café with water. Its existence gives rise to tongue-in-cheek rumors among regular café visitors today that the beer is pumped straight from the abbey brewery to the tap through an underground system of pipes.
Manu Pauwels—who’s worked at Westmalle Brewery since 2002 in a sales and marketing role—regularly has a Trip-Trap with his lunch here.
“Trip refers to the Tripel,” he explains. “Trap is the abbreviation of Trappist, and what people in the Antwerp region order when they want a Dubbel of Westmalle. Trip-Trap is half and half, a blend of the two beers in one drink.”
Westmalle was the first brewery in the world to brew a Strong Golden Ale and call it a Tripel. You can look it up. In the Beer Judge Certification Program’s guidelines, the Tripel’s “history” section consists solely of these eight words: “Originally popularized by the Trappist monastery at Westmalle.” In his seminal book, Trappist, Jef Van Den Steen describes the beer as “the Mother of all Tripels.”
“When the World Beer Cup defines their Tripel category, they ask us to say how a Tripel should be,” says Philippe Van Assche, Westmalle’s general manager. “It’s a nice compliment that they consider Westmalle to be the reference.”
There remains some debate, however, about who conceived the actual style. In Great Beers of Belgium, Michael Jackson suggests it was Hendrick Verlinden who created the first golden Tripel in 1906 when he released Witkap Pater from his Drie Linden brewery. Stan Hieronymous digs deeper in Brew Like a Monk, establishing a consultancy relationship between Verlinden and the Abbey in the 1920s. Westmalle acknowledges the relationship with Verlinden, but suggests that it’s impossible to know exactly what form the contribution took.
“Verlinden had a brewery and he had some connections with this Abbey,” Van Assche says. “I don’t think Hendrick ever brought yeast into the brewery. I think he helped the monks with problems that they had during the brewing process in a consulting role. He was a friend of the Abbey and he helped them with some major brewing issues.”
It’s largely undisputed that Westmalle Tripel is now the model for the modern Belgian Tripel. It makes up 70% of what is brewed at Westmalle and due to its pronounced carbonation and complex flavor profile, it has been christened by the people of the surrounding region as “the Champagne of the Kempen.”
Westmalle Tripel (9.5% ABV) brings together in calculated balance a soft, biscuity maltiness, a pronounced ester profile (mostly banana, but with some dried fruit notes), and a flowery, earthy, almost drying hop character.
“The pale orange-golden Tripel is the stuff of eulogies,” Tim Webb and Joe Stange write in their Good Beer Guide Belgium. “It’s a strong ale that darkens and sweetens with (strongly recommended) cellaring, and is fruitier in the larger bottles.”
The 175th anniversary of the Abbey’s official recognition occurred in 2011. Pauwels approached the monks to propose that something might be done to celebrate the occasion.
“I thought it might have been a good idea to brew a special beer for Café Trappisten,” he says. “They refused. It’s only 175 years, they said. They told me there was nothing to celebrate.”
“There’s only one shareholder here,” Van Assche says. “And that’s the Abbey. The monks are very nice people with values that I cherish, and for that reason, it’s very motivating for us as a team. If you have a shareholder who thinks about money and market share and improving margins and growing all the time, it’s a completely different mentality.”
Westmalle is, of course, a Trappist brewery producing International Trappist Association-approved beers with the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo on them. The majority of profits from the brewery are re-invested into the monastic community and selected charities, and their beers are produced only within the walls of the monastery.
Until 1990, three monks worked full-time in the brewery: Brother Thomas as brewmaster, Brother Amandus as sales manager, and Brother Lode as general manager. By 1998, all hands-on work was being carried out by lay people, albeit under the direct supervision of the monks. Their influence is maintained through the considered structure of the brewery board.
“We have a board of administrators made up of monks and independent lay people with skills from the outside such as engineering, marketing and sales,” Van Aasche explains. “The monks have the majority. The lay people act as their sparring partners. It’s worked like this for almost 20 years. Most companies have four to six directors meetings a year. We have 10 meetings with the board of administrators a year. That says something.”
This includes all levels of decisions, too.
“When we develop a coaster, for example, we’ll submit it to Brother Benedikt for remarks,” Van Assche says. “He has a background in architecture and design and will always keep an eye on what this will do to the Abbey image if it goes into the market. It should be modest, not outrageous, and it should be sober in the sense that it has a certain simplicity.”
There are 32 monks at Westmalle, most over the age of 50, and almost all from Belgium. Disengagement with the outside world is part of the deal. The brothers give up their birthday when they arrive and take on the birth date of the Saint whose name they have been given. Speaking is purely functional. The focus is on manual labor and prayer, with six services a day and hours set aside for private study of the bible.
This desire for a more simple way of life permeates into the brewery. When they installed a new bottling line in 2002, they purposefully bought one with more capacity than they needed as a mark of respect to the lifestyle of their lay workers. Work-life balance is a priority. Pauwels lives next door and cycles to the Abbey for work. Van Assche moved to Westmalle to be beside the brewery. He’s been living and working here for 18 years.
“I think that the Trappist breweries we import are different from any other brewery in a significant way,” says Craig Hartinger of Merchant Du Vin, Westmalle’s importer in the U.S. since 2005. “They are more free of the commercial mandate or profit motive. I’ve been in the beer business a long time, and many of us proudly seek to drive sales! And Win! And outsell a rival! Our Trappist breweries are not out to drive, push, and win in that manner—they make and sell a product that brings real pleasure to people, provides jobs for lay workers, covers expenses for monks, and allows them to help charities.”
Most of Westmalle’s production—nearly 70% of it—stays in Belgium. The Netherlands gets 25%, and what’s left goes to France, the UK, the U.S., and Japan. The growth in awareness of “Brand Trappist” and the explosion in the beer market globally in the last five years have presented challenges to the monks that could not have been previously foreseen.
“There’s a lot of unknown export going on,” Van Assche says. “There are beer distributors that take mixed pallets and charge a price for one-stop shopping. There are third parties in China and South Korea who own the name ‘Westmalle’ in those countries. They registered the brand in their jurisdictions and we were not even aware that this was happening. We’ve been trying but we haven’t been able to recuperate our brand back from them.”
While the monastery has been brewing beer since 1836, it wasn’t until 1856 that it did so commercially. The Tripel in its current incarnation appeared first in 1934 after a brewhouse expansion and several years of tests, originally as a Strong Blonde Ale referred to as ‘Superbier’, and then for the first time as Westmalle Tripel in 1954 after Brother Thomas made minor alterations to the recipe by adding more hops.
The Tripel emerged as a strong pale top-fermented beer that would compete with the influx of Pilsner-style Lagers into Belgium from Germany. The naming convention is born from the additional amounts of raw ingredients used in comparison to other beers being brewed at the time although the word Tripel wasn't always used in Belgium for beers similar to the type Westmalle would create.
"My great grandfather was brewing an 'Ouden Tripel' in 1892," says brewer Omer Vander Ghinste of the West Flemish brewery which goes by his family name. "Tripel then had a different meaning than it does today. It meant more grain, more malt, more raw ingredients than the every day beers of 2% ABV which people drank on the fields in agricultural regions. Our Ouden Tripel was a beer of mixed fermentation, like an Oud Bruin, but almost triple the strength of those beers at 5.5% ABV."
So successful was the beer from Westmalle, and so synonymous with the word “Tripel” did it become, that other breweries in Belgium like Omer Vander Ghinste were forced to change the way they described their beers to consumers.
"It was Westmalle who changed the meaning of Tripel," Vander Ghinste says. "They launched this Westmalle Tripel and people started to see Tripels as something completely different. We were forced to change the name of our beer because when people were asking for an Ouden Tripel, they believed they would be getting a blonde beer of 8-9.5% ABV and not a sour brown ale of 5.5% ABV as it always had been with us."
In recent years, the monks have invested in production in a big way. Ten years ago they installed a pilot cylindrical conical tank (CCT) to run several tests on fermentation, maturation, and beer quality.
“We wanted to gather experience with this technology,” Pauwels says. “After a long testing period we decided to continue and we installed 14 CCTs which we have used successfully now for one and a half years.”
Last year, they placed a new Steinecker brewhouse alongside the copper kettles of yesteryear. Brewmaster Jan Adriaensens heads up a team of lay people who work in different capacities in the brewery. There’s also a small team working in the bakery, cheese production facility, and farm—all within the walls of the Abbey’s estate.
“Our barley malt is French, harvested in the summer, and we work with three Belgian malteries who follow specific Westmalle instructions,” Adriaensens explains. “For hops, we’re using five aromatic varieties as flowers, added in different stages during the boiling.”
The Tripel comes out at 39.5 IBUs and the commitment to the use of whole hop cones has become part of Westmalle’s story.
“If you use pellets, you cannot see the flower in its original condition,” Van Assche says. “We still love to see what we get and examine the quality of the hop flower. We can still send hops back if they are not the quality that we require. And we do this. If you have a pellet, you are a little bit lost. It’s more like a final quality check.”
While Westmalle’s hop contribution is often underestimated, it’s true that the yeast does the majority of the lifting when it come to the Tripel’s personality. “Our yeast is cultivated in-house and shared once a week with Westvleteren,” Adriaensens says. “It develops a typical fruity Westmalle aroma with strong hints of banana.”
But where does that yeast come from?
“It’s hard to know, exactly,” Van Assche says. “We have some very old bottles and have carried out DNA analysis. What we can say is that there has been a very low evolution in the yeast strain. We have consistency over time.”
A team of five lab technicians and an obsession with healthy fermentations means Westmalle’s quality control has become the standard bearer in Belgium.
“If any other Trappist brewery asked assistance of our lab we would give it to them,” Van Assche says. “Our working relationship with Achel, for instance, is very concrete. Westvleteren uses our yeast. If you go to the Walloon Trappist Abbeys, you would find out that Orval and Chimay will help Rochefort. The smaller breweries are helped by the bigger ones because we are more equipped with our tools.”
Production of the Tripel takes just less than two months in total. “We ferment for one week at 21-22°C,” Pauwels says. “Conditioning takes place at 10°C for 3 weeks in the case of the Dubbel and between 4 and 5 weeks for the Tripel.”
After conditioning, the beer is centrifuged and several brews are blended for consistency before the beer is primed with liquid sugar and yeast for bottle conditioning in a warm room for about 10 days.
The monks are firmly in control of the Abbey, and their values permeate almost every element relating to the production, marketing, and consumption of the beer. When their French importer asked that the Tripel be brewed to a slightly lower alcohol content to circumvent prohibitive changes to the tax regime in France, it wasn’t even considered.
“The monks said no straight away,” Pauwels says. “It’s their beer and they call the shots.”
One shareholder. No airs. But also plenty of grace.
“In 2000, we made the decision to package the Tripel in 75cl bottles,” Pauwels says. “We wanted to make it a bit more special by calling it ‘Reserve.’ The monks didn’t want that. They told us that it was the Tripel. If it’s the Tripel, call it the Tripel.”
Some of the relationships Lindberg found are intuitive. Time with friends drops off abruptly in the mid-30s, just as time spent with children peaks. Around the age of 60 — nearing and then entering retirement, for many — people stop hanging out with co-workers as much, and start spending more time with partners.
Others are more surprising. Hours spent in the company of children, friends, and extended family members all plateau by our mid-50s. And from the age of 40 until death, we spend an ever-increasing amount of time alone.
This would make a great book…one chapter about why each chart looks as it does.
GRAND ISLE, LA—Unsure when he would feel such a compulsion again, local man Robert Malbrook told reporters Wednesday that he had no choice but to ride an unexpected urge to clean as far as it will take him. “I could be doing other things, but I have to take advantage of this while I still can,” said Malbrook, wiping down the counters of his kitchen and sweeping up the crumbs around the trash can in an impulsive flurry of activity that he was well aware could vanish as quickly as it came. “I want to mop the floors, scrub the stove top, even clean out the refrigerator. I simply can’t let this feeling pass. I don’t know how far this wave is going to take me, but I’m on board all the way to the very end.” At press time, Malbrook had stopped abruptly while washing his bathtub and moments later was watching TV.