The Perils of Zero-Sum Worldviews Revisited

The El Paso shooter's combination of anti-capitalism, bigotry, and xenophobic nationalism highlights the dangers of zero-sum thinking on left and right. His worldview resembles that of the perpetrator of a similar attack in New Zealand earlier this year. Sadly, these ideas are not confined to a few extremists.


The terrorist mass shooter who killed some twenty people in El Paso yesterday was motivated by a combination of racism and xenophobia and seemingly left-wing concerns about protecting the environment and expanding the welfare state. The "manifesto" he wrote combines elements of both. It attacks racial mixing and condemns Hispanic immigrants as "invaders," but also seeks to bar them in order to protect the environment, expand the welfare state, and curb the supposedly malign influence of corporations. Graeme Wood of the Atlantic summarizes:

The author of the manifesto pronounced himself in "general" agreement with the Christchurch murderer. He opposed racial mixing; he thought America was committing suicide by letting Hispanics "invade…."

The very few noteworthy sections of the manifesto are the ones that reveal a broader range of influences than one might suspect. The author reserves his greatest rage not for Hispanics, but for "the takeover of the United States by unchecked corporations." The corporations, he says, are pro-immigration and befoul our natural environment. Once automation spreads and causes mass unemployment, Hispanic invaders will demand government freebies—specifically a universal basic income (UBI)—and will cause civil unrest if not placated. Oddly enough, the author shares some of these goals, for white people anyway: "Achieving ambitious social projects like universal healthcare and UBI would become far more likely to succeed if tens of millions of dependents are removed…"

Many of these ideas, including some of the most stupid and craven ones, come not from the right, as traditionally conceived, but from the left as well. The left has peddled conspiracies of corporations as diabolical puppeteers (while the right has credulously promoted corporations as angelic job creators). Lack of confidence in job markets' ability to digest and repurpose displaced workers is typically a concern of the left, and, of course, the Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been the most vocal figure on the subject of job loss due to automation. UBI and health care have been proposed by Swedish-model Democrats and ridiculed by Republicans. The belief that poor immigrants would, if given the chance, fill our welfare rolls and capsize the ship of state—that's the position not only of the Trump adviser Stephen Miller but also of Bernie Sanders and a long tradition of labor leftists eager to keep "American jobs" safe from immigrants. Combine these ideas, which have traction now in both major parties, with straightforward racism and xenophobia, which have traction in one major party, and you get what we saw yesterday in El Paso.

Wood argues (correctly, in my view) that Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric contributes to this ideological potpourri in a more reprehensible way than that of current American left-wing politicians. He is likely right on that point. But that should not lead us to ignore the left-wing side of this equation, especially since the problem is far from confined to the US, and in many ways predates Trump's unexpected rise to power.

As Wood notes, the El Paso killer's ideology resembles that of the shooter who killed over fifty Muslims in New Zealand earlier this year. Indeed, the former even cited the latter's manifesto in his own. While some of the combination of right and left-wing ideology in both men's worldviews is eccentric, both also have deeper roots in a world-view common to many on both the nationalist right and the socialist left: the assumption that the world is a zero-sum game where some groups can only prosper and succeed at the expense of others. What I wrote in March after the New Zealand shooting remains just as relevant today:

Some may find it surprising that the perpetrator of the recent horrific New Zealand terrorist attack that killed fifty Muslim worshipers in two mosques, combined seemingly right-wing nationalism with seemingly left-wing socialism and environmentalism….

But in this case, the terrorist's worldview is less unusual than it might seem. A similar combination of views is evident in many xenophobic nationalist movements, both past and present. Socialists and nationalists have their differences. But they also have much in common, including a zero-sum view of the world.

Anti-immigrant nationalist parties in Europe often combine hostility to nonwhite immigration with support for extensive government control of the economy. That's true of such cases as the National Front in France (now renamed as the "National Rally") and the AfD in Germany. Such parties often also often blame immigrants for real and imagined environmental degradation, just as the perpetrator of the New Zealand attack does….

Similarly, the perpetrator of the New Zealand attack argues that environmentalism and immigration restriction "are the same issue [because] the environment is being destroyed by over population,…" Some influential far-left environmentalists have also advocated coercive population control, including defending China's cruel "one child" policy….[note: the El Paso killer also uses the supposed need for population control as a justification for keeping out immigrants].

Racial nationalists and socialist far leftists share a common zero-sum view of the world under which some groups can succeed and prosper only at the expense of others. It is easy to see how that sort of world view often leads adherents to believe that drastic action—including violence—is essential to ensure that the "right" people end up as winners in this cruel zero-sum world. I discussed this crucial commonality in greater detail here

Zero-sum thinking need not always lead to racial and ethnic hostility, or xenophobia. It is also often channeled in other directions, such as hostility to the wealthier members of one's own ethnic group or society. In some cases, it leads to a combination of both fear of foreigners and fear of the wealthy.

For example, unexpectedly popular Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders echoes Donald Trump's hostility to international trade, while simultaneously arguing that ordinary Americans can only be economically successful by redistributing vast wealth from "the 1 percent." Until recently, he also expressed considerable hostility towards immigration, denouncing the idea of free migration of labor as a plot by "the Koch brothers" and other malevolent billionaires, which would impoverish the working class and end up "doing away with the concept of a nation state."

"Lone wolf" terrorist attacks like those in New Zealand and El Paso are far from the only dangers of zero-sum thinking, or even the most significant. The far bigger danger is the impact of these ideas on "mainstream" politics and public policy—an impact that goes well beyond a few extremist killers:

Fortunately, most nationalists and socialists aren't willing to go so far as to personally commit acts of terrorism. But all too many are willing to advocate large-scale coercion that inflicts great harm on large numbers of people, in order to ensure that they and their preferred causes don't end up as losers in a zero-sum world. Everything from barring migrants fleeing horrible oppression, to separating immigrant children from parents in order to deter them from entering, to coercive population control, to massive expropriation of property, and repression of "capitalists" in order to transfer the nation's wealth to "the people." The list can easily be extended.

There is no easy antidote to the spread of dangerous zero-sum ideas. But perhaps the beginning of wisdom is to recognize the danger they pose, and understand why they are wrong:

Far from enriching natives, immigration restrictions often end up undermining their freedom and prosperity as well as that of potential immigrants. Standard economic estimates indicate that free migration throughout the world would double world GDP, with many of the gains going to natives, not just migrants. Natives lose the gains from trade with immigrants, and also suffer from the civil liberties violations inherent in efforts to keep out and deport migrants. Rich and poor are not locked in a zero-sum game either. To the contrary, they can prosper together through mutual exchange, and historically often have.

Pollution and global warming are genuinely serious problems. But addressing them does not require massive coercion or keeping millions of people in poverty. Historically, increasing wealth has actually led to reductions in pollution (after an initial increase early in the process of industrialization), as wealthy societies can more easily afford to invest in reducing pollution. Even when it comes to the particularly difficult challenge of climate change, there are ways to combat that simultaneously increase prosperity rather than stifle it. They include reducing regulatory obstacles to using nuclear power, cutting back on zoning restrictions that make it hard to build denser housing, and offering prizes for the development of new "clean" energy technologies. Where regulation is needed to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions, it should take the the scalpel form of a revenue-neutral carbon tax, rather than the meat cleaver of coercive population control and government takeovers of huge portions of the economy.

It would be naive to imagine that zero-sum games never occur. But they are far less common than either the far left or the nationalist right imagine. The more people come to understand that, the better.


NOTE: Because perpetrators of terrorist attacks often undertake them in large part to gain fame and media attention for themselves and their ideas, I have refrained from mentioning the names of the men who committed the New Zealand  and El Paso's attack or linking to their "manifestos." I have instead linked to others' summaries of their ideas.  But both the names and the manifestos are easily found online, for those who wish to read them for themselves. Ultimately, the reason to focus on these types of ideas is not so much that they motivated these terrorists, but that they have a much broader pernicious influence on political discourse and public policy.

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  1. A reason to link to the manifestos is that such kaleidoscopes of words, phrases, and concepts can end up a Rorschach test, where a reader’s summary says way more about the reader of the manifesto than about the author of the manifesto.

    The overall nonsensical nature of the manifesto is difficult to grasp without actually reading it for yourself.

  2. I find it odd that someone would write an article talking extensively about the ideology and “manifestos” of the two men, but refuse to actually cite them or allow others to read them for themselves.

    Still – rarely, for Somin, the point is actually a good one. The zero-sum arguments used by anyone in the real world should be treated with skepticism at best, and outright hostility at worst. Very little is actually zero-sum, and those using the arguments are usually hiding an appeal to emotion under deceptive statistics. Identifying and rejecting those arguments can help progress the discussion towards rational conclusions – an outcome that should be desired by all.

    Which is why it is unfortunate that Somin decided to end a good article with his standard and often-repeated collection of lies about the economic effects of unrestricted migration, often claiming his links say the opposite of what they actually do.
    I should have known better than to expect anything from Somin that didn’t involve him citing himself and deceptive links, but ah, well. I guess I’m just a sucker for thinking people can better themselves.

    1. Very little is actually zero-sum,

      Government spending is “zero-sum”, and government spending is a major source of resources for low income Americans. For that group. increasing the population of low skill, low income workers in the US really is a serious issue.

      1. Government spending is frequently negative sum; When the government takes from one person to give to another, it makes the first person poorer by a greater degree than it makes the recipient wealthier, causing a net reduction in the economy.

        1. Are you talking about transactions costs or something else? If the government takes $100 from a very rich person and gives the $100 to a very poor person, I would think that the rich person is being made worse off by a smaller degree than the poor person is being made better off. The only way I can see that not working is transaction costs, but those payments go to somebody, too.

          1. It’s supply-side gospel rewarmed.

          2. You can’t see it happening because the rich person would have invested the money in a productive enterprise, while the poor person just spends it? You can’t see it happening because the rich person, aware that any money they make is subject to confiscation, works less hard at making money?

            1. Why is the poor person spending it not a “productive enterprise”? Doesn’t that benefit the business owner who sells whatever the poor person is buying?

              I take your point re: productivity drop, but what does that have to do with the original claim? If the rich person works less, it isn’t the government making them poorer.

              And, again, you aren’t factoring the greater marginal value of the dollar to the poor person, at all.

              1. There are multiple factors.

                The first is, as you mentioned, transaction costs. It costs money/time/effort to transfer funds from person A to person B.

                The second is a negative incentive to working in the “rich”. Basically, the more you work, the more is taken away in taxes, and often at a higher rate that the initial workload. This is a real factor.

                The third is a negative incentive to working in the poor. Basically, the more they work, the less they get in government reimbursement. This is also a real factor.

                1. The transaction costs go somewhere too. Typically to people.

                  For 2 and 3, I think it is uncontroversial that we should not tax the rich so much that they voluntarily choose not to work, nor pay the poor so much that they have no incentive to earn. (There are some people we should pay to take care of, like severely disabled who have no ability to work at all, and so the disincentive concern is pointless.)

                  Do y’all disagree about the marginal value of the dollar to the poor, relative to the rich?

                  1. 1. Transaction costs are an inefficiency. To demonstrate this, take the example of a extremely simplified economy, which just generates two goods for consumption, Apples and Bananas, with 4 people. Under paradigm one, 2 people produce 20 Apples, and 2 people produce 20 Bananas. They trade equally, and each person get 5 Apples and 5 Bananas. Under paradigm two, 2 people are required for transaction costs, leaving 2 to produce apples and bananas. Now, only 10 bananas and 10 apples are produced for 4 people, and each only gets 2.5

                    For 2 and 3, it’s not a binary choice, but a continuum. Each additional % of taxation or reimbursement will shift the calculus for a different set of people from work to not work, or some area in between, especially based on the individual choices for the person and the costs inherent in that person and what they value.

                    In terms of marginal value, it’s not so clear cut as you would think. In addition, there are various impacts to consider. In very general terms, a gift of a dollar to a poor person will have greater value than a gift of a dollar to a rich person. However, in a odd sort of way, a dollar that is earned will have a greater value to a person than a dollar that is given. Moreover there is a value in the process that leads to earning a dollar, as opposed to being given a dollar. These aspects must be considered. While a basic safety net is recommended, it should be in case of a fall, with the expectation that one gets up after it. It shouldn’t be relied upon for life.

                    1. I don’t disagree with any of that. We are approaching a bigger issue. Every year there will be less things for people to do, as work is more efficiently shifted to non-humans. There will necessarily come a point at which there just isn’t any work for humans to do. We’ve been living with the problem for decades–probably centuries–and we’ve solved it by just working less. But some people are going to be left out entirely, eventually. Eventually there will not be anything for many people to “get[] up after it.” How do you put people to work if there are fewer jobs than there are people?

                    2. So, you’re arguing from the “post-scarcity society” or automation hypothesis. (The two are related).

                      And here’s my view. I’ll worry about it when it happens, and when (and if) it happens, then the issues you’re worried about will disappear (for the most part).

                      Automation is hard. Good automation is even harder. Elon Musk learned this the hard way building Teslas, and had to back up to hiring more people, and pulling out the automation that didn’t quite work. Moreover, new technologies that “eliminate” workers often bring about whole new industries that require a whole new mass of workers. The development of the computer basically eliminated typists as a profession, but brought about many new professions that simply didn’t exist before.

                      Now, if you get to the idealized fully automated – shackled AI type society, the cost of resources drops to essentially zero. Then, you don’t need to worry about “work” as much, in terms of supporting people, because resources are essentially free.

              2. If the rich person works less because the government is taking away the fruits of that labor, yes, it IS the government making them poorer.

                But, it’s true that I don’t factor in that supposed greater marginal value, because I don’t think government should be engaging in charity anyway.

                1. I’ll defer here. I do think it’s in the government’s interests to provide a basic safety net. Emphasis on basic.

                  Life happens, and there is risk. In a given number of people, a combination of unfortunate events will occur, ending up in their destitution. It’s in government’s (and society’s) interest to provide a safety net here, until they can get back on their feet. The other options (a resort to crime, or other non-legal methods) are more costly to society.

                2. Re: charity, one question. Do you think there are any people that the government has an obligation to help (or force others to help)? Do you consider government funding of police forces to prevent crimes by others to be charity?

                  Also, why do you think wealth redistribution is necessarily charity? Why can’t it just be the price that the rich pay not to be eaten by the poor?

          3. The assumption that the poor person gets $100 is a funny one indeed. What happens to that $100 is that it gets whittled away by bureaucrats; when it finally reaches the poor person’s hand, it’s more like $26.

            So, yes, the rich person is made worse off by a larger degree than the poor person is made better off.

      2. bullshit. 85% of government spending goes to line the pockets or super rich corporations, obviously. if it all disappeared tomorrow 85% of us would live better, especially among “low income”, which is all of us, who aren’t super rich corporations, like the government itself.

  3. The most common example of zero-sum thinking nowadays is the focus on income inequality: “10% of the people take 90% of the wealth” or whatever.

    1. Not nearly so many tax the rich shooters, though.

      We can discuss why – I’m not even sure there’s a causal relationship. But there is something different between the replacement thesis and class warfare rhetoric.

      1. Well, lets see if we can provide some examples.

        There was the Bernie bro who tried to kill the GOP leadership at a softball practice.

        Then there is the Antifa supporter and Warren voter who killed people in Dayton, the same weekend as the El Paso shooting.

        1. Oh, get stuffed, you confirmation bias addict. We have manifestos citing the replacement thesis, nothing citing class warfare.

          1. Oh, I forgot, left wing violence is always minimilized and then memory holed.

            People try to murder GOP officials because they don’t like their softball play. of course.

            1. You’re the one one minimizing your side’s violence.
              I’m not saying Antifa is peaceful or that liberals never do public shootings – you’re the one massaging exactly points towards a political thesis while ignoring a bunch of others that need no such massaging.

              Left wing violence matters, but that doesn’t make TiP’s ‘class warfare is the real zero-sum thinking’ any less dumb.

              1. “You’re the one one minimizing your side’s violence.”

                Not at all. You are poo pooing away left wing violence because they don’t have a “manifesto” so we can just ignore other evidence of their views.

                1. Bob, read the comment I was replying to – I’m poo-pooing the unsupported notion that noting 10% of the people take 90% of the wealth is leading to violence.

                  1. He didn’t say a word about violence – that was something you introduced entirely on your own.

                    12″ rightly pointed out that the extremely common “argument” that “10% of the people take 90% of the wealth” is an example of zero-sum thinking. Not a single word about violence or shooters anywhere in the post.

            2. Can you link to the story showing that the Dayton shooter was engaged in “left wing violence”? Could you define that, by the way?

              Hodgkinson was absolutely a left wing violent person. But I’m not sure why you think the violent act was “minimalized and then memory holed”. It was written about extensively, addressed by the President, spoken to by Paul Ryan in the House (to standing ovation from both parties), and Bernie addressed it on the Senate floor.

                1. From your link: “Police say the motive is unclear.”

            3. LOL. Cherish that softball shooter. He’s the RW’s second favorite red herring, trailing only the false equivalent of 10,000 Trump falsehoods, the Whatabout “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.”

              Finding a counter-example of just about anything is easy. Honest comparison, less so. Spoiler alert: the most frequent source of domestic terrorism isn’t Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism. It isn’t even Islamic extremism. It’s white nationalism.

              That’s not me talking. It’s the FBI.

              Of course if you imbibe the Trumpist Koolaid that the FBI is a Soros-funded hive of Ilhan Omar sleeper cells, and thus the last people you should believe, then sorry for bothering you.

              1. ” Honest comparison, less so. Spoiler alert: the most frequent source of domestic terrorism isn’t Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism. It isn’t even Islamic extremism. It’s white nationalism.”

                So what? They’re all sources of terrorism. So, what should we do about Democratic Socialism, Islamic Extremism, and white nationalism?

                1. Different problems different solutions.

                2. No, they’re not all sources of terrorism in this country. Democratic Socialism is a virtually non-existent source. Left-wing (all varieties) motivated terrorism, a very small percentage. Islamic extremism is the source of a significant minority of domestic terrorist acts, and the subject of disproportionately large federal law enforcement funding. White nationalism, the largest source of terrorist acts, gets a fraction of the law enforcement funding militant Islam gets. And when programs were approved to beef up white nationalism’s share of the federal law enforcement dollar, Trump cancelled them.

                  1. “Democratic Socialism is a virtually non-existent source. ”

                    I wouldn’t downplay it. In addition to the Scalise shooting, there was the guy shooting at the CBP, the bike lock guy, the guys who beat Andy Ngo, mobs of people violently silencing speakers to the extent that the University of California had to spend $600,000 for security.

                    But in any event, this raises a larger question: How do you deal with ideologically motivated terrorism? Surely you guys aren’t suggesting we suppress or regulate the associated ideology?

                    1. “Surely you guys aren’t suggesting we suppress or regulate the associated ideology?”

                      I took that Leo Marvin thought we should allocate our finite resources more proportionally to the threat than we currently do.

                    2. What NToJ said.

              2. “Cherish that softball shooter. ”

                Speaking of poo pooing left wing violence.

                You have no idea what the US would be like if he had been a better shot or the police hadn’t killed him.

                Fuck you.

                1. I never minimized what the softball shooter did, Bob. I just ridiculed your compulsion to drag him into an unrelated discussion, because apparently there’s nothing someone on your team can do that’s too vile for you to trivialize with a Whatabout.

                  Fuck me? That goes without saying, doesn’t it? If you didn’t hate me, I assume you’d have found the time to criticize, maybe even disavow, the frequent calls here for spilling the blood of your liberal opponents. I know I would have if the shoe was on the other foot. Fuck me indeed.

              3. Actually, according to the FBI, the most common source of domestic terrorism isn’t “white nationalism” at all – it’s environmentalism. It’s not even close, either – Depending on your time frame, the eco-terrorists account for 80% to 90% of all terrorist attacks.

                1. What’s your source? Is your data up-to-date? I can’t find the FBI source.

                  1. Sorry, I last checked an FBI press release, but the original data set is actually a DHS project. Here: Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS) Database

                    It lists the roughly 2600 attacks that have been generally classified as “domestic terrorism” since 1970. Since that isn’t an actual crime, the project uses a generally accepted definition which you can review on their methodology pages.
                    Of those 2600 attacks, more than 2000 have been by ELF/ALF – the top two violent eco-terrorist movements. Since 9/11, of course, domestic terrorist attacks have dropped significantly. In the 10 years after 2001, there were roughly 110 ecoterrorist attacks, 15 anti-abortion attacks, 7 Islamic extremist attacks, 2 militia movement attacks, and some one-offs.
                    I didn’t find a 2019 summary which is why I used the 2014 report.

                    Ecoterrorism has been dropping since the 1970s, true – there are no longer a hundred or more ALF/ELF attacks per year. We’re down to merely 10ish.

                    1. Do you have a more direct link? What I clicked on doesn’t take me to a data set, and I couldn’t find the data when sniffing around the website.

              4. “Finding a counter-example of just about anything is easy. Honest comparison, less so. Spoiler alert: the most frequent source of domestic terrorism isn’t Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism. It isn’t even Islamic extremism. It’s white nationalism.”

                I’m sick and tired of the Right (aka conservatives and libertarians) being blamed for white nationalism. Do you know what you find when you scratch at a white nationalist? A desire for universal health care and other typically-Democratic left-wing causes.

                Indeed, this even makes sense: it’s hard to resort to government to force everyone to be white, and at the same time insist on things like “we need smaller government” and “we should practice the non-agression principle”.

                1. “Do you know what you find when you scratch at a white nationalist?”

                  A Trump supporter.

                2. This is some ‘all the bad things are liberal’ silliness.

                  The party white nationalists support is the GOP. Though obv. it’s quite a minority, nativism and white resentment is becoming more the GOP brand than small government these days. Just read the comments on this blog to see all sorts of The Great Replacement and The Bell Curve and the like out there in the open.

                  1. As if the commenters on this blog are a representative sample of anything (other than the commenters on this blog).

        2. It’s obvious by your citing their supposed support for Democratic politicians that you are trying to associate them with mass murder. The obsession of the alt-right with the race and political leanings of mass shooters is only to deflect the responsibility for creating the environment that triggers these actions. President Trump brought into the mainstream these ideas and people once consigned to the lunatic fringe. His conspiracy-laden rallies, both in his ramblings and expressed by his audience. His rallies are a call to action, yet he cowers when some take him at his word.

          Trump’s speech today had all the sincerity of a hostage statement. Condemning white nationalism and hate speech? But aren’t good people on both sides? Doesn’t he listen to his own words?

          1. Do you know who else is responsible for this polarizing rhetoric? The very Media that doesn’t like President Trump.

            Take this lie that you are repeating, and that the Media has repeated over and over again: the claim that President Trump said that there are good people in white nationalist groups. In the very audio that President Trump said this, he specifically condemned both Anti-Fa and White Supremists, and then, in talking about whether or not statues of General Robert E Lee should be removed, said there are good people on both sides.

            1. I don’t doubt you believe it’s a lie.

              Put down the Kool-Aid and read this.

    2. it’s true, and an easy sum to arrive at. 90 +10=100 which is “zero”

  4. A bit of ignorance here.

    Right-wing politics in Europe has, for a long time, embraced what Ilya is describing as “left-wing” here – that is, combining a xenophobic outlook with an aim to protect “our” welfare state. Right-wing political terrorism in the U.S., in contrast, is just now coming around to this view. It’s not combining “right-wing” and “left-wing” views; instead, it is resolving a heretofore unresolved tension in the traditional Republican platform, re-orienting it towards a more ideologically coherent nationalism that has been common in just about every other developed nation except for the U.S.

    Ilya, I appreciate that you’re just trying to deflect attention away from your noxious fellow-travelers by drawing red-herring false equivalences. But you do so only by exposing how little you’ve paid attention to what’s happening in other countries.

    1. Assuming that what you’re getting at is that European right-left doesn’t map to US right-left, absolutely.

      This is a really common problem, when people assume that the political polarity of other cultures and countries maps to another. Instead, a European socialist-liberal-conservative-nationalist makes it easier, but even there the lines don’t map to US parties.

      For example, the AfD, Alternative for Germany (Deutschland) party maps a quarter to the Democrats, half to the Republicans, and an eighth to the socialists, and an eighth to no party in the US.

      Trying to analyze other countries as if they were the US is just imperialism, and should be avoided for all but the broadest of statements, and immigration is far too specific.

      1. “a European socialist-liberal-conservative-nationalist makes it easier, but even there the lines don’t map to US parties.”

        Don’t forget the national socialists, between the nationalists and the socialists. It’s not a straight line continuum, it’s a circle.

    2. A bit of ignorance here.

      I applaud your truth in advertising.

    3. there is no tension in the traditional Republican platform, it has been usurped by populists and confederates, after the real base died off or got decrepit.

  5. “A bit of ignorance here.

    Right-wing politics in Europe has, for a long time, embraced what Ilya is describing as “left-wing” here – that is, combining a xenophobic outlook with an aim to protect “our” welfare state.”

    Seem like I just read that somewhere…

  6. Sigh,

    This shooting was a tragedy. But to use it to promote a pre-existing self-belief….such as open borders.

    Doesn’t help.

  7. All we need to do is impeach Drumpf and pass some gun control and problem solved! Right? It is that easy! Only reason we don’t do it is because the Klan doesn’t want us to!

    Of course that is what the drive by media would like us to believe. And, funny thing how they leave this part of the manifesto out of all the coverage about “violent rhetoric” being Trump’s fault.

    “My ideology has not changed for several years. My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest
    predate Trump and his campaign for president. I put
    ting this here because some people will blame the
    President or certain presidential candidates for the attack. This is not the case. I know that the media
    will probably call me a white supremacist anyway and blame Trump’s rhetoric. The media is infamous
    for fake news. Their reaction to this attack will likely just confirm that.”

    1. So your thesis is that we know the killer wasn’t motivated by support for the President because he told you that he didn’t want you to blame the President for this rampage? Because I don’t think the President is responsible for this loony tune, but the part you’ve quoted makes me less sure.

      1. So you believe him when he says he’s a racist, but when he says he was a racist before Trump became a politician, you think the guy is lying?

        It’s the same source, in the same document. You’re going to need to explain how you can believe his stated opinions in one part of the document but not another.

        1. I believe him when he said he doesn’t want you to blame President Trump for his actions.

          1. Why *should* we blame the President for these actions?

            This person also believes in climate change — and even stated that as a motive. Should we blame Al Gore for his actions as well?

            Or maybe, just maybe, we should blame the *shooter* for his actions?

            1. I didn’t say you should blame the President. Instead, I said “I don’t think the President is responsible for this loony tune…”

    2. is this something written by a 22 year who was 17 years old 5 years ago?

  8. Even left wing terrorists are Trump’s fault. An interesting view.

    1. FFS. Left wing? This is not healthy.

      1. I’m sorry your political allies use violence to advance their views. Maybe some introspection is necessary.

        1. Right back atcha, big guy.

      2. The Christchurch, New Zealand and El Paso killer were apparently extreme environmentalists who decided that the Earth was overpopulated and minority population groups, with their higher birth rates were a big part of the problem.

    2. A left wing nut with TDS goes off a massacre – off course it is trumps fault.

  9. “Fortunately, most nationalists and socialists aren’t willing to go so far as to personally commit acts of terrorism. ”

    There was, if I recall, a fairly important historical exception.

    1. Nazis, Bolsheviks, Maoists and Khmer Rouge seem to have not had this problem.

      1. And in the US, the weather underground, antifa, blm, proud boys, those cucks in Charlottesville (whatever they were calling themselves), countless environmental whackos, etc. seem not to have a problem either.

    2. That’s because most of (any group) isn’t willing to personally commit terrorism. I’d be willing to bet that even in ISIS or Al Qaeda only a minority even personally engaged in terrorism. Actually being a terrorist is hard. Making bombs for them and letting them blow themselves up, or showing up to heap praise on them, that’s all easy.

      So most of any group that not defined so narrowly as to be only terrorists will not actually engage in terrorism.

  10. Wood argues (correctly, in my view) that Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric contributes to this ideological potpourri in a more reprehensible way than that of current American left-wing politicians. He is likely right on that point.

    I guess Ilya in his dash to ghoulishly get a few hits off this latest tragedy with all the rest of the talking heads and twitterati forgot about the leftist progun control Dayton shooter. Bad luck I guess.

    1. First, the main commonality is 8chan, not ideology.

      But if you want to play that dumb game, what leftist? There was a spurious connection to a twitter account floating around.

      1. Dayton Killer: Twitter Posts on Being a Leftist, Guns

        [Will not be named], the Dayton, Ohio mass shooter, was a self-described “leftist,” who wrote that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

        1. I see where y’all are getting it now, though given that among the victims are people the shooter knew (sister and her boyfriend) other motives than politics present themselves.

          1. God you’re a joke. Your probably also ignoring all the non racist views of the el paso shooter that align with the left. This is because you’re a dishonest fuck.

            1. What non racist views? Even his malthusian environmentalism was based on white supremecy.

  11. It is the far right, not the far left, which 1) has its hooks into one of our two major political parties and 2) is armed to the teeth.

    1. Yeah right. Tell that to antifa and their violence which the left wing media never seems to cover and left wingers always come up with excuses for when it is in the news.

    2. One of our political parties is led by an avowed Socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union.

      1. As far as I know, the only person in mainstream politics who fits the description of “an avowed Socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union” is Bernie Sanders, but he certainly doesn’t fit the first part of the description of leading one of our political parties. (He isn’t even a member of any political party, let alone leading one.)

        1. Bernie almost won the 2008 Democratic Party primary, only to be screwed over by Hillary. If not formally a member of the party, he’s like that girl that stays over every weekend that refuses to be called girlfriend because she considers it controlling. Moreover, his socialist vision has been largely embraced by the Dem primary voters, the hardcore types, as the party has moved to the left.

          1. That would translate to “is highly influenced by” not “controlled by.”

            It’s like saying that AOC controls the Democratic Party. She doesn’t, but she has a massively outsized influence in it (even if most democratic voters despise her).

          2. They had a Democratic debate last week, I must have imagined Bernie [2nd in polls] on the stage.

          3. Bernie almost won the 2008 Democratic Party primary, only to be screwed over by Hillary.

            “Almost won” is not “won,” and he was “screwed over” by Democratic primary voters, who didn’t vote for him.

            And even if everything else you said were accurate, it would not make him the leader of the Democratic Party.

        2. True…but his seats on committees count against the Dems’ totals, and he’s in the Democratic primary trying hard to be that leader.

        3. “He isn’t even a member of any political party, let alone leading one.”

          ?? He is a member (and top-tier presidential candidate) of the Democratic party.

          1. None of which means the Democratic Party “is led” by Sanders, as the Ghost claimed.

            1. “None of which means the Democratic Party “is led” by Sanders, as the Ghost claimed.”

              Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to quibble over to what extent a Party’s second place primary candidate, in this election and the last, “leads” the party.

    3. Care to state precisely specifically what “hooks” the “far right” has into the Republican party? Names and organizations please.

      1. He’s implying that the “far right” is actually a part of the Republican Party, while the “far left” (ex: Antifa, Communist Party, etc) are not actually part of the Democratic Party.

        An easy way to see it is this: what party is further right than the Republican Party? None? So that means they’ve incorporated the far right into the party.

        Of course that ignores the fact that the “far right” in the US is both tiny and largely disenfranchised because no one agrees with them enough to bother seeking their votes (as compared to Europe, largely because they’re parliamentary system gives more power to small groups that first past the post systems in the US). It’s also why the “far left” is larger in the EU, though that’s changed a lot on the last 9 years.

        1. Trump is trying pretty hard to seek their votes.

          What do you think those racist tweets are all about?

          1. What do you think those racist tweets are all about?

            I haven’t seen any “racist tweets” from Trump. I have seen tweets from Trump condemning illegal border crossings and not wanting the US to turn into a sh*thole, and as an immigrant myself, I have no problem with either of those whatsoever.

            The only racist tweets I have seen have come from Democrats.

            1. it’s a dogwhistle you doorknob. go back to whatever shithole you came from then

              1. A dog whistle only racist Democrats ever hear. Strange. But when everything your opponent says is racist… why bother with logical arguments.

        2. Here’s the thing: The Democratic party has all these districts where they’re 70, 80, 90% of the voters, so they really don’t have to worry in those districts about moderate opinions. This allows them to humor their radicals, incorporate them into the party.

          The GOP doesn’t have those districts, their strongholds are usually much closer to 60-40. This means they can’t afford to alienate centrists, so they have to show their radicals the door.

          “Their radicals” as seen from the center, in each case. Granted, the median Republican looks like a radical to a left-wing Democrat, but it’s the perception of the voters in play that matters here.

          Add that, for historical reasons, the Democrats never had to purge the communists in the same way the Republicans purged the fascists; Allying with Stalin during WWII gave them cover our native Nazi analogs didn’t have. And you get an asymmetric situation.

          The left can embrace their extremists, the right had to purge them. It isn’t that the Republican party incorporated them, it’s that they’re totally left out in the cold with no political home.

  12. Looking forward to the article on the politics of the Dayton shooter, hard left, and a comparison to the shooter who tried to assassinate half of the Republican members of Congress.

    It will be a long wait.

    1. [Dayton Killer]: Twitter Posts on Being a Leftist, Guns

      The Dayton, Ohio mass shooter, was a self-described “leftist,” who wrote that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

  13. The unspeakable tragedy of the El Paso and other mass shootings leaves us all wondering what, if anything, can be done to prevent further incidents. Unfortunately, Ilya Somin is completely unhelpful in this regard. Does he really believe that a massive public education program about zero-sum games will do anything in this regard? If not, why all this blather? I think his first and basic mistake is to take the gobbledygook nonsense of the shooter seriously. There is no reason to believe that he had any other motive than killing people, just to kill. There is every reason to disregard his manifesto completely. It should not be cited, read, or commented upon. Don’t encourage more whackos by pretending that they have anything important to say. Let us just grieve instead, and move on best we can. I have not seen or heard any practical policy that would stop these senseless killings. Somin offers nothing here.

    1. The unspeakable tragedy of the El Paso and other mass shootings leaves us all wondering what, if anything, can be done to prevent further incidents

      You can prevent mass killings like that the way socialist countries did: by creating a police state in which every aspect of life is controlled by the state. That’s what the American left is pushing us towards.

      In a free society, however, you can’t prevent such tragedies, because psychopaths exist and something will set some of them off. Their trigger may be a legitimate grievance or something utterly absurd; they differ from normal people not in the nature of their grievances, but in their psychopathic response to it.

      1. In a free society, however, you can’t prevent such tragedies

        Bullshit. This is not some price we’re paying for freedom. Plenty of free countries don’t have our rates of gun violence.

        1. Are you implying there is a primarily a cultural cause for gun violence?

          1. Nope. I have no idea, but I reject the idea that this is some price we pay for liberty.

            1. Fair enough, you reject the premise, though you may not be as justified in that as you imagine.

              1. Dude didn’t prove it, he just stated it. It’s not a premise, it’s just a belief.

              2. Your belief is one centered on not understanding statistics. You’re really bad at anything relying on numbers.

            2. No Sarc, they are right. In their version of “a free society” (specifically in reference to their preferred 2nd amendment interpretation), these tragedies cannot be prevented. Nice to hear some of them finally admit it.

              1. The mistake your making, is thinking the tragedies can be prevented, and that taking peoples’ guns won’t be another form of tragedy.

                Life is full of trade-offs.

                1. Good lord man, we have dozens dead and you’re like ‘but think of the guns?!’

                  I think there’s an individual right to bear arms, but what the hell is wrong with your priorities?

                  1. Poor emotional sarcastro. I bet you’re one of the idiots who try to shame degrasse Tyson because of how badly you understand statistics. Life isnt perfect. It never will be stop being so weak emotionally. You’re a literall Simpsons character thinking of the children.

              2. The funny thing about America is that most of the violence occurs in places where “a free society” doesn’t exist, especially when it comes to guns, while the most peaceful places of America (aka everywhere outside of a few cities) are actually awash in legal guns.

                1. Bunch of counterexamples to that recently.

          2. “Are you implying there is a primarily a cultural cause for gun violence?”

            Sure. If Americans bought guns as they buy any other tool – with the same consideration of likely want or need – there would be millions upon millions less guns circulating in the U.S, and the country would be a wholly better place.

            But they don’t, do they? There are 120.5 guns per 100 people in America. The next closest country is Yemen at 52.8 per 100. What you see there is culture, and in that culture is the root cause of this nation’s massive problem with gun violence.

            1. Sarc, you’re playing ignorant. This is common knowledge. There are places with few legal guns, and lots of murders (Honduras), and places with lots of guns and few murders (Norway/Italy/Switzerland) and places with few guns and few murders (Japan).

              America has always had lots and lots of guns but until the 1960s murders with them were not a problem. And since the 2000s, the murder rate has returned to the pre-1960s level but mass murders by whackos is up.

              grb, you’re closer than you think to a breakthrough. Who shoots who, in America?

              1. Uh huh. Neither Norway, Italy, or Switzerland broke the top-ten for guns ownership rate per capita, despite being “places with lots of guns”. I guess numbers aren’t your strong suite. If it helps, Iceland just slips into the top-ten at 31.7 per hundred. Transferring that rate to the U.S. would result in plus-minus seventy million less gun owners. But I guess that wouldn’t make any difference because …… wait for it …… Honduras !

                It’s kinda hysterical that whatever meme you’re looking to push – melanin, hippies, prayer in school, or whatever – is somehow dependent on Honduras. Hey – I’ve been there so you don’t have to. Instead, try mulling over why every other Tom Dick and Harry thinks a gun is necessary in his life. Do so and you’ll find two things : Culture unique to this country alone, and the cause of so much misery. (not that they don’t have misery in Honduras too !!!)

                1. Dodging the question. Just when we were close to making some real progress. Please try to answer.

                  Since you want to get down to brass tacks and use per capita gun ownership numbers and murder rates, lets go there, using the international Small Arms Survey (somewhat reliable), listing gun ownership rates alongside murder rates from Wikipedia.

                  1) U.S. (120 per capita ownership rate, 5.3 murder rate)
                  2) Yemen (52.1 per capita, but excluded due to war),
                  3) Montenegro (39.1 ownership rate, 2.4 murder rate)
                  4) Serbia (39.1 and 1.01)
                  5 Canada (34.7 and 1.8).

                  That is still a lot of guns per capita all around, but they *all* have low murder rates compared to some of the countries with the highest murder rates and strict gun control:

                  1) El Salvador (strict gun control) – 61.8 murder rate
                  2) Jamaica (strict gun control and it’s an island too) – 57
                  3) Honduras (strict gun control) – 41.7 murder rate
                  4) Mexico (strict gun control) – 24.8 murder rate

                  Comparatively, the U.S. is quite peaceful. In fact, there the only country that has overlap between having lots of legal guns and a high murder rate is Brazil, and the barrio gangs are the problem there, not the average owner of a Taurus pistol.

                  So if your point is that the large number of guns in America is correlated with murder/death/kill, you’re wrong, it’s not when you compare it to other nations that have few legal guns but lots of murders. We are actually quite peaceful. If we really, really, wanted to kill each other at Honduras rates we could!

                  Let me ask again, who shoots whom, in America?

                  1. And this analysis ignores the fact that American violence is a city problem, where guns are hard to get (at least, if you intend to get them legally). In the rest of America, it is both far more peaceful, and far more awash in guns!

        2. Such countries don’t have our history and have homogeneous populations.

          America has always been rougher and more violent than Europe [Balkans and Sicily excluded]. True in 1776 and true now.

          1. So freedom plus minorities equals unavoidable public shootings every once in a while?

            Fuck you.

            1. “Fuck you. ”

              Eloquent counter argument.

              1. Some arguments don’t deserve to be elevated by engagement.

                Blaming our mostly white public shooting problem on the presence of minorities in a free society is one of those.

                1. “mostly white”

                  I suppose since whites commit 52% of murders that is technically correct though highly misleading.

                  Black males are 6% of the population but commit almost half of the murders.

                  1. Y’all are talking past each other. Sarcastro was talking about “public shooting problem” pretty obviously in reference to mass killings. You’re talking about normal run-of-the-mill gun homicide (which is a much bigger problem in this country by deaths). Different problems, different causes, different solutions.

                    1. He is trying to define term his way so he wins the argument.

                      I decline to let him do so.

                    2. You can’t win an argument by changing the subject. If you think mass killings are caused by black people, just show us the data that has black people disproportionately committing mass killings. Maybe it’s true. But you need to show your work.

                    3. America doesn’t actually lead the world in mass shootings. Those honors, depending on how you slice the data, belong to Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Russia.

                      Statistically, the large number of Americans (even with about half the world’s #s of civilian owned guns) pushes our rates mass murder rate down, while the smaller number of citizens and slightly higher incidents make those European rates higher, though only by a couple percentage points.

                      Then again, the murder rates in Norway, Finland, Switzerland are well below the U.S.; only Russia has a higher murder rate.

                      Statistics are a funny thing, when you’re examining tail events, and can be used to mislead quite a bit.

                    4. “You can’t win an argument by changing the subject. If you think mass killings are caused by black people, just show us the data that has black people disproportionately committing mass killings. Maybe it’s true. But you need to show your work.”

                      I don’t have access to the meme, but there’s a picture going around Facebook that shows the last 98 American mass shooters, and judging by their pictures, only about 24% of them were white.

                    5. @epsilon,

                      I would strongly encourage you to not get information from pictures going around on FB. Here is a dataset.

            2. Now sarcastro thinks realizing nordic countries have a shared cultural background which reduces intergroup violence is racist. God you’re fucking stupid sarcastro.

          2. “America has always been rougher and more violent than Europe”

            Anyone else besides me see this as grotesquely counterfactual history-wise? Separate out some of the religious wars alone and the statement is bizarrely absurd – and that’s just getting started.

            1. I am not talking about government violence but personal. The violent US frontier is an historical fact.

              “Rougher” means more course, less refined.

              Religious wars in 1776! counterfactual indeed.

              1. Here’s a chart showing US vs. Europe homicide rates over time.

                “A table from the report showing homicide rates for a number of countries around the world shows that the US has consistently had higher homicide rates than most other developed countries”

                1. You want to be really careful with comparing stats across countries. For example, I’ve heard people assert that the UK’s numbers only count homicides where someone is convicted, which obviously can skew the numbers a lot (Chicago is currently clearing under 20%???? or so).

                  FWIW, I’ve spent a little time trying to confirm the assertion, because it seems like a really odd practice, and I haven’t found anything definitive. My best guess at this point is ‘more likely true than not’, but if anyone has an authoritative source I’d love to hear it.

            2. Bob – even granting every western you’ve ever seen, John Ford to Clint Eastwood, I still think European history easily matches America’s for raw savagery, The religious wars I mentioned were when (for example) German butchered German over Luther and the Pope. That’s an historical fact too, ya know. People were slaughtering each other in Europe long after countries stopped fighting WWII – more history – and recent at that. Maybe your point should be Europeans have suffered too much more rough violence over their history – try that thesis out…..

              1. I am not basing it on westerns, no matter how entertaining.

                Its just not relevant to US history to talk about 500 year old wars. The Mongols of 1200 murdered at Nazi rates, not so the Mongols of 1776 or 2019.

        3. “Other countries have something, therefore we can have it too.”

          Other countries have what they have because they are who they are, they behave the way they behave, they think their way. We are not them. They are not us. We cannot become them.

          You are smart enough to understand that one nation doesn’t magically transform itself into another. Stop fantasizing. Stop burdening people around you with your endless, unrealistic, nagging criticism about who you wish they were.

          If you want things to be better, help an individual instead of complaining about a crowd.

          1. If the thesis is that our liberty makes this inevitable, and other countries have liberty but not this, then the thesis is wrong – there is some other factor at play.

            1. In combination with other factors.

              1. So you disagree with J W, but also don’t want to agree with me.


                1. I disagree with “other countries have something” as a criticism. The left loves to say how other countries are better.

                  1. So…the NSA used psychological warfare to push this kid over the edge? Or he’s a very disciplined agent ready to die for his country, including a likely death penalty?

                    1. Double post moved somewhere odd…

                2. You simply didn’t read my statement correctly.

                  I said that mass shootings cannot be prevented in a free society; you made a statement about murder rates. Mass shootings and murder rates are different issues.

                  As for murder rates, the most likely explanation for the difference between the US and Europe is likely also linked to liberty: the distinct minority groups in the US responsible for our unusually high murder rates would be forcibly assimilated in European nations, through insistence on a single national language and dialect and indoctrination in mandatory government schools.

            2. I said “In a free society, however, you can’t prevent such tragedies”. I stand by that: all other free countries have mass shootings. In fact, even the rates of mass shootings don’t seem to be all that different.

              You erroneously turned this into discussions about murder rates. That’s an entirely different discussion. Murder rates in Europe have always been lower. It’s no mystery what “other factor” is at play there either: high murder rates in the US are due to a few identifiable minority populations; European-Americans commit murder at roughly the same rate as Europeans, namely about 1:100000 (according to FBI statistics).

            3. If the thesis is that our liberty makes this inevitable, and other countries have liberty but not this, then the thesis is wrong – there is some other factor at play.

              I correctly stated that “you can’t prevent such tragedies”; that is a true statement because these other countries have such tragedies as well.

              You are confusing mass shootings with murder rates; murder rates in the US are indeed higher than in Europe. But that’s a problem with minority populations; murder rates among European-Americans are about the same as murder rates of European nations.

              Finally, there are degrees of freedom; European nations “have liberty” but to a much smaller degree than Americans.

              For example, European nations wouldn’t tolerate the continued existence of distinct African-American and Hispanic subcultures in their countries; European nations have official national languages and indoctrinate their students in a single common culture in government schools. That is likely the biggest difference both in terms of liberty and in terms of explaining continued ethnic disparities in murder rates and economic outcomes in the US.

        4. You mean: plenty of countries that are mostly free now (but less than in the US) but that have also been invaded or involuntarily at war multiple times over the past century, and have far more knife violence, burglary (where the resident is present and attacked), terrorism, and use of cars to murder people than the US does?

          Sure, there are countries that come out better in some areas than the US, and probably some that overall statistically are better, though not by much (and if you counter with any Scandinavian countries, they’ve recently changed their immigration system to be closer to the US, so we need to wait a few decades to find out if that matters).

          Japan is the best example of this: essentially no gun crime, but a much higher suicide rate and the mass murder rate is higher per capita, and all done with knives (and for those concerned about immigration, Japan has essentially none).

          The US problem isn’t guns, that just how it’s expressed. Remove the guns and it’ll switch to car bombs, or just running people over in cars more generally. The problem in the US is people. Until you can fix the human condition well always have crazies, and in a country this large there’s lots of crazies to be had.

          So what can we do? Let’s look at what been tried, here an elsewhere, and see what works. Things that don’t work empirically and that limit liberty should be repealed, while things that work should be discussed.

          So let’s consider a gun ban. The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban had no effect, but some will say it wasn’t broad enough – assault weapons are rarely used unlawfully (last week has been an exception from the norm), so we need to ban all guns.

          Well, Australia effectively did that 30 year ago, so did it work? Crime rates dropped year over year after the ban, for many years in a row, so it looks like it did, and we should too. But wait, I hear you cry! You can’t just look at the pre-post rates, you have to look at the rate of change, otherwise you might credit an ongoing trend with a causal one. So what do we find…. Australia’s gun crime rate was dropping before the ban for several years, and continued on the same course after…. so it did not have an effect on gun crime, instead whatever was already changing gun crime kept doing so. Ok, so a gun ban won’t work, assault, high capacity, or otherwise, in a naturally experiment on an island with no easy-to-smuggle border and no organized crime practiced in smuggling things across the order.

          So what else? Well, most gun crimes are committed by black men, and most mass shootings are committed by white men, so only Hispanics and Asians should get guns (even though the vast majority of owners are never involved in any crime)? We’d need to repeal major parts of our Constitution to do that….

          What else?

        5. Gun violence and it’s causes are not special or distinct from other forms of violence. Maybe if/when you abandon the fixation on guns, you might have something interesting to say on violence.

        6. Bullshit. This is not some price we’re paying for freedom. Plenty of free countries don’t have our rates of gun violence.

          They don’t have our rates, but they still have mass shootings; as I was saying: you cannot prevent mass shootings or murders within a free society.

          Now, as for the differences in rates, our unusual rates of gun violence are almost entirely due to African Americans, Hispanics, and gangs. If you want to lower US murder rates to European levels, there need to be massive changes within those groups; policies targeting white middle class America are not going to be effective because white middle class America isn’t the cause of the high murder rates in the US.

          1. If your thesis is that you cannot completely prevent mass shootings without a police state, that’s a much less sweeping and trivially true statement.

        7. Mass shootings and killings are unfortunately far from unique to America. The link below has an interactive map where you can browse mass public shootings by country:

          CPRC: How a Botched Study Fooled the World About the U.S. Share of Mass Public Shootings: U.S. Rate is Lower than Global Average

          By our count, the US makes up less than 1.43% of the mass public shooters, 2.11% of their murders, and 2.88% of their attacks. All these are much less than the US’s 4.6% share of the world population. Attacks in the US are not only less frequent than other countries, they are also much less deadly on average.

        8. Japan just had a mass murder worse than either of these, and it took nothing more than a guy with a few liters of petrol.

          But it least it wasn’t gun violence, right? Because nothing but gun violence deaths matter!

        9. Of course, if you take out places like Chicago, LA, Washington DC, and New York City (all of which heavily regulate guns), and look at the rest of the country (where guns are a lot easier to access), America makes these “plenty of free countries” look downright violent.

        10. The price is small. Even degrasse Tyson realized this with his tweet. More likely to die from drowning than a lo g gun as an example. But you’re a failed physicist who sucks at basic statistics, so I dont expect you to understand relative numbers.

      2. “In a free society, however, you can’t prevent such tragedies…”

        Does this same reasoning apply to abortion as well? I mean, we have a free society and therefore people are free to choose. This choice may include the “tragedy” of terminating a pregnancy. The “trigger” may be any one of a number of reasons. But if you cannot prevent this type of conduct in a free society then why is there so much push to try and prevent this type of conduct?

        That whole free choice thing gets really tricky when you start applying it equally to issues that divide ideologues and partisans.

    2. “There is no reason to believe that he had any other motive than killing people, just to kill.”

      Is that thinking intended to be congruent with a 650-mile drive from the parents’ house to the at-the-border Walmart?

      1. There is no reason to believe that he had any other motive than killing people, just to kill. There is every reason to disregard his manifesto completely.

        The only reason you want to disregard the manifesto is that it reflects very unfavorably on you and your hero Trump. There is not “every reason” to do so.

  14. Wood argues (correctly, in my view) that Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric contributes to this ideological potpourri in a more reprehensible way than that of current American left-wing politicians

    Trump’s rhetoric isn’t “anti-immigrant”, it’s “anti illegal migrant”. It’s utterly absurd to object to border enforcement, lawful immigration, preferences for skilled immigrants, and deportation of people illegally present in the country.

    1. (1) Trump has supported halving all legal immigration

      (2) He has announced multiple bans against legal visas for broad categories of people

      (3) He has tried to end legal family-based immigration

      (4) He called for the end of a lottery program allowing people from countries with low immigration rates to apply for residency in the U.S.

      (5) He has slowed the lawful immigration process with layers of additional bureaucratic hurdles. The backlog of people receiving legal green cards has increased by nearly half; processing time has slowed to a crawl.

      (6) He has attacked the legal process for admitting refugees or granting asylum in every possible way. Per reports, Trump has set a target goal of zero refugees allowed into the U.S, next year.

      (7) He set-up a “denaturalization task force”, which looks for reasons to strip citizenship from people whom it has already been legally granted to.

      (8) The administration is denying and delaying foreign-skilled worker requests. This includes threatening to end work authorization for spouses of H-1B visa holders.

      (9) The administration is closing all 21 overseas United States Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices across 20 countries by year’s end. This is the resource used by people applying for legal immigration.

      (10) Trump’s latest budget proposal includes an new “immigration services surcharge,” adding an additional 10 percent fee to people pursuing legal immigration.

      That’s not a complete tally, and doesn’t reflect the multiple avenues of attack in each of the areas covered above. Anyone who thinks Trump is just “anti illegal immigrant” must get his information from Fox News. How else could he be so blatantly wrong?

      1. You have a list of “anti-immigration” policies, not a list of “anti-immigrant” policies. People become “immigrants” only after they arrive in the country on a permanent residency visa.

        I’m an immigrant, and I have absolutely no problem with Trump’s anti-immigration proposals. I mean, what do dumb, pampered American progressives actually think of us immigrants? Do you think we came to the US because we want the US to open its borders and be surrounded by the same dysfunctional cultures and societies we spend decades trying to get away from?

        1. Yes the “progressives” “think” that or something worse. Much worse.

  15. After the Christchurch murderer, I’m not sure why anyone is even confident such “manifestos” actually represent the views of the killer, rather than just an effort to channel the predictable blow back in the direction of their enemies. Does anybody, even somebody crazy enough to commit mass murder, actually think you win people’s hearts by these sorts of atrocities?

    1. Ah. The “false flag” excuse.

      One of your favorite stupidities.

      1. He never said false flag, but are aware such things do occur? The Gulf of Tonkin incident ring any bells?

        The point is that the manifesto is a Rorschach test that those who buy ink by the barrel excerpt from to fit a pre-conceived worldview.

        1. He’s said it before, plenty of times, and clearly implied it here.

          Rorschach test?

          . This attack is a response to the
          Hispanic invasion of Texas.

          Pretty clear, and notice there’s nothing there about objecting specifically to illegal immigration:

          it makes no sense to keep on letting millions of illegal or legal immigrants flood into the
          United States, and to keep the tens of millions that are already here.

          It’s anti-Hispanic, plain and simple, just like Trump and his Mexican rapists.

          1. Your comment is another data point about it being a Rorschach Test for left and right. I guess you didn’t even skim Somin’s post, because he was also a wacko environmentalist, killing Mexicans for Mother Earth. The right latched onto that just like the left did the re-conquista aspect.

            Implied? Meh, let’s see if he comes back and says it was a false flag. It’s to early to know. I hope you are aware, at one time the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed a plan to make terrorist attacks to prompt going to war with Cuba (Operation Northwoods), and the Obama Admin was more than happy to let guns walk into Mexico to spur calls for guns control.

            Is every nutjob a false flag? No, but if you trust government, you’re a sucker.

              1. If that is a cultural reference, I don’t get it.

                1. It’s how long it took Brett to prove your comment wrong.

          2. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that it might have been a false flag.

            I meant to state it outright. Operative phrase, “might have been”.

            You have to be pretty stupid to think that attacking a bunch of random people is going to attract favorable attention to your views. In fact, you can be pretty far gone, and still be aware that it’s more likely to draw unfavorable attention. So when somebody goes out and kills a bunch of random people, and publishes a “manifesto”, never be too sure that they’re actually being honest about their views. Rather than just trying to provide a pretext for drawing hatred down on their enemies.

            I realize you’d like a nice, simple world, where false flags aren’t a real thing.

            1. So…the NSA used psychological warfare to push this kid over the edge? Or he’s a very disciplined agent ready to die for his country, including a likely death penalty?

              1. The government doesn’t need to be involved for it to be a false flag. Lone nuts can try to frame their perceived enemies too.

            2. So the GOP baseball game shooting was a false flag, too?

              1. That was a false false flag. You know how sly the progs are.

            3. It’s your standard excuse, Brett. And it’s bullshit rationalization.

              He wasn’t trying to “attract favorable attention.” He was acting to drive Hispanics, legal and illegal, out of the country.

              This is an encouraging sign that the Hispanic population is willing to return to their home
              countries if given the right incentive. An incentive that myself and many other patriotic Americans will

            4. @Brett, if false flags are a real thing then how can I know that your post isn’t itself a false flag? What is your real agenda and what controversy are you trying to stir-up or keep agitated?

              In other words, if I were to agree with your theory then I would have to question whether you yourself are – or are perpetrating – a false flag. But if you are a false flag then that throws into doubt the legitimacy of your false flag theory, since you being a false flag the theory you stating would be part of your false flag operation.

              Oh man …. what if I’m a false flag!?!

              1. “if I were to agree with your theory then I would have to question whether you yourself are – or are perpetrating – a false flag. ”

                You should. By which I mean, not that you should conclude I am, but rather that you should remain aware that it is a possibility.

                Don’t prematurely dismiss possibilities.

            5. I realize you’d like a nice, simple world, where false flags aren’t a real thing.

              And I realize you’re hopelessly grasping for some reason why this guy wasn’t really an anti-Hispanic (all Hispanics) bigot, like Trump.

              Look, I can believe that graffiti or some minor vandalism with political meaning of some sort might be “false flag,” or maybe just some idiot being destructive without a real agenda.

              But it’s wildly implausible that someone who goes out and kills 20 people, fully expecting to be killed himself, is doing it for other than his stated reasons. Surely he is not doing for the opposite of those stated reasons.

              This is just another piece of nonsense, like “Indians not taxed,” or “I wasn’t in the delivery room,” that you resort to when you can’t bear to admit you are wrong.

          3. The Hispanic invasion of Texas, yes that’s laughable in any other context. No one learns history these days, do they?

      2. The Christchurch, New Zealand and El Paso killers were apparently extreme environmentalists who decided that the Earth was overpopulated and minority population groups, with their higher birth rates were a big part of the problem.

        Can we blame these murders on environmentalists and their constant alarmism and fear mongering?

        1. Stop being dumb, Kevin.

  16. The El Paso shooter’s combination of anti-capitalism, bigotry, and xenophobic nationalism highlights the dangers of zero-sum thinking on left and right

    The El Paso shooter is a mass murdering psychopath; those kinds of people always find a reason to kill.

    Having said that, you have to live in a fantasy world to think that the massive unrest and unhappiness of America’s youth is due to irrational “zero-sum thinking”. Nearly half of US GDP is due to government spending, per capita government debt is $65000 and rapidly rising, entry level and blue collar jobs are rapidly disappearing, large corporations are massive beneficiaries of government handouts and rent seeking, etc.

    Young people recognize that their future looks bleak, that politicians have been pissing away their futures, and they correctly blame the current economic and political system. Since they are told that the current system is “capitalist” and since they really have been dependent their entire lives on redistribution and sharing government handouts, they end up being “anti-capitalist” and zero-sum.

    Not only does Somin fail to recognize these very real issues, his claim that economists believe that open borders would “double world GDP” and that therefore people should tolerate it because it would make everybody better off on average are absurdly out of touch with reality, both of how modern social welfare systems operate, how politics functions, and how society functions. If you let a few hundred million third world migrants into the US, it won’t double US GDP, it will turn the US into South America and likely lead to the collapse of the US altogether.

    1. Government spending is 17% of GDP. See here.

    2. I’m just commenting here for posterity for when your above manifesto the subject of a later news story.

      1. I’m just commenting here for posterity for when your above manifesto the subject of a later news story.

        Ah, trying to smear people with false accusations; typical leftist strategy.

        No, hun, I’m a retired gay immigrant; I would prefer to see the US not to go to hell in a handbasket because it’s a nice country and the driver of the world economy and innovation, but I’m certainly not going to lift a finger to try to prevent it beyond verbally sharing my experiences with socialism and authoritarianism.

        My only “radical action” in case the US keeps going down this track further would be to give up my US citizenship and move to some nice sunny place abroad, full of wealthy retirees like myself. You folks will have to lie in the bed you made for yourselves. Enjoy.

  17. Professor, you could start by valuing truth over political smears.
    1) President Trump is not anti-immigrant. He is in favor of enforcing the law for everyone. He is anti-illegal immigration. Are you not in favor of enforcing the law?
    2) President Trump is not a racist. This is a classic leftist propaganda smear. Look at how he was spoken of when he was a Democrat vs. now.
    3) The anti-gun movement does want a disarmed population. See, all prior and current Socialist paradises.

    1. That’s the hardest thing for the “can’t we all just get along” RINO crowd to come around too. Yes, some things are zero sum in American history, notably slavery, Jim Crow, and bi-metalism, but that list expands today to gun control.

  18. “Far from enriching natives, immigration restrictions often end up undermining their freedom and prosperity as well as that of potential immigrants. ”
    Funny, I never had to be scanned at the airport, or have my phone conversations tracked etc… until we started letting in all these potential immigrants.

  19. Racist lefties strike again.

    Last week, it was an Iranian white supremacist. Yes, you read that right.

    On a more serious note, what did 26 out of 27 of CNN’s deadliest mass shooters actually have in common? Turns out they were fatherless. Should not be surprising.

    1. Nah, go with violent video games. Seems the consensus pick in the frantic search for some cause to distract from the whole ‘echoes what Trump says’ embarrassment.

      1. This comment reminds me of when Romney came back from his trip to Europe during the 2012 campaign, all they asked him was “what about the gaffes.”

  20. Using tragedy to beat the drum for your political causes.

    Maybe the lack of humanity shown by so many people who see this event as an opportunity is part of the issue.

    1. Ignoring the contribution of your Dear Leader to tragedies to advance your political causes.

      Maybe the lack of humanity shown by so many people who close their eyes to the reality of what is happening is part of the issue.

  21. I hope anyone considering the employment of more conservative faculty members at a strong school reads the comments at the Volokh Conspiracy.

    1. Totalitarians love blacklists.

    2. They should hire insightful, clear-thinking professors like Bruce Hay instead, correct?

      1. I was referring to the strong schools. The fourth-tier, conservative-controlled, clinger-friendly schools are welcome to continue to populate their faculties with movement conservatives.

  22. So it’s zero-sum world views that kill people? Then when are we finally going to have the political courage to stand up to the conspiracy theory lobby and have a national dialogue on common-sense World View Control?

    Start with outlawing assault world views. Ban the placement of bump stocks on world views. Register and license anyone who wishes to express a world view and subject them to mandatory psychological examinations. Abolish the infamous “world view trade show” exception. Outlaw concealed world views. And ultimately consider following the lead of Australia and confiscate world views from private citizens!

    1. Both sides play idiotic game trying to winnow out things that support their side and tear down the other.

      I’m fine with attempts to analyze two apparently poltically different shooters to find any actual commonalities, then see if they are at least partly causal.

  23. Great post Ilya.

  24. “There is no easy antidote to the spread of dangerous zero-sum ideas” because the spread of ideas — those that some might deem “dangerous zero-sum ideas” as well as those that some might deem “dangerous and self-serving academic blather” — needs no antidote.

    While an unpopular concept, hate speech and “dangerous” ideas are protected for a reason: perhaps speech, even “dangerous” speech, is to be preferred over actual violence. Perhaps if “dangerous” ideas (let’s call them Amendment I components) are truly unfettered, violent actions (let’s call them Amendment II components) would be less necessary; conversely, when Amendment I components are threatened or hampered, Amendment II components are absolutely necessary.

    Mockingly, just what is a white supremacist supposed to do if he can’t share his dangerous zero-sum ideas? How should he express his built-up anger and frustration when his words are “bad” and not-to-be-spoken-aloud?

    Yes, I grieve for each Gold Star family whose kinfolk were killed by a crazed attacker. But that Gold Star is awarded not for the loss but for their role in supporting and defending our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, who seek to limit or curtail the rights it purports to guarantee. That a family lost a member does not reduce my rights, make any ideas more or less dangerous, or make any ideas more or less protected.

  25. It’s not “dangerous” to recognize the true fact that immigration is currently at an all-time high in American history, and that our current unprecedented interventionist policy of flooding the nation with millions of legal and illegal immigrants is a huge net loss economically for most Americans.

    1. But I agree with the general sentiment against “zero-sum” thinking.

    2. The foreign born population is not at a current all time high. It was slightly higher in the 19th century.

    3. Maybe don’t post this on the thread discussing the killer motivated by this view.

      1. You are a real numbskull, Sarcastro. This “view” has nothing to do with shooting people and it is also the truth.

        So, the Ohio shooter was a far left socialist, Democrat and Warren supporter. We better shut down leftist speech now. He was also a big hater of ICE and retweeted doxxing of ICE employees. You know, the government agency that someone recently tried to bomb after being incited by the new standard bearers of the Democrat party spewing lies about “concentration camps.”

        1. Having an ideology is not the same as citing an ideology as you motivation.

  26. So socialism, but just for white people?

  27. Too many “brown people” dirtying up the country? Such a progressive idea! The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Perhaps these are those “wrong people” the RBG wants to stop from being born?

  28. The sad thing is liberals are trying to ride these coffins before they even get into the ground to forward their agenda. That puts this blood on their hands. And the media too that is enabling it.

    Funny how when people talk about rhetoric they leave out that the left has essentially since Hitlery conceded refused to recognize a legitimately elected President, ginned up an entire Russia conspiracy, refers to anyone who doesn’t agree with them as a racist , bigot, sexist, etc. Calls our President “Literal Hitler”. Sits by while cities flat out ignore immigration laws. Fail to do anything to protect our borders. Hate on cops. Try to make everything and anything about race. Engineer fake hate crimes to reinforce their narrative. And are now ginning up this entire shooting with fake news to forward their extremist agenda. Yeah this is totally Trump’s fault…

    1. Do…you know how blood works?


      Calls our President “Literal Hitler”.
      Love it when you’re too crazy to notice the obvious hypocrisy.

      1. Na just included that easter egg for liberals to enjoy….

        1. Sure, you were just trolling when you appeared to be a blind partisan tool…

  29. The last I checked, there is only one openly racist major political party in this country. That is to say, of the two primary parties, only one proudly promotes government-sanctioned discrimination based upon race. It’s the same party that favored government-sanctioned discrimination based upon race 100 years ago. The good race(s) to be favored and the bad race to be denigrated have changed, but the party of old Jim Crow has kept its focus quite clear.

    In the current case, it is also no surprise that the anti-Constitution Democrats have already started calling for the abolition of the 2nd Amendment and the restriction of 1st American protection to those comrades commited to their dirigiste and autocratic line. I’m looking forward to the demarche by the our living constitutionalists declaring that the 2nd Amendment is actually unconstitutional.

  30. The problem with your argument is you don’t even try to address why you think zero-sum thinking is wrong. You point to how much life continues to improve, but you ignore the underlying fact that resources are finite. To an extent, life already is zero-sum.

  31. So much dumb… So the only options are ZERO sum or INFINITE sum?

    No room, for like, reality in there? The truth is some things ARE zero sum, some things are infinite sum, and others there is one side or another that clearly gains more than the other side, even if both sides ostensibly are coming out ahead.

    I know dissecting the messy reality we live in is hard for some people, who like to view things through utopian lenses and pure ideology… But the real world is more complicated than that. Do you know why a normal person can’t buy a house in Malibu anymore? Because the country has 340 million people in it. In 1950 somebody with a decent normal job COULD do that. Population explosion, largely from immigration, is why they can’t now. And every person you add WILL make things crappier for current residents in some ways, but not all ways, and WILL add to environmental problems.

    Deciding if the benefits outweigh costs is a thing… But you can’t just handwave it all away as made up stuff.

    Ditto with automation concerns, as this time IS different… We’re automating human cognitive abilities for the first time. Anybody who seriously understands the potential of this technology should be worried. Someday it may be all sunshine and rainbows where we have endless abundance of everything because of this tech… But the decades in between when we have massive systemic unemployment, but NOT infinite productivity from machines, will be a BITCH.

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