David Shor’s views on politics

New York magazine interviewed David Shor, the Democratic campaign consultant who was recently cancelled by the left. Some of his comments caught my eye:

The basic political argument since the French Revolution has been the left saying, “Let’s make things more fair,” and the right saying, “If we do that, it will lead to chaos and threaten your family.” . . .

Other research has shown that messaging centered around the potential for cooperation and positive-sum change really appeals to educated people, while messaging that emphasizes zero-sum conflict resonates much more with non-college-educated people. Arguably, this is because college-educated professionals live really blessed lives filled with mutually beneficial exchange, while negative-sum conflicts play a very big part of working-class people’s lives, in ways that richer people are sheltered from. . . .

Black voters trended Republican in 2016. Hispanic voters also trended right in battleground states. In 2018, I think it’s absolutely clear that, relative to the rest of the country, nonwhite voters trended Republican. In Florida, Democratic senator Bill Nelson did 2 or 3 points better than Clinton among white voters but lost because he did considerably worse than her among Black and Hispanic voters. We’re seeing this in 2020 polling, too. I think there’s a lot of denial about this fact.

I don’t think there are obvious answers as to why this is happening. But non-college-educated white voters and non-college-educated nonwhite voters have a lot in common with each other culturally. So as the salience of cultural issues with strong education-based splits increases — whether it’s gender politics or authoritarianism or immigration — it would make sense that we’d see some convergence between non-college-educated voters across racial lines. . . .

There’s this sense in left-wing politics that rich people have disproportionate political influence and power. Well, we’ve never had an industrialized society where the richest and most powerful people were as liberal as they are now in the U.S. You know, controlling for education, very rich people still lean Republican. But we’re at a point now where, if you look at Stanford Law School, the ratio of students in the college Democrats to students in the college Republicans is something like 20-to-1. . . .

Why did Heidi Heitkamp vote to deregulate banks in 2018, when the median voter in North Dakota doesn’t want looser regulations on banks? But the thing is, while that median voter doesn’t want to deregulate banks, that voter doesn’t want a senator who is bad for business in North Dakota. And so if the North Dakota business community signals that it doesn’t like Heidi Heitkamp, that’s really bad for Heidi Heitkamp, because business has a lot of cultural power. . . .

So the other positive thing is that age polarization has also gone up. It’s not just that every new generation is more Democratic. Something much weirder has happened. People who were 18 years old in 2012 have swung about 12 points toward Democrats, while people who were 65 years old in that year have since swung like eight points toward Republicans. . . .

The Electoral College bias is now such that realistically we [Dems] have to win by 3.5 to 4 percent in order to win presidential elections.

I suspect he’s right about almost everything.

Andrew Sullivan had the following to say on leaving New York magazine:

And maybe it’s worth pointing out that “conservative” in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.

It seems to me that if this conservatism is so foul that many of my peers are embarrassed to be working at the same magazine, then I have no idea what version of conservatism could ever be tolerated. And that’s fine. We have freedom of association in this country, and if the mainstream media want to cut ties with even moderate anti-Trump conservatives, because they won’t bend the knee to critical theory’s version of reality, that’s their prerogative.

The NYT and New York magazine seem determined to commit intellectual suicide. But have no fear; there will always be a place on the internet for good ideas:

If the mainstream media will not host a diversity of opinion, or puts the “moral clarity” of some self-appointed saints before the goal of objectivity in reporting, if it treats writers as mere avatars for their race and gender or gender identity, rather than as unique individuals whose identity is largely irrelevant, then the nonmainstream needs to pick up the slack.



41 Responses to “David Shor’s views on politics”

  1. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    18. July 2020 at 16:14

    You probably shouldn’t answer this, as it would be held against you if, somehow, someone were smart enough to propose you for the Fed board, but how can we, the relatively-intelligent, take back power from the moronic? Allowing people of all income, race, gender, etc., to vote was good, but why did we just allow every idiot who was born in a country to have a say in how the country was run? We had these hubristic ideas that we could educate everybody, but, no. Some people are just stupid and should not be allowed to vote. (Three bottles of Burgundy Tacticus is not pleased with the world.)

    I’m not sure I agree with Shor about everything, though he’s clearly right about a lot of things. Burke and the intelligent right were more saying, ‘Festina lente’ – make haste slowly, as the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It wasn’t about there will necessarily be chaos if things are more fair, but that things move too quickly and should be slowed down.

  2. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    18. July 2020 at 16:15

    Nice post.

    I no not feel “safe” anymore reading the NYT and WaPo… and no one is safe if the NYT or WaPo decide on an jihad against them…

    Still, I’m out of step with a present. I can’t bring myself to support censorship, ever anywhere, even against present mainstream media.

    Good luck everybody.

  3. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    18. July 2020 at 16:25

    Still waiting for your source on the 3,000 unauthorised Mexicans entering the US every day, Benjamin Cole.

  4. Gravatar of Bob OBrien Bob OBrien
    18. July 2020 at 16:41

    I guess Andrew does not want to support his oppressors. Does this mean he will vote for Trump??

  5. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    18. July 2020 at 16:55

    People like Shor are quite dangerous for the right: Analytical and very tactically oriented.

    What Shor recommends for analytical reasons, Trump does instinctively: Identify and repeat over and over again the themes that relevant median voters resp. swing voters want to hear.

    Shor is fake-pragmatic for tactical reasons. It would be better for the democracies of the world if people like Shor were actually pragmatic.

    Biden’s current strategy seems to be that he simply says nothing at all anymore, up until the elections – or at least as little as possible. If you don’t say anything anymore, you can’t say anything wrong. Here, too, it would be desirable for democratic reasons if a real, and preferably extensive, discussions were to get underway anyway.

    Andrew Sullivan’s last essay consists at least half of advertising for his new publication. I’m a bit surprised that he gets to do this. A sentence or two would have been more than enough.

    With Critical Theory, I ask myself whether and why all or almost all of the questionable ideologies of the last 200 years had to come from Germany. Well, after all, fascism, contrary to popular belief, was not a German invention. But of course the Germans had to take this one to the absolute extremes also.

    I also ask myself again and again how people like Shor can be Marxists, or obviously even Leninists. I have tried to read Marx many times, but I just can’t find any appeal or access. It’s just really, really dull. It really gnaws at me. If so many intelligent people think Marx is great, the problem must lie with me. So I read Marx again, and it’s still extremely dull and mindless.

    Is Marx the proof that ANY moronic ideology can dominate the world or is it proof that I myself am too dumb and that I do not realize it because, well, I am too dumb for it.

  6. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    18. July 2020 at 17:03

    Christian List,

    What do you think Critical Theory ist?

  7. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    18. July 2020 at 17:40


    Your question seems to be formulated in a way that you are about to tell me what Critical Theory is, according to your opinion, and to be honest, I’m not that much interested right now.

    Anyone can just read up on what Critical Theory is and what its origins are. There’s even a pretty accurate link in Sullivan’s essay.

    For me, the origins lie clearly with Adorno and Horkheimer. I’ve read quite a lot about them, they have some interesting thoughts, but from my point of view they don’t realize that they are basically, first of all conservative bourgeois snobs, and secondly pretty totalitarian conspiracy theorists, not so much different from the conspiracy theories they supposedly want to defeat.

    Basically you can say that about the whole Critical Theory and also about identity politics: it is the narrative of conspiracy theories. In order of the theories to be true, there must be a pretty huge conspiracy going on by large parts of the population.

  8. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    18. July 2020 at 18:26


    According to the WaPo, which cites official figures, there were 32,512 arrests/detentions on the US/Mexico border in June, so call it 1,000 arrests per day.

    You think a federal agency is X% efficient? 100%? 50% 33% 25% 10%?

    I guess 25%. That leaves roughly 3,000 who enter unmolested.

    The US/Mexico border is 3,145 kilometers or 1,954 miles long, and then there is also the Gulf of Mexico and boats. Some boats are able to come up the California side too.

    MIT/Sloan says there are about 20 million illegal resident in the US.

    Call it a million a year for 20 years, and you get roughly to 3,000 people a day.

    An oddball perspective; If just one person a day crosses per kilometer of US/Medico border, you get more than 3,000 people a day crossing.


    BTW. I actually agree with you; the C19 cat is out of the bag, and lockdowns and travel bans are largely ineffective, and the additional cases bought up from Mexico are probably just a sideshow.

    The lockdowns may be weak public health policy, but they ere strong poison for the economy.

    But for those people who believe in state-mandated lockdowns, quarantines and travel bans, the de facto open border with Mexico must be a concern.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. July 2020 at 19:08

    Tacticus, Unlike most intellectuals, I’m pretty happy with democracy. Switzerland is more democratic than any other country, and it seems to be doing OK.

    But the Swiss system is based on decentralization, the notion that if voters in a given canton decide to spend more on something, they better be ready to pay more taxes. In America, there’s little or no connection between what you pay in taxes and what you spend, so voters are less rational

    Christian, You asked:

    “Is Marx the proof that ANY moronic ideology can dominate the world or is it proof that I myself am too dumb and that I do not realize it because, well, I am too dumb for it.”

    The latter, I think. Marxism does not dominate the world.

  10. Gravatar of Mark Z Mark Z
    18. July 2020 at 19:28

    When he’s talking about black and hispanic voters trending toward the right, is he talking percentages rather than absolute votes? I ask because when I cursorily looked through the vote totals in the midwestern swing/blue states Trump won in 2016 a while ago, I think I recall most of them showing Trump doing worse, absolutely, than Romney did in 2012, but winning because Clinton did even worse still than Obama.

    I ask because I got the impression that it wasn’t that these states (and presumably Democratic demographics within them) weren’t so much shifting right as simply becoming increasingly indifferent and demoralized, and just not showing up to vote. Maybe I’m misremembering but the general phenomenon seemed to be that erstwhile Democratic voters had lower turnout, while Republican voter turnout was stable or declined less severely. I think there’s significant difference between that story and Schor’s story.

    Also, your optimism regarding the Times and other news outlets seems to miss the point. There are plenty of smart people with good ideas blogging out there, and I’m sure there always will be. That’s not really the issue. It’s thepossibility that the most influential newspaper in the country can go nuts and keep being the most influential newspaper in the country. You seem to believe the deterioration in quality will lead the NYT to fade and become irrelevant, and I don’t see why. The NYT can become terrible and continue to exercise a great deal of influence. To give an analogy you, Scott, might comprehend: Fox News’s rise and persistence in maintaining high viewership. Why haven’t they disappeared into irrelevancy and been replaced by better quality outlets? If a major news source’s quality is deteriorating while it shapes the views of a growing fraction of the public, It’s little consolation that some random guy with a blog or some obscure news site with a daily readership of 12 is still doing good analysis and commentary.

  11. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    18. July 2020 at 20:07


    I never said it does. Your reading comprehension is, as so often, rather poor.

    Mark Z,

    of course he is talking about percentages. It would be a very long way for the GOP to gain majorities in these areas, but it is enough to win in relative terms.

  12. Gravatar of Matt Matt
    18. July 2020 at 23:04

    “Let’s make things more fair,” and the right saying, “If we do that, it will lead to chaos and threaten your family.” . . .

    Not true! Republicans, since Lincoln, have always been the party of liberty. We believe that the individual is capable of determining their course in life, and that government intervention generally does more harm than good. It has nothing to do with what’s “fair”. It has to do with liberty and freedom. Equal opportunity is something we can strive for, but equal outcome destroys the fabric of liberty.

    And intelligence has nothing to do with party affiliation. The reason most people who graduate college lean left is because their professors lean left. Just look at these social justice warriors calling for conservative academics to resign. Apparently Glenn Loury is now a Nazi. These people are mentally sick. Is Thomas Sowell and uneducated moron? How about Jordan Peterson who has 10,000 citations? How many citations do you have Scott? I’m guessing nowhere near 10K, so surely you can appreciate that level of intelligence. Or how about Sir Roger Scruton? Many intelligent people identify as right wing, or lean to the right on most policy issues.

  13. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    19. July 2020 at 00:34

    Why H.R.C. ‘lost’?
    “And it’s deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly “won” the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State’s office proudly told me that they were “very aggressive” in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters.”

    “In 2016, no fewer than 5,872,857 ballots were cast—and never counted.
    Does it matter? In Detroit, 75,355 ballots were never counted because of 87 broken scanning machines. And Trump supposedly won Michigan by 10,700 votes — really?
    And, no fewer than 1,982,071 legal voters were denied the right to vote. Told to get the hell out of the polling station. Can you guess their color?
    Add it up. That’s at least 7,854,928 legitimate votes and voters tossed out of the count.
    So God Bless America. By the way, these numbers are from the raw data supplied to me by the US Elections Assistance Commission.

    “The ‘smoking gun’ proving North Carolina Republicans tried to disenfranchise black voters”

    But, of course, who is ‘elected’ doesn’t really matter?

    “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
    Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page
    Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism—offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism. “

  14. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    19. July 2020 at 05:34

    I have always enjoyed reading Andrew Sullivan. But that doesn’t mean I ignore his wrongness. On almost every major issue in the past 25 years he’s been wrong. But on almost all of the issues he ended up changing his position. I’ve questioned whether Sullivan has suffered whiplash he has changed his position so often. What this suggests is that Sullivan has terrible instincts. He is a Tory, and when faced with a challenge, his instinct is to go home to mama. Will I subscribe to his new blog? In his exit post at New York he criticized the left for suppressing dissent, and he promised he would never suppress dissent. I laughed out loud: Sullivan didn’t allow comments on his blog, and hinted he won’t on his new blog: he indicated that he would appoint an intermediary to let Sullivan know if there are dissenting opinions that merit his attention. [An aside, I understand why Sullivan didn’t allow comments, and I would understand if Sumner closed comments. The vitriol that passes for comments adds nothing and can be a distraction.]

    As for the existential threat from the left, it’s been a running joke since the founding of the U.S. When I was in law school in the early to mid-1970s, the Crits (as those who identified with Critical Theory were called) supposedly were an existential threat. We even had a Crit on the faculty. My recollection is that he lived in a house without electricity, which may have been the reason he didn’t take regular baths. His only threat was his smell. Anybody who identifies Critical Theory as a threat smells too.

  15. Gravatar of BC BC
    19. July 2020 at 05:59

    Shor is striking for how much he sees and wants to talk about reality as it actually exists rather than what would be most ideologically convenient. No wonder he got cancelled.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. July 2020 at 09:19

    Mark Z, There are many tens of millions of people who agree with Fox. If there ever becomes tens of millions of “woke” fools then we are indeed in trouble.

    Matt, You said:

    “Not true! Republicans, since Lincoln, have always been the party of liberty.”

    Thanks for providing some comic diversion.

    Rayward, You said:

    “On almost every major issue in the past 25 years he’s been wrong.”

    About Trump? About global warming? About legalizing drugs? About gay marriage?

  17. Gravatar of Mark Z Mark Z
    19. July 2020 at 14:03

    Well there’s either already a pretty large base of people who buy into it or somehow a rarefied 1% of the population has accrued an abnormal amount of clout in universities, corporate and bureaucratic HR departments, and media outlets. The latter is possible, but then how have so many institutions (including corporations subject to market discipline) so thoroughly misjudged the market for ostensibly unpopular ideas they’ve enthusiastically signed on to?

  18. Gravatar of bb bb
    19. July 2020 at 14:46

    I’m not arguing that Shor deserved to be fired, but for the sake of playing devil’s advocate:
    Civis Analyics is a consulting company. I spent many years as a consultant, and I can’t count the number of consultants I’ve hired in my career. My experience is that consulting companies primary motivation is to attract and maintain business. For all my years consulting, I was always careful to keep my opinions on controversial topics to my self. I don’t post on twitter or comment under my name for that very reason. I’m confident that going viral with a controversial tweet when I was consulting would have cost me business, even though politics is not an area of expertise for me. I’ve told consultants on many occasions not to discuss politics on site. Don’t we all agree that when we express our political views (especially in recent times) it will negatively effect the way half the people feel about us, even if only subconsciously. And a good portion of the half that we will align with us will still take issue with some of the details? How can I bring a recommendation to my C-Suite that was drafted by someone that half the members instinctively distrust? Wouldn’t make sense for someone in consulting to take the time to ensure that public statements are inline with his leadership.
    Maybe I don’t understand Civis’s business, but it doesn’t seem like they are journalists. They are consultants, right?
    I know that if I make a habit of spouting off my politics at work, half of my chiefs will be turned off by my views, the other half will find me annoying for causing tension, and they will all question my judgement for doing so. One of the reasons I’m not on facebook is that I knew it will cause me to like people less when I see their rants. Why would Shor make public comments without knowing if he would have his leadership’s support? Being twitter famous comes with risk. If you need to do social media for work, then you should take the time to do it professionally. But if being twitter famous is not a work requirement, then maybe don’t be twitter famous?
    There was (is) a time when gay people had to hide who they were in order to have a successful career. Now,we live in a time in which people can’t broadcast controversial views at controversial moments without affecting their careers.
    Can we agree that broadcasting your politics is a bad idea in most industries? In what industries should you be allowed to free expression without risk- that’s an honest question?
    I’m not a huge fan of Andrew Sullivan, but I have been impressed with his ability to frame issues in a way that break through some of my personal priors, so I’m concerned about what happened to him.

  19. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    19. July 2020 at 15:21

    I see no reason to get rid of universal suffrage. Candidates like Trump very rarely get a majority of votes in wealthy countries. If we had a run-off like France does, we probably would not have Trump.

    Instituting a run-off Presidential election will not be easy. It would require a constitutional amendment, but it is likely far, far easier than ending universal suffrage, or even ending or reforming the electoral college. Of course, reforming the electoral college would also be easier than ending universal suffrage.

    I don’t see how to get around the problems ending universal suffrage would involve anyway, even if politically feasible. Who decides who gets to vote, or how votes are weighted? How would the interests of the disenfranchised by represented? How to apply draw the lines so that there’s no unintended bias? These are just a few of what seem to me to be impossible questions to answer regarding limiting voting rights.

  20. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. July 2020 at 15:44

    Scott wrote: “About Trump? About global warming? About legalizing drugs? About gay marriage?”

    He has definitely been wrong about the threat of climate change. I’m sure he won’t be reading Michael Shellenberger’s new book: “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All” or Bjorn Lomborg’s new book: “False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet” anytime soon.

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. July 2020 at 16:20

    Mark, Only a modest fraction of NYT article are “woke”. They also publish Brooks, Douthat, Stephens, etc. Their news section is still mostly normal. I’m saying that if they truly become woke then the paper will decline sharply in readership. How many people want to read editorials saying abolish the police?

    bb, You said:

    “For all my years consulting, I was always careful to keep my opinions on controversial topics to my self.”

    But Shor did not offer an opinion on a controversial topic, he just cited research on the electoral impact on different kind of protest. If that’s controversial, then you are basically saying that he shouldn’t tweet at all. Seriously, what did he say that was controversial?

    But look, if the left wants to commit suicide, to push out the few talented people they have, then I’m fine with that. I’m no leftist. (BTW, Shor is a self-described Marxist) I just think they’re making a huge mistake. I hope they keep making these mistakes, much as the Red Guard eventually discredited Marxism in China.

    You asked:

    “Can we agree that broadcasting your politics is a bad idea in most industries?”

    Maybe, but not in any industry I’ve been in. (Science lab work, canning factory, house painting, teaching, think tank.)

    Todd, Hmmm, do you just read titles? Bjorn Lomborg favors a carbon tax, as do I.

  22. Gravatar of pcash pcash
    19. July 2020 at 17:44

    Neither Bari Weiss nor Andrew Sullivan were “fired”. Is it remotely possible that they are the intolerant ones who couldn’t handle the “wokeness” at their respective publications?

  23. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    19. July 2020 at 18:30


    Ross Douthert takes a contortred stab at matters. But on the economic prospects for Young Americans, he may have a point.

    As I always say, if America wants to survive it will have to aggressively pursue loose property markets and tight labor markets. we have been following the opposite course for the last 50 years.

    Now Joe Biden calls for an end to “shareholder capitalism.” AOC is holding seminars on how not to pay rent. Trump is Trump.

    Good luck everybody.

  24. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    19. July 2020 at 18:48

    The basic political argument since the French Revolution has been the left saying, “Let’s make things more fair,” and the right saying, “If we do that, it will lead to chaos and threaten your family.” . . .

    I wonder how Shor would characterize the argument over school choice or entitlement programs that benefit the elderly unfairly. Would he say that Rand Paul is to the left or right of Nancy Pelosi?

  25. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    20. July 2020 at 06:27

    “Todd, Hmmm, do you just read titles? Bjorn Lomborg favors a carbon tax, as do I.”

    Scott, your knowledge of climate change is whatever you happen to hear on CNN as you walk through an airport and manage to retain as you get into a taxi.

    Lomborg is for a $10/ton carbon tax, which does nothing so not sure why he wants that.

  26. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    20. July 2020 at 06:54

    ‘Michael Shellenberger is a lukewarmer, a species of global warming denier. Lukewarmers accept the consensus of working climate scientists that global warming is real and anthropogenic, but are unjustifiably confident it won’t negatively effect them or anyone they actually care about. Lukewarmers deprecate or deny the cost, in money and tragedy, that AGW is already causing around the world. Its ostentatious concern for the poor notwithstanding, lukewarmism is the secular expression of the Deacon’s Grace:

    “Lord, bless me and my wife, son John and his wife, these four and no more, amen.” ‘

  27. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    20. July 2020 at 09:03

    It actually works out that Joe Biden has zero recollection of what he’s stood for over 40 years, because there is no room in the 2020 Democratic Party for ANY of that nonsense.

  28. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. July 2020 at 09:37

    pcash, You said:

    “Is it remotely possible that they are the intolerant ones who couldn’t handle the “wokeness” at their respective publications?”

    Yeah, I think there’s a 1% or 2% chance that hypothesis is correct.

    Todd, You said:

    “so not sure why he wants that.”

    Yeah, it’s pretty obvious you know little about Lomborg.

    You said:

    “Scott, your knowledge of climate change is whatever you happen to hear on CNN”

    I don’t get my information from TV, and I’ve published a paper on climate change. Have you?

  29. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    20. July 2020 at 10:49

    Scott, I’ve been reading Lomborg since 2002. While he states a $10/ton tax has been shown to somehow be “optimal” he knows full well it is way below what is needed to affect CO2 emissions to the extent necessary to lower the average temperature by 2100 more than a tiny bit.

  30. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    20. July 2020 at 11:05

    I skimmed your 2008 paper on using future markets with climate change forecasts as if the somehow means you know much about climate change. Economists do this all the time.

  31. Gravatar of bb bb
    20. July 2020 at 11:19

    I don’t think what Shor said was offensive. I think most democrats, progressives, and even Leftists are not comfortable with the label Marxist. Maybe he didn’t read the room, or maybe this isn’t the first time he wrote something his bosses didn’t like. Or maybe he was told not to post about BLM?, which in general is controversial. My point is that consulting firms are run on the feudal system. I don’t buy that he was fired because he upset his peers. I’d bet dollars to donuts that this was about keeping clients.

    you said:
    – Maybe, but not in any industry I’ve been in. (Science lab work, canning factory, house painting, teaching, think tank.)

    Science lab work is front-line staff and behind the scenes, which I’ve said in the past can get away with bring politics to work. I imagine the folks that were public facing or heavily involved in fund raising or acquiring grants were more careful about their public remarks.
    Painting – I assume you weren’t senior, but I’d also bet that your boss would have been upset if you slapped a political bumper sticker (assuming this was pre-twitter) on one of the company vans? But again, front-line staff gets a pass.
    I agree with you on teaching, but it’s not a simple problem. I’m many years out of college, but have kids in high school and I am troubled by the fact that the teachers seemed terrified to discuss current events. Then again, I’b be nervous about teachers proselytizing too. But I would lean toward letting them speak.
    Think tank- really? It seems like think tanks are dependent on donors. And at a glance, most seem to have fairly consistent views among staff. Are think tanks really a bastion of free speech?
    BTW, the left has more than a “few talented people” right now. And I am not a leftist.

  32. Gravatar of bb bb
    20. July 2020 at 11:36

    you said:
    – “It actually works out that Joe Biden has zero recollection of what he’s stood for over 40 years, because there is no room in the 2020 Democratic Party for ANY of that nonsense.”

    Democratic Leadership consists of Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn- hardly the new bread. AOC and the rest of the squad hold very little power in the Democratic party of 2020. Biden’s views have evolved over the last 40 years, but times have also changed. My views have evolved similarly over that span. What positions has he abandoned that don’t simply reflect changing times?

  33. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    20. July 2020 at 12:25

    To add, when I wrote that “Economists do this all the time” I didn’t mean to imply that was bad, only that they often need a narrow amount of knowledge for a paper.

    One economist said in an interview that “climate science is settled” but the economic aspects are not, which is not close to true.

  34. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    21. July 2020 at 00:03

    The ‘can’ will be ‘kicked down the road’?

    “Today’s global consumption of fossil fuels now stands at roughly five times what it was in the 1950s, and one-and-half times that of the 1980s when the science of global warming had already been confirmed and accepted by governments with the implication that there was an urgent need to act. Tomes of scientific studies have been logged in the last several decades documenting the deteriorating biospheric health, yet nothing substantive has been done to curtail it. More CO2 has been emitted since the inception of the UN Climate Change Convention in 1992 than in all of human history. CO2 emissions are 55% higher today than in 1990. Despite 20 international conferences on fossil fuel use reduction and an international treaty that entered into force in 1994, manmade greenhouse gases have risen inexorably.”

  35. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    21. July 2020 at 03:17

    Bjorn Lomborg blasts Stiglitz for his NY Times review. Having Stiglitz review Lomborg’s new book is as funny as Paul Krugman reviewing it.

    Lomborg: “Making 12 substantial criticisms of my book and that they are all false, is quite an achievement. It is hard not to conclude that Stiglitz’ review of my book is a deceptive and false hit piece. It is perhaps not surprising that Stiglitz actually said that he was going to give the book a bad review even before he read it. In many ways, it seems like he still hasn’t read it.”


  36. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. July 2020 at 08:12

    Todd, If you read the paper then you know I get my information on climate change from scientific papers (that I cited) not CNN. But you don’t care about the truth, just scoring debating points.

    bb, I just say what I think in this blog; my posts are not aimed at pleasing “donors.” What do Mercatus donors think of “level targeting”?

    I actually agree that extreme views on politics can get you in trouble in many industries. If I spouted Neo-nazi ideas I’d get in trouble (and deservedly so). But I don’t think David Shor’s tweet would get one in trouble in more than 1% or 2% of industries.

    Again, he said nothing that a normal, non-crazy, human being would regard as controversial. Unfortunately, in certain intellectual circles a form of mass hysteria has taken over, akin the the Cultural Revolution, albeit thankfully not violent.

  37. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. July 2020 at 08:14

    Todd, I have a far higher opinion of Lomborg than Stiglitz, so your final comment doesn’t surprise me.

  38. Gravatar of bb bb
    21. July 2020 at 09:09

    You make good points. I’m teasing out my own views more than I’m arguing. Social media has made our views more public than ever imagined. Extreme PC is definitely harmful, but PC has also done a lot of good. For instance, cruel homophobic jokes were commonplace ten years ago and not they aren’t. I think that’s progress. Purity tests are obviously bad if we are to solve big problems. But many people hide behind “anti-PC” to send dog whistles and propagate hateful views. And finally, I think we do want to teach our young people that there is a time and a place to express their views, and sometimes you need to not speak in the interest of getting along, or getting paid.
    It’s a complicated issue for me, but I don’t dispute that it’s a problem. And I definitely don’t this Shor’s comments were offensive. These are educational conversations for me.
    If I were a friend of Shor’s, I would tell him that calling himself a Marxist is provocative and counterproductive (and almost certainly not true). And if he is still doing that, he should stop.

  39. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    21. July 2020 at 09:49


    You claimed I only read the title of Lomborg’s book, not the contents, and yet I’m the one trying to score debating points? In the comments section of a blog?

  40. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    22. July 2020 at 00:29

    “The sectarians listening to Lomborg et al. are just laughing like any other trolls, stalinists, neofascists etc. The arguments you are trying to counter are so obviously what you get from demagogues, they are foul tricks, statistical manipulation etc. and nothing else, and anyone familiar with the catastrophic climatic development already happening understand that immediately.”

  41. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    22. July 2020 at 03:57

    @Postkey Actually refuting Lomborg’s points is more interesting.

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