nijntje wrote

This is an interesting question:

Is a structurally broken place doomed to taint all the good apples it receives?

with a good answer:

But understanding things as structural problems is to understand that the whole tree is rotten, and that you don't get 'good apples' from a rotten tree. You get rid of the tree. I know it takes work to understand systemic problems - this is why I posted a very accessible book on the matter.

I haven't read the book but I gather it's about cops only? In how far do you reckon this "systemic problem --> burn the tree" works as a heuristic? (sorry for the gross oversimplification) When do you try to cure, when do you not? (e.g. cops you burn because it's a choice, being white you try to fix because it's not?)

for reference/disclosure i'm cis/white/male


nijntje wrote

My personal favourite comments are the ones that aren't just in-depth, but provide further research options and links to or suggestions of things to read so you can further knowledge or gain more insight.

The type of comment that answers a big question that was in the back of your mind after reading the main link/post and the rest of the comments.

Easy to quantify, right? ;)


nijntje wrote

I don't mind not hearing details, but it shouldn't be incredibly difficult, especially if you're already (presumably) trilingual. Dutch is close-ish to English and French, with a mix of German in there as well. So if you knew German it'd be even easier, of course.

I'm told the grammar can be a bit of a pain in the ass but besides archaic Dutch we don't have cases, so that's something. I think the main difficulty that people I know have when learning Dutch is that almost everyone, including old people in far-away towns, will know enough English to have a conversation so it can be hard to find conversational partners :)

And I don't mind explaining the politics bit! It's something I'm quite happy about that we've got at least semi-decently done here. And I used to have the same questions as you did—why are US politics so divisive, when here there's seemingly a lot more nuance—but once you understand that there's a good incentive for political parties to be divisive and to keep close to that majority-vote line then other things make more sense. For a recent example in the US: the republicans (the 'right') have moved a bit more to the right (towards the alt-right, fascism, etc) in recent years, so the 'left', the democrats, are more willing to compromise on certain issues (immigration, for example) because they're realistically not going to lose too many of the votes of people further on the left, while they only have more ground to gain by the people more in the middle that the republicans moved away from.


nijntje wrote

I read this earlier, and it's actually super important, especially for a community like this one. Propaganda isn't just "that advertisement stuff the people we don't like makes", it's actually really clever people making stuff that works to be more and more divisive.

I'm honestly actually quite impressed with this one, because what I'd seen earlier were terrible facebook ads like "hillary is literally the devil" (i'm not kidding), but this is nasty stuff.

It's kinda depressing because the 'solution' given is to fact check literally everything but there's nothing scarier than going down the "but why can i trust/know that?" rabbithole


nijntje wrote

EU here as well (NL). That being said, 'right' and 'left' are pretty standard ways of dividing things, although they're mostly economically based (left being more towards "let's share stuff", right being "let's let individuals keep their wealth b/c they deserve the fruits of their labour"). If you think this is simplistic, it is, but it can be somewhat useful. See the political compass for a slightly more nuanced view of political spectrum, it can be useful to understand why people that might be more or less equally on the same page about some issues ("just as leftist") can still be in wiiiiiiiiild disagreement.

But I think to answer your question better, because it's a good question that deserves an in-depth answer, I think the main thing is that here in the netherlands at least, we have multiple parties elected to a local city council/overarching city council/provincial gov't/country gov't. This makes things go in a certain direction: once the election results are in, depending on how votes for specific issues work, you make a coalition that is formed from a few different parties that then are more able to easily do what they want in the government. So right now that would be Rutte III, the pie chart on the right will tell you there's just barely enough people from the different parties to cross the 50% majority mark. These parties then come up with a shared platform, more or less, where they decide on issues they can all agree on, and make up the current majority coalition. Now you can see that there's a party (CU) that only has 5 seats in the parliament, but they were still brought onboard because they were willing to work with and compromise and make others compromise in such a way that they could form this majority (the article mentions that this took a total of 225 days, so this is a loooooong time). But still, as an individual voter, that means that even if your party's stances are relatively unpopular there's still a chance they could be incorporated into the government! So it's worth voicing opinions that are rare and will appeal to a smaller fraction, because you still might get your way, in a sense.

Now contrast that to the US, where the president is one person, from one party, with his subordinates all chosen by him (afaik). Is it worth voting for your hyper-focused party that talks about animal rights (partij voor de dieren in the netherlands) as their starting point? No, you'd be throwing away your vote because there's no way your candidate/party would get enough traction nationwide to get 'your guy' as president. So what do you do? You vote for someone who roughly holds your viewpoints, who's a moderate 'left' guy, who might not be into socialism but at least he's a bit more for helping people than corporations. (this is FTPT, or first past the post systems). Now this will eventually cristalise into just two parties, because anyone that's too small will fail (see this youtube video for a pretty OK explanation).

And that's roughly why in the US you don't have a few parties, you only have two main parties that represent a set of possible viewpoints on one side (some wealth redistribution, gay rights, giving more money to national parks) and the antithesis on the other side (more wealth to corporations, gay rights are icky/"we are christian"/national parks are stupid).

This is of course completely reductionistic but it might help. It basically forces two parties to disagree on literally everything, and being in a constant tug of war where they appeal to enough people to hopefully be in a 50% majority (isn't true in the US with the electoral college but w/e) in the next election. So there's no real values, no real call, no real purpose to the party but to keep their eyes on where the general populace is and hope that they can gain juuuust a few more votes next round.


nijntje wrote

So a few things: there's some posts on the books forum about where to get books; I made a comment just recently in that thread about using IRC which takes a bit to set up but has most books I have looked for, and that's quite a few.

Secondly, stripping DRM will probably be the same as in all those old blog posts you've read, it's based on the software Calibre and a plugin for that.

Besides that I'm using linux and a kindle too, you can just plug it in via USB and there should be a 'documents' folder where you can put the books and they'll show up on the kindle.

Afaik if you do decide to buy from amazon you can still download directly, or at least you used to be able to.