More fnords

A comment on Scott Alexander’s post on fnords:

I don’t think this tool is useful for evaluating arguments. It is generally too easy to reduce an opponent’s argument into gobbledygook fearmongering no matter what that argument is.

So, a test.

Methodology: entirely subjective. There are three fnord-compilations in the comments section of that article; each is very different from the others. But not entirely different.

1. An Amritas post.

I don’t think there are any.

0/1266 = 0%

2. A Wikipedia article.

empire devastating destruction remained controversial important trade route significant achievements in literature, art, music, and architecture, which was characterized as “shining and sparkling” extensive stance among the other empires effective military organizations destroyed formally declared resistance demand intense power submit vassal state attacked many natural disasters partook in their westward conquests supremacy coup d’état installed himself as Emperor beseiged at this point inexperienced threatened swore vengeance invade punish betrayal attacked steady advance exhausting enraged fierce resistance annihilative warfare systematically destroy take care of destruction surrendered without resistance destruction collapsing siege destroyed siege offensives lay beseiged secretly planning to kill the emperor mercilessly pillaged slaughtered plundered completed the effective annihilation destruction near total complete eradication first ever recorded example of attempted genocide ethnocide

122/1927 = 6%

(It’s hard to tell what should be counted and what shouldn’t. If the Mongols destroyed a city and killed everyone in it, there really aren’t too many ways to say that–the connotations inhere in the acts.)

3. A NYT article.

quietly altering the law of the land without public notice Harvard phenomenon Antonin Scalia embarrassing error dissent neither prompt nor publicized secretive led astray scrubbed has made the longstanding problem more pronounced unannounced retreated a major gay rights case scholars exceptional care basically rewriting the law intense pressure announcing the abstract proposition merely painstaking Scalia misstep dissent criticized Worse, mistake quickly altered bland corrected categorical did not go unnoticed deleted from the official record a Texas law making gay sex a crime deliberately make it hard for study Harvard Law Review all justices over the years liberal and conservative seems to have been even more freewheeling in the past considerable number of actually completely at odds with general practices a strange and ‘reverse’ guard against defections exceptions to the general practice of quietly slipping changes into more in keeping with the integrity and rigor

144/1437 = 10%

4. An interview on Western Maryland secession.

secession from the United States secession typically conflate colonies Southern states seceded from the Union seceding from the Union Union not sure about for a long time Really, should should should should a much more representative Senate. You’ve said it well, because I couldn’t agree with you more, and in fact representative government and the consent of the governed We don’t need a big, one-size-fits-all policy here. decades of oppressive and abusive treatment the people sick and tired, and in fact we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. We can’t… actually you are a region that is state-sized. not unheard of. germane to the national discussion pushed up doing this all the time over every issue, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. The way you solve more more choices very far left on the political spectrum very far right more choice, just like competition. Consent of the governed and right to self-determination and self-governance is precisely what this country was founded upon. doesn’t sound all that unreasonable the people The government government government people coming together associating themselves I’m all for that, I think that’s fantastic and exactly what we should be doing conservative liberal conservative conservative it’s up to the people to decideallies allies problem so badly gerrymandered even through the normal election process we can’t fix this problem. Gerrymandering is a huge problem. It would make Eldridge Gerry blush, it’s so bad.

236/768 = 31%

The Baffler article was 398/2885 = 14%, but that’s a low estimate; I think I skipped some of the quotes.


One response to “More fnords

  1. Erik June 30, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Here’s another vein in the fnordmines:

    far-right evil cause secret meeting fascist fifth column ambitions to dominate Europe oligarch “Putin’s Soros” Russian fascist cause destroy Ukraine Putin puppet totalitarian doctrine expansionist fascist state Moscow-controlled fascist international subverting other countries new empire Petains and Quislings of the Eurasian Reich radical national-socialist populist ultraright extremists rigged plebiscite annexation prostitution-profiteering regime Soviet forebears suppress democratic aspirations supposedly patriotic Putin regime The Fuehrer Wore Prada new Reich creeping bureaucratic collectivism classic national-socialist style invoke the tribal instinct most radical and destructive forms of collectivism imaginable planning session for treason fascist international

    Admittedly I’m a bit uncertain on how tightly one trims phrases; is it “impressive array of far-right European leaders”, “impressive array of far-right” or just “far right”? Likewise, “nominally conservative but actually radical national-socialist” or just “radical national-socialist”?

    I tried to snip on the short side wherever possible, which may have resulted in undercounting.

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