Boldmug Says @ Scott Aaronson’s Blog

As many of you have seen, Boldmug was spotted over at Scott Aaronson’s blog. You can find the original post here:

I’ve taken the time to copy Boldmug’s 57 comments on that post below.  Many are responses but I’ve chosen to leave out the context.  You can always go to the original comment section if you’re curious.

Boldmug Says:

Sure, let me give it a shot.

All Trump is doing is reiterating that we don’t live in the world of John Lennon’s _Imagine_. If we did, American citizens and Iranian citizens would be exactly the same thing. Iran would be a state. And we’d be wondering how many electoral votes it got. Do you want Iranians voting in our next election? If so, say so.

If you’re concerned about international law, it helps to know something about the subject. I recommend the text that was the standard summary of international law for the 18th and 19th centuries, Vattel’s _Law of Nations_ (

Vattel TLDR: the law of nations is natural law as applied to countries. Reciprocity is an essential aspect of making the system work. And individuals are not direct actors in the law of nations, any more than quarks are direct actors in the laws of chemistry.

Your student is not a citizen of science or a citizen of the world. He’s a citizen of Iran. If Iran wants to be a member of the greater community of nations, and (for instance) renounce blowing up synagogues in Argentina, and (in this exact case) give us background information about its citizens who wish to travel to the US, that’s great.

If not, why can’t Iranians stay in Iran? One, Iran is a beautiful country with an amazing, rich history. Two, exactly what kind of a favor are we doing Iran by extracting their smartest and most diligent young people and turning them into Americans? The damage you’re doing to Iranian physics is far greater than the value added to American physics.

An American nationalist, a Jacksonian like Trump, might say that’s fine. One, who cares about Iran? Two, especially considering that Iranian physics seems to spend a lot of time figuring out how to make things go boom, maybe advancing Iranian physics isn’t exactly the best thing for America.

I may be an American nationalist. But I don’t think you are. Especially in the emotional arena of politics, thinking clearly and consistently is incredibly important.

Boldmug Says:

> the unemployment rate is currently *good*

Look at the labor force participation rate (falling for a decade), not the rate of people seeking unemployment benefits. Just because the USG calls the latter the “unemployment rate” doesn’t mean we have to.

> crime is *low*

Crime in Japan is *low*.

Crime in the US is two orders of magnitude higher than in Japan (eg: 119 robberies per 100,000, versus 1.1). It’s also two orders of magnitude higher than in Victorian England. All the graphs you see that tell you “crime is low” are showing the US since the cultural revolution of the ’60s — they don’t dare push it back even to 1950.

> illegal immigration is roughly zero

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Boldmug Says @ Scott Aaronson’s Blog