Statistical Semantics: Veterans and Suicide Rate

If 4% of veterans kill themselves every day, after 25 days there wouldn’t be veterans. I don’t think that is the case.

What the meme author meant to write is probably that if the same number of congress people committed suicide as veterans we’d be out of congress people in 25 days. That is a lot less impressive, considering there are significantly more veterans.

Then again, that number doesn’t necessarily mean what we are meant to think it means. 72% of veterans are above the age of fifty, and they commit 69% of suicides. Probably a large percent of those are “I’m terminally sick, and I’ll never get better” type suicides, and not many are related to military service decades in the past.

There is definitely a problem, and it needs to be addressed. We have drugs and therapy for PTSD. But we should talk about it honestly, rather than misinterpret statistics.

“Feminism”, What Does it Mean?

The problem is that words are fuzzy. They change meaning based on how people use them. Dictionaries are a trailing indicator of how people have used them in the recent past.

There are two things that call themselves “feminism”.

One is about making women strong, getting women to do more. That is good, as making people more capable is a good thing.

The other is about making men weak, or remaking human nature. That is evil, as making people less capable is a bad thing.


The analogy to dermatology is pretty weak. Calling yourself a dermatologists requires a certificate. It is a term that is owned by an organization that protects the brand.

Feminism does not have that kind of defense. Anybody can call themselves a feminist,

Strawman – Do Third World Countries have “Evil, Greedy” Corporations?

This is a strawman because the people who revile corporations typically don’t revile them for being limited liability, but for being big, powerful, and not very accountable. Third world countries tend to have a huge crony capitalism problem, much bigger than the west.

h/t Chris Benenati

Semantic Mistake – Government vs. Country

Jimmy Carter’s statement is almost correct. Because he is talking about tax dollars, which are inherently government action, his statement should have been: “If you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a government based on Christian values, because you don’t”.

Considering state-church separation, and that congress isn’t supposed to make any law respecting the establishment of religion, this is a very supportable notion. But that would require Carter to admit that the government is not the country.

Edit: Turns out this is also factually wrong, because it is misattributed. I owe president Carter an apology for claiming he didn’t understand the different between “country” and “government”.