Be Ashamed, Just in Case


Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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35 Responses

  1. Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

    > Now for the moral of the story: If you’re about to say
    > something that could possibly sound like nonsense to
    > your audience, don’t be afraid. Just belt it the hell out.
    > Loud, forthright nonsense is the only kind that
    > changes the world.

    Sad, but so true.Report

  2. Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

    Wait, that was overly pessimistic. I retract my previous statement.

    Loud, forthright speech is the only kind that changes the world. This is true of the nonsense, but it’s also true of the substantive sort.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    A delightfully charming essay.

    There’s a lot of stuff that Maribou and I take for granted with our relationship and stuff like this doesn’t even hit on our radar. I wish that there were ways to make folks lighten up. Maybe that’s the problem… “Loud, forthright nonsense” makes people take things seriously when, at the end of the day, we need them to start shrugging more.

    Best of luck with the HRC.Report

  4. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Jaybird, North: would one of you guys explain this to me? I’m so upset because it took Obama so long to get to the Gulf! I mean Bush flew over NO after three days! Does out president not love us?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      @Bob Cheeks, explain what to you? The gulf thing?

      Sure, here:

      The Federal Government sucks and isn’t good at friggin’ anything. Most stuff just takes care of itself, locally and the Feds take credit for it (hey, they helped fund sidewalks and public roads, after all). When something really bad happens, the Feds are just as useless. See any given Cat-5 hurricane, Enron, the bubble bursting, so on and so forth.

      In this case, an offshore drilling operation fell into the sea.

      And, of course, the Federal Government isn’t good at anything and their response reflects that.Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Jaybird says:


        It appears that the federal government with Dick Cheney as vice president may in fact be especially awful at constructing regulations regarding oil rigs.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to ThatPirateGuy says:

          @ThatPirateGuy, yeah, I’m sure that BP said “hell with it, we’ll go all loosey-goosey because, hurray, we don’t have to worry about regulations!”

          The stuff that happened had real-life consequences including massive stock losses, massive losses of life and environmental damage, and massive cleanup costs… and, on top of that, there are a lot of profits that were expected that are now wasted and gone.

          BP is going to pay for each one of these for decades (we still make Exxon Valdez jokes). If their next platform does not have the same problems as the platform that broke, it will be because they don’t want to deal with the costs and the losses of expected profits. It won’t be because the Federal Government passed a better law under Obama than it passed under Darth Cheney.Report

          • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Jaybird says:


            Government seems to be able to require safety features in other countries.


            Nevertheless, regulators in two major oil-producing countries, Norway and Brazil, in effect require them. Norway has had acoustic triggers on almost every offshore rig since 1993.

            U.S. regulators have considered mandating the use of remote-control acoustic switches or other back-up equipment at least since 2000. After a drilling ship accidentally released oil, the Minerals Management Service issued a safety notice that said a back-up system is “an essential component of a deepwater drilling system.”

            The industry argued against the acoustic systems. A 2001 report from the International Association of Drilling Contractors said “significant doubts remain in regard to the ability of this type of system to provide a reliable emergency back-up control system during an actual well flowing incident.”

            By 2003, U.S. regulators decided remote-controlled safeguards needed more study. A report commissioned by the Minerals Management Service said “acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly.”Report

      • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Jaybird, NO not the Gulf thing. Espllain the blog above…I’m having cultural shock here! It’s like watching Modern Family!Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          @Bob Cheeks, Just part of our ongoing quest to destroy the moral fabric of America today Bob. The gays are in league with the Crab People.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          @Bob Cheeks, oh, Bob.

          The things you say.

          There is a non-governmental agency out there called Human Rights Watch. They, presumably, care about “Human Rights”. They’re kinda lefty, though, which means that they spend more time railing against Israel than railing against the government beating people up in some country you’ve never heard of that not even Angelina Jolie gives a crap about.

          Anyway, Jason K. and his life partner get mailings from HRW from time to time but HRW doesn’t acknowledge that they are in a same-sex life partnership situation.

          You’d think that, if anybody would be good at this crap, the lefty groups would be good at it. Nope. They refuse to acknowledge the relationship.

          Other organizations out there don’t give a crap. In exchange for the check, they’ll send it to “Santos R. Halpert and Bartholomew Simpson” if you ask them to. Not HRW.

          They seem to go out of their way to not acknowledge the relationship.

          Which, I’m sure, sucks. You’d think that HRW would be better at that sort of thing.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jaybird says:


            Not Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Campaign. You know, the supposedly gay group? Well, them.

            Yeah. Gives the story a different angle there, doesn’t it?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              @Jason Kuznicki, WAIT WHAT???????


              This is seriously bullshit, man. I can’t believe they’d pull this crap. What?

              This makes no sense.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Jaybird, It makes perfect sense, actually. It’s what happens when an interest group gets captured by the party over which it thinks it has the most influence. The NRA has been known to do similar things, although not nearly to this extent.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Mark Thompson, the democrats are the reason that they won’t put two names on the envelope?

                I’ve been thinking that the difference between the two parties is that the Democrats are good at the things that Democrats are supposed to be good at and bad at the things Democrats are supposed to be bad at and that Republicans are bad at both types of things… Might it be that both parties suck at the stuff they’re supposed to be good at?

                I only make that assumption because I assume that HRC hasn’t been captured by Republicans…

                If you tell me that HRC has, in fact, been captured by Republicans, I will lose my shit.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Jaybird, I’d say it’s something more along the lines of “are willing to give very little return on investment where they’re supposed to be good,” but, basically, yeah. I know a number of political scientists who have basically been arguing for years that, at least with respect to constituent interest groups, the bigger problem isn’t that those groups have too much influence over their party’s direction, but that their party has too much influence over the interest groups. This probably does not apply where you’re talking about interest groups that are no party’s constituent (ie, big business), but you get the picture.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Mark Thompson, I’m just confounded.

                I mean, this isn’t even something like a tax break or something. We’re talking “free as in speech”, not “free as in beer”. It will cost them nothing (NOTHING) to acknowledge their relationship.

                Instead, they’re acting like… jeez, I dunno. Like a Christian Aunt at a family reunion who may have to put up with your presence but she does not have to acknowledge a single thing beyond that.

                Who benefits? I can’t think of a single friggin’ person. I see, literally, *ZERO* upside.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          @Bob Cheeks,

          I’m fed up with an organization that supposedly represents my interests but in reality only wants my money.

          It’s the story of my entire life, when I think about it. What’s not to understand?Report

  5. Avatar Scott says:

    I have a similar name problem with correspondence from my university’s alumni association. I wonder if there are any dark and insidious reasons behind their lack of customer service?Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Scott says:


      If my husband answers the phone, and if HRC is calling for me, the caller never, ever says who they are.

      “We’re a nonprofit organization,” they always say.

      “Is this the HRC?” my husband will sometimes ask. “Because I’m his same-sex husband.”

      “We are a nonprofit organization, and we’ll call back later,” they’ll say.

      Or else he just hands the phone to me, and HRC fesses up immediately. And it’s always them… no one else is so gutless, or so paranoid, as to be afraid of their own organization’s name.

      Get back to me when your alumni association is even half that paranoid.Report

      • Avatar Scott in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @Jason Kuznicki,

        I understand and I give HRC the benefit of the doubt as to why they are careful.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Scott says:


          I would too, except that other gay groups have already figured out how to be both careful and open. For example, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC lets you choose whether you’re open or discreet at the time you get on their list. Discreet supporters don’t get the big gay rainbow-flag-emblazoned mailings. Open supporters do.

          It’s not difficult. Really, it’s not.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            @Jason Kuznicki,

            Why waste your time with the drones on the phone, start working your way up the food chain till you find someone with half a brain to make the changes or get involved to make the changes you want to see instead of complaining from the outside.Report

  6. Avatar North says:

    Jason, I understood completely at HRC. What’s really hard is telling their earnest young street side organizers no when they ask for donations. I wish that all the oxygen and energy they absorb could be saved for gay rights organizations that aren’t trapped in a perpetual defensive crouch.Report

  7. Avatar Dan Summers says:

    I hate to suck all the air out of this topic, but I just checked the mail, and the HRC had sent a mailing addressed to both my partner and me.

    I still don’t plan to give them any money.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Dan Summers says:

      @Dan Summers,

      What’s your secret?

      More seriously, the problem with our names has become symbolic of a lot of other problems — the blank envelopes, the lack of “gay” and “lesbian” in the name, the coyness on the phone (“we’re a nonprofit organization!”). They need to realize that while some people depend on the closet, others find it appalling.Report

  8. Avatar Rufus says:

    If there’s no shame and every gay is happy and well-adjusted, and we finally reach a world in which sexual preference is thought by the larger culture to be as significant as the difference between being a redhead and a brunette… well, what need would there be for a HRC? They’d have to close shop.Report