You have no idea how upset this makes me…

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Dave

Dave is a part-time blogger that writes about whatever suits him at the time.

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105 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    wow…i’ve got to go wash myself off after reading that.Report

  2. Avatar Rod Engelsman says:

    Good Lord, I had to check twice to make sure I wasn’t reading an Onion article.

    The really surprising part to me is that the Post published it. Isn’t that sort of playing against interest?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      Yeah, because the nanny set in NYC can’t do without their morning post.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      Not really. The Post is for white working class New Yorkers. The small remnants that remain in certain neighborhoods. Their readers tend to be cops, firefighters, etc.

      They are just attacking the Limousine Liberal set. They live for stories like this.

      Interestingly the Post used to be the liberal Tabloid until Murdoch purchased it in the 1970s.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to NewDealer says:

        it’s important to remember as indicated above that the post is a populist tabloid first and a murdoch beast second. the only folks on the ues reading the post up here would be workers and maybe some of the older folk from the rent controlled scene.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to dhex says:

          The Post and Daily News were always populist tabloids. This is true.

          But their politics switched in the mid-1970s. The Post used to be a very union-friendly, populist kind of tabloid with columns by old-school liberals like Pete Hamill*. The Daily News was more conservative. When Murdoch took over, the post became more of a Palinesque populism based on the resentments school of populism.

          *Speaking of an old world: Hamill seems to be the last of the working class journalists. According to his wikipedia page, he is a high school drop out with a year of junior college under his belt. This does not happen anymore.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

            This does not happen anymore.

            So you are an editor and you can choose between hiring the plucky kid who dropped out of high school and then went to junior college for a year or the plucky kid who got a journalism degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Or the other plucky kid who got a journalism degree from Northwestern. Or the other plucky kid who got a journalism degree from UTEP. Or the other plucky kid who got a journalism degree…Report

            • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:

              The question becomes when did journalism become a subject taught in universities. This can be true for almost every subject. I hear a lot of old timers talk about how many electrical engineers used to be taught on the job and were possibly high school graduates at best. Maybe even high school drop outs.

              Journalism used to be considered a working class career. Now it is credentialed and prestigious.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to NewDealer says:

                It wasn’t for me. It isn’t for many of the journalists I know. Whole lot of people out there writing because they write, not because they studied journalism in college. That seems more a gateway to corporate media and public relations.

                /and this is only half snark.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to zic says:

                ya. Da journalist i know has never graduated college.
                Credentials? he probably ain’t got those either.

                Oh, joy. Dial up a friend, and what do you get:
                http://consumerist.com/2013/05/15/how-predatory-lenders-getting-around-the-law-to-loan-money-to-military-personnel/Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Kimsie says:

                and yes, yes, all da good sites got poached by the corporate @$%#.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Kimsie says:

                I’ve written that story a few times, too.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Kimsie says:

                I came across articles similar to this one when I was writing the payday lending post.

                I wonder if South Carolina has usury laws because I thought that longer-term loans were covered under state banking regulations. I’d have to look into that.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to NewDealer says:

                “The question becomes when did journalism become a subject taught in universities.”

                oddly enough, having done my undergrad in journalism, i can tell you – after watergate. once again something good was ruined by hipsters.

                more seriously, it was a big undergrad draw until the late 90s, and on the grad level it’s not like major j schools are having trouble filling slots. and of course there’s a lot to cover when you talk about “journalism” – everything from matty yeggs to your local community rag.

                your point about the post’s allegiance swap, but the post is so dang old it used to be a lot of things. the daily news made its bones by having giant lurid pictures, etc etc and so forth.

                “When Murdoch took over, the post became more of a Palinesque populism based on the resentments school of populism.”

                all populism is based on resentment. GET THEM!Report

  3. Avatar Rose says:

    I’m hoping that the fact that there seems to be one source indicates it’s wrong. I mean, you can skip lines by getting a pass for a specific time. This seems a bit much.

    Although I note with interest that if it is true, my kid in a wheelchair can make more money than I do. Who says he’s not productive? I’ll just have the well-heeled parents do the tube feeding and the diaper changing. Oh, and lifting him from the wheelchair into the ride and out again. Because that’s awesome.Report

  4. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    The service asks who referred you before they even take your call.

    What business does that remind you of?Report

  5. Avatar Caleb says:

    I’m not getting what the source of moral outrage is. I’m presuming the “tour guides” are actually disabled, and would have the right to access the special lines regardless. The Disney policy says that each disabled person may bring a certain number of “guests” with them in line. (Not family, “guests.”) These people are paying a fair chunk of change for the privilege of being the disabled person’s “guest.” The disabled people would have the right to bring in these people if they were paying or not. Plus, other disabled people aren’t being excluded.

    The disabled person gets their money, the rich sods get to skip the line, and the other disabled people still have their special line. If anyone should be angry, it’s Disney. They’re getting screwed out of the fees for their “VIP passes.” (Which shows that, if you spent the money, you could skip the line any way. The disabled folks are just undercutting the Man.)Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Caleb says:

      Caleb, I think that people are outraged at fraud involved in the scheme. Its not that people are pretending to be disabled but they are taking adventage of a program designed to help the disable and their families in order to make money. It hurts the policy because gaming the system like this tends to raise the cynicism level.Report

      • Avatar Caleb in reply to LeeEsq says:

        It’s not fraud. The policy says “guests” not family. If it said family, I’d agree. But the policy clearly allows the disabled person to their party of beneficiaries outside of familial relations.

        Would it be fraud if the disabled person brought along a group of friends instead of family?Report

        • Avatar Caleb in reply to Caleb says:

          to *determine* their party of beneficiaries^Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Caleb says:

          But the policy clearly allows the disabled person to their party of beneficiaries outside of familial relations.

          Why do you think that’s the case?Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Caleb says:

          No, it is not fraud, but it completely flies in the face of the intent of the policy, which is to include friends as well as family and account for the possibility that someone other than a parent will take a special needs child into the park. They seem like good reasons to me.

          The fact that these “tour guides” are impersonating family members and that being able to hook up with someone in the know is harder than scoring a few kilos of coke tells me that the people running this thing don’t want Disney to know about it and not just because Disney is getting screwed out of the VIP fees. It’s a loophole and all the dancing on the head of a pin with respect to guests vs. family doesn’t change that.

          Disney offers a VIP package. If customers can’t afford it, too bad. They can wait like everyone else.Report

          • Avatar Caleb in reply to Dave says:

            If that’s the intent, then the policy is poorly drafted. As it stands, the benefit accrues to the disabled person *solely*, and they can allocate the six dependent slots to whom they will, family, friends, or not.

            Would you be as angry if a disabled person, out of the goodness and joy of their own heart, rounded up six complete strangers to take through the line with them, just because s/he wanted to do something nice and have a little company?

            Of course the people running this scheme don’t want to get found out. They’re making money! (A pretty penny it seems like, too.) I wouldn’t want the gravy train to end either.Report

    • Avatar Rod Engelsman in reply to Caleb says:

      You know… I’m probably going to get hated on for this… but I’m starting to come around to Caleb’s line of thinking here.

      I mean… hell, it’s pleasant work, running around outside in an amusement park all day, riding all the rides, and making a significant chunk of change in the process. I mean what else are they going to do? Sit in some factory all day making some semi-useless trinket stamped “Disabled Industries” on it for minimum wage? If this is exploitation, it’s a pretty damn decent form of it.

      This brings to mind a documentary I saw once, called something like “Freaks and Geeks” that was about the old-time carnival sideshows. It would be easy to look at those people and go all pity-party about it, but when you actually asked them? They were happy to be making their own way in the world. Like it was a hell of a lot more dignified than charity. I’m not saying that disabled kids are freaks, but whether she was being serious or not, Rose was making a fair point in her comment above.Report

      • Avatar Miss Mary in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

        Minimum wage if they are lucky. Sub-minimum wage, or piece rate, for those at the factory who can’t keep up the pace of the average worker. Another job it’s hard to walk away from every night with your dignity intact.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

        Rod,

        I wouldn’t hate on you for this. I just see it differently is all.Report

        • Avatar Rod Engelsman in reply to Dave says:

          Well, my first reaction was distinctly a wtf??? moment. And I was serious about it reading like an Onion article or one of the choices on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! where you have to suss out the fake news. (Even money it will show up on next Saturday’s show.)

          But then I read Rose’s comment and she seemed pretty sanguine about it, and I thought about it some more…

          Anyway, the worst outcome from all this that I see likely is Disney tightening up the rules and making it a hassle for legit disabled kids and their families. Because they’re going to look at this the same way TicketMaster looks at scalpers.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

            well, being the NY Post, I’m still not convinced this isn’t fake news. Reminds me of the breathless reporting of sugar daddies a few months ago.Report

            • Avatar Rose in reply to Kolohe says:

              I’m sanguine mostly because I suspect it isn’t true. At least, it isn’t true as stated. Has there been anyone who has ever done this? Probably. I’ve heard that some parents get fake notes from doctors. Is there an actual business run along these lines? I think probably not. The author of the book seemed to want to push the book. I don’t see any other evidence that has been uncovered about a genuine network.

              Here’s another reason why I suspect it’s not true. As it happens, I know superficial, immoral Manhattan folks. I also know how people uncomfortable with disability react to my kid. There is no way that these people, who have money coming out of their ears, are going to try to save $250 an hour and have to spend the time with an actual disabled person. I mean, their kids would be all grossed out.

              Let’s say it’s true. This is exploitative. It’s sort of like a freak show. If she were an actual tour guide, it would be one thing. It’s hard enough to encourage people to give proper accommodations to people with disabilities. Every time there’s a case where someone has been gaming the system, people become more reluctant to think about how to increase accessibility and inclusion.

              I’ve been looking forward to a Disney trip, actually. I’ll probably hate it when I’m there, I’m sure. But other parents of kids with disabilities say how wonderfully their children are treated. And you know. We don’t get to take our kids to many places where people act like it’s a pleasure to have them. If Disney becomes more reluctant about this policy, it would be a shame.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Rose says:

                Rose,

                My son had the worst time at Magic Kingdom but seemed to like the other parks. Getting a disability pass helped with some lines but not in others since all the pass gives you access to is the Fast Pass entrance. If a ride is busy it could still take 30 to 40 minutes to get on if it’s at a peak time.

                My biggest concern with my son was the looks I got from parents who I could tell looked at my son and saw nothing wrong with him.

                As far as whether or not all of this is true, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was given the way I’ve seen people throw money around (especially during my years at one of the i-banks back when Wall Street was booming). However, I would guess that 99% of the people with disability passes are legitimate. It’s hardly an epidemic but it’s enough to get under my skin.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Caleb says:

      And everyone else has to wait in a longer line, because rich people paid disabled people to cheat the system.

      All of which is hanging on the fact that Disney used “guests” instead of “family”.

      Which is basically moral rules-lawerying, really. We all know that this program was designed for actual disabled people to visit the park, ride the rides with the people they came with. Not for disabled people to run a business hiring themselves out as a line-bypass system to people who can afford 1k a day extra.

      But oh noes, Disney didn’t get the phrasing exactly perfect, so therefore — morally okay!

      *eyeroll*.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Morat20 says:

        And everyone else has to wait in a longer line, because rich people paid disabled people to cheat the system.

        Which is why people are hired and which is why the people in the know bend over backwards to keep the whole thing under wraps. I mean, if it’s such a great and honest business and a way for people with disabilities to earn money, why not broadcast it?Report

      • Avatar Rod Engelsman in reply to Morat20 says:

        Is it morally wrong? Yeah, I suppose so. But it’s a freakin’ Disney theme park! It’s not like they’re cutting in line at the ER, thereby causing death and misery.

        I think I’ll reserve my indignant outrage for a better target. It shouldn’t take long to find one.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

          I think I’ll reserve my indignant outrage for a better target. It shouldn’t take long to find one.

          I’ll multi-task.Report

          • Avatar Rod Engelsman in reply to Dave says:

            It’s like the email I just got from Verizon:

            The mobile number above has used approximately 90% of its data allowance for this month. The monthly data allowance will reset on the 21st.

            S***t! Watching too many videos again.

            I only have so much emotional energy to apply to the task of being pissed off about crap in the world I can’t do anything about.

            “The amygdala above has used approximately 90% of its moral outrage for this month. The moral outrage allowance will reset on the 21st.”Report

      • Avatar Caleb in reply to Morat20 says:

        “Which is basically moral rules-lawerying, really.”

        Technically correct is the best kind of correct! 🙂

        Look, I’m not at all opposed to the idea that this behavior is immoral. After all, a lot of people’s gut-reaction are that it is. I’m merely asking why it’s immoral. And yes, I realize it doesn’t have to be against the law to be immoral. But it does have to violate some moral principle(s). Please identify what those are.Report

        • Avatar Rose in reply to Caleb says:

          Happily. It violates a principle of fairness (rich people in the know have the advantage). Using as a mere means is doing something to someone when that person would not in principle consent. The framers of the rule that allowed disabled access would almost certainly not consent to this.

          I would love my kid to have a job one day. But not in virtue of his disability and the access to which I believe he is entitled. I would want all my kids to exercise their abilities, not exploit their disabilities.

          Consequentially, nd it increases the general public view that accommodations for people with disabilities are just a scam. Accessibility then is seen not a matter of basic justice, but an unfair benefit, a bone we’re throwing to people, half of whom may be free riders.

          To the degree that this encourages other places not to provide access, it’s a setback.Report

          • Avatar Caleb in reply to Rose says:

            “It violates a principle of fairness (rich people in the know have the advantage).”

            In this context, the rich already have this advantage. The VIP pass already allows them to leverage their wealth and gain special access. If the system were more egalitarian, with only a narrow exception carved out for disabled person, I’d be more inclined to agree. But Disney has already made clear that pay-for-play is kosher. Do the rich who use the VIP pass receive the same moral censure?

            “Using as a mere means is doing something to someone when that person would not in principle consent.”

            This is a different principle. A very broad one. For example: I normally, on principle, would not submit to taking orders from rich people and bring them food in the most obsequious manner possible. But for the right amount of money, I would. Is my potential career as a high-end waiter fundamentally immoral?

            “I would want all my kids to exercise their abilities, not exploit their disabilities.”

            “Exploit” is a morally loaded term. It’s use is circular if you’re using it to define the very moral principle that gives it moral content. Exchange that term for “use,” and I fail to see how your sentence is a valid dichotomy. Ability is a positive term, defined by its existence. Use of a physical, mental, or social trait, or legal status is, by definition, an ability. Disability is the lack of an ability, defined by its lack of existence. By definition, you cannot “use” a disability, since it doesn’t exist.

            We (as a society) have given people who lack certain typical physical and mental traits certain legal abilities. You wish your children to utilize their mental and physical traits, rather than their legal status, in economic transactions. Very well. Please provide you argument for doing so. Merely labeling use of one type of ability or another ‘exploitative’ is conclusory.

            “Consequentially, [] it increases the general public view that accommodations for people with disabilities are just a scam.”

            This is a factual proposition. I remain agnostic, absent evidence. However, it implies a third proposition: That persons with legally granted rights should not exercise the full scope of those rights if doing so would lead to a negative social reaction, and possible removal of those rights. This is quite a contentious proposition, and you’ll find very vocal people on both sides. I haven’t completely made up my mind because of some very extreme examples. But I lean towards disagreement. Legal rights are either valid as exercised or are not. They stand on their own merits. The reaction of others, even in a democracy, is irrelevant to their proposition.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Caleb says:

              In this context, the rich already have this advantage. The VIP pass already allows them to leverage their wealth and gain special access.

              With the official queue-jumping pass, they pay money to Disney. Some of that becomes extra profit, but it’s also likely that some goes to fund improvements to the park and/or cause them to keep ticket prices slightly lower for other customers. It’s tricky to work out exactly where the money goes, due to the fact that Disney World is kind-of-but-not-really a monopoly (i.e., there are other theme parks, but they’re not perfect substitutes), but this sort of premium-based price discrimination seems like it should be beneficial to everyone involved.Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Ahh, I’ve found the utilitarian! 🙂

                This may very well be, but it is very different (near polar opposite) of the “fairness” principle. The incidence of utility in this context presupposes differential marginal returns based on relative wealth. That fundamentally violates the fairness principle.

                I’ll address your other arguments below.Report

            • Avatar Rose in reply to Caleb says:

              All right, I will try. There is a dull line, I agree, between using your body for money in a prostitution/exploitative way and otherwise. What’s the difference between a baseball player and a prostitute who is exploited (I leave open the possibility of an unexploited prostitute)? An actor and an exploited prostitute? Prostitutes are faking something. They are faking affection. Actors are faking too, but they are obviously quite open about their fakingness. They are also taking money to take orders. One presumes that this is not a choice they would make if they were emotionally healthy and non-desperate (in the cases where the prostitute is emotionally healthy and non-desperate, that is the unexploited prostitute. And I’m guessing a rarity).

              What about immigrant landscaping gardeners? Yes, I do think you are taking advantage of their desperation and there’s something morally uncomfortable about it. Especially if you pay them a non-living wage. EVEN IF they want the job.

              Suppose your kid had a seriously dysmorphic face. Forget kid. Suppose agent X had a seriously dysmorphic face. Suppose he found he could make the most money by charging people to look at his face and scream with fright. Or he could get a job that made less money, but where he worked with people who valued what he produced, liked him and were friends with him, and he was proud of the work he accomplished. Which is the life better lived? Don’t simply resort to a libertarian “whatever people choose is the best life.” People have Stockholm syndrome, and others stay in abusive relationships. If you are going to argue that simply because you could (theoretically) do otherwise and are not, you are living your best possible life, and anyone who goes along with your choices (the kidnapper, the abuser) is well within their rights simply because you are willing, you and I are arguing from fundamentally different premises and will not see eye to eye.

              ANd that is why I say exploit, not use. Exploitation involves a willingness to take advantage of a person’s choices (even freely made choices!) when you know perfectly well it is not in their interest and they should not go along with it.

              If you would, in principle, consent to bringing people food for enough money, that is quite different. It seems quite easy to take some pride in being a good waiter (and many do, and I’ve had the pleasure of having food discussions with knowledgeable waiters). Or a manicurist, or home health care aid, etc. The question is not whether you are using your body for money, or whether you give actual consent, but whether what you do involves pretense, involves your humiliation, whether an emotionally healthy person would consent. For example, a libertarian would say that a director of a porn movie who takes a porn actress’s willingness to do particularly outrageous acts is not doing anything without her consent. I say that if her consent depends upon an unhealthy insecurity or drug addiction, then her consent does not make the transaction a legitimate one.

              It is quite debatable whether disability is simply a lack of ability. Oscar Pistorius, for example, has plenty more mobility ability than me. Wheelchair marathoners are faster than runners. I have crappy handwriting, and I don’t have a disability. I’m guessing Helen Keller was more functional, and achieved more in her life, than if she were not disabled. She achieved more in her life than I have. FDR was far more functional than many people I know. I have tight hamstrings and suck at yoga, and don’t have a disability. I spent three weeks teaching my class the definition of disability. It’s a sticky thicket.

              ANd anyhow, what I meant by consent was Disney, not the person in the wheelchair. The Disney framers made a rule. A rule that was admirable. It was their</i? consent I was talking about. The people who cut the line were doing something to Disney that the framers of the Disney law would not in principle consent. They were following the letter of the law, not the spirit.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Rose says:

                I am in 95% agreement. I only quibble at this:
                when you know perfectly well it is not in their interest and they should not go along with it.

                I get your point about Stockholm syndrome, etc., but I’d still argue that it’s a rare case-rarer than any of us will ever fully want to admit–when we can really substitute our judgement about someone’s interests for their own.Report

              • Avatar Rose in reply to James Hanley says:

                James. You said, “I’d still argue that it’s a rare case-rarer than any of us will ever fully want to admit–when we can really substitute our judgement about someone’s interests for their own.” I agree. I have a paper about hypothetical consent. It’s a very sticky thicket.Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to Rose says:

                If you’re willing to share, I’d be very grateful to read that paper. New arguments always excite me!Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to Rose says:

                Alright, let’s stipulate to the invalidity of the libertarian self-maximizing principle. (A big concession on my part, but I’m not interested in defending that particular hill right now.)

                If people’s voluntary choices are not self-validating, then we need some extrinsic principles to measure their validity. I’ll lay out the ones I read you as asserting:

                1. Makers of invalid choices are “faking something, ” and are not open about it. They are not expressing their true desires and emotions. There are two way I see of interpreting this statement; a weak proposition and a strong proposition. The weak proposition is merely that the actors are consciously not acting out their first-choice preference in lieu of economic compensation. Like my waiter example: I might not like kissing up to rich people, but I’ll suppress that emotion for enough money. (And if I’m good at it, I will not be open about the fact I do not like them.) The strong proposition is a pseudo-Marxian false consciousness (“Stockholm syndrome”), where people think they are making a valid choice but in fact are betraying their ‘true selves.’

                2. Makers of invalid choices are “emotionally healthy and non-desperate.”

                3. The opposite party to the invalid transaction knows the choice is not in the maker’s interest.

                4. The maker’s of valid choices take pride in their choices. On the flip side, makers of invalid choices are humiliated by them. (If these are not logically converse in your mind, let me know.)

                Please let me know if I’ve missed any.

                My repose to each:

                1. For the weak proposition: I don’t think you’ve laid out a satisfactory distinguishing principle for determining valid and invalid pretense. I don’t think your ‘openness’ principle has the necessary weight. I’ve talked to prostitutes (I worked in a pro-bono legal office), and they are at least as open about their pretense as actors. Plus, in some contexts (like my waiter example) success in the transaction relies on lack of openness.

                For the strong proposition: Barring true mental illness (which is clinically diagnosed), we need further principles for determining where and when this occurs. These need to be objective. I think there is a great danger of psychological projection in this context. ‘I would never do (x), so the person doing (x) must be delusional’ is a dangerous and ultimately totalitarian line of thought.

                2. Are emotionally unstable and desperate persons always incapable of making valid choices? Or only in some circumstances? What would those be? If they are, how do we distinguish valid from invalid? If they aren’t, how makes their choices for them?

                3. How does the opposite party know this? What if the opposite party is mistaken?

                4. What if the choice maker takes pride in an action you would judge invalid? What if the choice maker is humiliated by a performing a widely accepted action? (like, say, waiting?)

                “It is quite debatable whether disability is simply a lack of ability.”

                In the same way it is debatable whether being poor is simply a lack of assets.

                “Oscar Pistorius, for example, has plenty more mobility ability than me. ”

                Right. Ability is contextual. When it comes to running fast, Pristorius is not disabled. (At least not relative to most other runners.) When it comes to tickling his toes, he is (because he lacks that ability).

                “I have crappy handwriting, and I don’t have a disability.”

                Me too. So when it comes to making beautiful calligraphy, you and I are absolutely disabled. We can’t do it; we don’t have that ability. When it comes to chicken scratch, we are not. Ability is contextual.

                “They were following the letter of the law, not the spirit.”

                That is not immediately obvious. The Disney execs made the rule for the purpose of benefiting disabled people. Being able to sell off their access certainly benefits disabled people more. (At least monetarily, if not existentially.)Report

              • Avatar Rose in reply to Caleb says:

                Caleb: You said:

                “For the weak proposition: I don’t think you’ve laid out a satisfactory distinguishing principle for determining valid and invalid pretense. ” One always knows for sure an actor is pretending. (One doesn’t run and call 911 when someone in a movie gets murdered. Not so for a prostitute, where many do believe she really wants it, or thinks she likes them best, etc.)

                “We need further principles for determining where and when this occurs. These need to be objective. I think there is a great danger of psychological projection in this context.”

                I do not agree. Principles will always be a blunt instrument. Exploitation is best understood on a case-by-case basis. Of course, in each case you should be able to point to reasons about what makes it exploitation. But these objective rules that Kantians and libertarians are so fond of coming up with seem to match no one’s case-by-case judgments.

                You say, “I would never do (x), so the person doing (x) must be delusional’ is a dangerous and ultimately totalitarian line of thought.” So tell me something. How am I supposed to raise my children? How am I supposed to make medical decisions for them? Diet decisions? Education decisions? I never said anything like this: “I would never do (x), so the person doing (x) must be delusional’.” I didn’t say it was what you would do. I am talking about when you are taking advantage of a weakness in someone. Will yoube right about that a hundred percent of the time? Of course not. Part of moral knowledge is learning when people are vulnerable to being manipulated and when you are in fact manipulating them. It’s a contextual thing. Just like the definition of disability!Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to Rose says:

                “Not so for a prostitute, where many do believe she really wants it, or thinks she likes them best, etc.”

                If one thinks that, one is a fool. I could probably find some fools who think actors are not acting. (Professional wrestling fans come to mind. Is professional wrestling exploitative?) More importantly, is it sound to base decisions on the validity of other people’s choices based on the beliefs of fools who can’t detect a facade?

                “Principles will always be a blunt instrument.”

                Not so. Principles are tools, and can be wielded bluntly or finely. I prefer finely, and am always looking to introduce nuance. Just because someone uses a scalpel like a steak-knife doesn’t mean we deprive the surgeon of his instrument.

                “Of course, in each case you should be able to point to reasons about what makes it exploitation. ”

                Reasons without principles are empty. To reach a conclusion using argument, you need premises first.

                “But these objective rules that Kantians and libertarians are so fond of coming up with seem to match no one’s case-by-case judgments.”

                That depends on the principle. And is not even remotely true. The vast majority of intuitive judgments are perfectly in line with moral principles. But those cases are boring, so we tend not to focus on them. We like “hard cases.”

                I don’t discount the human intuition. The vast majority of our decisions are made intuitively, because cognitive deduction using reason is slow and hard. But the human intuition is deeply flawed, and subject to innumerable cognitive biases. When reason and intuition conflict, which do you go with?

                “So tell me something. How am I supposed to raise my children?”

                I’m a libertarian, so: however you want!

                In all seriousness, child rearing is unique. There are positive duties which flow from you to child, and entail a maddeningly complex set of rights and responsibilities given the situation. I do not blame you for using your intuition, I would too. But intuition without reasonable reflection is not optimal.

                “I am talking about when you are taking advantage of a weakness in someone. ”

                Of course. And I’m trying to derive rules which objectively tell me when that is.

                “Part of moral knowledge is learning when people are vulnerable to being manipulated and when you are in fact manipulating them. It’s a contextual thing.”

                I agree. Because if you asked me “when is a person vulnerable to being manipulated?” I would answer: “given the right circumstances, all the time.”Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Rose says:

                Caleb is pointing out that the rules govening line-cutting are arbitrary, and the wealthy line cutters did not harm anyone.
                Which is true, but irrelevant.

                Line cutting is not a tort- its a social taboo, based on notions of fairness and equality. Maybe it doesn’t make Caleb angry, but it makes most people angry. Whether that anger is rational or not isn’t the point.

                Taboos never make logical sense, unless you accept the sacredness that lies behind them- I eat chicken, why can’t I adopt puppies from the pound and eat them? Because dogs are sacred, and chickens aren’t.

                Queues are to be respected, except for a narrow range of socially approved exceptions, which Disney specified.

                Caleb, there isn’t any point to try to argue you into honoring the social conventions; but you should understand why people get angry when social taboos are violated, even if they make no more sense to you than sacred cows.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LWA says:

                “…the wealthy line cutters did not harm anyone.
                Which is true, but irrelevant.”

                No. Totally untrue. Every line cutter extends the length of the line and wait for those they jump in front of. They harm everyone behind them.Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to LWA says:

                “Caleb, there isn’t any point to try to argue you into honoring the social conventions; but you should understand why people get angry when social taboos are violated, even if they make no more sense to you than sacred cows.”

                Fair enough. But you’ve probably already figured out that this isn’t about the (likely fake, given the source) breaking of a silly taboo at a theme park. It’s merely a convenient analogue where we may discuss principles and morality without the partisans that typically accompany debates of a more socially relevant nature. I see parallels, and they’re fascinating.Report

            • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Caleb says:

              “In this context, the rich already have this advantage. ”

              The problem with that attitude is that Disney’s policy is not an advantage to be purchased, but rather a compensation for increased difficulty. The assumption is that disabled persons and their caretakers have more difficulty getting around the park, and therefore have less time overall to spend going on the rides. Giving them quicker access to the rides makes up for the longer time it takes them to get there.Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to Jim Heffman says:

                Yes, indeed it is compensation flowing from Disney to disabled people. That’s my point. Being able to sell your six line-jumping spots makes the compensation all that more valuable.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Caleb says:

                …you sound like one of those guys who sues bars that advertise “Ladies’ Night” on account of sex-based disparate impact.Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to Jim Heffman says:

                ?

                I’m not sure what to make of that statement. Do you imply positive or negative moral activity on my part?

                I’m not aware of any successful legal claim against a private establishment which seeks to alter the percentages of the gender distribution of their clientele through economic incentives. One may very well exist. I’d appreciate it if you would provide a citation if so.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Caleb says:

      The reasonable interpretation of “guests,” in this context, excludes people who are paying for the privilege of accompanying you. That said, the victims here are the other patrons and Disney, not the disabled people. They’re accomplices.Report

      • Avatar Caleb in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Reasonable interpretation based on what?

        The policy operates by granting special dispensation to disabled person to skip the line and bring six persons of their choosing with them. Reason dictates that if Disney delegated the right solely to the disabled person for their benefit, that person may choose how to exercise that right. If Disney meant the right to be inalienable outside a certain (very vague) sphere, why did they not specify?

        I’ll ask a question I asked above: What if a disabled person, out of the goodness and joy of their own heart, rounded up six complete strangers to take through the line with them, just because s/he wanted to do something nice and have a little company?Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Caleb says:

          I doubt they’d object to that, because there are important differences. First, it’s not likely to happen enough to be a problem. But if disabled people find out they can make big piles of money riding the rides at Disney World with rich people, then a lot more are going to start doing that, at which point it becomes a major inconvenience for Disney World.

          Charging that much money also cannibalizes Disney’s official paid queue-jumping system in a way that inviting random people to come along doesn’t (because most people can’t afford the fee).

          Allowing disabled people to share their queue-jumping privileges with paid “guests” dramatically changes the dynamics of how it works.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Er…major inconvenience for the other customers.Report

          • Avatar Caleb in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            To your distribution of profits point in your post above: This presumes that the ex-ante distribution of Disney’s allocated profits does not include all the potential value of the disability access waiver going to the disabled people. I see no reason why this should be the case. When Disney created the waiver, they preemptively forfeited the marginal value of all those who would use it and their beneficiaries.

            Major inconvenience point: All other customers are an inconvenience to all other customers. It would be better for everyone if everyone else were not there. That’s how scarcity works. How are we to derive a moral problem by pointing out that people are consuming resources they have a right to consume? (Without asserting that they don’t have that right in the first place, which is circular.)Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Caleb says:

              This presumes that the ex-ante distribution of Disney’s allocated profits does not include all the potential value of the disability access waiver going to the disabled people.

              And that’s a perfectly reasonable presumption—the only one, in fact. Do you really think that this was their intent when implementing that policy? If so, why even offer their own queue-jumping service as a much higher price?Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                “Do you really think that this was their intent when implementing that policy?”

                Yes. Two reasons: 1) Giving broad special dispensation to disabled persons is a socially popular thing to do. Disney doesn’t want to look like they’re giving with one hand and taking with another, so they give a blanket waiver. They probably hoped no one would get clever, but realized it was a possibility and did it anyways. 2) The nature of the waiver (six extra guests, who need not be family members!) means cost of monitoring and enforcing is too high to realistically demarcate between friends and paying guests. If Disney had no plan of enforcing an implied rule, is it really a rule? If they didn’t want this to happen, they wouldn’t have allowed a waiver so broad already. Disney is a cynical multi-national corporation, they should know better than to rely on social pressure to enforce their rules.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Caleb says:

                “If Disney had no plan of enforcing an implied rule, is it really a rule?”

                It’s entirely possible that Disney management honestly believed that parents would not whore out their disabled children.Report

              • Avatar Caleb in reply to Jim Heffman says:

                As I’ve stipulated before, I’m assuming that those selling their subordinate access are adults. If it’s adults selling the access rights of children, that complicates matters to a degree that I’m not willing to engage in.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Caleb says:

          Reason dictates that if Disney delegated the right solely to the disabled person for their benefit, that person may choose how to exercise that right.

          In the case of children, this is not the case and I can tell you that the benefit of this is not just for the kids. Any parent should understand why.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        “That said, the victims here are the other patrons and Disney, not the disabled people.”

        Doesn’t that depend somewhat on the agency of the people with disabilities? If their disabilities are mental, emotional, social, or otherwise prevent them from making fully informed decisions, I would not hesitate to acknowledge them as victims at the hand of whomever is putting them in this position. If they have full agency and can be reasonably trusted to make informed decisions, I don’t know that I’d call them victims in this particular interaction/transaction, but would probably call them victims of a broader context which has positioned them so.Report

  6. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    In my daily work I teach classes about looking for and highlighting each person’s gifts and capacity to contribute to their community (not focusing on their disability, but more on their abilities). This is not exactly what I mean when I’m teaching the class. I hope that the people who choose to be the tour guides are doing so of their own accord. And if they are, I hope they enjoy their chosen profession; I would still try to encourage them to find other (more dignified) work. Some people don’t mind being in service to rich, snobby people, but using their disability to benefit a stranger in exchange for money is morally questionable.Report

  7. I dunno, I still think Toru Hashimoto wins the douchebag of the week award.

    But I guess I can share some outrage for this, too.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      No need.

      I have very personal reasons to get upset over stuff like this, and I was just down there in December. Some memories are very fresh in my head, including the ones that aren’t so pleasant. It doesn’t put me in the mood to discuss the moral philosophy behind it all. I couldn’t give a flying fish about it.

      Toru Hashimoto can go fish himself too.Report

      • Avatar Rose in reply to Dave says:

        This is how I feel right now. I was going to respond to Caleb, but I just spent a semester teaching philosophy of disability and intro moral theory. And that means being inured to hearing people sat stuff like the world is better off without my kid. And I guess I’m done being inured and I’m done arguing. People do not understand until they’ve been there. And you’re right. They do not realize that at Disney, that access is for the parents. They do not understand the difference between waiting on a long line with a whiny typical child and one with special needs.

        And I’ve been in both places, i.e., when my son’s disability was apparent and when he was not. When he was younger, it was often not apparent. He wasn’t doing as many stim behaviors and his behavior was more in line with people that age. And he’s big for his age. I used to get looks like…”You’re keeping him in a stroller? Kids should walk.” etc. I wrote a post about it once. Also, sometimes I would park in a handicap parking space to pick him up somewhere and get glared at when I hopped out of the car. I got him a wheelchair a little earlier than necessary to cut out the looks and questions. I totally hear you.

        But, as I’m sure you can guess, visible disability has its downsides, too. Looks of pity, looks of irritation (along the lines of “I paid good money to eat in this restaurant, not to spend it looking at a retard,”). Or people start telling me all about someone they know who had cancer, etc. (I’m talking about strangers here. Mostly people look and quickly look away. They feel uncomfortable and don’t want to stare, which is nice, I suppose. But it still hurts. When I’m out with my typical kids, people grin at them and smile.

        One time, I went to the supermarket with my kid with disabilities. It was a crazy busy Sunday and everyone was jamming into each other, irritated (as I’m sure you’re aware, not the best time to bring a kid with SN). But I got to the checkout line. No one had stared at us, no one had looked at him or me with pity. They were all too self-absorbed. We were just there. And it was so awesome.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Rose says:

          I will make it a point to be one of those people that lets idiots have it when they complain about special needs children in restaurants or other public settings. My son does pretty well, but no one needs to put up with that.

          When I see children with physical disabilities and they make eye contact with me, I try to smile and say hello and look past those things. The parents notice. I was always like that but it’s something that resonates more now.

          When I went to Disney, my son’s diagnosis was very recent and he had been in ABA therapy for about a month. It was the first time in a setting like that. It was a very rough morning at the Magic Kingdom but once he found something he liked, it was fine. I also spent a good hour or so with him on my shoulders walking around the park so I was able to keep him happy. Keeping him on my shoulders while in line probably gave us an extra 90 minutes or so of time spent there.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Rose says:

          “They were all too self-absorbed. We were just there. And it was so awesome.”

          Rose,

          I am more than willing to be entirely too self-absorbed so that your family might have more awesome shopping experiences.

          In fact, let me start right now… the REAL problem with what is going on here is that no one is letting me cut the lines at Disney. :-pReport

        • Avatar Caleb in reply to Rose says:

          For the record, I do not mean to be a gadfly. I understand that there are emotional and psychological factors which only transfer their qualitative incidence with experience. That is why I treat any claim to ‘disability’ as a given, and any societal objective attempt at remedy as a moral good.

          You very astutely pegged me as a Kantian. You were correct. But that means that I value all lives as an end unto themselves, and not as a means. Which means I acknowledge and celebrate the value society places on the lives of those who lack the physical or mental capacities society defines as the norm. I do not see why we disagree on the propriety of the exercise of other rights by those who lack the traits society defines as meaningful. I am no utilitarian; I see the life of a “disabled” person as valuable as the life of most influential person on the planet. I merely follow the conclusions which flow from that argument.Report

  8. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    This would be quite vile, but I am dubious. No one except someone who’s heard of it and is trying to drum up publicity for a book seems to be quoted, and the places they were told to contact didn’t have working phone numbers. And it’s the Post.

    Also, an unsourced mom who was said to ahve done this said “this is how the 1% does Disney.” That doesn’t sound like something a rich Manhattanite would say; it sounds like something someone who didn’t like rich Manhattanites would say they said.

    And the author who is saying this is happening has a website asking people to contact Oprah and tell her about the scary things stepmothers do so that she might be asked on Oprah.

    I will bet anyone a beer that this isn’t actually a thing.Report

    • Avatar Rose in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      I agree totally.Report

    • Avatar kenB in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      What, you’re doubting the Post’s veracity? Their record is practically spotless!

      But FWIW, here is a cached version of the VIP Tours page — it does sound a tad suspicious (at least, it certainly doesn’t do anything to disprove the accusation). The current version of that page says “Due to inaccurate press and slander, Dream Tours is not offering VIP tours at this time. Our focus has primarily always been providing magical vacations for adults with special needs and helping their dreams to come true.” Make of that what you will (paying special attention to the word “primarily”).Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Also, an unsourced mom who was said to ahve done this said “this is how the 1% does Disney.” That doesn’t sound like something a rich Manhattanite would say; it sounds like something someone who didn’t like rich Manhattanites would say they said.

      In retrospect, I really should have caught that. You’re right. It’s exactly the sort of cartoon-villain thing that OWS types like to imagine rich people saying.Report

      • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        You’re right. It’s exactly the sort of cartoon-villain thing that OWS types like to imagine rich people saying.

        If that was intentional, well done.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Yeah, I mean, an incredibly rich person would never say, speaking in front of other rich people while thinking he wasn’t being recorded, that nearly half the country are lazy mooches living off the hard work of those actually paying taxes. I mean, that would be a horribly cartoon villain thing to say.Report

        • Avatar Russell M in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Thank god no human 1% has ever said that. glad we developed the MittBot to say such things out loud in quiet rooms.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Even if there weren’t videotape of it, that would be plausible in a way that the comment in question is not. Obviously people will go on and on about how much people they don’t like suck. They do it all the time. But they’re much less inclined to say bad things about themselves. And do the rich even call themselves the 1%?

          It would be like if a newspaper ran a quote from an anonymous welfare recipient identifying herself as a “welfare queen” and talking about what suckers taxpayers are. A quote from a poor person about how those rich bastards are screwing him over? Sure, I can believe that. But not the one from the “welfare queen.”Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I’m not sure that this sounds unbelievable. Maybe the person quoted had been saying it a bit tongue in cheek without realizing how bad it would sound without context.

        It sounds like this book is all about finding and interviewing the worst wealthy people in Manhattan, too. Think Housewives of RegionX , but maybe even worse, and then the quote seems more plausible.

        I also don’t think the tours sound that implausible. It is really easy, perhaps especially for the wealthy, for any of us to think we deserve some kind of special treatment. I deserve to cut through the lines, we say. It’s just a hop skip and jump from there to being okay with paying a disabled person to get their access through the lines.

        That said, there doesn’t seem to be much confirmation here. We need a non-Post reporter to follow up, maybe posing as a rich person to see if they can book such a tour.

        I have a long argument about how this is immoral in a very special way, but I won’t bother until later.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      The only reason I would agree is that the Manhattanites I know would never go near Orlando.Report

    • Avatar dhex in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      “I will bet anyone a beer that this isn’t actually a thing.”

      on the one hand, i tend to agree because the author is doing a “hey isn’t it crazy i moved to the upper east side and the people are crazy here, not just crazy rich” publicity thing; on the other hand, it’s fairly believable to have happened at least a few times. because it’s true – they are crazy.Report

  9. Avatar NewDealer says:

    As others said, the story probably needs to be taken with huge grains of salt.

    That being said, I am waiting for Matt Y to come out with an article on slate about how great this is.Report

    • Avatar Russell M in reply to NewDealer says:

      Hey it puts an unproductive sector of the population to work and is just another service on offer. who but a commie socialist could object to it? Also more helicopter money would help the poor schmoes waiting in line to afford the VIP tours.

      thats my best Matt Y today. tomorrow we do tom Friedman.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Russell M says:

        He would be a bit more wide-eyed innocent about it.

        “Guys! This is a really good idea.” and then feign innocence about any objection that people make.

        Though Tod’s recent posts on ideology make me wonder about Matt Y and more importantly where ideology comes from and how people get wildly different reactions to the same thing. Kevin Drum just wrote an essay about how increased automation and AI is going to cause economic misery and unemployment. Matt Y thinks it will lead to utopia and a land of plenty. I think Matt Y is off his rocker.Report

  10. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    If it’s true (and I admit that the skeptics have made some good points), the result will be Disney making disabled people jump through hoops to prove that their friends and family are really friends and family. Or they’ll make the rule family, period. Which would be the usual result of people gaming a system: the one who didn’t try to take avantage are the ones who lose.Report

  11. Avatar Damon says:

    Is anyone really THAT surprised about this or is my moral outrage tank just empty?Report

  12. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    The whole “fake GAC” thing has been a problem at Disney for a long time, pretty much since they introduced the idea. There are plenty of stories about teenagers buying a wheelchair and carrying it from place to place in the park, having one of them sit in it when they wanted to get on or off the ride.Report

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