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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54 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    Wait, what’s your problem with blenders again?Report

  2. Damon says:

    Everyone is a bigot.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    When the administration was being pressured to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause (a move I supported), students at my alma mater made, “Intolerance will not be tolerated” the primary slogan of their movement. They did this wholly unironically.

    A speaker I recently saw put it quite bluntly: “How open-minded am I if I expect or demand that everyone else be open-minded?”Report

  4. North says:

    Yeah sometime I wanna try and write something about how the most cruel thing the gays could do to their opponents in winning the culture war is to stop fighting them and start ignoring them. But writing is hard.Report

    • Patrick in reply to North says:

      Submit a guest post.Report

    • zic in reply to North says:

      Too subtle, North.Report

      • North in reply to zic says:

        I disagree Zic me dear.
        I’ve read many a social con article and site over the past decade. The only thing social conservatives look forward to (other than the hoped for great awakening/uprising of the sleeping social conservative majority to sweep us back to the halcyon 50’s*) is when the forces of social liberalism start invading their homes, churches and workplaces and trying to force them to think and behave liberally in their private lives. They’ll finally, after 1800 some years, be able to be martyrs again! Denying social conservatives that persecution and just leaving them to live their lives, impotent and ignored, would be the most devastating thing we could do to them.

        *Whether the 50’s in question are the 1950’s or the 1850’s varies from socialcon group to group.Report

        • zic in reply to North says:

          The only thing social conservatives look forward to (other than the hoped for great awakening/uprising of the sleeping social conservative majority to sweep us back to the halcyon 50?s*) is when the forces of social liberalism start invading their homes, churches and workplaces and trying to force them to think and behave liberally in their private lives.

          So when I apply my yardstick rule, measuring others by their own yardstick, what does this suggest? That social conservatives want to invade liberal homes and force liberals to start behaving socially conservatively?

          Hmmm. Does feel that way some days.Report

          • North in reply to zic says:

            You’re absolutely Zic. Social conservatives assume/dread(and perversely hope) that liberals and especially gays will do to them what they did to us. In a way they would be affirmed by it; it’d make gays just as bad as social conservatives have been. I’d prefer we denied them that affirmation, it’s not required that we overreach as they did.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

            The Conservatives can’t even control their own homes, churches and workplaces. All they have is their neurotic fears.

            If you’re going to be a scary monster, best to hide yourself very well and don’t come out very often. And when you do come out, make sure it’s in the dead of night to where you can’t be clearly seen. Otherwise, you become familiar, perhaps even likeable, always a bad strategy for scary monsters.

            The Conservatives’ greatest fear is Relative Morality. They prefer to be guided by Right and Wrong, as do we all to a limited extent. They can’t see their own ethics changing all the time — as Scary Monsters and Super Creeps like gay people are seen in the light of day as just plain old ordinary people, with all the besetting shortcomings and weaknesses which afflict us all.

            The 1950s, speaking as someone who remembers them, were scary as hell. Not like Ozzie and Harriet. An entire generation of WW2 survivors earnestly attempted to build a better world for themselves and didn’t do such a great job of it. They were scary times. We forget the Korean War. America didn’t even want to think about it and still doesn’t: Korea was a war we didn’t win. The people of the 1950s were just as upset about their girls shrieking over Elvis and his swivelling hips and his Quasi-Negro Music as any harrumphing conservative is in our times.

            We look back at the 1950s through the eyes of the Truman Show. The current generation of Conservatives are not trying to return to the 1950s but to the late 1970s, after the Hippies had been shot down at Kent State, back when it was cool to be a Contrarian Conservative. Vietnam was winding down, the economy was going to shit, the nation was in a funk. That’s the world they want to return to — so they can have another Ronald Reagan appear like Christ returning in power and glory.

            And it’s entirely possible they’ll succeed. The secret to Reagan’s success was America’s deep sense of malaise and alienation. Trouble is, our current malaise and alienation arises from two wars started by self-described Conservatives and a crippling recession brought on by Republican-owned deregulatory madness. And it’s been that Liberal Obama who guided the nation through it all. They hate Obama with every fibre of their being.

            If they succeed, and I’ll give even odds on them succeeding, the Conservatives will need to rewrite history. Let the record show history is routinely rewritten and these new editions of history are just as routinely believed. They just need to tell a big enough lie. Their current efforts are not succeeding because they’re not lying with sufficient hubris.Report

  5. zic says:

    So is it freedom of thought if, not long ago, everyone used to think that way? Or is that freedom to not bother thinking? Are they the same thing, like freedom of religion including not worshipping?

    Or is freedom of thought being able to tell someone who asks that you do disagree, but don’t care to do anything about it?

    I loved this Jason, thank you.Report

    • Patrick in reply to zic says:

      I don’t even know what freedom of thought *is*. Freedom of speech I get, but how could you prevent freedom of thought?Report

      • zic in reply to Patrick says:

        All those pulp sci-fi novels I read in the 1970’s clearly hinged on the notion that you can’t prevent freedom of thought, unless there’s some soma-like substances distributed to the masses.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to zic says:

          We tried that. It’s called smooth jazz. Fortunately most of us are immune to Kenny G.Report

          • zic in reply to James Hanley says:

            Ha. As the wife of a man who wails and moans on the soprano saxaphone, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To smooth jazz I would add much in the way of ‘ambient music.’ But not all.

            I was also thinking of most Cable News broadcasts, psychotropic drugs, and fat and refined sugar in our diet.Report

            • Chris in reply to zic says:

              As a saxophone player (well, as a former saxophone player who now just plays once in a while), I hate the soprano. Aside from sounding awful, it’s also a good way to ruin your embouchure.

              One of my neighbors is a smooth jazz listener, and he often parks in his driveway with his truck door open, and the stereo blasting it so loud that I can hear it in my living room almost a block away. I cannot wrap my mind around why someone would listen to that music so loud. He is not, as far as I can tell, hard of hearing (though if he keeps listening to soprano sax with a jazz guitar that loud, he soon will be).Report

              • dhex in reply to Chris says:

                we had a smooth jazz bass car in my old neighborhood in brooklyn. it was baffling. tremendously loud, incredibly smooth. men didn’t know whether to assault him or make love to him.

                not quite as weird as the npr bass car that i see now and then where i live now. it’s quite a thing to hear someone listening to talk radio so loudly their speakers are distorting.Report

              • Glyph in reply to dhex says:

                I’m picturing Main Street in Lake Woebegon on a Friday night…teenagers cruising up and down the strip in their tricked-out Scions, with the dulcet tones of Garrison Keillor booming out from hatchback-filling arrays of LED-encircled 12-inch woofers in their custom-built carpeted plywood enclosures…Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Glyph says:


              • dhex in reply to Glyph says:

                the biggest issue with the npr bass car is that he has one of those coexist bumper stickers on it.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to dhex says:

                “bass car.”

                I used to have one of those, back when I fished more frequen….oh, that kind of bass. Ugh.Report

              • dhex in reply to James Hanley says:

                yeah i kinda hope the bass car thing is a thing that’s not a thing where i’ll be doing my thing shortly, because it’s such an annoying thing.Report

              • zic in reply to Chris says:

                It’s one of those instruments where the ‘student models’ just won’t do. You either need the very best instruments made or don’t bother.

                And it takes a rare skill to play in guitar keys in tune. Otherwise, it just sounds like a dissonant snake-charmer flute. Or maybe a piece of garden hose with random holes and a mouthpiece.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

                A good reed helps. Lots of sax players are using the wrong reed for what they’re doing. A hard reed lets you play higher and louder but a softer reed gives you more intonation. I played a tenor sax for years.Report

              • zic in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Reeds are not what they used to be, or so I’m told. I know players who search out old, ramshackle music stores wherever they might be, places where stock (except for guitar strings and amps) never turns over much, in hopes of finding a cache of reeds from the ’40’s and ’50’s, even the 60’s. They tell me this is because the reeds were made from harder/older bamboo; modern reeds are from softer bamboo. I know in any given box, my husband will be happy if even half play well. I am not convinced the difference is the bamboo, so much as the natural tendency of age to harden the bamboo; but I suppose that doesn’t really matter.

                But if you find a bunch of reeds from your grandmother’s heyday on the sax, they’d probably fetch a good price on ebay.

                The soprano is a very different beast then the tenor; physics has a lot to do with that, there’s simply less room between notes, it requires more precision. And as Chris pointed out, emboucher problems are common, mostly from the tendency to tighten up instead of relax; it’s hard to bite down and relax the jaw at the same time.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

                I gave up on natural instruments long ago. I went to a Yamaha wind controller and some good synth patches and never looked back. Replacing pads, dealing with bum key action, no fun.

                I used to have a harpsichord. My wife used to joke I’d play with one hand and tune with the other: every time the barometric pressure changed, I’d have to retune it — and even routine playing would doink the instrument for an octave on either side of Middle C. Sold it and bought a Yamaha MIDI keyboard.

                Miracle, bird or golden handiwork,
                More miracle than bird or handiwork,
                Planted on the star-lit golden bough,
                Can like the cocks of Hades crow,
                Or, by the moon embittered, scorn aloud
                In glory of changeless metal
                Common bird or petal
                And all complexities of mire or blood.

              • zic in reply to zic says:

                My ears are very sensitive; 30+ years of listening critically. Good as midi is now, the digital artifacts, unless it’s used purposely, bother me greatly; and the coldness of the sound. But I always loved the soothing sound of tape hiss and the speckled white noise of vinyl, like a fireplace in the background. There are filters, I know. . .Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

                I can’t tell the difference any more. The samples have gotten better, the controllers are better and I can get an eight octave scale out of a wind-controlled instrument. All it takes is a roll of the thumb dial. No futzing around.

                MIDI had its limitations, back when the samples were 8-bit and the software was clunky. That’s no longer true. I have 24 bit samples. They’re dry samples, so I can do what I like in the EQ and post. I wouldn’t go back for anything.

                For all the moaning and groaning about electronic instruments, if Charlie Parker had an eight octave sax at his disposal, he’d be playing it, too.Report

              • Chris in reply to zic says:

                I sold my tenor a few years ago, but I still own an alto, which is a 1963 Selmer Mark VI. The sax people will know how space awesome that is.Report

              • zic in reply to Chris says:

                It is awesome.

                My sweetie has been slowly gravitating to the pre-1950’s horns; mechanically more clunky, but richer tone, more subtle due to more hand-building, less evenly rolled sheet metal in construction. Giving up the mechanical smoothness is a big deal.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to zic says:

                I can’t believe my throwaway line became such a successful threadjack. I hope Jason is in a forgiving mood, as I enjoyed both his OP and this subthread. But now, back to bigotry!Report

              • zic in reply to zic says:

                (My last comment to BlaiseP was, I hoped, an example of the bigotry Jason originally posted. My own, on full display. And rightfully ignored.)Report

      • Kimsie in reply to Patrick says:

        Shock therapy.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to zic says:

      Thanks. Your last idea of freedom of thought was what I was aiming at. Sometimes hard to get there, though.Report

  6. Art Deco says:

    The point of this post is what?Report

    • dhex in reply to Art Deco says:

      i believe it’s a publicly available bit of prose designed to stimulate conversation about the themes indicated above, set in the form of a fictional dialogue between two unnamed participants in order to illustrate and lampoon the fallacies implicit in one side of the dialogue’s text.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Art Deco says:

      The point of this post was so that everyone else could have a conversation, while leaving you very few options other than pretending to be baffled.Report

  7. Zane says:

    This is the thing that baffles me about one side of the marriage debate, in particular. Somehow, someone doing something *I* don’t like, which has no direct impact on me at all, oppresses me. It seems the last argument available to those who just don’t like something and want to make sure it cannot happen.

    It’s one thing to argue same-sex marriage will have detrimental effects on society as a whole. We can actually look at some evidence to evaluate that concern. But arguing “other people doing things I don’t like (even if they aren’t doing it to/with me) is oppressing me” seems an attempt to turn the debate into an argument over competing rights. And in a fight over competing rights, the thinking seems to be, the numerically larger side with tradition on its side should should win.

    When I’ve dug into how same sex marriage is oppressive to those opposed, I usually find what Jason so brilliantly plays out in the OP. The only concrete argument touching on oppression (direct negative effects on those who don’t like something) I have been able to find is “Religious employers/property owners/business owners will have to pay benefits/rent or sell/provide goods or services to those in relationships they don’t like.”

    Whether or not one should have to do any of these things is, perhaps, an issue worth discussing. But same sex marriage really only gets at the employer and benefits issue. Religious organizations that are employers can already avoid hiring those they don’t like, so the oppression argument would seem to only fit religious individuals who are employers in non-religious companies or organizations.Report

    • Dave in reply to Zane says:

      The only concrete argument touching on oppression (direct negative effects on those who don’t like something) I have been able to find is “Religious employers/property owners/business owners will have to pay benefits/rent or sell/provide goods or services to those in relationships they don’t like.”

      I thought that anti-discrimination laws covered this.Report

      • Zane in reply to Dave says:

        Anti-discrimination laws cover some of these issues in some places. Anti-discrimination laws don’t require an employer to cover “non-family members” on benefit plans, so far as I’ve seen. And of course, most states and localities don’t have anti-discrimination laws that address sexual orientation. (This is a year old, but nicely done if you’re interested in this sort of thing:

        The interesting thing about same sex marriage is that it bypasses the need for anti-discrimination law to cover gay people specifically (at least on this narrow issue). “I’m here to put my spouse on my health insurance.”Report

  8. Kyle Cupp says:

    I don’t have to imagine bigoted oppositions to marriage equality because I see them frequently, but I don’t see any necessary connection between bigotry and having an understanding of marriage that excludes some kinds of relationships. If marriage means anything, it will include some relationships and exclude others. I wouldn’t say that having any normative non-inclusive understanding of marriage implies bigotry. Rather, I would look at the reasons someone has for holding such and such a view of marriage for signs of bigotry.Report