Linky Friday #109

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar ScarletNumber
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    According to researchers at UC Irvine, the more attractive a white-woman is, the less likely she is to date black men. Jewish women in the study refused to date black men at all.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to ScarletNumber
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      Hmm… are you using body type as s proxy for attractiveness?Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to ScarletNumber
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      Here is the text:

      Our finding that white women who do not fit conventional norms of beauty (i.e. those who are not thin or athletic-looking) are much more likely to include black men as possible dates than other white women is consistent with the notion that cultural ideals about beauty shape racial preferences. Much research has shown that, in dating and marriage markets, physical attractiveness is a more valued trait for women than men

      This was from dating profiles, so it’s self-report (which has its own issues, as I’m sure anyone who’s used online dating sites can attest), but it’s also not actually attractiveness, just body type.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
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        and… common knowledge/stereotypes say that black guys like fuller figured women.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        Yeah, the researchers approach it entirely from a status perspective: both the social status of the individual and the relative status of the various races. This undoubtedly misses a substantial portion of the picture, even if the results are consistent with the (relatively broad) prediction. Basically, this is about as rigorous methodologically and theoretically as you’d expect from social/Evolutionary psychology.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
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        This seems like it would be relatively easy to correct for. You don’t need to objectively define attractiveness. You can just look at which women get the most views and the most messages (the most popular) and which women send the least first messages and the least responses (the most selective) and see what those womens’ preferences looks like.

        My hypothesis is that the results would be pretty much the same.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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        Personally, I started to think the study’s methodology might be biased and suspect when I saw that it was authored by Anthony Ray.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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        Dangit, Glyph made my joke.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        j r, it would be, I imagine, though that would probably require access that the researchers didn’t have. There are other, well-established methods for measuring attractiveness that could be easily applied to dating profiles as well.

        I dunno how the results would come out precisely, though I have some ideas. I think the picture would be a little bit muddier, though not completely different.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
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        The interesting thing, to me at least, would be to see what sort of compensation, in the form of attractiveness, it takes for people to be willing to date someone from another racial category. My guess is that you’d find a distribution that looks roughly like this (I’ll use white women’s willingness to date black men):

        – A small minority of women, somewhere between 5 and 10%, with an expressed preference for black men, who would choose a less attractive black men over a more attractive white man.
        – A small minority of women who are truly indifferent.
        – A somewhat larger minority of women who are averse to dating black men and would need to be compensated with a very attractive or very high status black man to consider it.
        – The fat part of the distribution would likely be made of women with an expressed preference for white men, but who would consider dating a black man, but will need to be compensated with a notch to a couple-few notches of attractiveness.

        I would also guess that if you did the same with men, you’d see categories 1 and 2 getting significantly bigger.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        Correction: the research she highlights isn’t brand new, it’s from 2010 (though it is relatively so; much of the work in the review is from the 80s and 90s), but the article that inspired her post was published in March.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        That last comment was misthreaded. Misthreading will be the downfall of this society.Report

  2. Avatar ScarletNumber
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    In August 2013 a 15-year-old boy was denied a heart transplant because doctors felt that because of anti-social behavior he was unlikely to follow up with his medication in treatments. The doctors lost in the court of public opinion and the boy got his heart.

    Did the boy take his new lease on life and straighten up and fly right? F no. He committed a home invasion, car jacked someone, and died in the ensuing police chase.Report

    • Avatar Notme in reply to ScarletNumber
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      I saw that and was going to post it myself but figured that i would be called a racist since im on the right. Thanks for posting it.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to ScarletNumber
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      two years later and he didn’t die? Impressive. I guess the doctors were wrong about him not taking his medication.

      I remember studies on medication compliance…Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Kim
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        Not a common occurrence, but I have to say, Kim has a point here.
        The doctors were wrong.
        He DID take his medication and survive.
        That he also went into a life of crime is a different issue.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to ScarletNumber
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      So should we expect doctors to judge the moral worthiness of those that receive medical treatment? Because as Kim pointed out, the doctors were wrong.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mo
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        That’s why we have ethics boards.

        Let’s say that you’ve got two people on a waiting list for a heart transplant. A guy dies and he’s a match for both of them. Which one of the two should get the heart?

        Flip a coin? The younger one? The richer one? The more religious one? The one who was on the list the longest? The one who isn’t a heroin addict?

        If you’re not going to do it at random (or, I suppose, if you’re also not going to do it first come, first serve), you’re probably going to be using some sort of utilitarian calculus.

        How would you pick between the two people, Mo? What, in your mind, matters? What doesn’t?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mo
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        Yes, this. Previous attempts by humans to determine who gets treatment and who does not in cold and allegedly relational matter all turned out horribly. Humans really aren’t that skilled at making judgments like this. People should receive the medical treatment they need regardless of their personal qualifties as a human. Its a lot better for everybody that way.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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        The thing about transplants is that they are zero sum. I don’t know the best way to determine who gets what, but “everybody who needs it” is not an option at the present time.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mo
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        People should receive the medical treatment they need regardless of their personal qualifties as a human.

        Absolutely.

        But let’s say that you’ve got two people on a waitlist for a transplant…Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mo
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        I admit that transplants are a tricky issue but I would feel more ethically comfortable if the doctors decided to give to A rather than B because A could pay the bills easier or was younger than B rather than A was a better person than B. The latter is to close to playing God. The former isn’t great but at least avoids the playing God problem that usually goes horribly wrong. How do we determine what criteria gets used for determining who is and who is not a better person? There are some objective factors that can be used like lack or existence of a criminal record but even that could get subjective fast because of things like racial discrimination, poverty, etc.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mo
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        Let’s further propose that one of them is a terrorist who knows where a bomb is but is also about to be run over by a locomotive unless you derail the train and make it fall into a crowd of people. *Now* who gets the heart?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mo
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        Maybe we should work harder to make humans hardy enough that they’d have better organs suitable for transplanting to more people.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Mo
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        @jaybird I would say things like chemical use/abuse matter (e.g. no drinking for liver transplants), age matters to a point (matters if the choice is a 80 year old and a 18 year old, doesn’t matter if we’re talking a 35 year old and a 21 year old). Religion shouldn’t come into it at all. Ability to pay should matter a but, but wealth beyond that shouldn’t. Who is a “good” person and who isn’t shouldn’t. Unless you want to be deciding if the Christian lady who volunteers at the food bank every Tuesday, but refuses to work at gay marriages and protests Planned Parenthood on Sundays is more worthy than the atheist cancer researcher that forgets to call him mom on her birthday.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Mo
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        Previous attempts by humans to determine who gets treatment and who does not in cold and allegedly relational matter all turned out horribly.

        Case in point.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to ScarletNumber
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      Besides what everybody else said, treating the indecent with kindness is a mark of a just society. Being gentle is difficult but leads to better results than harshness.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq
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        Besides what everybody else said, treating the indecent with kindness is a mark of a just society.

        For one, the word you’re looking for is “merciful,” not “just.”

        More importantly, that’s a cop-out. When it comes to organ transplants, treating this guy with mercy meant killing someone else. When they gave him that heart, they sentenced another person to die. Probably someone who was actually a decent person. That’s the opposite of justice. Now two people are dead instead of one, and a pedestrian is in “stable condition,” which may or may not involve life-changing injuries.

        But hey. At least we can feel good about ourselves for being nonjudgmental.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to ScarletNumber
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      Since they pronounced him at a hospital, I wonder if they just took the heart back and placed it back into the system.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    E2: I couldn’t access the full article

    E3: This is truly a wicked problem. My theory is that there is a small percentage of the population that are absolute workaholics and all they do is work all the time because they have a passionate idea, drive, etc. The issue is that these people are the ones who end up as bosses and the upper-echelons of management and often are the really really rich types. This causes the rest of us to work harder. A big law firm just got in trouble for this horrible April Fools Day joke:

    https://bol.bna.com/at-weil-gotshal-joke-poses-existential-question-about-the-smartphone/

    I worked at a small plaintiff’s firm during the summers of law school. This is not the type of firm that does billable hours but the owner still sent out e-mails in the wee hours of the morning. There is a certain type of Type A person that likes the Weil Gotshal joke.

    “[B1] Prosthetic limb printed overnight for all of $50 (and the owner had a hand in the design).”

    Pun intended?

    M4: That sounds about right especially the part about not having balancing classes with non-classical economics. I wouldn’t say that the problem is economics majors. A friend of mine has a PhD in economics and he is not an anti-social guy. He also getting hit by the job market so that might be radicalizing him. The issue seems to be people who take Intro to Macro and Intro to Micro and think they have a grand unified theory of everything and we can use economics to explain or explore all and that there are no competing interests. This is what I think causes the liberal and libertarian divide. There are some things that are more important than economics or the market.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw
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      B1 pun intended

      M4 Did you click through & read the article?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        Yes. I was agreeing with the person theorizing about the lack of balancing classes.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        How many economics classes did you take?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        I took zero econ classes & had no interest in them at the time. So I guess I come by my anti-social tendencies honestly.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        I took one, but I had a businessish kind of major.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        I’ve actually been meaning to ramp up my sociopathy in just that way!Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        YES! I can not become a truly evil sociopath! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        notnow

        damnit…Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        I always assumed that my callous, sociopathic tendencies came from the engineering side, but I guess it could have been the econ classes.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        @saul-degraw

        Let me break down the issues with M4 that @oscar-gordon implied but did not state explicitly.

        1) Bad instrument. The researchers select 2 causes that are politically-skewed (advocating for lower tuition is not a politically-neutral cause, and economics education teaches you how to recognize a blatant attempt at rent-seeking). I bet I could do a similar study that showed sociologists were anti-social by offering them the chance to donate to a “non-partisan” anti-abortion charity.

        2) Bad explanation. Etzioni has little understanding of what economists are actually taught. I have seen many people on the left baldy assert that economics consists of nothing more than indoctrinating students into believing all government intervention is bad. This is the equivalent of the evangelical conservatives who believe science education is a conspiracy into tricking their children into abandoning Jesus.

        As someone who has actually completed Master’s-level education in economics, I can tell you what I was taught. Leaving aside papers with no real political or policy content (such as the econometrics papers, which are applied statistics and applied math), a large portion of what I learned was market failure economics – the ways in which market fail to operate the way the basic models would predict. These papers teach that government intervention can be beneficial. Even in macroeconomics (the only part of economics that non-economists seem to be familiar with), some kinds of intervention are taken for granted as being the best approach. Yes sometimes economics teaches that the best thing for the government to do is nothing, but this is in a context where government acting is sometime the right answer, and there is some actual reasoning behind it in both cases.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        @oscar-gordon

        That was the most sweethearted typo ever 😉Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        a large portion of what I learned was market failure economics – the ways in which market fail to operate the way the basic models would predict.

        It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t something they save for the master’s-level classes. The #slatepitch Econ 101 is basically a strawman. A first-semester microeconomics course will typically cover externalities and monopoly pricing.

        It’s also worth noting that the heavy focus on market failure in advanced classes isn’t because market failure is the rule rather than the exception, but rather because that’s all that’s left after you’ve covered the basics. It’s like physics in that the advanced classes focus on the exceptions to the models taught in introductory classes, even though the deviations from the classical models are negligible under most conditions.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Saul Degraw
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      @saul-degraw

      With E3, I think there’s something else going on as well, what is referred to in Evaluation circles as “input focus”.

      Managers will naturally attempt to monitor the performance of their subordinates. But when it is difficult to measure what a worker’s outputs are, a heuristic people fall back on is to measure inputs. A factory worker can be evaluated based on quantity produced, or on defect rate, if quantity is outside their control. But the benefits of office work are more diffuse and difficult to identify. This leads managers to evaluate based something they can more easily observe – hours worked. This naturally has all manner of perverse outcomes.

      I think the solution is to develop better metrics of how employees are contributing in a modern work environment. This would be better for companies and employees.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to James K
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        @james-k

        This works. There is also the perverse incentive of billable hours* (broken down into six-minute increments) and hold-over cultural stuff that thinks working long hours is a natural good.

        *Leading to all sort of ethical issues and questions like “Can you charge your client for a legal solution if you came up with it while taking a shower?” and “What if you are flying to Singapore for Client A and working on an important brief for Client B, can you charge them both? The answer to the first one is maybe to probably. The answer to the second question is no. Legal ethics bars double billing. You can charge client A or client B but not both.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to James K
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        @saul-degraw

        The federal gov’t also weighs in on these topics for gov’t contractors…Report

  4. Avatar ScarletNumber
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    Over at iSteve I made the comment that I have made here that most people don’t actually believe in free speech.
    While people disagreed, one person who seemed to agree was John Derbyshire.

    I have to say, this is the highlight of my internet posting time.Report

  5. Avatar Chris
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    M5: I took a class taught by Krupa. Weird.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chris
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      “Two days later, a student walked down to the lectern after class and informed me that I was wrong about Catholics. He said Baptists were the first Christians and that this is clearly explained in the Bible. His mother told him so. I asked where this was explained in the Bible. He glared at me and said, “John the Baptist, duh!” and then walked away.”

      😐Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
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      I don’t know you played the drums.Report

  6. Avatar Kim
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    C1,
    If you don’t have open access software for science, you wind up with persistent mistakes because everyone’s using the software that one grad student wrote, and nobody saw that he made a simple math mistake. There are years worth of articles relying on that software, all of which need to be “adjusted” because one kid screwed up something simple (and we ALL make mistakes while coding).

    xxx.lanl.gov is a neat way of sidestepping “open-access to journal articles” by giving people open access to “unreviewed” articles (before they’ve been submitted). It also shortens the cycle between study and dissemination.Report

  7. Avatar Kim
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    E1,
    … I’m glad I don’t work with those people.
    Where I work, people are generally not that clueless
    or assholish.Report

  8. Avatar Chris
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    [M3] Linguistic relativity is one of my favorite topics in cognitive psychology, and a lot of the research has been on color terms and color perception. I’ve written about it before in a blog format, but that was a long time ago, so I’m tempted to write about it here. But… would anyone read it? ‘Cause it’s labor intensive (there’s a ton of research to synthesize and summarize).Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
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      I thought of you when I saw the link, based on some comments you’ve made here.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
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      Chris,
      I’m always interested in color perception, as it’s a key part of lossy compression if you’re trying to preserve “visual quality” as seen by humans.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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      Also for M3, on blue in particular: the ancient Greeks had a word for blue. No, they didn’t, they had two primary words for blue and multiple related ones in fact. You can find blue in Mycenean, that is pre-ancient period Greek texts, even! Gladstone’s research is 160 years old and about that outdated. Blue is a cultural and, as far as we can tell, historical universal in color categories and color perception, and one that children can distinguish quite easily without it being named.

      The internet is always wrong.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
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        One would think, given the color of the sky, some kind of language would exist to describe blue pretty early on.

        Likewise red & green.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
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        Grabbed up “Anthropology of Color” (man I love google), and Lyons (1999) classifies the color as “blue-purple.” I would have been extremely surprised if the Ancient Greek texts didn’t have a color for lapis lazuli, as they were sailors and merchants. Later on in the book (I’m only cribbing excerpts off google), they’re mentioning that it was the trade in precious gemstones that dragged color terms all over (from Indus to Egypt to Greece) — and I’m kinda intrigued by the “concreteness” of color terms (evocative of our use of ‘orange’ and the original use of ‘hazel’).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        Also, the Himba research doesn’t suggest we don’t naturally see blue, or that pre-modern cultures don’t see blue. They, the Himba, see blue just fine (and distinguish it from, say, purple quite easily). They just don’t have a word for blue specifically. Blue and green are often closely related in color terms, and in the Himba language, blue and green have the same name, which results in the well-known pattern of people having more difficulty distinguishing within-category than between-category colors.

        Now, here’s where the author of the linked piece shows an obvious ignorance of the history of color terms. Historically, color terms tended to be closely attached to particular objects commonly found in that color, unless the colors were ubiquitous (like dark green, say). So there might be a lot of color terms within a particular part of the color wheel, or only a few, depending on the objects. In Kunene, where the Himba live, there are basically two natural sources of blue (with the addition, potentially, of traded blue dye or dye-objects from elsewhere): the sky and blueish water (that might easily be seen as a shade of green, because it’s likely pretty different, except in obvious reflection, from the sky). So for the Himba, the sky is almost certainly sky-colored, and is uniquely so, and why would you need to point that out? Every other blue thing is closer to green than to the color of the sky, so it’d be much more likely that they’d develop a color term that spans blue and green and possibly exlcudes sky than a color term that spans sky and the few other sources of blue.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
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        @kim

        That was a very good comment, clear, concise, informative…

        Who are you and what have you done with our Kim! You bring her back right now, you hear me!Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
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        Lain was taking puzzle pieces and organizing them by color and naming the colors.

        The things that make parents ecstatic…Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
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        Oscar,
        most of my other comments are just as good, just “sourced from personal interviews” rather than grabbing a book online.

        Chris,
        So it sounds like the Himba may have a separate color-category for “sky colored things” with only one thing in it…sky. If you tossed them another sky-colored thing (turquoise, for example), they’d probably say “sky stone” rather than “green stone.” Has anyone done this research? Because color-terminology seems to imply the need to note similarities between different things based on the color of the object…

        Green-blue is a really hard color to distinguish between hues of (our eyes see differences between red and orange really easily)…Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
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        The Inuit, for instance, have thirty-five different words for “white”.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber in reply to Chris
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        @mike-schilling

        Inuit

        People are really pissed at them because of the reduced functionality of TurboTax.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
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        I’m already pissed off at Intuit. They scheduled a meeting with my then company on the only day in the history of San Diego that the weather was complete crap.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Chris
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      Contemporary research on color perception in the human vision system, an important thing to know when designing video compression algorithms, has firmly established that on average we are most sensitive — in terms of how many shades we can distinguish — to green, then red, then blue. IIRC, converted to how many bits are needed to represent the full range of colors we can differentiate, it’s 10 bits for green, 8 for red, and 6 for blue. Our ability to resolve fine details is much greater for overall luminance (ie, gray scale) than for colors. That testing is done using methods that are independent of language and culture.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Michael Cain
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        My understanding is that the “red” cone in our eyes is actually optimized to detect yellow-green wavelengths, and just called the red cone b/c it’s the one closest to the red end of the spectrum.

        so between that and the regular green cone, our vision can be pretty precise when it comes to that section of the spectrum.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Cain
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        WTH “shades”? Hue distinguishing is easiest between red-yellow (we’ve even got a color for it– “orange”).
        Truecolor monitors aren’t, so… (Do you have a deep color monitor at home? actual 10bit images look awesome…).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Cain
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        It’s important to distinguish what our visual systems can do from what we “see,” or perhaps more accurately, what we perceive. It’s entirely possible that our brains are very good at distinguishing to colors that, consciously, we have more difficulty distinguishing.

        Although pretty recent evidence suggests that when you teach people new color terms, their visual systems get a lot of new wiring.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Chris
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      @chris , I’d love to read an article about language and color perception.Report

  9. Avatar Kim
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    M3,
    This suffers from a remarkably small sample set. If one in 6 languages had a word for blue — and it’s the one where it would be most probable, then it’s likely that other ancient languages also had a word for blue. Navajo certainly had turquoise, and it was an important gem for them. Other places would have run into bluebirds, or jays, both of which are colored blue (and neither of which show up in the areas where the languages studied were born). I find it interesting that violet shows up before blue, honestly. (red yellow and green are all useful for frugivores — the amusing thing is how late orange showed up…)Report

  10. Avatar j r
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    M4: I hope to get to the point where a link like this is labeled "j r bait." It is a neat trick. Define anti-social as an unwillingness to contribute to left-leaning "public interest" causes and viola! you can prove that economics makes people anti-social. I have an alternative explanation. Economics leads to interrogating the notion of “the public interest” and what is and is not in it, which is something that people who presume to speak for the public interest don’t like so much.

    There is a species of comment that tells you much more about the person making the comment than it does about the ostensible subject of the comment. This article tells us much more about sociology and Lisa Wade than it does about economics.

    C3: As with the above issue, the dynamics behind keeping Mein Kampf under wraps are all about misdirection. The idea that the book is somehow mystically dangerous is pretty close to laughable. Hitler was no Svengali or mass hypnotist.

    The real danger to widespread distribution of Mein Kampf is that people will realize exactly how banal and hackneyed it is and realize that Hitler didn’t corrupt anybody in a way that those people were not already ready to be corrupted (although maybe that is exactly what Svengalis do).Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to j r
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      Dangit! Can someone close the bold after M4? Much obliged.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to j r
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      J R, Define anti-social as an unwillingness to contribute to left-leaning “public interest” causes and viola! you can prove that economics makes people anti-social.

      You didn’t read it, then?Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
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        Students at their institution — University of Washington — were asked at registration each semester if they’d like to donate to WashPIRG (a left-leaning public interest group) and ATN (a non-partisan group that lobbies to reduce tuition rates). Bauman and Elaina crunched the data along with students’ chosen majors and classes. They found that econ majors were less likely to donate to either cause (the selection hypothesis) and that non-econ majors who had taken econ classes were less likely to donate than non-majors who hadn’t (the indoctrination hypothesis).

        Open to other interpretations.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        Yeah, you didn’t actually read it. Or you’re just dishonestly quoting it. Hell, it’s in the first paragraph (with a link to the research). Perhaps we’ll call “People selectively quoting to come to arrive at the conclusion they wanted all along” Chris bait?Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
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        If you want to define dishonesty as an unwillingness to take this research as presented, that’s fine with me.

        You can question my honesty or you can offer an alternative view for me to consider?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Twice you’ve accused her of relying only on one thing to come to her conclusion (the anti-social part), and then said that says more about her than about econ majors. If that’s not a dishonest reading of her article and what she’s referring to, then I don’t know what would be, as she states in the first sentence [edited: first paragraph] that there’s a lot of research using various methods, and she even links to it. If not dishonest, then just blinded by bias, we’ll say.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I read the first study the only some of the items list were examples of anti-social behavior.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Dand, certainly behaving in one’s own self-interest, which is all that some of that research shows, is not by itself anti-social. Doing it more than most people, in combination with the other stuff? It’s at least arguably so.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I think it’s pretty clear that the particular example of the donation study doesn’t prove much about the selfishness of economics majors. On the other hand, the linked review has a lot that’s more conclusively critical. Highlight:

        Cadsby and Maynes (1998) find that economics and business students are more prone to defect, even in games that have been tweaked to create an efficient equilibrium that can be reached by cooperating.

        Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Without having looked at the underlying research, just commenting on Wade’s article, I have to say that j r is right. Wade equates failure to donate to two particular causes with anti-social behavior.

        As for games, I’d be interested in seeing the research before guessing. I’d bet that economists do games differently than most people, because they’re trained in them. Chiropractors probably stretch differently in the morning than most people. But with games, if they’re conducted in a research environment, you can’t project from actions in a college lab to actions in a grocery store or a derivatives market.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Pinky has a point. If I am trained in games, and I identify the game at the outset, is it anti-social to game the game, especially if the consequences are null?

        Understanding the game & it’s rules at the outset is how I excelled at Basic Training & being in the Navy (thanks to Uncles who brought me a clue). I had the lay of the land & was working it to my advantage while my fellows were still drawing a map while doing push-ups.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        That they are trained in games and that they behave more anti-socially are not mutually exclusive explanations.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        I guess I’m just wondering how that is controlled for, because we can express different tendencies based upon the perceived penalty/reward.

        For instance, my wife is a very giving person, happy to donate time & money to good causes. But during a game of Monopoly, she’ll ruthlessly eat your lunch. She is very social, very generous, and extremely competitive.

        So I wonder if anti-social traits are being confused with competitive ones, because the game has been identified and they are playing it.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Pinky,
        game theorists do games differently than most people.
        I’m not always so sure about economists in general.
        (though I wouldn’t be very surprised if they didn’t go about
        Charity In Particular differently than “norms”).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I dunno. Like I said, I haven’t read the research (I’m guessing no one here has), so I’m mostly just speculating. And again, I don’t think defecting or acting in one’s self-interest is necessarily anti-social, though if there’s a pattern, and other anti-social behavior, it might very well be. The classic prisoner’s dilemma stuff by itself doesn’t show a pattern of anti-social behavior, and it’s the pattern you’d want to see to call it anti-social.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        What @oscar-gordon said.

        I am still looking for a definition of anti-social in this context that is not circular. If you design a game that tests people’s willingness to cooperate or defect, then you will find out exactly who is more likely to cooperate or defect in that game. Labeling the former as objectively anti-social is a pretty big leap.

        Speaking personally, I cannot imagine separating the likeliness to cooperate or defect in any situation from the specifics of that situation. If, for example, you were to observe me at a Klan meeting, you’d probably find me to be pretty anti-social.

        If the claim was that people who take economics classes are more likely to defect than to cooperate in certain situations, without the attempted moral/social taint, I’d likely have no beef.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        OK, OK, I’ll let it go…Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        OK, I’ve done a little bit of reading, starting here:

        http://www.bsfrey.ch/articles/389_03.pdf

        This is just about giving, but I figured I’d start there since that has been the focus here. Interestingly, in that study, “political economists” gave at the same rate as non-economists, but “business economists” didn’t. What’s more, the business economists were less giving from the start of their education. This would lead to two conclusions:

        1.) theoretical economics, all that game theory stuff, doesn’t make you less likely to give to charity (this is actually contra both Wade and J R);
        2.) the people who go into business economics are just less charitable people.

        Of course, that’s just one study.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        Thank you.

        (The thing that bothers me, and I think is bugging others, is Wade glibly reduced what appears to be a very complex area of study, one that requires a lot of unpacking and has a lot of caveats, into a highly simplistic sound byte with a spin to it. I see this crap with science reporters and University PR releases all the time, and it annoys the hell out of me.)Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        My general feeling about science reporting: it’s awful. When it concerns social or personality psychology (this is, in essence, social psychology), it will be disgustingly bad.

        Reading some more stuff now, while I have a few minutes. So far it’s not looking good for economists… heh.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        1.) theoretical economics, all that game theory stuff, doesn’t make you less likely to give to charity (this is actually contra both Wade and J R);

        That’s not what I said. I said that economists might make you more likely to approach a game theory experiment as a game; that is, more likely to see it for what it is, a simulation, something to win, than as a stand in for how you might behave in the real world.

        If there is research that says that economists are less likely to give to charity, that’s fine with me. Maybe it’s the case. Or maybe it varies depending on exactly what those charities do. Heck, I admit that studying economics makes me much less likely to donate to most charities, mostly because I want to know what they do with the money and how effective they are. Before studying economics, I was much more likely to think about charity purely in terms of whether or not I thought it was a worthy cause, with little thought of effectiveness.

        None of this equates to being “anti-social” or “selfish.”Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r , if that research summary is accurate, economists are more likely to choose non-cooperative strategies even in games where those strategies loose.

        Which suggests either that there’s a different explanation for non-cooperation by economists, or that economists are bad at analyzing economic games.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        jr,
        my experience with economists (warning! small sample size!) is that they’re far less likely to donate to Other People’s Charities, and more likely to Start Their Own. Or start a company to make money for charity, or other things like that.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @j r , if that research summary is accurate, economists are more likely to choose non-cooperative strategies even in games where those strategies loose.

        I think that you may be misreading. In any prisoners dilemma type game, cooperative strategies only pay off if everyone cooperates. If you cooperate and other players defect, you end up worse off. So, this involves making an expected value calculation of the choices.

        What this might tell us is that taking economics classes makes someone more likely to approach these games as a chance to maximize value rather than as chance to signal moral and ethical behavior. That may be an interesting finding, but it is not the same as proving someone more more or ethical outside of the rules of that game.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Another point of note is that the criticism seems to be levelled at neo-classical economics.

        Having never taken an economics course, I have no opinion on neo-classical economics or how it is taught, but it strikes me as odd that people would assume a class that focuses on theoretical models & concepts can significantly affect a persons moral core, at least long term. Do students of physics & chemistry get queried on their religious beliefs after the class & criticised?

        I wonder, now that I think of it, how the results would lay out if the studies followed students until the end of their education, and possibly into the workforce, rather than just before & just after an class in economics? Are the results skewed because the information is fresh in the mind, and it hasn’t been fully incorporated into the whole of the persons experiences? Does it make a difference if the person has had a class in ethics &/or morality before or after the class, etc.

        Again, not my field, just doing some spitballing here…Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I will say that learning economics, specifically the Solow growth model, taught me that investment has real social value. The average person, I think, has this mental model where you can either save money and do good for yourself, or donate money to charity and do good for others. But the reality is that saving and investing your money also does good for others by shifting production from consumption goods to capital goods, which raise labor productivity, and thus wages and general standards of living.

        I also learned that a lot of charities are borderline scams, or so inefficient that they might as well be. I still donate some money to charity, but deep down I wonder if it’s doing as much good as it would if I invested and kept reinvesting the interest for forty years. But economics has definitely made me less likely to give money to some random organization soliciting donations on the street.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        While looking over the Etzioni paper, I can’t help but notice that his inability to distinguish between morality and support for leftist politics is doing a lot of the heavy lifting.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      M4,
      I don’t donate to scabs. Matter of principle.
      But I suppose I ought to do a post on the game theory of national charities. And then we can ask if someone who deliberately chooses not to donate to them is being “anti-social”.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      If you click through to the actual studies, you find that original researchers used a prisoner’s dilemma type of game where subjects were given tokens and told them they could invest in public or private funds. If they invested in all their money in the public fund they would get an exceptional return, but only if everybody invested all their money in the public fund. However if they invested in their private fund they could gain a higher return than everybody else who invested the majority of their funds in the public fund. Economics majors were more likely to invest in their private funds than they were in the public funds.

      This apparently means they’re anti-social and amoral, or something like that.

      I’d like @chris opinion on this since he has a lot more experience on social research.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        It could mean that they are anti-social. Or it could mean that they question the rules of the game and didn’t accept the conceit that the public fund would outperform the private one.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s not just prisoner dilemma-type games (though that was much of the early stuff).

        I haven’t read the original research, and the link is to a review article. It sounds interesting, but I dunno if it’s interesting enough for me to dig up anytime soon. I will say this: Wade is clearly not doing what J R accuses her of, because she’s clearly referencing the whole body of research: not giving to charity, admitting to more dishonesty, cheating, defecting more often in the classic prisoner dilemma, free riding more in the lottery and similar-type prisoner dilemma games, giving less to community pots, and so on. We could have a discussion about whether those things suggest a greater degree of anti-social behavior, but we’ll first have to dispense with the prejudgment that, as J R himself would say, says more about J R than it does about the research.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        Wade wrote that post. She linked to some other research, but the research that she chose to highlight and expound upon was about donations to WashPIRG and to ATN.

        If your argument is that she could have made a better case, maybe she could have. But I am replying to the case that she made. There is nothing dishonest in that.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        She chose to highlight it ’cause it’s new. Seriously, you’ve been around this internet thing for a while, right? This should be obvious. If you’re going to judge her because she’s talking about the new, and suggest she’s basing her conclusion entirely on that, then again, you’re either being dishonest or biased, or both. And again, it says a lot more about you than her.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        None of this is obvious. She made a point and I pointed out why her point is spurious.

        If your claim is that I have a responsibility to refrain from commenting on her point, because it’s not the best argument that she could have put forward, then I disagree. I am against attacking straw men, but that doesn’t mean that I have any obligation to improve someone’s argument before disagreeing with it.

        And you argument of bias is baseless. I would put money on the fact that I am a lot more open to good sociology than Wade is to good economics. That whole last paragraph trying to implicate the financial crisis is a pretty good tip off to where Wade is coming from.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        No, my claim (as is quite clear) is that you have a responsibility to actually address what she says, not a truncated, unfair version of what she says. You’ve repeatedly chosen not to do that. I won’t press it further, but by now I think that’s quite clear.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        What’s clear is that you decided to make this about me instead of dealing with the substance.

        You could have said something like, “that particular study doesn’t present the strongest argument, but here are other studies that make the case more plainly.”

        People can read the post for themselves and decide on my supposed dishonesty.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        What’s clear is that you decided to make this about me instead of dealing with the substance.

        Maybe Chris is just running with the “There is a species of comment that tells you much more about the person making the comment than it does about the ostensible subject of the comment” theory of public discourse?Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        Whatever that comment tells you about me, I’ve already told you in a hundred other comments. I make no attempt to hide my opinions and biases or claim that my preferences are or ought to be universal.

        Yes, I defend economics. That’s not such a great insight.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        Eh, I made it about you because you made it about you and about Wade. If you’d made it about the research, I’d happily have discussed that. In fact, I’d much rather discuss the research, ’cause I like talking about research. It’s one of my favorite things.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        My point was that it’s a bad theory, both practically (since it attacks a person’s character or intelligence rather than – as you say – “the substance”) as well as logically (since a theory which interprets what a person writes cannot be refudiated). It leads to wonderful exchanges just like the above!Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        I see what you are getting at, which occured to me as well, which is why I clicked through to find something else I could read. The original research that I skimmed (the review article talking about the stuff from the 80’s & 90’s was the only one I could open without paying for it) struck me as being very value laden. However, I am not a social scientist, and the accepted methodologies of the field are not familiar to me, so I’d have to do a lot of extra work to determine how the value bias is treated. Which is why I tagged you, because I believe you are more familiar with this class of research.

        That all said, I agree with jr, Wade chose a particularly biased study to highlight. One biased enough I wonder how it got through peer review. The various PIRG orgs I’ve experienced tend to be controversial and their tone & methods turn a lot of people off (we used to call them GreenPeace Jr.). The other option is a group that is actively rent seeking, even if it is for a good cause, so it would likely give anyone with knowledge of economics pause. Why could they have not included as an option an org that works to create economic opportunity for disadvantaged populations? Or some other group that would appeal to the moral senses of a person with an economic background?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        One other point that I didn’t see covered (although it might have been in previous research) is if those with backgrounds in economics were anti-social by other measures, or just with regard to their money. I don’t donate a lot of money, but I do donate time & effort. I volunteer & advocate for socially active groups, etc.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m also a bit disturbed by the idea that an academic topic is somehow attractive to or inspiring of an unattractive personality trait.

        Perhaps we should be critical of people who understand statistics, because they are skeptical of media/government presentations of statistical data?Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      “Hitler didn’t corrupt anybody in a way that those people were not already ready to be corrupted (although maybe that is exactly what Svengalis do).”

      It’s sort of a truism that you can’t con an honest man. While there’s certainly truth to the idea that once Hitler accrued enough power, there may have been little that the “honest” Germans (that is, the ones who had little interest in race superiority or a thousand-year Reich) could do about it, he wouldn’t have gotten to that point without fairly-common active or tacit acceptance of some of his more noxious ideas (and it’s not like he was the only person in the whole wide world promulgating crackpot eugenics proposals or anti-minority conspiracy theories at the time). He didn’t exactly hide what he was on about.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        You can’t con an honest, perceptive person.
        But plenty of cons rely on honest (if stupid) men.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        Hitler was, by all accounts, a mediocre writer but a spellbinding speaker [1]. Why would we judge his ability to influence people purely by the former?

        1. And a great painter, He could do an entire apartment in one day. Two coats!Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        I think “You can’t con an honest man” is mostly something con artists tell themselves to sleep better at night.

        Yes, some cons revolve around the mark thinking they’re getting a cut of some dishonest profit. But plenty of others revolve around their thinking they’re getting an honest profit (Ponzi investment schemes can have any kind of cover story), buying high quality goods at a fair price (fake medications, clothes and electronics with false brand badges), and others around their thinking they’re helping someone who’s genuinely in need (fake charities, “help I’ve been mugged in Barcelona”, convincing an elderly mark that the con artist is their grandchild and in need of money for bail / tuition / medical care).

        I’ve been scammed out of minor amounts of money a few times, and been targeted for scams more than a few – never has the come-on involved my somehow making a dishonest profit. It’s always been around helping out someone in need.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        @dragonfrog – yeah, you’re right. Bad way to make my point.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      The real danger to widespread distribution of Mein Kampf is that people will realize exactly how banal and hackneyed it is and realize that Hitler didn’t corrupt anybody in a way that those people were not already ready to be corrupted (although maybe that is exactly what Svengalis do).

      I don’t feel like I’m capable of forming an opinion on whether MK ought to be reissued or not (I’m just not close enough to all the issues in play to feel comfortable making a judgment on the matter) but I sorta agree with this. I don’t think reading that book will fundamentally change anyone’s mind about Jewishness, tho it certainly could change their minds about the prevalence and degree of anti-Semitism which existed at that time. A nice handbook to accompany a reissue of MK would be Hitler’s Willing Executioners, for example. The cultural (whatever) roots of anti-Semitism ran deep in German culture at that time.

      On the other hand, after reading MK I remember being struck at just how paradoxical Hitler’s argument in that book was. On my reading of it (which is by no means the conventionally accepted one) the argument is basically that since Jews are better at just about everything than Germans, Germans need to eliminate them. And paradoxically, the justification was that doing so was justified by the view that Germans are the superior race!Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        You should Gotz Ally’s recent book “Why the Germans? Why the Jews?” It goes into a lot of the anxieties that Germans felt after Jewish emancipation, especially in education. During the 19th century, a lot of German Christians felt that they simply couldn’t compete against German Jews without handicappting the latter in some way.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        Lee,

        I’ll check it out. It’s a fascinating topic for me because, as I said, my take on MK is that it reads like a pathologically twisted love letter to the Jews: Jews are better at mathematics; better at engineering; better at music and art; better at finance and business; have these close family ties that bind into a supportive community…. Better at all the things Germans value. So we (Hitler speaking here) have to eliminate them from our society! I could be getting some of the specifics messed up (I read that book a long long time ago), but that was the gist of it.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        Stillwater, that reminds me of a joke I heard that was something like…

        Two Israelis are reading newspapers on the bus. One is reading an Israeli newspaper, the other is reading an Arab newspaper. The first says to the second, “why are you reading that? It’s published by people who hate us!” The second replies, “because in your paper, the Israeli government is a miserable pack of corrupt fools and the Israeli people are dimwitted louts. In my paper, the Israeli government is secretly in control of everything and the Israeli people are smarter than anyone on the planet and have all the money.”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        DensityDuck, that is a very old joke. The original version dates from at least the Third Reich amd involves Die Strummer. It wouldn’t surprise if one that took place in the Russian Empire existed as well.

        Stillwater, you should also read Hitler’s Vienna: The Biography of a Tyrant as a Young Man. It deals with Hitler’s life and formal and informal education from his birth to the First World War. You learn a lot about the world Hitler grew up in and where he came from. Hitler always identified as a German nationalist but as a young man his opinions on Jews were a bit different. According to Hitler’s Vienna, Hitler saw Jews as a good example for the German people to emulate and had Jewish friends during his time in Vienna.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        We’ve had blogs for ten years now. If writing could change anyone’s mind, it would have happened by now.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Have you seen the video by Stephen Crowder (who I find unfunny) who went to Muslim bakeries in Dearborn to ask for a wedding cake for a gay wedding.

    Which makes me say “what a jerky guy! He should leave those immigrants alone! Those are the good ones who wanted to get *AWAY* from the crappy cultures they were being oppressed by!”Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      One of the things that social media has increased is instances of people trolling other people and calling it a “social experiment.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Yup. OTOH, that’s part of the reason why Mitt Romney isn’t president now.
        Getting a ton of data on how to make people angry is USEFUL.
        Surveying the internet is hard, but it’s been done.
        Cellphones, though, are where it’s at, if you want a more representative sample worldwide (which you need for measuring things like intelligence).Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Its a vain form of protection. Everybody recognizes a jerk when they see one.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        “Everybody recognizes a jerk when they see one.”

        But if it’s a jerk on your side, being a jerk to a bigger jerk, then maybe we can overlook the jerkiness. At least until they start being jerks to us. And then we get Freddie de Boer crying because the bobcat he raised got his hand confused with its dinner.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        DD,
        It’s important to recognize who the assholes are. You can still like ’em, they can still be good guys. But know who they are, nonetheless.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        When a video of Neil Tyson ridiculing anti-GMO people, there was an interesting sense of whiplash on my Facebook Feed. Nobody quite put it this way, but there was a sense of:

        “I always liked NGT because he always told those knuckle-dragging theocrats what’s what. But his latest video on GMO disturbs me. It’s not just that he disagrees, but he’s awfully rude and condescending about it.”Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s like the old joke about the woman listing to the preacher on the radio. First, he lambastes atheists, and she cheers him on. The he starts in on drinkers, and what he says is so true she gets tears in her eyes. Finally, he starts in on the evils of tobacco, and she asks “When did you start being such a busybody?”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Will, the people who are anti-GMO probably did not like getting compared to ignoramuses by Neil Tyson. They probably always saw themselves as enlightened and rational people and suddenly found themselves on the side of superstition according to somebody they admire. It probably felt like a betrayal of the worst sort.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Will,
        Yeah, Neil’s a good troll.
        (Did you ever wonder if all the trolls ever trade notes? They do.)Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I confess, I actually find Crowder interesting. He’s like a bellwether for conservative culture tipping points, in that he has an almost prescient ability to decide to jump on so-con trends just as they are becoming hackneyed within so-con circles.

      So now I’m wondering if his deciding to be the next James O’Keefe is a sign that conservatives are beginning to find O’Keefe a little tired.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I can’t imagine there are many liberals/progressives who like conservative Islamic views on women and homosexuality. What I can imagine is that there are a lot of people who simply cannot understand why people would be more upset about those views in people who have the means and the demonstrated ability to affect government and cultural approaches to women and homosexuality in this country.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Then why, after prop 8 did they direct for more anger at the Mormon church than the Catholic Church despite that later having for more influence(there are at least 10 times more Catholics than Mormons in California).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Good question. What do you think the answer is?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t think it’s about “liking” their views on women or homosexuality. I think it’s about making allowances for the views that they see as worth making death threats over in other circumstances.

        Conservatives have never really gotten the whole “intersectionality” thing. They’re more into universalizables.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Isn’t cuz the Mormon church was the primary investor in the Drive to Prop 8?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Jay, the problem with deontological ethics is that they only ever tell you what not to do.

        Thou shalt not!!!!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        People should really see deontology as something that should only be relied upon when it’s most useful or most likely to result in the most good.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Hehe… deontological utilitarianism.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        My theory is it’s because the protester where more likely to personally know someone who is Catholic than Mormon and as a result it was easier to view Mormons as foreign.

        At the time I was loosely acquainted with at the time was raised Mormon but no longer practiced the faith still felt that they singled out do anti-Mormon bias.

        And like Jews, Mormons are perceived as being white and well off financially so many on the left don’t consider them a minority.

        @stillwater

        I don’t think the Mormon church gave more support than the Catholic church this according to this article it was the Catholics who got the Mormons involved in the first place.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Jay, the problem with deontological ethics is that they only ever tell you what not to do.

        Thou shalt not!!!!

        This is true to a degree, but it does not necessarily follow that all you can derive are highly proscriptive conservative ethical systems. There are a lot of analytic philosophers who are both libertarians and really heavily on deontological ethics. Their “shalt not”s, however, are mostly concerned with the ways in which individuals shall not infringe upon the rights of others.

        What you end up with is an ethical framework that maps out fairly wide boundaries of “thou shalt not,” but instead of filling the interior with lot of “thou shalts,” instead leaves that space open to personal preferences and negotiated norms.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Dand,

        I didn’t see a breakdown of financial contribution by Church in that article. Did I just miss it?

        This is from Wiki:

        LDS members contributed over $20 million,[81] about 45% of out-of-state contributions to ProtectMarriage.com came from Utah, over three times more than any other state.[82] ProtectMarriage, the official proponent of Proposition 8, estimates that about half the donations they received came from Mormon sources, and that LDS church members made up somewhere between 80% and 90% of the volunteers for early door-to-door canvassing.[83]Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @dand “My theory is it’s because the protester where more likely to personally know someone who is Catholic than Mormon and as a result it was easier to view Mormons as foreign.”

        I have never thought that, but now that you’ve put it out there I find it most compelling. I think you might be right, or at the very least that this is one of several reasons.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I think @stillwater has answered the question.

        Of course, I don’t doubt that Mormons were easier to go after because most people don’t know Mormons, but Mormons got the heat over Prop 8 because they played a central roll in it. In that sense, the heat they got is evidence in favor of what I said above.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I think @dand ‘s “don’t know any Mormons” factor may have played a role. But playing an outsized role in political marketing is a good way to get noticed. If the ratio of Mormons to Catholics is 10:1, you’d expect the ratio of Mormon dollars to Catholic dollars to be about $10:1, all else held equal. I don’t have the numbers, but I don’t think that was the case.

        Pouring money into a state-level election from out-of-state is another good way to get noticed, and I think the efforts from Utah put the LDS church very much on the radar.

        A diffuse general “blah to gay marriage” response from lots of in-state Catholics seems to me to be less offensive than a strong response from a smaller number of Mormons pulling in resources from out-of-state sources.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        “Out of state money” was a huge factor in fueling the anger.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not as familiar with how it is in the Bay Area, but there are loads of LDS members in Southern California and California has more LDS members than any state outside of Utah (and is in the top quartile for percentage LDS members.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        My experience living in the Bay Area most of my life is that there are plenty of members of the LDS church around and being in a demographic that strongly supports gay marriage while not knowing any would be pretty unusual.

        Like I said, I think it’s a combination of the out-of-state-ness of a lot of the money and the effort they put into Prop 8. Not being gay myself, I can only guess at how I would feel, but I think I’d have a different response to an acquaintance who voted for Prop 8 vs one who donated significant money to it vs one who started his own organization to push it. It seems to me that the Catholic church dabbled in it and the LDS church went all in.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      So i guess its a solid win that there isn’t a twittercane and Facebooknado of slime getting tossed at the muslim bakers. High fives all around.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Crowder also gets the controversy 100% wrong. It’s not about people writing messages on the cakes, which is protected, it’s about not wanting to do a wedding cake expressly for gay marriages. Which is more like, but not exactly like, his example of not making Kanye’s cake because he’s black.Report

  12. Avatar Dand
    Ignored
    says:

    [C3] Marx’s works has inspired far more deaths and no one has a problem with them being published.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Dand
      Ignored
      says:

      @dand The difference, I suspect, is one of intent.

      Car passengers not wearing seat belts has led to far more deaths than, say, lynchings. But I’d still publish a guest post arguing that society is better off without seatbelt laws — and I would refuse to publish one arguing that society would be better off if we allowed lynchings.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Dand
      Ignored
      says:

      And Hitler’s rantings would have fallen on deaf ears if not for the inexplicably unbanned New Testament.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        @mike-schilling

        Not to mention Martin Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        I read once that Luther started out being friendly to Jews, thinking they he’d be bale to convert them, and became more and more hostile as it became clear that their objection was to Christianity, not just the RC Church. But I’ve never been able to find another source that corroborates that.

        Why the Lutherans in the Netherlands and Scandinavia weren’t affected by Luther’s hate-mongering is yet another question.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dand
      Ignored
      says:

      Marx’s works has inspired far more deaths and no one has a problem with them being published.

      95% of Marx’ writings were on economics, and a lot of what he wrote is still regarded as accurate (since it was merely descriptive stuff).Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Dand
      Ignored
      says:

      @dand

      While I oppose censoring Mein Kampf because of Free Speech, this little sneer from libertarians is rather counter-productive don’t you think?

      Who benefits from an endless debate about who was the most evil among Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or the Khemer Rogue? Can’t we just admit that all were bad?

      I also agree with Tod about the intent.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        While I oppose censoring Mein Kampf because of Free Speech, this little sneer from libertarians is rather counter-productive don’t you think?

        I don’t think it’s a sneer. I think a large segment of the population takes Communist tyranny a lot less seriously than Fascist tyranny. In Europe Nazi symbols are banned while communist ones are legal. In this country where the First Amendment prohibits bans the communist symbols are still more acceptable than Nazi symbols. In my K-12 education far more time was spent teaching about the Holocaust than teaching about the gulag or the killing fields (and even less time was spent teaching about Japanese war crimes turning WWII)

        I also wouldn’t describe myself is libertarian anymore, I’ve gotten more left wing on economic policy.

        Who benefits from an endless debate about who was the most evil among Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or the Khemer Rogue? Can’t we just admit that all were bad?

        All I’m asking is that they be treated the same way.

        I also agree with Tod about the intent.

        I’d point out to both of you that a large number of the deaths under communism were intentional.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @dand

        My issue in arguing with most libertarians is not that I am not a complete anti-Capitalist but that I think economic issues are complicated and that there is a balancing of interests that needs to be maintained. As I’ve written about before, I am also equally hard on the side that wants NYC and other cities to remain trapped in amber like those who worship Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York.

        In my view there are certain things that are more important than the market and economics and this means ensuring that all people have decent healthcare, food, water, clothing, shelter, and a decent and dignified. I am not convinced that free-market economics can supply these things and am willing to use government to do so.

        There are things that capitalism is perfectly good for like the craft beer revolution and other consumer goods.

        Why is it so hard for people to realize that there is a balancing of interests, ethics, and morality? This should not be a controversial opinion.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        The problem with command economies is the same problem with the War on Drugs. What do you do with the people who refuse to play by the rules? Eventually, you’re stuck with either shrugging and giving up or you choose law enforcement.

        Law enforcement has downsides when you’re using it for stuff that, individually, isn’t a moral issue but, collectively, has been decided is a collective action problem by people less likely to have law enforcement looking into their own private lives.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        All I’m asking is that they be treated the same way.

        Does that also mean that nobody is allowed to bring up one of those topics without bringing up all of them, every time? Because sometimes that’s what it seems like.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Dand,
        All I’m fucking asking for is for the people who say “never again” to mean it.
        And to stop protesting at the holocaust museum when they have new exhibits.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw

        I’m curious how my post prompted that response.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Agreed. We should ban Marx, who lived a century before Stalin but whose ideas inspired him, every bit as much as we ban Richard Wagner.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        If we ban Marx, we should also ban Heideger. To the point where we can’t even bring him up in comments without misspelling his name first.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I noticed Dand’s comment only in that it shows how frozen our dialogue is here in America.
        Its reflexively assumed that Marxism and Nazism are the twin poles of political thought, and everything either moves towards or away from one or the other poles.
        Its assumed also that all non-market political thought flows from the single source of Marx’s writings.
        I discovered that this isn’t remotely true. While the most famous experiments in socialism were Marxis in origin, there are plenty of examples from the 19th century of collective theory that developed independently of Marx.

        For instance, John Ruskin and William Morris became disgusted with the Victorian industrial age, and criticized industrialized capitalism from a viewpoint different than Marx. Charles Dickens was more savage and pointed in his critiques of capitalism and aristocracy than Marx was, but he veiled it behind the form of fiction writing.

        In America, groups like The Grange developed and promoted collective communal order, very socialist in form, that had nothing to do with Marxist thought.
        There were also various religious groups like the Amish and Mormons who had no difficulty incorporating collective and communal views of property and the individual.

        Marx was one, but only one, of the many critics of the new industrial order which was married to the old aristocratic order.

        These other non-Marxist forms of organization didn’t have economics as we understand them as their basis- they came out of a broader view from culture and religion, mingled with contemporary politics and ethnic interests.

        Socialism isn’t the polar opposite of Nazism- We who were raised in the late 20th century have only known a bipolar world of twin economic systems. We are a bit like Europeans in the 17th century who could only envision a world of dueling Catholic and Protestant orders.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw

        In my view there are certain things that are more important than the market and economics and this means ensuring that all people have decent healthcare, food, water, clothing, shelter, and a decent and dignified.

        For all the cracks that you take at libertarians, maybe one day on a lark, you should actually learn something about libertarianism.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        If we’re banning Hei.degger, then out of a sense of fairness, we should also ban Witt.genstein.

        Oh wait, already done.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @lwa

        To add to your point, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was also written against the economic order that was still largely intact in the 19th Century, including colonialism. He certainly wasn’t criticising socialism, since that didn’t exist yet.

        I think the concept of a left-right is vastly overused as an analytical tool, and this leads people to oversimplify the controversies that exist among economic systems. To look at the 20th Century alone, you has Communism, the related but distinct Democratic Socialism, you had Corporatism that was common to both fascist and democratic countries (it just expressed itself a little differently due to the different political systems). Then you had what I’ll call Free-Market Capitalism for lack of a better label (though it is a terrible label), which was a fringe position up until the 1980s (Friedman was considered a kook by many for advocating a floating exchange rate, and Coase’s advocating of auctioning radio spectrum was considered similarly fringe during the mid-20th Century), and even now exists in practice more as a fusion with Corporatism than as a standalone-system. Attempting to fit these disparate economic systems onto a single linear scale is utterly meaningless.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        By the twentieth century though, and particularly after 1917, worldwide political thought *was* filtered through the lens of Marx & anti-Marx. The world order at the dawn of the 20th century was based on a few world-spanning empires, and later, after WW2, their remenants, all of whom had political & economic elites and thus governments who were educated in a “western” tradition which by then Marx was a big part.

        There wasn’t, by the 20th century, a signficant wholy organic anti-colonial movement anywhere, and thus there were none *not* influenced, in part, by Marxist thought. Which is not to say they bought the Party Line wholesale, just that the globalization of education brought about by 20th century communication and political structures made everyone read from the same books – and then people wrote their own.Report

  13. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    http://tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/190070/being-jewish-polite-society?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=post&utm_content=I+Probably+Won%E2%80%99t+Share+This+Essay+on+Twitter&utm_campaign=april2015

    An essay on what Jews, privilege, and what it means to count as Jewish in contemporary polite society.

    What is interesting is that I have a friend from undergrad whose reaction to these pieces is very different than mine. He called this essay complete BS but also thought that Lena Dunham’s “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz” was really anti-Semitic. I was not that angered by Dunham’s New Yorker essay and found some of the jokes to be funny. Others were just largely meh. He is also more likely to defend Noah’s tweets than I am.Report

  14. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    E1 — The woman needs to learn to keep our secrets.

    S1 — To me this is a “duh,” but I’m glad she is saying it and saying it well. We are not empty vessels into which cis people can pour their preoccupations. We are not symbols. We do not “represent.” I’m a person with a body, and it’s mine. Its meaning is mine to talk about.

    If you are a reader or viewer who consumes media, and if you are cis, then it is then likely that you have seen dozens if not hundreds of representations of trans people, mostly trans women. Chances are none of those were primarily created by a trans person, and even those that were, they were likely guided by a cis editor or producer and selected according to its conformity to cis preconceptions. Thus mostly they are a product cis people, who use us as tools to express their thought about sex and gender. But these thoughts are not our thoughts.

    Which gives you a false view of us. Perhaps you care about that. Perhaps you do not.Report

  15. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    B4 — Funny story, I know this trans woman who liked to brag about the size of her junk. No really. It’s hilarious to watch.

    Funnier story, according to my g/f, who is in a position to know, mine is bigger.

    Which anyway, this mean we all live in a world where (some) women brag about their dick size. Take that, patriarchy!Report

  16. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    M1: I’d have preferred a little more discussion of *how* 9-to-5 became the “standard” work schedule.

    Also, I do agree that I generally feel better when I start work around noon as opposed to around 8 or 9, but the world isn’t set up to work that way. Most service businesses assume, even in 2015, that every American household has a father who works and a wife who stays home during the day and can run to the post office or the store, wait for deliveries or workers, and so on.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DensityDuck
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      says:

      Labor union activism is how nine to five became part of the standard workday. One of the biggest fights for labor unions was the fight for an eight hour day. “Eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, and eight hours for what we will.” Before 9 to 5 became the typical work day, workers often labored for twelve or fourteen hours a day like they did in pre-industrial times with few or any breaks. An eight hour day was considered a very important thing to fight for so that workers could have more leisure and sleep time.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Which doesn’t really answer the question, why those eight hours?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Alan, I imagine its because nine is early but not too early in a day. You could get up at a reasonable hour, eat breakfast, and get to work. You still have a lot of sunlight at many times of the years. Five in the afternoon is late but not too late. During the summer, you still have several hours of sunlight to enjoy. You can do things after you get after work. You don’t have to wolf something down, wash up, and go to bed. People lived a lot closer to their work in the pre-car era, when agitation for the eight hour day started, so commuting didn’t take that much time out of your day.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        It’s because Dolly Parton couldn’t get the meter nor the rhyme scheme to work on “Working Eight-Thirty to Five-Fifteen with a Half-Hour Lunch and Two Other Ten-Minute Breaks at Some Part of the Day, What a Way to Make a Living”

        I’d bet that there is a narrow section of the population that ever actually worked the exact hours 9 am to 5 pm, but likely the average between blue collar shift work and white collar “banker’s hours” averaged out to start/stop times around those begining around WW2.Report

  17. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    [C2] In the article, the author claims that he’s complaining about the length of copyright terms, but what he mostly does is complain about how hard it is to get licensing permission.

    If I want to park my car in my neighbor’s driveway while I unload some stuff from my garage, and he’s not around to say it’s OK, that is not an indictment of the concept of private property.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DensityDuck
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      says:

      The two are not unrelated, though. The distance of time makes the accessibility a bigger obstacle. There is the underpinning assumption and frustration that, while “private property” should exist, we’re dealing with something that has passed the point where it should be considered private. If you don’t share that assumption, I can see how that wouldn’t resonate.

      I’ve been trying to track down the copyright status of my great-grandfather’s work. It’s… extremely frustrating. Underpinning all of this is “I can’t believe I even have to worry about it for works that are almost 90 years old, the author and all of his children all dead.”Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        My house can be owned by me (or the people to whom I designate it in a will) forever, so long as the taxes get paid on it. And I don’t see anyone arguing “you’ve had that house in your family plenty long enough, it should go back to country ownership and they can sell it as they see fit”.

        So, no, I guess I don’t share the assumption that there’s a length of time after which property stops being ownable.

        Because that’s not what you’re complaining about. You’re complaining that it’s hard to get permission, and that can apply to something that just got published yesterday.

        Maybe what needs to happen is a sort of Harry Fox agency for *everything*, not just music. That wouldn’t help stuff created 90 years ago, though (but I’d think that finding documentation on *anything* that happened 90 years ago would be difficult.)Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        @densityduck

        If there is a piece of property & no one has a deed to it, should it not revert to the state?

        Also, with regard to copyright, there was an actual point to limiting the time of ownership in order to better advance the evolution of thought and reason.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        The analogy with physical property isn’t that great, though. Intellectual properties are not rival goods. We create scarcity artificially with intellectual property because we recognize that it creates incentives. But nonrival goods are a pretty sweet deal for everybody, so it would be a real shame to eliminate the “zero scarcity” property from a good forever if we don’t have to.

        If the reason we create that artificial scarcity is to create incentives for production, then the length of time that artificial scarcity persists should only be long enough that it makes a real difference in the incentive to produce. I just don’t see that many people saying, “I’d write that novel, but my great grandchildren won’t see a dime in royalties, so why bother?”Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        @troublesome-frog Not to mention retroactive extensions, which belie the very point given that the work in question has already been created. There is the underlying assumption – that DD doesn’t share – that encouraging production is the point rather than artist compensation and moral rights.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        Unfortunately, continual statutory extensions of copyright have made a hash out of the basic vehicle of intellectual property: the artificial monopoly expires at some point so that the pool of artistic achievements available to the general public expands to the benefit our collective intellectual and cultural life. In order for that to happen, intellectual property at some point must enter the public domain.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        It should be worth noting, if you die and nobody moves into your house, it’ll take a lot less than 70 years for the government to seize it as abandoned property.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        “Intellectual properties are not rival goods.”

        Bringing up the notion of “rivalrous goods” is actually not useful to discussions of property rights. In an intellectual-property context, the good at hand is not the property itself but the authority to give access to it. It’s not about how many copies were made; it’s about whether or not copies were made at all.

        To return to my example, if I park on my neighbor’s driveway without permission then I’m trespassing and he can sue me for it. Even if he never uses the driveway. Even if it could hold ten cars, easy. Even if I was done and gone before he got home.

        ********

        “There is the underlying assumption…that encouraging production is the point rather than artist compensation and moral rights.”

        You look at this as a good thing, but what if it’s more like society telling artists “sure, you’ve made significant contributions to the overall intellectual culture, but what have you done for us lately?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        @densityduck

        “sure, you’ve made significant contributions to the overall intellectual culture, but what have you done for us lately?“

        You say this like it’s a bad thing?

        Why should we allow an artist, or an engineer, to do something amazing & then rest on their laurels for the entirety of their lives (and in the case of copyright , their kids lives; & with corporate owners, that life might be very long indeed)? Markets & economies move forward & grow in large part from the incentive to come up with something new because that old thing is only going to take you so far.

        I recall previous discussions here where the idea of the owner paying a fee to maintain a copyright was floated, such that a copyright is only worth holding on to until it no longer makes enough money to pay the registration fee.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        Copyright has a *LOT* of collateral damage.

        I remember Jerry Pournelle shaming one of those “shorter copyright” nutballs by saying something like “we’re only now reaching the point where we have the technology to make a movie based on Ringworld or Mote in God’s Eye… why would you be arguing to take food out of my mouth or the mouth of my children?”

        A few months later, he was complaining about how he couldn’t get any of a number of books that he loved in the 1960’s because they were falling apart and Google Books couldn’t copy them to their archive and we were losing decades’ worth of knowledge and culture. He closed by saying something to the effect of “maybe I need to rethink this long copyright thing.”Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        In an intellectual-property context, the good at hand is not the property itself but the authority to give access to it.

        I’ll stipulate that the right to restrict access to intellectual property is a good, but it’s definitely not the only relevant good in the conversation. There’s something else that’s being consumed, and if there wasn’t, the right to restrict access to that thing would not be a valued good at all. And that good can be consumed in infinite amounts, which is incredibly rare and pretty amazing. So we have two goods. The second one is what gives value to the first and the persistence of the first one reduces the value of the second but which also incentivizes the creation of the second.

        To go back to the driveway, imagine the driveway is infinitely large and can accommodate everybody at no cost to the owner. Sure, we still have the question of his right to control the property, but we’re weighing that against free parking for everybody forever. It’s enough to make some people say, “Why did we all agree to a regime of artificially restricted parking in order to construct a property right for one person to limit an otherwise infinite resource?”

        “sure, you’ve made significant contributions to the overall intellectual culture, but what have you done for us lately?“

        I’m not advocating a really short period for copyright. Hell, I’d settle for the life of the artist or some reasonable minimum, whichever is longer. It’s just that we’ve reached a point where it looks like we plan to extend everything off into infinity, which would be a pretty large social loss incurred to pay people who are really far removed from those contributions.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, I botched that tag. Blah.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        “imagine the driveway is infinitely large and can accommodate everybody at no cost to the owner. ”

        You say ‘owner’, which implies some sort of property rights, in which case it’s not actually relevant that the driveway is infinitely large. The owner is allowed to determine who can and cannot park there.

        If you want to say “well that’s not fair, he can’t possibly use an infinitely large driveway all by himself”, then I’d like to introduce you to Stan who lives in a van down by the river and could certainly use some refrigerator space to keep food in and a clean bathroom to crap in. Surely you don’t use ALL of your refrigerator space, and there are hours and hours during the day when you aren’t in your bathroom crapping; why can’t Stan use the excess capacity of your property?

        “I’d settle for the life of the artist or some reasonable minimum, whichever is longer.”

        But you also say

        “Why should we allow an artist, or an engineer, to do something amazing & then rest on their laurels for the entirety of their lives”

        Make up your mind.

        Note that until 1976, US copyright law worked the way you wanted it to; you had to pay a fee to register, and that registration was only for a limited term.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @densityduck

        You replied to 2 different commenters, who have not coordinated responses, so no, we haven’t made up our minds.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        Your argument sounds like it hinges on two assumptions that everybody doesn’t necessarily share:

        1) “Ownership” is the last word in anything. There’s some sort of cosmic rule and nothing is more fundamental, so any further debate is unnecessary. Protons, neutrons, electrons, and ownership.
        2) “Ownership” is the same whether it’s, “We don’t take Bob’s hammer because that would deprive him of a hammer,” or, “Bob said that thing first, so we all agree not to say that thing.”

        Regarding 1, I suppose we just have different value systems. My experience is that the universe doesn’t care if I get my stuff stolen or if I get eaten by flesh eating bacteria, so it seems to me that property rights are something we created artificially for a reason, and the importance and applicability of it may vary by situation. I could certainly see the argument that if you own something that can be used by others without depriving you of any utility at all, it might be moral or good policy to require that you allow it. Apparently in your framework, that idea is simply a nonstarter that requires no further analysis. Such is life.

        Regarding 2, I’m not sure what to say. There seem to be a lot of good reasons to treat intellectual and physical property differently, assuming one doesn’t just use axiom 1 and some rhetorical sleight of hand to get the word “ownership” into the conversation and settle the argument that way. If a single company, say, held a patent on the concept of gears even now, we’d probably be a much poorer society. But that’s a question of policy and outcome rather than a moral one, so it may have no place at all in this discussion.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m really enjoying this subthread. So much so that I hope to have a post up next week on it.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m liking this subthread as well.
        I think Troublesome From touches on the point, that we recognize property rights to advance a goal.
        Asserting that “X is a right” as if it were a trump card, the last word in any discussion is one of the things I disliked most about the 1970’s era liberals.

        Its a very fundamentalist way of looking at things.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        A man one came up to Ayn Rand and asked her to teach him the whole of morality while he stood on one foot. She told him

        What is yours is yours; anyone who says otherwise is a moocher or a looter. This is the whole Truth. The rest is merely commentary. Go and learn.

        Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Does Pournelle really think he wrote Ringworld?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        And how hard did he try to track down Dante’s heirs to pay for the rights to the Inferno?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m sure that his quote had to do with Mote rather than Ringworld.

        Forget I mentioned Ringworld. The error was mine, not his.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        “Regarding 1, I suppose we just have different value systems. My experience is that the universe doesn’t care if I get my stuff stolen or if I get eaten by flesh eating bacteria, so it seems to me that property rights are something we created artificially for a reason, and the importance and applicability of it may vary by situation.”

        Congratulations, you agree that all property is a fiction! Oh wait, you think that refutes what I’m saying? When in fact it’s what I’ve been saying all along? Welp.

        Property is a fiction; therefore we can define fictional things as property, and treat them the same way. Fish quotas are traded and sold, and that’s nothing more than an arbitrary number the government decides on before the season opens.

        “I could certainly see the argument that if you own something that can be used by others without depriving you of any utility at all, it might be moral or good policy to require that you allow it.”

        You beg the question of whether a thing can be used by others without depriving me of any utility at all.

        A copy of a song is not property. The authority to create a copy is property. It is, in fact, why they call it “copyright”.

        “There seem to be a lot of good reasons to treat intellectual and physical property differently”

        Liiiiiiike…?

        “If a single company, say, held a patent on the concept of gears even now, we’d probably be a much poorer society.”

        There are actually quite a few patents on gears out there, so I don’t know what you’re trying to argue here. If you want to claim that someone would have patented the idea of two mechanical rotating elements with intermeshing protrusions wherein the rotation of one element transferred a torque to the other, I’ll reply that the patent office does reject patents for being too broad (not to mention at least five hundred years of prior art.)

        Besides, you could easily argue that restrictions drive innovation. I read an account by one guy, a graphics developer for Spore, about how he had to write a new tetrahedron-rendering module because there was a patent on the one he was familiar with. It never seemed to occur to him that he’d written a new tetrahedron-rendering module, and someone might way that was way more creative and useful than making the Humpasaur possible.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Congratulations, you agree that all property is a fiction! Oh wait, you think that refutes what I’m saying?

        The key point isn’t just that property rights are social constructs. It’s that they were constructed for a reason. For some, the reason seems to be “Because it’s the RIGHT THING and anything else is morally WRONG.” I think there are more concrete reasons that enable a cost/benefit analysis, and that the costs and benefits of different type of property are different. You don’t seem to think so, but I’m not seeing much in the way of convincing argument, probably because you haven’t articulated why you think the concept of property should exist.

        You beg the question of whether a thing can be used by others without depriving me of any utility at all.

        I can’t think of a more conditional way to say it than to use the word “if.” If you can suggest something that begs the question any less, I’m all ears.

        Liiiiiiike…?

        Well, I guess I’ll start at the very beginning as I’ve clearly assumed too much. Let’s go back to the reasons for creating the artificial construct of private property. On the “benefits” side, we can list things like the efficient allocation of resources, incentives to produce, and a framework for resolving conflicts over who has the right to use a scarce resource. On the “costs” side, there’s a little bit, but not much. You owning a hammer deprives me of the right to use it whenever I want without asking, but only one person can use a hammer at any given time. Even with a pretty efficient timesharing system, the loss of use is pretty minimal. There are obviously resources where this would be less true (parking), but on the other hand, for consumable resources like food or raw materials, there’s really no loss. Only one person can consume them, so we’re really not giving up anything and we get all of those benefits for free. It’s generally a pretty big average net win.

        On the intellectual property side, we have only one of those benefits as far as I can see: incentive to produce. That’s a big one. But there’s no conflict resolution framework as the natural state of things is “everybody uses any ideas that are out there.” And there’s no stewardship of resources because the resource is infinite. Unfortunately, the cost side is effectively a worst-case version of the costs of physical property. Unencumbered, intellectual property could be used by an infinite number of people without getting used up or displacing anybody, so that’s potentially a lot of users that don’t get to use it who otherwise would have.

        So as I see it, they’re different in very practical ways.

        I’ll reply that the patent office does reject patents for being too broad (not to mention at least five hundred years of prior art.

        Then we’re lucky we didn’t have infinitely-lived intellectual property 500 or 1000 years ago when the blanket concept of a gear was arguably not too broad. Because IP that lasts forever really lasts forever. Over that time, a whole lot of ideas that used gears freely would be paying for or working around patents, and that wouldn’t be ending until somebody came up with an alternative.

        Besides, you could easily argue that restrictions drive innovation.

        I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I suspect that if somebody said that a high tax on fossil fuel would drive energy innovation and be good for us, you’d be one of the first people to point out (correctly) that while that may be true, making the first best option too expensive in order to spur innovation is not likely to be a net win. It’s more likely to be broken windows productivity.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        “I’m not seeing much in the way of convincing argument, probably because you haven’t articulated why you think the concept of property should exist.”

        If you’re going to take this all the way back to the fundamental question of whether property should even exist as a concept, then I guess we aren’t really talking about copyright anymore.

        “On the intellectual property side, we have only one of those benefits as far as I can see: incentive to produce.”

        If everyone can copy the intellectual property for free–as in, zero transaction cost to them, they don’t even have to ask me if they can make a copy–then what’s my incentive to produce? I guess there’s some degree of social capital, but until Subway starts giving out free sandwiches to people who are Really Well Known In The MMORPG Community, social capital isn’t going to do much more than produce a mild increase in serotonin production.

        “There’s no stewardship of resources because the resource is infinite.”

        You keep saying this, and I keep telling you that you’re wrong, and you keep ignoring me.

        The “property” of intellectual property is the permission to create copies. It’s why I brought up the example of the Infinite Parking Lot. Even if one person parking doesn’t deprive other people of the ability to park, it’s still allowed for me to charge admission fees.

        “I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I suspect that if somebody said that a high tax on fossil fuel would drive energy innovation and be good for us, you’d be one of the first people to point out (correctly) that while that may be true, making the first best option too expensive in order to spur innovation is not likely to be a net win.”

        Fracking wasn’t worth doing until oil was $120 a barrel. Now oil (and automobile fuel) is quite a bit less expensive, due primarily to fracking bring American petrochemical sources online. Lower fuel costs is a good thing for lower-wealth and lower-income people, because fuel prices are a fixed cost and don’t scale with income.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        If everyone can copy the intellectual property for free–as in, zero transaction cost to them, they don’t even have to ask me if they can make a copy–then what’s my incentive to produce?

        To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

        Nobody here is contesting this. (Except perhaps you, on the “limited times” part.)Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        If you’re going to take this all the way back to the fundamental question of whether property should even exist as a concept, then I guess we aren’t really talking about copyright anymore.

        If you’re going to take a complete argument from first principles and pretty much just toss it out without so much as a sniff, I think that’s my cue to start putting a lot less effort into this.

        You keep saying this, and I keep telling you that you’re wrong, and you keep ignoring me.

        No, I understand exactly what you’re saying. Adding in the words “You’re wrong,” doesn’t really add much to it.

        We talked about begging the question upthread a bit, and this looks like it to me. This argument boils down to, “Creating artificial scarcity is good because it provides a mechanism for rationing the artificially scarce good.”

        Adding the ability to charge admission for an infinitely large parking lot might be good because it incentivizes the building of infinitely large parking lots. But you can’t make the argument that it’s also good because it encourages the efficient use of infinite parking area. That’s solving a problem that didn’t exist–a problem that only exists for finite resources.

        Rationing finite resources is a feature. Rationing infinite resources is a necessary evil with costs and benefits. So they’re different in a very practical sense and one can make policy decisions based on those differences.

        Fracking wasn’t worth doing until oil was $120 a barrel. Now oil (and automobile fuel) is quite a bit less expensive, due primarily to fracking bring American petrochemical sources online.

        Then I assume you’d be totally on board if we started taxing the crap out of fracking because that would create really strong incentives for an even better solution, right? In fact, once that better thing was invented, we could keep people from using it in order to encourage the creation of something even better! I bet I can think of some other resources that I could turn the crank on to really get us innovating. Poisoning the water supply, maybe.

        Or was this just an exception you tossed out to be contrary and draw attention away from the fact that the overall principle is completely true?Report

  18. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    W1: Every year, dozens of Russian reporters and opposition politicians set themselves of fire and throw themselves off rooftops.Report

  19. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    C2: One of things I would do if I had infinite amounts of money is buy up the rights to the entire DC and Marvel catalogs and forbid anyone to use those characters in any way. Maybe we’d get films worth seeing again.Report

  20. Avatar Jesse Ewiak
    Ignored
    says:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-post-indiana-future-christian-religious-liberty-gay-rights

    Rod Dreher’s post about how Christian’s being forced to serve wedding cake to gay customers will lead to “true” Christian’s becoming second class citizens having to hide their true feelings to be successful in evil, secular America.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jesse Ewiak
      Ignored
      says:

      Oddly enough, I just saw an approving tweet from an otherwise sensible (and non-Christian, if that matters) fellow.

      The Battle of Indiana is doing weird things to a lot of people.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
      Ignored
      says:

      Didn’t Jesus tell a story about people who wouldn’t come to a wedding? Did *HE* celebrate the fact that they had every right to not show up if they didn’t feel like it?Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jesse Ewiak
      Ignored
      says:

      One line from the article just jumped out at me:

      Kingsfield said that the core of the controversy, both legally and culturally, is the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (1992), specifically the (in)famous line, authored by Justice Kennedy, that at the core of liberty is “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” As many have pointed out — and as Macintyre well understood — this “sweet mystery of life” principle (as Justice Scalia scornfully characterized it) kicks the supporting struts out from under the rule of law, and makes it impossible to resolve rival moral visions except by imposition of power.

      Myself, I’d rather be honest about power. Which is to say, yes these are expressions of power, but when someone tells me what my gender is, and then points to a rulebook that says what I must do — somehow that is not power? Somehow the social force applied by religious bigots was never power?

      He complains that “the craven business community will drag the Republican Party along wherever the culture is leading.” Fine. But are we supposed to feel sad about this, when his sides tries to drag the Republican Party to a place where it would make my life unlivable?

      His religion has a long history of aggressively using state power to oppress LGBT people. Likewise, his religion has a long history of aggressively using non-state power to oppress us. His religion, to me, is one of oppression, where every mode of oppression has been used in every possible way, and this continues, as perhaps gays can marry now, in many places, but trans women remain basically shit. And his religion continues its frantic quest to destroy me in any way it can.

      The culture war is really kind of a war. It always has been.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh, another one:

        And on the cultural front? Cultural pressure is going to radically reduce orthodox Christian numbers in the years go come. The meaning of what it means to be a faithful Christian is going to come under intense fire, Kingsfield said, not only from outside the churches, but from within. There will be serious stigma attached to standing up for orthodox teaching on homosexuality.

        OMG the cognitive dissonance required to write this!

        An anti-gay Christian is seriously concerned that they will face “stigma” due to their teachings — except of course those teaching are precisely to maximize all possible stigma forced upon LGBT people.

        This is the bully crying crocodile tears after his victim punches back.

        And yes, I very much hope that this flavor of anti-gay Christianity falls broadly out of favor.

        Hearts and minds change. Bigots pay a price they did not previously pay. They bellow in outrage.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        Two more, omg:

        And for secondary education? Kingsfield teaches at one of the top universities in the country, a gateway to elite advancement, but says he’s not sure he would want his kids attending there. It depends on God’s calling. He remains there because for now, he sees that he has a mission to mentor undergraduates who need a professor like him to help them deal with the things coming at them.

        One of those “things coming at them” is of course me, along with my terrifying gender-power. Rah!

        The poor “undergraduate” might be required to call me the correct pronouns. But thankfully “Kingsfield” is there to help them struggle through.

        “That generation is superseded by Social Justice Warriors in their thirties who don’t believe that they should respect anybody who doesn’t respect them.”

        Uh. I mean, just, uh.

        Really?

        Is this a Poe’s law thing? I mean, it doesn’t look like a Poe’s law thing. But that line?

        I can’t even.Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        Veronica:

        As I see it, there are two possible interpretations. 1. He is trying to increase his views by trolling his own readers with ever-increasing levels of idiocy.

        2. For complex reasons relating to the fact that his own family hates him, he is desperate (no, DESPERATE) to be persecuted. He will find persecution in the slightest relaxation of his utterly-unearned privileges.

        It’s kinda funny. Many of the comments are quite thoughtful and temperate, even educational. He virtually never comments on those comments. But every single time that a reader posts a comment to the effect of ‘You Christians have it coming”, he chirps right in with his not-so-famous Law of Merited Impossibility (to wit: Liberals say that Christians will never be persecuted but when they are liberals will argue that they deserve it).

        Nuance is not his strong suit. People on his side are thoughtful, complex, moral, occasionally inconsistent … you know, human. Liberals, by contrast, are all identically humorless scolds.

        30 years ago he’d been on a soapbox in the middle of some public park. Today he’s got a well-read blog. It’s a funny old world.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        @veronica-d

        One of those “things coming at them” is of course me, along with my terrifying gender-power. Rah!

        There has to be the plot for an independent superhero movie in there somewhere 😉Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        His religion has a long history of aggressively using state power to oppress LGBT people.

        That wasn’t exactly its biggest target. And everything Dreher says about how Christianity will lose itself if it’s forced to treat gays as equals was likewise true not that long ago historically if you substitute “Jews”.Report

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