Morning Ed: World {2016.08.08.M}


Will Truman

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

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85 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    Seriously? Linker’s article is hardly brutal. He just comes off as a xenophobe. Damn right she didn’t treat people as a mere means. Damn right she conformed to the universal moral law. Damn right she paid what we owe to all persons as a basic matter of human right. She did it when the rest of us would not. She is a frickin saint and Linker should be happy and honoured to kiss her feet.Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC says:

      …because if her pursuit of lofty goals shreds the EU, it won’t be her fault, it will be the fault of the voters for voting wrong.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      There is no such thing as universal moral law. There is the 1951 Refugee Convention, but more than half of the the people seeking asylum are determined not to be refugees.

      2015 Refugee Recognition Rate:
      EU: 41.5%
      Germany: 57.1%
      EU minus Germany: 30.2%

      There are various ways to look at these figures, but at face value, most of these migrants are not protected by the Convention, and Merkel’s public statements encouraging refugees to go to Germany, possibly coupled with more lenient processing, has meant Germany has created a collective action problem.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      She is a frickin saint and Linker should be happy and honoured to kiss her feet.

      Kool aid anyone?Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Vox published a Sunday feature on when fandom and shipping gets ugly and becomes ideological warefare:

    1. I find it odd that our new Intellectuals spend their culture sections deconstructing fandom, celebrity gossip, and discussing cartoons instead of reviewing film, theatre, dance, books, music, etc. Philip Rahv and Mary McCarthy and Dwight MacDonald are rolling in their graves.

    2. Doesn’t all this fighting just become emotionally draining and take the fun out of the original material?

    3. I gotta admit that when I see people passionately declare a ship and that they are seeing the truth, I often don’t see it. I did not see the secret homoeroticism in the latest Star Wars movie between Oscar Isaac’s character and the rebel Stormtrooper. Yet all over the Internet, I saw a lot of people declare that the eroticism was real!!!

    4. A friend of mine declared that the tensions exist because fans often exist as unpaid marketing departments for rich people and major corporations. I gotta say that I don’t get this argument either. No one asked the fans to set up websites, mailing lists, conventions, etc.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      You know that whole “matter of taste vs. matter of morality” distinction that some people make from time to time?

      Your entertainments are no longer a matter of taste.
      They are now a matter of morality.

      Welcome to the new puritanism.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      1. There was always a certain type of intellectual drawn to studying and writing about the masses or society rather than high culture. We see more of this now because fewer people are exposed to high culture in their formative years.

      2. People get very emotionally invested in literature and the characters they like in it sometimes for centuries. People have been deeply moved by Romeo & Juliet, Tiny Tim, and countless others for a long time. Since people have more leisure time on their hands and ways to communicate with other fans, they get even more emotionally invested.

      3. I have a hard time seeing this to but I guess our brains aren’t wired that way. My tendency is to defer to the creators on these matters and just go along for the ride. What is really weird is when fans decide to ship characters from entirely different series into a couple.

      4. I actually think this arguments makes sense. The Japanese manga industry often used fans as a source of new talent. Many manga writers had their start as fan artists producing doujinshi. American corporations are doing the same. Fans can also spread the word of mouth of new and exciting movies, shows, and comics that they heard about at a convention panel for free. Its true that nobody asked the fans to do this but fans do it anyway and the media corporations have made use of this. Fans expect something in compensation back.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      3. I gotta admit that when I see people passionately declare a ship and that they are seeing the truth, I often don’t see it. I did not see the secret homoeroticism in the latest Star Wars movie between Oscar Isaac’s character and the rebel Stormtrooper. Yet all over the Internet, I saw a lot of people declare that the eroticism was real!!!

      It seems a bit weird to complain that people who are not straight white men who have never had any representation in the fiction are…basically just inventing representation and sharing it with others.

      That doesn’t seem like it’s a problem with *them*. It really seems like a problem with the people creating the stuff!

      That said…there are almost no TV shows that have *secret* relationships, or even pre-relationships. If a visual fiction wants to indicate that *something* is there, they will usually indicate it somehow.

      So it’s one thing to say ‘I see something here because I need this sort of thing to exist’, and it’s another to insist it’s real against the fact it’s not.

      But, OTOH, there is perhaps a relevant fanfic truth for this: All fiction is equally real.

      A Star Wars universe where Finn and Poe are flirting with each other is *just as real* as the Star Wars universe we got. That’s probably not the universe that the creators were trying to put on screen, but it’s not less ‘real’.

      I mean, I’ve talking about how death of the author is bogus. We have to look at author intent some, and a romantic relationship between Poe and Finn is probably not intent.

      But looking at authorial intent ‘some’ doesn’t meant we must completely ignore viewer interpretation.

      Is the problem that some people appear to be claiming it *is* the universe we got on screen?

      But are they? Are they actually confused about what appeared on screen, or are just mostly staying that in the same way that others talk about how the Endor holocaust ‘happened’? Or how people solve plot holes in fiction by talking about what ‘must have happen’ offscreen?

      I.e., aren’t they basically doing what *any* fan does, talking about the universe as if it’s real and poking at the edges of it?

      I have the feeling people dislike people queering shows *specifically* because they are operating within a paradigm where sexuality is a very important trait that surely would be mentioned if not heterosexual, and the reaction to the idea that, I dunno, Poe was operating as a spy for Luke the entire movie would be rather different.

      …hell, someone need to quickly check with Wicked fandom, to see if people complain about people finding queer subtext between Elphaba and Galinda…in a show that deliberately retcons an entire canon itself. Sure, rewrite every single personality trait of most of the supporting cast of the Wizard of Oz, but don’t you dare imply some characters are *gay*.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Oz Football: If it was ‘Murica there wouldn’t be this immigration problem! Can’t the rest of the world loosen up their immigration policies like we have and make the world a better place?!

    Crimea: Not really sure why we’re sanctioning Russia for a move that the target area wanted. Maybe ’cause we wanted to deny Russia their warm water port?

    Isle of Wight : Only if it’s not true.

    Merkel: “growing unease among European voters, who believe (and not without reason) that their leaders are prone to pursue policies, without popular consultation, that will drastically and negatively affect the quality of life in — and the linguistic, ethnic, economic, and religious character of — their nations….And the storm has only just begun to gather.” Yep. Nails it.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal says:

      People of Merkels authority are not aware of how contentious social constructs are before they add another ‘ideological’ layer.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    That Damon Linker piece was really, really good.

    Following WWII, the German male population was devastated and the labor shortage was addressed with southern European Gastarbeiters (among whom the Turks were the plurality). Generally, pretty much everybody thinks that this was a very, very good thing.

    I honestly think that Merkel was trying to do that again.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal says:

      Weren’t most German women that survived put into forced labor by the Russians? I seem to remember seeing that somewhere.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I think its a little different. After World War II, European intellectuals and politicians from across the political spectrum decided that populism combined with nationalism and any other form of communal identity could be very dangerous for obvious reasons. They set about creating a new political, economic, and social order that would be hopefully immune from the passions of the masses. They wanted to create a world where communal identities were irrelevant and everybody was an individual more than a member of a particular class, nation, or religion for the most part.

      What they forgot is that communal identities are very important to many people, that the downsides of their -project are going to be experienced at lower levels of society than the ones the architects of the project lived in, and that multiculturalism is not easy.Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal says:

        I think the reason it worked so well directly after WW2 in Germany, is that most of the social constructs were for the most part, minimal. The social constructors, east and west could build what they wanted atop the rubble.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      “I honestly think that Merkel was trying to do that again.”

      Of course, without the labor shortages.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Germany is aging. They’ll need domestic help.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          . . . but robots and suicide booths. Banking immigrants for a potential future demand for their offspring to change bed pans is speculative.

          Germany had a 0.4% unemployment rate around the time it initiated the Gastarbeiters guest worker program. The current official unemployment rate of 6.1% is buoyed by mini-jobs. Germany has a jobs-shortage, not a labor shortage.Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal says:

            “In order to drive employment in the bed pan changing industry there has to be 15% unemployment combined with 40% non-participation.”Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      So then, definitely treating them as means? 🙂

      Also, my memory is a little fuzzy on this, but wikipedia confirms my recollection that the original 1961 guest worker project was rather small compared to the much larger immigration in the 80s – which might or might not be classified as “post-war” depending on whether you mean it as a time marker or an era marker.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        But not *ONLY* as a means.

        You’re right about the 80’s. Maybe we could call that the middle of the Cold War. In any case, the point about it being pretty good for both the Germans and the Gastarbeiters strikes me as being at the heart of what Merkel was shooting for.

        But without the labor shortages, as PD Shaw aptly points out, Merkel is going to find herself likely to need to give full voting rights to every refugee if she wants to keep getting elected.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine says:

          If you means and end even a little bit, can you still claim deontological purity? Asking for a friend.

          Which leads to the interesting discussion I deleted about Germany’s Naturalization laws… which were much the topic in the 90s and updated in 2000 – such that they are no longer Blood based, but still not Soil based…

          Also, Syrians aren’t Turks… There were approximately 2M Turks of various degrees of naturalization… plunking 1M+ Syrians (the latest estimate) into the Turkish/German mix is in itself interesting. I’m not sure how the Turks will respond… the relationship with German naturalization is, complicated.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Which all comes back to the high trust/high collaboration thing.

            The narrative that seems to be organically coalescing as part of a feedback loop has a lot of little parts but one of them involves the refugees not collaborating.

            This feedback loop is going to get worse.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine says:

              Agreed, but building frameworks for cultural shifts is not a technocratic thing; or, maybe it might be, but they haven’t built the coursework for it yet.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            If you means and end even a little bit, can you still claim deontological purity?

            Honestly, I think that Kant Himself carved that out deliberately.

            Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.


            • Avatar Marchmaine says:

              Thanks! Kant for me is not canonical text. But that’s still an interesting statement [albeit without context].Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Context doesn’t improve it, really. He’s really a pain in the butt to read and, at the end of the day, Hume is still right.

                But he said some important stuff nevertheless.Report

    • Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth stolen in a thousand years of confiscation, forced expulsion, and outright theft shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood spilled in auto-da-fe, pogrom,and massacre shall be paid by another drawn with the gun or the bomb, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      When the US was playing Ecuador in some soccer competition, I was confused why everyone was watching some competition between East Carolina University and the University of South Alabama – and why the latter was so popular – until I figured it out.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I’m not gonna take a crap on anyone trying to remediate the situation as best they can, but the lack of thinking ahead is beyond maddening. They should have been working on all of this since Super Tuesday. If they’d had the infrastructure in place by June, Kasich might have been convinced. Instead they’ve perpetually been ten steps behind.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Why not just jump behind Johnson?

        Look at this, his most recent, tweet:

        Authoritarians like @realDonaldTrump use promises of law & order to justify infringing on civil rights as they consolidate control by force.— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) July 22, 2016


        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          Because he is running for a political party that has no desire, as best I can tell, for me as a voter to take them seriously?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            How seriously are you taking Evan McMullin?Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine says:

              Another Mormon?

              Love LinkedIn… not connected to him in any way. That’s kinda weird since I live in NoVA(-ish) and travel in conservative circles with think-tankers. Then again, some of my circles are so conservative they treat the internet like the periscope of a submarine… so maybe there’s that.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          I imagine that most #nevertrumpers are still socially conservative enough that they are not into legalized marijuana and sex work and what not.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          And I am with Lee, authoritarian seems to be the go to sneer for libertarians these days and it is treating dissenters with bad faith.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            And as we all know, “authoritarian” is a description best used by liberals to describe conservatives and when conservatives object that just proves that they’re anti-science too…

            In all seriousness, though, if they got the idea of calling Trump authoritarian, it more likely came from the Voxy left than it did from libertarians, who prefer statist.Report

            • Avatar Joe Sal says:

              Why do you say libertarians prefer the term statist?Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Because, generally, they do.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I just checked a few libertarian books I have and sure enough there are zero mentions of authoritarians. Most references are to bureaucrats or statists.

                I guess that is the difference between libertarians and anarchists. Anarchists are more defined by anti-authority while libertarians are more about limited government.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Well, I think there is a fine line between libertarians and anarchro-capitalists, but it does exist. And the term “statist” in more specific to what both dislike in the present form of gov’t, ie, that both the liberal and conservative (dem and repub) both believe that the best solution/default solution is for “gov’t to do something to fix” what ever is the societal problem…their use of gov’t just manifests differently.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                The reason I typically open it up to authoritarian is that there is the problem:
                “religion to do something to fix”
                “corporation to do something to fix”
                “military to do something to fix”
                “(social construct) to do something to fix”

                A lot of times if government can’t fix it, the answer will be sought some where else. I guess I should call it social construct seeking or something.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            That wasn’t the libertarian sneering at authoritarians, Saul.

            That was the new independent conservative candidate, Evan McMullin.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        In their (sort of) defense, the #NeverTrumpers have been working pretty hard to get someone with name recognition to build up excitement in order to get the ball rolling, but no one has been willing to step to the plate.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        I’m not gonna take a crap on anyone trying to remediate the situation as best they can, but the lack of thinking ahead is beyond maddening.

        No kidding.

        It’s amazing watching them swing back to what I was convinced was going to happen at the convention: A desperate attempt to nominate anyone but Trump.

        I was completely sure this was going to happen, that we’d either get someone else legitimately, or illegitimately, and it would totally blow up the party, but they’d see no other choice.

        …and then everyone else dropped out and it was too late…and they *didn’t even try* at nomination. And I said, ‘Well, hell, I feel dumb. I thought they would have realized that nominating Trump would be a horrible disaster, even worse disaster than pissing off their base, but I guess they did not.’

        And now they’re like ‘Whoa, we have to do something! We can’t nominate Trump! That will be a disaster! Even if it pisses off our base, we have to nominate someone else!’

        Basically exactly what I was thinking. So now I feel less dumb.

        The problem is…they literally *already nominated Trump*. It already happened. In the past.

        There’s a cliche that shows up in fiction occasionally: I’ve seen people bluff with bad cards before, but I’ve never seen anyone bluff with no cards.

        I’d like to introduce a new cliche along along those lines: I’ve seen people try Hail Mary passes before, but I’ve never seen anyone try one after the game is over.

        Edit: Or maybe the new cliche is, to paraphrase what Terry Pratchett and many other writers have used: It’s a zero in a million shot, but it *just* *might* *work*. Oh, wait, no, by definition it can’t work.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      If only there were already an excellent alternative to the turd buffet the two major parties have served up. Perhaps one polling at over 10%, with a successful track record of governing two different states.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Johnson/Weld seem to be averse to forming a mutually beneficial alliance. They seem to dislike Republican voters as much as Republican politicians, and more than they dislike Hillary Clinton and Democrats. Which of course means the end up helping Trump as much as Clinton.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Johnson/Weld seem to be averse to forming a mutually beneficial alliance.

          I wonder what the dealbreaker positions of Johnson/Weld are.

          One of them seems to be the “take me seriously” that RTod referred to. What are the other ones?

          I mean, what positions of Johnson’s inspired Rick Wilson to choose the McMullin hill to die on?Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            For a lot of people that were considering him, it was “Using Mormons as an example of oppressive religion we need to prevent from having access to the RFRA despite Utah being the state we could most likely win” that did him in.

            I don’t think that’s where Tod is coming from, though.

            Chances are better than not I’ll vote for Johnson/Weld if I don’t write someone in, but I’d be more likely to vote for Weld/Johnson and I’d be a lot more enthusiastic if it seems they were taking this seriously instead of flinging peas.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Heh. I hadn’t heard about his position on the RFRA.

              What is the the current line on the RFRA for good people like us?

              It’s a very important law that needs to be applied judiciously in order to protect people who practice weirdo religions?

              It’s a law that was important once but we’ve evolved past it so now we need to repeal it because Christians have started gaming the system and they’re using the RFRA?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                He’s in the “Bake the cake” school of thought. Which is going to run some right-leaning NeverTrumpers the wrong way. But he was less delicate on the issue than Clinton and Obama are, going on to say “Religious liberty as a category is a black hole.”

                He did clarify his comments in a piece for the Deseret News and said what he should have said the first time. Hard to unfire that bullet.

                The other thing is the Supreme Court. One of the biggest arguments for conservatives and right-leaners to vote for Trump is that he will probably be better (or less bad) for SCOTUS than Clinton. A good position might have been “more justices like Kennedy and O’Connor (or even Kennedy and Roberts)” but instead they went for Garland and Breyer.Report

              • “Religious liberty as a category is a black hole.”

                Which it is. If applied over-broadly, it’s a license to evade all anti-discrimination law because religion. But again, presidential candidates can’t afford to tell the truth.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Freedom of speech has its limitations, but there is a difference between saying that “freedom of speech is important but must be balanced against other considerations” (like threatening speech, state secrets, etc) and “freedom of speech is a black hole” (because it can be taken too far).

                In the case of Johnson, his initial answer came off much more in line with the latter than the former. His follow-up came across as the former, but it is apparent how he views the subject.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                Counter intuitive thought experiment for the day:

                Religious Liberty is a black hole; signing a concordat with various religions defines the contour of the hole; but signing a concordat runs afoul of other parts of the constitution.

                So, if we’re going to abrogate the constitution, let’s do it by way of concordats.

                {I recognize that people here will dispute that religious liberty cannot be prudentially legislated within the current framework – but I’m challenging that that framework will hold consensus much longer – on either side}Report

              • Avatar El Muneco says:

                I agree re: consensus. At this point in the culture wars, you start at 70% (*) max popularity, since 15% of the people will think any accommodation will positively go too far, and 15% will think no accommodation could possibly go far enough.

                I’m drifting more and more into one of these camps.

                (*) Numbers made up on the fly and are 84.2% likely to be bullshit.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                Utah does not have a RFRA, which makes an interesting point here. In states like Utah, the religious concerns of Mormons are baked into the legislation w/o an RFRA; its religious groups like the Native American Church or Seventh Day Adventists who would want a Utah RFRA, just like Mormons would like RFRAs in the Deep South.

                IOW, there is a principled objection to be made that Utah cannot complain about religious liberty, if its not guaranteeing it for its own religious minorities.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                Or we just accelerate the big sort.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The Big Sort is going to get bigger and sortier over the next decade or so.

                You know that argument over which states are net tax payers and which states are net tax sponges? Get ready to polish up either your favorite counter-arguments or counter-counter-arguments because you’re going to be able to start using the hell out of them.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:


            • Avatar Aaron David says:

              “Chances are better than not I’ll vote for Johnson/Weld if I don’t write someone in”


            • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

              I don’t think that’s where Tod is coming from, though.

              This is true.

              Tod is more coming from the point of view that he’s not voting for the GOP this time around because they appear to be rapidly moving toward being the kind of clusterfish-in-a-sack party that would nominate someone like Bruce Majors to congress/mayor, put him on their website, and let him run his campaign out of their national headquarters. To Tod, moving toward becoming that kind of party is a bad thing that should not in any way be rewarded.

              So Tod sure as hell not going to vote for the nominee of the party that’s already there.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                That seems to me like the opposite of the direction that Johnson and Weld represent to the LP. They represent an attempt at mainstreaming. Have Johnson/Weld done anything in particular to alienate you even as a protest vote, or is it just as long as they are Libertarians it just won’t happen?Report

          • Avatar Autolukos says:

            Most complaints seem to be that they’re dovish and socially liberal, which leaves me scratching my head over what the complainer thought libertarians were.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        You mean Clinton/Kaine, right?


  5. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    So Donald Trump has been picking up endorsements right and left.

    That would be left and left.Report

  6. Ofsted chair apologises for calling Isle of Wight a ghetto full of inbreeding

    It’s all a misunderstanding cause by his Mayfair accent. He was talking about the Right side of the aisle: the Pauls, the Bushes, the Podhoretzes, the Kristols, etc. It’s the Habsburgs all over again.Report