Morning Ed: Europe {2016.09.22.Th}

Will Truman

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

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40 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    Re: sex work: Well, the argument is valid as far as it goes and it doesn’t invoke any premises that anybody here is prepared to reject. After all, what reason is there to stigmatise sex work?

    But still, it is deeply counter-intuitive. One way out is about being sensitive to people’s religious and cultural sensibilities. Maybe you shouldn’t recommend sex work when it is generally stigmatised for the same reason you shouldn’t recommend working in a pig farm to Jews or Muslims. When we try to systematise this option, what we get is the idea that there is and ought to be a space in our shared lives where our prejudices are free to operate and where there is little demand to examine them…

    …Or we could do the thing where some poor sod gets to be told that the job they are most suited for is sex work.Report

    • j r in reply to Murali says:

      The obvious question for me is “why?” Have schools solved all of their other problems to the point where they need to be fighting battles over whether they can or cannot, should or should not be recommending that students go into sex work? Are there kids out there with great potential for happy and fulfilling work in the sex industry that are being deprived of this guidance?

      And if there isn’t any real need for schools to be doing this in the first place, why is it taking up oxygen in a political conversation. Have the Lib Dems of Cheltenham solved all of their other issues?

      One of the reasons that I generally self-identify as a libertarian is that I understand that when organizations make ill-conceived moves outside of their core constituency into areas where there isn’t much demand for their services in the first place, they tend to fail. If we are talking about the private sector, firms that do this tend to be punished. I want to hold public sector organizations to the same discipline.

      This is the perfect example of a political conversation that serves no policy-related purpose. It has absolutely nothing to do with education. It exists purely to allow people to signal whether they are the sort of person who doesn’t mind schools recommending sex work or the sort of person who won’t stand for it.Report

      • Murali in reply to j r says:

        The thought might be that a school’s decision to remove sex work from the list of legitimate career paths constitutes a kind of abridgment of people’s liberties. One very popular view is that in order for someone to be free to do X, it must not only be the case that he is not coercively prevented from X-ing, it must also be that he must be aware that X-ing is an option and also that he will not be significantly socially ostracised for X-ing. One might see the attraction of something like this: There is an intuition that people shouldn’t lose their jobs just because they have an unpopular or even wrong political viewpoint when that viewpoint is unrelated to their job. If this view if freedom is correct, or close to correct, then students might be wronged by being failed to be informed out what all their options are even if none of their lives would in fact have gone better by taking up that option. It would be paternalistic to say that since no-one is really harmed by the removal of this particular option (namely sex-work), we should go a head and do so.Report

        • j r in reply to Murali says:

          One very popular view is that in order for someone to be free to do X, it must not only be the case that he is not coercively prevented from X-ing, it must also be that he must be aware that X-ing is an option and also that he will not be significantly socially ostracised for X-ing.

          Come on. We’re not talking about withholding information about birth control or not telling kids about careers in biology and other sciences because of creationism. You’re have to get real abstract in your thinking to get to the point that you can posit any sort of actual harm here.

          And I don’t really care whether school guidance counselors tell kids about sex work or not. As a hypothetical parent, I don’t want my kid going into sex work, but that’s something that I can handle at home. My ultimate point is that this isn’t something that ought the be decided by the local party hack. It ought to be decided between schools, parents and kids. When it comes to education, governments should write the checks, enforce a modicum of standards, and otherwise get the heck out of the way. What they shouldn’t be doing is using kids’ education to score culture war points.Report

          • Murali in reply to j r says:

            What they shouldn’t be doing is using kids’ education to score culture war points.

            I actually agree with you on this. I also think that this cuts in a lot of different directions: including about contraception. If some parents want to send their kids to conservaschool which doesn’t teach them biology (or at least where its optional) or about condoms and other forms of birth control they should be able to (so long as schools are available which are willing to accomodate them).Report

          • David Parsons in reply to j r says:

            What they shouldn’t be doing is using kids’ education to score culture war points.

            Or, in this case, own goals. (Even if that’s a Lib Dem specialty these days.)Report

    • Pillsy in reply to Murali says:

      Re: sex work: Well, the argument is valid as far as it goes and it doesn’t invoke any premises that anybody here is prepared to reject. After all, what reason is there to stigmatise sex work?

      I dunno, I think I reject the premise that the right way to construct a party platform is to cram it full of non-solutions to non-problems because they’re what you get when you take some abstract principle to its natural conclusion.Report

      • Murali in reply to Pillsy says:

        Taking abstract principles to their natural conclusion is at least half of my bread and butter. Trying to figure out which abstract principles you need to invoke to justify your current beliefs is the rest. Sure its not good politics to just throw anything into the party platform, but it says quite a lot that lots of us are uncomfortable with where our alleged principles lead us.Report

        • Pillsy in reply to Murali says:

          Well, one place they lead us is into conflict with people who have other abstract principles motivating them, or don’t really have a view of politics rooted in abstract principles.

          The other is that just because we (as a society) shouldn’t stigmatize sex work doesn’t mean we don’t. In an ideal world where we didn’t stigmatize sex work, the proposal seems like a perfectly sensible one, though probably even there it would be a low-priority one. Given we don’t live in that world, it will just get people upset, and make some students feel insulted without producing any benefits to offset the costs.Report

  2. InMD says:

    Two comments on the election of Fenriz. First old school Darkthrone is awesome and everyone down with heavier music should check them out. The generally misanthropic comments black metal bands make about humanity make this even more hilarious.

    More seriously I don’t hate the idea of having people a bit more reluctant or circumspect about government power getting into office, even if only as some kind of town council alternate. Maybe the libertarian party should see if they can get some death metal musicians on the ballot for school boards in Florida.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to InMD says:

      … the idea being that there are limits to humans’ ability to achieve their goals, so someone setting out with misanthropic nihilism probably probably couldn’t run a school board worse than the current lot?Report

    • scott the mediocre in reply to InMD says:


      To each their own goat sacrifice. Certainly agreed that Fenriz comes across as very low key and not at all full of himself in interviews. A very good choice for a town councillor. Pity he can’t get a more performative band like Gorgoroth to open the council sessions (after all, certain city councils and school boards here in the US seem very interested in their prayer sessions. Maybe an invocation of Höðr, the blind Norse god who was tricked into killing Baldr. Or Azathoth?)

      If I were trying to come up with a semi-accessible intro to Old School black metal (i.e. to someone who’s pretty open to moderately abrasive music, but has never heard any classic black metal), I would probably start with Bathory (“Under The Sign of The Black Mark” to avoid dilution with Quorthon’s later more accessible Viking metal stuff if you’re worried about purity).

      I’ve been astonished by the range of music referenced here at OT. Anybody else here listen to black metal or its derivatives?Report

      • I used to really enjoy Doom a lot more than Black.
        Amon Amarth and Candlemass were my workout albums.


        • scott the mediocre in reply to Jaybird says:

          Just another level of nuance to JB. Can’t say I’m surprised.

          Heh – I got into black metal indirectly via Amon Amarth – looking into the roots of Viking metal led me to the fantastic mid-period Bathory, and then the earlier Bathory (the definitive for this sort of thing TVtropes page has Bathory as Ur-Example/Trope Maker for black metal).

          On first glance Candlemass doesn’t seem like a workout album, but if it works for you …Report

      • InMD in reply to scott the mediocre says:


        My own journey to enjoyment of black metal not created by Dimmu Borgir grew out of Metallica, Pantera, and Alice in Chains then took a long detour through the mid to late 90s Gothenburg sound and American New Wave (or what some might derisively call metalcore) so I never know what to tell people to start with. I think the fundamental question most of the time is whether the person can handle death vocals yet. That seems to he the critical growing pain for most people.

        I am also a big fan of Bathory and of course Emperor.

        Also @jaybird you should try to see Amon Amarth live if you havent. They visited DC in the spring and it was an awesome show.Report

  3. J_A says:

    Walter Ellis. All that he says in his piece is true, but there’s still this issue:

    “But you don’t have to agree with me on the virtues of Remain to accept the logic of sensible negotiation. Brexit should mean an orderly departure, not a Ryanair-like rush for the aircraft steps as soon as Article 50 is invoked.”

    Article 50 has to be invoked soon. At the absolute latest, mid 2017, a full year after the referendum. And yet, three months into the process, there seems to be no clarity at all about what Brexit will look like. And then, Wauting further would mean a rebellion from the Leavers that will (rightfully) claim that the referendum results are being ignored and “Brexit means Brexit” means Brexit will be always referenced and never implemented.

    And once you start, it’s two years and you are dead. It will indeed look like a Ryanair mad dash to the plane.Report

    • InMD in reply to J_A says:

      I still think it’s up in the air whether Brexit will actually occur, and the more time passes without substantive moves the less likely it will be to happen.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    Sex work as a career recommendation: This is very high on the political stupidity level. The man making this suggestion is a middle-aged and not all that handsome white man so it looks kind of to very dirty old man thing to say rather than some sort of libertine sex-positive enlightenment thing to say. The optics would be better, but only very slightly if it was made be an attractive middle-aged women. The number of parents that are going to be fine with suggesting that their children go into sex work for a living is going to be on the very low side. Might as well suggest that they go into murder for hire.Report

    • J_A in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Murder for hire? I wonder if it’s too late to switch careers? I hear the hours are excellent.

      I blame school counselors.Report

      • notme in reply to J_A says:

        I was always hoping to find a mob attorney position but never saw them advertised.Report

      • Murali in reply to J_A says:

        So having consensual sex with a stranger is just like wrongfully killing one?Report

        • J_A in reply to Murali says:

          [Joke off]

          I strongly support the ability of people to engage in commercial sex activity. I don’t see any particular moral problem about it. If the daughter I don’t have would want to enter that profession, my concern would not be moral, it would be the fact that, as it stands now, a lot of commercial sex is enmeshed with organized crime, drug use, violence, and a lot of negatives, none of which relate to the moral or eschatological state of the souls of the women or men in question.

          Further, if the stupid prejudices about commercial sex were eradicated, sex workers would be in a much better position to resist the encroachment of criminal gangs in their lives, much like marijuana legalization reduces the scope of criminal gangs activities in the lives of users, sellers, growers, and the society in general.

          Tl/dr prejudice against sex work is another example were morality panics harm us all

          [Joke mode back on]

          Yeah, yeah, @murali , but what about the really good hours in the murder for hire business. What can you say about that?Report

    • Murali in reply to LeeEsq says:

      We all agree that its politically stupid. But is it politically stupid because its unpopular for bad reasons (like SSM was 30 years ago) or is it politically stupid because it is unpopular for good reasons (like banning gay sex today)Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Murali says:

        The answer is that it depends. I think that commercial sex tends to be unpopular for bad/dumb reasons for the most part. There is also a lot of hypocrisy about it, porn and strip shows are somehow fine in the developed world but prostitution is a no go. That being said, I think that even if you legalize commercial sex, its always going to be one of those industries that is very close to the line between legitimate commerce and crime.Report

  5. notme says:

    So Merkel is an angle? More like the angle of death for German society and culture.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    If you’re a fan of “This Was Avoidable” news, and who isn’t?, then you’ll love this:

    Weiner’s phone records have been subpeonaed. It’s alleged he had a consensual online sextine relationship with a minor.Report