If You Wanna Make an Omelet, You Have to Break Some Faberge Eggs

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Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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49 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    If I were going to make a faberge egg, I would make one that was more in step with the current year.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    World War II was very bad for the British economy, but it was very good for the US economy. Nobody wanted it, nobody would choose to have that stuff happen as opposed to going back in time and paying Hitler 100K to paint for the rest of his life and keep his mouth shut.

    AND, it was obviously good for the US economy, as well as bad for the UK economy. I think any answer of “savings good, broken windows bad” or the converse “savings bad, broken windows good” can’t address this reality.

    However, Keynes’s writing, as opposed to the strawman “Keynes” that so many address themselves to, does encompass this.

    No, borrow and spend does not make a good permanent engine of growth. It does make a good “holy cow things have gone to crap” engine of growth. It’s particularly good when interest rates are low, since you get to borrow on the cheap, and that describes the situation today.

    And yes, those eggs are breathtaking.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Doctor Jay
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      I completely and totally disagree that WWII was good for the US economy. All that money and energy and hard work could have gone into infrastructure and commerce that would have been a POSITIVE gain rather than going towards bombs blowing stuff up.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Kristin Devine
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        If you look at things like employment statistics and GDP, it was good for the US economy.

        You’re using a counterfactual, and assuming you know what would happen in that counterfactual. I don’t find that persuasive in the least.

        Yes, that money could have been spent on other things, and I agree that would have been better, but would it have? It wasn’t being spent, what would change that? What would alter the decision-making process of people who had money to spend?Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    I remember commenting once about how much I love traditional architecture and art, all those Renaissance palazzos and Neoclassical and Baroque manor houses that dot the European countryside, of the sort which were meant to house things like Faberge eggs.

    But I also have to remember where all that wealth came from, that explosion of wealth Europe saw between the 15th and 19th centuries.
    It all came from straight up theft, where the European kings sent fleets of men with gun and cannon to places all over the world, enslaving and looting every place they touched down.
    In those four centuries, Europe was like some vast vacuum sucking up the wealth from all the parts of the globe, and all that gold and cotton and tea was transformed into stunning works of art.

    Would the world be a better place if we we blew up Versaiiles, or the Czars Winter Palace?
    Absolutely not! It would be a terrible loss for all humanity.

    But would the world be a better place if all that slavery and looting and appalling rampage of murder and cruelty never took place, and the wealth of the world had been left in place, back in India and the Americas and Southeast Asia?

    I think so.
    But then, would that mean that all those works of art might never have been created, and we would live in a world where the people of the Eurasian continent were happy and prosperous and free of Czarist oppression, but Faberge eggs didn’t exist?

    I haven’t wrapped my head around that yet.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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      Yeah, imagine what Russia would be like today if, 100 years ago, they instituted some kind of national philosophy about how people ought to share their wealth instead of hoard it.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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      The problem with that notion is that the Europeans lost money doing that. When the British finally cut their imperial possessions loose, the British economy didn’t collapse, it boomed. The colonies weren’t worth the cost of maintaining them. And some of those colonies have never recovered economically from British withdrawal.Report

    • Avatar Brent F in reply to Chip Daniels
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      That’s the common story told. I’m pretty skeptical of it, as I think it inverts the causal relationship.

      The theft didn’t create the overall wealth, it was the wealth that created the ability to steal. European productivity gains and technology created powerful states that could export large scale violence and steal things like gold and jewels, but it didn’t create the enduring broad scale wealth. Long term, Spain society benefited very little from all that New World gold and silver their government looted.

      The looting that did have a long term effect on wealth was much more boring than precious metals, it was things like the exchange of crops. But pretty much everyone touching the global trades system benefited from that exchange, not just Europe.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Brent F
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        The looting was, as you say, just one part of the massive robbery.
        For instance, the American continent itself was stolen, as was the labor of the slaves who built its wealth, creating the transoceanic trade.

        For almost any European nation, its wealth was derived from land seizure and forced labor.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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          Who stole the American continent, and where is it now? O_O

          Those “theft” notions never survive as more than talking points in a ____ studies class, among people who will never look at any economic data. From 1500 to 1913, aside from the UK, European countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland maintained vastly higher growth rates than colonial powers like Spain, Portugal, and France. Over that span, the aforementioned non-colonial countries’ economies grew five-fold relative to the colonial powers (excepting the UK).Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
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      This seems a bit simplistic. Humans have always traveled the globe and always traded. Humans are built to trade. But we also paradoxically seem built to imagine cozy, sealed, and completely self-sufficient ecosystems. These ecosystems are rather false upon a cursory examination. The bookstore-cafe gets its beans from somewhre and those beans do not grow in he United States. The Byzantines went on a multi-year campaign of what can basically be called industrial espionage to get silkworms from China. Egyptian glass beads were found in Viking graves.

      But we still like to imagine something like the Shire or Smurf Village existing. A cozy blanket of a town surrounded by a force field that contains everything it needs. But again, people don’t think too hard about where those coffee beans or hops or malt or other stuff comes from. They think “Support your local brewery or support your charming local bookstore-cafe with its shabby chic interior of rugs, hardwood floors, and couches.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw
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        My point was that “trade” has always been equal parts voluntary and involuntary, and the wealth produced has always been equal parts justly and unjustly gotten.

        So our admiration for the beauty of this fragile civilization is tempered by the realization that it is fragile precisely because of that fact.

        Had the Faberge eggs been produced by a free and happy society they would not have been destroyed.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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          Who was destroying Faberge eggs?Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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          This whole schtick of good guys and bad guys is ahistorical. It’s one thing to be clear-eyed about European conquest of the New World. It’s another to wax on the moral virtue of the essentially bronze age land empires of central America, themselves built on conquest and bloodshed. History is full of episodes of a stronger empire wiping out a weaker one and exploiting the victory. There aren’t a lot of heroes and villians, just morally complicated belligerents, all from what might as well be a different planet from the one we inhabit now.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky
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    I won’t dispute that some people have claimed that physical destruction and repair can be economically beneficial. They might be right in the micro for the repairman, but they’re macro wrong for the overall good of society.

    But generally, when economists talk about “creative destruction”, they’re talking about the destructive power of innovation. The idea here is that technological improvement may be micro bad for, say, the icebox company, but the availability of refrigerators is a macro good for society. Even the people who worked at the icebox company will be better off indirectly from having refrigerators, and eventually should be directly better off by working in a more successful industry. Of course, I’m not going to tell someone who’s been affected by long-term unemployment that it’s always a good thing. There are serious quality of life issues for the people, or regions, tied to dying industries.

    So, which kind of destruction do mobs cause? I’d say that rioters cause immediate physical damage which has negative economic value, but protestors at least believe that the net societal impact of their actions will be positive. I’ve never heard mobs use the phrase “creative destruction”, though, so I think it might be overly stretched in this article.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Pinky
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      The protesters may believe they’re having a positive societal impact, but mostly they’ve just signed up for twenty to sixty more years of poverty, crime, racism, hopelessness, and in some cases, jail time. The admonition “This is why we can’t have nice things” comes to mind.

      Suppose you’ve spent decades growing closer to your neighbor. Then one day he freaks out and sets fire your house while laughing maniacally. You’ll probably never trust that neighbor again. So too with some of these protests, not that anybody was too thrilled with the inhabitants of some of these neighborhoods anyway. What homeowner or business owner isn’t going to have little splinters the dark parts of his brain after seeing how fast a mob will form and decide to burn down everything, just based on some incomplete video of something that happened a thousand miles away?

      These riots aren’t how you fight racism, they’re how you create it. For people who make a living off racism, this is of course a good thing, just as it is for window salesmen.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Pinky
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      When economists talk about creative destruction, they’re riffing, ironically enough, on Joseph Schumpeter, who was riffing on Marx. The idea is still good- that capitalism cannot continue without continual creative destruction, but he was also saying it would eventually undermine the foundations of capitalism itself, which ya know, is probably not happening yet.

      But this gets at my problem with debates about “socialism” versus “capitalism”- a lot of those 19th century ideas- like Marx’s- presuppose we’re all still living in an industrial economy, and not the various types of post-industrial economies in which many of us now live. I mean, it’s fine and well to talk about the factory workers controlling the means of production, but how exactly are the cashiers and food servers going to collectivize the mall?Report

    • Avatar Swami in reply to Pinky
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      Agreed, the term “creative destruction” is stretched out of customary use. How anyone can look at this violence and think promoting the current narrative is a noble pursuit is beyond my comprehension.Report

  5. Avatar TerryK
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    “It is ok to let things, even evil things, die a gentle and peaceful death. It is ok to let nature take its course.”

    This is a sweeping and baffling statement. As if evil things things that become the status quo don’t destroy wealth and retard the growth of civilization. Nazism. Chattel slavery. The crony faux capitalism of Marcos and Putin. (I’d even argue mass incarceration.) How would letting those systems die a slow, peaceful death further the cause of civilization, humanity and wealth creation? Some things are existential threats and it’s OK to treat them as such and hasten their demise.

    I also don’t know if this is a misuse of the term “creative destruction,” popularized by Schumpeter and which really refers to innovation replacing outdated products and business models. Its a pillar of free-market economics and doesn’t mean physical destruction in any way. That might not be the intent here but I was confused nonetheless.Report

  6. Avatar FortyTwo
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    Nicholas II and his government had a chance in 1905 to allow meaningful reform. They broke their deal, and bad things happened.Report

  7. Avatar InMD
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    This essay completely glosses over how dangerously addictive faberge eggs can as documented by the Simpsons.Report

  8. Avatar Swami
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    Like Kristin, I am in no way a conservative. But I understand that conservatives are at least partly correct in that society is built up out of slowly evolving institutions created by agent actions, more so than agent design. As such, it is nucking futs to destroy what is working well (as in significantly better than any time in the historic past) to get reform. We need to work within the system rather than tearing the system down and hoping it all comes back together in a desirable shape.

    Chip, you and your cheering squad (Oscar, Stillwater, and so on) are the Bolsheviks and their loyal supporters in this story.( In case you guys still need clarification.)

    It isn’t too late to get on the right side of history.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Swami
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      Up above I mentioned the example of my sizeable suburb which has added to the PD’s skill set by adding mental health professionals rather than trying to diminish the department. I think it’s an example of what you’re advocating here.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Swami
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      Isn’t “reform the police” an example of working within the system?

      Like, passing laws overturning QI, establishing community based policing, even abolishing police unions; These are all examples of peacefully working within the existing system towards reform.

      And isn’t “working within the system” based on the prerequisite that people have faith that the system is responsive to their needs?Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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        I think getting rid of QI and implementing to non-union community-based policing is a huge leap forward. Heck, Kyle Rittenhouse got a pedo, a domestic abuser, and an armed revolutionary communist off the streets in just one night. Imagine what more like him could do. 🙂Report

  9. Avatar DavidTC
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    So here’s the question for everyone who thinks this is ‘destruction’…is there _no_ point where the system is allowed to be destroyed?

    And what right, exactly, do you have to tell people who have tried to fix things their entire life via the system, and be unable to change it due to systematic racism, should just wait a little bit longer?

    To quote MLK: “For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

    ― Martin Luther King Jr

    That was fifty years ago.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to DavidTC
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      And what right, exactly, do you have to tell people who have tried to fix things their entire life via the system, and be unable to change it due to systematic racism, should just wait a little bit longer?

      Well, what specific “fixes” are we talking about? A lot of people have grievances that simply aren’t legitimate, either because they’re in bad faith, or because the grievance is built on misunderstanding of the facts. And of those who have legitimate grievances, most of them don’t really understand the problem, and are consequently proposing “fixes” that will just make things worse.

      98% of people who want to tear it all down and start over would build something even worse if given the chance. So in most cases, the correct thing to say to them is “Go watch TV and let the grown-ups handle this.”Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Brandon Berg
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        what specific “fixes” are we talking about? A lot of people have grievances that simply aren’t legitimate, either because they’re in bad faith, or because the grievance is built on misunderstanding of the facts.

        The topic under discussion is based on the premise that people want legitimate things, but want them so quickly that they are willing to destroy things, and they need to stop and we can all work together to come up with a solution.

        You can’t then turn around and say ‘They should not want these things at all’. Literally the premise of what we are discussing is that they should want these things, and get them, or some version of them, but they should just be calm and patient.

        But here is the cycle, in all its glory: You need to calm down and discuss this and we’ll see what we can do….*ten years later*…well, it turns out we decided against doing anything at all…wait…why are you throwing things…you need to calm down and discuss this and we’ll see what we can do…

        And of those who have legitimate grievances, most of them don’t really understand the problem, and are consequently proposing “fixes” that will just make things worse.

        So there’s two possibilities there. By ‘make things worse’, you are either arguing that fixing the legitimate grievances would work, but will make things worse for _everyone else_ or you are arguing that the people with the legitimate grievances do not know what is best for them.

        So, either ‘black lives do not matter if caring about them makes things harder for white people’, or ‘black people are being kinda dumb here in what they’re asking for and it really wouldn’t help them’.

        98% of people who want to tear it all down and start over would build something even worse if given the chance. So in most cases, the correct thing to say to them is “Go watch TV and let the grown-ups handle this.”

        Yes, people who are protesting the police bursting into homes and murdering them: Go home and watch TV.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
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      “what right, exactly, do you have to tell people who have tried to fix things their entire life via the system, and be unable to change it due to systematic racism, should just wait a little bit longer?”

      brother, “gotta make change happen NOW because I’m SICK OF WAITING” is what that dude in Charlottesville thought when he centered the crowd in his windshield and hit the gas.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to DensityDuck
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        Timothy McVeigh, too. And those guys who bomb abortion clinics. Terrorism in general is something people do when they don’t think they can work within the system.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Brandon Berg
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          Man, there is a fun Twitter hashtag (Which Ive forgotten) of conservatives who _almost_ get the point, and this is basically the textbook version of that.

          Now, the next questions is: Do you know why BLM thinks they can’t work within the system…and do you have an evidence they are wrong about this?

          Actually, the first part of that, I can answer: There is an expression that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

          Black people have have, after every police shooting, done protests. And gotten and…platitudes from the Democrats, and justifications why that shooting was okay because the guy had some pot in his house or something from the Repiblicans. And…maybe the police officer…might get charged…no, not charged, but maybe suspended…with pay…and they’re back on the force, and literally nothing ever happens.

          This is going on…thirty years? Forty years? Or…actually has never stopped, like,the police have continued to behave like this since the civil right’s movement, and…actually before, also. This is an eternal thing.

          Wait, maybe cell phone cameras will fix it! They can start documenting everything…and that documentation reveals…they have been telling the truth, the police are completely horribly violent in their behavior for no real reason…and literally no one cares.

          Well, what’s next? What do you do when you can’t work within the system, and it will never allow you to, because somehow a police union with a few hundred people get more of a say over public policy than a large portion of the population.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
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            “‘To take all policing off is something I think a latte liberal may go for as they sit around the Hamptons discussing this as some academic problem” – Reverend Al Sharpton.

            He went on to say

            “‘People living on the ground need proper policing.

            “Yes, we need more resources in different areas like mental health but we do not need our grandmothers (to be) prey to those that are being the users of products of the big gun manufacturers in this country.”

            The Latte sipping liberals in the Hamptons have a problem. An innocent black person is about a hundred times more likely to get shot by a criminal than a cop, and even a slight slash to policing will kill far more black people than it saves.

            Even if you just focus on training, increased training would require a bigger police budget, not a smaller one. If you want to avoid the situations where someone resists arrest and thinks they can fight their way out of it, you need more cops to physically restrain the suspect instead of leaving it as a one-on-one fight to the death.

            These white liberal solutions are aimed at making themselves feel morally virtuous while standing on the graves of vastly more dead black people. Some might say that this is the problem that has been going on for over half a century.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
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        It is perfectly self-consistent to think that people should work outside the system for _good goals_ when the system will not listen to them are good people, and yet people who work outside the system for _bad goals_ when the system will not listen to them are bad people.

        In fact, I can judge people for working _within the system_ and trying to elect David Duke and implementing white nationalism via completely normal democratic means! There is no magical ethical line between ‘the system’ and ‘outside the system’. I judge people based on how much harm they cause to others, and how much harm they try to prevent, instead of how much the law is followed.

        We’ve actually had right-wing protestors that did illegal non-violent (Well, there was the threat of violence, but non-violent in the end) things, like the Bundy protestors, and that protest was for a non-horrible goal. I personally think it was a dumb goal, but it wasn’t a horrible goal like white nationalism.

        And while I have pointed out that those protestors got treated much different by the system, and they shouldn’t be, I’m not saying ‘This is a horrible thing that needs to stop’. If they want to peacefully occupy locations, then…I’m not going to say it is unethical for them to do that. Hell, if they want to burn down an empty building or two, I’m not going to call that out-of-bounds….although at some point I will point out their dispute is merely about them paying money for the use of shared resources, whereas what BLM are protesting cannot be, and often results in them dead, and maybe one of those issues is more important than the other.

        And people with more important problems get to break more important laws to make people fix them. And even act more unethically. Larger-scope ethics can justify actions that would, themselves, be unethical if done outside that context. Like self-defense…it becomes ethical to do something that is otherwise unethical. A more serious problem, a large amount of harm being done, allows a larger response.

        There are some circumstances where destroying property is clearly completely justified, like blowing up the tank of an invading army. There are some circumstances where it is clearly not justified, like ‘I don’t like this model of car, so I will break the window.’. There are even some circumstances where driving cars into people would be justified…it’s just not the circumstances under discussion!

        And it sure is surreal to think that people who have a problem with the _protestors_ think actions are fixed as unethical or not, considering the, uh…police shooting people issue. So guess shooting people is always…unethical? Always ethical? Like, pick a side, I guess, there’s no such thing as competing moral interests! (Before you say ‘The protestors took a side’…not, they didn’t. BLM does not think the government should never, ever, under any circumstances kill someone. They just think it should be much much less common, and have a much higher legal threshold, and also the racial bias of policing in general indicates rather nasty things about all of police culture and their mindset and that should be entirely torn down and replaced by something that has not been trained to operate like this.)

        ‘Burning down a building that functions as part of systemic oppression’ is not the same as ‘driving over people walking down the street’. Both of those are outside the system, but that does not make them the same thing. For the most obvious, one of those is attempted murder, the other isn’t! For the less obvious reason, one of those has a good goal, the other does not. This does not automatically make it ‘justified’, but it is certainly _more_ justifiable.

        And you’re about to point out ‘Abortion clinic bombers think their problems are Very Important too and that a lot of harm is being done’, and ‘The guy who drove his car into protestors think he had Very Important problems’, and…yes, they do. You are correct.

        They’re just wrong. Like, people can actually be wrong about ethics. And I can judge them for being wrong…or not for being wrong, I don’t care that much internally what they think, but I care about them taking violent action to further those wrong goals. (And the law already judges them.)Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
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          “Like self-defense…it becomes ethical to do something that is otherwise unethical.”

          yes, that’s what Kyle Rittenhouse thought

          “[Y]ou’re about to point out ‘Abortion clinic bombers think their problems are Very Important too and that a lot of harm is being done’, and ‘The guy who drove his car into protestors think[sic] he had Very Important problems’, and…yes, they do. You are correct. They’re just wrong. Like, people can actually be wrong about ethics.”

          you wrote a thousand-word blog comment trying to respond to me and the best you can fucking manage is “nuh-uhReport

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
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            yes, that’s what Kyle Rittenhouse thought

            Oh, I’m sorry, have I _given_ my opinion of Rittenhouse for you to be arguing with? *looks around carefully* It appear I have not done that.

            Hey, fun fact: I don’t actually care about Rittenhouse, as a person. It is entirely possible that entire thing was self defense, and then more self defense. Which points to two important things:

            1) If we take Rittenhouse at his word, everyone in the situation except _one_ other person behaved reasonably. One person, one very specific person, attacked him, and he acted in self-defense shooting them. Then other people, knowing he had shot someone but not the context, tried to disarm a shooter, and basically do a citizen’s arrest, because he had just shot someone. He, now being attacked by more people, shot some of them, killing one and maiming another. He finally managed to scare them off by threatening them enough. (And let’s not even get into the fact that it seems likely the _first_ attacker attacked him because they thought he was someone who had fired off a gunshot earlier, when in fact it was someone else doing that.)

            This is a totally rational way for society to function, I guess?

            The problem here is not if it’s legally self-defense or not. (Even if he’s telling the truth, it’s unclear if you can claim self-defense while committing a felony by possessing a firearm you are not allowed to have.) It’s that it proves the mouth-flapping of the right is complete and utter nonsense: You can’t give lethal weapons to people and expect both them, and everyone else, to know the situation, and respond reasonably.

            2) The behavior of the police towards Rittenhouse is incredibly telling. That they literally walk past a white person, carrying a gun, trying to surrender, towards gunshots. Everyone about their behavior WRT the counter-protestors vs. the protestors is _incredibly_ revealing about how the cops think about ‘people on their side, aka, white conservatives’, vs ‘people not on their side’.

            These opinions about Rittenhouse, what those events actually show us, is something I posted on Twitter about a week ago, I didn’t come up with it just now. But I don’t tell people here about my Twitter, you guys can’t find it, and I’m not going to expose it just to prove this, so I’m sure I’ll be accused of lying.

            (I might have actually also said this here, but I don’t really want to go back and try to find it.)

            you wrote a thousand-word blog comment trying to respond to me and the best you can fucking manage is “nuh-uh“

            No, the best I can manage is a explanation of utilitarianism and how the difference in actions of all those is ultimately in the goals are, based on a system of morality that I follow, and that is how I judge those actions.

            And that’s literally how everyone judges actions, even people who don’t think they do. It’s why lying to Nazis is ethical, whereas the Nazis laying about their treatment of Jews was not ethical, despite them _both_ thinking that produced better outcomes.

            Because the ‘better’ Nazi outcomes are actually very bad.

            But perhaps you would like to explain the moral difference between Nazis lying and people lying to Nazis.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
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              “have I _given_ my opinion of Rittenhouse for you to be arguing with?”

              it’s amusing how you angrily declare that you weren’t talking about that guy and then you…talk about that guy

              “the best I can manage is a explanation of utilitarianism”

              bro

              you keep telling me how ethics are situational and morality is conditional and how we need to understand that sometimes committing An Act Generally Regarded As Unethical is actually okay because it’s a good person doing a good thing for good reasons

              and then I say “what about James Hodgkinson, he analysed the situation and the conditions and concluded that the morally-correct ethically-justified act was to shoot a bunch of people with a machine gun”

              and you get very angry and declare that no, obviously he was wrong, obviously he had Objectively Bad Ethics and Incontrovertibly Questionable Morals, that even suggesting that he could have used those same reasoning tools in his ethical analysis is a scurrilous personal attack upon you, that he knew he was going to do a bad thing and intentionally did it anyway because he is bad

              and it’s like, okay, well, obviously the way this works is that you’ve got dudes you like whom you’re willing to make allowances for, and dudes you don’t like whom you have Iron-Shod Crystal-Clear Objective Standards for

              and I get that it’s hard, I get that it’s scary, I get that it takes a lot of courage to have actual standards that you apply to everybody, I get that it seems like Giving Aid And Comfort To The Enemy to look at someone who’s a good person fighting really hard for the right reasons and say “dude, you’re doing a bad thing, stop”

              but you seem like the kind of person who I’d expect to have that courage and it’s really weird to see you typing so many words explaining how you shouldn’t have toReport

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
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                that you’ve got dudes you like whom you’re willing to make allowances for, and dudes you don’t like whom you have Iron-Shod Crystal-Clear Objective Standards for

                I’m not making ‘allowances’ for people. I’m saying it is justifiable to destroy someone else’s property for a ‘good and important’ reason but not for bad reason or even an unimportant reason. You can break a car window to save a dog, because a dog is more important than a car window. You can’t break a car window to turn someone’s headlights off before their battery drains, because a charged battery is not more important than a window. You can’t break a car window to put a pamphlet on someone’s dash…that’s not even a good reason to start with, so it can’t counter the harm of the broken window.

                This is what everyone thinks. They often sometimes don’t formally put it together into words, and of course everyone has different idea of harm and relative rankings. But everyone thinks it.

                and you get very angry and declare that no, obviously he was wrong, obviously he had Objectively Bad Ethics and Incontrovertibly Questionable Morals, that even suggesting that he could have used those same reasoning tools in his ethical analysis is a scurrilous personal attack upon you,

                When did I say anything was an attack on me? His ethical analysis is not an attack on me, it’s just wrong…actually, his ‘ethical analysis‘ might not be wrong. Running over BLM protestors is possibly a logical way to get to the stated outcome of white nationalism? I’ve never really tried to figure out how to accomplish that goal, and I have no idea how important he ranks white nationalism as a outcome, which would be important in judging if lives can be taken towards that ends.

                Of course, I believe white nationalism is an evil outcome, which means it can’t be used to justify any harm. In fact, I judge everyone who takes any actions towards white nationalism _whatsoever_. Even if those actions do not cause other harm, like merely passing out pamphlets on the street…because the outcome itself is harm! (Note, me judging people for something is not ‘That action should be criminal’. It just means I disapprove of what they are doing.)

                Meanwhile, I do believe BLM is trying to fix some pretty serious harm that currently happens, and that will continue to happen without their actions, and property damage that has happened is much less harmful that the situation that currently exists, and will continue to exist, and the damage is useful in pressuring that harm to stop.

                that he knew he was going to do a bad thing and intentionally did it anyway because he is bad

                I didn’t say he knew it was bad. In fact, I specifically said, about people doing bad things: And you’re about to point out ‘Abortion clinic bombers think their problems are Very Important too and that a lot of harm is being done’, and ‘The guy who drove his car into protestors think he had Very Important problems’, and…yes, they do. You are correct.

                People doing bad things often think they are doing good things.

                but you seem like the kind of person who I’d expect to have that courage and it’s really weird to see you typing so many words explaining how you shouldn’t have to

                You seem to think I’m not condemning them because I’m on their side. No. I’m not condemning their actions because I do not think those actions _should be condemned_.

                It’s not courage to say ‘I wish protestors would behave themselves’. As I’ve explained…that has always been the thing. Respectability politics. Protestors behave themselves, and nothing happens.

                Bu protesting is not even truly protesting unless it break stuff. It doesn’t have be property it breaks, it can be traffic, or an economic situation, but it has to break the system to get _anything_ done. It has to throw sand into the system and cause it to seize up.

                Protesting is not a publicity stunt. The point of a protest is not just to drive attention to a cause…I mean, it can start there, and if it works, that’s great. if it doesn’t work, the next step is to start inconveniencing people. And more. And hitting their pocketbooks.

                And at some point people will be willing to listen, because…they realize they need to.

                And if you think that’s pretty close to terrorism, you have a point, except there’s a difference between breaking a system operates against you, and and threatening random people with physical harm.

                In case anyone thinks this is about ‘my side’ still: Every time this place talks about abortion, I’ve talked about the huge clue that almost no anti-abortion protestors do not their own rhetoric: They refuse to take any steps to cause abortion clinics to shut down if that threatens their freedom. And I’m not talking about violence, I’m talking about lighting the front door on fire or driving their car into it.

                Now, anti-abortion protestors do not have bad goals, at least not the same sort as white nationalists. Their ultimate goal is, hypothetically, to save lives. The way they are trying to accomplish is just stupidly misguided. But because of that, I wouldn’t really condemn for damaging abortion clinics…or at least, I wouldn’t condemn the damage per se, more the ‘the clinic can’t help as many people’.

                If the system is unjust, if the system is causing harm, and the people in charge of the system are ignoring this fact, and have ignored it for literally decades…you have to break the system.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                But BLM, Antifa, and pretty much the entire left is pushing white nationalism. All that “black outreach” they do, all that constant harping about minorities? That’s to clearly establish, to both whites and minorities, that the minorities are utterly dependent on the good will and big hearts of white liberals. It is still upper-class anointed whites bestowing indulgences on their inferiors, with the built-in assumption that they can also deliver hard slaps with their pimp hand.

                So this means that your position is that violence and destruction is justified as long as it advances white nationalism. How convenient.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “Their ultimate goal is, hypothetically, to save lives. The way they are trying to accomplish is just stupidly misguided. But because of that, I wouldn’t really condemn for damaging abortion clinics…”

                tfw you’re so dedicated to Proving DensityDuck Wrong that you defend abortion-clinic bombersReport

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                tfw you’re so dedicated to Proving DensityDuck Wrong that you defend abortion-clinic bombers

                I defended abortion clinic ‘damaging’, not ‘bombing’. Abortion clinic bombers are trying to kill people who work there, that is fundamentally different than damaging an empty building.

                Again: The reason I am not condemning the destruction of property is that I THINK THE SITUATION WARRANTS IT.

                Or, in the case of people hypothetically running their cars into empty abortion clinics each morning to keep it shut down, I would think the situation they _think_ is going on warrants it from their POV, even if I think that their understanding is incorrect. Their methods would be acceptable, even if their goals are stupid.

                Gee, it’s almost as if I _am_ morally consistent in what actions are justifiable! And you just wasted a _FUCKTON_ of everyone’s time making me explain something I was very very clear about from the start:

                Property is less important than people. Damaging property of powerful people is often the only way the powerless and oppressed have any sort of power.

                So to recap: I have no problem with things escalating to that point as long as a) It is clear that political means, and lesser forms of protest have been tried first, in which all my examples have been tried for _decades_, with no result, so the people protesting are actually powerless in fixing things, and b) the property damage is is well targeted at people _with_ the power to fix things, or targeted at part of the system of oppression itself.

                Note ‘no problem with things escalating to that point’ does not mean I think it should be legal. Laws exist to maintain an orderly society, and protests literally exist to disrupt an orderly society because people think current society is misordered.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          The absurdity of urging BLM to “work within the system” is that protest itself is exactly an example of “working within the system”.

          The “System” is our Constitution. And after it was drafted, the drafters realized it wasn’t working, so they wrote ten amendments correcting the oversight.

          The very first amendment was ensuring the right of the people to assemble and seek redress, to protest that the system isn’t working.

          The system itself acknowledges that the system doesn’t always work, and needs constant challenges and changes.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            You forgot the word “Peaceably”

            or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

            Absent the “peaceably” part, the government, or anyone else, can switch to head shots, nothing but head shots. 🙂Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          In fact, I can judge people for working _within the system_ and trying to elect David Duke and implementing white nationalism via completely normal democratic means!

          David Duke endorsed Tulsi Gabbard because she’s not a Jewish puppet, unlike Trump. Richard Spencer endorsed Joe Biden – the white nationalist candidate. Pretty much the whole Democratic party has gone full racist. BLMers have even been stapling up posters denouncing inter-racial dating, which dilutes the purity of the blood. Racial mixing – still viewed as a threat, and racial treason, by the party that’s entirely obsessed with race.Report

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