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AvatarComments by InMD in reply to InMD*

On “Returning to Abnormal

Great piece Rufus and glad to hear you made it through the journey unscathed. This made me nostalgic for some of the things I gave up when I put on my gilded Sartrean chains for good. Hopefully you got the system reboot you needed and that only the occasional psychedelic experience can provide.

On “Supreme Court Sacrifices Reproductive Choice for Religious Rights

People hate it once they have some bad experience with a claim or something expensive not being covered. But until that happens 'comfortable with the illusion someone else is paying for it' prevails over the hypotheticals. And of course those stories of people falling through the cracks between structures is something that only happens to other people...

On “From Elizabeth Picciuto: The Real Free Speech Violations

Ehhh it's really hard for me to put myself in the position of someone who sees communist takeover as a realistic scenario. I would think a truly principled libertarian would say it's just freedom of association if it were truly sua sponte. My guess is most libertarian identifying people will point to various federal guidances and discrimination laws to argue that it isn't.

But I also think this is where libertarian blind spots about corporate power, economics, and inequality really screw up their analysis of what's actually at stake.

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I hope it's the former but fear in practice it could turn out to be the latter.

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*edit to add 'as a real issue.'

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BS. I'm on the in house side and we're already dealing with it.

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The reason you should be concerned about it on purely liberal grounds is the effect is further concentration of corporate power at the expense of working people.

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Let me simplify for everyone else. The issue is the adoption of the pop intersectionality definition of bigotry by various authorities either through actual belief in the tenets or wish to avoid a controversy with people who do, those being mostly well to do people whose influence far outweighs their actual numbers. That in itself isn't so out of place but for the way bigotry is being defined. Paraphrasing myself above it includes '[until very recently] innocuous conduct, bad faith interpretations of such, and at times... lack of conduct/failure to endorse a particular position'.

How does this play out in reality? HR gets a report that someone made a Facebook post about 'rioting' in their neighborhood. Or how much he or she loves Harry Potter. Or whatever statement that would never have been considered controversial in any way until now and for most people still isn't.

The complaining party says these statements makes them feel unsafe in the work place and toleration of it is creating a hostile work environment for a protected class. You as the employer now decide if you stand up for one of your easily replaced workers or risk the EEOC complaint, lawsuit, and/or any collateral negative publicity. Further, fighting for the employee is almost always going to be more expensive than quietly replacing them, even if you think you can win on the merits. What do you do? And how does this play out in society writ large?

On “Supreme Court Sacrifices Reproductive Choice for Religious Rights

I think the fundamental problem is that people by and large say they like their insurance, which for most is what they get at their jobs. We saw it with the ACA both with Obama's promise people could keep what they had, and the GOP pounce when that turned out not to be 100% true.

My suspicion is what's really at play is the tendency of humans to value what they already have more than an uncertain gain. Our system's complexity only reinforces it. People know they have something with the employer model but in my experience don't actually understand much about what that something is or the shortcomings of it. IMO the politics are a reflection of that reality rather than a cause.

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I see it as the distortion from which most other distortions arise. But to your point fixing it is hard, and nothing is harder in a democracy than selling some short term pain, no matter the necessity for long term gain. That's especially the case with something like healthcare benefits where all change is understandably scary.

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The problem here seems less of a religious freedom v. reproductive rights and more another bullet to the list of shortcomings in our healthcare system. If employers weren't the primary providers of benefits the issue goes away completely.

On “From Elizabeth Picciuto: The Real Free Speech Violations

Yea, like the conclusion to draw from McCarthyism isn't that it was bad for a free society, just that it targeted the wrong people.

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A few reactions to this:

1. The first chunk of the essay about officially sanctioned state violence is quite right. This is and remains the biggest threat to free speech.

2. Where there's a shortcoming to some degree IMO is where she looks at this through the lense of a published professional writer and no one else. It's of course understandable why she would do that since that's primarily who signed onto the letter. What it completely misses though is the impact on private persons and the seemingly random nature of what does and doesn't go viral.

3. Here's where the question is begged and the underlying issue to all of this, and it’s a matter to which free speech is relevant but also somewhat ancillary:

The question is whether racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, and other forms of bigotry — or certain iterations of each of those — are the sorts of things that properly warrant stigmatization and disassociation.

She is assuming that these things all have a settled upon definition which they increasingly don't. Further, the progressive intersectional left has made a mission of defining these terms in such a way as to encompass all manner of innocuous, disputed, and complicated conduct, bad faith interpretations of such, and at times even a lack of conduct/failure to endorse a particular position. This is combined with a commitment to uncovering offense archaeology far in the past and of the most inane nature and punishing private people for it.

So the issue at hand isn't really should we stigmatize/disassociate from bigotry. It's should we across as much of society as possible stigmatize/disassociate people engaging in bigotry as defined by this very specific group of people. Now I share the criticisms of folks like Ken White/Popehat of the letter itself in how the position would tend to privilege the first speaker. But that’s not what's driving the debate as far as this issue goes for illiberal leftism and the essay neatly skims over what is.

On “From Freddie deBoer: Ending the Charade

There's free speech and then there's the toxic hellscape that is twitter. Sometimes I think these conversations get screwed up by a conflation of the principle with the medium. What's unfortunate and IMO has little to do with free speech is an environment that has made participation in awful social media forums a professional requirement in certain industries.

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It's not really radicalism I have a problem with. Someone needs to push the envelope, say the truth even when it's provocative,
think outside the box, etc. My beef is with the casual destruction of the tools of advancement and the lack of historical perspective on where these things came from.

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At some point I think the old school liberals of the world need to get better at fighting. The vector of the enlightenment has done actual good for the world and humanity. Never fast enough and rarely comprehensively enough, but it racks up real, sustained victory after real, sustained victory over the centuries. The woke/critical theory/whatever people have accomplished nothing and the baileys they want everyone to wander into risk undoing all manner of progress.

I long for the day I can be part of a winning coalition that doesn't cater to these simpletons and their aggressive nihilism.

On “Wednesday Writs: Kavanaugh v. RoboCalls Edition

Also does the judge know anything about you as a person?

If a judge has heard of you before chances are you're going to have some real trouble in the character and fitness portion.

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I had to wear a suit for our pre-swearing in ethics review in MD but not the test itself. I felt like a real idiot when I went to the same class for DC in suit and tie only to find everyone else in sweats and pajama pants.

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And to clarify it also regulates faxing, but the issues in the case were the IVR and auto-dialer provisions.

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The TCPA probably needs to be revisited by Congress but since they don't actually legislate much anymore I doubt it will any time soon. Nevertheless it's important to understand what the legislation and FCC implementing regs actually do. They regulate the use of technology (IVR and use of auto-dialers). It's perfectly legal to cold call someone not using the technology for any legal purpose.

Of course the next battle is going to be over the definition of 'auto-dialer'. There have been some recent cases narrowing it but the FCC's position has basically been 'anything not a rotary phone.' It's a situation where there is a legitimate interest in not allowing automated processes to keep phones ringing off the hook all day but the technology is now totally removed from the legislation and Congressional findings underlying it.

On “They Who Must Not Be Named

I think I've gone over that piece of the essay with Freeman and gabriel. It's a fair criticism that I overstated my case, or at least didn't break it down enough. Regarding the Redskins name, polls exist. I think the most charitable interpretation possible for the belief that Native peoples find it offensive is that it's a wash. It's soon to be a dead debate anyway.

But you bring up a side point where I'd be really interested in your perspective. I can see very much why Trans persons want others to empathize with them, support their rights, and be willing to take a hard line on it in the culture. The numbers alone make at least some of that necessary.

But do you ever feel patronized when someone you sense really doesn't know much about you or the nuances of the issues takes a no-compromise stance and claims to be speaking for you? Maybe the final calculation is that the trade-off is worth it but I'm legitimately curious.

On “President Ye?

Biden represents the Great Kicking of the Can. Which may be better than the Great Grabbing of the Can. But ymmv.

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Silvio Berlusconi would like a word.

On “Don’t Forget: Black Lives Matter

Pretty accurate take. I thank God every day that social media did not exist when I was young and reckless.

On “President Ye?

He isn't deluded. He has an album to promote. It's a publicity stunt of no actual political consequence.

If I'm wrong others can feel free to find this comment down the road, and I will willingly accept the ridicule.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.