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Leftist ideas cannot be implemented because they do not exist.

Try to find any explanation of how things would work under socialism; for example, how would housing be allocated? Or, how would compensation among workers in different jobs (say, doctors v ditch diggers) be determined?

There is bupkis on all such questions from the Left.

And this is why attempts at socialism in the real world always devolve into dictatorships: because there are no written rules, and because there has to be somebody to make all the decisions about these things.

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Give me a break. Social security exists. Public health care exists. Unemployment compensation exists. Public regulation of impure food and drugs exists.

The ideological Left and Right exist in relation to each other. It makes me weary to know that so many people evidently view that relationship as a fight to the death. It's also sad that almost no one appears to realize that ideologies are to be used for the purpose of productive synthesis; that one perspective might meet the test of a specific purpose more appropriately than the other, depending on the relevant facts at hand and the concerns to be balanced; and that ideologies are meant to serve as tools, not rigid templates; as task-appropriate maps, not to be confused with the territory.

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You're right. By "leftist" I meant "anti-capitalist", but I definitely did not make that clear.

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That would've made for good tv

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Why are you pissed? It was obviously a gotcha question, and under no circumstances should it have been given a straightforward answer.

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Democrats DO have their collective heads up their asses on this. Read the text of the Equality Act.

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Frankly I’m offended that she thinks being a woman is a question of biology!

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yeah, that was wrong. I'm sure she'll get corrected on that.

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The biological classification of adult, human, female is exact and complete. Works just fine for me.

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It seems to me that she could have refused to answer it on the grounds that it was a contested issue on which the court might be required to rule, and it would be wrong for her to develop a firm opinion in advance of hearing arguments or being presented with evidence. Of course nobody would have believed it, but it would have been a principled statement.

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Because the Senate, and by extension the public at large, isn't entitled to the truth? Maybe it's a gotcha question but it's one the public is increasingly interested in. The Republicans understand that, which is precisely why they asked it. Failing to answer doesn't really affect Jackson's prospects but it does have a practical effect of giving the Republicans ammunition for November.

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Gotcha questions are strategical, not truth seeking. They are an attempt to corner an opponent into saying something incriminating, or something that can be used against them later on. That's why they should never be answered directly.

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The question is when did "What is a woman" become a gotcha question?

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About five years ago.

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I was going to write "five years" actually, lol.

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founding

I don’t think we need to take the public’s “increasing interest” as inherently good faith here either. Much of it stems from belief in a magical sky god.

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Penn is an Ivy League school. The people complaining are upper middle class PMC/Bobo types.

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I'm not religious, but I think most religious people (like most secular people) operate in good faith. When I was an angry teenager I might have made a comment like yours, but I've met plenty of religious people who were good, moral, and rational since then.

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founding

They may well be operating in good faith but it’s still overreach. American Evangelicals tend to believe that their beliefs should apply to all.

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Who’s magical sky god are you talking about? You mean Gender Jesus with her adherents who insist that their subjective, internally held beliefs should trump material, objective reality? The god that says take some pills and put on a dress and you can literally become female?

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Mar 25, 2022·edited Mar 25, 2022

Gender Jesus... You know, you might try actually talking with someone who disagrees with you. What you're describing seems pretty caricatured and inaccurate. Adherents of the woke religion, if you want to call it that, don't believe in God. Perhaps it's similar to a religion, but not everything about a religion applies to it.

And even if it did, my original comment stands.

Edit - My apologies, I thought you were the original commenter replying to me. Much of what I wrote applies to your comment, but not all.

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Np, got my daily dose of mansplaining out of the way early today.

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It is in no way a "gotcha" question, given what the Democrats want to encode into law via the Equality Act (that any person who says "I am a woman" is, as a matter of law, a woman).

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But isn't that just the kind of question Supreme Court candidates aren't supposed to answer? Because they are to be chosen on whether they're qualified to make up their minds when it comes before them and they have all the arguments presented, not on having made up their minds before they are appointed?

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If the Republicans really wanted to kick the cauldron over they could have asked "Do you think that it's fair that you've been nominated when there has never been a Supreme Court justice of Asian descent?"

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I am a liberal (bona fides on request) and I too am pissed.

But she really had no choice. The Equality Act, universally backed by Democrats, effectively says that any person who declares "I am a woman" is, in fact, a woman, and can enter any womens' space or place or event or competition as a woman. That's the definition that all Democrats what to encode into federal law in perpetuity. So Jackson could not go against that.

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Let me try on Karl Rove for a minute: New strategy for the upcoming election adds, interviews, debates, etc. Just ask the democratic candidate "what is a woman"? Whichever way they answer, they get hurt either in terms of support from progressives or annoyance/derision from middle of the road, but potentially convincable, moderate voters...

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Yeah, I think any Republican who figures this out can win in any but the deepest blue district. What's amazing to me is how few have figured it out. Almost no one, on either side, seems to understand what's actually in the text of the Equality Act.

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I think it might be even easier than that. Just run ads with Lia Thomas's picture on the podium with the three other non-trans women swimmmers off to the side. Find a slogan to the effect of "this is the world the Democrats want us to live in." Cynical, but I suspect it would be chillingly effective.

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I would add this official UPenn picture:

https://pennathletics.com/sports/mens-swimming-and-diving/roster/will-thomas/14590

Rod Dreher:

>I can’t think of anything today that better exemplifies this line from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/swim-not-by-lies-lia-thomas/

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"Doesn't have a wiener" is my go-to answer but I could be wrong.

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The problem with gender and sex is they aren't black and white. I suppose you could say if you have a Y chromosome, you're male, but there are a number of anomalies that can occur that make a person ambiguous gender and intersex, middle-sex, somewhere in-between.

One of the problems facing the Democratic Party is that the average voter, who are moderates, don't even know what the Equality Act is. I don't. I'm a Democrat. I don't bother with all this racial/gender BS. It isn't universally backed by Democrats. It's probably not even backed by a majority, just the richest and loudest.

As far as sports, go with the science. If it says that males who transitioned after puberty have a physical advantage, they should be barred from competing.

I'm a woman who does a lot of physical, manual labor and does things like drive tractors and use a chainsaw. However, every woman I know who either does manual labor with men or sports with men, clearly says men are a lot stronger.

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Not really though. Humans as in all animals, surely can come with anomalies and variations. Some people are born without legs for instance, but this does not change the fact that humans are bipedal. Sex determination in mammals are chromosomal and there are two chromosomes X and Y. It's not a spectrum, it's 0 and 1, you can't mix and match your chromosomes like you do your gender expression. Sex is black and white, gender isn't.

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Agreed. However, in the discussion a lot of people use gender and sex interchangeably. I think sexual ambiguity is ignored by those who insist that gender is black and white. I just looked it up. 1% of all births have some form of ambiguous gender. .2% to .5% require medical specialists to determine the sex. That's similar to those born with cleft pallet. So it's not that rare. These people should be treated as individuals and with respect.

There is debate around transgender medical treatment and sports. I prefer scientific data over emotional appeals.

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Nice (re: tools, manual labor)! I use a chainsaw as well - I actually have my own. Had to learn after we bought a horribly neglected 15 acre property in a woodsy area. I am even learning to sharpen my own chains and perform some low-level small engine repairs. We are 10 years in and finally starting to achieve some results - cleared snags and brush overgrowth, open site lines. Our little patch of forest breathes now and is very pretty.

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Was yours heavily logged? Our property was heavily logged in the 70s. There's quite a bit of soil damage. Then doug fir came in so thick you couldn't walk through it. There were 30 year old trees that were 2 inches in diameter. I've made a first pass through it and thinned a lot, maybe a third of the total number of trees...most of them under 3 inches thick. It looks so much better. More diversity.

The climate has changed significantly in the last 8 or 9 years. I'm doing all I can to establish a defensible space around the house.

We've come to hate summer. Last summer I didn't even marvel at the pea soup smoke that covered us for the now normal 6 weeks in Aug. and Sept. At least we didn't have 100,00+ acre wildfire raging 6 miles away.

My son, who works wildfire and fuel reduction, sat down with me and taught me how to sharpen the chain. (I taught him how to use the chain saw...He had a lot of fun telling them at work that he learned from his 60 year old mother.) I hate cutting with a dull blade. This year I even got cutting chaps!

Good for you on engine repair. Not yet for me. I should. One of my saws was smoking and sparking yesterday. I wonder if the engine's blown. Its probably 15 years old now.

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Our property was clearcut back in the late 1800s, early 1900s. We have a few mature trees but everything else is younger. Most of what we are removing is Doug Fir (advised by a nearby state park's biologists) to open space for more redwoods to germinate. We have been removing Doug Fir "poles" (like you described) as well as dead Tan Oaks (SOD) and other snags. We just planted 2 new redwood saplings and are watering them weekly. We plan to add a few more as we go forward. So far, our well is healthy. We just got 1.21" from last night's storm. We'll take every bit we can get.

For the past 10 years, we have been working on fire mitigation on snags and other dead wood, brush, and thinning and also clearing a couple of view sitelines. We have a lovely shaded fuel break now all along our well road - which came in handy when a lightning strike started a fire a few years ago. We still have some work to do close to the house. The original owner builders let a Doug Fir grow within 6' of our foundation and we need to get it out (it's well over 100' now) but there are branches overhanging PG&E lines and they won't let us touch those. We've been waiting over a year for them to come out and limb them so we can have our climber drop the rest of the tree so we can remove it. We'll keep pushing and eventually they'll give in. ;-)

We have also removed at least 200k+ stalks of the non-indigeous Scotch Broom, some it was over 15" tall, and continue to battle this invasive weed. Our property was sadly neglected for over 25 years. That's how we could afford it. It's looking much better these days but there is still much to do. We won't have everything squared until we retire. Since we both work 60+ hours a week, we have to squeeze it in when we can.

I bought us one of these for Xmas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPayw9rpaB0 Hoping it saves time as sharpening by hand is very time consuming and we are 10 miles away from any hardware store that provides this service. I hate cutting with a dull blade as well. My hubbie indicated that if your blade is sharp, then the smoke/sparks are being generated by the engine and you should get it serviced. Hope this helps. Good luck with your forest stewardship. Nice to know I'm not the only 50+ gal working a part-time logger job! ;-)

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Have you tried the sharpener yet? I used to get my chains sharpened at the shop by a machine. I don't like how they cut as well as a new blade or one my son sharpened. It does take awhile to do a good sharpening job. I listen to podcasts while I sharpen, or audio books.

The saw that was smoking and sparking is well over ten years old. I think it might be dust. I'll take it in to see if it can be fixed...again.

I guess you could say I'm retired. I've spent the last 25 years taking care of kids/teaching etc. Now my mother is taking a lot time as she's fading out. I have a lot to do, but quite a bit of flexibility, at least for as long as youngest daughter still lives here to help with elder care.

Are your redwoods coastal or sequoias? I love the Redwood National Forest up by the border.

When I was a kid we went up to Balch Park out of Porterville/Springville and went camping with horses. There's an experimental forest up there and its one of the prettiest places I've ever been, with small lakes and big meadows.

Last year I detoured up there on my drive home. I was shocked by the devastated forest surrounding Balch Park. Over half the doug firs were dead. I've been going there over 50 years and never seen anything like it. It was COVID season and everyone was camping. We went to a motel.

I'll be glad when people give up on camping. I like to go to the out of the way NFS campgrounds with outhouses and no running water. No one ever used to go to Balch Park. They have trees as spectacular as Kings Canyon. The road is steep narrow and winding.

I don't want to camp with someone fifty feet from me unless I'm travelling and need cheap accommodations.

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Sex in humans is binary, although chromosomes aren't the dividing line. https://www.realityslaststand.com/p/sex-is-not-a-spectrum?s=r

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Not sure what you mean about chromosomes aren't the dividing line. It rather seems that it is. If you have a Y chromosome, you're biologically male.

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Good article. I fully agree with it.

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Yeah, I think that's a silly hill to die on. I know this isn't a popular idea: but sex is different from gender. When you look at genitalia, that's sex. The question didn't ask that.

What a woman is is multi-factorial. There isn't one answer, and it depends on context. Defining woman is a lot like defining pornography.

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This is exactly they kind of tortured, insular liberal-studies-department logic that's alienating to people like me. I, and I suspect many millions of Americans, know exactly what a woman is and it isn't "multi-factorial."

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Once men figure out that they can win prize money in womens professional sports, I think there might be a bit of a backlash ...

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*Infants* can tell male humans from female ones. It's really not that complicated.

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Indeed, being able to tell the difference is literally critical to the survival of infant mammals.

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Hey, see my post above to episodenull. All of biology is multi-factorial. This isn't even controversial among biologists.

Liberal arts majors misinterpret how biology works.

Only legal systems try to differentiate between categories using a single criterion.

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Not true. It has nothing to do with liberal studies.

Ok honestly - the real biology take on this: not even sex is a single factor. Really. This does not mean that sex isn't a real category.

What is the difference between a chimpanzee and a human? It's multi-factorial. There is not single factor that will 100% discriminate between chimpanzees and humans at all times. For example, chimpanzees may have small brains, but there are microcephalic humans that extend into that range, so we can't use this one factor to distinguish the two species. Thus the taxonomic description of chimpanzees and humans has many factors. All of biology is like this.

It's hard to find peer-reviewed papers on species descriptions quickly. But here is a species description of an extinct species:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8205000_A_New_Small-Bodied_Hominin_from_the_Late_Pleistocene_of_Flores_Indonesia

Starting with the section Description and Comparison of of Cranial and Postcranial Elements you will see a long section detailing many ways this new species is similar to and yet different from already existing species. The section is quite long, because there are many factors - a cluster of traits - that define this as a new species.

The idea that something is multi-factorial does not mean that 1) it is a spectrum, nor 2) that it is not a real category. The liberal arts degree approach centers on these last two points to dispute the categories observed in nature, but that's an uninformed approach to how biological categories work.

*I'm trying to find it and can't now, but there is a reasonable, non-woke biology professor in England that has been doing a lot of work on this end on Twitter, basically stating that there are two sexes, and that what differentiates two sexes is multi-factorial and that is how biology works.

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"The idea that something is multi-factorial does not mean that 1) it is a spectrum, nor 2) that it is not a real category. The liberal arts degree approach centers on these last two points to dispute the categories observed in nature, but that's an uninformed approach to how biological categories work."

This is a great point, and I take your point about big-brained chimps and small-brained humans.

But I think it's also fair to point out that in the vast majority of humans you can get the factors down to a pretty small list -- say, XX/XY chromosomes plus "produces large-stationary/small-mobile gametes during the reproductive life phase." Of course there are exceptions, and there are genuine puzzlers -- like the mostly 46,XY, female-appearing person who developed ovaries and gave birth. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2190741/ (Given that sex is fundamentally about reproduction, I'd be inclined to put that person in the "female" category, but I see how reasonable minds could differ.)

But what I think annoys people about the "sex is a spectrum" argument is that the vast majority of people who lay claim to trans identities --and use the existence of vanishingly rare ambiguous intersex people as a bludgeon in this debate -- are not the vanishingly rare ambiguous or opposite-appearing intersex. They're not the weird, hard case where you might, indeed, need to get into a complex list of factors. Almost all of them are pretty clearly on one side of the line or the other based on ANY set of biological factors. Indeed, if they were not, we wouldn't be talking about "trans" at all. So the invocation of "sex is a spectrum" -- which as you point out isn't even the right way to understand the biological complexity -- is irritating in the extreme.

(I have similar feelings about the adoption of the "assigned... at birth" language, which really feels like a naked expropriation of the experiences of intersex people to confuse the issue.)

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The whole question of whether *anyone at all* is allowed to define men and women based on sex rather than gender is actually the point. If the judge defines on sex she will say "adult human female". That's the sex-based definition. If the judge defines on gender she will say ... whatever tortured definition gender-first definers have come up with. (I don't actually think I've ever heard a succinct gender-first definition of woman or man - which is in itself pretty suss)

The framing of women's rights as "on gender" rather than "on sex" is actually a huge women's rights issue at the moment, and the fact that there was never any debate about switching to a "on gender" definition is one reason there's a problem in this area. All the social problems which are starting to emerge as a result of the "on gender" definition are being pushed under the rug, because the feminist organisations which are raising them don't have institutional power, and don't own newspapers.

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The gender-first definition is clear: it's entirely in your mind. Whatever you say you are, you are.

"Gender identity refers to a person’s understanding and experience of their own gender. Everyone has a gender identity; for some people, it corresponds with the gender assigned at birth, and for some others, it does not. Gender identities are expansive and do not need to be confined within one collectively agreed-upon term. There is no one authority that dictates the boundaries of gender, except the individual concerned."

https://outrightinternational.org/content/terminology-surrounding-gender-identity-and-expression

The Equality Act would make such a definition the basis of federal law in all matters related to sex.

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I should have said "succinct non-circular"! (I know you know this, just expanding for the benefit of the conversation)

"A woman is anyone who identifies as a woman" is certainly succinct, but also rather lacking as an objective definition

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Nevertheless, that's the definition that the Equality Act would make a matter of federal law.

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But to your point, the judge would need to know the legal question under examination in order to define what a woman is. I can imagine laws that open the definition of women in a way that empowers trans people (maybe recognizing trans men's ability to take maternity leave, or get a mammogram for free), but I can also imagine laws that try to enshrine one definition of man and women in law. Both of these laws would require a different approach to defining woman, or female.

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And again, this is in fact the point. The second-wave feminist position is that laws *should not* be defined on gender, particularly when self-identification of gender is included in the mix (since this allows primarily men to game the system in order to get around laws which were intended to discriminate on the basis of sex, in order to protect people of female sex)

They could have asked "Do you believe laws differentiating between men and women should be based on sex or gender?" instead. But "what is a woman?" is a simpler and more easy to understand version of the same question - sex-based laws or gender-based laws? You can't have both at the same time.

The modern habit of saying "gender" when you mean "sex" (ie, "male gender" rather than "male sex" or "masculine gender") obscures this issue and means that politicians have started to move to gender-based rather than sex-based definitions for a variety of laws, without people fully realising that this is going on. It would be good to have this debate honsetly, and in the open.

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How would opening the definition of women to include males enable a female to take maternity leave? The effective limitation on males being eligible for maternity leave is not a legal one.

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I think it's helpful, in considering why this question was asked and how different people react to it, to realise that there are three very distinct positions on sex, gender and the law at play here.

Standard Democrat: It's fine to have laws based on gender. Sex and gender are not necessarily directly tied, and gender is more important to many people than birth sex, so laws should gradually become more gender-based to be more inclusive

Republican: It's definitely NOT fine to have laws based on gender. Sex and gender are tightly tied, men are male sex people with masculine gender and women are female sex people with feminine gender - anyone who disturbs this order by identifying as a gender different from their sex are bad, wrong and deeply disturbing.

Feminist: It's definitely NOT fine to have laws based on gender. Gender is pretty much meaningless, not necessarily tied to sex, and totally unobservable - if you don't base laws on the observable fact of sex then you will cause many social problems to people of female sex, ie women.

Republicans and Feminists have nearly nothing in common .... except for their conclusion about *policy*. So despite being very opposed to other Republican positions, feminists are nevertheless pleased to have the question asked since they (we :-)) believe that the *policy* advocated by the Standard Democrat model is bad, and it would be good to have open debate about all the policy implications

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This, exactly.

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The feminist critique of gender-based laws is, I think, most clearly expressed in the Womens' Declaration summary here:

https://womensdeclaration.com/en/declaration-womens-sex-based-rights-summary/

There is also a gay and lesbian critique for which the best expression I know of is from the LGB Alliance (but it's a little more implicit - they are focused on social discourse as much as actual law)

https://lgballiance.org.uk/about/

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This is pretty good.

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"We oppose all forms of discrimination against women and girls that result from replacing "sex" with "gender identity" in law, policy, and social practice."

Well put, I completely agree and am proud (as a 66-year-old man) to be a feminist.

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Books have been removed from some public school libraries (which are generally very small to begin with) because they have been deemed inappropriate for childen in the age range of those schools. This is not "banning" in any meaningful sense of that word.

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This comment reminds me of the reasoning used by people who defend cancelling: it isn't really "cancelling" because the person still has lots of money, or they can get another job, or because it's just socially enforced consequences for breaking a norm, which we've always had.

And note that any or all of these things could be true. But yet, there does seem to be something distinctive and noteworthy about the phenomenon of cancelling, and it is frustrating when people try to brush it off by quibbling over the meaning of "cancel."

The same holds true for Republican efforts to remove books (or whatever term for this you prefer) from school libraries. The people behind these efforts, and those who cheer them on, certainly appear to believe that they are engaged in something more along the lines of banning material they oppose on moral grounds, even if the actual result ends up being less significant.

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And there you go, doing exactly what Freddie said in his post that we should not do, assume hidden evil motives for people you disagree with.

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I looked at photos of one of the books that's being pulled from my local middle school (it's called genderqueer) and it has cartoon drawings of a teenager masturbating with a dildo. Pulling that from a small middle school library while still allowing it to be sold in stores seems entirely reasonable.

On the other hand, SJW Twitter has gotten print runs of books pulped over out of context quotes from pre prints. Additionally, Amazon has delisted (and removed from Kindle) some controversial books giving a fairly mainstream conservative view on trans issues.

I'm far more concerned with left wing activists banning the printing and sale of books than I am with right wing ones removing sexually explicit content from middle school libraries.

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The one I saw about Maus was a curriculum change, not a removal from the library. Is changing what books kids are assigned to read in a certain grade book banning? I don't really think so.

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"The people behind these efforts, and those who cheer them on, certainly appear to believe that they are engaged in something more along the lines of banning material they oppose on moral grounds, even if the actual result ends up being less significant."

It's a fair point. Mark and I have disagreed about this before, but -- I think it's fair to call this a form of censorship. I also think it's appropriate for public schools to engage in some degree of censorship within the walls of their own libraries, so that doesn't bother me.

I agree with WorriedButch that getting a book withdrawn from publication entirely is a much bigger deal.

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Yes, a book not published is a book no one can read.

The censorship line is a bit murky. Book publishers being cowed AFTER deciding to publish a book (presumably having reviewed it to meet whatever standards they want it to meet) is very close to the censorship line.

I guess my practical test for "censorship" would relate to the amount of hardship imposed, and the unexpectedness of it. Having a book pulped at the last minute is a lot of unexpected hardship for the author.

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The difference is in the amount of public power. Cancelling has way more power than book banning. All my social media friends distributed lists of banned books and exhortations to read them, yet none of them distributed lists of cancelled authors we should keep up with.

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founding

Yes, it is. Children have rights too and the books are being removed for Christian reasons. I would be livid if my child were blocked from reading what they wanted to because some religious nutter felt triggered.

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I honestly can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. I'm guessing not.

I assure you that it's more than just Christians who care about how their children are taught about sexuality.

And once again, NO ONE is "blocking" any child from reading anything.

The argument is over what should or should not be part of a SCHOOL CURRICULUM at a particular school.

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founding

Oh please, this would barely register in Europe. It's American prudishness, influenced by Christianity.

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Know any Muslims?

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founding

Sure but they’re not the ones leading the charge here are they?

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What if secular/agnostic people want the books removed for moral, cultural and social reasons? I'm not Christian so I get tired of being told that my motivations are due to Christianity. You do know plenty of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, agnostics, etc. oppose sexualized content in schools. When I saw the Genderqueer book, I was shocked and disgusted. Not because it involved gay sex, but because it involved graphic sex and would 100% oppose a similar book that showed a girl putting a boy's penis in her mouth, but all I received were accusations about homophobia.

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I feel like that argument really gives the gay community a bad look. I'm a fairly prudish lesbian and I hate when the gay community acts as the "pro sex" community.

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Some/many people equate not discussing sex publicly with shaming, but there is a significant difference. I'm on the modest side myself and I am sick and tired of people believing they have the right to talk about everything sex related in public and teach their sexual mores and values to my children. Modesty modesty is a virtue.

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We have also said that changing from book A to book B in the curriculum is "banning book A" because we are a country of imbeciles.

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SJW Twitter activists have gotten entire print runs of some YA novels pulped over quotes shared from pre-release copies. That seems a hell of a lot more like book-burning than pulling a book with drawings of masturbation from a middle school library.

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What if... both are bad???

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If you model them as just banning books for the entertainment value of destroying someone's life, it's much easier to understand.

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I would take this post personally, but I recently replaced the "Black Lives Matter" sign in my window with a Ukranian flag and I'm feeling perfectly normal about it. This is what social justice is, to me.

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(I am not, in fact, flying a Ukranian flag)

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Mar 24, 2022·edited Mar 24, 2022

Such is the loss of tone on the medium of the internet. Alas.

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founding

Somehow this is funnier as a response to "deleted" than whatever it originally said

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The deleted post was from someone sincerley flying a Ukrainian flag to show support for Ukraine, and who assumed that Steve Tokarski's post was also sincere.

Action item: always flag sarcasm as sarcasm on the interwebs.

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For the record to the person who deleted their post:

I don't think you needed to delete it. I doubt anyone here - not Steve Tokarski, not Freddie, nobody - takes issue with showing support for the Ukraine by flying their flag. As you pointed out in your post, it's just about all you can do other than enlisting.

Freddie and (I think) Steve's point was different, about what actions have actual impact and what behaviors are just shitty and performative with no positive upside. Yours didn't qualify as that. :)

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founding

It’s definitely not “all you can do.” If you want to do more, I can send you some direct aid organizations putting all their money toward assisting refugees at European borders.

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now THAT is funny

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"Thoughts and prayers".

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Yeah. I hate the flags, actually. I hate meaningless "support." Black lives matter signs, or the Medicare for All sign I have in my yard, at least say something specific that relate to our lives, assuming you live in a place with black people in it and no free-at-point-of-service healthcare for everyone. What does the Ukranian flag mean? Let's enforce a no-fly zone? Or just that you object to the invasion? I have no idea.

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founding

RACIST! (this is a joke)

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Thanks Freddie! Good article. One typo: "to the tune of hundreds of years of engagement a year" should presumably be "to the tune of hundreds of hours of engagement a year".

I also had a question: any chance you'd be up for putting the book club in the general article pool? I hadn't realized the discussion of ACoD had started because it doesn't pop up on the app or the Substack page - I had to go hunting for it.

No big deal, I know how to find it now, but just an idle thought.

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author

Fixed already, thanks - vestige of this one not going through the copyeditor.

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Based on my occasional forays into activism, perhaps it just FELT like hundreds of years of engagement....

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Time is white, male, western construct anyway.

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Exactly. In third-wave feminist time, the arrow goes in as many directions as it feels like

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Arrows are phallic symbols of violence. Do better.

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“When you point your finger like that, it makes me think of a penis.” — Portlandia

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By using written language, you're appropriating my middle eastern culture. Do better.

And don't even think about using Arabic numerals.

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Phoenicia? I hardly know ya!

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Didn't "Arabic numerals" originate in the Indus Valley civilization in what is now Pakistan?

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Yes. Old school cultural appropriation

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The "Do better" sentence is one of my favorite inanities to come out of all of this. Another one is the word "problematic" which is only ever used as a moral judgment and not someone pointing out something that may be a problem.

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Sit down!

“Problematic” is hugely tendentious and vitiates 90% of the value of SocJus discourse. It’s basically hierophants displaying in-group status via incantations.

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"Tendentious" is problematic.

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This is just a hat-tip on the word 'hierophant.' One of my most favorite words!

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"Problematic" would be better if they had any consistent standards of what is and isn't problematic. I honestly just want a Hayes Code from these people so I know what's acceptable.

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This is the benefit of having such a slippery usage of the term. Anything can be problematic, and it can be as severe as rape or as trivial as being kind of a jerk to a person of color on twitter.

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Harry Nilsson smiles

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Did you deliberately call him Costco (rather than Kotsko)? Either way, hilarious. Also, I agree wholeheartedly with all of it. I began my book on left-to-right turncoats by addressing a very similar issue with how the left tends to talk about ex-leftists, treating them as acting in bad faith, out of opportunism, rather than just taking them at their word and dealing with their arguments.

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Your opinions are only as good as the store where you buy them

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Especially if you’re buying in bulk.

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Plus their QA is way better than Yale’s…

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Yale’s--I presume not a reference to the university in New Haven--must be a regional thing; I’ve never heard of it on the west coast.

Sam’s Club/Walmart however....

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Meh, they charge you a lot of money to get in, then they sell you cut-rate merchandise, mostly used constructs from Europe.

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And you get to yell at people while pretending to go to law school.

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Disagree, I found this a gratingly cheap shot. I feel like if you can envision high school bullies using something as an insult, it’s beneath an adult writer.

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(To be clear, I agree with the substance of the piece, the “Costco” thing just irked me.)

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I would say the bar is high, for justifying an insult like this, but that Freddie pulled it off. I mean, it surely is true that great writers have insulted people in petty but hilarious ways. Also, as far as insults go, it's pretty light-hearted and absurdist.

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There is a difference between a humorous insult to make a point and dehumanizing vitriol. The first is germane to the point being made, the second is not, it is a change of subject. The first, in this instance, by analogy, indicates that his thinking is generic, a warehouse of cheap goods. It is a legitimate point.

Too many people seem to think that speech must be civil but then they define civil within very narrow parameters, usually some form of "nice." They may through the word respectful around as well. Speech in many circumstances needs to be pointed, focused, and uncomfortable in its impact. Using analogies like this one are often essential in doing so.

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Actually my issue with the Costco thing and the sarcasm at the end is that it is a *very* good piece. Rather than, say, a tweet.

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Honestly..? “Costco” was what offended you..?

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Arguing with humor is the best way. Even if Kotsko is his real name (or especially?), a joke on his name adds to power of the criticism, as insults do, and this is far less personally insulting than that "X is an idiot: ... racist; ... homophobe; ... sexist; ... Putin fan-boy".

Are you irked about insults in general against those you disagree with?

or especially in using names?

or is it that "Costco" is so offensive?

I'm genuinely interested. (But probably too late to this already old thread. Too much IRL)

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Again, is that better or worse than casting all of your opponents as dishonest bigots?

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I mean, of *course* it’s better, but so what? Two wrongs, etc

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i never have liked that cliche, is it in fact true? Did you actually contemplate its nature over time and determine for yourself that it is? It is kind of like that old joke: a professor is standing in front of his class and says: "while linguistically, two negatives will make a positive, two positives cannot make a negative." From the back of the room, comes a voice, "Yeah, right."

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It's true that two wrongs don't make a right, but one wrong and one funny does.

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Mar 24, 2022·edited Mar 24, 2022

I did lol at it, but as good as doing that feels, I think it ultimately undercuts the power of your argument and gives people a convenient excuse to ignore it.

Critics will use your intentional misspelling of his name as "proof" that you shouldn't be taken seriously and that you are arguing in bad faith.

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I found it an amusing cheap shot, b/c context. In an odd way, this reflects back on the SocJus desire for purity at all times. Must we always listen to the better angels of our nature? Isn’t there occasionally some — key word — latitude to listen to the perhaps not completely noble but nonetheless amusing angels of our nature? Like me wearing a sombrero on Halloween…

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That sombrero/Halloween thing is me taking yet another cheap shot at Yale. Because if not Yale then who for god’s sake

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yale is a lot of things but it is not cheap.

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true but life is cheap there

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As I think about it, the notion of “latitude” ties into the main theme of FdB‘s piece. Because if anybody who has the wrong beliefs is a piece of shit rather than a fallible human being like you, then scorched earth is justified. Laura Kipnis, Toobingate, Dan MacNeil: in every case the penalty could’ve stopped well short of where it did, which was two expensive title IX investigations in the first case and (attempted) destruction of career in the second two. So the worldview is consistent in its moral absolutism.

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As for the usual rejoinder: “they weren’t canceled, they came back.” If you form a firing squad, you don’t get any credit for missing.

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I think it's an insult to Costco. Maybe they're not a revolutionary outlet, but damn, that's one big box of TP. #Essentials

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Sorry, but namecalling is inherently funny.

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What did Mr. Dooley say? "Politics ain't beanbag."

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those left-to-right turncoats are starting to look like Maher and Noah Trevor, as they have started to mildly complain. I love it when one is in their tribe, they are smart-good thinkers, then if they leave, they are tools of the whites

people are just getting fed up - I write about some of those Collison on the intersectional highway, and it's fun like a train wreck to watch

https://riclexel.substack.com/p/another-collision-on-the-intersectional?s=w

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I really enjoyed that book!

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I was really hoping FdB would keep changing the nickname each time. When I saw the first “Costco,” I thought “oh man, I hope ‘Kuzco’ [a la Emperors New Groove] is next!”

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A mere five minutes ago I had never heard of Kotsko. Happier times, my friends…

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Mar 24, 2022Liked by Freddie deBoer

Why are you taking this out on Costco?

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Yeah! You know how much cheaper salmon is at Costco than my usual place? Yeah it's so tightly wrapped that I don't know where the fish ends and the plastic begins, but I'm sure that's fine.

Plus we get three boxes of cereal for what my local supermarket charges for one. And the milk is only slightly dented. And I got my TV there! I don't know where I'm going with any of this. Basically just "I like Costco fine since I moved out of the city".

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I eat like 4 pounds of Costco carrots a week. I can actually see inside people now. Very cool, thanks Costco.

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There seems to be a dispositional difference between some who feel like acknowledging the strengths of opposing arguments, discussing difficult edge cases, etc. is something to always be avoided vs something to be embraced. It seems similar to the mistake vs conflict theorists (https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/01/24/conflict-vs-mistake/) dichotomy, but I feel like it's a little different.

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It's discussed a lot in the 'scout mindset' lit, which I like more than Freddie does. :)

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The hardcore activists don't really care who's in charge, Republican or Democrat. Code Pink was more than happy to "Stand with Rand" to oppose double tap drone strikes.

But for the Democratic establishment all of the troubles of 2020 were primarily useful as a means to attack Trump's legitimacy. Support for causes like BLM are understandably less urgent now that a Democrat is in office. The other issue is that, as Wesley Yang pointed out, the assumption was that the protests amounted to "good trouble" and that the protesters were good middle class Democrats. A lot of burning cities showed that wasn't the case.

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>>>"The hardcore activists don't really care who's in charge, Republican or Democrat"

...I'm sorry - Mother Sheehan who?

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If you are anti-war you must be consistently anti-war--no matter who's in charge.

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Mar 24, 2022Liked by Freddie deBoer

In my humble estimation, this is Pulitzer-worthy material Mr. deBoer, and I will simply offer a tip of my hat for your masterful essay on this all-too-poignant subject!

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I just find it annoying that trying to get someone fired because they wrote/said/tweeted something you disagree with isn't considered to be a constriction of free speech. And even people I generally like and agree with refuse to engage with this at all

"So you're saying people being mean to you on Twitter is a violation of free speech?"

"No, be as mean as you like, just don't try to get me fired"

"So you're really butthurt about that Twitter ratio, eh?"

"Don't care about that. Please just don't call or e-mail my employer"

"Why can't you take a little criticism?"

"I'm happy to argue with you, but I need to pay my mortgage."

"You're such a snowflake."

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Who could have foreseen that the Defund the Police crowd would turn out to be a bunch of little internet cops

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This is maybe the funniest/saddest part. The relentless combing through people's histories to find anything remotely problematic and then making that a mountain. Even worse since this tactic comes from rightwing activists who were clearly doing it in bad faith.

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Anyone who combs through someone's social media histories looking for dirt is doing it in bad faith.

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Absolutely. It's also just a profoundly weird thing to do.

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Not if you are addicted to your own sanctimony. ;-)

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It’s like we’re living on a planet of cops…

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Have been ever since the Puritans. If we didn't want sanctimonious snitches running everything, we should have rooted for Metacom, or the French, or the Confederates or something else equivalently anti-yankee. 'Course then we would have had a different society with different, and potentially larger problems. No-one is perfect. But Sanctimonious snitching is one of the typical Puritan yankee problems.

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Whatever else you say about the English, they were smart enough to send their fanatical religionists here and kick them out of there. We have had to deal with them every since; their fanatical orientation is still dangerous, whether it is theocratic evangelicals or social justice speech cops.

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Nice one.

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Mar 24, 2022·edited Mar 24, 2022

I think it all comes down to being able to steelman any good faith argument.

I used the example of someone being a manager who was put in charge of a big 2 year project. If the project fails you’ll be fired. You have two equally qualified project managers to choose from. One is a newly married 25 year old guy and the other is a newly married 25 year old woman. Is it wrong to pick the guy as it’s very likely the woman will become pregnant in the next two years.

Many folks on the right don’t think there is anything wrong with that - it’s just reality.

I get the impression that some in the social justice movement are so convinced they are right they can’t even comprehend anyone thinking differently. And since they can’t comprehend it they can’t change anyones’ mind.

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I’d say they don’t understand it from the perspective of the manager who has kids and a mortgage and needs to keep his job.

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Mar 24, 2022·edited Mar 24, 2022

That’s what you have to deal with if you want to make progress. Progress is convincing the unconvinced - it’s not catering to those who already agree with you for likes and retweets.

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I'm wondering something similar -- once you understand the basis of the opinion given in the example, how do you argue against it?

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Nah -- progress is CRUSHING the unconvinced.

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That seems to be the SJ plan.

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I .... don't know what to say to that. I sincerely hope that you aren't avoiding hiring women between the ages of 20 and 40 because you think that all of them have equal capacity to get pregnant in the next two years. Also, men are equally responsible for parenting, we just don't culturally treat them that way.

That's not reality, that's discrimination.

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Did he say any such thing? He did not!

You are exhibiting the very intellectual error that BZC points out: the inability to understand differing points of view, even when presented by someone WHO DOES NOT SHARE THAT POINT OF VIEW.

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See below. He agreed with me.

Plus, I didn't call him names or accuse him of being morally corrupt.

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“that’s discrimination”

It sure is. The problem is a lot of people don’t think there is anything wrong with bowing to statistical reality.

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So, basically, you are saying that we have to understand that perspective before we attempt to change people's minds (as people who do think this is discrimination). Like, you wouldn't find a fiery hate of women if you could look inside the minds of these conservatives, you'd just see this somewhat ignorant plus / minus calculation.

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I’d probably focus on the margins first and work my way over to the fiery haters later. To make meaningful change you don’t have to convince everyone.

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That's correct. There is no fiery hate in their minds, just a sincere belief that men and women have naturally different roles, in the family and in society.

I know LOTS of people who think way, and half of them are women.

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An alternative hypothetical is this:

You're on a committee to select a person for a senior position. The two candidates are an equally qualified man and woman, age 50.

Is it wrong to automatically pick the woman, since the chance of the man dying in the next five years (causing major disruption to your organization) is 2% but the chance of the woman dying is only 1%?

Many people don't do this forward-hypothetical planning in cases where the man would end up on the wrong side of it.

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Note: on further review I think that actually I misrepresented your argument to myself as being a position you yourself hold as distinct from a position that a person in general could reasonably hold, and my previous comment reflects that misapprehension. Mea culpa!

I suspect we're in complete agreement on the core point - you can't change people's minds unless you recognize that they have reasons for their point of view that can be valid even if they conflict with your own interests. I still like my hypothetical as a response to the other hypothetical, however, for mind-opening purposes when speaking with my more conservative acquaintance!

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Mar 25, 2022·edited Mar 25, 2022

In terms of comparing and contrasting the two hypotheticals, I think it ultimately comes down to the likelihood of the perceived "risk" of losing your employee. The risk of a newlywed 25 year old woman becoming pregnant is (at least in my estimation) is considerably higher than a 50 year old man dropping dead.

Like you acknowledged, I'm not trying to take a side in this or suggest one (or the other) is acceptable. I just don't think the relative risks are equal.

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I think it's bad to not choose the woman if you think she'll get pregnant and anyone doing that should feel bad.

But if I need to fire them if they fail, I am choosing the one easier to fire.

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There's also degrees of severity that SJ activists are unwilling to acknowledge. For instance, lots of people will agree that police brutality is bad and needs addressing; far fewer think it happens to such epic levels that policing needs to go away--not least because the claims while initially believed have proved unsupportable by actual data.

The whole "literal violence" is further proof of this pedal-to-the-metal approach to every single issue, whether its simply poor manners, discourteousness, or ignorance as opposed to, you know, the aforementioned literal violence.

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Which leads to the unevenness w/ which in- or out-group status is doled out. The speech codes are increasingly baroque, but “intent doesn’t matter,” nor do any other circumstantial things that people can’t help. From overseas? On the spectrum? Either (and o/c a host of other things) could lead you to be out of compliance. Too bad — in all likelihood you’re ostracized.

And what underlies that in turn? I’m not an expert on crowd psychology, but I think it’s the enjoyment of power over others. Am I now being uncharitable to SocJus people? I don’t think so: the idealism is sincerely felt at the same time as an unconscious drive for power is the real fuel.

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Name-mocking isn't cool. Also I read you both and mentally group you together, so that's interesting. I think you've created a straw Kotsko here.

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In a world where left politics is increasingly joyless and self-righteous, I reserve the right to have a little fun with some gentle mockery. Ask yourself, which is the graver insult: me having a little bit of harmless fun with this guy's name, or him insisting that people like me are really just pro-racism, pro-sexism, and pro-transphobia? Who's cutting deeper?

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I think Ignatius has a hand in this as well. At least it felt that way to me.

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I guess as a somewhat uninvolved but appreciative observer of both of you I would say that you are mischaracterizing AK's view of "people like you." But I will let him address that if he wishes. Separately I think it's possible to avoid joylessness and selfrighteousness while not mocking people's names. Perhaps my own hangup.

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If only those who strongly oppose the mockery of a person's name had been around when I was often called "Shithead" and "Pisshead." If they had been, maybe I would've felt entitled to feel sorry for myself. But they weren't around then, and I was denied that self-sympathy.

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Weird, I think I accidentally deleted my own comment. Substack IOS app bug?

Anyway, I said that anyone who found you saying Costco offensive is just not someone I’d hang out with. I was editing to also say...it’s so lame I almost think it’s not even really sincere.

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I get it but we're all grownups here; I see it as light ribbing. I bet if Kotsko is upset by Costco he could refer to Freddie deButthead and call it even.

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