Monday salmagundi

• Wikipedia says that with 424 members, the New Hampshire General Court is “the largest state legislature in the United States and the fourth-largest English-speaking legislative body in the world.” I think it’s too big — and the evidence continues to pile up that it’s just way too large to maintain a quorum of the competent.

• A delirious fever-dream of a frightening alternate reality. Otherwise known as the past 16 months of National Rifle Association magazine covers.

The remarkable thing is the perpetual warning of imminent catastrophe: “If X happens, then all is lost,” the headlines warn. Then X happens, after which the next month’s issue says, “If Y happens, then all is lost.”

These stories can only appeal to people who are: A) very, very easily frightened; and B) unable to recall last month.

• Poor people must prove that they are innocent of the vices of the powerful:

Georgia state House Rep. Chuck Sims (R-Amrbose) was arrested last week and charged with Driving Under the Influence, his second such arrest in the last three years.

… Sims was arrested for DUI in 2010 by Atlanta police. He is among the state lawmakers who voted in favor of House Bill 861, which mandated drug testing for all Georgians seeking public assistance funding.

Rush Limbaugh does not like the Christian principle of subsidiarity: “This is Marx, Mengele, communist manifesto, the nuclear family has always been under attack by communists, leftists.”

• Seriously, if the New Hampshire General Court were smaller, maybe it wouldn’t include quite so many embarrassing legislators.

Christianity Today: “Margaret Thatcher Obits Overlook Her ‘Devout Christian Faith’

Maybe that’s because her politics and her contemptuous disdain for the poor and the working class also overlooked her devout “Christian faith.”

Or were Isaiah, Jesus, James and John all just kidding?

• For 10 years I worked at a daily newspaper using the AP Stylebook, and for most of that time I had a long-running argument with my boss’s boss about the use of the term “illegal immigrant.”

Now, almost two years after I got laid off, the Associated Press has announced that it will no longer use the term. I’d call the newsroom to gloat, but my boss’s boss got laid off too and I don’t think either of the people left in that newsroom has the time to answer a phone.

• Opt out. Always opt out: “Last year consumers paid a whopping $32 billion in overdraft fees, a $400 million jump from 2011.”

Never give your bank permission to reach into your account and take your money. If you do, they will help themselves every chance they get. They took $32 billion from their depositors last year, and then had the chutzpah to call it a “service” and a form of “protection.”

Explain to me how a decent person can steal $32 billion a year and then maybe I’ll be persuaded that they might be decent people.

• I really, really, really hate the phrase “living in sin.”

It’s evangelical-speak for POSSLQ and few phrases reveal more about the stunted, unbiblical, sex-obsessed understanding of “sin” in American Christianity. Jamie Dimon is never described as “living in sin.” Wayne LaPierre is never described as “living in sin.” Unless and until that phrase comes to be employed to refer to people like that, it will always ring hollow — a meaningless phrase that signifies only the meaninglessness and hypocrisy of the subculture that produced it.

Nothing says “pro-life” quite like sending death threats.

• Al Mohler laments “The Marginalization of Moral Argument in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate,” because Al Mohler does not listen.

If he listened, he would understand that a demand for equality is a moral demand. If he listened, he would understand that moral argument hasn’t been marginalized, it has been marshaled against him. There is a moral argument being made, forcefully and repeatedly, and it is an argument that demonstrates the immorality of Al Mohler and other defenders of inequality.

• “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

• They are coming for your birth control.

• I’m really quite serious about the New Hampshire General Court. It ought to be somewhere around half its current size. That would save the state money, and it might help to weed out some of the most delusional whackjobs.

 

 

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Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 95: 'Faith vs. Reason'
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That time when a terrorist attack struck the Olympic Games
  • Dave Lartigue

    I’ve noticed that whenever a Republican wants to shrink the size of government, the area to be shrunk never includes where he happens to be standing. I wonder how many Republican NH state legislators have suggested cutting the number down to a more sensible size.

  • Dave Lartigue

    Also, Fred, you have got to give me an address where I can send you a gift. Email me please!

  • http://twitter.com/seanthesean Sean H

    “Mengele” should, I assume, be “Engels”…

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Or Rush just like throwing scary names around, facts be damned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Engels would make sense, given the context. So he almost definetly did mean Mengele -.-

  • Carstonio

    Not only is Fred right that marriage inequality is immoral, there’s also no valid moral argument against homosexuality itself. Mohler argues that everyone has a moral obligation to create and raise children, apparently believing that a worldwide apocalypse of infertility is imminent, yet he doesn’t condemn folks who choose not to become parents.

    With the prominent exception of official Catholic doctrine, just about every argument against homosexuality that I’ve heard either states or implies that orientation is a choice. While the cause of orientation shouldn’t even be on the table regarding the morality of homosexuality, I’m confused as to why the assumption of choice is so pervasive. Any ideas?

  • GeniusLemur

    Because if it isn’t a choice, it’s not your fault, and they wouldn’t be as comfortable hating you for it. When they hate, they want to go all the way.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    “It” not being a choice has never really stopped them from hating The Other before, though. It’s not like significant numbers of people argue by implication that skin color, sex, or nation of origin are choices.

  • Wednesday

    (1) As GeniusLemur says, if it weren’t a choice, then anti-gay bigotry would be uncomfortably close to the socially-unacceptable forms of racism and disableism — hating people for something they can’t help. Some people are anti-gay because they haven’t had a chance to learn better — these are the people who would start questioning anti-gay bigotry if they recognized orientation as something that’s not a choice. The idea of free will is important for many non-Calvinist Christians.

    (2) If it’s not a choice, then it’s natural. But it’s important to them that it’s unnatural, because in many cases natural = God-created = morally acceptable.
    Eg, miscarriage is okay because it’s natural and therefore part of God’s Plan, induced abortion is not because humans do it, even though both result in a dead embryo/fetus. (Exceptions exist, of course — dying of cancer is natural but most people don’t want it to happen.) Natural disasters that hurt humans are intended to do so by God. Natural disasters that spare Christians do so because God had a hand in it.

    God controls nature. And if something is natural, then it might be part of God’s plan. And if gayness is part of God’s plan…

    (3) People who recognize orientation as something that is _not_ a choice don’t tend to stay anti-gay-rights for very long. (I know it’s problematic for bisexuals to over- emphasize “being gay is not a choice”, but one reason it does get emphasized so much is that it’s effective.)

    (4) Anti-gay individuals tend to be fixated on gay sex. (Seriously, sometimes I felt like Rick “GSA = mandatory gay sex in schools” Santorum got his talking points from bad yaoi fanfiction.) For them, being gay = having gay sex. So they don’t understand/pretend not to understand that when we say “being gay is not a choice”, we mean the orientation, not just sex.

  • Carstonio

    Seems logical if one shares the core assumptions. Overall the worldview seems very alien. I often say that belonging to a religion is a choice as well, but these folks are likely to label that as immoral as well if it’s a religion other than their own. You’re right about the effectiveness of recognizing that orientation is not a choice. I’m trying to show them that there would be nothing immoral in making such a choice – one’s sexuality and one’s religion are private matters by default. But they seem to view morality as, at best, not about the relationship between the individual and the society but about one between the society and their god.

  • stardreamer42

    I’ve been known to respond to the “being gay is a choice, it’s not like being black” argument by noting that they’ve just approved of anti-Christian discrimination — because religion, ANY religion, is always a choice. Nobody is born Christian.

    This usually gets the “but-but-but that’s DIFFERENT!” reaction, but they can’t explain how.

  • misanthropy_jones

    i just like to ask them when they decided to stop being gay. freaks them right on out….

  • JustoneK

    The argument on that that I’ve seen is that Christian is to be fully human. No, rly. Christian (specially THEIR KIND and not anyone else’s) is the default spiritual form (hence babies usually going to heaven) and everything else is a perversion and thus sinful. Thus it’s not a choice so much as a need. To be not-Christian is to be diagnosed with throat cancer and to keep smoking anyway.

    It’s no wonder our spiritual health is so fucked up.

  • Foelhe

    On point two, I’m actually not so sure there are exceptions. Sure, conservative Christians don’t want to get cancer themselves, but tell ’em someone you love died of cancer and watch how fast the platitudes come out. “It’s all part of the plan,” “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle,” “They’re in a better place now,” etc. etc.

  • misanthropy_jones

    i always like hemingway’s take on the whole thing –
    “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very goodand the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” – it explains so much…

  • The_L1985

    God gave the dead person something zie couldn’t handle, though–CANCER. So clearly God does occasionally give you things you can’t handle, otherwise nobody would ever die of cancer. QED.

  • Foelhe

    No, no, then it was their time. Which is a good thing, because angels and baby Jesus. Unless you’re talking about a non-Christian, in which case it was divine punishment. Because God does totally give divine punishments people can’t handle. Yeah, that’s where the argument kind of falls down.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Well, that assumes that death isn’t a form of “handling”.

  • Wednesday

    Fair enough, I picked a bad example. Let’s go with eyeglasses, air conditioning, radiators and central heating, cell phones, currency, woven cloth, and cooked food, then. These are all “unnatural” in terms of being invented by humans (both in actual history and in fake Genesis-history), and most RTCs in industrialized nations like having them.

  • Foelhe

    RTCs think nature is the best, smartest thing ever until it’s inconvenient for them. Then they ignore it. Not unlike the bible, now that I think about it.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Most of the systems of moral philosophy which make the “Natural = good, unnatural=bad” distinction do not consider man-made to necessarily imply unnatural. The word “natural”, as used in philosophy, does not generally mean “found in nature”, but more often “in accordance with nature”, a helpfully vague statement.

    Aristotelian-derived ethics, like most traditional christian moral teachings, consider natural anything which is in accordance with a natural function. Eyeglasses, when used to improve eyesight, are serving a natural function. Now, if you were to use a pair of eyeglasses sexually, that would be unnatural, because the purpose of eyeglasses is to improve eyesight, and using them for sexual gratification would be going against that purpose.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If I’m correctly divining your point: The purposes of sex include pleasure and pairbonding as well as procreation. How is it against the natural purpose of sex to have it for pleasure and/or pairbonding without intent to procreate?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The same way that eating junk food is against the natural purpose of food (Food is for pleasure and sustainance). If you deliberately have non-procreative sex, you’re deliberately setting out to have 3-out-of-4 sex, which means you’re setting out to have *bad* sex, and it’s wrong the same way as deliberately throwing a game when you’re an athlete. It’s no sin to fail, unless you did it on purpose. (This is one of those things I consider ‘and then when they were like 90% of the way to being right, they take this massive wrong turn’)

  • EllieMurasaki

    …but bad sex means nonpleasurable sex. Nothing to do with pairbonding or procreation.

  • The_L1985

    Which means that people who follow this ethic should never speak. After all, mouths are for eating. Speaking is not the natural function of a mouth.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I believe the answer to that is in Aristotle’s ethics, book four: “Don’t be stupid. Mouths are for eating AND talking, and this is totally different from, say, anuses, because SHUT UP.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    (4) Anti-gay individuals tend to be fixated on gay sex. (Seriously, sometimes I felt like Rick “GSA = mandatory gay sex in schools” Santorum got his talking points from bad yaoi fanfiction.) For them, being gay = having gay sex. So they don’t understand/pretend not to understand that when we say “being gay is not a choice”, we mean the orientation, not just sex.

    I think that this comes from a lot of the old ways homosexuality was expressed. Homosexuality has been around for, well, pretty much all of human history, but in a lot of cultures and for a lot of times it was not acceptable to openly express it. It still happened, but was “on the down low” to use a modern parlance. Kind of a Brokeback Mountain type of thing. For the sake of social acceptance, homosexual men would still often marry women, preform their “conjugal duties” as needs must, but find a male lover to see in secret.

    In contrast, homosexuality as a self-identified orientation is still a new concept in society. Before we had the words to describe it, a man who had sex with other men was just that, he was not a distinct orientation just a guy who had unusual sexual tastes, often considered too “deviant” to be open about.

    So I get the feeling that people like Frothy-Mix are so much only anti-gay, as their are also more generally anti-modern.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I don’t know if it matters, but I think most homophobes have moved beyond thinking of it as a “choice” in the simple sense; they view it as something more like an addiction — maybe they can’t choose to be straight, but they’re still not to be trusted, unless they have the decency to be ashamed of themselves and spend their lives “fighting” it.

  • Kirala

    These days, I don’t hear so many arguments against homosexuality calling the orientation a choice – it’s the behavior that’s frowned upon, while the orientation is seen as an unfortunate (curable?) condition. Now, I attend church at a moderately-conservative rather than rabidly conservative evangelical institution, broadly seasoned with liberals, so my experience may be the most unreliable sort of anecdata – but I’d be curious to see what the actual data on this point suggests. Do people believe that the orientation of homosexuality is a choice or not?

  • The_L1985

    Not sure, but a growing number of people don’t consider homosexuality, however they personally define the word, to be sinful.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Where did Isaiah, James, Jesus or John demand Caesar or Tiglath-Pileser III redistribute taxpayer money to the poor?

  • Carstonio

    Poor people might not pay taxes in the mythical kingdoms imagined by demagogues like Limbaugh, but here they face payroll and sales taxes just like anyone else. All taxation is a form of redistribution – the problem is that our current system redistributes it upward, a big reason why wages for folks in the middle and at the bottom continue to fall in real dollars.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You’re right (there are few non-net-taxpayers in the U.S.). That’s why I support cutting spending and focusing on repaying the national debt. Real wages have risen since 2010, though I think it’ll be a long time before they’ll come back to their early 1970s heights.

  • Carstonio

    Austerity is an artificial reduction in the mobility of money, and this benefits no one but a relative handful of very wealthy people. No accident that, at least in the US, the proponents of austerity also advocate other measures that perpetuate inequality of opportunity.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/opinion/krugman-the-story-of-our-time.html?gwh=B213951F557F66BB4CD55FC2F6854504&_r=0

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Remove the ?gwhyadayada from your link!

  • Carstonio

    Fixed. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  • P J Evans

    The problem is that cutting spending isn’t going to create jobs. And the spending that gets cut always seems to be what helps people eat and have roofs over their heads, not the spending that ends up feeding corporate executives.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I support cutting military spending, too. ‘Creating jobs’ is not a goal in itself; satisfying people’s demand is. There is no point in creating demand just to divert resources to some government-fabricated purpose.

  • P J Evans

    ‘Creating jobs’ is certainly a goal when too many people don’t have jobs. What you’re arguing for is to extend the recession, because profits are more important that people.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What you’re arguing for is to extend the recession

    -As compared with broken windows en masse? Sure.

    because profits are more important that people.

    -Where have I stated this? I certainly do not believe this as a general rule.

  • Lori

    ‘Creating jobs’ is not a goal in itself; satisfying people’s demand is.

    Spoken like a person who has a job.

    Also, the hell? If people don’t have jobs they don’t generate demand. Or are you openly espousing the view that the only demand that matters is that created by the rich?

  • Cathy W

    In theory the perfect free market will respond to reduced demand by reducing prices until demand picks up. What happens in the non-spherical-cow zone is that the means by which prices are reduced in the American economy(offshoring, outsourcing, layoffs) end up reducing demand further, because if you don’t have an income, the only price at which you demand any goods and services at all is zero.
    I know I’ve said this in a thread on a similar vein: If you take someone whose income does not meet their basic daily needs, and you give them more money, they will spend it almost immediately. (All kinds of data back this up. So does basic logic: if you have holes in your shoes and someone hands you $100, you are not going to continue wearing the worn-out shoes and put the money in a coffee can for a rainy day.) By the time it’s filtered through a few cycles of “my spending is that other guy’s paycheck”, that $100 you handed the guy with bad shoes will have grown the economy by maybe $120-$125… food stamps have an even bigger multiplier than that.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Spoken like a person who has a job.

    I was thinking “Spoken like a person who isn’t part of the working poor”.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    People don’t need jobs. People need stuff. It’s just that we’ve decided as a society that money is how you get stuff, and jobs are the only socially acceptable way (for most of the population) of getting money.

    The whole thing has a nasty whiff of “It’s good for man to toil because it just is, shut up.”

    If we see to it that everyone’s need for stuff (ie. food, shelter, health care, clothes if you’re into that sort of thing, education, etc) is met, it doesn’t actually matter if we don’t create jobs. The thing we do where we need to create jobs fast enough to keep pace with both population growth and efficiency increases is a big part of why we keep ending up in these economic crappiles.

  • SisterCoyote

    ‘Creating jobs’ is not a goal in itself; satisfying people’s demand is.

    Spoken like a person who has a job.

    QFT.

  • Mark Z.

    Which is why we need a national basic income.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    But that would be satisfying others’ demands by coercive means; e.g., A and B conspiring to take money out of C’s pocket to benefit D. This is the law of the jungle, not the market!

  • Lunch Meat

    So when faced with high unemployment, the government shouldn’t be working to create jobs; that’s wasteful. The government shouldn’t be providing needed goods and services to people who do not have the opportunity to work; that’s coercive. The only reasonable conclusion I can come to is that you think it’s okay for people to starve if they aren’t attractive enough for private charities to give them food.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Lunch Meat

    Your answer to people starving is that food is cheap and people are fat anyway (despite the fact that the food that is the most cheap makes people get fat*, but I digress). How about people dying of infections because they can’t afford medications? How about people freezing to death because there’s no room in the shelter–or because they have their own home but can’t afford the gas bill?

    *horribly oversimplified

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How about people dying of infections because they can’t afford medications?

    -Depends on how treatable, contagious, and deadly these infections are. If the infections are very contagious and deadly, but are treatable, government might be required to help contain them.

    How about people freezing to death because there’s no room in the shelter–or because they have their own home but can’t afford the gas bill?

    -They should have convinced others they were worthy to have the money of those others.

  • Lunch Meat

    They should have convinced others they were worthy to have the money of those others.

    You have got to be kidding me.

  • Carstonio

    I picture Harding as Dathan in the Ten Commandments movie, urging the Israelites to make a golden idol of the Wall Street bull and bear.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    In all honesty, I wouldn’t do that. Pointless idols are pointless. Rather, I would urge a Negev, Paran, and Aravah Homestead Act.

  • Lori

    There’s a mean little part of me that hopes that one day you find yourself in need and the only option you have for help is begging from someone just like you.

    I’m sure you think that can never happen because you’re better than that. May the just world fallacy one day take a nice, big bite out of your ass.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t “like” people being in need, I just oppose government solutions to that need. Thus, I don’t like the “mean little part” of you.

  • Lori

    Non-government solutions to people being in need don’t work anywhere near well enough to deal with all or even most of the needs in a large soceity. The fact that you prioritize your dislike of taxation over people in need means that you do, in effect, like people in need.

    Keeping every bit of what you have is more important to you than others having what they need. The mean part of you isn’t so little and your attempt at moral supperiority falls really flat.

  • Lunch Meat

    You don’t “like” people being in need, but you would prefer people being in need to those needs being met by a method you disapprove of. That’s totally better.

  • Foelhe

    … Why am I talking to you like you’re a rational person?

  • AnonaMiss

    And this isn’t the “law of the jungle” because…?

  • Lunch Meat

    Holy crap you actually said that rich people are “better” than poor people by definition??? I’m glad I missed that thread.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t think I’ve ever said that.

  • Lunch Meat

    You referred to taxes for welfare as “the forcible confiscation of the wealth of one’s betters”. Implying that rich people are automatically better than people on welfare.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Net taxpayers are automatically better than adult non-net taxpayers.

  • Lunch Meat

    Net taxpayers include people who don’t have to do anything but sit on their butts watching their stack of money grow larger and larger. Non taxpayers include disabled people (many of whom paid in to social security for years), veterans and retired people who did their part, college students working to better themselves, the working poor who are doing all that they can, soldiers overseas, and babies. Are you really going to say that the first group is automatically better people? (Yes, of course you are.)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Veterans, college students, the retired, soldiers, and the working poor are all gross taxpayers, though some of them may not be net taxpayers. My answer to your question is a “yes”.

  • Lunch Meat

    Last year, my husband and I worked hard, volunteered, donated to charity, voted, supported our community, and took care of our family. We got a $500 refund.

    This year, my husband and I worked hard, volunteered, donated to charity, voted, supported our community, and took care of our family. We paid an additional $850 to what was withheld from our paychecks. According to you, that makes me a better person now than I was last year. I’m also a better person than my husband because I’m making more money than him and without that we wouldn’t have owed.

    You are ridiculous.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No. I distinguish between all non-net-taxpayers as a group and all net taxpayers as a group. Paying more money to the government when one is already a net taxpayer does not make one a better person.

  • Lunch Meat

    So I’m a better person than I was 2 years ago, when all our taxes were refunded? Just by virtue of the fact that I moved to a city where there were jobs and I could make more than minimum wage?

    And if I have a baby next year and our income decreases enough that we stop paying taxes again, I’ll become a worse person?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t just count Federal Income Taxes as ‘taxes’.

  • Lunch Meat

    So you’re talking about all those people who…don’t pay sales or property tax? What?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I’m talking about all those people who get more income from government than they pay in taxes of any kind.

  • The_L1985

    Like my retired grandmother, who by definition, gets all of her current income via Social Security?

    Or maybe you’re talking about my grandmother 35 years ago, when she was receiving an Army widow’s pension from the government?

    Or my father, who is a government employee, and therefore gets every penny of his paycheck from the government?

    Flawed argument is flawed.

  • smrnda

    They work harder than rich people, period, and are more socially useful and necessary. Rich people just suck up money from exploiting others, and if the upper classes ‘went on strike’ we’d probably all be better off, as they’re about as socially useful as tapeworms. If the ‘charity’ of the rich was simply redistributed to workers as better wages, we’d be better off too.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What nonsense. Though many of the rich are heavily subsidized by government, many of them perform a valuable social function (namely, directing resources). Is providing consumers goods and services “exploiting” them? I think not. If the rich went on strike, they would simply be replaced.

    Since when was the Labor Theory of Value valid?

    Also, you and those who upvoted your comment might be the first real Marxists I’ve met on the Internet.

  • smrnda

    You mean including disabled people who can’t work? Including kids who are too young to work? Some guy sitting on his ass watching his stock portfolio is *better* than a disabled homeless vet? People don’t get jobs and money because of merit, it’s dumb luck, mostly the luck of having affluent parents.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    mostly the luck of having affluent parents.

    -[citation needed]

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Here’s the part you need, excerpted for you.

    Canadian economists Miles Corak and Patrizio Piraino look at how often men end up working at the same company where their father worked, finding that as many as 40 percent have done that at some point. The proportion rises to 70 percent among the top 1 percent in income distribution.

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-22/how-did-the-worlds-rich-get-that-way-luck#p2

  • The_L1985

    So I’m better than my grandmother, who worked her ass off as a teacher while simultaneously raising 3 children, simply because she no longer pays income taxes and collects Social Security from the government?

    I’ll be sure to let her know.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Did she pay more taxes (in real dollars) over her lifetime than she has gotten Social Security money over her lifetime?

  • The_L1985

    You didn’t say “over their lifetimes,” thus implying people who are or are not currently paying taxes.

    OK, here’s another example. I have relatives with mental retardation severe enough to prevent them from being employable. Are you seriously going to imply that they are less human simply because they cannot earn a paycheck?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Yup.

  • The_L1985

    Wow. This is the first time someone has actually said something to me that amounts to, “I am a monster.”

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Yeah, he does advocate letting people starve to death.

    This is more than just cruel and selfish — it’s short-sightedly lacking in self-preservation. The best insurance against angry starving mobs is to keep them from starving in the first place.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I have rarely heard of “angry starving mobs” (except during the Russian Revolution).

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    That’s probably because most governments try not to let their people starve.

  • Mark Z.

    No, the law of the jungle would be that we kill C and eat him. Nobody dies of taxes, in this country.* Nobody’s even reduced to utter poverty by taxes.

    The law of civilization is that the purpose of money is to help people meet their needs, and we set up the rules of its behavior accordingly. If one of those rules is that when someone accumulates a giant pile of money, they have to give some of it away to others whose needs aren’t being met, I don’t see a problem with that.

    * Yes, tax collection is backed by the coercive power of the state. Yes, you can envision some scenario where a really determined and heavily-armed tax evader refuses to pay taxes, refuses to go to court, resists arrest, and is killed. But that’s dying by being an egregious asshole to your neighbors, and everyone in every society is subject to that.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You’re right in your first three sentences, but I disagree with the overall point of your comment. I agree that the State is a necessary institution for the flourishing of civilization (I know of no functional anarcho-capitalist society), but I disagree that the welfare state is a necessary institution for the flourishing of civilization. If a state defends property rights, it prospers, if it makes their expression impossible, the society over which it rules remains mired in poverty (compared with capitalistic societies). Though civilization and the welfare state are not incompatible, I doubt they are mutually-reinforcing. The Law of the Jungle in a state society is restricted by the will of the state.

  • smrnda

    Then why do Scandinavian welfare states make the USA look like a third world dump?

    Plus, the only way to acquire property is to submit to the will of someone who already has property, and they’ve got the game rigged to leave you right back where you started.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No; Scandinavia doesn’t make the U.S. look like a 3rd world country by comparison. In Scandinavia, taxes are, in fact, the price one pays for civilization; there is little corruption and much ease of starting businesses there, at least, according to the Heritage Foundation (whose “economic freedom index” is really more of a business climate index): http://www.heritage.org/index/country/denmark
    A well-funded, efficient bureaucracy is better than a poorly-managed, underfunded one.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Then why do Scandinavian welfare states make the USA look like a third world dump?

    You know how Ikea’s corporate overlords save a buck? By sending manufacturing jobs overseas, to a country that doesn’t mandate a living wage and has lax labor laws.

    Y’know, the United States.

  • The_L1985

    A part of me loves the bitter irony that while we have sweatshops in other countries, Europe has its sweatshops HERE.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    The law of civilization is that the purpose of money is to help people meet their needs, and we set up the rules of its behavior accordingly.

    I’d put it a little differently: taxes are the price for the benefits of civilization. Everything we have — including all the tools rich moguls used to build their empires — is the product of other people’s work over the ages. The rich are getting many more benefits, so it stands to reason that they should pay more.

    If some ingrate* wanted to go live off the grid, not partaking of any further benefits of society, I suppose they might be within their rights to stop paying taxes.

    *Unless this person changed their own diapers and both invented and hand-made every single item they’re using to survive, I’m calling ingratitude.

  • Lunch Meat

    ‘Creating jobs’ is not a goal in itself; satisfying people’s demand is.

    So you would support just giving unemployed people the food, clothes, shelter, healthcare they need, instead of providing them an opportunity to work for it?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    ‘Creating jobs’ is not a goal in itself; satisfying people’s demand is.

    Sadly, a lot of people’s demand for jobs has gone unsatisfied.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    When the people’s demand is “we need more jobs”, what then?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Is there some law prohibiting them from working without pay?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    No, there’s just no jobs, because corporations and the wealthy keep shipping them overseas. Most of the jobs left pay far, far less than what they should.

    Perhaps the government could make some jobs, ala The New Deal? It worked great then, why wouldn’t it work now?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    By “worked great”, do you mean “did not hurt the economy too much”? http://mises.org/daily/3426

  • Lori

    If you’re not getting paid it’s not a job, it’s volunteer work.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    Or slavery.

  • Lori

    Good point.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You know that it’s recently been determined that a large public debt actually encourages growth in the economy, right?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Where?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Um, any economics textbook. Or, rather, most economic textbooks; I’m sure there are a few out there trying to push a specific, non-fact based agenda.

    Hell, I learned that government spending increases economic growth in high school.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    He said “recently”. I don’t think that was what he was referring to. Sure, government spending increases immediate economic growth by destroying savings (or, as in WWII, by causing immediate wartime shortages that led to increased savings).

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    I’m not so sure I follow; increased government spending destroys savings? How, exactly?

    A sizable portion of this country is living hand-to-mouth, and paycheck to paycheck (I’m one of them); their savings are already destroyed (I’ve had $1.50 in my bank account for about 6 months now…I could’ve used that money, but I’m keeping it in there so I don’t lose the account). I don’t think my need to eat is outweighed by somebody else’s need to have a stockpile of cash. See, one thing is necessary for life (eating), and one isn’t (having a stockpile of cash); why should the second take precedence over the first?

    If you don’t want to pay taxes, that’s fine: just don’t drive on our roads, utilize garbage collection, police, or fire departments, and make sure that you school yourself (and all your employees) out of your own pocket. Also, don’t fly (that utilizes Federally funded air traffic control), don’t eat anything that you didn’t grow yourself (that uses Federally funded FDA standards and inspectors), or drink water that you didn’t catch from the sky (most water processing is done municipally).

    Every wealthy person in the country is wealthy BECAUSE we pay taxes. Taxes are good; they create wealth.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    A: Taxation and inflation.
    A: Because the person with a stockpile of money, if he/she rightfully earned it, rightfully deserves it.
    On taxes and the State, see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/29/monday-salmagundi/#comment-879935879
    I don’t view roads, garbage collection, education, and air traffic control as vital functions of government (though some, such as roads, air traffic control, and education, are best left to government).

  • smrnda

    So far, I see zero evidence that most people with lots of money earned it. I’d have to see evidence that everybody had a decent shot first, and I don’t see that at all.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It is impossible to guarantee equality of opportunity. I support equality of rights.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Ah, I get it. I’m arguing with an insane person.

    Wait, I’m sorry, I don’t want to insult the mentally ill. I should have said “I’m arguing with an uninformed person”.

    You’ve never been poor, have you? The poor pay more for everything simply because they are poor. The rich, many times, pay less for things simply because they are rich. Being rich doesn’t mean you get to have a whole lot of stuff while those around you starve…it means you have a greater responsibility to help those less fortunate. Because, chances are, the wealthy got wealthy from the blood and sweat of the poor: the people working for them.

    Being rich doesn’t mean you’re a better person, or deserving of that wealth; it simply means that you’ve used the resources of the poor (and, through our extensive military, road and shipping system, postal system, and police protection, the resources of the rest of us) to your advantage. I’ve worked for more than a few wealthy people (my last boss was on the cover of Forbes magazine a while back; and, yes, I worked for him directly…no, I won’t identify him, because of the following things I’ve got to say about him), and, to a one, they were all selfish, mean, spiteful people, who cared for nothing but themselves and whatever they could screw other people out of.

    Every wealthy person is standing on the backs of a mountain of poor people.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Exchange is not oppression.

  • P J Evans

    Then neither are taxes. Taxes are an exchange of money for services that benefit the entire group.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I have edited my comment (I did not consider coercive exchanges, and I apologize for this).

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    It is when it’s unfair. The wealthy have busted their tales to keep wages as low as possible for everyone but themselves.

    Here’s a simple example: let’s say there’s an epidemic (we’ll call it Poor Flu). There’s a cheap vaccine, made out of common precursors, available for $1. However, drug manufacturers see that everybody’s going to want to get vaccinated, or they’re going to die, so they jack the price up to $1000. If you don’t want to die, you’re going to have to fork over a thousand bucks. That’s oppression; the drug manufacturers in this example are making an additional $999 profit because they know people will pay for it, not because it’s an expensive drug or because it’s hard to get, but simply because they know people will pay it or die.

    Exchange can be, and in many cases is, oppression, especially when the power differential is extreme.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Profits indicate scarcity. Profit also attracts investors. Thus, the situation might sort itself out within a couple years or less without any government intervention at all. How dangerous is this Poor Flu?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    You think disabled people are morally worse than able-bodied people. You think I am a bad person because I am physically unable to work and for no other reason. You think the people who are the most in need somehow magically deserve to be the most in need, and probably deserve to die. You think poverty should be a death sentence. You also think starving to death is a good “solution” to being fat, because somehow people over the silly made-up BMI limit can go without eating…?

    I wonder how you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning. I’d be furious if I didn’t pity you so much. You are a sad, sad excuse for a human being. I’d say your beliefs are going to bite you in the ass someday, but they already bite you in the ass every day, because you are stuck being you.

  • The_L1985

    It’s like having a conversation with the ghost of Ayn Rand. Every time I read his nonsense, I wish I could reach through the Internet with a ruler and rap EH’s knuckles. “No! Wrong!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Profits _usually_ indicate scarcity. For an opposing example, take cell phone plans. There is no scarcity of bandwidth (there’s enough for almost every person in the US to have a cell phone), yet prices have not come down. Cable television is another example; not scarce at all (more areas are being connected all the time), yet prices have never dropped, only risen.

    Thus, the situation might sort itself out within a couple years or less without any government intervention at all.

    Did that work with Wall Street or the housing crisis? A lack of government intervention (via regulation) caused both of those crisis, and the economy is still reeling from it.

    Let me hazard a guess…you’re an objectivist (ala Rand)?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    -This is due to the fact that demand has either risen or become more concentrated.
    “Let me hazard a guess…you’re an objectivist (ala Rand)?”
    -Nay! But I was an Objectivist back in early-mid 2008. You won’t often see me quoting Rand. I have read Atlas Shrugged twice. Regulation would only have made the bubble appear in a different area.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Regulation would only have made the bubble appear in a different area.

    Got any proof of that?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It’s not as though I have an alternate-universe-creating machine in front of me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    So…a crisis caused by a lack of regulation could have been prevented (or averted to another market) by a lack of regulation?

    You’re not making much sense.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Thus, the situation might sort itself out within a couple years or less without any government intervention at all.

    Sure. Within a few years, the market will “correct” poor people into dead people.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How do you know that?

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Yes, why would Jesus want us to use the most efficient and reliable method of getting support to those who need it? Why, you might not even get to suitably punish those poor people for having the temerity to be BE POOR!

  • AnonaMiss

    Isn’t that implied when Jesus tells the rich man to redistribute his money to the poor? I don’t think he’d say, “Hey, rich dude, sell everything you own and give it to the poor; but this doesn’t apply to rich dudes who are also in positions of political power and happen to have gotten their money from taxes.”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Well yeah, but Jesus wanted people to do it voluntarily out of the goodness of their hearts, not because the government made them do it under threat of imprisonment.

    Y’know, out of the goodness of your heart, because Jesus’s sidekicks would strike you dead with their miraculous powers if you held out, and Jesus would have you consigned to a lake of eternal fire if you didn’t take care of the poor. Totally different thing.

  • Lori

    In fairness, Jesus’ sidekicks didn’t strike anyone dead for not selling their goods to give to the poor. They struck two people dead for lying about selling their goods to give to the poor in an attempt to make themselves look more generous than they were.

    To the extent that the story of Ananias and Sepphira is true or accurately represents God’s attitude folks who don’t give to charity aren’t the ones who need to be worried by it. The ones who would need to be worried are those who whine about how they’d give so much more to charity if it weren’t for taxation or who do all their giving in order to go to parties, socialize with the “right” people and get their picture taken and their ego stroked.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I agree with the first part of Ross’s reply to this comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    The problem is…the wealthy AREN’T helping the poor and impoverished. So, if they aren’t going to help willingly, perhaps they should be made to help.

    That’s humanism. That’s patriotism. That’s RIGHT.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    There’s also the fact that government anti-poverty programs tend to be further-reaching and better-organized than independent charity.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes, but they don’t discriminate, and being able to discriminate (so that Those People don’t get any help unless they grovel sufficiently) is an Important Part Of Charity.

  • Lori

    When they demanded that the poor be cared for. Once the majority of humans stopped living in fairly small family or tribal groups and developed large, complex societies private charity became wholly inadequate to the task. All the Right/Libertarian talk about private charity and the evils of taxation conveniently ignores this, but ignoring something doesn’t make it go away.

    So unless you want to try to claim that Jesus, et al taught that the poor should be cared for only until doing so requires using a mechanism that Enopoletus Harding doesn’t like, this line of argument isn’t going to get you anywhere.

    I will say that redistribution of taxpayer money to the poor isn’t the only thing the government should be doing, and arguable isn’t the first. The government could do a great deal for the poor by stopping all the ways that it facilitates transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top. I’ve never met any Right/Libertarian tax haters who cared a fraction as much about government money transfers to the rich as they do about the idea that the undeserving poor might be allowed to eat or have roofs over their heads.

  • stardreamer42

    I’ve never met any Right/Libertarian tax haters who cared a fraction as
    much about government money transfers to the rich as they do about the
    idea that the undeserving poor might be allowed to eat or have roofs
    over their heads.

    Bingo. Corporate welfare? No problem. Individual welfare? Anathema! But it’s all coming from the same source — THEIR pockets.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Lori

    I’ve never met any of those people personally, so my statement still stands. I can speak a bit to the Cato Institute piece though. Owing to having gone to a seminar there on security policy I’ve been on their mailing list for the last several years. They do object to some kinds of corporate welfare, mostly certain kinds of defense spending. They don’t take the same kind of punitive attitude toward it that they do towards individual welfare though.

    Also, way to dodge the main point which is that your attempt to imply that Biblical teaching about how the poor should be treated doesn’t authorize taxation for government programs is basically nonsense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    It’s worth noting that, for the time of Jesus and his earliest disciples, Christians did not have the ear of Ceasar or any power over same in order to tell them to do, well, anything one way or the other (assuming that the actually existed and the New Testament is an accurate history). So, using that as a means to carve out an exception for government is no less accurate than using that as a means to carve out an exception for any individual alive today. “I wasn’t there, so Jesus didn’t command me, specifically.”

    It’s *also* worth noting that Judaism does have some rules on how Ceasar is to ensure that redistribution. Specifically, laws, by the Isrealite government, on how the rich are supposed to treat the poor, including leaving a portion of their fields unpicked so the poor can harvest for themselves.

    So, while Jesus did not explicitly command governing bodies to enforce a redistribution of wealth to the poor (lacking the ear of governing power to issue such advice or commands), he did come from a culture where such laws were already issued to God’s chosen governing body.

    What does all this mean, in the end? Well, EH, it means that reducing detailed questions to smug oversimplifications only winds up making you look self-centered and egotistically ignorant.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    If Jesus wanted his movement to be affiliated with Empire and its doings, he would have come as a prominent and supernaturally-aided political figure. He didn’t, ergo, he disapproves of the political means of furthering his ends. See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/10/jim-wallis-sounds-an-uncertain-trumpet-on-marriage-equality/#comment-859747006 on gleaning.

  • Foelhe

    Uh, that’s only true if you think government is completely separate from everything else in the world, and there’s no sensible reason to believe this. If you’re a Christian, you should act like a Christian when you govern, just like you act like a Christian when you work, just like you act like a Christian when you’re with family, just like you act like a Christian when you juggle porcupines on the pier. Christians are ordered to help the poor, Those who govern are in a unique position to help the poor. Therefore Christians who govern should help the poor. This isn’t rocket science.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I’m not a Christian; I’m just an atheist who thinks the NT does not support welfare-statism.

  • The_L1985

    If you’re an atheist, then why do you care that much about what the NT says? It should be just as irrelevant to you as what the OT says, or what Achilles did in the Iliad.

  • David S.

    If you’re an atheist, you should know that the authors had no concept of 21st century governments, and what concept it had was uninformed. Whatever opinion you can interpret the NT having is irrelevant; it is one uninformed by modern knowledge and experience.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The NT authors had little concept of widespread democracy, but they had some idea of “bread and circuses”. You’re right the NT authors were “uninformed by modern knowledge and experience”; that’s why they are not the bases of my positions.

  • Lori

    That last bit should read “ergo, I argue that he disapproves of the political means of furthering his ends because that what best suits me and lends the most support to my position. .

  • Lunch Meat

    Yet you defend people who advocate for the stoning of disobedient children.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t defend people themselves, I defend ideas; thus, I defend people only indirectly; I defend them as sources for good ideas.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Lunch Meat: Yet you defend people who advocate for the stoning of disobedient children.

    E.H., in reply: I don’t defend people themselves, I defend ideas; thus, I defend people only indirectly; I defend them as sources for good ideas.

    …The stoning of disobedient children is a good, defensible idea in your world?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No! Most of Gary North’s ideas on this page: http://www.garynorth.com/public/department61.cfm were good and defensible.

  • Lunch Meat

    And the ideas you defend are inconsistent. Please stop pretending you’re good at theologizing.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How are my ideas inconsistent?

  • Lunch Meat

    You say Jesus “disapproves of the political means of furthering his ends” while you defended and justified the stoning of disobedient children. I don’t even know why you felt like you had to defend it. But you did.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You say Jesus “disapproves of the political means of furthering his ends” while you defended and justified the stoning of disobedient children.

    -Nonsense. I never did anything of the sort.

  • Lunch Meat

    Don’t use the term “murder” in this context, as “murder” is in the eye of the beholder.

    According to North, parents should not be able to kill their adult children who live with them; rather, as states Deuteronomy 18:21, “all the men of his city” should be the killers. The idea that children are the property of their parents until they become independent has been justified by Walter Block, a prominent libertarian. According to North, if both parents of an adult child are willing to support the killing of that child, that child is almost certainly unworthy of those parents’ inheritance (one could even make a genetics-based argument for this).

    Just read North’s chapter on this.

    Also, by “children” North means “adults who live with their parents”.

    Apparently, North advocates stoning disobedient children as a potentially more effective substitute for the (far more expensive) Drug War.

    You’re saying none of that is even “sort of” justifying?

  • Lunch Meat

    Sorry I screwed up the quotes. That last “blockquote” should have come after “Drug War.”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    There’s a fine line between “explaining”/”describing” and “justifying”, and I don’t think I’ve crossed it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    If those ideas hurt or kill people, they aren’t worth defending.

    Exceptions being those that protect the lives and wellbeing of others. I’m not sure how “stoning kids” is a defensible idea.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    “I’m not sure how “stoning kids” is a defensible idea.”
    -I pointed out a number of ways how it can be defended in the comment Lunch Meat quoted, though I agree its costs outweigh its benefits.

  • Lunch Meat

    Oh, so you weren’t defending it, you were just pointing out that it could be defended, if some other person were inclined to do so. And you wanted to make sure defending it was easy for that hypothetical person, so you gave them arguments they could copy/paste. Makes perfect sense now. I do that all the time for reprehensible positions.

  • AnonymousSam

    Not logging in since I’m about to leave for the airport. I just wanted to highlight the fact that EH apparently thinks a cost/benefits analysis is an appropriate way to determine when it’s all right to murder children by throwing rocks at them until they die.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I’m amazed at the number of people willing to put forth the effort to deal with with EH’s BS. You have the patience of golems.

  • The_L1985

    I personally just love having such an obliging chewtoy. It isn’t often that you have a troll this persistent, or this fun to debate with. And to make it even easier, EH loves to provide the rope with which to rhetorically hang himself.

  • misanthropy_jones

    really, any of the times they demanded that we be compassionate, caring and loving people rather than selfish, self-entitled and self-righteously greedy jackasses..

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Taking property by force is “compassionate, caring and loving”? In what universe? How is wanting to preserve what one has “selfish, self-entitled and self-righteous”?

  • Foelhe

    If preserving what you have takes precedence over everything else, how is it not?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What do you think is more important than preserving what one has?

  • JustoneK

    Preserving everything else that lead one to having what one has?

  • Lori

    Again I find myself saying, “Jesus, really?” It would appear that not only are you morally stunted you are unable to grasp that not everyone else is.

  • Lori

    I’m rich! I’m rich! I’m a happy miser!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcCXnXDiKoQ

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What relevance does this have to my original question (which was only addressed to a single commentator)?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dpolicar David Policar

    Preserving what two have.
    Preserving what twenty have.
    Preserving what two hundred have.
    Preserving what two thousand have.
    Preserving what two million have.
    Preserving what two billion have.
    Preserving what ten billion have.
    And building on all of that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Uh…not preserving what you’ve got at the expense of everyone else? I think that’s more important than being selfish.

  • Lori

    Taking property by force is “compassionate, caring and loving”? In what universe?

    Of all the tiresome, childish Libertarian talking points the idea that taxation is taking by force (ZOMG! at the point of a gun, How horrible, yadda, yadda yadda) has got to be the most tiresome and most childish.

    How is wanting to preserve what one has “selfish, self-entitled and self-righteous”?

    Jesus, really? When you’re focused only on yourself that is selfish pretty much by definition. When what you have came mostly via luck and or dirty dealing then focusing on preserving it is more than a little entitled. When you try to mask your selfishness and entitlement behind supposedly highly principled blah, blah, blah you’re being self-righteous.

  • misanthropy_jones

    compadre, you are either a troll or totally lacking in the milk of human kindness. i prefer not to argue with people fitting either description.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What is “the milk of human kindness”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    It’s the stuff that makes you treat other humans like humans, rather than resources to be exploited.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    makes you treat other humans like humans

    -Elaborate, please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    When you see a starving person, you should try to feed them, not say “oh well, I’ve got mine”. When you see a homeless person, you should try to house them, not say “I’ve already got a home, fuck that guy”. When you see a poor person, you should try to help, not say “I wonder what I can get out of this person?”

    Are you really this dense? Compassion and altruism are positive human aspects, and should be encouraged. Selfishness is a human aspect, too, but it shouldn’t be encouraged.

    A lot of the reason why this country is so screwed up is because of the “i’ve got mine” attitude.

  • Lori

    I think Amanda Marcotte has the right of it: that’s not an “or”, it’s an “and”.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/04/26/dean_saxton_says_women_deserve_rape_shows_why_we_shouldn_t_dismiss_bigots.html

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Why either/or? Why not both?

  • Ursula L

    When the rich man came to him, asking the way to heaven, and he said to sell all that he had and give it too the poor.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    True. But it was his decision, not Pilate’s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.paxton.94 Susan Paxton

    Jesus did say, basically, “Shut up and pay your taxes.”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    In government-issued currency, yes, (he didn’t talk about taxes in kind). But I never disputed that.

  • Lori

    So you’re fine paying your taxes in the government issued currency, which is also what your employer usedsto pay you (unless you work for someone who has gone to Bitcoin or something)., but you object to paying taxes in beans or chickens or something? WTH?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    My apologies. I was talking about Jesus’s opinions in that comment, not my opinions.

  • Lori

    So you’re thinking that Jesus objected to taxes paid in chickens? Not seein’ it.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No. I said “he didn’t talk about taxes in kind”. The implication is that, as he didn’t talk about this matter, his position on it is uncertain.
    EDIT: I have finally rated all the comments on this post.

  • Lori

    I have finally rated all the comments on this post.

    For the love of FSM, why? Are you really that thin-skinned and insecure about receiving some down votes that you now obsessively go around rating every single comment? WTH?

    Also, I wish there was some way to forward this to TPTB at disqus as an illistration of why forcing every blog to have up & down votes sucks canal water.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I’ve noticed Enopoletus Harding’s overweaning concern for down/up-votes before. It strikes me as really childish. I’d say it’s high-schoolish, but I know high-schoolers who are more mature than that.

    Which isn’t to say I don’t up/down-vote posts myself. I think, as long as it’s here, it’s a useful way of expressing agreement/disagreement when I have insufficient substantial verbiage to add to the discussion to be worth a post.

    But counting them and then coming back and making sure to rate every response as some weird obsessive way to keep score? *facepalm*

  • The_L1985

    I rate every post, simply because then the unrated posts let me know which replies I haven’t read. But something tells me that’s not why EH is doing it.

  • Lori

    The fact that you have to use votes to keep track of what you’ve read pretty much says it all when it comes to how crappy this new version of disqus is.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    ANNOUNCEMENT: I upvoted that.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I rate every post, simply because then the unrated posts let me know which replies I haven’t read.

    So I’m not the only person who does that!

    …But yeah, it’s annoying not to be able to just scroll to the end.

  • Foelhe

    So… the point you’re trying to make is that Jesus’s opinion… on chicken taxation… is not entirely clear. Thank you for that incredibly salient point, Enopoletus, I don’t know where this thread would be without you.

    (Actually you missed a comment. Just FYI.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    EDIT: I have finally rated all the comments on this post.

    You’re kidding, right? Would I regret it if I asked why?

  • The_L1985

    Matthew 25:36-44 rings a bell for some reason…Hmm…could it be the whole “Help the poor or go to hell” thing? And of course, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man clearly has the rich man going to hell, and Lazarus going to heaven, for literally no other reason than that one was rich and the other poor.

    Leviticus 23:22 clearly indicates that a part of one’s potential profits should go directly to the poor.

    Leviticus 25:8-17, 23-41 speak of jubilee and the giving of one’s property to the poor. Also, all debts are to be completely canceled, and those who sold themselves into slavery in order to pay their debts are to be freed. The rich aren’t even allowed to keep property that was sold to pay the debts of the poor, once jubilee takes place.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The last two were covered at
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/10/jim-wallis-sounds-an-uncertain-trumpet-on-marriage-equality/#comment-859764679
    Abraham was said to have been rich in Genesis 13:6. Genesis and Matthew were written by different people. These authors had differing ideas regarding the good of wealth.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Explain to me how a decent person can steal $32 billion a year and then maybe I’ll be persuaded that they might be decent people.

    -Fees aren’t theft.

  • LouisDoench

    That depends on how they are levied. The contention being made is that by styling these fees as “protection” the banks are actively defrauding their customers through deception. That’s fraud at worst, usury at best.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Bank “fees” are legalised extortion, not fees in the true sense of the word. They are out of any sense of proportion for what they do.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Raises hand* For the privilege of being allowed to go six entire cents into the red, I was fined no less than $75 despite arranging for a money transfer into the account less than an hour later.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    And the banks somehow manage to lose even more of my respect

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Being “out of any sense of proportion” does not constitute theft.

  • P J Evans

    Read about some of the things banks do to make sure that you pay more in fees. Then maybe you can argue it isn’t really theft.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The other commentators have already pointed this out to me.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Fees, like charging interest on a loan, may or may not constitute theft. A reasonable fee, proportionate to the costs and risks, is not theft when presented with transparency and full disclosure. On the other hand, usury laws exist because it is immoral to charge unreasonable costs far beyond the scope and scale of the transaction.

    “Overdraft Protection” allows the banks to charge fees that are nearly as large as the transactions the “protection” is allowing to go through. The typical overdrafted transaction is around $40; the average ‘overdraft protection fee’ is $30. (source) The “fee” (which the bank is promoting as “protection”) is almost as large as the triggering transaction itself. Meanwhile, going to a payday-advance service (the very model of predatory lending) would incur a $16 fee for a 2-week advance on $100, which would prevent two typical overdrafts. Let all of that sink in a moment.

    The banks promote overdraft protection as “you wouldn’t want your car payment or your mortgage payment to bounce!” but in reality, those aren’t the transactions affected; that’s what the study shows. What’s more, the bank knows this! Banks have access to information about all their customers, and have well developed profiles based on a large amount of information. Individual consumers don’t have the same access to information when dealing with the bank.

    So we’ve got a market transaction where one side has considerably more information than the other, where the price being charged is grossly disproportionate to the costs, and where the actual service is deceptively named. The closest analogy I can think of is an “alternative medicine” practitioner selling you “medicine” that actually makes you sicker, but labeling it as “pure panacea”.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Fees, like charging interest on a loan, may or may not constitute theft. A reasonable fee, proportionate to the costs and risks, is not theft when presented with transparency and full disclosure. On the other hand, usury laws exist because it is immoral to charge unreasonable costs far beyond the scope and scale of the transaction.

    “Overdraft Protection” allows the banks to charge fees that are nearly as large as the transactions the “protection” is allowing to go through. The typical overdrafted transaction is around $40; the average ‘overdraft protection fee’ is $30. (source) The “fee” (which the bank is promoting as “protection”) is almost as large as the triggering transaction itself. Meanwhile, going to a payday-advance service (the very model of predatory lending) would incur a $16 fee for a 2-week advance on $100, which would prevent two typical overdrafts. Let all of that sink in a moment.

    The banks promote overdraft protection as “you wouldn’t want your car payment or your mortgage payment to bounce!” but in reality, those aren’t the transactions affected; that’s what the study shows. What’s more, the bank knows this! Banks have access to information about all their customers, and have well developed profiles based on a large amount of information. Individual consumers don’t have the same access to information when dealing with the bank.

    So we’ve got a market transaction where one side has considerably more information than the other, where the price being charged is grossly disproportionate to the costs, and where the actual service is deceptively named. The closest analogy I can think of is an “alternative medicine” practitioner selling you “medicine” that actually makes you sicker, but labeling it as “pure panacea”.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Misleading while not communicating falsehoods and communicating falsehoods are different things.

  • JustoneK

    Misleading isn’t conveying falsehood. Gotcha.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Um…being misleading IS a form of communicating falsehood. There is such a thing as a “lie by omission”.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Then BoA is apparently guilty of theft.
    Edit: this was meant to be a reply to http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/29/monday-salmagundi/#comment-879867133

  • The_L1985

    Well, yes. Any fool could tell you that.

  • The_L1985

    Usury laws existED. Usury laws were pretty much gotten rid of by the Reagan administration, which is why such disgustingly-high fees and interest rates exist in the first place.

  • AnonaMiss

    Eh, I’m with EH on this one, in the narrow case of overdraft protection, and only since it’s now legally required to be opt-in only.

    People are swayed by advertisements to make choices against their best interests all the time, and we don’t consider that theft or fraud. People opting in to overdraft protection are buying an overpriced convenience service which isn’t in their best interests, but which does do what it says it does. If that counts as fraud/theft, then we’re going to have to lock up everyone in the fast food industry.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The idea is still sold as TOTALLY AWESOME though, in my experience. Bank of America tried to sell it to me as “We’ll let you make emergency purchases, even if you don’t actually have any money, so you won’t be totally screwed over!” with the unspoken-but-obvious subtext “At least until we send you the bill.”

    My current bank was much more up front about it. In so many words, I was told “This is a bad idea. Don’t opt into it unless you have the kind of cash flow where you can afford to take a fee, because the fees suck. Seriously, only opt into this if you’re either desperate or so well off it should never concern you.”

  • Kirala

    Am I the only one whose overdraft protection doesn’t involve exorbitant fees? I get charged something like $0.50 per overdraft – and I can’t remember whether that’s only after six overdrafts in a month, or if that’s the light fee that gets upped after six overdrafts (I think it’s the latter, but hey.). And I get a written notification every time I go over, so if I’m likely to be overdrafting twice a week, I get fair notice that I’m approaching my limit.

    Of course, I have deliberately opted to stick to my reliable credit union rather than bank with a large organization… but seriously? *hugs bank and vows never to leave*

  • The_L1985

    That’s why. CUs tend not to be as large or corrupt.

  • The_L1985

    But what if you already had a bank account before that law was passed? Aren’t you still stuck with that lousy overdraft “protection?”

  • AnonaMiss

    No – I did have a bank account, it did have mandatory overdraft protection before the law passed, and the overdraft protection was removed from my account without me having to take any action. They sent a couple warning letters before the law took effect about omg! if you don’t opt back in to this you’ll be losing your overdraft protection!!, but I didn’t opt back in and I haven’t heard about it since. Though I guess it’s possible they advertise it on the login screen, but I never read those.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    They are when the banks process debits on in account not in the order that they came in, but in an order that is far more likely to trigger an overdraft or multiple overdrafts.

    For example, let’s say that you have $100 in the back. You purchase a candy bar ($1), a couple of packs of cigarettes ($10), some groceries ($80), and a DVD ($20), in that order. Processed in that order, it would trigger ONE overdraft fee.

    Bank of America doesn’t process those charges in that order; they process orders from largest to smallest amounts. So, the $80 charge would be processed first, then the $20 charge, then the $10 charge, then the $1 charge, thus triggering TWO overdraft charges, rather than ONE.

    And that is why it’s theft, and why it’s not fair.

  • stardreamer42

    Not just that, but if in your example above you had made a $200 deposit at a bank branch in between buying the cigarettes and the groceries, that deposit gets processed LAST. So they’re charging you the overdraft fees even though you had enough money in your account to cover everything. How is that anything but theft?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    That would be theft if one did not agree to such a terrible arrangement.

  • JustoneK

    FULL CIRCLE!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t see how processing debits in a certain manner is theft.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    How is it not theft when the processing method is specifically chosen to cause more violations than would normally occur?

    My example above is an excellant example of this. Also, stardreamer42’s point is correct; BoA processes deposits AFTER withdrawls, specifically because it can cause even further violations, thus generating more money for the bank. In my example above, yes, the purchaser exhibited a lack of financial responsibility; but why, then, should they be charged multiple times for a single error (the DVD purchase)? And if, as in stardreamer42’s example, they deposited $200 before buying their groceries, why should they be charged for an overdraft AT ALL, since the money is “in the bank”?

    This is theft, period.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You have an interesting definition of theft. My definition of theft is the transfer of property from one to another without the original property owner’s consent. As one makes an agreement with a bank when one opens an account there, overdraft fees are transfers of property from one to another with the consent of the original property owner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Does the agreement with the bank contain something along the lines of “we will not process debits in the order which the arrive, nor will we process deposits in the order in which they arrive; it is possible that you will be charged punitive fees for things that entirely beyond your control”?

    No, it doesn’t. I’ve read the BoA overdraft protection contract.

    It’s theft.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Does it state anything about the order of processing of debits?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    No, it does not.

  • Lori

    So your argument is that silence = the bank can do whatever it wants and the account holding is assumed to consent to have transactions processed in the order which is most beneficial to the bank? Attitudes like yours are the reason we need to pass and enforce better consumer protection and disclosure laws.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Nay; see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/29/monday-salmagundi/#comment-879873313
    I have been persuaded by Dan Hetrick of the incorrectness of my original assumption.
    I meant to post something like this comment half an hour ago, but apparently it was swallowed by Disqus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.paxton.94 Susan Paxton

    Perhaps you’ll stop driving on the streets the rest of us paid for, in that case.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    1. I am uncertain about road privatization, but I can’t be sure it won’t work.
    2. Where did I describe all “theft” as bad?

  • Foelhe

    “I am uncertain about road privatization, but I can’t be sure it won’t work.”

    I can! I was raised in a farming community, and a lot of the back roads connected to maybe ten, twenty farms. If you turned those roads into toll roads, you bankrupt the farmers. If you don’t, you can’t pay for repairs and the roads fall apart, so farmers can’t get food to the market. Either way, no farms, no food, chaos and ruination. I haven’t heard one solution to this problem that doesn’t involve taxation.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    My definition of theft is the transfer of property from one to another without the original property owner’s consent.

    Consent obtained through dishonesty (either explicit falsehoods, or intentional omission of relevant information) is invalid, and often referred to a fraud.

    Further, my impression of you, Enopoletus Harding, is that you are a fan of free market economics. In this scenario. there is a substantial inequality of information between the seller of this service (the bank) and it’s buyers. (the account holders) The bank is offering this service, and pricing it, based on aggregate data of all of its users; the customer has visibility only to their own financial data. This kind of imbalance of information makes free market pricing decisions impossible and subverts the normal market mechanisms for correction. This issue is why packaged meats at the supermarket have a packing date printed on the label; without that transparency of information, it would difficult if not impossible for consumers to make educated, rational decisions.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    How is it not theft when the processing method is specifically chosen to cause more violations than would normally occur?

    My example above is an excellant example of this. Also, stardreamer42’s point is correct; BoA processes deposits AFTER withdrawls, specifically because it can cause even further violations, thus generating more money for the bank. In my example above, yes, the purchaser exhibited a lack of financial responsibility; but why, then, should they be charged multiple times for a single error (the DVD purchase)? And if, as in stardreamer42’s example, they deposited $200 before buying their groceries, why should they be charged for an overdraft AT ALL, since the money is “in the bank”?

    This is theft, period.

  • Foelhe

    Ah, okay. I thought you were arguing about ethics, but this is actually just a semantics issue, isn’t it. Perhaps we could call it greedy, dishonest, and controlling? Because if a financial institution is taking control away from their customers and carefully arranging matters so they can make the maximum amount of money off the minimum amount of assistance, can you really argue it isn’t any of those things?

    If your best defense of a behavior is “technically it’s not illegal!” it’s a terrible behavior.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Foelhe

    So yes, this is a semantics issue. Wasn’t expecting you to back me up on that, to be honest.

  • stardreamer42

    Usury has been considered a form of theft for a long time. That’s why there used to be laws against it, until the usurers bought themselves a raft of legislators and got those laws de-fanged.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Interest is merely the cost of wanting money sooner than later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.k.hetrick Dan Hetrick

    Since this is a Christian blog, I also want to point out that charging interest is expressly forbidden in the Bible; it’s mentioned more times than any reference to homosexuality, and is spoken of as “evil”. I collected a list of verses prohibiting the charging of interest a while ago, I’ll dig it up and post it if anyone is interested.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Regarding those NRA magazine covers: You’ve got to give them points for being open about their real aim. I don’t think many of the “Christian” direct-mail fundraisers would actually put a picture of someone signing a cheque to them on the front of THEIR newsletters…

  • c2t2

    “…You’ve got to give them points for being open about their real aim.”

    I see what you did there.

  • Lori

    Rather a big deal today—basketball player Jason Collins came out. That makes him the first active roster player in a US major professional sports to come out.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/20130429/jason-collins-gay-nba-player/#ixzz2RriiXqcg

    Good for him. I have zero interest in the NBA, but I wish him the best.

  • Jessica_R

    It’s been heartening to see the flood of well wishes, as well as eye rolling to see the expected Bible Thumpers decry it. But the latter are a distinct minority this times. Things are changing and it’s because of the incredible courage of people like Collins. Rock on sir.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Oddly, I was just seeing some commentary on twitter about this. Mostly stating that while his coming out is a universal good, claiming him as “the first” discounts the women in professional US sports who have already come out. Or else it rhetorically disqualifies women’s pro sports as “major”, which is kind a icky.

    So, yay, more openly QUILTBAG pro sports players! But boo, more discounting of women and their doings.

  • EllieMurasaki

    To be fair, we think it’s significant when the first woman achieves a milestone that at least one man has beaten her to. I don’t believe that the reverse should be true, for male privilege reasons, but I can see how some would.

  • Lori

    I think it’s that women’s sports are rhetorically disqualified from being major. That’s problematic, but also pretty realistic if you’re talking about revenue, number of fans and amount of press coverage (which is both a driver and consequence of revenue & fan interest). In the US* when people talk about major sports they tend to mean the Big 4 men’s professional leagues—-the NFL, the NBA, MLB and the NHL. That disqualifies the accomplishments of women and also of men who play “lesser” sports.

    IMO the thing that’s icky WRT women’s sports is that female athelets who come out tend to be sort of shrugged off with an, “Of course” because there’s an assumption that female jocks are lesbians. Think: all the jokes about women’s softball. That’s quite unlike male jocks who are assumed to all be straight as an arrow because manly men, blah, blah, blah.
    *Which sports are considered major is obviously different in different countries. I know that at least one professional soccer player & one professional rugby player have come out. I have no clue about other sports because I don’t much care about sports in my own country let alone sports in places I don’t live.

  • The_L1985

    People consider the NHL major? That’s news to me.

  • Lori

    I take it you don’t live in the Midwest.

    Also, I suspect it won’t be much longer until the NHL is no longer considered a major sport. The league seems determined to completely destroy it’s fan support.

  • The_L1985

    Nope. Perhaps the reason I hear next-to-nothing about the NHL is that I live in a place where it never freezes.

  • P J Evans

    There are two NHL teams in southern California. The amount of frost in the areas within five miles of their arenas is, um, not much.

  • Carstonio

    In my not-necessarily-informed opinion, if the climate in a city doesn’t allow for shinny or pond hockey each winter, then the city shouldn’t have an NHL team. In part, it’s about kids growing up in the region being able to appreciate the sport firsthand.

  • Madhabmatics

    It froze once! For like a few days. :P

  • Carstonio

    While you’re right about the hateful assumption about female jocks, I think it takes more courage for male ones to come out of the closet. Males-only environments tend to be homophobic, partly because the men who object to this often keep silent for fear of being labeled gay themselves. I would expect an openly gay NFL player to be roughed up by opponents on the field, and assaulted by teammates in the locker room.

  • Lori

    You’re assuming the female-only environments are not homophobic, that women don’t fear being labeled as lesbians and that women aren’t physically violent with each other. None of these assumptions is correct. Women can be just as shitty as men. Female-only environments aren’t automatically all sisterhood and puppies. Women are human beings and some humans suck.

  • Carstonio

    I don’t doubt that women can be shitty to each other. I’ve just never personally observed women engaging in the type of homophobia I’m talking about, which is a male culture that is almost McCarthyist in enforcing gender norms. That culture wrongly defines masculinity as what a man does, not who he is.

    In my experience, the people who label women as lesbians have almost always been men. I would have guessed that more women than men rightly recognize that those gender norms are unjust for females in particular.

    The homophobic McCarthyism among men is such a given that the “you know how I know you’re gay” scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin sounded perfect as a lampoon. A female version might highlight how idiotic men sound when they play that game in real life.

  • Lori

    By definition you can’t really observe a female-only environment because if you’re there it’s not female-only. Women express their gender policing differently than men and male gender policing is on the whole more likely to be physically violent. However, never discount the toxic effects of ladies against women and the ugly competition that can develop within a non-privileged group when success is presented as a zero sum game.

  • Carstonio

    Can you offer examples from fiction that might be illustrative? It’s common for men to insult peers by equating them with women (“throws like a girl”) or with female genitalia to connote weakness. That’s a larger sexist meme that I’m not sure has a female equivalent. Masculinity is so prized in the culture (for all the wrong reasons) that I have difficulty imagining female gender police using it as a put-down.

  • Lori

    I’m not sure I can think of an example from fiction off the top of my head (if I follow my usual pattern I won’t think of one until I’m half asleep & I won’t be able to recall it when I wake up).

    What I can say is that a lot of discussion of women’s looks is gender policing. Ugly sometimes means “an arrangement of features which I find aesthetically unpleasing” and other times it means “butch” or “not made-up and dressed and sized in a manner designed to elicit sexual interest in men, thereby suggesting that it’s acceptable for a woman to exist for reasons other than attracting the sexual interest of men, which is clearly not true.”

    Then there are the issues of wanting vs not wanting children and wanting to be a full time SAHM vs wanting to continue to work outside the home. That’s all gender policing and women can be just as ugly to each other on those issues as men are to us.

  • Carstonio

    Ugh. Even when gender policing is practiced by women, it has the effect of perpetuating male privilege. A hierarchy exists only as long as the people in it know their place, and a gender hierarchy is no different. I hope it’s obvious that I oppose not only gender hierarchy and gender policing but also most gender norms – people shouldn’t be expected to act a certain way when they possess certain genitalia.

    My original post was about a specific type of gender policing that deals mostly in orientation. What you describe seems to focus more on whether the women are catering to men’s power and pleasure. The self-appointed policers are complicit in keeping themselves and all other women trapped in a gender hierarchy, like toadies for the patriarchs.

  • Lori

    What you describe seems to focus more on whether the women are catering to men’s power and pleasure.

    Attitudes about orientation play a huge part in this. Lesbians by their very existence say that women can exist without caring about men’s pleasure. Lesbians & women perceived to be lesbians are threatening, and therefore often threatened, for much the same reason as gay men & men perceived to be gay are—they don’t play the game by patriarchal rules and therefore threaten the system.

  • Carstonio

    Very true. That’s why it seemed to me that accusations of homosexuality were far more common among men. Any woman who subjects her peers to lesbian-bating is acting against her own interests. Kind of like Phyllis Schlafly or Beverly LaHaye.

  • Lori

    Outright accusations of being gay are more common among men, but women are subjected to plenty of accusations by implication. There are ladies against women everywhere. Schlafly & LeHaye are among the loudest and most public, but there are plenty more where they came from.

    However, not all women who engage in gender policing are consciously acting against their own interests. It’s similar to what goes on with men. Many of them are trying to prove their good woman bone fides by attacking someone else to deflect attention from their own perceived failures to do womanhood “right”. Others are so immersed in patriarchy that they have no idea that they’re policing anything.

    The specifics of how it plays out are different, but the underlying dynamic is basically the same as that found among men. Patriarchy isn’t any better for most men than it is for women. The majority of men who police each other’s performance of masculinity are acting against their own best interests just as much, and in pretty much the same way, as ladies against women. That’s why feminism is about consciousness raising, even though that terms doesn’t seem to get used as much as it used to be.

  • Carstonio

    However, not all women who engage in gender policing are consciously acting against their own interests.

    Yes. I was talking about women acting against their own interests whether they consciously recognize this or not.

    The majority of men who police each other’s performance of masculinity are acting against their own best interests just as much, and in pretty much the same way, as ladies against women.

    True. Almost the same dynamic as the non-slaveowning whites who fervently defended a system that penalized them economically. Any rewards they received were likely the same ones as the majority of male gender policers received, emotional and psychological ones.

  • Carstonio

    Also, the “mommy wars” and the “work-life balance” debates are frustrating and infuriating, because both sides seem to share the mistaken assumption that women’s natural role is raising children. Both mothers and fathers make sacrifices for their children, and struggle to balance their parental responsibilities with their workplace ones. Elsewhere, when I’ve pointed out that having a vagina doesn’t automatically make a person a primary caregiver, this brings out the usual gender essentialism from the usual assholes.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Both mothers and fathers make sacrifices for their children, and struggle to balance their parental responsibilities with their workplace ones.

    Which is true, but doesn’t take into consideration that men with children are expected to BOTH work and do their part in childcare (for generally small values of ‘their part’) and women with children are expected to EITHER work or do their part in childcare (for generally large values of ‘their part’). And paying for childcare is expensive, and paid childcare workers don’t make much more than minimum wage.

  • Carstonio

    That’s part of my point – the expectations are wrong and discriminatory against women.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I just need to vent here. And I do mean “here,” as opposed to “somewhere else.” My Facebook list today has several people posting that stupid “the media told Tim Tebow to keep his religion to himself, but are congratulating this gay on bravery” thing.

    I finally snapped and told one of them that the closest thing I have ever heard to “keep it to yourself” were Christians who said that “Tebow-ing” (just that term makes me nauseated) violated Matthew 6:5, and that I happen to agree with them.

    My blood pressure still hasn’t recovered.

  • Lori

    I hear ya. The whole Tebow the Christian martyr thing is really tiresome. The guy didn’t just “tebow”, he copyrighted tebowing. It’s not the media’s fault people got sick of his crap. And that’s setting aside the fact that he wasn’t a good quarterback. I’m with Scott Lemieux over at LG&M on this one:

    It could be that every NFL organization is completely incompetent to not recognize the substantial value of a player who was terrible in his one year as a regular, lacks the skills of an NFL QB, and creates a massive media circus if you put him on your roster. I know how I’m betting.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen
  • Lori

    How was church last Sunday, Ginny? What was the sermons about?

  • Panda Rosa

    I always joke to my older daughter that I would quite happy if she lived in sin with her significant other; as they’ve been seeing each other for years. She’s sworn she never wants to marry or have children and I’m okay with that (long story), but she does seem a better person when he’s around. And just for the record, second daughter and her SO are also Living In Sin, which is easier to pronounce than “POSSLQ” Oh well.

  • Carstonio

    “Living in sin” – a wonderful way to reduce the lifetime commitment of marriage to a mere permission slip to have sex.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yeah, but “Cohabitating with a safety pin” doesn’t really fit the meter.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    “POSSLQ” — wow, I haven’t heard that term in years. I think it was discarded because of wider recognition of same-sex couples.

  • JustoneK

    I had to look it up. wtf.

  • Lori

    As originally used it’s not that weird. It was just a census category describing unmarried adults who live together and applied to roommates as well a those “living in sin” and same sex couples. It sort took on a life of it’s own once the jokes started and then died off the way that sort of thing usually does.

  • The_L1985

    I seem to vaguely remember the phrase “There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do/If you would be my POSSLQ” but I couldn’t begin to tell you where I heard/read it.

  • Lori

    It’s from a Charles Osgood poem

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yeah, I haven’t heard it since I was in high school.

    Which was also when my class read the Adrienne Rich poem “Living in Sin”. The class thought it was an interesting turn of phrase the author had invented.

    I was the only student who was actually familiar with the term as a preexisting expression.

    My mother was predictably scandalized when i mentioned this to her.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I think I first heard it in junior high, from a Bon Jovi song.

    …Which hints at how old I am.

  • Panda Rosa

    Shall we start using PSSSLQ, “pssssss-ul-que” or Person of the Same Sex Sharing Living Quarters now? I just think they’re neat words to say.

  • SisterCoyote

    I’m, uh, just going to skip the EH clusterfuck thread for now, and point out that your bullet point on the AP made me laugh and cry for a good five minutes, partly because I’m in the middle of wading through Quill archives for a paper and going “Why am I majoring in an industry whose best voices* are currently being laid off en masse?”

    And partly because the two paragraphs are a neat sum of the essence of this blog, and that, too, is a thing of migled laughter and tears.

    *some of them, anyway, or most – enough that it’s bloody well noticeable.

  • Frithweaver

    Fred, I’m a long time enthusiastic reader, but I have to apply some tough love and point out the juxtaposition of the NRA cover critique and your glib “they are coming for your birth control” link title produces some irony. An Ohio AG making some fairly small scale routine pro-life moves is not the end of the world. It’s the equivalent of a background check to an NRA supporter, and you are crying “Siege”.

    Yes, reproductive rights are deeply important and we should fight for justice. We can also avoid the ham-fisted one dimensional alarmism used by the other side.

    And if your tongue was in your cheek, I confess it was too subtly done for me to notice.

  • Foelhe

    If DeWine gets his way, private employers will be able to decide whether or not their female employees can get birth control on their health insurance. So they are, literally speaking, trying to take away birth control. (Or trying to take away the ability to pay for it, but that’s splitting hairs.) Just because it’s hyperbole when one side says it doesn’t mean it’s hyperbole when the other side does, that’s ridiculous.

    I’d also love to hear why you think this is the same thing as a background check, ’cause to be honest I’m not seeing it.

  • Frithweaver

    (Let me emphasize that I am pro gun control and pro reproductive rights, so you understand where I am coming from.)

    In fact, it’s not splitting hairs. Birth control (in Ohio, not the US) could potentially be more difficult to afford, but not become illegal or unavailable. This is a bad thing, but it does not remotely equate to “they are taking your guns away” any more than somewhat stricter gun laws in Colorado or NYC equates to “they are taking your guns away”.

    I wasn’t saying “Background checks are the same thing as uninsured birth control”, I was saying “the oversimplified and alarmist language is the same”.

    It’s straight up slippery slope in both cases and I stand by my critique.

  • Carstonio

    Your point about slippery slopes ignores the history of contraception in the US. Its legality and availability is a fairly recent development, and it came after hard-fought battles by reformers to overturn such idiocies as the Comstock laws. It’s opposed by the largest Christian denomination in the country and one of the most politically active, and as Fred has described, the evangelical movement in this country has become dominated by contraception opponents as well. Contraception is about freedom for women to live their lives as they wish, and it’s no coincidence that the religious groups opposed to it are the ones that push patriarchal gender roles.

    Contrast that with the opposition to gun control, which is mostly a wealthy industry seeking to protect its profits by exploiting the longstanding racist and nativist fears of a subset of gun owners.

  • Foelhe

    If you’re a poor woman, making birth control more difficult to afford does, in fact, mean taking it away. Make something impossible to get financially, and it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not. If Repubs made it so that psychiatric meds weren’t covered by insurance, I think we’d all agree that they’re “taking it away” for all intents and purposes. I still say you’re splitting hairs.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Several high profile Republicans have openly stated that they want to ban birth control pills. That is their stated end goal. The most “extreme” Democratic proprosal would have banned the sale of a small-subset of guns. The actual bill before Congress was about background checks. These are not comparable. At all.

  • Carstonio

    Great quote from Gene Weingarten, talking about the non-arguments against same-sex marriage:

    http://live.washingtonpost.com/chatological-humor-130430.html

    There is no end, with these people. They have a bankrupt, bigotry-based position, and will go any length, prop up any straw man, to create an argument that doesn’t admit the bigotry behind their stance. Male sushi chefs have told me that women can’t be sushi chefs because their body temperatures are higher and would partially cook the meat.

    When you hear some insane argument like that, stop and ask yourself: Okay, what is the actual truth that this person is trying not to say, because it will make him look bad?

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Very cool. Liked the ethics questions, too.

  • Carstonio

    ESPN is supporting Chris Broussard after the reporter used his religion as a club against Jason Collins. I don’t know how the channel should have handled the personnel matter, but I do know that Broussard’s comments went way beyond offering personal opinion. He didn’t just offer his religious beliefs, he essentially said that everyone should subscribe to his religion. Broussard would have been fine if he had said something like, “While my religion opposes homosexuality, that shouldn’t have anything to do with Collins, as long as both of us are free to follow the dictates of our own consciences.” Instead, he’s saying that only Christians should be able to follow their consciences

  • The_L1985

    Didn’t you know? We filthy heathens don’t have consciences.

    …Which fails to explain all of the murder, arson, kidnapping, etc. that I have never committed.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    ABC-LGBTQIA-XYZ


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