Let’s Fight: On the Margin of Error Edition

Let’s Fight: On the Margin of Error Edition February 12, 2019

This is an idea from Joey the Anime Man and his Let’s Fight series, asking his Twitter followers to post their unpopular and controversial opinions and then he reacts to them in a video. I thought this’d be fun, so I asked my Facebook friends to post their unpopular opinions and now I’m going to react to them in this post. Buckle up!

Re: leftist communities (online) and material support. Sometimes it feels like leftists only want to offer “support” if it means they get to yell at someone.

Well, personally, I myself am a centrist who supports most leftist causes, so I try not to badmouth leftists too much, as it’d sound obnoxious coming from me. That said, I do feel this in many leftists, so I think it’s definitely a problem which exists.

Maternity leave is inherently discriminatory and should be replaced by a universally-available system of paid sabattical.

I 100% agree!

Titanic was and still is a shit movie.

I am not a big fan of Titanic. I don’t think it’s a bad movie, but it definitely doesn’t deserve the position it has, as it is in the end a very generic love story. Good Will Hunting or L.A. Confidential should have won the Oscar instead.

The National League should adopt the Designated Hitter.

That sentence is entirely meaningless to me.

The aesthetic quality of music is mostly objective.

There is definitely an objective element to music. Overall, though, I really hate the idea that taste is completely subjective and that there is no difference between them. That is an uneducated and plebeian view both in terms of understanding philosophy — subjective doesn’t mean every garbage is acceptable in a land of no right and wrong — and aesthetics and philosophy of art and literature — there’s definitely a vast difference between learned and unlearned tastes, and the fact you love Star Wars doesn’t qualify you to be a critic.

Men need feminism.

That’s definitely not an unpopular view among my friends, and yeah, they do. Feminism is good for the entire humanity.

Liberals need to be more like conservatives when it comes to taking marching orders.

I agree. Liberals in general are too disorganized and unpragmatic in the US.

Transistor amplifiers can be as good as tube amps.

I’m not qualified to respond in agreement or disagreement.

Having pets does not make you a parent.

It doesn’t harm me in anyway for someone to consider themselves a parent to their pet and it’s not an issue for the world at large, so I don’t care enough to have an opinion on this. Let people have fun.

The United States should require mandatory civil service. Similar to the draft, but with options that don’t require military service. It builds job skills, and pays for universal education plan that would provide for a college tuition afterward.

I disagree. Firstly, I think this could cost more than what it will earn, if you want to adequately pay people for their labor. If you don’t, it’d be exploitative, and it wouldn’t encourage productivity. People should be given real job opportunities, not government mandated summer internships.

Most leftist are awful about issues facing mad/neurodivergent/mentally-ill people who have faced institutional violence and until they start paying attention their politics suck.

I have definitely seen this from leftists a lot.

 I am not opposed to secession.

I am. First of all, in many parts of the world session would threaten stability. Secondly, we need integration and we need the number of nation-states to go down, not up, as it would lead to a more unified world with fewer borders and fewer chances of war and all that.

Outside of a very few specific jobs, there is no ethical way to breed companion animals.

I don’t know. I’m not huge on the concept of animal rights — I’m not a humanist, I’m a Hobbesian, and I don’t believe in the concept of natural rights. Rights are just useful legal tools that ensure a more stable state/civilization, and thus are purely limited to people. So I don’t ascribe to ideas like “animals shouldn’t work” and such. That said, it’s obvious that animal abuse and cruelty is morally questionable. So, if you mean that “we can’t breed companion animals without abusing them”, then I’d agree it’s unethical. If you mean “animals shouldn’t be used for labor because I think they have rights”, then I disagree.

Thomas Nagel is right that without a fundamental change in how the sciences work — in a manner which we cannot now anticipate — we will never solve the hard problem of consciousness.

I’m not a scientist, I don’t know how science works apart from what everyone needs to know for critical thinking skills, and I have no idea what can solve the problem of consciousness. So I shall not opine.

Metal is amazing, far and away my favorite genre of music, but goddamn do many bands need to learn a thing or two about musicianship and composition, not just playing complicated notes.

Do they? I think there are actually more fantastic compositions among metal bands than other modern  genres, but that’s maybe because I’m more familiar with them.

As a scientist/science researcher, science is political. Less controversial if we are talking about institutions, more so when discussing its practice and methods, but I could defend both.

I agree. And the good thing about science is that it’s self-correcting, so we don’t need to pretend it’s absolute and free from bias, because it’s still the best way with all the biases it inevitable incorporates.

There is no objective reason to eat one thing and not another except for the acceptance or not of the said food into the human body (example: if it is toxic). All diets are hence purely subjective.

So — if I say cannibalism is wrong, that’s purely subjective?

Humans are oppressive of others less powerful than them by nature. There is no reason to believe that had the roles been reversed, black people wouldn’t have been as oppressive to the whites, or women as oppressive to men. Also, there is no evolutionary reason for social equality. Natural selection does not take place at a group level.

History has witnessed many occasions in which the oppressed have turned out to be oppressors when given the opportunity, it’s actually quite observable in the Middle East, where the ethnic group in charge might change due to events. So I would agree to this extent. That said, I don’t like to call this something biological and I think it’s more a function of how societies work. Racism and sexism are both very social institutions. The latter part about social evolution is just plain wrong.

Hunting of game (not listed as endangered) as an expression of one’s cultural identity as an ethnic minority should be legally permitted, even if not permitted for the dominant mainstream culture.

Hunting is actually quite good for the environment, if it’s not overdone, so people who think hunting should be completely banned are worse environmentalists.

Nobody has an obligation to care about anyone else.

Yeah. Caring for other people helps to be an ethical person, but it’s not necessary — as long as you are not bad to them, trample on their rights, act abusive, etc etc, it doesn’t matter.

Meat is harmful.

For what? For people’s health? For the environment? For animals? In all cases I disagree. Maybe we need to reform our meat consumption methods, but a blanket statement like this is false.

The concept of human rights makes political compromise really hard, and they ought to be discarded in favor of calling them something like “really good ideas that we should defend in most cases.” That, of course, doesn’t have the same ring to it, so maybe “principles of governance.” The problem is that rights, once someone has established that they exist, become intractable, and discussion around them takes on the characteristics of religious discussion. This is partially by design. The concept comes from an era when people believed that reason would give us access to God’s divine plan. It was a step away from divine command theory where our job was merely to interpret Scripture to know what was right, but it was still religious at its core. (Edit: I’m aware that this is a vast oversimplification of their origins, but it’s good enough for a Facebook comment.) Changing our framework from rights to principles of governance would allow us to open up conversations around tough issues instead of telling at each other about what our favorite rights imply we should do. It wouldn’t solve all political discussion, but I believe it would help.

Quoting myself from above: rights are useful legal tools that help us preserve stability, because history shows us that authoritarian states are less stable, and they have other uses too, like increasing prosperity. That said, it’s very easy for authoritarians to say “Rights are good but we are in a state of emergency”, when we’re not, so I don’t mind if rights are considered absolute in a legal system. Philosophically, I agree.

Cats are domestic animals, and as both predator and prey, outdoor cats are both in significant danger and wreak havoc on the local environment. There is absolutely no reason cats need to be outside unsupervised, and cats should be kept indoors.

I didn’t have any opinion on this, but I was convinced by the friend who made this comment. I’ll post their further comments which convinced me:

[Cats] cannot make an informed decision about cars, dogs, coyotes, hawks, owls, eagles, other cats, asshole neighbors with guns, power lines, frostbite, heat stroke, getting lost, getting picked up/kidnapped by strangers, toxic plants, rodenticides, rattlesnakes, feline leukemia, unwanted kittens, feline herpes, calicivirus, panleukopenia virus, rabies…. it is F****G DANGEROUS for cats to go outside, and I clean up the mess of the “lucky” cats that make it back home on a daily basis. […] If your cat likes going outside and you absolutely cannot say it no, put it on a harness and go with it, or build it a safely enclosed outdoor area. Don’t let it roam around and get repeatedly mauled. They also do immeasurable damage to native wildlife while they are out risking their lives. As in cats have literally hunted to extinction some populations of birds and rodents. They dead. We will never get them back. G’bye. Because humans brought cats to new places and turned them loose. It is not necessary for cats to be loose outside any more than it is necessary for me to binge drink because I like apple cider. It is absolutely possible to meet the physical and mental needs of domestic cats in an indoor-only situation. There is no need and many many reasons not to let cats outside. I have both logic and passion on my side on this, and have never in running on 2 decades now of carrying on this conversation heard a compelling reason that cats “should” go outside.

Nationalism, the lack of consistent environmental regulation globally, and the failure to provide all humans on this planet with a reasonable minimum standard of living will almost certainly render our planet unable to support all but a small fraction of our current human population and let them thrive.

I agree, but I’m also quite certain these problems will be solved.

All Jews and Palestinians should be permanently evacuated from Israel/Palestine, and resettled in other countries. By use of carrots if possible, the stick if need be. Turn it into the world’s largest archaeological museum. Allow Jews, Muslims and Christians to visit, but not to live there. This may be the only way to achieve lasting peace.

I disagree. There’s no actual upside to this opinion, the cost is too high, doesn’t help peace, doesn’t serve the interests of anyone, we don’t need a large archaeological museum.

Anti-cop types focus way too much on individual cops and how they are wrong to work for the department and not nearly enough on how the police were made that way by elected officials. Solving the problem is about electing people who will change it and otherwise putting political pressure on them, not trying to get everyone with a conscience who has the potential to be a decent cop to refuse to join the force.

I agree.

Under the current US system, forcing drug addicts to go to rehab (via drug courts, probation, etc.) is often almost as bad as forcing drug addicts to go to prison. Most of the time, with relatively few exceptions, drug addiction rehab should be made fully voluntary (but with more positive incentives than at present). Also, most addiction rehab in the US is unscientific and ineffective, anyway. Also, a sizable fraction of people in drug addiction rehab are recreational drug users who don’t even have serious drug problems, and they ought to be allowed to just go back to recreational drug use. People who proclaim that drug addicts need “Treatment, Not Punishment!” are essentially correct, but they need to grapple with these facts. Otherwise they will continue to be easy prey for the promotors of pseudo-progressive policies like the current drug court systems.

I agree. Using drugs is a right and rehabilitation must only be voluntary.

Benigni’s Life is Beautiful is awful from any point of view.

I also strongly dislike that movie. Edward Norton should have won Best Actor Oscar instead of Roberto Benigni, and Central Station should have won the Best Foreign Language Film.

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