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Douthat on Chait: Political Correctness Works
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Ross Douthat blogs on Jonathan Chait’s denunciation of political correctness by people further to the left than him:

Does Political Correctness Work?
JANUARY 30, 2015 11:28 AM January 30, 2015 11:28 am 4 Comments

… [Chait's] not really talking about left-wing rudeness, whether against his peers or against his own allegedly hyper-sensititive white male self. He’s talking about the particular tactic of trying to shut down debate outright on certain topics, using a mix of protest, harassment, “you don’t have standing to speak on this” identity politics (a tactic that some of his critics are basically just recapitulating) and strict taboo enforcement. As he put it in the essay, the thing he’s describing as “political correctness” is “a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.” Maybe there’s a different or more precise word for this style, but whatever you want to call it you can’t really deny that it has old roots in left-wing culture, that it has particular manifestations on the left today, and that there’s an interesting debate to be had about its scope, effectiveness and moral wisdom.

… Is the vocabulary that the contemporary left increasingly uses for this purpose, to condemn arguments instead of answering them — don’t victimblame, don’t slutshame, check your privilege, that’s phobic (whether trans or homo or Islamo or otherwise), that’s denialism — worth embracing and defending? And does this vocabulary, this strategy, actually serve the causes that it’s associated with — liberation, equality, social justice?

Chait’s mostly-unrebutted conclusion is that it doesn’t:

“That the new political correctness has bludgeoned even many of its own supporters into despondent silence is a triumph, but one of limited use. Politics in a democracy is still based on getting people to agree with you, not making them afraid to disagree. The historical record of political movements that sought to expand freedom for the oppressed by eliminating it for their enemies is dismal. The historical record of American liberalism, which has extended social freedoms to blacks, Jews, gays, and women, is glorious. And that glory rests in its confidence in the ultimate power of reason, not coercion, to triumph.”

This is a fine idea. But — if I may fill in the rebuttal that’s been mostly missing — is it really true? Well, in some cases, yes: …

But not always or everywhere. The reality is that there are contexts where making people afraid to disagree is actually a pretty successful ways of settling political and cultural arguments. This is clear enough in politics: Yes, at a certain point overly-stringent taboos can damage the cause they’re associated with by making the political parties that champion those causes lose elections, but there’s a lot of room before that point is reached for, say, a stringently-enforced anti-tax pledge or a rigorous pro-choice litmus test to serve the ideas behind them very well indeed. Indeed, you can usually get a good sense of just how powerful an idea is within a given political coalition by observing how vigorously ideological deviations are punished, which is why observers tend to argue (rightly!) that anti-tax activists have more power on the right than anti-abortion activists, and that social liberals have gained ground on the left at the expense of, say, union bosses or free trade critics, and so on.

If you look at the place where the left has won arguably its biggest political-cultural victory lately, the debate over same-sex marriage, you can see an obvious example of this dynamic playing out. In the recent examples of ideological policing around the marriage debate, particularly the high-profile case of Brendan Eich, we aren’t watching a cloistered circular firing squad whose actions are alienating most Americans; we’re watching, well, a largely victorious social movement move to consolidate its gains. Was there a time, in a more divided and socially conservative America, when the P.C.-ish pressure on Mozilla to ease Eich out, and other flashpoints like it, would have backfired against gay activists? No doubt. Do we live in a world now where making an example of a few executives and florists and blue-state colleges is likely to lead to backlash against the cause of same-sex marriage? I very much doubt it; it seems to that the cause has enough cultural momentum behind it that using taboos to marginalize its few remaining critics is likely to, well, work.

And homosexuality and same-sex marriage really are cases where what once seemed like hothouse ideas and assumptions — an expansive definition of homophobia, a dismissal of traditional arguments as sheer bigotry — first took hold college campuses and then won over the entirety of elite culture. The mood and norms and taboos around these issues that predominated when I attended a certain prominent Ivy League college back in the early 2000s are the moods and norms that now predominate just about everywhere that counts. So even if they’re mistaken about how to apply the lessons of their victory, I think it’s very natural for left-wing activists, on campus and off, to see that trajectory as a model for how other cultural victories might be won.

This relates to the point I made last week, in my ongoing series of Charlie Hebdo-related posts, describing a left-wing tendency similar to the one that Chait critiques. The reason some on the left look to our present taboos around anti-Semitic and white supremacist speech as models for how other issues around race and religion and sex and identity should (or shouldn’t, more aptly) be debated is precisely because those taboos really are powerful, really do work. Not always and everywhere, sometimes they backfire and encourage people to act out and rebel … but mostly they create very strong incentives to tread very carefully around anything that might be construed as a racist or anti-Semitic foray or idea.

So if you feel absolutely certain that you have a similar justice on your side on other issues, if your primary mission is to ensure that your definition of “expanded freedom” triumphs, why wouldn’t you use the levers of coercion available to you? If you know that your opponents are in error, and that their errors are at least on the same continuum with the errors of segregationists, why would you want to give them oxygen and space?

The strongest answer, as I’ve tried to suggest before in debates about pluralism, has to rest in doubt as well as confidence: In a sense of humility about your own certainties, a knowledge that what looks like absolute progressive truth in one era does not always turn out to look that way in hindsight, and a willingness to extend a presumption of decency and good faith even to people whose ideas you think history will judge harshly. If you just say, “I believe in free debate because I’m certain than in free debate the good and right and true will eventually triumph, and I know that coercion will ultimately backfire,” you aren’t really giving the practical case for coercion its due. Better to say: “I believe in free debate because I know that my ideas about the good and right and true might actually be wrong (or at least be only partial truths that miss some bigger picture), and sometimes even reactionaries are proven right, and we have to leave the door open to that possibility.”

A couple of points:

Laffer’s Napkin

I want to keep harping on the concept of diminishing marginal returns. Back in the 1970s, the highest tax bracket in Britain on certain kinds of investment income was 98%. Obviously, tax cutting in that case would have net positive returns on the whole — positive returns being comprised, in my mind, of not just increasing total tax returns, but of also encouraging investment, lowering the incentives to cheat on taxes, decreasing the sense that your government is out to punish you spitefully, and so forth. But, as Art Laffer was the first to concede in the 1970s, in turn, there’s also some level of marginal tax rates at which further cuts would also be clearly negative overall.

So, that’s a policy debate. How you feel about where the optimum point on the Laffer Curve falls is of course influenced by how much income you have, whether you are on the government payroll, and so forth. But the actual substance of the policy matters as well. For example, I was strongly in favor of tax cuts at the beginning of the Thatcher-Reagan era. They succeeded in cutting taxes, and therefore it hasn’t been that exciting of an issue for me in some time. (Of course, my personal strategy to cut down on the amount of income tax I had to pay by the clever ploy of having a lower income may have also influenced my views.)

But political correctness is less about policies than it is about sacralizing groups. Consider Chait’s peroration:

The historical record of American liberalism, which has extended social freedoms to blacks, Jews, gays, and women, is glorious.

The way the conventional wisdom today interprets this is that members of these sacralized groups deserve to win and if they don’t it’s due to the evilness of non-blacks, non-Jews, non-gays, or non-women, either today or in the past.

Chait has played by the rules of this game for years. For example, here’s Chait going to see 12 Years a Slave and then getting all mad at some white Southern Republican for daring to criticize Obama for haughtiness. And here’s Chait attributing voting Republican to inherited hatred: “The more slave-intensive a southern county was 150 years ago, the more conservative and Republican its contemporary white residents,” due to “racially hostile attitudes that have been passed down from parents to children.”

But the growth of PC categories like Islamophobia and transphobia, along with the increased virulence of the Obama coalitions blaming cisgendered straight white males like Chait for all the sins of the world isn’t doing Chait any good: C’mon, people, instead of inventing new categories, can’t we focus on the real hereditary enemy, Southern white Republicans?

 
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  1. Maj. Kong says:

    Is hasbara better than taqiyya?

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    • Replies: @Lurker
    You say hasbara, I say taqiyya - Lets call the whole thing off.
    , @silviosilver

    Is hasbara better than taqiyya?
     
    Hasbara is vastly more damaging.

    While both seek to misrepresent reality, taqiyya is a bush league lightweight, related only to religious matters.

    Hasbara's effect - however putatively well-intentioned - is to defend and disguise the critical offensive that deconstructs, discombobulates, and denatures you until you're a shell of your former self.

    How can we test this? By checking whether it applies to Jewish identity.

    Answer: nope.

    Jewish identity remains intact, undivided and unconquered, sitting pretty atop the victimhood hierarchy by a handsome margin.

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  2. Anonym says:

    (Of course, my personal strategy to cut down on the amount of income tax I had to by the clever ploy of having a lower income may have also influenced my views.)

    lol!

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  3. A Non says:

    Maybe there’s a different or more precise word for this style

    Joe Sobran called it semitic correctness.

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  4. Jefferson says:

    “Chait has played by the rules of this game for years. For example, here’s Chait going to see 12 Years a Slave and then getting all mad at some white Southern Republican for daring to criticize Obama for haughtiness. And here’s Chait attributing voting Republican to inherited hatred: “The more slave-intensive a southern county was 150 years ago, the more conservative and Republican its contemporary white residents,” due to “racially hostile attitudes that have been passed down from parents to children.”

    God bless the South. God bless Dixieland. And this is coming from someone who was born in New York and raised in California. But I have visited the South a couple of times and really liked the culture down there.

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  5. Robert Ford says: • Website

    And *that* is how well they indoctrinate their team members. Even the ones who’ve become “self-aware” still don’t realize they’re brainwashed. This one goes all the way to the top!

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  6. Thursday says:

    P.C. speech policing can certainly work up to a point, but its victories are fragile, because they are primarily based on fear, not love for something.

    Even now I wonder if many people, hell even many lefties, in their heart of hearts really think that heterosexual and homosexual relationships are closely equivalent. They just don’t want to be unkind, and they don’t want to make trouble for themselves, so they try not to think too much about what gay relationships actually involve.

    This is why I am not as pessimistic about traditional Christianity in the long term. The people in the West who are still traditional Christians are traditional Christian because they really like being traditional Christians. It doesn’t hurt that this tends to include having lots of kids.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I wonder about this. Douthat says p.c. is useful in mopping up the last vestiges of resistance to gay marriage, but I don't think it's necessary for that. On the other hand, I don't think p.c. is sufficient to extend the WWG victory to WWT.

    I don't think most Americans ever had a big issue with gays per se. They had two related issues:

    1) They were turned off by gays who were transgressive and hostile (like some of the gay AIDS protestors in the '80s). Take away the transgression and hostility and you have Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which was a hit show, and probably paved the way culturally for the broader acceptance of gay marriage. Married gays are, generally, neither transgressive nor hostile.

    2) They were concerned about gay marriage being a slippery slope to the normalization of polygamy, incest, etc.

    The slippery slope concern is still an issue, but it's conceivable that married gays -- being married, which implies a certain social conservatism -- will become allies against normalizing the other stuff.

    As for why p.c. is insufficient to win WWT:

    1) There's never going to be a Trans Eye for the Straight Guy. The Queer Eyes combined a masculine attention to detail with a feminine flair for aesthetics. There's nothing feminine about M-to-F transexuals, who, as Steve noted, tend to be masculine hard-chargers.

    2) Resistance from women, who will resent former men competing against them.

    , @Stan D Mute

    Even now I wonder if many people, hell even many lefties, in their heart of hearts really think that heterosexual and homosexual relationships are closely equivalent. They just don’t want to be unkind, and they don’t want to make trouble for themselves, so they try not to think too much about what gay relationships actually involve.
     
    I am absolutely certain they don't think and indeed have never thought about it. Female homosexuality is pretty straightforward insofar as the mechanics of it. At worst we may imagine cunnilingus and penetration with a foreign object - nothing worrisome from a public health standpoint. The greatest worry is contribution to decline in birth rate. But gay men are a completely different matter. The public health concerns are substantial. These men are using an organ nature designed for waste elimination in a wholly inconsistent manner. And promiscuity? Many will think nothing of totally anonymous anal sex with multiple partners in a single night. Blood, seminal fluids, and fecal matter everywhere. A forensic investigation of a promiscuous gay man's home would be terrifying.

    It is demanded of us that we conflate the relatively benign female homosexuality with the public health nightmare of male homosexuality. The media shows us this false image of gay men in stable long term relationships and never, ever, shows even a glimpse of what these men are actually doing. And it goes without saying that the common gay male interest in young boys, "twinks" in their vernacular, is kept from mainstream view.

    There is a strong parallel between the Narrative's obfuscation of african "intelligence" shortcomings and the massive public health threat posed by gay men.
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  7. Thursday says:

    Does anyone really believe in their heart of hearts that a transsexual male is anything other than guy in a dress with their genitals cut off?

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Thursday:

    "Does anyone really believe in their heart of hearts that a transsexual male is anything other than guy in a dress with their genitals cut off?"

    Now that's just harsh. : )
    , @The Practical Conservative
    Mostly they don't get the surgery. A surprising amount of the time they also don't take hormones either.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Does anyone really believe in their heart of hearts that a transsexual male is anything other than guy in a dress with their genitals cut off?
     
    Dr Reuben called him "a castrated, mutilated female impersonator".

    Renée Richards seems to have come around to this view. A tad late, though.
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  8. There are too many outsiders and weirdos in the lib/prog coalition to even keep track of anymore. We all know that from their perspective straight white male gentiles (“SWMGs”) are the very epitome of evil, so for the sake of clarity (and honesty) they should just define their team as everyone who hates SWMGs.

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    • Replies: @Nathan Wartooth
    This gives me a great idea. Let's all become Jews!

    I'm serious about this. Since liberals are so PC they don't know the difference between the race of Jews and the Jewish religion. Therefore we become untouchable!

    If they don't like us, they must be a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.
    , @Anonymous
    Add 'Non-Hollywood' to the equation...
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  9. WhatEvvs [AKA "Bemused"] says:

    Douthat linked to this guy, approvingly:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/29/i-dont-know-what-to-do-you-guys/

    Am I the only one who feels, as I read this, that I am reading a Martian?

    WTF is this DeBoer guy talking about???

    Back in the day I could read a leftist like Michael Walzer and understand what he is talking about, maybe disagree with him, but I understood his lucid writing. This DeBoer guy is talking about an alien universe.

    Times like this I wish Christopher Lasch were here.

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    • Replies: @NOTA
    DeBoer's comment makes a lot of sense to me. I've definitely seen people shut down and driven out of some discussions by language policing, and I've seen people flinch and avoid whole minefield topics as a result. (And it's probably a wonderful thing for the country if lots of people will simply never discuss some issues, having been burned a few times before.) Worse, though, about a gazillion times I've watched smart, well-intentioned liberals start having a discussion about some real problem, and then get sidelined into a godawful language policing discussion in which half the participants bail out and the other half engage in displays of their ideological purity. and the original interesting and relevant discussion disappears.
    , @Scotty G. Vito
    So...

    ...the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism.
     
    You're saying you haven't witnessed what he's talking about, right there? All the progressives you know or encounter socially are just easy-going, hackysacking, live-and-let-live, Unwindulax beach bums? They never take the form of affluent brats who use umbrage as a class weapon? If that is the case then I'm tempted to point out the obvious, i.e. your unspecified contrary anecdotes don't trounce his
    , @Scotty G. Vito
    So...

    ...the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism.
     
    You're saying you haven't witnessed what he's talking about, right there? All the progressives you know or encounter socially are just easy-going, hackysacking, live-and-let-live, Unwindulax beach bums? They never take the form of affluent brats who use umbrage as a class weapon? If that is the case then I'm tempted to point out the obvious, i.e. your unspecified contrary anecdotes don't trounce his automatically.
    , @Cagey Beast
    I understood deBoer's blog post and it made me happy. I'm glad to see the lib-progs are turning on one another and destroying themselves. In this game we've been forced to play the only points we get on the scoreboard come from the lib-progs putting the ball in their own net.

    On a side note, notice the clunky use of swearwords in deBoer's piece. This is something relatively new but now widespread amongst people with respectable jobs who feel the need to be "real". How lame.
    , @Art Deco
    I've had my run ins with Mr. de Boer. I've met more pleasant characters in for a like these. He's been spending his time in and among graduate students in the humanities (he's a doctoral candidate in 'writing and rhetoric', I believe) or among okupiers. What he's telling you is that he's been in the company of jerks. What he's not telling you is that a portside politics which does not place you in the company of jerks puts you on municipal councils or puts you in the company of policy wonks like Harold Pollack. He does not seem like a good fit for either milieu.
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  10. Priss Factor [AKA "Kat Arujo"] says:

    ‘Gay marriage’ is NOT leftist.

    It’s usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute ‘leftism’ of hipsters.

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    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
    The concept of same sex marriage was invented by Andrew Sullivan, which is what passes for "conservative" amongst our bicoastal elite.
    , @ben tillman

    Gay marriage’ is NOT leftist.

    It’s usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute ‘leftism’ of hipsters.
     
    "The Left" has always been the home of those with money, and its policies have always been designed to reshape society to shift power to those with money from those with traditional hereditary and religious claims to power.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    ‘Gay marriage’ is NOT leftist.

    It’s usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute ‘leftism’ of hipsters.

     

    Someone has never heard of Antonio Gramsci…
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  11. bomag [AKA "doombuggy"] says:

    Sounds like Chait is just bragging that his side is winning.

    For all this winning, they are the most unhappy people in history.

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  12. NOTA says:

    Douhat’s argument for tolerance of wrong ideas (which goes back at least to Mill) is a good one. We should be ready to accept that our current ideas may not be 100% right. But it plays badly with the dynamic of a lot of opinion journalism and politics, where *sounding* confidently certain is a lot more important than knowing what you’re talking about. People who acknowledge that they may be mistaken are more sensible, but less likely to be listened to than people who will self-confidently assert that they *know* what’s needed to close the achievement gap or make Iraq into a liberal democracy, even if they don’t know what a normal distribution is and can’t find Iraq on a map.

    I think a lot of the SJW types are caught up in ideological purity competitions. In that environment, the argument that we should let up on heretics because maybe we don’t have the whole truth ourselves is likely to work about as well as it would have worked on the Inquisition.

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  13. McFly says:

    Like when SJW princess Lena Dunham didn’t like being critiqued for having no black characters in her show about Brooklyn hipsters.

    A musing on the topic of PC culture:

    Political correctness killed the American novel.

    The type of realism that predominated in the era of Fitzgerald and Hemingway (Tom Wolfe placed the golden age of American fiction at 1900-1939) could not survive the strict editing for presentation of race, class, and gender of the Postwar era. The authors were all lefties themselves, but they had no reason to be afraid of accurately describing the world and coming up with believable characters and stories.

    Case in point: James Farrell’s Studs Lonigans Trilogy where an Irish-American kid passes out on a sidewalk in Chicago in a drunken stupor in the early hours of New Year’s Day and a black kid walking by picks his wallet.

    Farrell was a Communist, but in 2015 he would be shunned by the left for realistic writing.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Political correctness didn't "kill the American novel". There aren't enough easily-offended types reading novels for p.c. to be a big issue in them. P.c. is more of a concern in movies.

    An example is Bonfire of the Vanities. The novel pulls no punches, but the bad movie adaptation was hobbled by p.c. concerns (making it a breezy farce instead of biting satire; casting Morgan Freeman as the judge; etc.).

    , @rustbeltreader
    It's 2015 and the communists of the year are the Cubans. You'll be able to use your credit card there as if using it here wasn't risky enough.

    “Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe, and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings sublte memories with it, a line from a piece of music that you had ceased to play--I tell you Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.”

    Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Like when SJW princess Lena Dunham didn’t like being critiqued for having no black characters in her show about Brooklyn hipsters.
     
    If that analinctal scene is emblematic of the show, she's doing blacks a favor by keeping them off. Can you imagine the daughter of Al Roker or one of the Gumbels doing that?

    Let me guess: there are no Brooklyn accents on the show, either.

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  14. NOTA says:
    @WhatEvvs
    Douthat linked to this guy, approvingly:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/29/i-dont-know-what-to-do-you-guys/

    Am I the only one who feels, as I read this, that I am reading a Martian?

    WTF is this DeBoer guy talking about???

    Back in the day I could read a leftist like Michael Walzer and understand what he is talking about, maybe disagree with him, but I understood his lucid writing. This DeBoer guy is talking about an alien universe.

    Times like this I wish Christopher Lasch were here.

    DeBoer’s comment makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve definitely seen people shut down and driven out of some discussions by language policing, and I’ve seen people flinch and avoid whole minefield topics as a result. (And it’s probably a wonderful thing for the country if lots of people will simply never discuss some issues, having been burned a few times before.) Worse, though, about a gazillion times I’ve watched smart, well-intentioned liberals start having a discussion about some real problem, and then get sidelined into a godawful language policing discussion in which half the participants bail out and the other half engage in displays of their ideological purity. and the original interesting and relevant discussion disappears.

    Read More
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  15. So, intimidation and censorship are good if they work to achieve the desired goal.

    Glad we got that straight.

    On the gay front… you guys are getting it all wrong. The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.

    And, this is what this crap has primarily been about.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "On the gay front… The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.

    "And, this is what this crap has primarily been about."

    Yes, this makes a lot of sense.
    , @rod1963
    Yep, intimidation and censorship are tactics of the Progressives. Shut up the opposition and then give them a bit of terror either through job loss, law suits or simply terrorizing them at home.

    On gays I have to agree with what you said. Although I would add inbreeding to the list of ills affecting the Mandarin class. It's the only way to keep power within the group.
    , @AshTon
    The class aspect of gay political ideology is not often commented on, but history is full of examples of homosexuality being linked to decadence among the upper classes .. The elites of Rome, China, Japan, France, and England took to buggery like ducks to water.

    Incidently, the precursor to Gay Marriage - domestic partnership - was invented by San Francisco Human Rights Commission member Larry Brinklin. Brinklin was later sentenced for pedophillia-related crimes, involving children as young as one. In one exchange, he declared, "I loved especially the n***** 2 year old getting nailed." Before his arrest, the first week of December 2010 was declared Larry Brinkin Week by SFs Board of Supervisors, "because of his work on gay rights".

    Pedophilia is also popular among the elites of history and now. In Britain, a week doesn't go by without a politician or musician or presenter being outed as a pedophile.
    , @IBC

    On the gay front… you guys are getting it all wrong. The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.
     
    In the past, I think that a lot more people were ignorant about birth control and worried about the consequences of sex, but I don't think that a majority of people, let alone lower class people, ever thought that sex was mostly just about procreation. Certainly not after they'd tried it a time or two. The small number of people who would have seen it like that, would have been particularly sheltered, or very likely, today they would identify as gay or lesbian --something that wasn't really an option for most people until recently.

    Homosexual behavior has probably been around since the beginning or close to the beginning of human history. However, today's gay and lesbian cultures may have only taken recognizable shape in the late 19th century, probably with the advent of relatively anonymous city living where significant numbers of like-minded individuals could congregate. I would guess that if there're more historical examples of wealthy or high status homosexuals, it has a lot to do with the fact that wealthy and high status people are more likely to appear in the historic record full stop, not that they were somehow more likely to have homosexual feelings or to actually engage in homosexual behaviors. What about the old Royal Navy days of "rum, sodomy, and the lash?" Or that homeless guy who tried to bugger Orwell in Down and Out in Paris and London? Maybe not gay, but definitely homosexual. Or, what about all those maiden aunts and women who joined convents, in past eras of American and European history? If they had been alive today, perhaps some of them would have identified as lesbians.

    And isn't it still true that the more wealthy, powerful, and indiscreet a person is, the more likely they are to be blackmailed?

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  16. Maj. Kong says:
    @Priss Factor
    'Gay marriage' is NOT leftist.

    It's usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute 'leftism' of hipsters.

    The concept of same sex marriage was invented by Andrew Sullivan, which is what passes for “conservative” amongst our bicoastal elite.

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  17. eric says:

    B. Russel said ‘all movements go too far’. I think, too, every conqueror goes too far, or rather, they keep going until they lose. The conquerors in this case are the Progressives who have parlayed the civil rights victory into a modern day Exodus that will be replicated in every non cis-hetero white Christian male dimension.

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  18. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    I always find reading Ross Douthat to be so tedious. I know he has an excellent reputation, but he dislike his writing.

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  19. 22pp22 says:

    Of course PC works. That’s the problem. It’s followers are corrupt and they prey on the people’s decency and good will. Anyone who has sat on a selection panel knows this. They will simply dig their heels in to get one of their friends a job. Common Purpose does not even hide the fact that this is their policy. They get away with it because other people are too nice and too weak and too willing to tell you to “calm down” when you are faced with massive corruption, like the swapping of higher grades for a blow-job in the office. “Calm down” means: I’m not going to do a thing about it.

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  20. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Thursday
    Does anyone really believe in their heart of hearts that a transsexual male is anything other than guy in a dress with their genitals cut off?

    Thursday:

    “Does anyone really believe in their heart of hearts that a transsexual male is anything other than guy in a dress with their genitals cut off?”

    Now that’s just harsh. : )

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  21. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Shouting Thomas
    So, intimidation and censorship are good if they work to achieve the desired goal.

    Glad we got that straight.

    On the gay front... you guys are getting it all wrong. The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.

    And, this is what this crap has primarily been about.

    “On the gay front… The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.

    “And, this is what this crap has primarily been about.”

    Yes, this makes a lot of sense.

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  22. Thursday says:

    Political correctness killed the American novel.

    Really, the whole of literature.

    Which is why the intelligentsia gets their panties in a knot when a right winger slips through the nets and starts writing stuff that addresses reality in an insightful way. Like Michel Houellebecq.

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  23. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    OT bleg: please please please Bruce Jenner please.

    Maybe a primer on how to recognize an autogynephilic versus other type of trans-man? (I’m keeping my options open …)

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  24. Seems this vague subject is becoming “du jour” again so the libertoids are offering up explainers to the bobby-Voxers:

    http://reason.com/blog/2015/01/30/what-the-hell-does-politically-correct-m

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  25. Lurker says:
    @Maj. Kong
    Is hasbara better than taqiyya?

    You say hasbara, I say taqiyya – Lets call the whole thing off.

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  26. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    OT, but everyone except the DoJ recants their allegations against Zimmerman:

    http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2015/01/30/the-magic-wine-bottle-charges-against-george-zimmerman-dropped/

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  27. @WhatEvvs
    Douthat linked to this guy, approvingly:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/29/i-dont-know-what-to-do-you-guys/

    Am I the only one who feels, as I read this, that I am reading a Martian?

    WTF is this DeBoer guy talking about???

    Back in the day I could read a leftist like Michael Walzer and understand what he is talking about, maybe disagree with him, but I understood his lucid writing. This DeBoer guy is talking about an alien universe.

    Times like this I wish Christopher Lasch were here.

    So…

    …the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism.

    You’re saying you haven’t witnessed what he’s talking about, right there? All the progressives you know or encounter socially are just easy-going, hackysacking, live-and-let-live, Unwindulax beach bums? They never take the form of affluent brats who use umbrage as a class weapon? If that is the case then I’m tempted to point out the obvious, i.e. your unspecified contrary anecdotes don’t trounce his

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  28. @WhatEvvs
    Douthat linked to this guy, approvingly:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/29/i-dont-know-what-to-do-you-guys/

    Am I the only one who feels, as I read this, that I am reading a Martian?

    WTF is this DeBoer guy talking about???

    Back in the day I could read a leftist like Michael Walzer and understand what he is talking about, maybe disagree with him, but I understood his lucid writing. This DeBoer guy is talking about an alien universe.

    Times like this I wish Christopher Lasch were here.

    So…

    …the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism.

    You’re saying you haven’t witnessed what he’s talking about, right there? All the progressives you know or encounter socially are just easy-going, hackysacking, live-and-let-live, Unwindulax beach bums? They never take the form of affluent brats who use umbrage as a class weapon? If that is the case then I’m tempted to point out the obvious, i.e. your unspecified contrary anecdotes don’t trounce his automatically.

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  29. Melendwyr says: • Website

    In the sense that I’m opposed to ‘gay marriage’, it’s primarily because I don’t think political systems should be concerning themselves with any kind of marriage, heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise. (If any positions regarding such are going to be pushed, it should be through cultural channels like religions or general philosophies, not the law.)

    Since I don’t think we’re going to abolish the legal enshrinement of hetero marriage, it makes sense to broaden the availability of the basic contract. Hetero, homo, groups, whatever. I don’t need to approve of homo marriage – or, for that matter, to disapprove of it. My feelings on the matter aren’t relevant.

    And I don’t actually see what the purported harm of it is, either. It’s not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously, and the idea that it’s there to protect children (and women!) has been pretty entirely abandoned. It’s little more than a temporary contract that’s arbitrarily restricted.

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    • Replies: @OsRazor
    Forget gay marriage--it's too ridiculous to even debate--it's like arguing why fish can't breath out of water or why mammals can't breath in water--they just can't, anatomically. It's no good crying about it, it just is.

    Let's just stick to buggery, for a moment, an act that until the 1970s was associated with Mental Illness and you see no harm in societal approval? And empirically of course this diagnosis is supported in so many way--shortened life expectancy, greater incidents of depression, suicide, disease, abuse and on and on--the list of awful resulting from homosexuality is non ending. No one in their right mind would wish homosexuality on anyone they cared about.

    And even if the threat to vulnerable young men wasn't there, social cohesion cannot tolerate the acceptance of homosexuality. It simply cannot if by social cohesion one argues the purposeful transfer of a society of its civilizational achievements from one generation to the next. There is no transfer with homosexuality--there is nothing forward looking--nothing but the here and now, which gets us back to the unpleasant and awful empirical realities of homosexuality.

    The cavalier approach to marriage of the last fifty years is unbelievable, but then so much of what's happened is equally insane. Just amazing.
    , @ben tillman

    And I don’t actually see what the purported harm of it is, either. It’s not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously, and the idea that it’s there to protect children (and women!) has been pretty entirely abandoned.
     
    Hardly. Almost every marriage occurs for that reason, and there are still more than two million marriages each year in this country.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Marriage is inextricably entwined with law: laws relating to inheritance, citizenship, custody, divorce, healthcare, etc. So it's unreasonable to expect the government to be uninvolved. Unless you want to weasel-word "marriage" into a purely religious meaning and have the force of law apply to another term that denotes a domestic partnership.
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  30. @ Bemused

    It looks like whatever order Frederik de Boer is attached to has reached a level of confidence that it can afford an Alpha match. Losers will be silenced or purged. The undercastes will be humbled. Don’t worry, it’s just a Spring thunderstorm.

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  31. @fredyetagain aka superhonky
    There are too many outsiders and weirdos in the lib/prog coalition to even keep track of anymore. We all know that from their perspective straight white male gentiles ("SWMGs") are the very epitome of evil, so for the sake of clarity (and honesty) they should just define their team as everyone who hates SWMGs.

    This gives me a great idea. Let’s all become Jews!

    I’m serious about this. Since liberals are so PC they don’t know the difference between the race of Jews and the Jewish religion. Therefore we become untouchable!

    If they don’t like us, they must be a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

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  32. slumber_j says:

    Off-topic, but People Magazine now confirms that Bruce Jenner is becoming a “woman”:

    http://www.people.com/article/bruce-jenner-transitioning-woman

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  33. Sailer, as always, diagnoses panicky beetle-browed Jews as the font of the P.C.-backtrack chit-chat, but it’s probably more to do with the post-Obama dilemma hitting media folks in the face for about 2 months now. Hillary at that National Car Dealers thing said she hadn’t driven herself since ’96 — she looks more evitable by the week (this is psychological not rational, it doesn’t matter there’s no viable Republican alternative in sight, if ever). I think a lot of house-trained liberals, and their fellow Internet travelers of various anti-war factions and fetish groups, genuinely believed the line about pulling up the drawbridge on MENA kicking off a great cool-down period for the more vibrant among the jihad diaspora. They don’t understand why cartoonists are getting machine-gunned in Paris when there’s no one named Bush within 515* miles of the White House. Large swathes of Leviathan like the V.A., HHS, and IRS are also showing dearth of public relations skill which can inconveniently spike during an “anti-government sentiment” flu season.

    Yes, there’s also an elite concern at how eagerly certain elements responded to the “Go out and shoot cops” advice from institutional radicals, but the Narrative apparat doesn’t feel personally threatened by that. This malaise is the natural result of 6 years of a pedigreed faculty-lounge liberal in charge and yet economic/global strife failing to recede to a happy distance. “Let’s all retire from blogging”

    * I can only assume Kennebunkport hasn’t closed down, but I don’t know how to check

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    • Replies: @ben tillman
    I found reading your comment to be a "struggle session".
    , @Anonymous
    panicky beetle-browed Jews as the font of the P.C.

    What does "beetle-browed" mean?
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  34. OsRazor says:
    @Melendwyr
    In the sense that I'm opposed to 'gay marriage', it's primarily because I don't think political systems should be concerning themselves with any kind of marriage, heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise. (If any positions regarding such are going to be pushed, it should be through cultural channels like religions or general philosophies, not the law.)

    Since I don't think we're going to abolish the legal enshrinement of hetero marriage, it makes sense to broaden the availability of the basic contract. Hetero, homo, groups, whatever. I don't need to approve of homo marriage - or, for that matter, to disapprove of it. My feelings on the matter aren't relevant.

    And I don't actually see what the purported harm of it is, either. It's not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously, and the idea that it's there to protect children (and women!) has been pretty entirely abandoned. It's little more than a temporary contract that's arbitrarily restricted.

    Forget gay marriage–it’s too ridiculous to even debate–it’s like arguing why fish can’t breath out of water or why mammals can’t breath in water–they just can’t, anatomically. It’s no good crying about it, it just is.

    Let’s just stick to buggery, for a moment, an act that until the 1970s was associated with Mental Illness and you see no harm in societal approval? And empirically of course this diagnosis is supported in so many way–shortened life expectancy, greater incidents of depression, suicide, disease, abuse and on and on–the list of awful resulting from homosexuality is non ending. No one in their right mind would wish homosexuality on anyone they cared about.

    And even if the threat to vulnerable young men wasn’t there, social cohesion cannot tolerate the acceptance of homosexuality. It simply cannot if by social cohesion one argues the purposeful transfer of a society of its civilizational achievements from one generation to the next. There is no transfer with homosexuality–there is nothing forward looking–nothing but the here and now, which gets us back to the unpleasant and awful empirical realities of homosexuality.

    The cavalier approach to marriage of the last fifty years is unbelievable, but then so much of what’s happened is equally insane. Just amazing.

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    • Replies: @Anononononymous
    Why can't society tolerate 5% of men not procreating?
    , @ben tillman

    There is no transfer with homosexuality–there is nothing forward looking–nothing but the here and now, which gets us back to the unpleasant and awful empirical realities of homosexuality.
     
    Keynes said it best, didn't he? "In the long run, we're all dead."

    That's not the natural perspective of a "breeder".

    , @Reg Cæsar

    The cavalier approach to marriage of the last fifty years is unbelievable…
     
    I think you mean five hundred years.
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  35. Jackson says:

    God bless the internet for the new opportunities for political expression and ease of group formation that it enables. Previously unrepresented voices are speaking up for the first time. Now every news story with a racial angle has a comments section full of racially-aware whites staging a riot. And the coalition of the aggrieved has discovered that what it hates most of all is being led and spoken for by straight white men (including the paler Semites).

    Intimidating ordinary (and honorary) whites into silence or harassing them out of the movement is very much the point. All of the clueless liberal defenses of Chait – ‘Gee, is this really the best way to build a coalition?’ – have come from that group. The PoCs and LGBTs are all delighted to see Chait set on fire for overstepping his authority as a ‘white ally’ and disagreeing with them. The PC antiwhite witch hunts will continue.

    Of course this is all spectacularly self-destructive. Minorities don’t realise that they’re just weapons in a status competition between whites, and if they do manage to curb the degree of status whites can attain within liberal politics then whites will move their battle to a different field and PoCs will be left abandoned and powerless. Here’s hoping they succeed. God bless the internet.

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  36. Grumpy says:

    OT:

    No idea if this will be of interest to you, Mr. Sailer, but…

    Target just announced that it is closing all 133 of its stores in Canada… which have been open for less than two years. The failed Canadian venture will cost Target $7 billion. The company is laying off 17,000+ Canadians.

    This report largely credits Walmart with destroying Target in Canada:

    http://www.canadianbusiness.com/business-news/target-canada-closing-all-stores/

    Two years ago, Bruce Philp sort of predicted this:

    Then there is the dirty family secret of Canada’s affection for oligopolies. Sure, we say we want more choice, but time and again our behaviour organizes markets into a few dominant brands, from airlines to telecom to banks to coffee shops. Maybe we like to keep our lives simple. Maybe we just want to be able to keep an eye on everybody so they don’t try any funny business. Either way, Target needs to remember that, while not especially orderly, the Canadian marketplace for its products is actually not under-served.

    http://www.canadianbusiness.com/blogs-and-comment/dont-get-comfortable-target-many-u-s-brands-cant-hack-it-here-bruce-philp/

    Anyway, quite a monumental screw-up for a seemingly very successful American company.

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  37. Bill P says:

    I guess I can always count on Ross Douthat to make a flaccid argument for what used to pass for normal in the NY Times, but that’s pretty meager consolation.

    Really, what I wonder is why this guy, if he really believes what he purports to defend, doesn’t resign from the paper. If your work is in conflict with your values, you should quit. It isn’t as though the man would starve, although he might have to give up a few perks.

    Would that be too hard for a man of faith?

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  38. Off-topic, but People Magazine now confirms that Bruce Jenner is becoming a “woman”

    Those of us who read the National Enquirer while waiting in the supermarket line got this news in December 2013.

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  39. @ Canadian Content

    Target failed in the taiga? Additional evidence to support Sailer’s Northern Border hypothesis – expanded for data points north. In this case, the Canadian Rubes welcome Walmart; but when a competitor arrives to curry their favor they become suspicious. “If I’m this popular, it must be a ruse!”

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    • Replies: @Bill P
    My local Target does a thriving business with Canadian customers. Given that most Canadians live within an hour or so of the US border, it's a wonder that more retailers don't go out of business. It's so much cheaper here than in Canada that it's well worth the trip and wait at the border.

    At my local gas station there are lines every weekend comprised mainly of Canadians with gas cans filling up for the next month or so. They'll buy a few hundred bucks worth of gas and load it in the trunk. They'll often stock up on liquor, too.

    It's funny, because while all the local environmentalists are screaming about flammable oil trains from the Dakotas, I'm just waiting to turn on the TV and see news that a minivan exploded spectacularly on I-5 or the Pattulo Bridge.
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  40. @Thursday
    Does anyone really believe in their heart of hearts that a transsexual male is anything other than guy in a dress with their genitals cut off?

    Mostly they don’t get the surgery. A surprising amount of the time they also don’t take hormones either.

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  41. rod1963 says:
    @Shouting Thomas
    So, intimidation and censorship are good if they work to achieve the desired goal.

    Glad we got that straight.

    On the gay front... you guys are getting it all wrong. The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.

    And, this is what this crap has primarily been about.

    Yep, intimidation and censorship are tactics of the Progressives. Shut up the opposition and then give them a bit of terror either through job loss, law suits or simply terrorizing them at home.

    On gays I have to agree with what you said. Although I would add inbreeding to the list of ills affecting the Mandarin class. It’s the only way to keep power within the group.

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  42. ColRebSez says: • Website

    You mentioned Britain’s 98 percent tax rate. For several years in the late 1970s and perhaps early ’80s Sweden had a 103% marginal tax rate on some income.

    One of the consequences of these ultra-high tax rates is that people tend to be able to have lots more tax write-offs. They simply have to. In the U.S., it’s long been the rule that businessmen must buy their own suits, with no tax deduction. In Britain, may high-income workers have traditionally had their suits paid for by their employers. And after one year they can buy them for a pound.

    Bottom line is that really high marginal tax rates in some cases actually help high-income workers. But they almost certainly don’t maximize government revenue.

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    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    It would seem that some of the more unpleasant consequences of Mancur Olson's Stationary Bandits theory apply here.

    When the bandits think they are likely to be displaced they will care little about the future productivity of those they extract payments from.

    Moreover, in a society where you have to buy votes (democracies are like that) there is a tremendous incentive to increase taxes to keep the ruling party in power.

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  43. @Maj. Kong
    Is hasbara better than taqiyya?

    Is hasbara better than taqiyya?

    Hasbara is vastly more damaging.

    While both seek to misrepresent reality, taqiyya is a bush league lightweight, related only to religious matters.

    Hasbara’s effect – however putatively well-intentioned – is to defend and disguise the critical offensive that deconstructs, discombobulates, and denatures you until you’re a shell of your former self.

    How can we test this? By checking whether it applies to Jewish identity.

    Answer: nope.

    Jewish identity remains intact, undivided and unconquered, sitting pretty atop the victimhood hierarchy by a handsome margin.

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    "Jewish identity remains intact, undivided and unconquered, sitting pretty atop the victimhood hierarchy by a handsome margin."

    I guess that's why we see massive demonstrations, in every large city and every university and college campus all over the world, and strident editorials in the NY Times, protesting terrorism against Jews by the Palestinians, Hezbollah, and other Islamists, and against the Iranian nuclear program. And that must be why the US government and the EU are putting no pressure at all on Israel to bestow statehood on the Palestinians on terms disadvantageous to Israel. And that must be why students on university and college campuses all over the West are intimidated to openly criticize Israel. And that's why the American Jewish community and American Jewish plutocrats, like George Soros, are so united in their support of the current Israeli government.

    Seriously, what planet do people who read this website live on?

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  44. Bill P says:
    @Neil Templeton
    @ Canadian Content

    Target failed in the taiga? Additional evidence to support Sailer's Northern Border hypothesis - expanded for data points north. In this case, the Canadian Rubes welcome Walmart; but when a competitor arrives to curry their favor they become suspicious. "If I'm this popular, it must be a ruse!"

    My local Target does a thriving business with Canadian customers. Given that most Canadians live within an hour or so of the US border, it’s a wonder that more retailers don’t go out of business. It’s so much cheaper here than in Canada that it’s well worth the trip and wait at the border.

    At my local gas station there are lines every weekend comprised mainly of Canadians with gas cans filling up for the next month or so. They’ll buy a few hundred bucks worth of gas and load it in the trunk. They’ll often stock up on liquor, too.

    It’s funny, because while all the local environmentalists are screaming about flammable oil trains from the Dakotas, I’m just waiting to turn on the TV and see news that a minivan exploded spectacularly on I-5 or the Pattulo Bridge.

    Read More
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  45. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @McFly
    Like when SJW princess Lena Dunham didn't like being critiqued for having no black characters in her show about Brooklyn hipsters.

    A musing on the topic of PC culture:

    Political correctness killed the American novel.

    The type of realism that predominated in the era of Fitzgerald and Hemingway (Tom Wolfe placed the golden age of American fiction at 1900-1939) could not survive the strict editing for presentation of race, class, and gender of the Postwar era. The authors were all lefties themselves, but they had no reason to be afraid of accurately describing the world and coming up with believable characters and stories.

    Case in point: James Farrell's Studs Lonigans Trilogy where an Irish-American kid passes out on a sidewalk in Chicago in a drunken stupor in the early hours of New Year's Day and a black kid walking by picks his wallet.

    Farrell was a Communist, but in 2015 he would be shunned by the left for realistic writing.

    Political correctness didn’t “kill the American novel”. There aren’t enough easily-offended types reading novels for p.c. to be a big issue in them. P.c. is more of a concern in movies.

    An example is Bonfire of the Vanities. The novel pulls no punches, but the bad movie adaptation was hobbled by p.c. concerns (making it a breezy farce instead of biting satire; casting Morgan Freeman as the judge; etc.).

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    • Replies: @McFly
    Postwar academic leftism stifled literature.

    Bonfire of the Vanities was an exception to the rule because Tom Wolfe embraced the realist tradition.

    Interesting essay by Wolfe about the theory behind his novels:
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalking_the_Billion-Footed_Beast
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  46. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    ‘Laffer’s curve’ is pure bullshit peddled by a rather unpleasant bullshit merchant to a ‘bear with little brain’ ie Ronald Reagan.

    Mathematically, ‘Laffer’s curve’ is nothing more than high school math – the maximum of a quadratic function – obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that ‘economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken’ – no big deal there.
    Except in the real world things aren’t like that at all.
    But, remember we are dealing here with the senile-in-office Reagan, a man who lacked the intellectual horsepower to ever be considered as president in a sane society – White House ‘entertainment and maintenance crew’ – the jolly old paddy who tells jokes, tells ghost stories and changes light bulbs – was his real metier’ and a truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @International Jew

    truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer
     
    Is this a parody of the PC debating style?
    , @Twinkie

    a ‘bear with little brain’ ie Ronald Reagan... a man who lacked the intellectual horsepower to ever be considered as president in a sane society

     

    I am guessing you never saw "A Time for Choosing": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBswFfh6AY

    I don't know about you, but I think today's politicians come off rather badly in comparison. By the way, around this time (c. 1964), Reagan wrote his own speeches.


    Mathematically, ‘Laffer’s curve’ is nothing more than high school math – the maximum of a quadratic function – obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that ‘economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken’ – no big deal there.
    Except in the real world things aren’t like that at all.
     
    Try a little Wiki if you don't want to read the original:

    Although he does not claim to have invented the Laffer curve concept (Laffer, 2004), it was popularized with policy-makers following an afternoon meeting with Nixon/Ford Administration officials Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in 1974 in which he reportedly sketched the curve on a napkin to illustrate his argument.[12] The term "Laffer curve" was coined by Jude Wanniski, who was also present. The basic concept was not new; Laffer himself says he learned it from Ibn Khaldun and John Maynard Keynes.[13]

    A simplified view of the theory is that tax revenues would be zero if tax rates were either 0% or 100%, and somewhere in between 0% and 100% is a tax rate which maximizes total revenue. Laffer's postulate was that the tax rate that maximizes revenue was at a much lower level than previously believed: so low that current tax rates were above the level where revenue is maximized.
     

    And here is the full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve

    And then you might also look up the Rahn Curve, to get the skinny on the optimal government spending.

    , @anon
    Uh, wrong. The Laffer curve is a result of analyzing the behavior of a system at its limits, in this case 0% and 100% marginal tax rates. (Though technically there can be tax rates less than 0 and greater then 100%.) At 0% the tax collected is 0. At 100% the tax collected is 0. And at 0+% there is some tax collected. At 100-% there may be some tax collected. It can't be argued that as tax rates fall from 100% at some point at the margin people are willing to pay the tax. So as you have a positive tax collection curve as the tax rate rise from 0 and a negative tax collection curve as the tax rate approaches 100%, at some point the curves will meet at some positive value and that will be the tax rate at which revenue is maximized. What rate that is - who knows? Hence the debate on tax rates (as revenue. Taxes as punishment is indifferent to the Laffer curve) Ronald Reagan himself experienced the effect of the 90% marginal tax rate extent during his movie years: when his income hit that tax rate - he stopped working the rest of the year. To deny that as tax rates increase, one's motivation to earn drops betrays a certain obtuseness to human economic behavior.
    , @miniver
    At your next Struggle Session you might want to review that high school math.
    Just sayin.
    Miniver
    , @miniver
    I'm not an economist and I've spent all of five minutes thinking about this matter, but two things jump out:

    Mathematically, ‘Laffer’s curve’ is nothing more than high school math – the maximum of a quadratic function –
     
    Wrong. Laffer's argument requires no assumption that the curve is quadratic or has any particular functional form. All it requires (see above) is the assumption that R(t) is real and differentiable, and a modest assumption about R near 0 and 1.

    obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that ‘economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken’ – no big deal there.
     
    Does Laffer really assume what you said he assumes? Okay, you go ahead. Assume that B=1/t. What does that say about R=tB? Tell us all about the maximum of that function.
    Sheesh,
    Miniver
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  47. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Thursday
    P.C. speech policing can certainly work up to a point, but its victories are fragile, because they are primarily based on fear, not love for something.

    Even now I wonder if many people, hell even many lefties, in their heart of hearts really think that heterosexual and homosexual relationships are closely equivalent. They just don’t want to be unkind, and they don’t want to make trouble for themselves, so they try not to think too much about what gay relationships actually involve.

    This is why I am not as pessimistic about traditional Christianity in the long term. The people in the West who are still traditional Christians are traditional Christian because they really like being traditional Christians. It doesn't hurt that this tends to include having lots of kids.

    I wonder about this. Douthat says p.c. is useful in mopping up the last vestiges of resistance to gay marriage, but I don’t think it’s necessary for that. On the other hand, I don’t think p.c. is sufficient to extend the WWG victory to WWT.

    I don’t think most Americans ever had a big issue with gays per se. They had two related issues:

    1) They were turned off by gays who were transgressive and hostile (like some of the gay AIDS protestors in the ’80s). Take away the transgression and hostility and you have Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which was a hit show, and probably paved the way culturally for the broader acceptance of gay marriage. Married gays are, generally, neither transgressive nor hostile.

    2) They were concerned about gay marriage being a slippery slope to the normalization of polygamy, incest, etc.

    The slippery slope concern is still an issue, but it’s conceivable that married gays — being married, which implies a certain social conservatism — will become allies against normalizing the other stuff.

    As for why p.c. is insufficient to win WWT:

    1) There’s never going to be a Trans Eye for the Straight Guy. The Queer Eyes combined a masculine attention to detail with a feminine flair for aesthetics. There’s nothing feminine about M-to-F transexuals, who, as Steve noted, tend to be masculine hard-chargers.

    2) Resistance from women, who will resent former men competing against them.

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  48. donut says:

    This should warm everybody’s heart on a cold Jan. morning :

    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/dershowitz-alleging-underage

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  49. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    Read More
    • Replies: @candid_observer
    That's a very insightful article.

    I'm reminded of a Sicilian proverb:

    Who leaves the old way for the new knows what he is losing but not what he is gaining.
     
    And a similar one:

    Who leaves the old way for the new, the trouble not looked for, will be found there.
     
    , @Cagey Beast
    Yes, this is an excellent piece on what fuels political correctness. In a nutshell, he argues that PC fills a void left by the collapse of all traditional sources of moral guidance. I think that's true.
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  50. McFly says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Political correctness didn't "kill the American novel". There aren't enough easily-offended types reading novels for p.c. to be a big issue in them. P.c. is more of a concern in movies.

    An example is Bonfire of the Vanities. The novel pulls no punches, but the bad movie adaptation was hobbled by p.c. concerns (making it a breezy farce instead of biting satire; casting Morgan Freeman as the judge; etc.).

    Postwar academic leftism stifled literature.

    Bonfire of the Vanities was an exception to the rule because Tom Wolfe embraced the realist tradition.

    Interesting essay by Wolfe about the theory behind his novels:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalking_the_Billion-Footed_Beast

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  51. OT – article on “transgender” athletes – http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/29/documentary-on-transgender-athletes-tries-to-bridge-the-gender-divide/
    Looks like another push to let men & intersex types compete in womens’ sports. If they win they’ll drive out real women from at least the top levels of competitive sports. Judging by how PC works, this will mean a radical sacralisation of not-really-’woman’s’ sports, where they are pushed much more by the media, as happened with the disabled Olympics – the UK media treats the disabled Olympics with vast reverence and gives it as much coverage as the real thing while it is on, though Oscar Pistorius might have put a slight damper on that.

    Actual sport ‘equality’ would mean the abolition of female-only competition; everyone would compete against men. But the trans don’t want to compete against other men, they want the privilege of competing against women, who are less capable.

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    • Replies: @ben tillman

    Actual sport ‘equality’ would mean the abolition of female-only competition; everyone would compete against men. But the trans don’t want to compete against other men, they want the privilege of competing against women, who are less capable.
     
    Not "competing against" them -- dominating them! And bullying them! All in accordance with Steve's observations about them.
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  52. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    In any case, Britain’s rate of economic growth was far higher during the period of 1945 -1979 when high marginal tax rates on very rich existed than during the post Thatcher period of 1979 to present, when tax rates were slashed.
    The same is true of the USA.
    Laffer was merely peddling lies – as a hired salesman by his plutocratic masters – to a damned, dumb fool of a man.

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  53. @Anonymous
    'Laffer's curve' is pure bullshit peddled by a rather unpleasant bullshit merchant to a 'bear with little brain' ie Ronald Reagan.

    Mathematically, 'Laffer's curve' is nothing more than high school math - the maximum of a quadratic function - obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that 'economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken' - no big deal there.
    Except in the real world things aren't like that at all.
    But, remember we are dealing here with the senile-in-office Reagan, a man who lacked the intellectual horsepower to ever be considered as president in a sane society - White House 'entertainment and maintenance crew' - the jolly old paddy who tells jokes, tells ghost stories and changes light bulbs - was his real metier' and a truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer.

    truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer

    Is this a parody of the PC debating style?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
    It would be parody if pc debating style was less bombastic, this would be imitation.
    , @Jus' Sayin'...

    Is this a parody of the PC debating style?
     
    No. It's the same acned, hebephrenic, socially challenged twit-troll who used to show up here regularly under another name. Don't feed him and he'll go away to bother some other site's readers.
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  54. Chait on PC is similar to one of those prone to whining, “violence doesn’t solve anything”.

    Of course, violence quite often solves many, many things, not a few of which have been among the largest issues in history.

    PC, which of course is just another word for tyrannical oppression, has been solving things since humans have been organizing themselves into societies. We’ve just had a few respites here and there where the prevailing level was a bit lower than historical norms.

    Is there anything else I’m missing here?

    The level of intellectual discourse among intellectuals is pretty abysmal these days.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    If you mean that social conformity, ostracism and taboo have always been with us, I agree. It doesn't seem to be more than that. Was there really a time when you could say anything and not get shouted down? My impression is just that taboos have shifted. Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it's reversed.
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  55. @International Jew

    truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer
     
    Is this a parody of the PC debating style?

    It would be parody if pc debating style was less bombastic, this would be imitation.

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  56. @WhatEvvs
    Douthat linked to this guy, approvingly:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/29/i-dont-know-what-to-do-you-guys/

    Am I the only one who feels, as I read this, that I am reading a Martian?

    WTF is this DeBoer guy talking about???

    Back in the day I could read a leftist like Michael Walzer and understand what he is talking about, maybe disagree with him, but I understood his lucid writing. This DeBoer guy is talking about an alien universe.

    Times like this I wish Christopher Lasch were here.

    I understood deBoer’s blog post and it made me happy. I’m glad to see the lib-progs are turning on one another and destroying themselves. In this game we’ve been forced to play the only points we get on the scoreboard come from the lib-progs putting the ball in their own net.

    On a side note, notice the clunky use of swearwords in deBoer’s piece. This is something relatively new but now widespread amongst people with respectable jobs who feel the need to be “real”. How lame.

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  57. Twinkie says:
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  58. Twinkie says:
    @Anonymous
    'Laffer's curve' is pure bullshit peddled by a rather unpleasant bullshit merchant to a 'bear with little brain' ie Ronald Reagan.

    Mathematically, 'Laffer's curve' is nothing more than high school math - the maximum of a quadratic function - obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that 'economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken' - no big deal there.
    Except in the real world things aren't like that at all.
    But, remember we are dealing here with the senile-in-office Reagan, a man who lacked the intellectual horsepower to ever be considered as president in a sane society - White House 'entertainment and maintenance crew' - the jolly old paddy who tells jokes, tells ghost stories and changes light bulbs - was his real metier' and a truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer.

    a ‘bear with little brain’ ie Ronald Reagan… a man who lacked the intellectual horsepower to ever be considered as president in a sane society

    I am guessing you never saw “A Time for Choosing”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBswFfh6AY

    I don’t know about you, but I think today’s politicians come off rather badly in comparison. By the way, around this time (c. 1964), Reagan wrote his own speeches.

    Mathematically, ‘Laffer’s curve’ is nothing more than high school math – the maximum of a quadratic function – obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that ‘economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken’ – no big deal there.
    Except in the real world things aren’t like that at all.

    Try a little Wiki if you don’t want to read the original:

    Although he does not claim to have invented the Laffer curve concept (Laffer, 2004), it was popularized with policy-makers following an afternoon meeting with Nixon/Ford Administration officials Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in 1974 in which he reportedly sketched the curve on a napkin to illustrate his argument.[12] The term “Laffer curve” was coined by Jude Wanniski, who was also present. The basic concept was not new; Laffer himself says he learned it from Ibn Khaldun and John Maynard Keynes.[13]

    A simplified view of the theory is that tax revenues would be zero if tax rates were either 0% or 100%, and somewhere in between 0% and 100% is a tax rate which maximizes total revenue. Laffer’s postulate was that the tax rate that maximizes revenue was at a much lower level than previously believed: so low that current tax rates were above the level where revenue is maximized.

    And here is the full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve

    And then you might also look up the Rahn Curve, to get the skinny on the optimal government spending.

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  59. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Jimmy Carter was easily the best American president of the modern era.
    An ultra high IQ former engineering officer on nuclear subs, Carter was trying to steer America into becoming a ‘nordic-Vermont’ style happy prosperous, gentle, cerebral and prosperous type of place, a clean whitopia in which the excesses of plutocracy were neutered and ‘all could live happily ever after’ in nice gentle, bearded left-wing, scrubbed white Vermont/Swedish type pretty little towns, free of the monsters of greed, deprivation and the great American gut-ripping cock-fight to the bottom. In fact, a thinking man’s Christianity in practice.
    And then came the demented puppet Reagan, and ‘his’ Laffer curve.

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    • Replies: @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "Jimmy Carter was easily the best American president of the modern era.
    An ultra high IQ former engineering officer on nuclear subs, Carter was trying to steer America into becoming a ‘nordic-Vermont’ style happy prosperous, gentle, cerebral and prosperous type of place, a clean whitopia in which the excesses of plutocracy were neutered and ‘all could live happily ever after’ in nice gentle, bearded left-wing, scrubbed white Vermont/Swedish type pretty little towns, free of the monsters of greed, deprivation and the great American gut-ripping cock-fight to the bottom. In fact, a thinking man’s Christianity in practice."

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I'm pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.
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  60. Alden says:

    “The mood and norms and taboos around these issues that predominated when I attended a certain prominent Ivy League college back in the early 2000s are the moods and norms that now predominate just about everywhere that counts.”

    Mr. Moldbug, paging Mr. Moldbug…

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  61. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    I saw this this guy on John Stossel last night with the volume turned down and I swore it was Steve Sailer.

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  62. manton says:

    Chait has been a left-wing PC bully his entire career. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything remotely substantive by him. He’s nothing but a literary block captain, enforcing orthodoxy. Now that he’s getting old, he finds that the orthodoxy moves leftward faster than his aging mind is capable of keeping up. And that makes him suddenly concerned for “justice.”

    Boo-hoo. The revolution eats its own and if anyone deserves to be devoured, it’s that (former) PC thug.

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    • Replies: @Formerly CARealist
    thank you thank you. This is exactly what I've been thinking.
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  63. @International Jew

    truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer
     
    Is this a parody of the PC debating style?

    Is this a parody of the PC debating style?

    No. It’s the same acned, hebephrenic, socially challenged twit-troll who used to show up here regularly under another name. Don’t feed him and he’ll go away to bother some other site’s readers.

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  64. Luke Lea says:

    The only kind of immigration reform I can imagine that would not be subject to accusations or racism and bigotry would be a complete moratorium (pause, time-out) until we can assimilate and integrate the 40 or so million foreign born people (including 11 million undocumented) who are already here, the vast majority from countries with no, or very weak, democratic traditions. In the meantime we could research the question of whether emigration helps or hurts the development of the poor countries from which most immigrants come.

    I.e. , trade amnesty for a moratorium and frame the debate not as an economic but as a moral and cultural issue that has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

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    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    Maybe we need a new word for political correctness. How about Leninism?
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  65. Luke Lea says:
    @Luke Lea
    The only kind of immigration reform I can imagine that would not be subject to accusations or racism and bigotry would be a complete moratorium (pause, time-out) until we can assimilate and integrate the 40 or so million foreign born people (including 11 million undocumented) who are already here, the vast majority from countries with no, or very weak, democratic traditions. In the meantime we could research the question of whether emigration helps or hurts the development of the poor countries from which most immigrants come.

    I.e. , trade amnesty for a moratorium and frame the debate not as an economic but as a moral and cultural issue that has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

    Maybe we need a new word for political correctness. How about Leninism?

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  66. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    PC may have run a little too far too fast and may need to be reined in a bit now. It’s like Mao’s Cultural Revolution went too far and the youthful Red Guard zealots had to be curbed. PC, like Mao’s Red Guard, were both set loose by factions in higher levels of society and government. It’s a top-down phenomenon. PC hasn’t percolated upward from the masses of ordinary citizens but has been imposed downwards upon people.

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  67. Rifleman says:

    I want to keep harping on the concept of diminishing marginal returns.

    It looks like “Occam’s razor” and “regression toward the mean” have new competition.

    cisgendered straight white males like Chait

    But he doesn’t consider himself one of those. Those are the goyim.

    Chait’s identity first and foremost is a Jew, then a liberal Democrat pro Israel Jew.

    His enemy are the White goyishe rabble out there and the sinister White Republicans who pander to them.

    You can try to recruit him to the “cisgendered straight white males” team all you want but it’s not going to happen.

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    • Replies: @SFG
    Actually, I'd say my odious relatives in the media are starting to realize that the long knives (irony intentional) are out for them, too...all their liberal fantasies about being on the side of justice and being an 'oppressed group' will not save them from the rainbow-colored multicultural storm.

    Whether enough of them will flip in time to help you, I can't say.

    I like Mr. Lea's idea of the moratorium on immigration. My arguing strategy has been to point out that periods of immigration have historically alternated with periods of no immigration to allow the newcomers time to assimilate; it's worked on a few center-lefties in my personal circle. Any of you can try and see if you find it useful.
    , @rod1963
    Got to agree.

    Guys like Chait aren't on our side despite being a straight male. He's a liberal Jew that that doesn't like straight whites very much. He has more in common with the jihadis that want to take down the West than with us.
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  68. Summer of 1992 I was listening to the late and much lamented David Brudnoy’s talk show on WBZ. It was at the time of the Democrat Convention and Jesse Jackson had within a day or two previously delivered a “stemwinder” in which he attempted to cloak all existing Republicans as Biblical villains.
    Brudnoy had played excerpts of the speech on his program and I remember hearing as I drifted in the fugue state between awake and asleep Jackson compare Dan Quayle to Herod. Now as Herod remains known primarily for the Slaughter of the Innocents, I remember musing to myself that it was difficult to cram a square pro-life politician into that round hole.

    A day or two later Brudnoy had on his show two proto SJWs, one male, one female and as reflexively in step with every left wing cause and shibboleth that was then au courant. They were both white elites whose earnestness and righteousness was in the 99th percentile of their day.

    David was trying, as he almost always did, to reason with them but the strength of their convictions rendered them deaf. Nearing exasperation he brought up the example of Jackson’s utter ignorance revealed by his association of Quayle with Herod.

    When he pointed out that Herod was responsible for the Slaughter of the Innocents and known for precious little else, they accused him of lying. Being proto SJWs they weren’t nasty about it, only reluctantly concluding that he must be otherwise one of their heroes would be resorting to deception.
    Indeed there was an almost endearing level of condescension oozing from these two people who were utterly ignorant of the culture they were doing their best to undermine.

    It was a slow night for me and for the show and when I called I was immediately connected. “David,”
    I said, “tell your guests that if the brave new world they so earnestly are seeking ever comes about, they can be sure they will be at the re-education camps, but they won’t be there as instructors.”

    They didn’t get it then nor when David did his best to explain it to them. I doubt that they have got
    it to this day even if they have departed their trajectories of the moment. Of course, what they have done since will do nothing to insulate themselves from potentially sharing a room with Chait at Camp PC.

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  69. jtgw says:
    @Ex Submarine Officer
    Chait on PC is similar to one of those prone to whining, "violence doesn't solve anything".

    Of course, violence quite often solves many, many things, not a few of which have been among the largest issues in history.

    PC, which of course is just another word for tyrannical oppression, has been solving things since humans have been organizing themselves into societies. We've just had a few respites here and there where the prevailing level was a bit lower than historical norms.

    Is there anything else I'm missing here?

    The level of intellectual discourse among intellectuals is pretty abysmal these days.

    If you mean that social conformity, ostracism and taboo have always been with us, I agree. It doesn’t seem to be more than that. Was there really a time when you could say anything and not get shouted down? My impression is just that taboos have shifted. Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it’s reversed.

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    • Replies: @ladderff
    Fair enough, jtgw. There's no accounting for your taste in taboos. However, there is a qualitative difference between what you might call honest censorship and our self-conscious, masturbatory celebration of freedom, tolerance, open-mindedness, "reason" and other such empty phrases. If 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex (I rather doubt this was actually the case...), at least there were no illusions about it. Nobody was telling you that you were free to speak your mind, but that your mind had better think the right things. Wouldn't want to court misfortune, would you, Mr Eich?
    , @candid_observer
    To me, a very interesting fact is that there was an "interregnum" between the old taboos against talk of sex or against religion, and the new taboos of identity politics, in the later sixties perhaps through most of the seventies. In that brief period, one could more or less freely talk about all of these subjects with relatively little blowback.

    But we couldn't seem as a society to tolerate that golden age of free speech for very long. Some things just have to be very, very wrong, but those things can change in the blink of the cultural eye.

    , @Harry Baldwin
    Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist.

    Sixty years ago takes us to 1965, and while we were free to be sexist then, it was not acceptable to be racist. Verbal expressions of racial prejudice have been frowned upon for quite some time. Even earlier in the 20th century, blacks in entertainment were either sentimentalized or patronized (some would say demeaned), but it's hard to find any real racial hostility. But perhaps by racism you mean the micro-aggression sort.
    , @Anonymous
    60 years ago sounds really good to me.
    , @Art Deco
    Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it’s reversed.
    --
    1. "Sexist" is a nonsense term.

    2. I think you'd have to scrounge to find examples of blatant 'racism' by federal politicians from outside the Deep South drawn from the post-war period. (Local politicians you'd find more). As for journalists, keep in mind that standards of good breeding are commonly high among old-school bourgeois Southerners (think Jesse Helms or William Workman). That put certain boundaries on rhetoric.

    3. The discussion of sex implicates personal modesty and the boundary between domestic life and public or social life. It is properly circumscribed. That being noted, I think you'll discover that taboos of this character would extend to mass entertainment, not to all public discussion.

    4. Would you describe H.L. Mencken as 'circumspect'?
    , @Ex Submarine Officer

    My impression is just that taboos have shifted.
     
    In addition, the enforcement mechanisms against taboo-breakers are also always shifting. These days the punishment generally seems to be, in the U.S. at least, career/livelihood death upon the verdict of the howling mob. Seems unfair, but far kinder/gentler than guillotines or killing fields. We should keep this in perspective.

    That isn't to say that the current howling mob wouldn't resort to guillotines or reeducation camps, I'm certain that they would - Europe is already imprisoning thought-criminals pretty regularly - so a due amount of watchfulness is warranted for hate speech laws, etc, which are potentially way stations.
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  70. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @ColRebSez
    You mentioned Britain's 98 percent tax rate. For several years in the late 1970s and perhaps early '80s Sweden had a 103% marginal tax rate on some income.

    One of the consequences of these ultra-high tax rates is that people tend to be able to have lots more tax write-offs. They simply have to. In the U.S., it's long been the rule that businessmen must buy their own suits, with no tax deduction. In Britain, may high-income workers have traditionally had their suits paid for by their employers. And after one year they can buy them for a pound.

    Bottom line is that really high marginal tax rates in some cases actually help high-income workers. But they almost certainly don't maximize government revenue.

    It would seem that some of the more unpleasant consequences of Mancur Olson’s Stationary Bandits theory apply here.

    When the bandits think they are likely to be displaced they will care little about the future productivity of those they extract payments from.

    Moreover, in a society where you have to buy votes (democracies are like that) there is a tremendous incentive to increase taxes to keep the ruling party in power.

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    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
    When the bandits think they are likely to be displaced they will care little about the future productivity of those they extract payments from.


    Hans-Hermann Hoppe:
    "As a hereditary monopolist, a king regards the territory and the people under his rule as his personal property and engages in the monopolistic exploitation of this “property.” Under democracy, monopoly and monopolistic exploitation do not disappear. Rather, what happens is this: instead of a king and a nobility who regard the country as their private property, a temporary and interchangeable caretaker is put in monopolistic charge of the country. The caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his and his protégés’ advantage. He owns its current use – usufruct– but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. To the contrary, it makes exploitation less calculating and carried out with little or no regard to the capital stock. Exploitation becomes shortsighted and capital consumption will be systematically promoted."

    , @ben tillman

    It would seem that some of the more unpleasant consequences of Mancur Olson’s Stationary Bandits theory apply here.
     
    The paradigm of stationary bandits vs. roving bandits in political philosophy is simply a recognition of the difference in virulence generated by vertical vs. horizontal transmission.
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  71. MLK says:

    “But political correctness is less about policies than it is about sacralizing groups.”

    To which, per my earlier comments, I would continue that sentence with: and it is less about “sacralizing groups” than it is about power politics. In short it is about winning.

    The fools errand comes in attempting to dichotomize (PC/not PC) at the programmatic or ideological levels. While it seems as if I am proposing a catch-all (“duh! Of course the commonality is the desire to win and hold power), it compels the salient question, To what end(s)? Even in the extreme, Stalin, for example, objectives beyond absolute power are present. You consolidate power so that you may do good.

    This is why I said earlier the best we can and should do is unite to abor and oppose formalized rigging of the game. Legal or adminstrative punishments (on campuses for example) that destroy the permissive American concept of free speech and expression, however righteous the objective.

    Interestingly, at least to me, the term Chilling Effect has fallen into disuse, even though it is presently of paramount importance. As the Charlie Hebdo case exemplifies, and is implicit in so many of the comments here, we all favor chilling some speech, and rightly so. The bullies on Twitter — who are the digital equivalent of the drunk at the end of the bar ruining every else’s time. That is not Political Correctness. It is applying the curative power of social stigma. The objective of Political Correctness, instead, is not to Chill but to Eradicate.

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  72. ladderff says:

    Jonathan Chait’s denunciation of political correctness by people further to the left than him[.]

    Just want to praise your summary of Chait’s article, which is getting way more attention than it deserves. It’s pithy and dismissive and captures the whole piece.

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  73. @Dave Pinsen
    Another good piece on PC (hat tip to Michael Brendan Dougherty): http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-new-war-against-pc-its-too-late-and-its-picked-the-wrong-target/16562#.VMyBX2Q8LCR

    That’s a very insightful article.

    I’m reminded of a Sicilian proverb:

    Who leaves the old way for the new knows what he is losing but not what he is gaining.

    And a similar one:

    Who leaves the old way for the new, the trouble not looked for, will be found there.

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  74. ladderff says:
    @jtgw
    If you mean that social conformity, ostracism and taboo have always been with us, I agree. It doesn't seem to be more than that. Was there really a time when you could say anything and not get shouted down? My impression is just that taboos have shifted. Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it's reversed.

    Fair enough, jtgw. There’s no accounting for your taste in taboos. However, there is a qualitative difference between what you might call honest censorship and our self-conscious, masturbatory celebration of freedom, tolerance, open-mindedness, “reason” and other such empty phrases. If 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex (I rather doubt this was actually the case…), at least there were no illusions about it. Nobody was telling you that you were free to speak your mind, but that your mind had better think the right things. Wouldn’t want to court misfortune, would you, Mr Eich?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    There was censorship of books. I can recall reading a letter from P.G. Wodehouse in the late 1940s in which Wodehouse, citing Norman Mailer's WWII book, says that censorship is on its way out, although he won't change his style. Nabokov began "Lolita" around 1949 on the idea that it would eventually be publishable in the U.S. (It appeared in France in 1955 and in America in 1958). Heinlein may have begun "Stranger in a Strange Land" at about the same time under the same theory. It was published in 1961.
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  75. David says:

    In addition to “it’s a free country” another phrase regularly applied to Americans in the past was “fiercely jealous of their liberties.” Sounds like a PC mentality. I imagine that if a couple of early Americans listened to Mayor Bloomberg muse on his next policy initiative, they would gladly castigate his incorrect politics. They might run him all the way to Upper Canada.

    It seems to me that 1940 is a pivotal year in American literary art being turned to creating a new world order. The civilized world was down and America was going to save it. But first American parochialism had to be snuffed. And it had to stay snuffed.

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  76. @Dave Pinsen
    Another good piece on PC (hat tip to Michael Brendan Dougherty): http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-new-war-against-pc-its-too-late-and-its-picked-the-wrong-target/16562#.VMyBX2Q8LCR

    Yes, this is an excellent piece on what fuels political correctness. In a nutshell, he argues that PC fills a void left by the collapse of all traditional sources of moral guidance. I think that’s true.

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  77. @jtgw
    If you mean that social conformity, ostracism and taboo have always been with us, I agree. It doesn't seem to be more than that. Was there really a time when you could say anything and not get shouted down? My impression is just that taboos have shifted. Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it's reversed.

    To me, a very interesting fact is that there was an “interregnum” between the old taboos against talk of sex or against religion, and the new taboos of identity politics, in the later sixties perhaps through most of the seventies. In that brief period, one could more or less freely talk about all of these subjects with relatively little blowback.

    But we couldn’t seem as a society to tolerate that golden age of free speech for very long. Some things just have to be very, very wrong, but those things can change in the blink of the cultural eye.

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  78. […] tiresome – Vox thing by claiming that PC doesn’t exist.  ha.  Douthat comments (HT: Sailer).  And don’t miss Dreher, “Still, I will have a talk with my teenage son today to tell […]

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  79. AshTon says:
    @Shouting Thomas
    So, intimidation and censorship are good if they work to achieve the desired goal.

    Glad we got that straight.

    On the gay front... you guys are getting it all wrong. The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.

    And, this is what this crap has primarily been about.

    The class aspect of gay political ideology is not often commented on, but history is full of examples of homosexuality being linked to decadence among the upper classes .. The elites of Rome, China, Japan, France, and England took to buggery like ducks to water.

    Incidently, the precursor to Gay Marriage – domestic partnership – was invented by San Francisco Human Rights Commission member Larry Brinklin. Brinklin was later sentenced for pedophillia-related crimes, involving children as young as one. In one exchange, he declared, “I loved especially the n***** 2 year old getting nailed.” Before his arrest, the first week of December 2010 was declared Larry Brinkin Week by SFs Board of Supervisors, “because of his work on gay rights”.

    Pedophilia is also popular among the elites of history and now. In Britain, a week doesn’t go by without a politician or musician or presenter being outed as a pedophile.

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  80. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @fredyetagain aka superhonky
    There are too many outsiders and weirdos in the lib/prog coalition to even keep track of anymore. We all know that from their perspective straight white male gentiles ("SWMGs") are the very epitome of evil, so for the sake of clarity (and honesty) they should just define their team as everyone who hates SWMGs.

    Add ‘Non-Hollywood’ to the equation…

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  81. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anonymous
    'Laffer's curve' is pure bullshit peddled by a rather unpleasant bullshit merchant to a 'bear with little brain' ie Ronald Reagan.

    Mathematically, 'Laffer's curve' is nothing more than high school math - the maximum of a quadratic function - obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that 'economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken' - no big deal there.
    Except in the real world things aren't like that at all.
    But, remember we are dealing here with the senile-in-office Reagan, a man who lacked the intellectual horsepower to ever be considered as president in a sane society - White House 'entertainment and maintenance crew' - the jolly old paddy who tells jokes, tells ghost stories and changes light bulbs - was his real metier' and a truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer.

    Uh, wrong. The Laffer curve is a result of analyzing the behavior of a system at its limits, in this case 0% and 100% marginal tax rates. (Though technically there can be tax rates less than 0 and greater then 100%.) At 0% the tax collected is 0. At 100% the tax collected is 0. And at 0+% there is some tax collected. At 100-% there may be some tax collected. It can’t be argued that as tax rates fall from 100% at some point at the margin people are willing to pay the tax. So as you have a positive tax collection curve as the tax rate rise from 0 and a negative tax collection curve as the tax rate approaches 100%, at some point the curves will meet at some positive value and that will be the tax rate at which revenue is maximized. What rate that is – who knows? Hence the debate on tax rates (as revenue. Taxes as punishment is indifferent to the Laffer curve) Ronald Reagan himself experienced the effect of the 90% marginal tax rate extent during his movie years: when his income hit that tax rate – he stopped working the rest of the year. To deny that as tax rates increase, one’s motivation to earn drops betrays a certain obtuseness to human economic behavior.

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    • Replies: @miniver
    If I understand you, anon #82, you're arguing that it's enough to assume that R'>0 for some small t and R'<0 for some large t. Good point.
    Or contra Laffer, one doesn't even need to assume that R(0)=R(1)=0. It's enough to assume that R(a)=R(b)≈0 for some a≈0 and b≈1. Then Rolle's theorem says there's at least one c in (a,b) where R'(c)=0.
    Also see my following reply to the obnoxious Anonymous #47.
    Regards,
    Miniver
    , @MarkinLa
    Ronald Reagan himself experienced the effect of the 90% marginal tax rate extent during his movie years: when his income hit that tax rate – he stopped working the rest of the year.

    Do you really believe this nonsense? Reagan was so good at remembering things that never happened you always have to take everything he said with a grain of salt. Most people in the movies pre-WWII were under contract to a studio and had to crank out movies as fast as they could as there was no TV then and the theaters were full every weekend. In addition he was minor star at best who's career was over at the end of WWII, he was in no position to turn down an opportunity to get his name out there.

    With Netflix I have been watching some "classic" movies made around that time. It is amazing how little there there was in those movies. I was watching a Hitchcock movie filmed entirely on a set made to look like a Manhattan flat living room. There were a few big starts in that movie like Jimmy Stewart.
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  82. @jtgw
    If you mean that social conformity, ostracism and taboo have always been with us, I agree. It doesn't seem to be more than that. Was there really a time when you could say anything and not get shouted down? My impression is just that taboos have shifted. Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it's reversed.

    Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist.

    Sixty years ago takes us to 1965, and while we were free to be sexist then, it was not acceptable to be racist. Verbal expressions of racial prejudice have been frowned upon for quite some time. Even earlier in the 20th century, blacks in entertainment were either sentimentalized or patronized (some would say demeaned), but it’s hard to find any real racial hostility. But perhaps by racism you mean the micro-aggression sort.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The greatest American painter, John Singer Sargent, worked for years on huge historical murals in the Boston Public Library, finishing them in in 1919. There was immediately a huge controversy over one mural that depicted Christianity succeeding Judaism with the organized Jewish groups denouncing it as anti-Semitic. The Boston legislature passed a bill to use eminent domain to destroy the mural, although it wasn't carried out.
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  83. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @jtgw
    If you mean that social conformity, ostracism and taboo have always been with us, I agree. It doesn't seem to be more than that. Was there really a time when you could say anything and not get shouted down? My impression is just that taboos have shifted. Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it's reversed.

    60 years ago sounds really good to me.

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  84. This essay is about how to win arguments the PC way, through denunciation and intimidation rather than by trying to persuade.

    But this is another essay where a throwaway sidelight is at least as interesting as the essay itself. Take a look at the photograph of “Laffer’s Napkin”. Until today, I have always thought that Laffer sketched his famous “Laffer curve” on a paper napkin. It turns out that the this famous napkin was made of cloth. What we can conclude from this is: (1) Laffer goes to a higher class of restaurant than the paper-napkin eateries I patronize, and (2) Laffer is a napkin thief.

    And (3), Laffer signed the napkin over to Donald Rumsfeld. So is Rumsfeld a receiver of stolen property?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I was wondering about those napkin-related issues, too. Maybe they left an extra ten-spot as a tip?
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  85. I’m not that familiar with people of Jewish faith, but I get the impression that even Orthodox Jews cannot hold a candle to the religious fervor of the descendants of the Puritans. In the 17th century it was Puritans, in the 19th century it was Abolitionists, Mormons, and Utopians; in the 20th century it was Marxists, and in the 21st century it is Climate Changers and Victim Matronists. Currently we may be witnessing a power struggle between secular Marxists and the Matronists who lobby relentlessly to establish parity for their various victim cohorts.

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  86. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @silviosilver

    Is hasbara better than taqiyya?
     
    Hasbara is vastly more damaging.

    While both seek to misrepresent reality, taqiyya is a bush league lightweight, related only to religious matters.

    Hasbara's effect - however putatively well-intentioned - is to defend and disguise the critical offensive that deconstructs, discombobulates, and denatures you until you're a shell of your former self.

    How can we test this? By checking whether it applies to Jewish identity.

    Answer: nope.

    Jewish identity remains intact, undivided and unconquered, sitting pretty atop the victimhood hierarchy by a handsome margin.

    “Jewish identity remains intact, undivided and unconquered, sitting pretty atop the victimhood hierarchy by a handsome margin.”

    I guess that’s why we see massive demonstrations, in every large city and every university and college campus all over the world, and strident editorials in the NY Times, protesting terrorism against Jews by the Palestinians, Hezbollah, and other Islamists, and against the Iranian nuclear program. And that must be why the US government and the EU are putting no pressure at all on Israel to bestow statehood on the Palestinians on terms disadvantageous to Israel. And that must be why students on university and college campuses all over the West are intimidated to openly criticize Israel. And that’s why the American Jewish community and American Jewish plutocrats, like George Soros, are so united in their support of the current Israeli government.

    Seriously, what planet do people who read this website live on?

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    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_Red_Son
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  87. @The most deplorable one
    It would seem that some of the more unpleasant consequences of Mancur Olson's Stationary Bandits theory apply here.

    When the bandits think they are likely to be displaced they will care little about the future productivity of those they extract payments from.

    Moreover, in a society where you have to buy votes (democracies are like that) there is a tremendous incentive to increase taxes to keep the ruling party in power.

    When the bandits think they are likely to be displaced they will care little about the future productivity of those they extract payments from.

    Hans-Hermann Hoppe:
    “As a hereditary monopolist, a king regards the territory and the people under his rule as his personal property and engages in the monopolistic exploitation of this “property.” Under democracy, monopoly and monopolistic exploitation do not disappear. Rather, what happens is this: instead of a king and a nobility who regard the country as their private property, a temporary and interchangeable caretaker is put in monopolistic charge of the country. The caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his and his protégés’ advantage. He owns its current use – usufruct– but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. To the contrary, it makes exploitation less calculating and carried out with little or no regard to the capital stock. Exploitation becomes shortsighted and capital consumption will be systematically promoted.”

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    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
    Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world...
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  88. Art Deco says: • Website
    @jtgw
    If you mean that social conformity, ostracism and taboo have always been with us, I agree. It doesn't seem to be more than that. Was there really a time when you could say anything and not get shouted down? My impression is just that taboos have shifted. Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it's reversed.

    Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it’s reversed.

    1. “Sexist” is a nonsense term.

    2. I think you’d have to scrounge to find examples of blatant ‘racism’ by federal politicians from outside the Deep South drawn from the post-war period. (Local politicians you’d find more). As for journalists, keep in mind that standards of good breeding are commonly high among old-school bourgeois Southerners (think Jesse Helms or William Workman). That put certain boundaries on rhetoric.

    3. The discussion of sex implicates personal modesty and the boundary between domestic life and public or social life. It is properly circumscribed. That being noted, I think you’ll discover that taboos of this character would extend to mass entertainment, not to all public discussion.

    4. Would you describe H.L. Mencken as ‘circumspect’?

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    • Replies: @LMH
    1. “Sexist” is a nonsense term.

    IMO it is useful for describing bias in situations where "misogynistic" would go overboard (impute too much animus).
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  89. miniver says:
    @Anonymous
    'Laffer's curve' is pure bullshit peddled by a rather unpleasant bullshit merchant to a 'bear with little brain' ie Ronald Reagan.

    Mathematically, 'Laffer's curve' is nothing more than high school math - the maximum of a quadratic function - obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that 'economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken' - no big deal there.
    Except in the real world things aren't like that at all.
    But, remember we are dealing here with the senile-in-office Reagan, a man who lacked the intellectual horsepower to ever be considered as president in a sane society - White House 'entertainment and maintenance crew' - the jolly old paddy who tells jokes, tells ghost stories and changes light bulbs - was his real metier' and a truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer.

    At your next Struggle Session you might want to review that high school math.
    Just sayin.
    Miniver

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  90. I didn’t appreciate the term “political correctness” fully until I read the book “The God That Failed”, about Communist true believers’ experiences in the Soviet Union. Once you read it, you will never think it is something amusing.

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  91. Art Deco says: • Website
    @WhatEvvs
    Douthat linked to this guy, approvingly:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/29/i-dont-know-what-to-do-you-guys/

    Am I the only one who feels, as I read this, that I am reading a Martian?

    WTF is this DeBoer guy talking about???

    Back in the day I could read a leftist like Michael Walzer and understand what he is talking about, maybe disagree with him, but I understood his lucid writing. This DeBoer guy is talking about an alien universe.

    Times like this I wish Christopher Lasch were here.

    I’ve had my run ins with Mr. de Boer. I’ve met more pleasant characters in for a like these. He’s been spending his time in and among graduate students in the humanities (he’s a doctoral candidate in ‘writing and rhetoric’, I believe) or among okupiers. What he’s telling you is that he’s been in the company of jerks. What he’s not telling you is that a portside politics which does not place you in the company of jerks puts you on municipal councils or puts you in the company of policy wonks like Harold Pollack. He does not seem like a good fit for either milieu.

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    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    (this is to everyone who responded to me)

    Some of the other commenters apparently thought I was disagreeing with De Boer's observations that PC has shut down debate. I'm not, not at all. I'm well aware of it, it's reached totalitarian proportions and for those who think that it's funny (I'm guilty of that myself), just wait, it'll soon come to your life.

    Example: Everything will be torn to shreds as "transphobic." It will happen, just wait.

    In any case, when I said that reading De Boer made me think I was reading Martian, I was referring specifically to something else he wrote, in another blog post. His archives suck, and I can't relocate the passage I was thinking of. I've tried, and it's hopeless but it doesn't matter - he writes the same whining garbage over and over again. The linked article was an exception, because he actually had something real to write about. I'm not spending any more precious time going through his crud to prove my point.

    All I can say is, do it yourselves....read his stuff at random, and you will find yourself in the presence of a person not of sound mind, living in a phantom world of maniacs.

    That's not the case with Walzer, for example - or any of the old Social Democratic left. The old Dissent crowd. I cannot for the life of me imagine any of them shutting down debate with the charge of "transphobia." They were people who were concerned with equitable distribution of resources, etc. You can have a rational conversation with people like that. You cannot have a rational conversation with someone about "transphobia."

    And maybe that's what the real issue is here, not PC. It's whether or not the subjects themselves are amenable to discussion. You cannot have a rational discussion with a person who doesn't think that sex differences are innate, and cannot be wished or taxed or educated away.

    Last but clearly not least, De Boer, who writes stuff like this:


    He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong, and he’s a centrist Democrat scold who is just as eager to shut people out of the debate as the people he criticizes. That’s true.
     
    is himself a PC prick. I'm no expert on Jonathan Chait - I don't read him with any regularity, but really, De Boer should give this guy a break, because Chait is the uber-example of the big media guy who makes life for De Boer very easy. Read Chait's cruel take down of Maggie Gallagher to see what I mean.

    My advice to Mr. "I don't know what to do" is to discipline his classes. Make it clear that EVERYONE has a right to be heard. Have a talk with the gal who ran from class in tears, and tell her that this is the way life is. People are gonna disagree with her, and she's going to have to learn to stand her ground. But all that stuff is kind of old, so he'd rather whine "I don't know what to do." To that, I say, "have a great life."

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  92. SFG says:
    @Rifleman

    I want to keep harping on the concept of diminishing marginal returns.
     
    It looks like "Occam's razor" and "regression toward the mean" have new competition.

    cisgendered straight white males like Chait
     
    But he doesn't consider himself one of those. Those are the goyim.

    Chait's identity first and foremost is a Jew, then a liberal Democrat pro Israel Jew.

    His enemy are the White goyishe rabble out there and the sinister White Republicans who pander to them.

    You can try to recruit him to the "cisgendered straight white males" team all you want but it's not going to happen.

    Actually, I’d say my odious relatives in the media are starting to realize that the long knives (irony intentional) are out for them, too…all their liberal fantasies about being on the side of justice and being an ‘oppressed group’ will not save them from the rainbow-colored multicultural storm.

    Whether enough of them will flip in time to help you, I can’t say.

    I like Mr. Lea’s idea of the moratorium on immigration. My arguing strategy has been to point out that periods of immigration have historically alternated with periods of no immigration to allow the newcomers time to assimilate; it’s worked on a few center-lefties in my personal circle. Any of you can try and see if you find it useful.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    SFG says:

    "I like Mr. Lea’s idea of the moratorium on immigration. My arguing strategy has been to point out that periods of immigration have historically alternated with periods of no immigration to allow the newcomers time to assimilate; it’s worked on a few center-lefties in my personal circle. Any of you can try and see if you find it useful."

    I do too. It's simple, straight-forward, and has a historical precedent, and seems politically neutral (or about as neutral as you could hope for).
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  93. Art Deco says: • Website

    The way the conventional wisdom today interprets this is that members of these sacralized groups deserve to win and if they don’t it’s due to the evilness of non-blacks, non-Jews, non-gays, or non-women, either today or in the past.

    Aye. The thing is, it would hardly occur to Chait or deBoer that ‘social freedom’ for [insert client group] in practice means harassment of some other party or that ‘social freedom’ can conflict with other social goods. If pointed out, they fancy that someone else deserves the harassment. When you come right down to it, they’re a stew of ugly sentiments and they haven’t got a clue.

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  94. @jtgw
    If you mean that social conformity, ostracism and taboo have always been with us, I agree. It doesn't seem to be more than that. Was there really a time when you could say anything and not get shouted down? My impression is just that taboos have shifted. Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it's reversed.

    My impression is just that taboos have shifted.

    In addition, the enforcement mechanisms against taboo-breakers are also always shifting. These days the punishment generally seems to be, in the U.S. at least, career/livelihood death upon the verdict of the howling mob. Seems unfair, but far kinder/gentler than guillotines or killing fields. We should keep this in perspective.

    That isn’t to say that the current howling mob wouldn’t resort to guillotines or reeducation camps, I’m certain that they would – Europe is already imprisoning thought-criminals pretty regularly – so a due amount of watchfulness is warranted for hate speech laws, etc, which are potentially way stations.

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  95. @Priss Factor
    'Gay marriage' is NOT leftist.

    It's usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute 'leftism' of hipsters.

    Gay marriage’ is NOT leftist.

    It’s usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute ‘leftism’ of hipsters.

    “The Left” has always been the home of those with money, and its policies have always been designed to reshape society to shift power to those with money from those with traditional hereditary and religious claims to power.

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  96. @OsRazor
    Forget gay marriage--it's too ridiculous to even debate--it's like arguing why fish can't breath out of water or why mammals can't breath in water--they just can't, anatomically. It's no good crying about it, it just is.

    Let's just stick to buggery, for a moment, an act that until the 1970s was associated with Mental Illness and you see no harm in societal approval? And empirically of course this diagnosis is supported in so many way--shortened life expectancy, greater incidents of depression, suicide, disease, abuse and on and on--the list of awful resulting from homosexuality is non ending. No one in their right mind would wish homosexuality on anyone they cared about.

    And even if the threat to vulnerable young men wasn't there, social cohesion cannot tolerate the acceptance of homosexuality. It simply cannot if by social cohesion one argues the purposeful transfer of a society of its civilizational achievements from one generation to the next. There is no transfer with homosexuality--there is nothing forward looking--nothing but the here and now, which gets us back to the unpleasant and awful empirical realities of homosexuality.

    The cavalier approach to marriage of the last fifty years is unbelievable, but then so much of what's happened is equally insane. Just amazing.

    Why can’t society tolerate 5% of men not procreating?

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  97. @Melendwyr
    In the sense that I'm opposed to 'gay marriage', it's primarily because I don't think political systems should be concerning themselves with any kind of marriage, heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise. (If any positions regarding such are going to be pushed, it should be through cultural channels like religions or general philosophies, not the law.)

    Since I don't think we're going to abolish the legal enshrinement of hetero marriage, it makes sense to broaden the availability of the basic contract. Hetero, homo, groups, whatever. I don't need to approve of homo marriage - or, for that matter, to disapprove of it. My feelings on the matter aren't relevant.

    And I don't actually see what the purported harm of it is, either. It's not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously, and the idea that it's there to protect children (and women!) has been pretty entirely abandoned. It's little more than a temporary contract that's arbitrarily restricted.

    And I don’t actually see what the purported harm of it is, either. It’s not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously, and the idea that it’s there to protect children (and women!) has been pretty entirely abandoned.

    Hardly. Almost every marriage occurs for that reason, and there are still more than two million marriages each year in this country.

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  98. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Melendwyr
    In the sense that I'm opposed to 'gay marriage', it's primarily because I don't think political systems should be concerning themselves with any kind of marriage, heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise. (If any positions regarding such are going to be pushed, it should be through cultural channels like religions or general philosophies, not the law.)

    Since I don't think we're going to abolish the legal enshrinement of hetero marriage, it makes sense to broaden the availability of the basic contract. Hetero, homo, groups, whatever. I don't need to approve of homo marriage - or, for that matter, to disapprove of it. My feelings on the matter aren't relevant.

    And I don't actually see what the purported harm of it is, either. It's not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously, and the idea that it's there to protect children (and women!) has been pretty entirely abandoned. It's little more than a temporary contract that's arbitrarily restricted.

    Marriage is inextricably entwined with law: laws relating to inheritance, citizenship, custody, divorce, healthcare, etc. So it’s unreasonable to expect the government to be uninvolved. Unless you want to weasel-word “marriage” into a purely religious meaning and have the force of law apply to another term that denotes a domestic partnership.

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    • Replies: @IBC

    Marriage is inextricably entwined with law: laws relating to inheritance, citizenship, custody, divorce, healthcare, etc. So it’s unreasonable to expect the government to be uninvolved. Unless you want to weasel-word “marriage” into a purely religious meaning and have the force of law apply to another term that denotes a domestic partnership.
     
    I think most marriages in the US could also be described as civil unions, regardless of who actually conducts the ceremony. After all, who do most people go to, to get a divorce? If it was mostly about religion they'd need an anulment or perhaps a get. How many Americans actually do that?
    , @Melendwyr
    What a ridiculous argument - "government is involved, therefore government must be involved".

    Get rid of those laws. Problem solved.
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  99. @Scotty G. Vito
    Sailer, as always, diagnoses panicky beetle-browed Jews as the font of the P.C.-backtrack chit-chat, but it's probably more to do with the post-Obama dilemma hitting media folks in the face for about 2 months now. Hillary at that National Car Dealers thing said she hadn't driven herself since '96 -- she looks more evitable by the week (this is psychological not rational, it doesn't matter there's no viable Republican alternative in sight, if ever). I think a lot of house-trained liberals, and their fellow Internet travelers of various anti-war factions and fetish groups, genuinely believed the line about pulling up the drawbridge on MENA kicking off a great cool-down period for the more vibrant among the jihad diaspora. They don't understand why cartoonists are getting machine-gunned in Paris when there's no one named Bush within 515* miles of the White House. Large swathes of Leviathan like the V.A., HHS, and IRS are also showing dearth of public relations skill which can inconveniently spike during an "anti-government sentiment" flu season.

    Yes, there's also an elite concern at how eagerly certain elements responded to the "Go out and shoot cops" advice from institutional radicals, but the Narrative apparat doesn't feel personally threatened by that. This malaise is the natural result of 6 years of a pedigreed faculty-lounge liberal in charge and yet economic/global strife failing to recede to a happy distance. "Let's all retire from blogging"

    * I can only assume Kennebunkport hasn't closed down, but I don't know how to check

    I found reading your comment to be a “struggle session”.

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  100. @OsRazor
    Forget gay marriage--it's too ridiculous to even debate--it's like arguing why fish can't breath out of water or why mammals can't breath in water--they just can't, anatomically. It's no good crying about it, it just is.

    Let's just stick to buggery, for a moment, an act that until the 1970s was associated with Mental Illness and you see no harm in societal approval? And empirically of course this diagnosis is supported in so many way--shortened life expectancy, greater incidents of depression, suicide, disease, abuse and on and on--the list of awful resulting from homosexuality is non ending. No one in their right mind would wish homosexuality on anyone they cared about.

    And even if the threat to vulnerable young men wasn't there, social cohesion cannot tolerate the acceptance of homosexuality. It simply cannot if by social cohesion one argues the purposeful transfer of a society of its civilizational achievements from one generation to the next. There is no transfer with homosexuality--there is nothing forward looking--nothing but the here and now, which gets us back to the unpleasant and awful empirical realities of homosexuality.

    The cavalier approach to marriage of the last fifty years is unbelievable, but then so much of what's happened is equally insane. Just amazing.

    There is no transfer with homosexuality–there is nothing forward looking–nothing but the here and now, which gets us back to the unpleasant and awful empirical realities of homosexuality.

    Keynes said it best, didn’t he? “In the long run, we’re all dead.”

    That’s not the natural perspective of a “breeder”.

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  101. @Anonymous
    Jimmy Carter was easily the best American president of the modern era.
    An ultra high IQ former engineering officer on nuclear subs, Carter was trying to steer America into becoming a 'nordic-Vermont' style happy prosperous, gentle, cerebral and prosperous type of place, a clean whitopia in which the excesses of plutocracy were neutered and 'all could live happily ever after' in nice gentle, bearded left-wing, scrubbed white Vermont/Swedish type pretty little towns, free of the monsters of greed, deprivation and the great American gut-ripping cock-fight to the bottom. In fact, a thinking man's Christianity in practice.
    And then came the demented puppet Reagan, and 'his' Laffer curve.

    “Jimmy Carter was easily the best American president of the modern era.
    An ultra high IQ former engineering officer on nuclear subs, Carter was trying to steer America into becoming a ‘nordic-Vermont’ style happy prosperous, gentle, cerebral and prosperous type of place, a clean whitopia in which the excesses of plutocracy were neutered and ‘all could live happily ever after’ in nice gentle, bearded left-wing, scrubbed white Vermont/Swedish type pretty little towns, free of the monsters of greed, deprivation and the great American gut-ripping cock-fight to the bottom. In fact, a thinking man’s Christianity in practice.”

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.

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    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
    Where are the elements of truth? I'll add that I don't think the original poster was even being serious. But I'm interested in the elements of truth you see in that comment.

    I get how a certain segment of paleos who resent American power and revel in seeing it humiliated might look fondly on Carter, but beyond that what do you like about him?
    , @Ex Submarine Officer

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.
     
    The Iran hostage situation is what did Carter in and it did him in because it, to the people, confirmed their suspicions derived from lesser incidents, that Carter was ineffectual/impotent, a hapless buffoon. And the U.S. was also just coming off of Vietnam, another national humiliation really didn't set well.

    Funny thing is, though, the military buildup and resolve to confront the Soviets that is credited to Reagan actually began under Carter towards the latter part of his presidency. And Reagan walked away from 240 or so Marines/Corpsmen killed in the Lebanon barracks bombing without out saying boo to anyone.

    Perceptions matter, I guess. Getting elected in 1976 was hard, post Vietnam, post Watergate, but not impossible. Carter, though, made things worse generally, it wasn't the times, it was the man.

    Some of his rehabilitation is simply that the utter buffoonery, idiocy, and open lack of character/integrity/patriotism of the past 3 presidents (Obama, Bush II, Clinton), was simply inconceivable in a president back in those years. By comparison, Carter does look pretty presidential.
    , @Art Deco
    I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.
    --
    If he had an uncooperative Congress and had someone of the ilk of Arthur Burns running the Federal Reserve, perhaps so.
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  102. Two issues:

    First, of course political correctness works. What has been defined as acceptable speech has been utterly transformed in my lifetime. Its a silly discussion that doesn’t address this fundamental point.

    second:

    One commenter said, but the sentiment is pretty widespread:

    “I don’t think most Americans ever had a big issue with gays per se. They had two related issues:…”

    Same with my original issue, above. I think most Americans, up until twenty years ago, thought of homosexuality as a deviant sickness. I know, again, when I grew up (25 years ago), that homosexuality was so out of the norm it was perceived as simply repulsive-not by rednecks in Mississippi, or by uneducated, but by the culture at large. The few known homosexuals were either clowns (Paul Lynde, jokes about Catholic priest and altar boys) or whacky rockstars (David Bowie, the guy from Culture Club). Note that this perception started in young adults-say around age 22. Children and teenagers were simply unaware of its existence (unless they stumbled onto illicit pornography like Penthouse Forum magazines).

    There is a strange retroactive tolerance for homosexuality that simply didn’t exist. Further, there is a strange attempt to explain attitudes toward homosexuality either in terms of rational argument (“two related issues…”) or in terms of religion (an often expressed excuse for traditional attitudes towards homosexuality is “…my attitudes are based on my religion/religious beliefs…”). Neither are true. Traditional attitudes towards homosexuality were based on pretty fundamental, gut-reaction aesthetic/sociological beliefs.

    I’ve said it before, but it remains: the attitude towards homosexuality has changed unbelievably quickly, and was fundamentally at odds with what was a widespread, virtual bedrock belief less than one generation ago. In other words: many of the same middle-aged people who today express tolerance for homosexuality, were unthinkingly disgusted by it as young adults and teenagers.

    Independent of what your personal beliefs are towards homosexuality are: it is genuinely shocking how an entire population can flip a moral standard so quickly and so completely. Based on it, I honestly can’t imagine any belief that could survive the right kind of social pressure, exerted by the right people.

    So does political correctness work? It works literally unimaginably well. Quibbling about whether one group of graduate students are alienating another semi-identical group of graduate students is mindbogglingly missing the point.

    joeyjoejoe

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Independent of what your personal beliefs are towards homosexuality are: it is genuinely shocking how an entire population can flip a moral standard so quickly and so completely. Based on it, I honestly can’t imagine any belief that could survive the right kind of social pressure, exerted by the right people.
     
    Christopher Caldwell nailed it in his Financial Times column: public opinion doesn't change this quickly in a free society.

    So, opinion isn't moving as quickly as we're being led to believe-- or, we're no longer living in a free society.
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  103. rod1963 says:
    @Rifleman

    I want to keep harping on the concept of diminishing marginal returns.
     
    It looks like "Occam's razor" and "regression toward the mean" have new competition.

    cisgendered straight white males like Chait
     
    But he doesn't consider himself one of those. Those are the goyim.

    Chait's identity first and foremost is a Jew, then a liberal Democrat pro Israel Jew.

    His enemy are the White goyishe rabble out there and the sinister White Republicans who pander to them.

    You can try to recruit him to the "cisgendered straight white males" team all you want but it's not going to happen.

    Got to agree.

    Guys like Chait aren’t on our side despite being a straight male. He’s a liberal Jew that that doesn’t like straight whites very much. He has more in common with the jihadis that want to take down the West than with us.

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  104. Gringo says:

    Chait

    “The more slave-intensive a southern county was 150 years ago, the more conservative and Republican its contemporary white residents,”

    The most “slave-intensive” state in 1860 was South Carolina, with 57.2% of its population being slave. Tim Scott is a conservative Republican who represents South Carolina in the US Senate. Tim Scott is also Black. Tim Scott won the 2010 SC-1 Republican Primary against a son of Strom Thurmond, with a resounding 60+% of the vote. Doesn’t quite fit the narrative, doesn’t it?

    Or that South Carolina’s Republican Governor is the daughter of immigrants from India.

    http://civilwarhome.com/population1860.htm

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    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
    And the other senator from that state is a homosexual.
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  105. Pat Casey says:

    I actually think it would be great if there was a a real 180, with taboos against injecting the issue of slavery into public policy debates, calling people racist for stupid stuff, making dangerous anti-white propaganda like 12 years a slave, referring to old white men pejoratively, covering up black-on-white rape, allowing the attorney general to pledge racial solidarity before the duty of his office, etc etc.

    Why should there not be a taboos against moral extortion, ad hominem attacks, dehumanizing white people, abusing the power of the press, and deliberately balkanizing the country?

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  106. @The most deplorable one
    It would seem that some of the more unpleasant consequences of Mancur Olson's Stationary Bandits theory apply here.

    When the bandits think they are likely to be displaced they will care little about the future productivity of those they extract payments from.

    Moreover, in a society where you have to buy votes (democracies are like that) there is a tremendous incentive to increase taxes to keep the ruling party in power.

    It would seem that some of the more unpleasant consequences of Mancur Olson’s Stationary Bandits theory apply here.

    The paradigm of stationary bandits vs. roving bandits in political philosophy is simply a recognition of the difference in virulence generated by vertical vs. horizontal transmission.

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  107. Luke Lea says:

    One aspect of PC to keep in mind is that it only (or mainly) applies to the public square, aka, the mass media. The canons of political correctness are media-enforced. They make having an honest national conversation about whatever the topic might be (race, gender, class, even free trade) impossible.

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  108. @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "Jimmy Carter was easily the best American president of the modern era.
    An ultra high IQ former engineering officer on nuclear subs, Carter was trying to steer America into becoming a ‘nordic-Vermont’ style happy prosperous, gentle, cerebral and prosperous type of place, a clean whitopia in which the excesses of plutocracy were neutered and ‘all could live happily ever after’ in nice gentle, bearded left-wing, scrubbed white Vermont/Swedish type pretty little towns, free of the monsters of greed, deprivation and the great American gut-ripping cock-fight to the bottom. In fact, a thinking man’s Christianity in practice."

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I'm pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.

    Where are the elements of truth? I’ll add that I don’t think the original poster was even being serious. But I’m interested in the elements of truth you see in that comment.

    I get how a certain segment of paleos who resent American power and revel in seeing it humiliated might look fondly on Carter, but beyond that what do you like about him?

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  109. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    This essay is about how to win arguments the PC way, through denunciation and intimidation rather than by trying to persuade.

    But this is another essay where a throwaway sidelight is at least as interesting as the essay itself. Take a look at the photograph of "Laffer's Napkin". Until today, I have always thought that Laffer sketched his famous "Laffer curve" on a paper napkin. It turns out that the this famous napkin was made of cloth. What we can conclude from this is: (1) Laffer goes to a higher class of restaurant than the paper-napkin eateries I patronize, and (2) Laffer is a napkin thief.

    And (3), Laffer signed the napkin over to Donald Rumsfeld. So is Rumsfeld a receiver of stolen property?

    I was wondering about those napkin-related issues, too. Maybe they left an extra ten-spot as a tip?

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    • Replies: @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    I had the same thought about the possibility of a tip, and even imagined the same $10 amount. But moral philosophers like Laffer and Rumsfeld would have been troubled by the fact that the tip goes to a napkin-theft-facilitating waiter, not to the restaurant that must make up for the pilferage.
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  110. @Harry Baldwin
    Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist.

    Sixty years ago takes us to 1965, and while we were free to be sexist then, it was not acceptable to be racist. Verbal expressions of racial prejudice have been frowned upon for quite some time. Even earlier in the 20th century, blacks in entertainment were either sentimentalized or patronized (some would say demeaned), but it's hard to find any real racial hostility. But perhaps by racism you mean the micro-aggression sort.

    The greatest American painter, John Singer Sargent, worked for years on huge historical murals in the Boston Public Library, finishing them in in 1919. There was immediately a huge controversy over one mural that depicted Christianity succeeding Judaism with the organized Jewish groups denouncing it as anti-Semitic. The Boston legislature passed a bill to use eminent domain to destroy the mural, although it wasn’t carried out.

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    • Replies: @vinteuil
    Yes, Sargent was, by far, the greatest American painter. Maybe Winslow Homer & Whistler are playing in the same ball-park, but it's hard to think of anybody else.

    Strangely, enough, he got in trouble not only for supposed anti-Semitism, but also for supposed philo-Semitism:

    "Elizabeth Prettejohn suggests that the decline of Sargent's reputation was due partly to the rise of anti-Semitism, and the resultant intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity.'[97] It has been suggested that the exotic qualities[98] inherent in his work appealed to the sympathies of the Jewish clients whom he painted from the 1890s on."

    (Wikipedia)
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  111. @manton
    Chait has been a left-wing PC bully his entire career. I don't think I've ever read anything remotely substantive by him. He's nothing but a literary block captain, enforcing orthodoxy. Now that he's getting old, he finds that the orthodoxy moves leftward faster than his aging mind is capable of keeping up. And that makes him suddenly concerned for "justice."

    Boo-hoo. The revolution eats its own and if anyone deserves to be devoured, it's that (former) PC thug.

    thank you thank you. This is exactly what I’ve been thinking.

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  112. Maj. Kong says:
    @anonymous
    "Jewish identity remains intact, undivided and unconquered, sitting pretty atop the victimhood hierarchy by a handsome margin."

    I guess that's why we see massive demonstrations, in every large city and every university and college campus all over the world, and strident editorials in the NY Times, protesting terrorism against Jews by the Palestinians, Hezbollah, and other Islamists, and against the Iranian nuclear program. And that must be why the US government and the EU are putting no pressure at all on Israel to bestow statehood on the Palestinians on terms disadvantageous to Israel. And that must be why students on university and college campuses all over the West are intimidated to openly criticize Israel. And that's why the American Jewish community and American Jewish plutocrats, like George Soros, are so united in their support of the current Israeli government.

    Seriously, what planet do people who read this website live on?

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  113. @ladderff
    Fair enough, jtgw. There's no accounting for your taste in taboos. However, there is a qualitative difference between what you might call honest censorship and our self-conscious, masturbatory celebration of freedom, tolerance, open-mindedness, "reason" and other such empty phrases. If 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex (I rather doubt this was actually the case...), at least there were no illusions about it. Nobody was telling you that you were free to speak your mind, but that your mind had better think the right things. Wouldn't want to court misfortune, would you, Mr Eich?

    There was censorship of books. I can recall reading a letter from P.G. Wodehouse in the late 1940s in which Wodehouse, citing Norman Mailer’s WWII book, says that censorship is on its way out, although he won’t change his style. Nabokov began “Lolita” around 1949 on the idea that it would eventually be publishable in the U.S. (It appeared in France in 1955 and in America in 1958). Heinlein may have begun “Stranger in a Strange Land” at about the same time under the same theory. It was published in 1961.

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  114. Maj. Kong says:
    @Gringo
    Chait

    “The more slave-intensive a southern county was 150 years ago, the more conservative and Republican its contemporary white residents,”
     
    The most "slave-intensive" state in 1860 was South Carolina, with 57.2% of its population being slave. Tim Scott is a conservative Republican who represents South Carolina in the US Senate. Tim Scott is also Black. Tim Scott won the 2010 SC-1 Republican Primary against a son of Strom Thurmond, with a resounding 60+% of the vote. Doesn't quite fit the narrative, doesn't it?

    Or that South Carolina's Republican Governor is the daughter of immigrants from India.


    http://civilwarhome.com/population1860.htm

    And the other senator from that state is a homosexual.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    No, he's merely a bachelor. Quit with the pretenses.
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  115. Maj. Kong says:
    @Hippopotamusdrome
    When the bandits think they are likely to be displaced they will care little about the future productivity of those they extract payments from.


    Hans-Hermann Hoppe:
    "As a hereditary monopolist, a king regards the territory and the people under his rule as his personal property and engages in the monopolistic exploitation of this “property.” Under democracy, monopoly and monopolistic exploitation do not disappear. Rather, what happens is this: instead of a king and a nobility who regard the country as their private property, a temporary and interchangeable caretaker is put in monopolistic charge of the country. The caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his and his protégés’ advantage. He owns its current use – usufruct– but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. To the contrary, it makes exploitation less calculating and carried out with little or no regard to the capital stock. Exploitation becomes shortsighted and capital consumption will be systematically promoted."

    Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world…

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    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
    Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world…

    Monaco
    "Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power.[9] The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297.
    ...
    Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union (EU)
    ...
    The state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven.
    , @Hippopotamusdrome
    Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world…

    Coompare and contrast the immigration policy of a government that doesn't need to get the most votes (by whatever means necessary) to survive:

    Saudi Arabia's Plan for Changing Its Workforce
    "Over the last decade, the government has prioritized "Saudiization," an initiative aiming to increase employment of Saudi nationals across all sectors of the domestic economy, reduce dependence on foreign workers, and recapture and reinvest income that would have otherwise flowed overseas as remittances.
    ...
    The recent enforcement of Saudiization legislation across all jobs sectors is a new phenomenon. Much of the Saudi business community has been shifting the composition of their workforces to comply with Saudiization legislation.
    ...
    More recently, small- and medium-sized business owners, with whom enforcement of Saudiization was not as strictly applied, have started to protest that these measures place unfair pressure on them to hire more expensive local workers.
    ...
    In 2003 the Saudi Manpower Council mandated that the number of foreign workers and their families should not exceed 20 percent of the total population by 2013,
    ...
    Past Saudiization measures have included a ban on hiring foreign workers in 22, mostly administrative, professions, and an increase in recruitment fees for employers hiring foreign workers. More recently, the Ministry of Labor has increased pressure on small- and medium-sized businesses to employ more Saudis, a measure that will be especially difficult to enforce as these business are much more difficult to regulate and less able to shoulder the increased expense of employing Saudis.
    ...
    This new legislation would allow foreigners meeting strict language and residency requirements to be eligible for Saudi citizenship. These include fluency in written and spoken Arabic, adherence to the Islamic faith, and a residency requirement of 10 years."
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  116. Oy says:

    DeBoer “…and as a grad student for the past six,…” Need any more be said???

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The median quantum of time to complete a PhD actually is seven years of graduate work. No clue why deBoer ever wanted one given the market in the humanities.
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  117. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @SFG
    Actually, I'd say my odious relatives in the media are starting to realize that the long knives (irony intentional) are out for them, too...all their liberal fantasies about being on the side of justice and being an 'oppressed group' will not save them from the rainbow-colored multicultural storm.

    Whether enough of them will flip in time to help you, I can't say.

    I like Mr. Lea's idea of the moratorium on immigration. My arguing strategy has been to point out that periods of immigration have historically alternated with periods of no immigration to allow the newcomers time to assimilate; it's worked on a few center-lefties in my personal circle. Any of you can try and see if you find it useful.

    SFG says:

    “I like Mr. Lea’s idea of the moratorium on immigration. My arguing strategy has been to point out that periods of immigration have historically alternated with periods of no immigration to allow the newcomers time to assimilate; it’s worked on a few center-lefties in my personal circle. Any of you can try and see if you find it useful.”

    I do too. It’s simple, straight-forward, and has a historical precedent, and seems politically neutral (or about as neutral as you could hope for).

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  118. @Simon in London
    OT - article on "transgender" athletes - http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/29/documentary-on-transgender-athletes-tries-to-bridge-the-gender-divide/
    Looks like another push to let men & intersex types compete in womens' sports. If they win they'll drive out real women from at least the top levels of competitive sports. Judging by how PC works, this will mean a radical sacralisation of not-really-'woman's' sports, where they are pushed much more by the media, as happened with the disabled Olympics - the UK media treats the disabled Olympics with vast reverence and gives it as much coverage as the real thing while it is on, though Oscar Pistorius might have put a slight damper on that.

    Actual sport 'equality' would mean the abolition of female-only competition; everyone would compete against men. But the trans don't want to compete against other men, they want the privilege of competing against women, who are less capable.

    Actual sport ‘equality’ would mean the abolition of female-only competition; everyone would compete against men. But the trans don’t want to compete against other men, they want the privilege of competing against women, who are less capable.

    Not “competing against” them — dominating them! And bullying them! All in accordance with Steve’s observations about them.

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  119. @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "Jimmy Carter was easily the best American president of the modern era.
    An ultra high IQ former engineering officer on nuclear subs, Carter was trying to steer America into becoming a ‘nordic-Vermont’ style happy prosperous, gentle, cerebral and prosperous type of place, a clean whitopia in which the excesses of plutocracy were neutered and ‘all could live happily ever after’ in nice gentle, bearded left-wing, scrubbed white Vermont/Swedish type pretty little towns, free of the monsters of greed, deprivation and the great American gut-ripping cock-fight to the bottom. In fact, a thinking man’s Christianity in practice."

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I'm pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.

    The Iran hostage situation is what did Carter in and it did him in because it, to the people, confirmed their suspicions derived from lesser incidents, that Carter was ineffectual/impotent, a hapless buffoon. And the U.S. was also just coming off of Vietnam, another national humiliation really didn’t set well.

    Funny thing is, though, the military buildup and resolve to confront the Soviets that is credited to Reagan actually began under Carter towards the latter part of his presidency. And Reagan walked away from 240 or so Marines/Corpsmen killed in the Lebanon barracks bombing without out saying boo to anyone.

    Perceptions matter, I guess. Getting elected in 1976 was hard, post Vietnam, post Watergate, but not impossible. Carter, though, made things worse generally, it wasn’t the times, it was the man.

    Some of his rehabilitation is simply that the utter buffoonery, idiocy, and open lack of character/integrity/patriotism of the past 3 presidents (Obama, Bush II, Clinton), was simply inconceivable in a president back in those years. By comparison, Carter does look pretty presidential.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    utter buffoonery, idiocy, and open lack of character/integrity/patriotism of the past 3 presidents (Obama, Bush II, Clinton)

    One of these three does not belong on the list of the other two.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    The deregulation Reagan is known for also began under Carter.

    But you're right: the Iran hostage debacle sunk him. It was the absolute nadir of American prestige. Attacking an embassy is a clear act of war. Carter should have asked Congress for a declaration of war against Iran instead of rolling the dice on that long shot Delta Force rescue mission.

    Reagan abandoning the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon wasn't in the same ballpark. He put US troops in a war zone as part of an international effort. Then he realized that it wasn't worth the cost and bailed. Good for him. He wasn't afraid to use military force (against Iran or Libya or Cubans in Grenada), but didn't see the point in keeping ground troops at risk in pointless conflicts after Lebanon. Lesson learned.
    , @MarkinLa
    I think the economy did him in worse than the Iran crisis. He bet that Paul Volcker could tame the inflation in time for the next election and he lost that bet. Volcker did lower the interest rates just prior to the election and inflation just ramped right back up. I unfortunately bought a house then and saw the prices dive right after the interest rates went back up.

    People forget Reagan wasn't too popular in the first two years of his Presidency because of the high interest rates. Roberts has written that he and Kemp were trying to get Volcker to lower the rates to get the economy going. They knew that Reagan wouldn't be reelected if interest rates kept the country at such low rates of growth.

    That is the problem with perceptions and the belief that the President has control over these things. Nixon, Ford, and Reagan never really did anything to control the inflation then but none of them get much of the blame for it. The blame goes to the only guy who really took any action.
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  120. vinteuil says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer
    The greatest American painter, John Singer Sargent, worked for years on huge historical murals in the Boston Public Library, finishing them in in 1919. There was immediately a huge controversy over one mural that depicted Christianity succeeding Judaism with the organized Jewish groups denouncing it as anti-Semitic. The Boston legislature passed a bill to use eminent domain to destroy the mural, although it wasn't carried out.

    Yes, Sargent was, by far, the greatest American painter. Maybe Winslow Homer & Whistler are playing in the same ball-park, but it’s hard to think of anybody else.

    Strangely, enough, he got in trouble not only for supposed anti-Semitism, but also for supposed philo-Semitism:

    “Elizabeth Prettejohn suggests that the decline of Sargent’s reputation was due partly to the rise of anti-Semitism, and the resultant intolerance of ‘celebrations of Jewish prosperity.’[97] It has been suggested that the exotic qualities[98] inherent in his work appealed to the sympathies of the Jewish clients whom he painted from the 1890s on.”

    (Wikipedia)

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  121. Melendwyr – Since I don’t think we’re going to abolish the legal enshrinement of hetero marriage, it makes sense to broaden the availability of the basic contract. Hetero, homo, groups, whatever. I don’t need to approve of homo marriage – or, for that matter, to disapprove of it. My feelings on the matter aren’t relevant.

    Why are your feelings on the matter not relevant. And if they aren’t relevant, why are you here writing comments to explain to us your feelings on the matter?

    People are perfectly entitled to oppose (or support) gay marriage for whatever damn reasons they please. You’re free to claim that the best thing to do is to “broaden the availability of the basic contract” to include “Hetero, homo, groups, whatever”. That’s a deeply unintelligent position on your part, but there’s no requirement that people be intelligent before they are allowed to have an opinion.

    It’s not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously

    So that fact that people (people like you) have succeeded in removing much of the meaning from marriage is now going to be used as a justification for removing what meaning remains? By that logic the fact that our “republican form of government” has decayed to little more than a sham is a great justification for dropping what little of it remains and embracing outright Ceasarism!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Melendwyr

    Why are your feelings on the matter not relevant. And if they aren’t relevant, why are you here writing comments to explain to us your feelings on the matter?
     
    This site isn't exactly free of political correctness, itself - the vocal commentators are quick to disparage any position that doesn't precisely match theirs. The concept of 'tolerance' doesn't require that we approve, or not disapprove, merely that we put up with things we don't like.

    Tolerating homosexuality seems an obvious good. That's not the same thing as thinking it's a good idea, or something we want to support.

    To a large degree, the talking points about marriage are wrong. It has never been what the 'conservative' screaming heads assert about it, and it's certainly not what it's become. It's always been mostly about economics, political alliances, and ensuring that children and widows will be supported by establishing legal ties. It's no longer considered necessary to having children, and vice versa - several of my married friends tied the knot after having children was no longer even biologically possible.
    , @NOTA
    You mean like declaring that the president has the authority to start wars, assassinate citizens, order people tortured, authorize illegal spying, have citizens disappeared from US soil, stuff like that?
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  122. Art Deco says: • Website
    @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "Jimmy Carter was easily the best American president of the modern era.
    An ultra high IQ former engineering officer on nuclear subs, Carter was trying to steer America into becoming a ‘nordic-Vermont’ style happy prosperous, gentle, cerebral and prosperous type of place, a clean whitopia in which the excesses of plutocracy were neutered and ‘all could live happily ever after’ in nice gentle, bearded left-wing, scrubbed white Vermont/Swedish type pretty little towns, free of the monsters of greed, deprivation and the great American gut-ripping cock-fight to the bottom. In fact, a thinking man’s Christianity in practice."

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I'm pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.

    I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.

    If he had an uncooperative Congress and had someone of the ilk of Arthur Burns running the Federal Reserve, perhaps so.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I knew a broker who thought Volker jacked up rates as steeply as he did in part to hurt Reagan's reelection chances. But, of course, the recession had ended and the economy was booming by 1984
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  123. Art Deco says: • Website
    @Maj. Kong
    And the other senator from that state is a homosexual.

    No, he’s merely a bachelor. Quit with the pretenses.

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  124. Art Deco says: • Website
    @Oy
    DeBoer "...and as a grad student for the past six,..." Need any more be said???

    The median quantum of time to complete a PhD actually is seven years of graduate work. No clue why deBoer ever wanted one given the market in the humanities.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Grumpy
    It takes considerably longer than seven years in the humanities.

    But for graduate students in the humanities, it takes, on average, more than nine years to complete a degree. What some of those Ph.D. recipients may not realize is that they could spend another nine years, or more, looking for a tenure-track teaching job at a college or university — without ever finding one.
     
    The Long-Haul Degree: http://nyti.ms/WTr6bY
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  125. Art Deco says: • Website
    @Ex Submarine Officer

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.
     
    The Iran hostage situation is what did Carter in and it did him in because it, to the people, confirmed their suspicions derived from lesser incidents, that Carter was ineffectual/impotent, a hapless buffoon. And the U.S. was also just coming off of Vietnam, another national humiliation really didn't set well.

    Funny thing is, though, the military buildup and resolve to confront the Soviets that is credited to Reagan actually began under Carter towards the latter part of his presidency. And Reagan walked away from 240 or so Marines/Corpsmen killed in the Lebanon barracks bombing without out saying boo to anyone.

    Perceptions matter, I guess. Getting elected in 1976 was hard, post Vietnam, post Watergate, but not impossible. Carter, though, made things worse generally, it wasn't the times, it was the man.

    Some of his rehabilitation is simply that the utter buffoonery, idiocy, and open lack of character/integrity/patriotism of the past 3 presidents (Obama, Bush II, Clinton), was simply inconceivable in a president back in those years. By comparison, Carter does look pretty presidential.

    utter buffoonery, idiocy, and open lack of character/integrity/patriotism of the past 3 presidents (Obama, Bush II, Clinton)

    One of these three does not belong on the list of the other two.

    Read More
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  126. iffen says:

    Looking from the outside we see a side cleansing itself. That’s what sides do. It gives us hope, but it is an illusion. We are scattered bystanders and individuals. They are in total control. They have no organized opposition. They pick off non-conformists one or two at a time. We think we might win if they fight among themselves. Could happen, I suppose. Wishful thinking or just the Merlot.

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    • Replies: @Ex Submarine Officer

    They have no organized opposition.
     
    The American people have, although at this point in time I should probably say were, been begging for organized opposition since 1980 when Reagan was elected. It is worth noting that Reagan's strongest support was among people who were old enough to vote for the first time in their lives, i.e., the rising generation deeply uneasy with the events of 60s/70s that were the backdrop for their childhoods/adolescence.

    Since then, we have time and again sent sweeping mandates to Republicans to clean house and reverse the 68'ers and New Dealers revolution/subversion and restore the ancient regime. And time and again, nothing has happened, with the possible exception of gun issues. Another claimed accomplishment might be economic freedom, from the yoke of unionism, regulation, etc., but that has just resulted in the "free trade" phenomenon, which has played out as a reversion to an earlier, unwanted regime (modern day feudalism/serfdom).

    The last great offensive was the Bush II presidential election of 2000 following the Clinton antics, it was clearly a wish to restore decency, etc., after the lies, the blue dress, and all that. We gave the Republicans the presidency and both houses of Congress. And even that, the last major offensive from the conservative/traditionalist side, was co-opted/defeated/betrayed from within.

    So yes, we are now just scattered individual soldiers of a defeated army being gunned singly down by a victorious enemy who is of no mind to be taking prisoners. All that is left is for us to grouse in the comments sections of obscure blogs and even that is becoming increasingly perilous as mop-up counter-insurgency efforts such as doxing, attacks on Internet anonymity have come into play.

    This Thirty Years War has been lost, I faced up to that some years ago, I think the re-election of Obama, if not the original election drove that home to me, the fizzlement of the Tea Party just adding spice. Maybe some new oppositional trend or movement will arise, but it obviously has to be via some new equation as big R/big C Republicanism/Conservatism as a banner has utterly failed.

    So sad, all that sound and fury for naught, but it is just history now.
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  127. advancedatheist [AKA "RedneckCryonicist"] says:

    OT: Steve, if you review Michael Shermer’s new book, I volunteer a title: The Moral Arc Reactor.

    Because this way of thinking powers a lot of the counterproductive social nonsense you write about, and it has about as much grounding in reality as Tony Stark’s fictional Arc Reactor in the Iron Man comics and films.

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  128. Grumpy says:
    @Art Deco
    The median quantum of time to complete a PhD actually is seven years of graduate work. No clue why deBoer ever wanted one given the market in the humanities.

    It takes considerably longer than seven years in the humanities.

    But for graduate students in the humanities, it takes, on average, more than nine years to complete a degree. What some of those Ph.D. recipients may not realize is that they could spend another nine years, or more, looking for a tenure-track teaching job at a college or university — without ever finding one.

    The Long-Haul Degree: http://nyti.ms/WTr6bY

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  129. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Ex Submarine Officer

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.
     
    The Iran hostage situation is what did Carter in and it did him in because it, to the people, confirmed their suspicions derived from lesser incidents, that Carter was ineffectual/impotent, a hapless buffoon. And the U.S. was also just coming off of Vietnam, another national humiliation really didn't set well.

    Funny thing is, though, the military buildup and resolve to confront the Soviets that is credited to Reagan actually began under Carter towards the latter part of his presidency. And Reagan walked away from 240 or so Marines/Corpsmen killed in the Lebanon barracks bombing without out saying boo to anyone.

    Perceptions matter, I guess. Getting elected in 1976 was hard, post Vietnam, post Watergate, but not impossible. Carter, though, made things worse generally, it wasn't the times, it was the man.

    Some of his rehabilitation is simply that the utter buffoonery, idiocy, and open lack of character/integrity/patriotism of the past 3 presidents (Obama, Bush II, Clinton), was simply inconceivable in a president back in those years. By comparison, Carter does look pretty presidential.

    The deregulation Reagan is known for also began under Carter.

    But you’re right: the Iran hostage debacle sunk him. It was the absolute nadir of American prestige. Attacking an embassy is a clear act of war. Carter should have asked Congress for a declaration of war against Iran instead of rolling the dice on that long shot Delta Force rescue mission.

    Reagan abandoning the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon wasn’t in the same ballpark. He put US troops in a war zone as part of an international effort. Then he realized that it wasn’t worth the cost and bailed. Good for him. He wasn’t afraid to use military force (against Iran or Libya or Cubans in Grenada), but didn’t see the point in keeping ground troops at risk in pointless conflicts after Lebanon. Lesson learned.

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    • Replies: @Ex Submarine Officer

    But you’re right: the Iran hostage debacle sunk him. It was the absolute nadir of American prestige. Attacking an embassy is a clear act of war.
     
    Carter had the opportunity to nip this in the bud in a what is now a little remembered incident.

    Of course, everyone remembers the hostage-taking in Tehran in November 1979. However, the embassy was previously overrun in February 1979 shortly after the Shah had fled and Khomeini had returned to Iran. This happened amid a great deal of chaos in Iran in which thousands of Americans were being evacuated.

    Carter decided to send a force to Iran to retake the Embassy and provide security for various evacuations and so forth, generally restore order. The force was 2d Battalion, 2d Marines (2/2), an infantry battalion at Camp Lejeune, the "air alert" battalion of the moment. Incidentally, a Marine battalion is about 800 grunt Marines, a fairly serious force.

    The plan was to fly them in stages to Incirlik, an American/Turkish air base in Turkey. From there, they would be flown to via CH-53s to an Iranian army base in Iran where the commanders were still sympathetic/aligned with the U.S. Again, the situation was still very fluid and happening in the moment in Iran. There, the Iranian army would provide ground transport to the Marines to get to Tehran.

    So 2/2 was rousted in the middle of the night, and elements of them began flying out from Cherry Point NC hours later. As morning dawned, Carter announced to the nation that he was sending Marines to Iran.

    So far, so good, no? And completely un-Carteresque as he is popularly remembered.

    However, more true to stereotypes of Carter incompetence, someone in his administration forgot to tell the Turks about all this. They only learned about it via Carter's announcement. The Turks took umbrage at being so dissed and insisted that the only units that could be transhipped via Incirlik had to be unarmed/humanitarian ones, which an armed Marine infantry battalion is most clearly not.

    So the first flights of 2/2 were diverted to the Azores while the diplomats worked this out, which they eventually did. However, during this time, a few days, the Imams returned the U.S. Embassy, released some Americans they had captured and promised, no fingers crossed, that they never would do something like that again.

    Carter decided to believe them and called off the operation despite strong urgings from JCS, that the infantry Marines were still needed to beef up the relatively few in number/lightly armed & equipped Embassy detachment as well as providing security for other ongoing evolutions in Iran such as evacuations. In addition, it would be the U.S. living up to its traditional reputation of responding to offenses to its national interests/dignity and various western traditions of embassy inviolability, etc.

    This wasn't going to be a covert, surgical clusterf*ck like the later hostage rescue attempt, but the good old fashioned hammer of put the Marines ashore en-masse to protect American lives and interests, didn't require all the precise skill/coordination of a special forces rescue.

    History proved the JCS right and Carter wrong not long thereafter with the second seizure of the U.S. Embassy. Carter had his chance early on, blew it, and thereby had the nation dragged through the mud and disgrace of the later hostage taking.

    One wonders, since there was very early in the process of Islamic fundamentalism focusing and taking action, how history might have been changed had Carter not blinked in February, 1979.
    , @Ex Submarine Officer

    Reagan abandoning the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon wasn’t in the same ballpark. He put US troops in a war zone as part of an international effort. Then he realized that it wasn’t worth the cost and bailed. Good for him. He wasn’t afraid to use military force (against Iran or Libya or Cubans in Grenada), but didn’t see the point in keeping ground troops at risk in pointless conflicts after Lebanon. Lesson learned.
     
    Actually, when I wrote this, I knew it wasn't an entirely fair comparison, but it also wasn't entirely unfair. Reagan maybe doesn't get a complete fail, but a gentleman's C at best. Sure, truck bombing was a new form of terrorism then, but still, we had such pusillanimous rules of engagement that the guards on duty didn't even have loaded weapons. It was a pretty big clusterf*ck for the Marines there before the bombing, getting fired on and not being allowed to defend themselves.

    Lesson learned? For our side, sure, don't get involved in foreign disputes, but presumably, we already knew that from the then recent experience in Vietnam, not sure we needed refresher training.

    For their side, lesson learned = terrorism works, as they got their goal of driving us out with no repercussions. I'm not sure how that redounds to Reagan's credit. Doubtlessly, that inspired generations of truck bombers.

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  130. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Art Deco
    I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.
    --
    If he had an uncooperative Congress and had someone of the ilk of Arthur Burns running the Federal Reserve, perhaps so.

    I knew a broker who thought Volker jacked up rates as steeply as he did in part to hurt Reagan’s reelection chances. But, of course, the recession had ended and the economy was booming by 1984

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Maybe the broker should have looked things up to realize Volcker jacked up the rates during Carter's term. Oh that's right he was a broker. I remember those guys in the days before on-line trading. Most were just slimy salesmen who didn't really know jack.
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  131. @iffen
    Looking from the outside we see a side cleansing itself. That’s what sides do. It gives us hope, but it is an illusion. We are scattered bystanders and individuals. They are in total control. They have no organized opposition. They pick off non-conformists one or two at a time. We think we might win if they fight among themselves. Could happen, I suppose. Wishful thinking or just the Merlot.

    They have no organized opposition.

    The American people have, although at this point in time I should probably say were, been begging for organized opposition since 1980 when Reagan was elected. It is worth noting that Reagan’s strongest support was among people who were old enough to vote for the first time in their lives, i.e., the rising generation deeply uneasy with the events of 60s/70s that were the backdrop for their childhoods/adolescence.

    Since then, we have time and again sent sweeping mandates to Republicans to clean house and reverse the 68′ers and New Dealers revolution/subversion and restore the ancient regime. And time and again, nothing has happened, with the possible exception of gun issues. Another claimed accomplishment might be economic freedom, from the yoke of unionism, regulation, etc., but that has just resulted in the “free trade” phenomenon, which has played out as a reversion to an earlier, unwanted regime (modern day feudalism/serfdom).

    The last great offensive was the Bush II presidential election of 2000 following the Clinton antics, it was clearly a wish to restore decency, etc., after the lies, the blue dress, and all that. We gave the Republicans the presidency and both houses of Congress. And even that, the last major offensive from the conservative/traditionalist side, was co-opted/defeated/betrayed from within.

    So yes, we are now just scattered individual soldiers of a defeated army being gunned singly down by a victorious enemy who is of no mind to be taking prisoners. All that is left is for us to grouse in the comments sections of obscure blogs and even that is becoming increasingly perilous as mop-up counter-insurgency efforts such as doxing, attacks on Internet anonymity have come into play.

    This Thirty Years War has been lost, I faced up to that some years ago, I think the re-election of Obama, if not the original election drove that home to me, the fizzlement of the Tea Party just adding spice. Maybe some new oppositional trend or movement will arise, but it obviously has to be via some new equation as big R/big C Republicanism/Conservatism as a banner has utterly failed.

    So sad, all that sound and fury for naught, but it is just history now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ex Submarine Officer

    So sad, all that sound and fury for naught, but it is just history now.
     
    I'd like to add this closing to this post, wish I would have thought of it then:

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.

    , @iffen
    General agreement with the theme of your comment. Some serious disagreements with some of the particular points.

    Doesn't look good for the home team that's for sure.

    I blame it all on the lack of leadership; us peons are still here, virtuous as always.

    One of the things that mystifies me is that there are lot of reasonably smart people making observations and analyses and not a single feasible idea or plan to change the situation.
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  132. @Dave Pinsen
    The deregulation Reagan is known for also began under Carter.

    But you're right: the Iran hostage debacle sunk him. It was the absolute nadir of American prestige. Attacking an embassy is a clear act of war. Carter should have asked Congress for a declaration of war against Iran instead of rolling the dice on that long shot Delta Force rescue mission.

    Reagan abandoning the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon wasn't in the same ballpark. He put US troops in a war zone as part of an international effort. Then he realized that it wasn't worth the cost and bailed. Good for him. He wasn't afraid to use military force (against Iran or Libya or Cubans in Grenada), but didn't see the point in keeping ground troops at risk in pointless conflicts after Lebanon. Lesson learned.

    But you’re right: the Iran hostage debacle sunk him. It was the absolute nadir of American prestige. Attacking an embassy is a clear act of war.

    Carter had the opportunity to nip this in the bud in a what is now a little remembered incident.

    Of course, everyone remembers the hostage-taking in Tehran in November 1979. However, the embassy was previously overrun in February 1979 shortly after the Shah had fled and Khomeini had returned to Iran. This happened amid a great deal of chaos in Iran in which thousands of Americans were being evacuated.

    Carter decided to send a force to Iran to retake the Embassy and provide security for various evacuations and so forth, generally restore order. The force was 2d Battalion, 2d Marines (2/2), an infantry battalion at Camp Lejeune, the “air alert” battalion of the moment. Incidentally, a Marine battalion is about 800 grunt Marines, a fairly serious force.

    The plan was to fly them in stages to Incirlik, an American/Turkish air base in Turkey. From there, they would be flown to via CH-53s to an Iranian army base in Iran where the commanders were still sympathetic/aligned with the U.S. Again, the situation was still very fluid and happening in the moment in Iran. There, the Iranian army would provide ground transport to the Marines to get to Tehran.

    So 2/2 was rousted in the middle of the night, and elements of them began flying out from Cherry Point NC hours later. As morning dawned, Carter announced to the nation that he was sending Marines to Iran.

    So far, so good, no? And completely un-Carteresque as he is popularly remembered.

    However, more true to stereotypes of Carter incompetence, someone in his administration forgot to tell the Turks about all this. They only learned about it via Carter’s announcement. The Turks took umbrage at being so dissed and insisted that the only units that could be transhipped via Incirlik had to be unarmed/humanitarian ones, which an armed Marine infantry battalion is most clearly not.

    So the first flights of 2/2 were diverted to the Azores while the diplomats worked this out, which they eventually did. However, during this time, a few days, the Imams returned the U.S. Embassy, released some Americans they had captured and promised, no fingers crossed, that they never would do something like that again.

    Carter decided to believe them and called off the operation despite strong urgings from JCS, that the infantry Marines were still needed to beef up the relatively few in number/lightly armed & equipped Embassy detachment as well as providing security for other ongoing evolutions in Iran such as evacuations. In addition, it would be the U.S. living up to its traditional reputation of responding to offenses to its national interests/dignity and various western traditions of embassy inviolability, etc.

    This wasn’t going to be a covert, surgical clusterf*ck like the later hostage rescue attempt, but the good old fashioned hammer of put the Marines ashore en-masse to protect American lives and interests, didn’t require all the precise skill/coordination of a special forces rescue.

    History proved the JCS right and Carter wrong not long thereafter with the second seizure of the U.S. Embassy. Carter had his chance early on, blew it, and thereby had the nation dragged through the mud and disgrace of the later hostage taking.

    One wonders, since there was very early in the process of Islamic fundamentalism focusing and taking action, how history might have been changed had Carter not blinked in February, 1979.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Interesting, didn't remember the part about the Marine battalion. Of course, it's possible the Turks would have said no even if they had been asked ahead of time. They said no about that army mech infantry division before the Iraq War.

    Not only did Iran embolden the muslims but also the commies and the Russians in Latin america.
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  133. IBC says:
    @Shouting Thomas
    So, intimidation and censorship are good if they work to achieve the desired goal.

    Glad we got that straight.

    On the gay front... you guys are getting it all wrong. The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.

    And, this is what this crap has primarily been about.

    On the gay front… you guys are getting it all wrong. The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.

    In the past, I think that a lot more people were ignorant about birth control and worried about the consequences of sex, but I don’t think that a majority of people, let alone lower class people, ever thought that sex was mostly just about procreation. Certainly not after they’d tried it a time or two. The small number of people who would have seen it like that, would have been particularly sheltered, or very likely, today they would identify as gay or lesbian –something that wasn’t really an option for most people until recently.

    Homosexual behavior has probably been around since the beginning or close to the beginning of human history. However, today’s gay and lesbian cultures may have only taken recognizable shape in the late 19th century, probably with the advent of relatively anonymous city living where significant numbers of like-minded individuals could congregate. I would guess that if there’re more historical examples of wealthy or high status homosexuals, it has a lot to do with the fact that wealthy and high status people are more likely to appear in the historic record full stop, not that they were somehow more likely to have homosexual feelings or to actually engage in homosexual behaviors. What about the old Royal Navy days of “rum, sodomy, and the lash?” Or that homeless guy who tried to bugger Orwell in Down and Out in Paris and London? Maybe not gay, but definitely homosexual. Or, what about all those maiden aunts and women who joined convents, in past eras of American and European history? If they had been alive today, perhaps some of them would have identified as lesbians.

    And isn’t it still true that the more wealthy, powerful, and indiscreet a person is, the more likely they are to be blackmailed?

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    • Replies: @The most deplorable one

    Homosexual behavior has probably been around since the beginning or close to the beginning of human history.
     
    You have evidence for that I take it? Or, at least a good argument for it?
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  134. WhatEvvs [AKA "Bemused"] says:
    @Art Deco
    I've had my run ins with Mr. de Boer. I've met more pleasant characters in for a like these. He's been spending his time in and among graduate students in the humanities (he's a doctoral candidate in 'writing and rhetoric', I believe) or among okupiers. What he's telling you is that he's been in the company of jerks. What he's not telling you is that a portside politics which does not place you in the company of jerks puts you on municipal councils or puts you in the company of policy wonks like Harold Pollack. He does not seem like a good fit for either milieu.

    (this is to everyone who responded to me)

    Some of the other commenters apparently thought I was disagreeing with De Boer’s observations that PC has shut down debate. I’m not, not at all. I’m well aware of it, it’s reached totalitarian proportions and for those who think that it’s funny (I’m guilty of that myself), just wait, it’ll soon come to your life.

    Example: Everything will be torn to shreds as “transphobic.” It will happen, just wait.

    In any case, when I said that reading De Boer made me think I was reading Martian, I was referring specifically to something else he wrote, in another blog post. His archives suck, and I can’t relocate the passage I was thinking of. I’ve tried, and it’s hopeless but it doesn’t matter – he writes the same whining garbage over and over again. The linked article was an exception, because he actually had something real to write about. I’m not spending any more precious time going through his crud to prove my point.

    All I can say is, do it yourselves….read his stuff at random, and you will find yourself in the presence of a person not of sound mind, living in a phantom world of maniacs.

    That’s not the case with Walzer, for example – or any of the old Social Democratic left. The old Dissent crowd. I cannot for the life of me imagine any of them shutting down debate with the charge of “transphobia.” They were people who were concerned with equitable distribution of resources, etc. You can have a rational conversation with people like that. You cannot have a rational conversation with someone about “transphobia.”

    And maybe that’s what the real issue is here, not PC. It’s whether or not the subjects themselves are amenable to discussion. You cannot have a rational discussion with a person who doesn’t think that sex differences are innate, and cannot be wished or taxed or educated away.

    Last but clearly not least, De Boer, who writes stuff like this:

    He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong, and he’s a centrist Democrat scold who is just as eager to shut people out of the debate as the people he criticizes. That’s true.

    is himself a PC prick. I’m no expert on Jonathan Chait – I don’t read him with any regularity, but really, De Boer should give this guy a break, because Chait is the uber-example of the big media guy who makes life for De Boer very easy. Read Chait’s cruel take down of Maggie Gallagher to see what I mean.

    My advice to Mr. “I don’t know what to do” is to discipline his classes. Make it clear that EVERYONE has a right to be heard. Have a talk with the gal who ran from class in tears, and tell her that this is the way life is. People are gonna disagree with her, and she’s going to have to learn to stand her ground. But all that stuff is kind of old, so he’d rather whine “I don’t know what to do.” To that, I say, “have a great life.”

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    You cannot have a rational discussion with a person who doesn’t think that sex differences are innate, and cannot be wished or taxed or educated away.

    You can have a discussion with them if they stick to the issue. You cannot if the discussion in sidetracked into a blind alley about who has the right to say what. You also cannot if their responses are the sort of games you see in domestic arguments. (There's an old issue of Harper's with an exchange between Lionel Tiger and Barbara Ehrenreich which illustrates this).

    , @The most deplorable one

    Example: Everything will be torn to shreds as “transphobic.” It will happen, just wait.
     
    Is that like Arachnophobia?

    There tends to be good reasons for phobias to have evolved.
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  135. IBC says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Marriage is inextricably entwined with law: laws relating to inheritance, citizenship, custody, divorce, healthcare, etc. So it's unreasonable to expect the government to be uninvolved. Unless you want to weasel-word "marriage" into a purely religious meaning and have the force of law apply to another term that denotes a domestic partnership.

    Marriage is inextricably entwined with law: laws relating to inheritance, citizenship, custody, divorce, healthcare, etc. So it’s unreasonable to expect the government to be uninvolved. Unless you want to weasel-word “marriage” into a purely religious meaning and have the force of law apply to another term that denotes a domestic partnership.

    I think most marriages in the US could also be described as civil unions, regardless of who actually conducts the ceremony. After all, who do most people go to, to get a divorce? If it was mostly about religion they’d need an anulment or perhaps a get. How many Americans actually do that?

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  136. @Ex Submarine Officer

    They have no organized opposition.
     
    The American people have, although at this point in time I should probably say were, been begging for organized opposition since 1980 when Reagan was elected. It is worth noting that Reagan's strongest support was among people who were old enough to vote for the first time in their lives, i.e., the rising generation deeply uneasy with the events of 60s/70s that were the backdrop for their childhoods/adolescence.

    Since then, we have time and again sent sweeping mandates to Republicans to clean house and reverse the 68'ers and New Dealers revolution/subversion and restore the ancient regime. And time and again, nothing has happened, with the possible exception of gun issues. Another claimed accomplishment might be economic freedom, from the yoke of unionism, regulation, etc., but that has just resulted in the "free trade" phenomenon, which has played out as a reversion to an earlier, unwanted regime (modern day feudalism/serfdom).

    The last great offensive was the Bush II presidential election of 2000 following the Clinton antics, it was clearly a wish to restore decency, etc., after the lies, the blue dress, and all that. We gave the Republicans the presidency and both houses of Congress. And even that, the last major offensive from the conservative/traditionalist side, was co-opted/defeated/betrayed from within.

    So yes, we are now just scattered individual soldiers of a defeated army being gunned singly down by a victorious enemy who is of no mind to be taking prisoners. All that is left is for us to grouse in the comments sections of obscure blogs and even that is becoming increasingly perilous as mop-up counter-insurgency efforts such as doxing, attacks on Internet anonymity have come into play.

    This Thirty Years War has been lost, I faced up to that some years ago, I think the re-election of Obama, if not the original election drove that home to me, the fizzlement of the Tea Party just adding spice. Maybe some new oppositional trend or movement will arise, but it obviously has to be via some new equation as big R/big C Republicanism/Conservatism as a banner has utterly failed.

    So sad, all that sound and fury for naught, but it is just history now.

    So sad, all that sound and fury for naught, but it is just history now.

    I’d like to add this closing to this post, wish I would have thought of it then:

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.

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    • Replies: @Seneca

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.
     
    Yes, very true it seems... sigh ....though something inside me still holds out hope that political correctness will eventually wane and that people will be able to hold intelligent conversations about important issues without the fear of being accused of being a witch.

    I think this belief, perhaps mistaken, is based on the hope that the pendulum can only swing so far before it has to start to come back the other way in a Hegelian dialectical type of way.

    However, even if cyclical change is a good metaphor for understanding how societies change and evolve (maybe it isn't), there is still the problem that it is very hard to tell where we are in the arc of the pendulum.

    Things could get a whole lot worse for us (more speech codes, more cultural Marxist hegemony, more leftest totalitarianism, etc.. ) before it gets better. What is the old expression by Adam Smith IIRC? There is a lot of ruin in a nation.
    , @Twinkie

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.
     
    I am not quite ready to declare a total defeat and go jungle partisan just yet.

    See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/02/the-emerging-democratic-majority-or-why-we-should-never-predict-the-political-future/

    Although historical trends are obvious retrospectively, they rarely can be predicted with accuracy (otherwise it would be easy to make money in the securities market). Life (and history) is at once and variously progressive, cyclical, random, and at times regressive.

    As you agreed, gun rights have made a huge come back. Although elite sexual mores have changed ("homosexual marriage," "Girls," etc.), the mainstream sexual mores have become more traditional in some ways (teens delaying sex and having less of it). Home schooling is increasing. "Right to work" movement is stronger than ever (and radical unionism weaker than ever). The center-right largely controls the state legislatures and governors' mansions across the country. The Supreme Court is 5-4 center-right, if haltingly and hesitantly.

    Some things are going right.

    The main functional problem, as I see it, is the poor quality of the national conservative leadership class as such, both electorally and organizationally. While the leaders of the left seem to be the best of their bunch, we seem to be getting leftovers while the top brains head to law, business, finance, and other more profitable professional endeavors.

    The untalented tenth that seems to people the national leadership of the (relatively) conservative party and the movement are geniuses at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, time and time again.

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  137. WhatEvvs [AKA "Bemused"] says:

    Sheer masochism on my part, but I wanted to give an example of the “Martian” I referred to. This is from something De Boer wrote after the post Douthat linked to, but it’s a good example:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/

    But mostly people are asking why I didn’t “take control” (or similar language) of the situations that I described. First, people keep assuming I was teaching when these things went down, which I didn’t say was the case. (It wasn’t.)

    How the hell was the reader supposed to know that? Anyway, he goes on:

    The bottom line is that I did not have formal authority in these spaces, only the right to speak.

    Then why didn’t he?

    But here’s the real issue:

    (If I did have formal authority and exercised it, by the way, that would in no way inoculate me against charges of invoking privilege.)

    So: isn’t “taking control” exactly what the people who defend language policing want me not to do?

    “Take control” is loaded language, but even weaker brew has this same problem. If I’m at an activist meeting of some sort or another, and I believe the kind of unfortunate behavior is taking place that I described, how can I intervene without being guilty of invoking privilege in precisely the way people who defend political correctness have inveighed against? You can imagine if I said, in the middle of an activist meeting, that a particular charge of racism or ableism or sexism was unwarranted or being expressed too harshly. The whole point is that there is currently no theoretical or practical shared understanding on the left about when and how to intervene in a situation where you believe that the intensity of political criticism is unfair and not constructive. That’s the whole point, and though I have received a lot of condescending responses from the left, none of them are even close to a set of principles we on the left can deploy when we disagree with a political accusation against ourselves or against others. I see a lot of sneering; I see very little in terms of principles and guidelines.

    Look, you can read this dreck word for word. I can’t. It is insensible gobbledygook, written by a very sick mind, and no human society can function with ideas like this.

    When you don’t understand what good manners are, or being a mensch, without having to go into some theoretical discourse about “privilege,” it’s the end of the road.

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    • Replies: @Gringo
    Comment on De Boer:
    Look, you can read this dreck word for word. I can’t. It is insensible gobbledygook, written by a very sick mind, and no human society can function with ideas like this.

    Goggledygook, indeed. Medieval scholastics debating how many angels can fit on a pinhead make more sense, at least from this agnostic's point of view.

    I pity any student of De Boer who has to listen to such dreck. De Boer will probably end up as an adjunct teacher at a community college, teaching for a fraction of the pay of a tenure-track person. While that can seem unfair to someone who has spent so many years in getting credentialed with a Ph.D., anyone who entered a doctorate program in the Humanities after 1990- or even 1980- knew that adjunct prof was the most likely result. In addition, anyone who writes such convoluted prose should be placed in a position where he can do the least amount of harm to the least competent students- figuring that such students are most likely beyond help, anyway. Adjunct prof at a community college sounds just about right.
    , @Art Deco
    I've had exchanges with him. He's not actually incoherent when he's not free-forming and he's having to converse with someone.

    I see your point about it. deBoer's made a hash of his adult life, spending interminable time in school (> 10 years) for no good end; an indicator of that is the jabber you quote. As far as I am aware, he has neither wife nor children, which you should have when you're 33. What's even stranger is that his father died when he was about 16 (his mother earlier, evidently) and he and his siblings were put out on the curb by their stepmother. I cannot figure how he got from there to here without some austerely practical education and training, but he appears to have. Peculiar person.

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  138. Si says:

    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/ONLINE-READERS-COMMENT–Are-J-cans-predisposed-to-violence–criminality-

    Are J’cans predisposed to violence, criminality?

    We are, for the most part, ungovernable, as democracy and freedom is wasted on some of us because we lack maturity, responsibility and discipline to exist in a free and democratic society.

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  139. @Maj. Kong
    Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world...

    Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world…

    Monaco
    “Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power.[9] The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297.

    Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union (EU)

    The state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven.

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  140. @Steve Sailer
    I was wondering about those napkin-related issues, too. Maybe they left an extra ten-spot as a tip?

    I had the same thought about the possibility of a tip, and even imagined the same $10 amount. But moral philosophers like Laffer and Rumsfeld would have been troubled by the fact that the tip goes to a napkin-theft-facilitating waiter, not to the restaurant that must make up for the pilferage.

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  141. @Dave Pinsen
    The deregulation Reagan is known for also began under Carter.

    But you're right: the Iran hostage debacle sunk him. It was the absolute nadir of American prestige. Attacking an embassy is a clear act of war. Carter should have asked Congress for a declaration of war against Iran instead of rolling the dice on that long shot Delta Force rescue mission.

    Reagan abandoning the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon wasn't in the same ballpark. He put US troops in a war zone as part of an international effort. Then he realized that it wasn't worth the cost and bailed. Good for him. He wasn't afraid to use military force (against Iran or Libya or Cubans in Grenada), but didn't see the point in keeping ground troops at risk in pointless conflicts after Lebanon. Lesson learned.

    Reagan abandoning the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon wasn’t in the same ballpark. He put US troops in a war zone as part of an international effort. Then he realized that it wasn’t worth the cost and bailed. Good for him. He wasn’t afraid to use military force (against Iran or Libya or Cubans in Grenada), but didn’t see the point in keeping ground troops at risk in pointless conflicts after Lebanon. Lesson learned.

    Actually, when I wrote this, I knew it wasn’t an entirely fair comparison, but it also wasn’t entirely unfair. Reagan maybe doesn’t get a complete fail, but a gentleman’s C at best. Sure, truck bombing was a new form of terrorism then, but still, we had such pusillanimous rules of engagement that the guards on duty didn’t even have loaded weapons. It was a pretty big clusterf*ck for the Marines there before the bombing, getting fired on and not being allowed to defend themselves.

    Lesson learned? For our side, sure, don’t get involved in foreign disputes, but presumably, we already knew that from the then recent experience in Vietnam, not sure we needed refresher training.

    For their side, lesson learned = terrorism works, as they got their goal of driving us out with no repercussions. I’m not sure how that redounds to Reagan’s credit. Doubtlessly, that inspired generations of truck bombers.

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  142. @Maj. Kong
    Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world...

    Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world…

    Coompare and contrast the immigration policy of a government that doesn’t need to get the most votes (by whatever means necessary) to survive:

    Saudi Arabia’s Plan for Changing Its Workforce
    “Over the last decade, the government has prioritized “Saudiization,” an initiative aiming to increase employment of Saudi nationals across all sectors of the domestic economy, reduce dependence on foreign workers, and recapture and reinvest income that would have otherwise flowed overseas as remittances.

    The recent enforcement of Saudiization legislation across all jobs sectors is a new phenomenon. Much of the Saudi business community has been shifting the composition of their workforces to comply with Saudiization legislation.

    More recently, small- and medium-sized business owners, with whom enforcement of Saudiization was not as strictly applied, have started to protest that these measures place unfair pressure on them to hire more expensive local workers.

    In 2003 the Saudi Manpower Council mandated that the number of foreign workers and their families should not exceed 20 percent of the total population by 2013,

    Past Saudiization measures have included a ban on hiring foreign workers in 22, mostly administrative, professions, and an increase in recruitment fees for employers hiring foreign workers. More recently, the Ministry of Labor has increased pressure on small- and medium-sized businesses to employ more Saudis, a measure that will be especially difficult to enforce as these business are much more difficult to regulate and less able to shoulder the increased expense of employing Saudis.

    This new legislation would allow foreigners meeting strict language and residency requirements to be eligible for Saudi citizenship. These include fluency in written and spoken Arabic, adherence to the Islamic faith, and a residency requirement of 10 years.”

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  143. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Ex Submarine Officer

    But you’re right: the Iran hostage debacle sunk him. It was the absolute nadir of American prestige. Attacking an embassy is a clear act of war.
     
    Carter had the opportunity to nip this in the bud in a what is now a little remembered incident.

    Of course, everyone remembers the hostage-taking in Tehran in November 1979. However, the embassy was previously overrun in February 1979 shortly after the Shah had fled and Khomeini had returned to Iran. This happened amid a great deal of chaos in Iran in which thousands of Americans were being evacuated.

    Carter decided to send a force to Iran to retake the Embassy and provide security for various evacuations and so forth, generally restore order. The force was 2d Battalion, 2d Marines (2/2), an infantry battalion at Camp Lejeune, the "air alert" battalion of the moment. Incidentally, a Marine battalion is about 800 grunt Marines, a fairly serious force.

    The plan was to fly them in stages to Incirlik, an American/Turkish air base in Turkey. From there, they would be flown to via CH-53s to an Iranian army base in Iran where the commanders were still sympathetic/aligned with the U.S. Again, the situation was still very fluid and happening in the moment in Iran. There, the Iranian army would provide ground transport to the Marines to get to Tehran.

    So 2/2 was rousted in the middle of the night, and elements of them began flying out from Cherry Point NC hours later. As morning dawned, Carter announced to the nation that he was sending Marines to Iran.

    So far, so good, no? And completely un-Carteresque as he is popularly remembered.

    However, more true to stereotypes of Carter incompetence, someone in his administration forgot to tell the Turks about all this. They only learned about it via Carter's announcement. The Turks took umbrage at being so dissed and insisted that the only units that could be transhipped via Incirlik had to be unarmed/humanitarian ones, which an armed Marine infantry battalion is most clearly not.

    So the first flights of 2/2 were diverted to the Azores while the diplomats worked this out, which they eventually did. However, during this time, a few days, the Imams returned the U.S. Embassy, released some Americans they had captured and promised, no fingers crossed, that they never would do something like that again.

    Carter decided to believe them and called off the operation despite strong urgings from JCS, that the infantry Marines were still needed to beef up the relatively few in number/lightly armed & equipped Embassy detachment as well as providing security for other ongoing evolutions in Iran such as evacuations. In addition, it would be the U.S. living up to its traditional reputation of responding to offenses to its national interests/dignity and various western traditions of embassy inviolability, etc.

    This wasn't going to be a covert, surgical clusterf*ck like the later hostage rescue attempt, but the good old fashioned hammer of put the Marines ashore en-masse to protect American lives and interests, didn't require all the precise skill/coordination of a special forces rescue.

    History proved the JCS right and Carter wrong not long thereafter with the second seizure of the U.S. Embassy. Carter had his chance early on, blew it, and thereby had the nation dragged through the mud and disgrace of the later hostage taking.

    One wonders, since there was very early in the process of Islamic fundamentalism focusing and taking action, how history might have been changed had Carter not blinked in February, 1979.

    Interesting, didn’t remember the part about the Marine battalion. Of course, it’s possible the Turks would have said no even if they had been asked ahead of time. They said no about that army mech infantry division before the Iraq War.

    Not only did Iran embolden the muslims but also the commies and the Russians in Latin america.

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  144. Interesting, didn’t remember the part about the Marine battalion. Of course, it’s possible the Turks would have said no even if they had been asked ahead of time. They said no about that army mech infantry division before the Iraq War.

    They actually did say yes after a bit of diplomacy, but Carter aborted it anyhow (after initiating it), again, overriding the very strong urgings of the JCS.

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  145. “The only people I would care to be with now are artists and people who have suffered: those who know what beauty is, and those who know what sorrow is: nobody else interests me.”

    Oscar Wilde

    The political punishment class is a bore. Promise everything deliver nothing and create mediocrity and debt. Argue about money nobody has and vote for more benefits nobody can afford. Talk in jargon nobody can understand.

    “The sucker with the schnozzle poured a slug but before he could scram out two shamuses showed him the shiv and said they could send him over.”

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  146. @McFly
    Like when SJW princess Lena Dunham didn't like being critiqued for having no black characters in her show about Brooklyn hipsters.

    A musing on the topic of PC culture:

    Political correctness killed the American novel.

    The type of realism that predominated in the era of Fitzgerald and Hemingway (Tom Wolfe placed the golden age of American fiction at 1900-1939) could not survive the strict editing for presentation of race, class, and gender of the Postwar era. The authors were all lefties themselves, but they had no reason to be afraid of accurately describing the world and coming up with believable characters and stories.

    Case in point: James Farrell's Studs Lonigans Trilogy where an Irish-American kid passes out on a sidewalk in Chicago in a drunken stupor in the early hours of New Year's Day and a black kid walking by picks his wallet.

    Farrell was a Communist, but in 2015 he would be shunned by the left for realistic writing.

    It’s 2015 and the communists of the year are the Cubans. You’ll be able to use your credit card there as if using it here wasn’t risky enough.

    “Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe, and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings sublte memories with it, a line from a piece of music that you had ceased to play–I tell you Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.”

    Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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  147. Seneca says:
    @Ex Submarine Officer

    So sad, all that sound and fury for naught, but it is just history now.
     
    I'd like to add this closing to this post, wish I would have thought of it then:

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.

    Yes, very true it seems… sigh ….though something inside me still holds out hope that political correctness will eventually wane and that people will be able to hold intelligent conversations about important issues without the fear of being accused of being a witch.

    I think this belief, perhaps mistaken, is based on the hope that the pendulum can only swing so far before it has to start to come back the other way in a Hegelian dialectical type of way.

    However, even if cyclical change is a good metaphor for understanding how societies change and evolve (maybe it isn’t), there is still the problem that it is very hard to tell where we are in the arc of the pendulum.

    Things could get a whole lot worse for us (more speech codes, more cultural Marxist hegemony, more leftest totalitarianism, etc.. ) before it gets better. What is the old expression by Adam Smith IIRC? There is a lot of ruin in a nation.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    I can't see a pendulum motion in our current situation. Although it probably describes some political and social changes at various times.

    I think that we are in new territory; mass communication, enabled peons throughout the world. Utopian universalists in total control.
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  148. iffen says:
    @Ex Submarine Officer

    They have no organized opposition.
     
    The American people have, although at this point in time I should probably say were, been begging for organized opposition since 1980 when Reagan was elected. It is worth noting that Reagan's strongest support was among people who were old enough to vote for the first time in their lives, i.e., the rising generation deeply uneasy with the events of 60s/70s that were the backdrop for their childhoods/adolescence.

    Since then, we have time and again sent sweeping mandates to Republicans to clean house and reverse the 68'ers and New Dealers revolution/subversion and restore the ancient regime. And time and again, nothing has happened, with the possible exception of gun issues. Another claimed accomplishment might be economic freedom, from the yoke of unionism, regulation, etc., but that has just resulted in the "free trade" phenomenon, which has played out as a reversion to an earlier, unwanted regime (modern day feudalism/serfdom).

    The last great offensive was the Bush II presidential election of 2000 following the Clinton antics, it was clearly a wish to restore decency, etc., after the lies, the blue dress, and all that. We gave the Republicans the presidency and both houses of Congress. And even that, the last major offensive from the conservative/traditionalist side, was co-opted/defeated/betrayed from within.

    So yes, we are now just scattered individual soldiers of a defeated army being gunned singly down by a victorious enemy who is of no mind to be taking prisoners. All that is left is for us to grouse in the comments sections of obscure blogs and even that is becoming increasingly perilous as mop-up counter-insurgency efforts such as doxing, attacks on Internet anonymity have come into play.

    This Thirty Years War has been lost, I faced up to that some years ago, I think the re-election of Obama, if not the original election drove that home to me, the fizzlement of the Tea Party just adding spice. Maybe some new oppositional trend or movement will arise, but it obviously has to be via some new equation as big R/big C Republicanism/Conservatism as a banner has utterly failed.

    So sad, all that sound and fury for naught, but it is just history now.

    General agreement with the theme of your comment. Some serious disagreements with some of the particular points.

    Doesn’t look good for the home team that’s for sure.

    I blame it all on the lack of leadership; us peons are still here, virtuous as always.

    One of the things that mystifies me is that there are lot of reasonably smart people making observations and analyses and not a single feasible idea or plan to change the situation.

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  149. @McFly
    Like when SJW princess Lena Dunham didn't like being critiqued for having no black characters in her show about Brooklyn hipsters.

    A musing on the topic of PC culture:

    Political correctness killed the American novel.

    The type of realism that predominated in the era of Fitzgerald and Hemingway (Tom Wolfe placed the golden age of American fiction at 1900-1939) could not survive the strict editing for presentation of race, class, and gender of the Postwar era. The authors were all lefties themselves, but they had no reason to be afraid of accurately describing the world and coming up with believable characters and stories.

    Case in point: James Farrell's Studs Lonigans Trilogy where an Irish-American kid passes out on a sidewalk in Chicago in a drunken stupor in the early hours of New Year's Day and a black kid walking by picks his wallet.

    Farrell was a Communist, but in 2015 he would be shunned by the left for realistic writing.

    Like when SJW princess Lena Dunham didn’t like being critiqued for having no black characters in her show about Brooklyn hipsters.

    If that analinctal scene is emblematic of the show, she’s doing blacks a favor by keeping them off. Can you imagine the daughter of Al Roker or one of the Gumbels doing that?

    Let me guess: there are no Brooklyn accents on the show, either.

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  150. @OsRazor
    Forget gay marriage--it's too ridiculous to even debate--it's like arguing why fish can't breath out of water or why mammals can't breath in water--they just can't, anatomically. It's no good crying about it, it just is.

    Let's just stick to buggery, for a moment, an act that until the 1970s was associated with Mental Illness and you see no harm in societal approval? And empirically of course this diagnosis is supported in so many way--shortened life expectancy, greater incidents of depression, suicide, disease, abuse and on and on--the list of awful resulting from homosexuality is non ending. No one in their right mind would wish homosexuality on anyone they cared about.

    And even if the threat to vulnerable young men wasn't there, social cohesion cannot tolerate the acceptance of homosexuality. It simply cannot if by social cohesion one argues the purposeful transfer of a society of its civilizational achievements from one generation to the next. There is no transfer with homosexuality--there is nothing forward looking--nothing but the here and now, which gets us back to the unpleasant and awful empirical realities of homosexuality.

    The cavalier approach to marriage of the last fifty years is unbelievable, but then so much of what's happened is equally insane. Just amazing.

    The cavalier approach to marriage of the last fifty years is unbelievable…

    I think you mean five hundred years.

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  151. @joeyjoejoe
    Two issues:

    First, of course political correctness works. What has been defined as acceptable speech has been utterly transformed in my lifetime. Its a silly discussion that doesn't address this fundamental point.

    second:

    One commenter said, but the sentiment is pretty widespread:

    "I don’t think most Americans ever had a big issue with gays per se. They had two related issues:..."

    Same with my original issue, above. I think most Americans, up until twenty years ago, thought of homosexuality as a deviant sickness. I know, again, when I grew up (25 years ago), that homosexuality was so out of the norm it was perceived as simply repulsive-not by rednecks in Mississippi, or by uneducated, but by the culture at large. The few known homosexuals were either clowns (Paul Lynde, jokes about Catholic priest and altar boys) or whacky rockstars (David Bowie, the guy from Culture Club). Note that this perception started in young adults-say around age 22. Children and teenagers were simply unaware of its existence (unless they stumbled onto illicit pornography like Penthouse Forum magazines).

    There is a strange retroactive tolerance for homosexuality that simply didn't exist. Further, there is a strange attempt to explain attitudes toward homosexuality either in terms of rational argument ("two related issues...") or in terms of religion (an often expressed excuse for traditional attitudes towards homosexuality is "...my attitudes are based on my religion/religious beliefs..."). Neither are true. Traditional attitudes towards homosexuality were based on pretty fundamental, gut-reaction aesthetic/sociological beliefs.

    I've said it before, but it remains: the attitude towards homosexuality has changed unbelievably quickly, and was fundamentally at odds with what was a widespread, virtual bedrock belief less than one generation ago. In other words: many of the same middle-aged people who today express tolerance for homosexuality, were unthinkingly disgusted by it as young adults and teenagers.

    Independent of what your personal beliefs are towards homosexuality are: it is genuinely shocking how an entire population can flip a moral standard so quickly and so completely. Based on it, I honestly can't imagine any belief that could survive the right kind of social pressure, exerted by the right people.

    So does political correctness work? It works literally unimaginably well. Quibbling about whether one group of graduate students are alienating another semi-identical group of graduate students is mindbogglingly missing the point.

    joeyjoejoe

    Independent of what your personal beliefs are towards homosexuality are: it is genuinely shocking how an entire population can flip a moral standard so quickly and so completely. Based on it, I honestly can’t imagine any belief that could survive the right kind of social pressure, exerted by the right people.

    Christopher Caldwell nailed it in his Financial Times column: public opinion doesn’t change this quickly in a free society.

    So, opinion isn’t moving as quickly as we’re being led to believe– or, we’re no longer living in a free society.

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    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    Opinions haven't changed. Not a bit.

    The thing is, there is no institutional way that opposition to SSM can be expressed. Don't tell me about the "huge backlash that is bound to come" - I put this in quotation marks not because you said it, but because I read a variant of this in many places. Ain't gonna happen.

    We have two political parties and they, with their money backers, rule us, with the judiciary, and the executive office. Economically, the diversity-crazy corporotracy rules. The latter is like gravity - you don't notice it until it does something really jarring, such as remind you that "June is LGBTQ rights month," every time you take out money from a Chase machine (this happened). Lose your job, lose your life in the US.

    (Not so off topic, but Jay Cost once wrote a column about political parties. Where in the Constitution does it talk about them? He thinks they are "extra-judicial conspiracies." I agree. So how in hell did they get so much power? While everyone rails about the banksters and corporate greed, with justification, what about the political parties? But I digress.)

    And that's the name of the game. Very occasionally, such as the Phil Robertson case, the diversity-mad corporatists have to back down and apologize. (See under: Cracker Barrel.) But that's very rare. A lot of stupid people on the stupid right wing websites said, "This is it. The tide has turned!" Total idiots. No tide, nothing turned, it just subsided.

    Americans will fight over Cracker Barrel, they won't fight over marriage. I think the rot goes very deep.

    And why has no one here, including the guy who runs the shop, written about the CA law that allows children multiple parents? (Interesting how the address bar is completely misleading - the law allows children more than two legal parents.):

    https://verdict.justia.com/2013/10/15/california-allows-children-two-legal-parents

    This law is a true game-changer, every bit as much as SSM. Of course, it wouldn't have happened without SSM. What next?
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  152. @Priss Factor
    'Gay marriage' is NOT leftist.

    It's usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute 'leftism' of hipsters.

    ‘Gay marriage’ is NOT leftist.

    It’s usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute ‘leftism’ of hipsters.

    Someone has never heard of Antonio Gramsci…

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    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    "Someone has never heard of Antonio Gramsci…"

    Gramsci was pro-'gay agenda'?

    Gramsci's idea was that the left should take over culture as a pre-condition for class-based revolution to overthrow the rich.

    PC's idea is to change the very core of the left so that class-based revolution won't ever be possible. It is to prevent a classic leftist revolution.

    'Diversity' is bad for leftist revolution since the masses will be too divided along racial lines to come together in class interest.

    'Gay marriage' is bad for leftism as it favors haughty stuck-up snotty homos over the masses.

    What's happening is not 'cultural marxism'. Marx would have puked at all this. Gramsci too.

    To be sure, there may be some leftists who support stuff like 'gay marriage' not because they think it will be good for society but bad for society, thereby leading to social breakdown and then revolution.

    But they are just deluding themselves as elite power just grows stronger.
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  153. WhatEvvs [AKA "Bemused"] says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Independent of what your personal beliefs are towards homosexuality are: it is genuinely shocking how an entire population can flip a moral standard so quickly and so completely. Based on it, I honestly can’t imagine any belief that could survive the right kind of social pressure, exerted by the right people.
     
    Christopher Caldwell nailed it in his Financial Times column: public opinion doesn't change this quickly in a free society.

    So, opinion isn't moving as quickly as we're being led to believe-- or, we're no longer living in a free society.

    Opinions haven’t changed. Not a bit.

    The thing is, there is no institutional way that opposition to SSM can be expressed. Don’t tell me about the “huge backlash that is bound to come” – I put this in quotation marks not because you said it, but because I read a variant of this in many places. Ain’t gonna happen.

    We have two political parties and they, with their money backers, rule us, with the judiciary, and the executive office. Economically, the diversity-crazy corporotracy rules. The latter is like gravity – you don’t notice it until it does something really jarring, such as remind you that “June is LGBTQ rights month,” every time you take out money from a Chase machine (this happened). Lose your job, lose your life in the US.

    (Not so off topic, but Jay Cost once wrote a column about political parties. Where in the Constitution does it talk about them? He thinks they are “extra-judicial conspiracies.” I agree. So how in hell did they get so much power? While everyone rails about the banksters and corporate greed, with justification, what about the political parties? But I digress.)

    And that’s the name of the game. Very occasionally, such as the Phil Robertson case, the diversity-mad corporatists have to back down and apologize. (See under: Cracker Barrel.) But that’s very rare. A lot of stupid people on the stupid right wing websites said, “This is it. The tide has turned!” Total idiots. No tide, nothing turned, it just subsided.

    Americans will fight over Cracker Barrel, they won’t fight over marriage. I think the rot goes very deep.

    And why has no one here, including the guy who runs the shop, written about the CA law that allows children multiple parents? (Interesting how the address bar is completely misleading – the law allows children more than two legal parents.):

    https://verdict.justia.com/2013/10/15/california-allows-children-two-legal-parents

    This law is a true game-changer, every bit as much as SSM. Of course, it wouldn’t have happened without SSM. What next?

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  154. Priss Factor [AKA "K. Arujo"] says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    ‘Gay marriage’ is NOT leftist.

    It’s usurpation of leftism by elite billionaire oligarchs who sought to de-class-ize genuine leftism into haute ‘leftism’ of hipsters.

     

    Someone has never heard of Antonio Gramsci…

    “Someone has never heard of Antonio Gramsci…”

    Gramsci was pro-’gay agenda’?

    Gramsci’s idea was that the left should take over culture as a pre-condition for class-based revolution to overthrow the rich.

    PC’s idea is to change the very core of the left so that class-based revolution won’t ever be possible. It is to prevent a classic leftist revolution.

    ‘Diversity’ is bad for leftist revolution since the masses will be too divided along racial lines to come together in class interest.

    ‘Gay marriage’ is bad for leftism as it favors haughty stuck-up snotty homos over the masses.

    What’s happening is not ‘cultural marxism’. Marx would have puked at all this. Gramsci too.

    To be sure, there may be some leftists who support stuff like ‘gay marriage’ not because they think it will be good for society but bad for society, thereby leading to social breakdown and then revolution.

    But they are just deluding themselves as elite power just grows stronger.

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  155. Gringo says:
    @WhatEvvs
    Sheer masochism on my part, but I wanted to give an example of the "Martian" I referred to. This is from something De Boer wrote after the post Douthat linked to, but it's a good example:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/


    But mostly people are asking why I didn’t “take control” (or similar language) of the situations that I described. First, people keep assuming I was teaching when these things went down, which I didn’t say was the case. (It wasn’t.)
     
    How the hell was the reader supposed to know that? Anyway, he goes on:

    The bottom line is that I did not have formal authority in these spaces, only the right to speak.
     
    Then why didn't he?

    But here's the real issue:


    (If I did have formal authority and exercised it, by the way, that would in no way inoculate me against charges of invoking privilege.)

    So: isn’t “taking control” exactly what the people who defend language policing want me not to do?

    “Take control” is loaded language, but even weaker brew has this same problem. If I’m at an activist meeting of some sort or another, and I believe the kind of unfortunate behavior is taking place that I described, how can I intervene without being guilty of invoking privilege in precisely the way people who defend political correctness have inveighed against? You can imagine if I said, in the middle of an activist meeting, that a particular charge of racism or ableism or sexism was unwarranted or being expressed too harshly. The whole point is that there is currently no theoretical or practical shared understanding on the left about when and how to intervene in a situation where you believe that the intensity of political criticism is unfair and not constructive. That’s the whole point, and though I have received a lot of condescending responses from the left, none of them are even close to a set of principles we on the left can deploy when we disagree with a political accusation against ourselves or against others. I see a lot of sneering; I see very little in terms of principles and guidelines.
     

    Look, you can read this dreck word for word. I can't. It is insensible gobbledygook, written by a very sick mind, and no human society can function with ideas like this.

    When you don't understand what good manners are, or being a mensch, without having to go into some theoretical discourse about "privilege," it's the end of the road.

    Comment on De Boer:
    Look, you can read this dreck word for word. I can’t. It is insensible gobbledygook, written by a very sick mind, and no human society can function with ideas like this.

    Goggledygook, indeed. Medieval scholastics debating how many angels can fit on a pinhead make more sense, at least from this agnostic’s point of view.

    I pity any student of De Boer who has to listen to such dreck. De Boer will probably end up as an adjunct teacher at a community college, teaching for a fraction of the pay of a tenure-track person. While that can seem unfair to someone who has spent so many years in getting credentialed with a Ph.D., anyone who entered a doctorate program in the Humanities after 1990- or even 1980- knew that adjunct prof was the most likely result. In addition, anyone who writes such convoluted prose should be placed in a position where he can do the least amount of harm to the least competent students- figuring that such students are most likely beyond help, anyway. Adjunct prof at a community college sounds just about right.

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  156. Art Deco says: • Website
    @WhatEvvs
    Sheer masochism on my part, but I wanted to give an example of the "Martian" I referred to. This is from something De Boer wrote after the post Douthat linked to, but it's a good example:

    http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/01/


    But mostly people are asking why I didn’t “take control” (or similar language) of the situations that I described. First, people keep assuming I was teaching when these things went down, which I didn’t say was the case. (It wasn’t.)
     
    How the hell was the reader supposed to know that? Anyway, he goes on:

    The bottom line is that I did not have formal authority in these spaces, only the right to speak.
     
    Then why didn't he?

    But here's the real issue:


    (If I did have formal authority and exercised it, by the way, that would in no way inoculate me against charges of invoking privilege.)

    So: isn’t “taking control” exactly what the people who defend language policing want me not to do?

    “Take control” is loaded language, but even weaker brew has this same problem. If I’m at an activist meeting of some sort or another, and I believe the kind of unfortunate behavior is taking place that I described, how can I intervene without being guilty of invoking privilege in precisely the way people who defend political correctness have inveighed against? You can imagine if I said, in the middle of an activist meeting, that a particular charge of racism or ableism or sexism was unwarranted or being expressed too harshly. The whole point is that there is currently no theoretical or practical shared understanding on the left about when and how to intervene in a situation where you believe that the intensity of political criticism is unfair and not constructive. That’s the whole point, and though I have received a lot of condescending responses from the left, none of them are even close to a set of principles we on the left can deploy when we disagree with a political accusation against ourselves or against others. I see a lot of sneering; I see very little in terms of principles and guidelines.
     

    Look, you can read this dreck word for word. I can't. It is insensible gobbledygook, written by a very sick mind, and no human society can function with ideas like this.

    When you don't understand what good manners are, or being a mensch, without having to go into some theoretical discourse about "privilege," it's the end of the road.

    I’ve had exchanges with him. He’s not actually incoherent when he’s not free-forming and he’s having to converse with someone.

    I see your point about it. deBoer’s made a hash of his adult life, spending interminable time in school (> 10 years) for no good end; an indicator of that is the jabber you quote. As far as I am aware, he has neither wife nor children, which you should have when you’re 33. What’s even stranger is that his father died when he was about 16 (his mother earlier, evidently) and he and his siblings were put out on the curb by their stepmother. I cannot figure how he got from there to here without some austerely practical education and training, but he appears to have. Peculiar person.

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  157. MarkinLa says:
    @Ex Submarine Officer

    This overstates the case significantly, but there is an element of truth embedded here. The tragedy of the Carter presidency, is that he was elected in 1976. I’m pretty sure if Ronald Reagan had been elected in 1976, he too would have been limited to a single term in office.
     
    The Iran hostage situation is what did Carter in and it did him in because it, to the people, confirmed their suspicions derived from lesser incidents, that Carter was ineffectual/impotent, a hapless buffoon. And the U.S. was also just coming off of Vietnam, another national humiliation really didn't set well.

    Funny thing is, though, the military buildup and resolve to confront the Soviets that is credited to Reagan actually began under Carter towards the latter part of his presidency. And Reagan walked away from 240 or so Marines/Corpsmen killed in the Lebanon barracks bombing without out saying boo to anyone.

    Perceptions matter, I guess. Getting elected in 1976 was hard, post Vietnam, post Watergate, but not impossible. Carter, though, made things worse generally, it wasn't the times, it was the man.

    Some of his rehabilitation is simply that the utter buffoonery, idiocy, and open lack of character/integrity/patriotism of the past 3 presidents (Obama, Bush II, Clinton), was simply inconceivable in a president back in those years. By comparison, Carter does look pretty presidential.

    I think the economy did him in worse than the Iran crisis. He bet that Paul Volcker could tame the inflation in time for the next election and he lost that bet. Volcker did lower the interest rates just prior to the election and inflation just ramped right back up. I unfortunately bought a house then and saw the prices dive right after the interest rates went back up.

    People forget Reagan wasn’t too popular in the first two years of his Presidency because of the high interest rates. Roberts has written that he and Kemp were trying to get Volcker to lower the rates to get the economy going. They knew that Reagan wouldn’t be reelected if interest rates kept the country at such low rates of growth.

    That is the problem with perceptions and the belief that the President has control over these things. Nixon, Ford, and Reagan never really did anything to control the inflation then but none of them get much of the blame for it. The blame goes to the only guy who really took any action.

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    • Replies: @Ex Submarine Officer

    People forget Reagan wasn’t too popular in the first two years of his Presidency because of the high interest rates.
     
    Boy, do I ever remember that recession.

    Nixon, Ford, and Reagan never really did anything to control the inflation then but none of them get much of the blame for it.
     
    Ford printed up those nice WIN (Whip Inflation Now) pins. ;-)

    A little more seriously, Nixon did his wage & price freeze things. Interesting, really, when you look at him now, how left-ish, on economic issues, everyone was back then. Maybe that was a good thing, sort of our progress towards a Danish utopia that has been forever sidetracked.

    The blame goes to the only guy who really took any action.
     
    No good deed and all that. It really is true, even for presidents. Actually, though I'm no fan of Carter, I'm searching for what would be the presidential paraphrasing of Mark Twain's quip that Wagner's music is a lot better than it sounds.
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  158. Art Deco says: • Website
    @WhatEvvs
    (this is to everyone who responded to me)

    Some of the other commenters apparently thought I was disagreeing with De Boer's observations that PC has shut down debate. I'm not, not at all. I'm well aware of it, it's reached totalitarian proportions and for those who think that it's funny (I'm guilty of that myself), just wait, it'll soon come to your life.

    Example: Everything will be torn to shreds as "transphobic." It will happen, just wait.

    In any case, when I said that reading De Boer made me think I was reading Martian, I was referring specifically to something else he wrote, in another blog post. His archives suck, and I can't relocate the passage I was thinking of. I've tried, and it's hopeless but it doesn't matter - he writes the same whining garbage over and over again. The linked article was an exception, because he actually had something real to write about. I'm not spending any more precious time going through his crud to prove my point.

    All I can say is, do it yourselves....read his stuff at random, and you will find yourself in the presence of a person not of sound mind, living in a phantom world of maniacs.

    That's not the case with Walzer, for example - or any of the old Social Democratic left. The old Dissent crowd. I cannot for the life of me imagine any of them shutting down debate with the charge of "transphobia." They were people who were concerned with equitable distribution of resources, etc. You can have a rational conversation with people like that. You cannot have a rational conversation with someone about "transphobia."

    And maybe that's what the real issue is here, not PC. It's whether or not the subjects themselves are amenable to discussion. You cannot have a rational discussion with a person who doesn't think that sex differences are innate, and cannot be wished or taxed or educated away.

    Last but clearly not least, De Boer, who writes stuff like this:


    He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong, and he’s a centrist Democrat scold who is just as eager to shut people out of the debate as the people he criticizes. That’s true.
     
    is himself a PC prick. I'm no expert on Jonathan Chait - I don't read him with any regularity, but really, De Boer should give this guy a break, because Chait is the uber-example of the big media guy who makes life for De Boer very easy. Read Chait's cruel take down of Maggie Gallagher to see what I mean.

    My advice to Mr. "I don't know what to do" is to discipline his classes. Make it clear that EVERYONE has a right to be heard. Have a talk with the gal who ran from class in tears, and tell her that this is the way life is. People are gonna disagree with her, and she's going to have to learn to stand her ground. But all that stuff is kind of old, so he'd rather whine "I don't know what to do." To that, I say, "have a great life."

    You cannot have a rational discussion with a person who doesn’t think that sex differences are innate, and cannot be wished or taxed or educated away.

    You can have a discussion with them if they stick to the issue. You cannot if the discussion in sidetracked into a blind alley about who has the right to say what. You also cannot if their responses are the sort of games you see in domestic arguments. (There’s an old issue of Harper’s with an exchange between Lionel Tiger and Barbara Ehrenreich which illustrates this).

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  159. MarkinLA says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    I knew a broker who thought Volker jacked up rates as steeply as he did in part to hurt Reagan's reelection chances. But, of course, the recession had ended and the economy was booming by 1984

    Maybe the broker should have looked things up to realize Volcker jacked up the rates during Carter’s term. Oh that’s right he was a broker. I remember those guys in the days before on-line trading. Most were just slimy salesmen who didn’t really know jack.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Rates peaked under Reagan: https://econfix.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/us-interest-rates-1979-2014.png
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  160. Mr. Anon says:

    Art Deco says:

    utter buffoonery, idiocy, and open lack of character/integrity/patriotism of the past 3 presidents (Obama, Bush II, Clinton)

    One of these three does not belong on the list of the other two.”

    No, they most certainly ALL belong there.

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  161. @Thursday
    P.C. speech policing can certainly work up to a point, but its victories are fragile, because they are primarily based on fear, not love for something.

    Even now I wonder if many people, hell even many lefties, in their heart of hearts really think that heterosexual and homosexual relationships are closely equivalent. They just don’t want to be unkind, and they don’t want to make trouble for themselves, so they try not to think too much about what gay relationships actually involve.

    This is why I am not as pessimistic about traditional Christianity in the long term. The people in the West who are still traditional Christians are traditional Christian because they really like being traditional Christians. It doesn't hurt that this tends to include having lots of kids.

    Even now I wonder if many people, hell even many lefties, in their heart of hearts really think that heterosexual and homosexual relationships are closely equivalent. They just don’t want to be unkind, and they don’t want to make trouble for themselves, so they try not to think too much about what gay relationships actually involve.

    I am absolutely certain they don’t think and indeed have never thought about it. Female homosexuality is pretty straightforward insofar as the mechanics of it. At worst we may imagine cunnilingus and penetration with a foreign object – nothing worrisome from a public health standpoint. The greatest worry is contribution to decline in birth rate. But gay men are a completely different matter. The public health concerns are substantial. These men are using an organ nature designed for waste elimination in a wholly inconsistent manner. And promiscuity? Many will think nothing of totally anonymous anal sex with multiple partners in a single night. Blood, seminal fluids, and fecal matter everywhere. A forensic investigation of a promiscuous gay man’s home would be terrifying.

    It is demanded of us that we conflate the relatively benign female homosexuality with the public health nightmare of male homosexuality. The media shows us this false image of gay men in stable long term relationships and never, ever, shows even a glimpse of what these men are actually doing. And it goes without saying that the common gay male interest in young boys, “twinks” in their vernacular, is kept from mainstream view.

    There is a strong parallel between the Narrative’s obfuscation of african “intelligence” shortcomings and the massive public health threat posed by gay men.

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  162. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “This Thirty Years War has been lost…”

    Though as these are cultural, not real, wars, the next one has already begun. The war never ends, because human minds are such poor fits to reality. Things can change pretty fast; everybody then wonders how that could have happened…

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  163. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @IBC

    On the gay front… you guys are getting it all wrong. The Mandarin class in every society has commonly affected homosexuality as a symbol of class status. Rubbing their decadence in the face of the stupid lower classes who view sexuality largely as a means of procreation is a statement of class status.
     
    In the past, I think that a lot more people were ignorant about birth control and worried about the consequences of sex, but I don't think that a majority of people, let alone lower class people, ever thought that sex was mostly just about procreation. Certainly not after they'd tried it a time or two. The small number of people who would have seen it like that, would have been particularly sheltered, or very likely, today they would identify as gay or lesbian --something that wasn't really an option for most people until recently.

    Homosexual behavior has probably been around since the beginning or close to the beginning of human history. However, today's gay and lesbian cultures may have only taken recognizable shape in the late 19th century, probably with the advent of relatively anonymous city living where significant numbers of like-minded individuals could congregate. I would guess that if there're more historical examples of wealthy or high status homosexuals, it has a lot to do with the fact that wealthy and high status people are more likely to appear in the historic record full stop, not that they were somehow more likely to have homosexual feelings or to actually engage in homosexual behaviors. What about the old Royal Navy days of "rum, sodomy, and the lash?" Or that homeless guy who tried to bugger Orwell in Down and Out in Paris and London? Maybe not gay, but definitely homosexual. Or, what about all those maiden aunts and women who joined convents, in past eras of American and European history? If they had been alive today, perhaps some of them would have identified as lesbians.

    And isn't it still true that the more wealthy, powerful, and indiscreet a person is, the more likely they are to be blackmailed?

    Homosexual behavior has probably been around since the beginning or close to the beginning of human history.

    You have evidence for that I take it? Or, at least a good argument for it?

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  164. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @WhatEvvs
    (this is to everyone who responded to me)

    Some of the other commenters apparently thought I was disagreeing with De Boer's observations that PC has shut down debate. I'm not, not at all. I'm well aware of it, it's reached totalitarian proportions and for those who think that it's funny (I'm guilty of that myself), just wait, it'll soon come to your life.

    Example: Everything will be torn to shreds as "transphobic." It will happen, just wait.

    In any case, when I said that reading De Boer made me think I was reading Martian, I was referring specifically to something else he wrote, in another blog post. His archives suck, and I can't relocate the passage I was thinking of. I've tried, and it's hopeless but it doesn't matter - he writes the same whining garbage over and over again. The linked article was an exception, because he actually had something real to write about. I'm not spending any more precious time going through his crud to prove my point.

    All I can say is, do it yourselves....read his stuff at random, and you will find yourself in the presence of a person not of sound mind, living in a phantom world of maniacs.

    That's not the case with Walzer, for example - or any of the old Social Democratic left. The old Dissent crowd. I cannot for the life of me imagine any of them shutting down debate with the charge of "transphobia." They were people who were concerned with equitable distribution of resources, etc. You can have a rational conversation with people like that. You cannot have a rational conversation with someone about "transphobia."

    And maybe that's what the real issue is here, not PC. It's whether or not the subjects themselves are amenable to discussion. You cannot have a rational discussion with a person who doesn't think that sex differences are innate, and cannot be wished or taxed or educated away.

    Last but clearly not least, De Boer, who writes stuff like this:


    He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong, and he’s a centrist Democrat scold who is just as eager to shut people out of the debate as the people he criticizes. That’s true.
     
    is himself a PC prick. I'm no expert on Jonathan Chait - I don't read him with any regularity, but really, De Boer should give this guy a break, because Chait is the uber-example of the big media guy who makes life for De Boer very easy. Read Chait's cruel take down of Maggie Gallagher to see what I mean.

    My advice to Mr. "I don't know what to do" is to discipline his classes. Make it clear that EVERYONE has a right to be heard. Have a talk with the gal who ran from class in tears, and tell her that this is the way life is. People are gonna disagree with her, and she's going to have to learn to stand her ground. But all that stuff is kind of old, so he'd rather whine "I don't know what to do." To that, I say, "have a great life."

    Example: Everything will be torn to shreds as “transphobic.” It will happen, just wait.

    Is that like Arachnophobia?

    There tends to be good reasons for phobias to have evolved.

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  165. miniver says:
    @anon
    Uh, wrong. The Laffer curve is a result of analyzing the behavior of a system at its limits, in this case 0% and 100% marginal tax rates. (Though technically there can be tax rates less than 0 and greater then 100%.) At 0% the tax collected is 0. At 100% the tax collected is 0. And at 0+% there is some tax collected. At 100-% there may be some tax collected. It can't be argued that as tax rates fall from 100% at some point at the margin people are willing to pay the tax. So as you have a positive tax collection curve as the tax rate rise from 0 and a negative tax collection curve as the tax rate approaches 100%, at some point the curves will meet at some positive value and that will be the tax rate at which revenue is maximized. What rate that is - who knows? Hence the debate on tax rates (as revenue. Taxes as punishment is indifferent to the Laffer curve) Ronald Reagan himself experienced the effect of the 90% marginal tax rate extent during his movie years: when his income hit that tax rate - he stopped working the rest of the year. To deny that as tax rates increase, one's motivation to earn drops betrays a certain obtuseness to human economic behavior.

    If I understand you, anon #82, you’re arguing that it’s enough to assume that R’>0 for some small t and R’<0 for some large t. Good point.
    Or contra Laffer, one doesn't even need to assume that R(0)=R(1)=0. It's enough to assume that R(a)=R(b)≈0 for some a≈0 and b≈1. Then Rolle's theorem says there's at least one c in (a,b) where R'(c)=0.
    Also see my following reply to the obnoxious Anonymous #47.
    Regards,
    Miniver

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  166. Oldeguy says:

    Mr. Douthat’s defense of Freedom of Speech as the Open Mindedness that accompanies Humility ( Gee, we could be wrong about this ) is a relic of our Christian past.
    Rationalism today, whether of Right or Left, scorns that Humility as being not a Virtue, but rather a weak kneed lack of conviction.
    There is a World of difference between a paralyzing state of Doubt and a humble reserving of that Final Judgement.

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  167. miniver says:
    @Anonymous
    'Laffer's curve' is pure bullshit peddled by a rather unpleasant bullshit merchant to a 'bear with little brain' ie Ronald Reagan.

    Mathematically, 'Laffer's curve' is nothing more than high school math - the maximum of a quadratic function - obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that 'economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken' - no big deal there.
    Except in the real world things aren't like that at all.
    But, remember we are dealing here with the senile-in-office Reagan, a man who lacked the intellectual horsepower to ever be considered as president in a sane society - White House 'entertainment and maintenance crew' - the jolly old paddy who tells jokes, tells ghost stories and changes light bulbs - was his real metier' and a truly horrible, disgusting right-wing bigot of a corporate paid-for economic whore, Arthur Laffer.

    I’m not an economist and I’ve spent all of five minutes thinking about this matter, but two things jump out:

    Mathematically, ‘Laffer’s curve’ is nothing more than high school math – the maximum of a quadratic function –

    Wrong. Laffer’s argument requires no assumption that the curve is quadratic or has any particular functional form. All it requires (see above) is the assumption that R(t) is real and differentiable, and a modest assumption about R near 0 and 1.

    obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that ‘economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken’ – no big deal there.

    Does Laffer really assume what you said he assumes? Okay, you go ahead. Assume that B=1/t. What does that say about R=tB? Tell us all about the maximum of that function.
    Sheesh,
    Miniver

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    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    modest assumption about R near 0 and 1.

    Actually this isn't a modest assumption. And the rest of it is just the type of worthless garbage that is the essence of economics. Exactly where is this supposed optimal tax rate where we achieve the lowest tax and the highest revenue? Oh that's right, the exact number isn't known but we know it must exist because because some economist said so.

    One day people will wake up and realize what a worthless pseudo-science economics is.
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  168. @MarkinLa
    I think the economy did him in worse than the Iran crisis. He bet that Paul Volcker could tame the inflation in time for the next election and he lost that bet. Volcker did lower the interest rates just prior to the election and inflation just ramped right back up. I unfortunately bought a house then and saw the prices dive right after the interest rates went back up.

    People forget Reagan wasn't too popular in the first two years of his Presidency because of the high interest rates. Roberts has written that he and Kemp were trying to get Volcker to lower the rates to get the economy going. They knew that Reagan wouldn't be reelected if interest rates kept the country at such low rates of growth.

    That is the problem with perceptions and the belief that the President has control over these things. Nixon, Ford, and Reagan never really did anything to control the inflation then but none of them get much of the blame for it. The blame goes to the only guy who really took any action.

    People forget Reagan wasn’t too popular in the first two years of his Presidency because of the high interest rates.

    Boy, do I ever remember that recession.

    Nixon, Ford, and Reagan never really did anything to control the inflation then but none of them get much of the blame for it.

    Ford printed up those nice WIN (Whip Inflation Now) pins. ;-)

    A little more seriously, Nixon did his wage & price freeze things. Interesting, really, when you look at him now, how left-ish, on economic issues, everyone was back then. Maybe that was a good thing, sort of our progress towards a Danish utopia that has been forever sidetracked.

    The blame goes to the only guy who really took any action.

    No good deed and all that. It really is true, even for presidents. Actually, though I’m no fan of Carter, I’m searching for what would be the presidential paraphrasing of Mark Twain’s quip that Wagner’s music is a lot better than it sounds.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The WIN program was goofy, but in actuality the Consumer Price Index was increasing at a rate of about 5% per annum as Mr. Ford was leaving office. The concatenation of policy and events during those 29 months was successful at partially re-stabilizing prices. The question at hand is a counter-factual: what would have happened had Mr. Ford continued in office. The chairman of the Federal Reserve was the addle-pated Dr. Arthur Burns. When Ford left office, inflation began to escalate yet again, whether due to Burns' decisions or Burns' decisions informed by Mr. Carter's preferences. Mr. Carter in 1978 then replaced the retiring Burns with William Miller, who had no background in central banking and whose tenure was quite misbegotten. It was only when you got an experienced central banker who was willing to work on controlling the growth of monetary aggregates that you had a successful restabilization.
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  169. Melendwyr says: • Website
    @Dave Pinsen
    Marriage is inextricably entwined with law: laws relating to inheritance, citizenship, custody, divorce, healthcare, etc. So it's unreasonable to expect the government to be uninvolved. Unless you want to weasel-word "marriage" into a purely religious meaning and have the force of law apply to another term that denotes a domestic partnership.

    What a ridiculous argument – “government is involved, therefore government must be involved”.

    Get rid of those laws. Problem solved.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    What an ignorant comment. Marriage is a contract. Even libertarians see a legitimate role for government in enforcing contracts. What's the alternative, clans doing it?
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  170. Melendwyr says: • Website
    @Greenstalk
    Melendwyr - Since I don’t think we’re going to abolish the legal enshrinement of hetero marriage, it makes sense to broaden the availability of the basic contract. Hetero, homo, groups, whatever. I don’t need to approve of homo marriage – or, for that matter, to disapprove of it. My feelings on the matter aren’t relevant.

    Why are your feelings on the matter not relevant. And if they aren't relevant, why are you here writing comments to explain to us your feelings on the matter?

    People are perfectly entitled to oppose (or support) gay marriage for whatever damn reasons they please. You're free to claim that the best thing to do is to "broaden the availability of the basic contract" to include "Hetero, homo, groups, whatever". That's a deeply unintelligent position on your part, but there's no requirement that people be intelligent before they are allowed to have an opinion.

    It’s not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously

    So that fact that people (people like you) have succeeded in removing much of the meaning from marriage is now going to be used as a justification for removing what meaning remains? By that logic the fact that our "republican form of government" has decayed to little more than a sham is a great justification for dropping what little of it remains and embracing outright Ceasarism!

    Why are your feelings on the matter not relevant. And if they aren’t relevant, why are you here writing comments to explain to us your feelings on the matter?

    This site isn’t exactly free of political correctness, itself – the vocal commentators are quick to disparage any position that doesn’t precisely match theirs. The concept of ‘tolerance’ doesn’t require that we approve, or not disapprove, merely that we put up with things we don’t like.

    Tolerating homosexuality seems an obvious good. That’s not the same thing as thinking it’s a good idea, or something we want to support.

    To a large degree, the talking points about marriage are wrong. It has never been what the ‘conservative’ screaming heads assert about it, and it’s certainly not what it’s become. It’s always been mostly about economics, political alliances, and ensuring that children and widows will be supported by establishing legal ties. It’s no longer considered necessary to having children, and vice versa – several of my married friends tied the knot after having children was no longer even biologically possible.

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  171. MarkinLa says:
    @anon
    Uh, wrong. The Laffer curve is a result of analyzing the behavior of a system at its limits, in this case 0% and 100% marginal tax rates. (Though technically there can be tax rates less than 0 and greater then 100%.) At 0% the tax collected is 0. At 100% the tax collected is 0. And at 0+% there is some tax collected. At 100-% there may be some tax collected. It can't be argued that as tax rates fall from 100% at some point at the margin people are willing to pay the tax. So as you have a positive tax collection curve as the tax rate rise from 0 and a negative tax collection curve as the tax rate approaches 100%, at some point the curves will meet at some positive value and that will be the tax rate at which revenue is maximized. What rate that is - who knows? Hence the debate on tax rates (as revenue. Taxes as punishment is indifferent to the Laffer curve) Ronald Reagan himself experienced the effect of the 90% marginal tax rate extent during his movie years: when his income hit that tax rate - he stopped working the rest of the year. To deny that as tax rates increase, one's motivation to earn drops betrays a certain obtuseness to human economic behavior.

    Ronald Reagan himself experienced the effect of the 90% marginal tax rate extent during his movie years: when his income hit that tax rate – he stopped working the rest of the year.

    Do you really believe this nonsense? Reagan was so good at remembering things that never happened you always have to take everything he said with a grain of salt. Most people in the movies pre-WWII were under contract to a studio and had to crank out movies as fast as they could as there was no TV then and the theaters were full every weekend. In addition he was minor star at best who’s career was over at the end of WWII, he was in no position to turn down an opportunity to get his name out there.

    With Netflix I have been watching some “classic” movies made around that time. It is amazing how little there there was in those movies. I was watching a Hitchcock movie filmed entirely on a set made to look like a Manhattan flat living room. There were a few big starts in that movie like Jimmy Stewart.

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  172. MarkinLA says:
    @miniver
    I'm not an economist and I've spent all of five minutes thinking about this matter, but two things jump out:

    Mathematically, ‘Laffer’s curve’ is nothing more than high school math – the maximum of a quadratic function –
     
    Wrong. Laffer's argument requires no assumption that the curve is quadratic or has any particular functional form. All it requires (see above) is the assumption that R(t) is real and differentiable, and a modest assumption about R near 0 and 1.

    obvious to anyone who makes the over simplistic starting assumption that ‘economic activity is inverse proportion to tax rate taken’ – no big deal there.
     
    Does Laffer really assume what you said he assumes? Okay, you go ahead. Assume that B=1/t. What does that say about R=tB? Tell us all about the maximum of that function.
    Sheesh,
    Miniver

    modest assumption about R near 0 and 1.

    Actually this isn’t a modest assumption. And the rest of it is just the type of worthless garbage that is the essence of economics. Exactly where is this supposed optimal tax rate where we achieve the lowest tax and the highest revenue? Oh that’s right, the exact number isn’t known but we know it must exist because because some economist said so.

    One day people will wake up and realize what a worthless pseudo-science economics is.

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  173. Laura says:

    You don’t need to assume that R(0) = 0, it’s trivially true that a 0% tax rate is going to bring in $0 revenue.

    You also don’t really need R(b) = 0 for any b in particular (I would imagine that even at a 100% tax rate someone will be working, say people for whom employment is a condition of parole.) All the real work here is being done by the intuition that a 100% tax rate would bring in less revenue than what we have now. Once you have that intuition, it’s clear that raising taxes may or may not raise revenue, depending on where you are on the graph.

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    • Replies: @Melendwyr
    I'm sure there is a value, or several values, for the tax rate that would maximize incoming funds. But why would the best tax be the one that gives the government the most money?
    , @MarkinLA
    I would imagine that even at a 100% tax rate someone will be working, say people for whom employment is a condition of parole.

    People have to eat and they have familial responsibilities so they will work. The closest thing we ever got to 100% taxing was the USSR (they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work) where even if they were paid, the money was basically worthless and people still worked because they still had families to support and dreams that their children's lives would be better than theirs. They lived in a wartime economy for 70 years and although it was less than ideal and certainly worse than western style markets, people didn't just sit around and do nothing.

    But what does taxing at 10o% mean exactly? That you work for nothing and starve to death in two weeks? Realistically you can only take away the excess work that people do above their subsistence. However, that work doesn't just disappear into a black hole. It goes somewhere in the form of infrastructure that improves society. Decent health care for everybody is not nothing.

    The only real point is that taxing at 100% is just some drivel designed to make the economic theory sound valid.

    Yes there might actually be some optimal tax rate to achieve some goal. However like so much of economics it can't be quantified and it's proof of existence in based on pretending the world works like simple mathematical formulas whose answers we can solve for on a blackboard.
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  174. @Thursday
    Does anyone really believe in their heart of hearts that a transsexual male is anything other than guy in a dress with their genitals cut off?

    Does anyone really believe in their heart of hearts that a transsexual male is anything other than guy in a dress with their genitals cut off?

    Dr Reuben called him “a castrated, mutilated female impersonator”.

    Renée Richards seems to have come around to this view. A tad late, though.

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  175. Melendwyr says: • Website
    @Laura
    You don't need to assume that R(0) = 0, it's trivially true that a 0% tax rate is going to bring in $0 revenue.

    You also don't really need R(b) = 0 for any b in particular (I would imagine that even at a 100% tax rate someone will be working, say people for whom employment is a condition of parole.) All the real work here is being done by the intuition that a 100% tax rate would bring in less revenue than what we have now. Once you have that intuition, it's clear that raising taxes may or may not raise revenue, depending on where you are on the graph.

    I’m sure there is a value, or several values, for the tax rate that would maximize incoming funds. But why would the best tax be the one that gives the government the most money?

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    • Replies: @Laura
    I agree that the goal is not necessarily to maximize revenue. But we probably don't want to be above the maximizing rate.
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  176. Only the center is interested in the top of Laffer’s curve.

    The left doesn’t want to maximize revenue, they want to maximize damage.

    The right wants to minimize revenue, which to them is part of the damage.

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  177. Laura says:
    @Melendwyr
    I'm sure there is a value, or several values, for the tax rate that would maximize incoming funds. But why would the best tax be the one that gives the government the most money?

    I agree that the goal is not necessarily to maximize revenue. But we probably don’t want to be above the maximizing rate.

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  178. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @MarkinLA
    Maybe the broker should have looked things up to realize Volcker jacked up the rates during Carter's term. Oh that's right he was a broker. I remember those guys in the days before on-line trading. Most were just slimy salesmen who didn't really know jack.

    Rates peaked under Reagan:

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    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    What has rates peaking under Reagan got to do with anything?

    Volcker had a plan to reign in the inflation that was so prevalent that it became part of everyday life and decision making. You might remember this inflation birthed all those get rich quick in real estate scams and scammers. Volcker raised the rates under Carter and lowered them briefly then raised them again which is why we had the "double-dip" recession. Volcker didn't really raise the rates he just didn't use the Fed to keep them artificially below the rates the market demanded to account for the inflation.
    , @MarkinLA
    Excuse me if you are already aware of this:

    The way the interest rates are set is by auctions. For all examples this use 10,000 dollars. For Treasury Bills you bid the amount you will pay to get the 10,000 on the redemption date. Obviously you pay less than 10,000. The value determines your effective interest rate. For Treasury Bonds they establish a coupon rate close to the current market rate but there is still an auction. If you pay less than the 10,000 you are getting an interest rate over the coupon rate.

    Pre-Volcker Fed was putting it's thumb on the scale in some way (maybe they pressured the qualified bidders or bought the Treasury securities themselves) to keep interest rates below what the market demanded. Volcker just said let the market decide. Naturally as the inflation continued to rage, people who had bid 8% in the past and had seen the market value of their 8% bonds be less than par would want to recoup those losses by refusing to bid at an 8% effective rate in future auctions. Like every market situation there is an overshoot eventually and a number of people got 30 year US Treasury Bonds with coupon rates as high as 15%.
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  179. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Melendwyr
    What a ridiculous argument - "government is involved, therefore government must be involved".

    Get rid of those laws. Problem solved.

    What an ignorant comment. Marriage is a contract. Even libertarians see a legitimate role for government in enforcing contracts. What’s the alternative, clans doing it?

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    • Replies: @Melendwyr
    Marriage isn't much of a contract. No clear exchange of value, no break clauses...

    If marriage is a contract, two points arise. 1) Why do we need special laws detailing it when we have lots and lots of laws about contracts already? and 2) Why shouldn't this contract be available to anyone who wishes it? Siblings, parent-child pairs, groups, people of the same gender, individuals and corporations...

    It's obviously NOT a normal contract. It would be better if it were.
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  180. Melendwyr says: • Website
    @Dave Pinsen
    What an ignorant comment. Marriage is a contract. Even libertarians see a legitimate role for government in enforcing contracts. What's the alternative, clans doing it?

    Marriage isn’t much of a contract. No clear exchange of value, no break clauses…

    If marriage is a contract, two points arise. 1) Why do we need special laws detailing it when we have lots and lots of laws about contracts already? and 2) Why shouldn’t this contract be available to anyone who wishes it? Siblings, parent-child pairs, groups, people of the same gender, individuals and corporations…

    It’s obviously NOT a normal contract. It would be better if it were.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    1) There are benefits to standardized contracts. If people had to get custom contracts to stipulate terms relating to child custody, inheritance issues, etc., etc., fewer would get married.

    2) It is available to everyone. There are just limitations on who their partners can be. That was true before gay marriage, and it's true now.
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  181. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Scotty G. Vito
    Sailer, as always, diagnoses panicky beetle-browed Jews as the font of the P.C.-backtrack chit-chat, but it's probably more to do with the post-Obama dilemma hitting media folks in the face for about 2 months now. Hillary at that National Car Dealers thing said she hadn't driven herself since '96 -- she looks more evitable by the week (this is psychological not rational, it doesn't matter there's no viable Republican alternative in sight, if ever). I think a lot of house-trained liberals, and their fellow Internet travelers of various anti-war factions and fetish groups, genuinely believed the line about pulling up the drawbridge on MENA kicking off a great cool-down period for the more vibrant among the jihad diaspora. They don't understand why cartoonists are getting machine-gunned in Paris when there's no one named Bush within 515* miles of the White House. Large swathes of Leviathan like the V.A., HHS, and IRS are also showing dearth of public relations skill which can inconveniently spike during an "anti-government sentiment" flu season.

    Yes, there's also an elite concern at how eagerly certain elements responded to the "Go out and shoot cops" advice from institutional radicals, but the Narrative apparat doesn't feel personally threatened by that. This malaise is the natural result of 6 years of a pedigreed faculty-lounge liberal in charge and yet economic/global strife failing to recede to a happy distance. "Let's all retire from blogging"

    * I can only assume Kennebunkport hasn't closed down, but I don't know how to check

    panicky beetle-browed Jews as the font of the P.C.

    What does “beetle-browed” mean?

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  182. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    I always found the ideology behind the ‘Laffer curve’, to quite frankly, laughable.
    The notion of 100% income tax is, of course, quite ridiculous in any economy. Yes, ‘super-taxes’ of 90% or over were quite commonly levied in the western democracies prior to the Friedmanite triumph of the plutocrats, but they were only levied up a infinitessimially small minority of the mega wealthy, hence George Harrison’s famous musical whine. In any case, the levy was upon what was then honestly described as ‘unearned income’.
    For the average Joe Blow in the street, taxes even in the most socialist of lands never exceeded 50% of income, and in any case those taxes were the result of a social contract with the government under which health, education etc were centrally, and more efficiently, funded. No Briton was ever bankrupted by medical bills.
    Anyway, the whole basis and rationale of the Laffer Curve is just so obviously and intuitively wrong.
    No matter what the tax rate is in a nation, if a worker wants to get ahead in life and enjoy life’s little luxuries, he has to work to earn money to pay for them, unless he’d be content with the mist basic of existences, which very few people are. If he wants that car, that iPad or whatever he must work to get the cash to pay for it. If the price of getting that said good was to work an extra few weeks or so, then it is price that would be paid, if grudgingly. Yes, it might be an ‘injustice’ and all that, but that’s another discussion.
    Conversely, in a tax less society, the said worker would need to work less in order to pay for the said goods, thus theoretically reducing the amount of wealth and production in society, if the worker be content with the equivalent standard of living.
    Basically, the Laffer Curve is ideological trash, peddled by one paid for bought and sold fool to a bigger paid for bought and sold fool in order to fatten the already capacious pockets of the plutocrats. The dark forces that peddled it really and truly never gave a shit about the working man. And that includes Reagan.

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  183. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    ‘Beetle-browed’ means a man having a prominent brow-ridge above his eyes, rather like Charles Darwin or Australian aborigines, for example.

    Apparently the word is derived from ‘bite’ as figuratively the jutting out brow ridge reminded the old English of a pair of jaws, for some strange reason.
    The insects ‘beetles’ also derive their name from ‘bite’, since it was reckoned that their powerful mandibles could give a nasty bite.

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  184. NOTA says:
    @Greenstalk
    Melendwyr - Since I don’t think we’re going to abolish the legal enshrinement of hetero marriage, it makes sense to broaden the availability of the basic contract. Hetero, homo, groups, whatever. I don’t need to approve of homo marriage – or, for that matter, to disapprove of it. My feelings on the matter aren’t relevant.

    Why are your feelings on the matter not relevant. And if they aren't relevant, why are you here writing comments to explain to us your feelings on the matter?

    People are perfectly entitled to oppose (or support) gay marriage for whatever damn reasons they please. You're free to claim that the best thing to do is to "broaden the availability of the basic contract" to include "Hetero, homo, groups, whatever". That's a deeply unintelligent position on your part, but there's no requirement that people be intelligent before they are allowed to have an opinion.

    It’s not as though most people take hetero marriage especially seriously

    So that fact that people (people like you) have succeeded in removing much of the meaning from marriage is now going to be used as a justification for removing what meaning remains? By that logic the fact that our "republican form of government" has decayed to little more than a sham is a great justification for dropping what little of it remains and embracing outright Ceasarism!

    You mean like declaring that the president has the authority to start wars, assassinate citizens, order people tortured, authorize illegal spying, have citizens disappeared from US soil, stuff like that?

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  185. MarkinLA says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Rates peaked under Reagan: https://econfix.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/us-interest-rates-1979-2014.png

    What has rates peaking under Reagan got to do with anything?

    Volcker had a plan to reign in the inflation that was so prevalent that it became part of everyday life and decision making. You might remember this inflation birthed all those get rich quick in real estate scams and scammers. Volcker raised the rates under Carter and lowered them briefly then raised them again which is why we had the “double-dip” recession. Volcker didn’t really raise the rates he just didn’t use the Fed to keep them artificially below the rates the market demanded to account for the inflation.

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  186. MarkinLA says:
    @Laura
    You don't need to assume that R(0) = 0, it's trivially true that a 0% tax rate is going to bring in $0 revenue.

    You also don't really need R(b) = 0 for any b in particular (I would imagine that even at a 100% tax rate someone will be working, say people for whom employment is a condition of parole.) All the real work here is being done by the intuition that a 100% tax rate would bring in less revenue than what we have now. Once you have that intuition, it's clear that raising taxes may or may not raise revenue, depending on where you are on the graph.

    I would imagine that even at a 100% tax rate someone will be working, say people for whom employment is a condition of parole.

    People have to eat and they have familial responsibilities so they will work. The closest thing we ever got to 100% taxing was the USSR (they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work) where even if they were paid, the money was basically worthless and people still worked because they still had families to support and dreams that their children’s lives would be better than theirs. They lived in a wartime economy for 70 years and although it was less than ideal and certainly worse than western style markets, people didn’t just sit around and do nothing.

    But what does taxing at 10o% mean exactly? That you work for nothing and starve to death in two weeks? Realistically you can only take away the excess work that people do above their subsistence. However, that work doesn’t just disappear into a black hole. It goes somewhere in the form of infrastructure that improves society. Decent health care for everybody is not nothing.

    The only real point is that taxing at 100% is just some drivel designed to make the economic theory sound valid.

    Yes there might actually be some optimal tax rate to achieve some goal. However like so much of economics it can’t be quantified and it’s proof of existence in based on pretending the world works like simple mathematical formulas whose answers we can solve for on a blackboard.

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  187. MarkinLA says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Rates peaked under Reagan: https://econfix.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/us-interest-rates-1979-2014.png

    Excuse me if you are already aware of this:

    The way the interest rates are set is by auctions. For all examples this use 10,000 dollars. For Treasury Bills you bid the amount you will pay to get the 10,000 on the redemption date. Obviously you pay less than 10,000. The value determines your effective interest rate. For Treasury Bonds they establish a coupon rate close to the current market rate but there is still an auction. If you pay less than the 10,000 you are getting an interest rate over the coupon rate.

    Pre-Volcker Fed was putting it’s thumb on the scale in some way (maybe they pressured the qualified bidders or bought the Treasury securities themselves) to keep interest rates below what the market demanded. Volcker just said let the market decide. Naturally as the inflation continued to rage, people who had bid 8% in the past and had seen the market value of their 8% bonds be less than par would want to recoup those losses by refusing to bid at an 8% effective rate in future auctions. Like every market situation there is an overshoot eventually and a number of people got 30 year US Treasury Bonds with coupon rates as high as 15%.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    The "rate target" in that chart (the black line) refers to the Fed funds rate, which is set by the Fed.
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  188. Art Deco says: • Website
    @Ex Submarine Officer

    People forget Reagan wasn’t too popular in the first two years of his Presidency because of the high interest rates.
     
    Boy, do I ever remember that recession.

    Nixon, Ford, and Reagan never really did anything to control the inflation then but none of them get much of the blame for it.
     
    Ford printed up those nice WIN (Whip Inflation Now) pins. ;-)

    A little more seriously, Nixon did his wage & price freeze things. Interesting, really, when you look at him now, how left-ish, on economic issues, everyone was back then. Maybe that was a good thing, sort of our progress towards a Danish utopia that has been forever sidetracked.

    The blame goes to the only guy who really took any action.
     
    No good deed and all that. It really is true, even for presidents. Actually, though I'm no fan of Carter, I'm searching for what would be the presidential paraphrasing of Mark Twain's quip that Wagner's music is a lot better than it sounds.

    The WIN program was goofy, but in actuality the Consumer Price Index was increasing at a rate of about 5% per annum as Mr. Ford was leaving office. The concatenation of policy and events during those 29 months was successful at partially re-stabilizing prices. The question at hand is a counter-factual: what would have happened had Mr. Ford continued in office. The chairman of the Federal Reserve was the addle-pated Dr. Arthur Burns. When Ford left office, inflation began to escalate yet again, whether due to Burns’ decisions or Burns’ decisions informed by Mr. Carter’s preferences. Mr. Carter in 1978 then replaced the retiring Burns with William Miller, who had no background in central banking and whose tenure was quite misbegotten. It was only when you got an experienced central banker who was willing to work on controlling the growth of monetary aggregates that you had a successful restabilization.

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  189. iffen says:
    @Seneca

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.
     
    Yes, very true it seems... sigh ....though something inside me still holds out hope that political correctness will eventually wane and that people will be able to hold intelligent conversations about important issues without the fear of being accused of being a witch.

    I think this belief, perhaps mistaken, is based on the hope that the pendulum can only swing so far before it has to start to come back the other way in a Hegelian dialectical type of way.

    However, even if cyclical change is a good metaphor for understanding how societies change and evolve (maybe it isn't), there is still the problem that it is very hard to tell where we are in the arc of the pendulum.

    Things could get a whole lot worse for us (more speech codes, more cultural Marxist hegemony, more leftest totalitarianism, etc.. ) before it gets better. What is the old expression by Adam Smith IIRC? There is a lot of ruin in a nation.

    I can’t see a pendulum motion in our current situation. Although it probably describes some political and social changes at various times.

    I think that we are in new territory; mass communication, enabled peons throughout the world. Utopian universalists in total control.

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  190. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @MarkinLA
    Excuse me if you are already aware of this:

    The way the interest rates are set is by auctions. For all examples this use 10,000 dollars. For Treasury Bills you bid the amount you will pay to get the 10,000 on the redemption date. Obviously you pay less than 10,000. The value determines your effective interest rate. For Treasury Bonds they establish a coupon rate close to the current market rate but there is still an auction. If you pay less than the 10,000 you are getting an interest rate over the coupon rate.

    Pre-Volcker Fed was putting it's thumb on the scale in some way (maybe they pressured the qualified bidders or bought the Treasury securities themselves) to keep interest rates below what the market demanded. Volcker just said let the market decide. Naturally as the inflation continued to rage, people who had bid 8% in the past and had seen the market value of their 8% bonds be less than par would want to recoup those losses by refusing to bid at an 8% effective rate in future auctions. Like every market situation there is an overshoot eventually and a number of people got 30 year US Treasury Bonds with coupon rates as high as 15%.

    The “rate target” in that chart (the black line) refers to the Fed funds rate, which is set by the Fed.

    Read More
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  191. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Melendwyr
    Marriage isn't much of a contract. No clear exchange of value, no break clauses...

    If marriage is a contract, two points arise. 1) Why do we need special laws detailing it when we have lots and lots of laws about contracts already? and 2) Why shouldn't this contract be available to anyone who wishes it? Siblings, parent-child pairs, groups, people of the same gender, individuals and corporations...

    It's obviously NOT a normal contract. It would be better if it were.

    1) There are benefits to standardized contracts. If people had to get custom contracts to stipulate terms relating to child custody, inheritance issues, etc., etc., fewer would get married.

    2) It is available to everyone. There are just limitations on who their partners can be. That was true before gay marriage, and it’s true now.

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    • Replies: @Melendwyr
    How is fewer people getting married, if marriage is customizable rather than standardized, a bad thing?

    And that's even assuming the point is valid, which is pretty absurd. I've never heard anyone suggest that pre-nuptial agreements reduced marriage, quite the opposite. If there were more negotiable options, I strongly suspect people would be more willing to give it a try.

    The lack of justifications for the restrictions on who can take part with whom, given the general understanding of what marriage has become in modern societies, is precisely the point. Childbearing isn't relevant. Nor is age, once people have reached majority. I fail to see why gender should be considered - especially since sex isn't necessarily a part of the package.
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  192. Priss Factor [AKA "K. Arujo"] says:

    Political Correctness works according to a certain logic.

    The effectiveness of PC depends on how the game is rigged.

    Palestinian-Americans can be PC as much as they want in attacking Zionist Jews, but their PC won’t go very far as Prof. Salaita found out.
    They are not favored by the Ivory Tower of PC.

    Mexican-Americans can criticize blacks for ‘racist’ attacks and crimes on brown community. It won’t go very far because it’s not the narrative favored by Jewish elites who control the media.

    Feminists have been totally vicious and aggressive against white males(especially conservatives), and one might assume that Feminist power has much to do with PC aggressiveness. But that’s a fallacy. It’s not aggression alone that does the trick.

    For instance, if feminists attacked the ‘gay’ community with rage or denigrating womanhood by promoting transgenderism and the notion that a homo’s anus has the same ‘sexual’ value as the vagina, they would be attacked and reviled as ‘homophobic’ and ‘transphobic’. If feminists attacked the black community for all the rapes on women, they would be attacked and reviled as ‘racist’. If feminists attacked the Orthodox Jewish community 24/7 for its ‘archaic’ views on women, it would be attacked as ‘antisemitic’.

    So, PC rage is only effective in relation to the rules of the game, and the game is rigged by terminology that ‘sacralizes’ certain groups over others.

    So, even though much of the fashion industry that commoditizes women is run by homos, ‘white men’ get the blame. Even though Jews control porn, ‘white men’ get the blame for using women as property. Even though black men are top rapists, white men get the blame for ‘rape culture’.

    Indeed, notice that white progs who fume and throw fits over some issue turn into total pussy cats if the ‘bad guys’ of the same issue are changed. If a feminist organization yelled ‘rape culture’ and help up a picture of a white guy, all the women will scream and throw fits. But if the organization held up a picture of a black guy, there will be sudden silence. If it held up a picture of a Jewish porn merchant, there will be silence. If it held up a sign of a homo fashion mogul who uses women as Stepford Wife like dolls, there will be silence. Because the terminology taboo-izes ‘antisemitism’, ‘racism’, and ‘homophobia’, even the angriest feminists know when to hush hush about stuff. But just hold up a picture of a white guy, and they are barking and foaming at the mouth again.
    Notice how the Vagina Monologue was silenced because of transgenderism. It became Vagina Muteness.

    It’s like Chinese will bark and foam about the evil Japanese but will go shhhhhh about the Communist Party that killed tens of millions. The terminology in China has ‘evil Japs’ but nothing about evil Mao and vicious commies.

    There is also the factor of Political Cocktails. Guys like Douthat want to be invited to Political Cocktail Parties, and being ‘anti-gay marriage’ makes one not merely wrong but a pariah. The position on ‘gay marriage’ is no longer a choice. It is a decree if you want to be invited to parties.
    Power of vanity is crucial to the haute crowd.

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    • Replies: @WhatEvvs

    Guys like Douthat want to be invited to Political Cocktail Parties
     
    Huh? This is the second time I've read this here. Was it someone else or are you repeating yourself?

    Douthat strikes me as being very principled and not caring about winning popularity contests anywhere, much less liberal ones. What evidence do you have that he cares about courting liberal good will? (I'm assuming that you are not speaking literally.)
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  193. LMH says:
    @Art Deco
    Basically, 50-60 years ago you had to be really circumspect in how you talked about sex and Christianity in public, but were relatively free to be racist or sexist. Now it’s reversed.
    --
    1. "Sexist" is a nonsense term.

    2. I think you'd have to scrounge to find examples of blatant 'racism' by federal politicians from outside the Deep South drawn from the post-war period. (Local politicians you'd find more). As for journalists, keep in mind that standards of good breeding are commonly high among old-school bourgeois Southerners (think Jesse Helms or William Workman). That put certain boundaries on rhetoric.

    3. The discussion of sex implicates personal modesty and the boundary between domestic life and public or social life. It is properly circumscribed. That being noted, I think you'll discover that taboos of this character would extend to mass entertainment, not to all public discussion.

    4. Would you describe H.L. Mencken as 'circumspect'?

    1. “Sexist” is a nonsense term.

    IMO it is useful for describing bias in situations where “misogynistic” would go overboard (impute too much animus).

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  194. If the right is going to manage any kind of serious counter attack against the left, then it needs to establish workable, bio-realist positions on some of the issues it’s uncomfortable with. Simply coming up with statements like “homosexuality isn’t natural,” women shouldn’t be in men’s jobs” or “transsexuals are freaks” is simply the right-wing equivalent of leftist point and splutter phobia phrases.

    My take is go with the science. Homosexuality isn’t unnatural, but gay relationships aren’t the same as heterosexual ones, and gays are 3 percent of the population not 10. If women want to be in combat units then trial them in women’s only units. Accept some women want to work in male dominated professions, but emphasis that men will always dominate these professions. Push for more segregation in schools so males can receive a male-centric education. Draw a distinction between mature heterosexual transsexuals and young feminine-looking transsexuals (who probably do have feminised brains) and discourage the former from having sex change operations (as Asian cultures do).

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  195. Twinkie says:
    @Ex Submarine Officer

    So sad, all that sound and fury for naught, but it is just history now.
     
    I'd like to add this closing to this post, wish I would have thought of it then:

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.

    We are all Hiroo Onoda now.

    I am not quite ready to declare a total defeat and go jungle partisan just yet.

    See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/02/the-emerging-democratic-majority-or-why-we-should-never-predict-the-political-future/

    Although historical trends are obvious retrospectively, they rarely can be predicted with accuracy (otherwise it would be easy to make money in the securities market). Life (and history) is at once and variously progressive, cyclical, random, and at times regressive.

    As you agreed, gun rights have made a huge come back. Although elite sexual mores have changed (“homosexual marriage,” “Girls,” etc.), the mainstream sexual mores have become more traditional in some ways (teens delaying sex and having less of it). Home schooling is increasing. “Right to work” movement is stronger than ever (and radical unionism weaker than ever). The center-right largely controls the state legislatures and governors’ mansions across the country. The Supreme Court is 5-4 center-right, if haltingly and hesitantly.

    Some things are going right.

    The main functional problem, as I see it, is the poor quality of the national conservative leadership class as such, both electorally and organizationally. While the leaders of the left seem to be the best of their bunch, we seem to be getting leftovers while the top brains head to law, business, finance, and other more profitable professional endeavors.

    The untalented tenth that seems to people the national leadership of the (relatively) conservative party and the movement are geniuses at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, time and time again.

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  196. Svigor says:

    several of my married friends tied the knot after having children was no longer even biologically possible.

    So what? You can make anything about anything using that criterion. Hey, look, I just switched to Team Leftist and declared it no longer racist against whites. Huzzah.

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    • Replies: @Melendwyr
    If you asked people whether a man and woman who cannot have children together should be prevented from marrying, almost nobody will say they should - and most of those people would be genuinely angry that the question was seriously asked.

    If you think that modern attitudes towards marriage are wrong-headed, that's fine. But not many people agree with the assertions that need to be accepted for opposition to some kind of 'gay marriage' - whether it's called civil unions or whatever - to make sense.
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  197. Svigor says:

    I saw a guy take a dump in the back seat of a Mercedes once. So, we know cars are not about transportation.

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  198. Melendwyr says: • Website
    @Dave Pinsen
    1) There are benefits to standardized contracts. If people had to get custom contracts to stipulate terms relating to child custody, inheritance issues, etc., etc., fewer would get married.

    2) It is available to everyone. There are just limitations on who their partners can be. That was true before gay marriage, and it's true now.

    How is fewer people getting married, if marriage is customizable rather than standardized, a bad thing?

    And that’s even assuming the point is valid, which is pretty absurd. I’ve never heard anyone suggest that pre-nuptial agreements reduced marriage, quite the opposite. If there were more negotiable options, I strongly suspect people would be more willing to give it a try.

    The lack of justifications for the restrictions on who can take part with whom, given the general understanding of what marriage has become in modern societies, is precisely the point. Childbearing isn’t relevant. Nor is age, once people have reached majority. I fail to see why gender should be considered – especially since sex isn’t necessarily a part of the package.

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    • Replies: @ben tillman

    The lack of justifications for the restrictions on who can take part with whom, given the general understanding of what marriage has become in modern societies, is precisely the point. Childbearing isn’t relevant. Nor is age, once people have reached majority. I fail to see why gender should be considered – especially since sex isn’t necessarily a part of the package.
     
    I don't understand. The institution is pointless aside from the healthy upbringing of children and the orderly transition from one generation to the next.
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  199. Melendwyr says: • Website
    @Svigor

    several of my married friends tied the knot after having children was no longer even biologically possible.
     
    So what? You can make anything about anything using that criterion. Hey, look, I just switched to Team Leftist and declared it no longer racist against whites. Huzzah.

    If you asked people whether a man and woman who cannot have children together should be prevented from marrying, almost nobody will say they should – and most of those people would be genuinely angry that the question was seriously asked.

    If you think that modern attitudes towards marriage are wrong-headed, that’s fine. But not many people agree with the assertions that need to be accepted for opposition to some kind of ‘gay marriage’ – whether it’s called civil unions or whatever – to make sense.

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  200. WhatEvvs [AKA "Bemused"] says:
    @Priss Factor
    Political Correctness works according to a certain logic.

    The effectiveness of PC depends on how the game is rigged.

    Palestinian-Americans can be PC as much as they want in attacking Zionist Jews, but their PC won't go very far as Prof. Salaita found out.
    They are not favored by the Ivory Tower of PC.

    Mexican-Americans can criticize blacks for 'racist' attacks and crimes on brown community. It won't go very far because it's not the narrative favored by Jewish elites who control the media.

    Feminists have been totally vicious and aggressive against white males(especially conservatives), and one might assume that Feminist power has much to do with PC aggressiveness. But that's a fallacy. It's not aggression alone that does the trick.

    For instance, if feminists attacked the 'gay' community with rage or denigrating womanhood by promoting transgenderism and the notion that a homo's anus has the same 'sexual' value as the vagina, they would be attacked and reviled as 'homophobic' and 'transphobic'. If feminists attacked the black community for all the rapes on women, they would be attacked and reviled as 'racist'. If feminists attacked the Orthodox Jewish community 24/7 for its 'archaic' views on women, it would be attacked as 'antisemitic'.

    So, PC rage is only effective in relation to the rules of the game, and the game is rigged by terminology that 'sacralizes' certain groups over others.

    So, even though much of the fashion industry that commoditizes women is run by homos, 'white men' get the blame. Even though Jews control porn, 'white men' get the blame for using women as property. Even though black men are top rapists, white men get the blame for 'rape culture'.

    Indeed, notice that white progs who fume and throw fits over some issue turn into total pussy cats if the 'bad guys' of the same issue are changed. If a feminist organization yelled 'rape culture' and help up a picture of a white guy, all the women will scream and throw fits. But if the organization held up a picture of a black guy, there will be sudden silence. If it held up a picture of a Jewish porn merchant, there will be silence. If it held up a sign of a homo fashion mogul who uses women as Stepford Wife like dolls, there will be silence. Because the terminology taboo-izes 'antisemitism', 'racism', and 'homophobia', even the angriest feminists know when to hush hush about stuff. But just hold up a picture of a white guy, and they are barking and foaming at the mouth again.
    Notice how the Vagina Monologue was silenced because of transgenderism. It became Vagina Muteness.

    It's like Chinese will bark and foam about the evil Japanese but will go shhhhhh about the Communist Party that killed tens of millions. The terminology in China has 'evil Japs' but nothing about evil Mao and vicious commies.

    There is also the factor of Political Cocktails. Guys like Douthat want to be invited to Political Cocktail Parties, and being 'anti-gay marriage' makes one not merely wrong but a pariah. The position on 'gay marriage' is no longer a choice. It is a decree if you want to be invited to parties.
    Power of vanity is crucial to the haute crowd.

    Guys like Douthat want to be invited to Political Cocktail Parties

    Huh? This is the second time I’ve read this here. Was it someone else or are you repeating yourself?

    Douthat strikes me as being very principled and not caring about winning popularity contests anywhere, much less liberal ones. What evidence do you have that he cares about courting liberal good will? (I’m assuming that you are not speaking literally.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    "Douthat strikes me as being very principled and not caring about winning popularity contests anywhere, much less liberal ones. What evidence do you have that he cares about courting liberal good will?"

    ...
    He is also a vile hater of Twilight.
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  201. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    From an old interview with Paris Review, some thoughts on PC from Michel Houellebecq. Rather apropos with regard to Chait:

    INTERVIEWER

    Your last novel, The Possibility of an Island, ends in a desolate world populated by solitary clones. What made you imagine this grim future in which humans are cloned before they reach middle age?

    HOUELLEBECQ

    I am persuaded that feminism is not at the root of political correctness. The actual source is much nastier and dares not speak its name, which is simply hatred for old people. The question of domination between men and women is relatively secondary—important but still secondary—compared to what I tried to capture in this novel, which is that we are now trapped in a world of kids. Old kids. The disappearance of patrimonial transmission means that an old guy today is just a useless ruin. The thing we value most of all is youth, which means that life automatically becomes depressing, because life consists, on the whole, of getting old.

    Read More
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  202. @Melendwyr
    How is fewer people getting married, if marriage is customizable rather than standardized, a bad thing?

    And that's even assuming the point is valid, which is pretty absurd. I've never heard anyone suggest that pre-nuptial agreements reduced marriage, quite the opposite. If there were more negotiable options, I strongly suspect people would be more willing to give it a try.

    The lack of justifications for the restrictions on who can take part with whom, given the general understanding of what marriage has become in modern societies, is precisely the point. Childbearing isn't relevant. Nor is age, once people have reached majority. I fail to see why gender should be considered - especially since sex isn't necessarily a part of the package.

    The lack of justifications for the restrictions on who can take part with whom, given the general understanding of what marriage has become in modern societies, is precisely the point. Childbearing isn’t relevant. Nor is age, once people have reached majority. I fail to see why gender should be considered – especially since sex isn’t necessarily a part of the package.

    I don’t understand. The institution is pointless aside from the healthy upbringing of children and the orderly transition from one generation to the next.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Melendwyr
    Ridiculous. Couples with children are less likely to divorce than those without - presumably they're either happier or stick together for the children's sake - but divorces are permitted even when kids are involved.

    If as various science fiction works have suggested we abolished 'marriage' and had time-limited childrearing contracts instead, it's not obvious to me that the statistics would change massively. The people who wish to break up now, do so - marriage is easy to get into and easy to get out of.
    , @Twinkie

    The institution is pointless aside from the healthy upbringing of children and the orderly transition from one generation to the next.
     
    Gott im Himmel!

    What nihilistic barbarism!

    Marriage is both procreative AND unitive! That is to say, it is the wellspring of the next generation and it also brings two souls, male and female, together as one, in a beautiful state of oneness. And it is through the bliss of marriage that we mortals gain a brief glimpse into paradise, that is, a place without time and a time without place, a sacred state.

    With such a "utilitarian" view of marriage, how are men and women to know about love, the core essence of which is sacrifice, to give without the expectation of reciprocation?

    "Institution"? "Pointless"? What sad and depressing things to read.
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  203. Melendwyr says: • Website
    @ben tillman

    The lack of justifications for the restrictions on who can take part with whom, given the general understanding of what marriage has become in modern societies, is precisely the point. Childbearing isn’t relevant. Nor is age, once people have reached majority. I fail to see why gender should be considered – especially since sex isn’t necessarily a part of the package.
     
    I don't understand. The institution is pointless aside from the healthy upbringing of children and the orderly transition from one generation to the next.

    Ridiculous. Couples with children are less likely to divorce than those without – presumably they’re either happier or stick together for the children’s sake – but divorces are permitted even when kids are involved.

    If as various science fiction works have suggested we abolished ‘marriage’ and had time-limited childrearing contracts instead, it’s not obvious to me that the statistics would change massively. The people who wish to break up now, do so – marriage is easy to get into and easy to get out of.

    Read More
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  204. Twinkie says:
    @ben tillman

    The lack of justifications for the restrictions on who can take part with whom, given the general understanding of what marriage has become in modern societies, is precisely the point. Childbearing isn’t relevant. Nor is age, once people have reached majority. I fail to see why gender should be considered – especially since sex isn’t necessarily a part of the package.
     
    I don't understand. The institution is pointless aside from the healthy upbringing of children and the orderly transition from one generation to the next.

    The institution is pointless aside from the healthy upbringing of children and the orderly transition from one generation to the next.

    Gott im Himmel!

    What nihilistic barbarism!

    Marriage is both procreative AND unitive! That is to say, it is the wellspring of the next generation and it also brings two souls, male and female, together as one, in a beautiful state of oneness. And it is through the bliss of marriage that we mortals gain a brief glimpse into paradise, that is, a place without time and a time without place, a sacred state.

    With such a “utilitarian” view of marriage, how are men and women to know about love, the core essence of which is sacrifice, to give without the expectation of reciprocation?

    “Institution”? “Pointless”? What sad and depressing things to read.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dcite
    It's part of a plan, Twinkie. A plan laid years ago, no pun intended.
    , @Truth

    it is the wellspring of the next generation and it also brings two souls, male and female, together as one, in a beautiful state of oneness. And it is through the bliss of marriage that we mortals gain a brief glimpse into paradise, that is, a place without time and a time without place, a sacred state.
     
    LOL, you are one of those dudes chicks write romance novels about.
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  205. Priss Factor [AKA "K. Arujo"] says:
    @WhatEvvs

    Guys like Douthat want to be invited to Political Cocktail Parties
     
    Huh? This is the second time I've read this here. Was it someone else or are you repeating yourself?

    Douthat strikes me as being very principled and not caring about winning popularity contests anywhere, much less liberal ones. What evidence do you have that he cares about courting liberal good will? (I'm assuming that you are not speaking literally.)

    “Douthat strikes me as being very principled and not caring about winning popularity contests anywhere, much less liberal ones. What evidence do you have that he cares about courting liberal good will?”


    He is also a vile hater of Twilight.

    Read More
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  206. dcite says:
    @Twinkie

    The institution is pointless aside from the healthy upbringing of children and the orderly transition from one generation to the next.
     
    Gott im Himmel!

    What nihilistic barbarism!

    Marriage is both procreative AND unitive! That is to say, it is the wellspring of the next generation and it also brings two souls, male and female, together as one, in a beautiful state of oneness. And it is through the bliss of marriage that we mortals gain a brief glimpse into paradise, that is, a place without time and a time without place, a sacred state.

    With such a "utilitarian" view of marriage, how are men and women to know about love, the core essence of which is sacrifice, to give without the expectation of reciprocation?

    "Institution"? "Pointless"? What sad and depressing things to read.

    It’s part of a plan, Twinkie. A plan laid years ago, no pun intended.

    Read More
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  207. Truth says:
    @Twinkie

    The institution is pointless aside from the healthy upbringing of children and the orderly transition from one generation to the next.
     
    Gott im Himmel!

    What nihilistic barbarism!

    Marriage is both procreative AND unitive! That is to say, it is the wellspring of the next generation and it also brings two souls, male and female, together as one, in a beautiful state of oneness. And it is through the bliss of marriage that we mortals gain a brief glimpse into paradise, that is, a place without time and a time without place, a sacred state.

    With such a "utilitarian" view of marriage, how are men and women to know about love, the core essence of which is sacrifice, to give without the expectation of reciprocation?

    "Institution"? "Pointless"? What sad and depressing things to read.

    it is the wellspring of the next generation and it also brings two souls, male and female, together as one, in a beautiful state of oneness. And it is through the bliss of marriage that we mortals gain a brief glimpse into paradise, that is, a place without time and a time without place, a sacred state.

    LOL, you are one of those dudes chicks write romance novels about.

    Read More
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