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  • posted a message on A Question For Pro-choicers
    Not to strawman your question, but it sounds a lot like "I have a question for you pro-choicers: would you support eugenics?" Which of course is a far wider-ranging topic than a hypothetical gay gene. (It'd still be a horrifically complicated issue if we also had hypothetical in vitro gene therapy to "turn off" the gay gene or any other undesirable genetic pathway.)

    But maybe this would be a great use for abstinence only education: "The only 100% effective way to not have a gay child is to not have children!"
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Are Right-wingers inherently racist?
    Quote from billydaman
    No, No....NO! You point out this instance likes is the "norm" and in reality, stuff like this is anything but the norm.

    I didn't say it was the norm. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but the point is that it gets a lot of airtime even on the right.

    Quote from billydaman
    You know, you have a point here but this is the exception, not the rule. What get's me is, instead of communicating with the person that saying these offensive things, they immediately go for the political jugular. That's the issue the democrats have, its more important to make political hay out of instances like this to rile up the base to win elections instead of taking steps to address the issue. Do not fool yourself and think Democrat politicians really care about how insensitive some of these people are, all they care about is how they can politicize it.

    Does it matter what the Democratic response is? It's still worrisome that this is basically accepted practice within conservative politics today. I forgot to add people like Phyllis Schlafly who recommended that the GOP oppose immigration because basically only white people vote Republican so they should just double down on courting the white vote (while preventing immigrants from coming here and voting Democrat). Whether or not there's any actual racist thinking there (i.e. whites are better than nonwhites) it's extremely cynical and functionally racist (i.e., favorable to whites over nonwhites, based on some extremely shoddy collective assumptions).
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Polarization in Politics
    Quote from IcecreamMan80
    Not arguing against your point. Gerrymandering has a lot to do with it.

    How do you propose we change it, given it's prevalence and history?

    Register for the dominant party? Grin Seriously though, stealthing in more political diversity could ease the transition to more equitable rules (districts and election laws alike), but in the meantime candidates will have no choice but to contend with rising voices armed with votes.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Are Right-wingers inherently racist?
    Quote from cloudman
    Stephen, personally, I don't see the overabundance of racists on the political right.

    I mean, maybe I'm a victim of observer bias, but just in the last few months we've had Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty:

    I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.

    defended by Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin:

    Quote from Jindal »

    Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with.

    Quote from Palin »

    Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.

    Then there's this asshat politician recommending that Michigan round up all its Native Americans, fence them inside Detroit, and (seriously not kidding) "throw in the blankets and the corn."

    There's this city council member who sent out a pretty unambiguously racist email and barely issued a non-apology when called out for it.

    There's Richard Cohen, who seems to think that it's a "conventional view" that interracial marriage is a nauseating prospect:

    Quote from Cohen »

    Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?)

    And there's the bizarrely still-somehow-relevant Ted Nugent who called President Obama a "sub-human mongrel" in a recent interview.

    The thing that disturbs me about these incidents is that the people involved are in positions of political authority, not on the fringes; and when called out on it, they turn around and accuse everyone else of being the true haters.

    Believe me, as soon as I hear an elected official spout some equivalent nonsense on the left wing (probably something along the lines of "non-white people can't be racist!") I'll shake my head and criticize them just as much. But unless I'm missing something, it's just not happening yet.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Are Right-wingers inherently racist?
    Quote from cloudman
    In my experience a collectivist view of the world is inherently more racist than an individualistic view of the world.

    True, which is why racists tend to conveniently discard any individualist rhetoric (even if they regularly employ it elsewhere). Thus you get various knuckle-draggers blathering on about how, say, "Hispanics have low IQs" or "hurr hurr don't worry about the poors, they're naturally like that" "racialist" nonsense. While the rest of the time affirming their faith that bootstraps and inspiration is all one needs to ascend the social ladder, naturally.

    It might be fairer, though, for the OP's question to be "Are there certain core right-wing beliefs that necessarily lead to racism?" (The same could be asked for core left-wing beliefs, too.) The seeming overabundance of racist attitudes and remarks on the American right stands as evidence, even though there are plenty of conservatives that aren't racist.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Anarcho-Capitalism
    Quote from Fluffy_Bunny
    Unfortunately we dont live in a Sim City so it is not that easy to just re-organize everything. I highly doubt that poor city design had anything to do with auto lobbying and had more to do with the natural growth and progression of a major city.

    Not auto lobbying exclusively, but a lot of "natural" growth of major cities also has a lot of lobbying in the background. Zoning laws, licensing, building codes, parking requirements. That and private transportation has a sort of prestige to it in American culture, so rich people (i.e. the people with time, money, and connections to significantly influence rulemaking, if they aren't rulemakers already) generally don't want to go all in on public transportation stuff. And if they do it's stuff that doesn't crowd out private cars.

    For example, trains. Wink
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Hopefully this isn't offensive: Let's talk about rape
    Quote from bitterroot
    I'm somewhat confused by what you're saying, but let me spell this out very clearly:

    (1) It is difficult for entity A to achieve goal X. A can only achieve X through active persistence or skill.

    (2) It is easy for entity B to achieve goal X. Entity B can achieve X without putting forth much effort or skill.

    Therefore it makes logical sense that people would be impressed or congratulatory when A achieves X, but indifferent when B achieves X.

    Right. But analysis of why it's hard for A and easy for B reveals that other conditions are generally amenable to B and less so for A. No evidence suggests that all other things being equal A should have a harder time than B.

    So in this case: men have a "harder time" having sex with women not because women have lower sex drive (at least not necessarily; there's growing evidence that it's at least on par) but that women tend to say no, whereas men tend to say yes. In the short term* a woman can have sex with as many guys, as a guy can have sex with women, provided he and she are meeting willing partners at equal rates.

    But you can see that most of these parameters are social/behavioral and rather self-reinforcing.

    *i.e. before she actually gets pregnant

    So when you say that a woman can "easily" have sex with many men, whereas it's "more difficult" for a man to have sex with many women... do you mean that social environment? Because that could quite conceivably change. (I feel like it is changing, thanks Internet.) Or do you mean something else?

    Quote from TheLarch
    If you are interested in a reason why, take a step back and first answer the question: By whom.

    You bring up a lot of interesting things re: female perception of gender roles, but I think there's some more obvious cross-gender stuff too. At the risk of trading anecdotes again it seems like a common reaction to a long-unwedded man was something like "what, don't you like women?" whereas a common reaction to a long-unwedded woman was something like "what, nobody wants you?" This is changing but it's a relatively common theme historically.*

    *That I'm aware of. IAmNotA scholar in that regard. But anyway it's not inconceivable that there's something to the "cultural forces" argument.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Hopefully this isn't offensive: Let's talk about rape
    Quote from Jay13x
    Quote from Maraxus of Keld
    So apparently some people have called out Game of Thrones for it's use of rape. Anyone hear about it?

    I've heard about it but I don't think anything in Game of Thrones condones rape. If anything, it's a condemnation of the culture that leads to rapes, especially in times of war.

    Yeah, those sorts of critics seem to have missed the point (or of the bizarre mindset that any depiction of rape is wrong, no matter the context). A more cogent criticism (which the showrunners have listened to and changed post-Season 1, I think) was that sex workers were depicted as more... enthusiastic than might be expected from how most sex workers come into that profession, especially in a Euro-medieval setting.

    Re: rape-prevention messaging, we should also (in addition to reforming sex-ed away from abstinence-only) impress upon everyone the need to look after their friends. Since most of the grey-area sexual situations occur at parties and clubs and such, there is probably a bystander effect that could be averted. For example: if you look over and happen to see someone aggressively pursuing your friend (who is clearly uncomfortable with it), help guide them out of the situation. Conversely, it's great social insurance to have some people you trust to get you out of bad situations (no matter which side you're on).


    Quote from bitterroot
    There is a very simple explanation for this: it is typically much easier for a woman to have sex with many men than it is for a man to have sex with many women (assuming our hypothetical man and woman are equally attractive).

    Yet as you say, this is mostly cultural. Biologically I don't know that it's easier for one than the other.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Hopefully this isn't offensive: Let's talk about rape
    "Don't rape" is a bit too easy though. How many people actually think "yeah, I want to rape so and so" (even as they're doing something well within the sexual-consent gray area, trending towards the Yes Definitely It's Rape zone)? That's why we need communication! And also knowing how pesky human psychology leads us to respond (or not) to certain social situations.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Defeating the Eldrazi
    Speaking of Phyrexia, I wonder if it wouldn't be fun to send the Eldrazi that way... I doubt that 29-dimensional beings from beyond time would be amenable to compleation, but would very much enjoy munching on New Phyrexia.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Anarcho-Capitalism
    Quote from italofoca
    I remembers reading a sci-fi story about a planet with a colony of pacifist anarchist that was able to subvert an expedition from a statist planetary nation by civil disobedience and and showing the rank-and-file of the expedition a better way to live than being cogs in a big government machine. The system analyst in me quickly started seeing problems with the setup since the colony only worked because it had a low population that was spread out over a large area. They had one significant dissenter in their history and that guy went mad before he could do significant damage. Once the colony starts growing, the competition for resources will increase and the dissenters will start banding together into gangs and then armies.

    That sounds like Ursula LeGuin's The Dispossessed. Awesome book, by the way, and one of the better things is that while the statist/authoritarian planet is the clearer "bad society," the anarchist/pacifist planet is only ambigiously "good." There are still signs of corruption (that one professor in the college who selfishly hoards a bunch of books but nobody can really stop him, for example)... the society works, we're told, only because the planet is so arid that it's not really worth it to not cooperate. There's also a big computer that coordinates what jobs need doing, which disappointingly never got a chance to be tested in the real world.

    See also Iain Banks' Culture setting, where the society is pretty darn kickass but also has its various problems. Similarly it helps that the Culture is almost entirely spacefaring (so it behooves one to be polite when there's hard vacuum on the other side of the wall, yet there's lots of room if you want to leave), and governed by godlike machine intelligences (not that they're perfect).
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Anarcho-Capitalism
    Quote from Highroller
    Forget traffic laws, how the hell would roads work in an anarcho-capitalistic society?

    One of the reasons society functions smoothly is specifically because the government owns things like roads and public utilities. Can you imagine having privatized roads? Or privatized electricity? Imagine having a different set of electrical lines for each provider of electricity.

    We do actually have privatized roads already. But yeah, there's the "natural monopoly" issue with these things. Not to mention the difficulty securing property rights and limiting usage to just paying customers, without some serious muscle. With that comes the natural tendency of humans to abuse power and... Wink

    Quote from Highroller
    But how, exactly, does an anarchic system with notions of property and property ownership work? Can I just claim whatever I want? What if two people claim the same plot of land?

    The most credible ideas I've heard presented (i.e. the ones that didn't blather on about for-profit courts, good God) also require many other conditions, like pervasive systems of transparency/accountability, post-scarcity decentralized production, and so on. Of course, the context was a sci-fi wonderland so that should tell us something about contemporary advocates for this sort of thing.


    Quote from Highroller
    Can you imagine the ridiculousness that would result from privatized roads? Imagine competing road companies demanding that you pick a service provider.

    Which is assuming that anyone gets a monopoly on roads and it's not just a fragmented multitude snatching up property wherever they can find because there's no government to regulate who has which property because **** laws.

    I imagine it might play out like telecoms are today: de facto monopolies as the biggest players carve up areas to mutually avoid competition. So (e.g.) New England would be Transit Unlimited, Inc. territory, but the Midwest is RoadCorp...
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Anarcho-Capitalism
    The non-aggression principle is often stated as an axiom (or in your case, a commandment), but it's really dependent on a formulation of what rights people possess, and therefore not a knock-down argument for any political philosophy.

    And really, even if most everyone agrees on a package of natural rights, those rights need to be enforced in some way. And that capacity for force, IMO, is best centralized in a single, democratically accountable entity... i.e. a form of government. Maybe it's a failure of imagination on my part but "competitive providers of force" just screams "roving mercenary warbands" to me.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on To Atheists: Do you see value in faith.
    Quote from Vorthospike
    Quote from StephenMeansMe
    For example, people tend not to disagree with their own God; that is, their views strongly correlate with what they think God's views are (and sometimes against what their church thinks God's views are).

    I'd say the reverse is true. When people change their mind they tend to "discover" that God always agreed with their new belief. The text of Bible has not changed dramatically in the last thousand years but Christianity has morphed and fragmented radically.

    Eh, it's a two-way street. Grin
    Posted in: Religion
  • posted a message on To Atheists: Do you see value in faith.
    Quote from Asterisk
    Nonetheless, literal faith still has value for:

    • Reducing fear of death. Makes it easier to sacrifice self to save lives (or destroy them). Also greatly reduces stress as you get older and know the lights will go out soon.

    • Belief in divine justice minimizes the need for revenge. It's easier to be forgiving when you know someone will dole out the punishment at a later time. Sometimes people think they are the executors of God's judgement on earth, which is bad.

    • Strong, moral codes can advantageous not only to oneself, but to those around them. It the morality is based on doing good for others, everyone within the religious community can have strong, healthy relationships thanks to the moral guidelines established in their faith. It yields more comfortable, positive lives for those involved. If the morality is based on doing good for God, things become more repressive as is we are all failures to the creator and must be hammered into shape.

    • Religious people are easier to control, either self-control or control by others. Belief in God makes it easier for people to minimize their sinning and even use of hard drugs. If someone puts God in control of their lives, it is easier to live the way they choose to live, which would be the way of God. On the other hand, religions have always been involved in state-politics thus the more tangible use of control by religion has been to strengthen the Warlord/Monarch/Despot/State.

    The second and third ones are definitely good ends (the first is... arguable!) but I think imagining that an infinitely powerful magic being has your back can lead to some wonky reasoning, to say the least. For example, people tend not to disagree with their own God; that is, their views strongly correlate with what they think God's views are (and sometimes against what their church thinks God's views are). But the idea that your views enjoy basically infinite agreement (God) makes it very hard to have a non-hardcore-philosophical conversation with people about stuff.

    Similarly, discounting the need for revenge is great for civilization, but removing it to an infinite third-party isn't really solving the problem (as you say, sometimes people think they're God's judges on earth).
    Posted in: Religion
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