Thursday, June 22, 2017

Even I Can Tell That The AHCA Won't Work

No individual mandate.
End of story.

Dems Seethe After Georgia Loss: "Our Brand Is Worse Than Trump"

   If history has taught us anything, the cause of the loss will be identified as "failing to communicate our message effectively."
   It's never the content of the "message," of course. Neither the Dems nor the Pubs ever admit that their ideas might be bad or unpopular.

The AMA Throws Its Weight Behind Transgender Ideology

Of course speaking out against this makes you (i.e. me) a kook and a bigot...but, look, absolutely everyone should be alarmed as hell about this.
  This is the AMA--which should have nothing to do with this issue--throwing its weight behind a radically confused and false theory that has been foisted onto the culture by political extremists. One very specific, outre theory of transgenderism has been declared true. Its truth is simply presupposed by the "mainstream media," and any dissent from the theory has been, in effect, declared bigotry. The theory entails significant social changes (e.g. the elimination of sex-segregated public restrooms, locker rooms and sports). Such changes should never be implemented without careful consideration--but the suppression of dissent prevents this from happening. A radical political position based on outlandishly bizarre philosophical theories is being represented as an obvious, irrefutable, even scientific truth. Though: it's somehow both scientific and moral, in that dissent from it is morally impermissible.
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Leftward, Ever Leftward: From Same-Sex Marriage To Polygamy Edition

Remember how, during the discussion of legalizing same-sex marriage, it was bigoted and hateful to suggest that it would lead to legalizing polygamous marriage?
   I'm not going to argue against polygamous marriage. I don't have any in principle moral objections to polygamous relationships, though I suspect that polygamous marriage would be a social train wreck. But I don't really have settled opinions here. I really am just gesturing at a kind of limited meta-point: that we already have reason to believe that people who said that same-sex marriage was likely to lead to polygamous marriage were right. At least they were probably right about putting polygamous marriage up for serious discussion. I myself was certain for years that there was no link between SSM and PM, and only came to believe that I had been wrong very late in the game.
   Here's a more expansive meta-point: I've also come to think that, when the left pushes for something, it's important to recognize that it's commonly just the next step in a long march leftward. I'm not exactly sure what that means for our thinking about such proposals. One possibility is: slippery slope criticisms against proposals from the left are more valid than they tend to be in other contexts.
   I suppose I'm becoming more interested in--and perhaps even sympathetic to--a kind of conservative argument that, I suppose, must go something like: a whole lot of the time, our real choice is between keeping the imperfect practice we have or taking the first step on a slippery slope to crazy chaos. But I'm constitutionally averse to that idea.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Left vs. Right: Kansas and Illinois

So I read blogs on both the left and the right. Different worlds, man. Different worlds...
   Here's one thing: liberals and conservatives are obsessed with the failure of different states. Liberals are obsessed with Kansas. Conservatives are obsessed with Illinois. Plenty of leftish types believe that Kansas is wrecked, and that conservative policies did it. Plenty of rightish types believe that Illinois is wrecked, and that liberal policies did it. (Needless to say, these positions are not mutually exclusive...)
   I don't have any position at all about either Kansas or Illinois. I've tended to just absorb the view that Kansas is f*cked because that's the word among people I'm used to agreeing with. But I really don't have any idea what's going on.
   But it does give us a kind of a little empirical test of which side is more delusional... I just don't know what the evidence indicates.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Good News About The Eastern APA Elections

I can say, on the basis of actual personal experience, that at least one of the failed candidates has no business being anywhere near even the modicum of power associated with the laughably tragic APA. The fact that she lost is good...but the fact that she was a candidate at all seems to be evidence that something's rotten at the APA. And that's not the only evidence, not by a long shot.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Camille Paglia: On Trump, Democrats, Transgenderism, And Islamic Terror

Oh, Camille Paglia... Such a nut, but right about so much.
   She says this, which I think is really wrong, toward the end:
   "The categories 'trans-man' and 'trans-woman' are highly accurate and deserving of respect.'
   Those aren't real categories, and the terms are highly inaccurate...and so, qua categories and terms, they don't deserve respect. Which, of course, doesn't mean that people who classify themselves that way and use such terms don't deserve respect--because every good person deserves respect. Even the philosophically confused. Which is a good thing for all of us, no doubt...
   But anyway, Paglia is a wild man (as it were), and this is worth a read, says me.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Kenan Malik: In Defense Of Cultural Appropriation

Right on.
I'd add:
Malik is discussing two important, but conceptually distinct, problems:
          [1] Cultural appropriation is bullshit
          [2] Disagreeing with the crazy left can get you fired.
[1] is just another issue--another crazy aspect of the crazy weltanschauung of the crazy left. [2] is a meta-problem, arching over the other problems: the crazy, PC left and its progressive "allies"/enablers wield great cultural power, and they can destroy those who fail to slavishly follow their crazy orthodoxies.
Too much? Am I sounding crazy/dogmatic?
Eh, it's hard to be objective when you're TOTALLY RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING.
   Malik cites cases in Canada...but Canada has no First Amendment analog...(er...does it?)...but it seems to be just a bit farther down the same trajectory we are on. (Not that we shouldn't worry about Canada per se, because we should, we should.) And we could cite cases here.
   IMO [2] is a force multiplier.
   Nope...scratch that. [2] is the main problem. Kinda sorta the heart of the matter. Without [2], the theory of "cultural appropriation" could be considered and rejected. Or, hell, accepted...because maybe CA is a real thing. State your case. I'll listen. That's the difference between you and me. (You PCs...not you you, dear reader...) [2] is soft totalitarianism. And hard misologism. Undermine [2] and everything else takes care of itself. Human reason deals with such things like running water deals with rocks.
   So sayeth me, anyway, already having my first Knob Creek rye of the weekend down my hatch...

[Link via Leiter's digs]

"M, F, Or X: Oregon Becomes The First State To Offer 'Not Specified' Gender Option On I.D. Cards"

I don't see anything wrong with this, practically speaking--which is what probably ought to matter for stuff like this. If we're happy to get by with not specifying sex on driver's licences and suchlike, then why not? We might say, in libertarian mode: that's one less way in which the state is keeping tabs on us. Of course a natural-born citizen's sex will be recorded on their birth certificate. And, as we now think of things anyway, it's important to have a record of this.*
   Anyway: because I'm mostly interested in theoretical points, here are some:
   First, this passes muster if the 'x' simply represents, roughly, not specified, and if it's open to anyone to not specify their sex.
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dems 11 - GOP 2

All-time Congressional baseball game record: 40-39-1.
Kinda intended to vote for the Pubs...but couldn't bring myself to do it.
I'd never watched one and didn't even know about it...but it was pretty damn fun.

The GOP Is Bullshitting Us On Health Care

There seems to be no there there.

Should Mueller Recuse Himself?

Mueller Investigating Trump Obstruction Hypothesis

Obviously this is non-optional.
Presumably the truth will out.

Richard Haier: "No Voice At Vox: Sense And Nonsense About Discussing IQ And Race"

   The most important disagreements between the PC progressives and those of us in the vast middle of the political spectrum concerns the importance of truth and its subordination to ideology. We think that truth matters, and that it should not be subordinated to politics. They disagree. We think that, if there is solid evidence that, for example, there are differences of whatever kind among races, we should face that fact and proceed from there. On the political side: most of us don't think that would undermine liberalism. Differences in innate abilities don't make us unequal before the law. Political correctness is, at its core, the view that facts should be subordinated to politics. When the facts are inconsistent with (leftist--always only leftist...) orthodoxy, then so much the worse for the facts. If p is true but politically incorrect, then belief that p is not only non-obligatory, it is impermissible. To believe that which is politically incorrect is bigotry, and truth is no defense.
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Charges And Arrests In Erdogan Thugs' Attack On Protesters

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

McAuliffe: "We Lose 93,000,000 Americans A Day To Gun Violence"

I have no idea what he was trying to say.

Critical Mass of Crazy: Fire-And-Brimstone Jesus Hawkers At Evergreen State

Those poor cops...
  Ya know what hell is? It's being caught between those two groups. I'm worried that this crazical mass is going to rip the fabric of logical space dread Cthulhu from his dead dreaming in R'lyeh...or some shit.

Another Bernie-Related Attack?; And: Induction and Predesignation

   One of the things I was going to say in that last post was that we all need to commit ourselves ahead of time to conclusions about what it means [ceteris paribus!!] if a mass shooter supports some cause or politician. This is a simple application of the predesignation rule for inductive inference. (As described e.g. in the great-but-unpublished Elements of Critical Thinking (McCarthy)). So, before you find out what cause the shooter supports, you should draw your conclusions about whether the event shows something or nothing about the cause, and what it shows, if anything.
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Bullshitting About The Scalise Shooting

I've got work to do, so I've gotta ignore this story right now, but I foolishly looked at the comments at the Post. One reason our public discussions are so damn stupid is that you can pretty much whatever you want with--usually--no penalty for being wrong.
   A lot of the things being said there support predictions (e.g. This is motivated by liberal hate-mongering; and: Got a gun because of GOP policies, etc.). Imagine how much more sensible such discussions would be if we had to place a wager whenever we said something like this. When there's no price to pay for being stupid, is it any surprise that this sort of thing immediately devolves into idiocy?

Report: Gunmen With Rifles Fire 50+ Shots At GOP Congressmen; Some Hit

Did Someone Open Fire On Congressmen Playing Hoops [Baseball] in Del Ray?