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User ID: 1076

Feminism is more a product of the washing machine, the pill and air conditioning than it is political organizing.

I think there is a strong case to consider that the pill is a result of feminism. From to Will Durant's citing Roman sources, it appears that the Romans had abundant access to various herbs and knowledge of practices that could basically prevent pregnancy. And if that all failed, there was always exposure. The Roman elite died out, and were replaced by more very fertile Christians who had a very a hard-line against contraception. And then only after feminism took hold in the 1920s, the Lambeth conference legitimized birth control for the most powerful Anglo-American denomination, states started legalizing birth control, etc. Only after that did companies start investing in research on contraception. In previous eras, they would have simply been forbidden from doing so.

Agreed except that I want to point out that the "serious person" Trump alternative Nikki Haley is every bit of the crackhead that Trump is, in her own way. Saying something "Hamas attacked because it was Putin's birthday" is unhinged and betrays an attitude that would be really dangerous to have in the nation's chief diplomat. Of course, Trump chose as diplomat once, so a pox on him too :-P

MBD of National Review told a story recently of asking his driver why he supports Trump. The driver said he thinks military experience is important and Trump went to a military style school for a while. MBD asked him if he knew that DeSantis actually served in the Navy for six years (as a lawyer) and the driver admitted that he knew this. He just counted Trump's boarding school experience as more relevant than active duty service.

I'm going to with grug-brain more correct than the midwit on this one -- being a JAG lawyer is not relevant military service in the sense that any historical citizen would care about, when thinking about wanting a leader who had proven themselves in the military. In fact, it is probably a net negative, it is anti-military service, in that a JAG lawyer is going to be trained in a way of thinking and operating that is inimical to historically how successful wars were fought and won.

Ideally, you would have a bona fide military veteran and successful general to choose from. But if you have to choose between frauds, the bombastic, even winking, fraud of the Trump is more appealing to some than the sophisticated and self-serious fraud of pretending that being a lawyer gumming up the military operations is something that counts as being a successful warrior for your country.

Maybe the appeal is this: the default politician behavior is to converge with the establishment hive mind on all issues, either actively or passively. A politician who has no firm principles, but who has a proven ability to thumb his nose at the establishment hive mind and to go with his common sense or his gut, would be a huge improvement from the point-of-view of a anti-establishment voter.

If you care about the things that Trump's base cares about (immigration, America first, bringing industry back, stopping the 'woke' agenda, curbing the establishment/Cathedral-state, etc. ) , then for all of Trump's faults, the other options may be even less unappealing:

Haley -- do I need to even explain why she is bad? She is an awful combination of 1) having the worst of neocon foreign policy 2) being an authoritarian on free speech issues 3) being weak against the woke agenda 4) being cynical 5) being dumb as bricks. Desantis -- naive boy scout who is going to be eaten alive. He simply doesn't have the charisma or the guts to take on the establishment. Ramaswamy -- I think he has a lot of trouble overcoming the "who is this guy" problem. Both in the sense of having low name recognition and no history of being a public figure, but also in the sense of how did this Harvard/Yale/Goldman Sachs guy come to be giving Trumpist talking points -- is he sincere or does he think there is a market to be tapped?

The bet with Trump is that maybe he learned from his mistakes and won't staff his administration with GOP establishment types who wanted to cave in on issues and stab Trump in the back.

Is it likely that Trump can learn from his mistakes at age 77 and be a better president this time around? Is it likely that he can overcome is own personal history of not having the back of the people who supported him or worked form him? Very doubtful.

The basic reality is that right now all the presidential options are terrible.

The Catholic Church has always maintained:

  • same-sex marriage is an impossibility
  • same-sex sexual/erotic relationships are disordered, immoral and sinful.
  • Priests should not bless sin
  • Priests have wide discretion to give blessings to anyone and everyone, for mundane things and important things, even and especially to sinners. Eg you have the priest bless your pet or your hunting rifle or many other things. It would be possible to ask for a blessing in a business partnership or a promise of livelong brotherly love and friendship.
  • Priests should not give blessings to same-sex unions, or give any blessings to same sex couples in a way that would be scandalous (ie make it seem it is giving approval to sinful behavior) or that would create confusion with a sacramental marriage or confusion about church doctrine.

The recently released document reiterates all those points. The ABC headline is simply false

However, the thing that the liberals in the church are excited about is the changing emphasis in terms of pastoral care:

Paragraph 12. One must also avoid the risk of reducing the meaning of blessings to this point of view alone, for it would lead us to expect the same moral conditions for a simple blessing that are called for in the reception of the sacraments. Such a risk requires that we broaden this perspective further. Indeed, there is the danger that a pastoral gesture that is so beloved and widespread will be subjected to too many moral prerequisites, which, under the claim of control, could overshadow the unconditional power of God’s love that forms the basis for the gesture of blessing.

Paragraph 13. Precisely in this regard, Pope Francis urged us not to “lose pastoral charity, which should permeate all our decisions and attitudes” and to avoid being “judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.”[11] Let us then respond to the Holy Father’s proposal by developing a broader understanding of blessings.

So previously maybe two gay men walk into the church and ask the priest, "Can you bless our dedication of life-long love to each other?" The priest is wary and says, "Wait ... love 'amore' or love 'caritas'?" So the priest asks some questions, figures out they are asking him to bless a marriage-like relationship, a sexual relationship, and the priest would refuse it because such a blessing would be scandalous.

After this document, a liberal priest now has a winking approval from a Vatican that he is allowed to play ignorant and not "subject the couple to moral prerequisites" and avoid "being a judge who rejects." So instead of asking about the nature of their relationship or telling them to go and sin no more, he may give a blessing like, "may all that is true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and their relationships be enriched, healed, and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit."

Intelligence agencies didn't care enough to fake them, or actively chose not to. This explanation also seems unlikely because of the predictable and dire consequences, as I cover above, for the CIA's operational reach, of the intelligence failure and the subsequent extreme reluctance by future administrations to commit ground forces to regime change operations.

Why on earth are you modeling the CIA as a unified, rational agent?

The question is: what individuals inside the CIA would personally have the incentive or motive to organize a conspiracy to fake the WMD? Seems like there would be very little upside to any individual, and quite a bit of downside (if you try to induct into your conspiracy someone who then spills the beans and gets everyone in big trouble).

In the dissident circles I travel in, I've seen the phrase "sex positive traditionalist" as an alternative to both progressive sexual attitudes and to sex-negative conservative attitudes. The sex-positive-traditionalist would rather men and women not be promiscuous, we would rather see people only have sex in marriage and to have children. However, this view differs from the "purity culture" conservatives of the 00's. That culture -- especially the more wordly moderately conservative Christians and the more worldy Catholics -- told teens to wait until marriage but then put their kids on the college->grad school->career track at the expense of the marriage track. They would also encourage very long engagements. Following such a plan forced adherents to either be very sex negative, they would have to wait for a long time to get married and have sex, or, more likely, the kids would get tired of waiting and drop the religion. Whereas a "sex positive traditionalist" would prioritize early marriage over going to college.

Specifically in terms of Catholic pastoral care, "sex positive traditionalism" would mean giving long-dating or cohabitating couples a shotgun marriage and telling them to go forth and make babies, rather than telling them to move out of the same apartment and live chastely for a year as they go through a lengthy "pre-cana" process.

The sex-positive-traditionalist is also very pro sex within marriage, believing in that there is moral an obligation to perform the "marital act", even when one spouse perhaps has not been feeling it for a few days. Whereas the contemporary progressive is horrified at the idea that a married woman be pressured into sex or have some obligation to give sex.

I'm almost inclined to view Napolean as a force of nature rather than as "good" or "bad."

He was a man of incredible talent, incredible will, he was both a man of action and intellectually a total mensch. Thus, anyone who wants to achieve something in the world, can profit from studying his life.

But, what he accomplished, he accomplished for his own visions. The results were in the end catastrophic for the men who followed him, as they starved and froze to death in the Russian winter. The results for France itself were a mixed bag.

But it is hard for me to cry too many tears about the fate of his followers or of his victims. The institutions that fell were old and rotting. The men who followed him, chose to do so, if they were captivated by his amoral visions of conquest and were willing to subjugate themselves to his vision, then I cannot say they deserved better. We all die in the end.

I, an amateur to the Napoleonic wars, wandered away from Ridley Scott's Napoleon feeling more or less pleased with my night.

I haven't seen the movie and don't intend to after reading the American Sun review and others. From what I've heard the main problem is that they turned one of the most charismatic men in history into a mumbling bumbling clingy loser.

Last year I did a big Shakespeare read and discovered to my surprise that many of the famous quotes, in context, mean something very different than how they are popularly used. For instance, when Mark Antony says, "I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him" he is lying and goes on to praise him and foment a revolution. Now, when I see someone playing on that quote in a title, I never know if they are using the surface meaning or the in-context meaning.

  • Large conspiracies like faking the moon landing would require so many people to be in on it as to be impossible to maintain. So concepts like “The Cathedral”

The whole point of "The Cathedral" is that it is not a conspiracy. It is a phenomenon of distributed, public coordination -- there is no inner-party doing the coordination.. It is a herd. A very powerful, important herd, and one that continually defies any attempt to be named. There are microconspiracies within the Cathedral (journolist, Climategate, etc.) There are super-influencers who to some extent can move the herd. But the overall phenomena is a herd phenomena that is not generally based on secret coordination, but rather everyone looking to their left and to their right to stay in line. "The Cathedral" has a very enviable ability in that every time someone tries to coin a term for it "The System" "The Establishment" "The Uniparty" they manage to make associate usage of the term with being a kook or "conspiracy theorist."

People with a classical education could also talk all about the Roman Republic and French Revolution. We can't teach everything, and I'd much prefer to double down on stuff that's real than stuff that's fiction.

In general I'd agree, there was way too much fiction -- especially bad contemporary literary fiction -- in my high school curriculum. But certain works of fiction are of such cultural importance that they keep getting referenced by historical figures, so it is very helpful to have read the original so you know they talk about. Perhaps part of the problem with Shakespeare is that schools spend too much time over-analyzing it (badly). And often, they don't even watch a good production of it. It should be possible to get through a play in about 10 hours, including both reading it, watching it, and reading a commentary on it. Spending 60 hours total out of 6,000 hours of total schooling on Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, and two comedies seems like a good use of time to me. I'd throw in a few histories as well, integrated in with a history course on that subject.

On one hand, I agree that classic logic and rhetoric should be included in any elite education, along with statistics and exercises in doing historical primary source research and discovery. However, if you try teaching these things to a midwit, they will just start accusing everyone of "having confirmation bias" instead of "being stupid", they won't actually apply these concepts accurately, just use them as smart-sounding replacements for classic insults.

That said, in order to think well, it's important so simply have a lot of knowledge about the world. You can't be a good thinker in a vacuum. You need high quality information to feed in all those Bayesian priors. If the BBC publishes an article about 10% of Britain being black in the 1300s and black women being hardest hit by the plague, if you have a grounding in lots of historical knowledge about the world of that time period, including lots of primary sources and literature, then you will have a lot better intuition about whether that claim is likely true or absolutely ridiculous.

Learning about Shakespeare and studying themes in classic novels, while not completely useless, is less useful than learning about real historical events.

Kids do something like 6,000 hours of school-time and schoolwork over the four years of high school, there is plenty of time to do both. Storm of Steel should of course be required reading. I think it would be cool if elite students read the Shakespeare historical plays, watched multiple play versions, and then read the actual primary source history and the secondary source history. You learn the literature, you learn the history, you learn about propaganda and how the magic of storytelling works, you break out of the present and immerse yourself in a world very different than ours.

IMO, it's important to read primary sources and the classics. First, multiple generations have concluded that these sources were edifying, whereas a new book is much more likely to be of low quality that will soon be forgotten (the Lindy effect0. Second, classic sources help you eliminate "presentism" and build a basic common sense and historical grounding for how the world works. It's easy to read a history book in 2023 and have also sorts of current ideologies imposed on the past, you may read about how terrible the patriarchy was and how everyone was secretly gay, etc, but if you actually immerse yourself in primary sources I think you come to a much more complex, interesting, and realistic view about the past. Even if the play itself is fiction, all the assumptions built into the background of the play tell you a lot about the people who created such a play and the people who watched it.

But when talking about reforming high school, the elephant in the room is that most kids should not be in high school, at least not until age 18. If your IQ is around 105, you probably should be done with school once you can write a business letter and know enough math to do some carpentry or double-entry book-keeping for your business. If your IQ is 95, you should be done with school once you can do basic reading and know enough math to make change. Sticking the majority of kids on an academic-heavy track is not doing anybody, any good.

I think a lot of book-smart millennials were socialized into a culture that pattern-matches anything Republican/Fox News/"homophobic" as morally bad and scientifically wrong. The big battle they witnessed was that of gay rights, where the people who not on board with gay rights in the early 2000s were, in the eyes of the culture, proven to be morally in the wrong. So the instinct is that the LGBQT/NPR team is the good guys, and the trad Christian conservatives the anti-science bad guys. This generation was also raised in a culture (epitomized Jon Stewart) where you didn't carefully examine both sides of the debate, one side was good, and the other side only deserves mocking and derision.

Meanwhile if you transition around the start of puberty, you don't have to do any of these surgeries - you'll go through the rest of your life as a normal-looking member of the opposite sex, and won't have to go through the trauma of watching your body turn into something that gives you psychological pain every day. There's only one surgery you might have to do and that's sex reassignment surgery, and there I don't have any issue with not allowing minors to go through it.

Jazz Jennings seems to be going through plenty of psychological pain.

This not an honest presentation of the pros and cons of early transition. You are listing out the possible pros of early transition while forgetting the massive, elephant-in-the-room con: the child will likely be sterilized, they will likely never be able to have their own biological children, and may never have any proper sexual function or ability to orgasm. Again, see Jazz Jennings. No child is prepared to make that decision, no adult should be making that decision for a child.

What's the number of kids who are put on puberty blocking or cross-sex hormones?

In comparison, gender-affirming surgeries on cis minors are about 20 times more common.

Do these surgeries prevent the child from ever becoming a breast-feeding mother?

I still tend to have a lot of trust for economists, but that is maybe because I have found economists I actually trust, and I don't read the economists that would ruin my trust.

They were the first class of experts to lose my trust, after 2008. Hmm, actually, maybe the second after Iraq and the GWOT. Of course I never believed the "gender" and "psychology" experts in the first place, so there is that too.

An individual saying "food costs more than it used to" is exactly what inflation is, and exactly what inflation statistics are supposed to measure. If the statistics don't match the experience, then the statistics are wrong.

Not necessarily:

  1. The person might live in a particular geographic location which has particularly bad inflation.
  2. The person might suffer selective outrage, noticing the prices that have risen the most, but ignoring products whose prices have remained flat, and ignoring that if you actually average them all out they do match the government numbers.
  3. The person might have specific shopping habits that don't match those of the average consumer.
  4. The inflation on particular product SKU's often exceeds CPI inflation as corporations try to sneak by price increases on lazy existing customers, while giving discounted prices to new customers. So you see the product list price go up and think high inflation. But maybe you forgot about that time you called your cable company, threatened to cancel, got your SKU slightly changed, and are actually are paying the same as you were three years ago for a bundle that is just as satisfactory. And when you average it all out, the actually increase in what you pay is not as high as the increase in the list price.

Going back to the example of bias in policing that I mentioned earlier, I’d say that the vast majority of people on this forum would say that you can’t really use “lived experiences” to contradict data.

I think that almost no one believes data that contradicts what they see with their own eyes. And that is good, because there are million ways data can be limited, poorly recorded, confounded, erroneous, etc. And that applies a hundred times more so to numbers that are not "data" but complex statistical creations.

Data is useful as a check on personal experience. If the two contradict, then one simply has to do the work to see which is more likely to be wrong. There is no shortcut.

The one that bothers me personally is when I've seen people point to total crime data to show that crime hasn't risen in the major US cities. But as someone who lives in such a city, I know that simply reporting a crime is a very burdensome process of waiting hours for the police show up, and the police won't do anything anyways. I know that many (most) people don't report crimes in the city that would likely be reported as a crime in the burbs. Thus total crime number is rate-limited by the police capacity to arrive on the scene and take down a report; it has nothing to do with the actual rate of minor crimes. Thus trend data is absolutely useless. But you would only know this if you knew actually knew something about the city in question, and didn't blindly think that "data" is the highest source of truth.

However, we should remember why the specific phrase "lived experience" became the target of much ire. People have forever validly cited personal anecdotes during debates; but citing "lived experience" was a novel and obnoxious argumentation tactic. The appeal to "lived experience" was specifically being made when the person could not actually specifically describe the evidence they had seen with their own eyes. Rather than say something specific like, "I've had X many racist interactions in these situations in Y years ..." etc the person citing "lived experience" was citing something far more amorphous and undefinable. Or, the context was often that the person citing "lived experience" was claiming the sole right to interpret events that had happened to them. So person A says, "I have experience racism all the time, such as people asking me where I am really from." And B says, "Eh, I don't think that is racist, white people get asked about their ancestry to, that's just a result of living in a country that is a melting pot" and person A then responds, "how dare you deny my lived experience of racism."

In contrast something like this is a valid contribution to a debate:

HlynkaCG says he “has receipts” and linked to a 2 year old post where his local price of cheap meat went from $5/lb to $6.75 (a 35% increase) whereas the national meat price index at the time had only gone up by 9.5% over that period.

HlynkaCG's claims are worth taking seriously. We should investigate this discrepancy. And maybe we find that he just had the bad luck of liking one kind of meat which has risen in price the most and when you do a more broad analysis the government numbers are correct... or maybe we find that the government economists are actually cooking the books.

The better alternative is to use other economic data to make a point. If you think unemployment numbers don’t show the true extent of the problem, for instance, you can cite things like the prime age working ratio if you think people are discouraged from looking for work.

This only works if accurate and relevant data actually exists in published form, which often it does not. You must avoid the "looking for the keys under the lamppost fallacy."

Do you think Ezra’s lived experiences are a valid rebuttal here?

It's at least worthy of further investigation. Where did Ezra live? Who are his friends? If he grew up in a rich suburbs and all his black friends were friends he made at the Black Student Union at a private boarding school, then the reason for the discrepancy becomes obvious. His friend circle is not at all representative of the general population. If Ezra lived in very typical black neighborhood in south-side Chicago and all his friends were all from the neighborhood and public school, then his claims would be puzzling and worthy of more investigation. If Ezra was the only person saying this, I might think he was just making it up, or was ignorant of his friends behavior. But if other people like Ezra kept making the same claim, I might suspect there was something wrong with the government data.

In reality though, your Ezra is fictional The anecdotal evidence, even as supported by black activists like Ta-Nehisi Coates, corroborate the FBI numbers. Personally, I don't believe that blacks have a higher crime rate solely because of the FBI data, I believe it because of lots of anecdotes and from what I see with my own eyes. Actually, based on what I read from news stories and what I see with my own eyes, the FBI data likely significantly understates the black crime problem, because FBI data does not distinguish public crime (knock-out game against strangers) from private crime (eg, a bar fight).

Even if the story has no material affect on my life, I am still surrounded by people who care about it, and in turn expect me to care about it. Should the conversation emerge at my place of work (so far it hasn't, and for that I am extremely grateful), I may be asked for my opinion, and my genuine opinion would piss off everyone in the room.

How about: "I'm on a fast from following the news cycle in order to focus my mental energies on friends and family and my own well-being. But from the nuggets that I have heard, it all sounds terrible and tragic. I pray for peace." If you know the person's affiliation, maybe also give a nod of sympathy toward their position.

TBH, I'm a bit relieved that we finally have a Current Thing that I do not have to follow all that closely, because there is nothing actionable about it for me. For this conflict, following events closely and really figuring out what is going on doesn't seem to have any prospect of informing important decisions that I might have to make, so I can hopefully just mostly ignore it.

To be fair, that's been the Catholic Church's stated position for opposing birth control since the 1960s. See below the relevant section of Pope Paul VI's Humane Vitae:

Exactly. Since America conquered achieved world hegemony after World War II, the Catholic Church leadership have wanted to avoid cancellation (ie, losing non-profit status, having Catholics being auto-excluded from being members of the bar, being dis-invited from all establishment media, and also Catholics just generally not wanting to seem like fuddy-duddy "bad guys" by the standards of progressive morality, etc. etc.) and so have tried to put a more modern/feminist spin on long-standing teachings. So in the past 60 years, the Catholic Church has emphasized the angle of "we are actually the real feminists because sexual sin is a case of men hurting women,"

No, the unpopularity of sin/policing rhetoric isn’t due to fear of cancellation. It derives from the general loss in status of religion.

That's...the same thing.

Religious conservatives and sex-negative feminists both agree that casual sex in the society that exists is inherently degrading to women, that women should choose not to engage in it, and that men should be punished for engaging in it.

A problem here is that the religious conservatives who are allowed to speak in mainstream outlets under their real name have to make concessions to feminism in order to not get cancelled. So they have to argue that the real problem with feminism is that men will take advantage of women. They have trouble arguing directly that hooking up is a sin for women, a sin that many women will indulge in if allowed, and that women must be policed too, and not just men. However, these conservatives who making the socially acceptable right-wing argument, aren't actually accurately representing what the typical right-wing conservative man actually deep-down believes.

This is similar to the "Democrats are the real racists" trope that mainstream conservatives (at the National Review, etc.) get trapped in. To avoid cancellation, they can't just argue that affirmative action is bad because it is bad for whites. They have to make the argument that affirmative action is bad because it is actually bad for black people, because of "mismatch" or the "soft bigotry of low expectations" or because it won't prepare blacks for the "real world." Ultimately, these arguments do not work (the left can just extend affirmative action entirely through a person's career) and the conservative ends up just ceding the moral high ground to the left.

I’d argue that the more or less unstated promise of the Sexual Revolution to young single women was that: a) they will be sexually free without inviting social shame i.e. normalized sexual experimentation and promiscuity on their part will not have an unfavorable long-term effect on men’s attitudes towards them, and women will not sexually shame one another anymore b) they will be able to leave their constrictive gender roles to the extent they see fit, but this will not lead to social issues and anomie because men will be willing to fill those roles instead i.e. men will have no problem becoming stay-at-home dads, nurses, kindergarteners, doing housework etc.

And none of that turned out to be true.

I'd argue that these actually turned out far more true than many critics at the time would have ever imagined. Shaming against sluts has decreased dramatically, men have repressed their concerns about sexual history, men have started to do much more housework and childcare, etc.

The two great errors were:

  1. The claim that sex with someone whom you were not committed to with is fun and healthy -- the claim that it is not inherently sinful/disordered/"bad for your psyche"/"bad for your soul". This claim is false -- sex is very likely to create an emotional bond, and so when you create that bond without permanent commitment a woman is setting herself up for great hurt and distress. It also makes it harder to pair-bond in the future, which makes women less likely to find or create successful marriages.

  2. The claim that "consent" is the critical thing that society needs to police. Sex doesn't work that way, it originated before we could even talk, and it is simply more natural and preferable to use body language. Many women like playing a bit of cat and mouse, like giving some token resistance, and don't like being explicit. What women want is "it just happened." Meanwhile, explicitly "consensual" sex can still be traumatic or greatly regretted. It gets even worse when "consent" is expanded so that women cannot actually consent to sex with more powerful men. But this is a problem because power is something that inherently something women find attractive. So women cannot consent to men they are most attracted to? Or women can only consent to sex with men who they attracted to for reasons of the genetic lottery (looks, height), but not to men who earned their attraction by working hard and gaining status? This is all a giant mess. The "consent" framework wrongly says that society shouldn't police a handsome guy who attracts and pumps and dumps a fully consenting women. However, it should ban, say, the relationship that made my good friend's life possible (his dad was a professor, his mom a grad student on the same team, they married and had a very long, fruitful, and successful relationship). IMO, what should matter is seduction with intent to marry. I'm fine with a professor going after a grad student or a boss his secretary, but if he wins her heart he better marry her.