Lena Dunham's Big Learn: Some Body Shapes Are More "Embraceable" Than Others
Of course, it's heresy to want to shave off the muffin top in the land of Lena. Not surprisingly, Dunham claims -- and it's possible true -- that she only went to an exercise study because she suffers from endometriosis. Mmmhmm...
From Newser's Evann Galstaldo:
Lena Dunham looks a little different these days, and not everyone is happy about it, E! reports. After the Girls creator showed up at an event for celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson last week clearly having lost weight, she started getting criticism for it.
Dunham, who's also been showing off her impressive yoga poses lately, told Ellen DeGeneres ... "Suddenly I got all these people saying, 'You're a hypocrite. I thought you were body positive. I thought you were a person who embraced body types of all sizes."
The celebration of flab that's become something of a thing in this culture is basically a virtue-signaling way of compensating for not doing so well in the mate competition Olympics. (Of course, like so many wonderful things, it has its origins in feminist academia.)
The reality, per research noted in David Buss's Evolution of Desire, is that the female body shape that is generally considered high status in a particular culture is connected to how prevalent food is in that culture. Where food is scarce, being fat is in. Here, where you can't go a mile across much of America without making a wrong turn into a fast-food drive-through, thin is high status.
Meanwhile, I Iove how thin women are sneered at for having "unnatural" body shapes -- and how this is just fine and dandy with so many in the feminist crowd, while "fat shaming" is a no go. P.S. If a body shape exists, it isn't "unnatural," though it might be uncommon -- especially in this, the land of deep-fried doughnuts.
A division of "Wash your fucking hands already."
"Mansplaining" -- A Made-Up Social Crime That Helps Feminists Demand That Women Be Treated As Eggshells, Not Equals
Mansplaining is a portmanteau of the words man and the informal form splaining of the verb explaining and means "to explain something to someone, typically a man to woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.
More from Wikipedia:
"Lily Rothman of The Atlantic defines it as "explaining without regard to the fact that the explainee knows more than the explainer, often done by a man to a woman."
Heh. The truth is, in my blowhardier 20s (no comments, please, from those who think these days never ended -- I'm trying), I think I did this with some frequency to everybody, mainly out of insecurity.
I read and think a lot, so if there's one cudgel I've always had available to me, its information -- in combination with my genetic heritage. (My mom's a pain in the ass intellectually, who will shake people's weak arguments like a bulldog shakes a rag doll, until they're in tatters on the floor.)
On a related note, I know evolutionary psychology pretty damn well. I am, in fact, the President of the Applied Evolutionary Society, and I've been going to ev psych conferences for almost 20 years and reading evolutionary psychologists' journal articles and book chapters.
And that's not all. I spoke at the 2015 ev psych conference (on applied evolutionary psychology), I've had my applied ev psych reviewed in ev psych journals, and I did a poster about some applied ev psych I did that anthropologist Jerome Barkow spoke about and chronicled in his book, "Missing the Revolution: Darwinism for Social Scientists."
I'm also included in some other books -- including Mating Intelligence Unleashed -- and Scott Barry Kaufman, who wrote that with Glenn Geher, included a bunch of quotes and my thinking from my column in a talk he gave at the Northeast Evolutionary Psych Society meeting a few years back. There are other examples -- these are just a few.
Yet sometimes, some guy in a bar will start telling me what, oh, David Buss thinks or what some study (sometimes one I've just pored over for a day) says.
This happened to victim feminist Rebecca Solnit, who took it verrry personally. Again, from Wikipedia:
In an essay titled Men Explain Things to Me, Solnit told an anecdote about a man at a party who said he had heard she had written some books. She began to talk about her most recent book at the time, on Eadweard Muybridge, whereupon the man cut her off and asked if she had "heard about the very important Muybridge book that came out this year" - not considering that it might be (as, in fact, it was) Solnit's book.
Because I don't go out into the world trained to be a victim, I don't see every interaction through a victim's eyes. I also don't think everything is about me. So I see people's blowhard-y comments for what they are: those of human beings who want to seem interesting and are using whatever information they can to do that.
So, after somebody tells me what they know, I'll say, "Yeah, I've read that" or something like that, and tell them more about the topic. It's called "Having a conversation," and I really enjoy it.
And frankly, nobody's going to push me around conversationally. And that's why I think the notion of "mansplaining" as some social crime against women, is just ridiculous.
There's already a word for mansplaining. It's called being patronizing. And I'm as good at it as any man.— Diana S. Fleischman (@sentientist) October 1, 2016
On a related note, I went out for drinks with the woman who became my best friend eight years ago, when she emailed me after Instapundit posted a link to my blog item sneering about the concept of "mansplaining," "Rebecca Solnit is a Sniveling Idiot."
Here's the piece:
Rebecca Solnit Is A Sniveling Idiot I couldn't believe the piece by Rebecca Solnit I read in the Sunday LA Times Opinion section; mainly because I found it too stupid to publish.
Solnit mewls on for 1,863 words about how women are patronized and silenced by men.
But, wait. Let me check. (Peering down into pants and then panties) Yup, there's a vagina in my pants, which suggests I'm either a woman or there's a matched, escaped set of labia taken up hiding in my underwear. Most mysteriously, I don't seem to suffer the myriad conversational injustices from men that Solnit and so many other women apparently do.
Solnit opens her piece by describing how she was conversationally pummeled by a guy about Eadweard Muybridge, when she'd actually written the very book the guy was holding forth on. "Men explain things to me," complains Solnit, "and to other women, whether or not they know what they're talking about. Some men. Every woman knows what I mean."
We do? I think somebody forgot to send me the memo. Yet, Solnit claims this terrible injustice is something "nearly every woman faces every day," which "makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field," and "keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare." ("When they dare"? The woman writes like Mr. Darcy is going to pop up from behind the copier at any moment.) Solnit goes on and on about how this "syndrome" (yes, everything must be pathologized) "crushes young women into silence" and "trains" women "in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men's unsupported overconfidence."
First of all, I write a syndicated dating and relationship column, and I have to say, if there's one problem with men these days, it isn't "unsupported overconfidence." I likewise can't say I've ever felt "crushed into silence" or any of the maudlin rest. So...either my dad, who taught me to stand up for myself, and told me over and over that I could do anything boys could do, is unique among fathers in America, or there's a name for what Solnit's peddling, and it's "grassy-knoll feminism."
Meanwhile, Solnit herself, who, most annoyingly, Likes To Use Capital Letters For Emphasis All Over The Damn Place, says that even she, a woman who has "public standing as a writer of history," had a moment when she "was willing to believe Mr. Very Important and his overweening confidence over (her) more shaky certainty."
Sorry, but if you have "shaky certainty," do you blame men, or sign up for a little assertiveness training? So much of what women do blame men for -- women's lower starting salaries in the workplace, for example -- traces back to women passively accepting what's presented to them, whether it's some boorish jerk's assertion, or the first dollar offer they're made for a job. This is correctable, but not by writing long-winded screeds against men in the Los Angeles Times.
Although Solnit comes up continually short on guts in conversational situations, she's remarkably gutsy about aligning herself and other privileged Western women with a silenced sisterhood of women living under Islam, "where women's testimony has no legal standing; so that a woman can't testify that she was raped without a male witness to counter the male rapist."
Of course, the difference is that women in Muslim countries are not, by law, allowed to testify. Western women like Solnit simply refrain from speaking up. Some loudmouth cut her off? Wow. While Muslim women fear lashings and death if they speak their minds, Solnit's simply too limp-willed to say, as I've said numerous times, and to men and women, "Don't interrupt!" or "My turn to talk!"
When that doesn't work, as it didn't when I was on the TV show, "Faith Under Fire," with the booming blowhard Frank Pastore, I began removing my mike, and told the host I was going to walk off if Pastore kept shouting over me. (I may not have been born with balls, but I keep a little set in my makeup bag, and bring them out on an as-needed basis.)
What Does It Mean to Have a "Right" to Health Care?
I got a little dash of food poisoning, so I'm going to post briefly this evening and post more on Wednesday.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I think it was from Camembert I left out, and I of course decided that I am very likely dying of listeria.
Luckily, three capsules of activated charcoal seem to be a little-known cure for it -- along with three or so hours of sleep with another little-known cure: the snout of a very cute dog on one's neck.
Getting to the subject of this blog post, there's a smart piece at Reason by Sheldon Richman on ideas to keep in mind while the debate rages over what should succeed the "Affordable" Care Act (which ruined my previously affordable care). An excerpt:
Despite the popular misconception, health care is not beyond economic law; it is not a free good that falls like manna from heaven. It has to be produced, which means people must mix their scarce labor with scarce resources to produce the things used to perform the medical services we want. It would be foolish to expect them to donate their labor and resources because other people need them. They have their own lives to live and livelihoods to earn. It would be wrong to compel them. They are not slaves.
In other words, no one can have a right to medical care or insurance, that is, to the labor services and resources of other people--including the taxpayers. We hear a great deal about the need to respect all people; well, respecting people must include respecting their liberty and justly acquired possessions. Without that, "respect" is hollow.
Politicians, of course, can declare a right to medical care, but those are mere words. What counts is what happens after the declaration. Since a system in which everyone could have, on demand, all the medical care they wanted at no cost would be unsustainable, the so-called right to medical care necessarily translates into the power of politicians and bureaucrats to set the terms under which medical services and products may be provided and received. This is crucial: a government-declared "right" (that does not reflect natural rights) is no right at all; it is rather a declared government power to allocate goods and services.
Natural rights--which boil down to the single right not to be aggressed against--require only that one abstain from aggression. Thus all can exercise their rights at once without conflict. On the other hand, government-invented "rights"--such as the right to medical care--cannot be exercised at the same time; the potential for conflict is built in. For example, a person cannot use his own money as he wishes if the government health care system takes it by force through taxation to pay for other people's services.
Racial Hatred: It's A Living!
I was raised by both my parents and the books I read, to -- as Martin Luther King put it -- assess people "by the content of their character" and not by skin color or religion. To see people as individuals, that is.
However, it has become more acceptable than it ever was to hate certain groups of people -- judging by the openness of so many to be racist.
Playing a substantial role in this is the academic "progressivism" that is foundational to the new hate chic: hating or at least deriding those who aren't "of color" or identified by the movement as victims.
If she had rationality instead of academic victimthink underlying her thinking, she'd understand that blanket statements about large groups of people are generally irrational, ugly, and wrong.
And if she had any historical knowledge, she'd understand that white people -- and especially Jews -- have been part of the civil rights movement since the start.
Equality in the Jewish tradition is based on the concept that all of God's children are "created in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27). From that flows the biblical injunction, "You shall have one law for the stranger and the citizen alike: for I, Adonai, am your God" (Leviticus 24:22).
American Jews played a significant role in the founding and funding of some of the most important civil rights organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1909, Henry Moscowitz joined W.E.B. DuBois and other civil rights leaders to found the NAACP. Kivie Kaplan, a vice-chairman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism), served as the national president of the NAACP from 1966 to 1975. Arnie Aronson worked with A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins to found the Leadership Conference.
From 1910 to 1940, more than 2,000 primary and secondary schools and twenty black colleges (including Howard, Dillard and Fisk universities) were established in whole or in part by contributions from Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. At the height of the so-called "Rosenwald schools," nearly forty percent of southern blacks were educated at one of these institutions.
During the Civil Rights Movement, Jewish activists represented a disproportionate number of whites involved in the struggle. Jews made up half of the young people who participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964. Leaders of the Reform Movement were arrested with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964 after a challenge to racial segregation in public accommodations. Most famously, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched arm-in-arm with Dr. King in his 1965 March on Selma.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were drafted in the conference room of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, under the aegis of the Leadership Conference, which for decades was located in the RAC's building. The Jewish community has continued its support of civil rights laws addressing persistent discrimination in voting, housing and employment against not only women and people of color but also in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and the disabled community.
Then again, who cares about history or what's rational? It seems hatred is a funding source -- after putting it out (quite calculatedly, I'd guess) gets some less-than-pretty tweets in response.
In America, You Can Be Anyone You Wanna Be
What I love about America -- that WASP brand man Ralph Lauren was really something like Mordechai Lifshitz, from the Bronx.— Amy Alkon (@amyalkon) March 20, 2017
(He was actually born Ralph Lifshitz.)
The New Virtue Signaling: Noting One's Preferred Personal Pronouns In Email Postscript
Paul Schwennesen writes at the Online Library of Law & Liberty:
Identity and political power have allied themselves in the modern academy in troubling ways. Exemplifying this is the new "personal pronoun" overture. I recently had to attend a seminar, as a part of my doctoral studies, on "microaggressions and diversity," and a discussion leader greeted us with: "Hello, my name is Simon, and my personal pronouns are 'He, Him, His.'"
This strange, preemptive declaration of one's preferred gender identity is apparently intended to ward off "microaggressions" from potentially confused colleagues. Indeed, über-elites on campus include it as a postscript to their email signatures, declaring to the world (or at least to their correspondents) that they possess a nuanced grasp of identity-framing. Personal pronouns are a new poststructuralist calling card for the gender movement, which, along with persistent feminist attacks upon "structural sexism," signal a general suppression of discourse and thought in the academy.
I dropped all my Ls behind the desk.
They Should Call It "Universitiepoo Of Arizona," Because They Treat The Students Like It's Nursery School
This little ouchiepoo directive below is from a handbook, "Diversity and Inclusiveness in the Classroom," by Jesús Treviño, Ph.D., who goes by the puffed-up, "diversity"-flavored title, "Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence."
Treviño's title seems even more absurd when you see the directions for "Creating a safe space for students for engaging in dialogue about challenging topics..." -- using the word "ouch" if some other student makes some remark that gives you hurt feelz:
Oops/ouch: If a student feels hurt or offended by another student's comment, the hurt student can say "ouch." In acknowledgement, the student who made the hurtful comment says "oops." If necessary, there can be further dialogue about this exchange.
Not, "Engage with the other student -- tell them that they said something you find offensive, and why" (which, by the way, by the time you're in college, no one should need to advise you).
No, it's "You gave me an ouchie!"
And then there's this "safe space" business, which it says, is "vital in promoting positive intergroup interactions."
Remember when universities were about teaching students and helping them develop into people who could think and even debate a point?
As Bre Payton at The Federalist notes:
The guide, which is supposed to "maximize free speech in the classroom," appears to do the exact opposite. Rather than fostering a lively, academic debate, which is a major reason for higher education, the oops/ouch method seems to encourage students and professors to end a discussion the second someone doesn't like the direction it's headed.
Or when mommy needs to change their diaper; whichever comes first.
Ass Action Suit
A hackable "smart" vibrator got slammed with a $3.5 million court settlement, reports Christina Cauterucci at Slate:
People who bought easily-hacked vibrators that recorded and transmitted their vibing habits are about to get a pretty payday from a Canadian sex-toy maker. Standard Innovation, the oxymoronically-named company that manufactures the "smart" We-Vibe device, will pay $3.75 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago.
The suit claims that customers bought the app-controlled, Bluetooth-compatible devices without consenting for their personal information to be collected and stored by the company. If they installed the We-Connect app on their mobile devices, users could control their vibrators (or, likely, their partners') from afar with their phones. One unexpected feature of the app was its ability to be hijacked by anyone with a Bluetooth connection in the vicinity, allowing random people to control the movements of an object in a total stranger's pants.
Haven't hot women been able to do that for centuries? Though, admittedly, without a Bluetooth connection?
Yellow linkie with that cream filling somebody had left over from lubing a car on the assembly line.
Paul Bloom On When Empathy Eats People
It's from a podcast by EconTalk's Russ Roberts, from the Library of Economics and Liberty, about Bloom's recent book, "Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion."
Bloom explains to Roberts:
There's actually no evidence that high-empathy people are better people. And there's a few studies against it.
... I'm not sure I mentioned this in the book--it came out recently--that nurses who test for high empathy spend less time with patients. And you can see why. If I'm around somebody who is suffering, and I feel their suffering, well, it draws their suffering to my attention. Which could be good. But it also is unpleasant. And so, if I could turn my head and walk away, that's a wonderful solution.
Empathy in itself does not make you good. And in fact, you know, as somebody who suffers from a little bit of too much empathy himself, there are many cases where, if I see somebody in, if I see a lot of suffering, it kind of makes me, you know, want to walk away--want to go online and look at something else.
And so, even when empathy does its work, it does its work in concert with other sort of emotions that are separate that want to make the world better.
I talk about this in my science-based book, "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck," in respect to Pathological Altruism:
Do random acts of judicious kindness.
Sometimes, we engage in knee-jerk goodness--goodness that ultimately isn't so good. An act that, on the surface, seems kind, generous, and helpful may actually be none of these.
For years, I sneered at the term "putting your dog to sleep" as a nefarious euphemism that helped people feel better about killing a dog that had become inconvenient for them. If you value life and love your dog, keeping him or her on the planet as long as possible seems like the right thing to do. It did to me--until the vet told me that my darling fifteen-year-old Yorkie, Lucy, was in kidney failure.
We weren't at the end yet, he reassured me. He gave me meds and instructions on caring for her, but I came home in tears and called my friend Debbie. She started to cry, too, and then told me what she'd learned in putting her beloved elderly bichon, Marley, to sleep a few months before.
It took her three times going to the shelter to go through with it. That third and final time, when she saw what a peaceful process it actually turned out to be, how they really do just fall into a deep sleep as they're going out, she realized that she'd been wrong to hang on to Marley for as long as she did and that she'd done it for her benefit and not Marley's.
By telling me this, she helped me understand that being judiciously good means recognizing that keeping your dog alive when he or she no longer has a very good quality of life is prolonging suffering, not prolonging life.
About a month later, one awful morning when I saw that Lucy was struggling to keep her furry little butt up, this meant that I was prepared to do the right thing, right away. A few hours later, when the vet opened, I rushed her there, and as I held her, petted her, and cooed to her, he gave her an injection, and she closed her eyes and floated away. I still miss her terribly and completely, down to her tiny little musty wet doggy smell, which now only faintly lingers in some of her sweaters, but I take solace in realizing that I gave her both a good life--the best I possibly could--and a "good death."
Engineering professor Barbara Oakley studies the area of psychology that this sad situation with Lucy could have fallen into, altruism gone wrong: attempts intended to help that instead result in unanticipated harm--for the recipient, for the helper, or sometimes for both.
For instance, we may tell ourselves that we're doing good when saying yes to someone's request for help feels better at that moment than saying no.
Oakley, in a paper on "pathological altruism" for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, gives the example of a brother trying to overcome an addiction to painkillers. "When he goes through withdrawal, you get more painkillers to help him feel better, and you cover for him when his work supervisor calls. You genuinely want to help your brother, but the reality is that you are enabling his addiction."
Paradoxically, being judiciously kind would mean letting him suffer for days, allowing him to hate you for it, and being there to hold his hand and mop his brow.
We don't give much thought to the potential negative effects of helping upon the person offering the help, but we sometimes do kind deeds at too great an expense to ourselves. Unhealthy giving is even painted as a virtue--"Give till it hurts!"--but bailing somebody out should be considered a bust if you're going beyond your means in time or money or jeopardizing your job, your health, or your continued ownership of your house.
Oakley notes that we are especially blind to the ill effects of over-giving when whatever we're doing allows us to feel particularly good, virtuous, and benevolent.
To keep from harming ourselves or others when we're supposed to be helping, Oakley emphasizes the importance of checking our motives when we believe we're doing good. "People don't realize how narcissistic a lot of 'helping' can be," she told me. "It's all too easy for empathy and good deeds to really be about our self-image or making ourselves happy or comfortable."
I talk about how giving to strangers in small ways can be good for both strangers and us in my recent TED talk, "The surprising self-interest in being kind to strangers." But, again, Oakley's cautions above apply.
Advice Goddess Free Swim
It's Saturday night, and I've got to go to bed, so you pick the topics. I'll post more on Sunday.
P.S. One link per comment or my spam filter will eat your post.
Book Dealiepoos Again
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Thank you all for supporting the work I do on this site with your purchases!
Two Scientifically Clueless Professors Float The Idea Of Genetic Communism: Babies Randomly Assigned To Couples At Birth
At first, you wonder if this is a Swiftian "Modest Proposal." But, no, these are actual professors writing this and they seem to be doing a genuine muse on -- yes, get this: the notion that babies be randomly allocated as a way to end racism.
Of course, this is not going to happen -- not without an authoritarian state -- but with the erosion of our freedoms on so many angles, and the general lack of interest and lack of interest in doing anything about it, we are at least more pointed in that direction than we've ever been.
is the Emeritus Research Professor of Psychology at Stony Brook University. His most recent book is The Escape of the Mind (2014).
Escape of the mind? More like "escape from modern science." From the Oxford listing of the book, it:
Proposes a unique philosophical approach, teleological behaviorism, that places the mind wholly outside of the body...
In other words, it seeks to bring back Cartesian dualism, the notion that the mind and body are separate -- despite a host of research in recent years showing bidirectionality (back and forth) between the body and mind, with what happens to the body affecting the mind and vice versa.
Marvin Frankel obtained a PhD in psychology at the University of Chicago. He is currently a professor of psychology at Sarah Lawrence College. He has published numerous articles on clinical psychology.
Rachlin and Franklin wank off thusly at Aeon on the notion of randomly assigned babies as a way to end racism:
You may argue that genetic bias is indelible in human nature. Social mixing would not only disturb the comfort of this fatalistic attitude, but also use genetic chauvinism for ends beyond mere economic equality, providing grounds for a compassion that goes beyond the wellbeing of our immediate families. Since any man might be your biological brother, any woman your biological sister, concern for them would have to be expressed by a concern for a common good.
A second effect of social mixing would be to generate a strong interest in the health and wellbeing of expectant mothers, which would ultimately translate into an interest in the social and biological welfare of everyone. Since any child might end up our own, we would provide the social and educational environments that would best enhance their development. Ghettos and slums would be an eyesore for us all. Poverty, drug, and alcohol addiction are already everyone's problem, but this fact would be more meaningful than it is now. The child of that addict might be our biological child. Every victim of a drive-by shooting might be a member of our genetic family. Each of us would see the link between our fate and the fate of others.
Third, the superficial connection between colour and culture would be severed. Racism would be wiped out. Racial ghettos would disappear; children of all races would live in all neighbourhoods. Any white child could have black parents and any black child could have white parents. Imagine the US president flanked by his or her black, white, Asian and Hispanic children. Imagine if social mixing had been in effect 100 years ago in Germany, Bosnia, Palestine or the Congo. Racial, religious, and social genocide would not have happened.
Fourth, the plan accords with John Rawls's concept of justice, introducing a welcome element of randomness into the advantages that each child can expect. At the present time, if you are a child of Bill Gates, you will have not only a genetic advantage but also a material one. Under a regime of social mixing, any baby could find herself the child of Bill Gates and enjoy the opportunity of optimally exercising whatever her genetic gifts might be. As for Bill Gates's biological child, he might find himself the son of a barber, but with his natural genetic gifts he might make the most of a less than optimal educational environment.
There are, of course, many natural objections to this idea. It will be said that one of the joys of marriage is for lovers to see the product of their love. To this we say that the product of one's love lies not in the genetic production of a human being but in the mutual cultivation of the life of a child. But isn't it true that either the genetic match between parent and child or a bond formed between mother and child in the womb makes each parent uniquely fit to raise his or her own child and less fit to raise another child? The evidence for such idiosyncrasy is slight. True, adopted children tend to have more mental and physical problems than non-adopted ones. But children are often adopted at relatively advanced ages, after they have formed close attachments with caregivers. Children adopted during their first year are at no disadvantage relative to non-adopted children.
It will be objected that in defusing genetic chauvinism we will be giving up our only secular moral constraint - which translates into the fear that under social mixing people will be as indifferent to their own real children as they are now to the biological children of others. But there are no grounds for such deep pessimism. Look at the behaviour of adoptive parents now, or look at the practice of surrogate motherhood. The many apparently infertile parents who adopt a baby only to have a biological child subsequently do not tend to reject the first child.
It may be objected that under social mixing cultural diversity would disappear. But this would only be true for diversity that depends on the shape of your features and the colour of your skin. This is the kind of diversity that racists wish to maintain. The cultural diversity we care about - of language, food, dress, religion, music, speech - would be preserved no less than it is now.
It may be objected that parents' desire to have their own biological children is so strong that they would be blind to the public good, that they would have babies and bring them up in secret. But those babies would not have birth certificates, they would not be citizens, they could not vote, serve in public office and so forth. If discovered, the children might be taken away after the strong bonds of psychological (as opposed to biological) parenthood had been formed. Few Americans would risk these penalties.
What kind of sick people think of this, except as the plot of a dystopian novel?
The end of the piece:
Genetic chauvinism lives on very strongly in our culture. Modern fiction and cinema often present adoptees' searches for biological parents and siblings in a highly positive light. The law in child custody cases is biased towards biological parents over real parents. You might claim that this bias itself is 'natural'. It is so common as to seem part of our biological makeup. But subjugation of women was also common in primitive human cultures and remains so in many cultures today. Unnatural as it sounds, social mixing promises many advantages. If we are not willing to adopt it, we should consider carefully why. And if naturalness is the key, we should ask ourselves why on this matter, ungoverned nature should trump social cohesion.
A commenter at the site, Damien Quinn, points out:
Your proposal, has at it's heart, a basic contradiction. If "genetic chauvinism" is such a minimal factor in family relationships that sundering such bonds would be reasonably consequence free, why on earth would "genetic chauvinism" create a wider social bond.
You discuss the relationship between adoptive parents and adopted children. There are many, many adopted children in my extended family, and what you say about the bonding process is true, to a point*, however none of them seem to have any greater than average concern for the welfare of people in the wider society on the basis that they may, possibly, be genetically related. If your proposal carried weight you would expect they would. Have you found evidence to suggest this is so?
*Here's something you may have missed in your consideration of adoption, generally speaking, parents do form a bond with the child while it is in the womb. This is clear from the grief clearly suffered following miscarriage and the emotional trauma associated with abortion. Where adoptive parents are generally as excited as expectant parents when they meet their child for the first time, and thus the desire to bond is mutual, under your proposal the parents would be grieving their lost infant upon introduction to their randomly allocated adopted child. Bonding in these circumstances would be strained.
Finally, social exclusion and prejudice are not particularly tied to skin colour or physical features, those things just act as markers, overt signals, to provide snap judgements about whether an individual in "in-group" or "out-group". In singular race societies, prejudice still exists, the markers are simply refined.
So no, it probably wouldn't achieve a society without prejudice and even if such an outcome was absolutely 100% sure to follow, it would create trauma for 100% of the population to save trauma in 15 or 20%, which makes no sense.
I talk in my recent TED talk, "The surprising self-interest in being kind to strangers," about possible ways to diminish the "in group"/"out group" "us"/"them" outcomes from living in a vast, stranger-filled society.
Another commenter, Zach Cochran, writes:
I think we've already begun half of this experiment where so many children (especially poor children) are randomly assigned fathers. I don't think those results do credit to your hypothesis.
I'd also note, in that light, that you continually mention "parents", plural. Do you see how you are making some rather ridiculous assumptions? Do you plan to make divorce illegal, or require genetic identification of parents for this swap to ensure the right "parents" are assigned?
The scientific evidence is also clear about heritable traits and their impact on outcomes. I know, I know, science is racist, blah blah blah. But impulsivity, intelligence, athletic ability, and so forth, are all heritable. How does your big old baby blender solve this? (It doesn't.)
Cool Utopian ideas like these, based in no real world experience and no real science, are why you goofballs in the Ivy League do so much harm to the rest of us. I have a proposal: what if we assigned college professorships completely at random? Dr. Rachlin, you can teach Psychology at Idaho State. Dr. Frankel, let's assign you to Tiffin University, in Ohio. Let me know how that works out.
These are professors who are ignorant about vast quantities of research, just starting with how people give gifts and do kind acts disproportionately keyed to levels of genetic relatedness.
And the late Margo Wilson, with Martin Daly, did research on how stepfathers are more likely to abuse or kill children (those not genetically theirs). From the Wiki link (because it explains their work and theory quickly and clearly:
Evolutionary psychologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson propose that the Cinderella effect is a direct consequence of the modern evolutionary theory of inclusive fitness, especially parental investment theory. They argue that human child rearing is so prolonged and costly that "a parental psychology shaped by natural selection is unlikely to be indiscriminate." According to them, "research concerning animal social behaviour provide a rationale for expecting parents to be discriminative in their care and affection, and more specifically, to discriminate in favour of their own young."
Though we can love and raise a child who is not ours, we are genetically vested in acting in ways that foster the passing on of our genes. The ignorance of that -- and the vast and growing body of research reflecting that -- is breathtaking.
Live In Or Visit A Muslim Majority Country And -- Yes -- You Might Be Subjected To Medieval-Style Laws
From the BBC, a couple -- a South African man and his Ukranian fiancee -- have been arrested for having sex outside marriage, which is illegal in the United Arab Emirates:
Emlyn Culverwell‚ 29, and Iryna Nohai, 27, were reportedly arrested after a doctor discovered Ms Nohai, who had stomach cramps, was pregnant.
They were arrested for sex outside of marriage, which is illegal in the UAE.
Mr Culverwell's mother has pleaded for their release, saying "the only thing they did wrong was fall in love."
South Africa's foreign ministry has said that it is not able to help the couple as this is a matter of domestic UAE law, News24 reports.
...Mr Culverwell and Ms Nohai have reportedly been held since January, but news of their detention has only emerged now.
Mr Culverwell has been working in the UAE for the past five years.
His mother Linda told News24 that the family is "trying to get messages to the two to say we love them and that they shouldn't be worried."
They should be worried as fuck, and P.S. the article says they "could face a long jail sentence."
Islam: It's not just for decoration in all those cute feminist marches in America where they protest the disgusting conditions here in the West.
Links On Wheels
The Meals On Wheels thing explained -- by Kevin Drum at Mother Jones.
Medicaid Pretends To Be Healthcare But It's Really Healthcare Rationing
It just isn't usually talked about so openly as Mayo Clinic's CEO is doing.
Jeremy Olson writes in the StarTrib:
Mayo Clinic's chief executive made a startling announcement in a recent speech to employees: The Rochester-based health system will give preference to patients with private insurance over those with lower-paying Medicaid or Medicare coverage, if they seek care at the same time and have comparable conditions.
The number of patients affected would probably be small, but the selective strategy reveals the financial pressures that Mayo is facing in part due to federal health reforms. For while the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured patients, it has increased the share covered by Medicaid, which pays around 50 to 85 cents on the dollar of the actual cost of medical care.
Mayo will always take patients, regardless of payer source, when it has medical expertise that they can't find elsewhere, said Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo's CEO. But when two patients are referred with equivalent conditions, he said the health system should "prioritize" those with private insurance.
This is why it's so awful that Obamacare forces people without a lot left after expenses to either take Medicaid or pay the rate paid by people earning, oh, $250K a year, with plenty left over. Just to be clear -- because it's so unbelievable -- a quote from my blog item I linked just above:
If, after expenses, you have less than the $16,500 floor for Obamacare, you can EITHER go on Medicaid OR you can pay full freight -- like what someone earning $250K a year would pay. You are NOT ELIGIBLE for Obamacare subsidies. Not allowed to take them.
In other words, you are not allowed to choose to pay more -- to take less of a subsidy (like by choosing the plan for people with $16,500K left after expenses). And maybe you never wanted other people to pay for you anyway, but Obamacare ruined your coverage -- to the point where you still have healthcare; you just can't afford to use it.
Oh, and P.S. I have not heard or read anything being done to change this in the Republicans' supposed reform package.
Kant Be Left In Piece
See the Steve Stuart-Williams tweet below -- about why disagreement and debate, not snowflake protection tactics -- are what belong on campus:
Kant recalls the time he was triggered by David Hume and needed a safe space. pic.twitter.com/0IPnOKnE6R— SteveStewartWilliams (@SteveStuWill) February 10, 2017
The Scarlet "R": Accusations Of Racism (And Never Mind Whether There's Anything To Them)
This one isn't even plausible -- the notion that an ESPN announcer who isn't drunk off his ass or full-on nuts would use an ugly term to refer to a black woman.
At Acculturated, Kyle Smith writes about how a leap to a conclusion that an announcer made a racist remark seems to have rather rapidly ruined the announcer's career:
Doug Adler [is] a (former) ESPN sports announcer whose career was demolished because of a frenzied overreaction to his (correct) use of a single word: Guerilla. Adler was calling an Australian Open tennis match between Venus Williams (who is black) and Stefanie Voegele when he said,"You see Venus move in and put the guerilla effect on. Charging." Adler noted that "guerilla tennis" is a commonly used phrase and has been ever since a famous 1995 Nike TV spot of that title in which Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi hastily strung a tennis net across a busy city street and started playing right there.
When Adler made his "guerilla" remark, a few Twitter users accused him of using the word "gorilla," their complaints amplified considerably by New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg. "This is some appalling stuff. Horrifying that the Williams sisters remain subjected to it still in 2017." Wait, the Williams sisters, plural? Who said anything about Serena Williams? Rothenberg took one misunderstood word, turned it into an imaginary insult, then doubled the fantasy slur. When what Roth termed "the ecstasy of sanctimony" takes over, logic bows its head and retreats. Rothenberg's Tweet was re-Tweeted 142 times, reaching many thousands and apparently Adler's bosses.
Part of the problem is that Twitter isn't just an info-dispensing medium; it's a way for people to signal that they are aligned with a certain tribe and way of thinking. It's also a way for people to feel they are doing something while not doing anything much at all. (It's basically like going "High five!" or "Yick!" through a megaphone and then feeling like they've done their protest marching for the day and they can go get a beer.)
Smith asks the right question:
Whatever happened to the benefit of the doubt? How likely is it that a professional sports announcer, in 2017, would publicly refer to a black athlete as a "gorilla"? Why would anyone draw an inference that a gorilla was playing tennis? Even assuming Adler was the worst racist in the world, would he have been so stupid as to think he could get away with referring to a black person as an ape without consequence? Yet leaping to conclusions is rewarded by the pace of online communications: Be among the first to get angry, earn yourself lots of attention instantly, and if you happen to be completely wrong about what was said, no big deal, because everyone's attention has moved on to the next thing.
Except that Adler was demolished. Adler said ESPN understood that he had used the word "guerilla," not "gorilla," finished his work for the day without incident and was eating lunch in the lounge the next day "when the boss showed up out of the blue," Adler told FoxNews.com. "He was bowing to pressure because it was all over Twitter." Ordered to apologize on ESPN, Adler did so, but was fired anyway. In so doing, ESPN effectively branded Adler a racist. Which pretty much means the end of one's career.
Here's that "guerilla tennis" spot.
Oh, and a NYT tennis writer hasn't heard of this term? Maybe the wrong guy lost his job?
And no, this isn't a parody -- well, that is, the humor apparently isn't intentional. They may take the photo down at the link, but here's the link to an actual cancer center site, with five hospitals "in major metropolitan areas."
How Obamacare Ruined Healthcare By Removing Choice For People Without Much Money Left After Expenses
I haven't had enough spare time to dig up what the benefit is -- but there must be one -- behind how Obamacare is written to force people who don't want Medicaid to take it. I'm talking about people who earn money but don't end up with a lot left at the end of the year.
This "take Medicaid or nuthin'" thing is the case here in California where Medicaid is Medi-Cal, and in some other states, too. If you are eligible for Medicaid, you are INeligible for any Obamacare subsidies.
Here's the comment I left on an Avik Roy article about Medicaid at the WSJ:
What few people understand is that Obamacare not only raised the price of previously affordable care but it removes choice from people who don't have much money left after expenses but don't want to go on Medicaid.
To explain: If, after expenses, you have less than the $16,500 floor for Obamacare, you can EITHER go on Medicaid OR you can pay full freight -- like what someone earning $250K a year would pay. You are NOT ELIGIBLE for Obamacare subsidies. Not allowed to take them.
In other words, you are not allowed to choose to pay more -- to take less of a subsidy (like by choosing the plan for people with $16,500K left after expenses). And maybe you never wanted other people to pay for you anyway, but Obamacare ruined your coverage -- to the point where you still have healthcare; you just can't afford to use it.
So...about that biopsy you need to rule out cancer? You tell the doctor you can't afford it. Your healthcare: "I hope I don't have cancer!" Thanks, Mr. Obama! thanks Democrats! --Amy Alkon
And what does Avik Roy say about Medicaid?
First check out the head and subhead:
Medicaid Is Free. So Why Does It Require a Mandate?
The CBO estimates that five million fewer people would sign up without the ObamaCare tax penalty.
An excerpt from the piece:
Medicaid is the largest or second-largest line item in nearly every state budget. But for all practical purposes, the main tool states have to control costs is to pay doctors and hospitals less than private insurers pay for the same care. As a result, fewer doctors accept Medicaid patients, making it very hard for Medicaid enrollees to get access to care when they need it. Poor access, in turn, means that Medicaid enrollees--remarkably--have no better health outcomes than those with no insurance at all.
That brings us back to the AHCA. According to the CBO, able-bodied adults on Medicaid receive about $6,000 a year in government health-insurance benefits. They pay no premiums and minimal copays. You'd think that eligible individuals would need no prodding to sign up for such a benefit.
And yet, according to its analysis of the GOP ObamaCare replacement, the CBO believes that there are five million Americans who wouldn't sign up for Medicaid if it weren't for ObamaCare's individual mandate. You read that right: Five million people need the threat of a $695 fine to sign up for a free program that offers them $6,000 worth of subsidized health insurance. That's more than 1 in 5 of the 24 million people the CBO (dubiously) claims would end up uninsured if the AHCA supplanted ObamaCare.
On its face, there's reason to doubt the CBO's view. The mandate is enforced through the income-tax system, and enforcement of the mandate has been spotty for those in low tax brackets. Many of those eligible for Medicaid don't work or file returns. Under rules established by the Obama administration, those who do can leave the "I have insurance" box blank and face no penalty.
Still, it's remarkable that the CBO believes people need to be fined into signing up for Medicaid. That tells us something about the CBO's assessment of Medicaid's value to those individuals--and it buttresses the GOP's case that Medicaid needs substantial reform.
Free Speech As A Point-Of-View Sharpener
Princeton professor Robert P. George and Harvard prof Cornel West have posted a petition in defense of freedom of speech, notes the WSJ:
For years, Professors George and West, the former a conservative and the latter a socialist, together taught a class at Princeton on how to listen to contrary points of view. Middlebury's violence drove home what many in academia have come to see more clearly now--that the most basic tenets of free inquiry and exchange are under unprecedented pressure in the U.S., not least at universities.
The George-West statement stands as a forceful rebuttal to the all-too-frequent attempt to stigmatize opponents into silence. We hope it gains the national support it deserves.
In the petition, George and West write something I have long believed -- that free speech, including the speech of people we disagree with, serves to enlighten and even improve each of us in a number of ways:
The pursuit of knowledge and the maintenance of a free and democratic society require the cultivation and practice of the virtues of intellectual humility, openness of mind, and, above all, love of truth. These virtues will manifest themselves and be strengthened by one's willingness to listen attentively and respectfully to intelligent people who challenge one's beliefs and who represent causes one disagrees with and points of view one does not share.
That's why all of us should seek respectfully to engage with people who challenge our views. And we should oppose efforts to silence those with whom we disagree--especially on college and university campuses. As John Stuart Mill taught, a recognition of the possibility that we may be in error is a good reason to listen to and honestly consider--and not merely to tolerate grudgingly--points of view that we do not share, and even perspectives that we find shocking or scandalous. What's more, as Mill noted, even if one happens to be right about this or that disputed matter, seriously and respectfully engaging people who disagree will deepen one's understanding of the truth and sharpen one's ability to defend it.
None of us is infallible. Whether you are a person of the left, the right, or the center, there are reasonable people of goodwill who do not share your fundamental convictions. This does not mean that all opinions are equally valid or that all speakers are equally worth listening to. It certainly does not mean that there is no truth to be discovered. Nor does it mean that you are necessarily wrong. But they are not necessarily wrong either. So someone who has not fallen into the idolatry of worshiping his or her own opinions and loving them above truth itself will want to listen to people who see things differently in order to learn what considerations--evidence, reasons, arguments--led them to a place different from where one happens, at least for now, to find oneself.
They wind up with a note referencing the ugly speaker-siliencing that's going on on campuses these days -- most recently at Middlebury:
It is all-too-common these days for people to try to immunize from criticism opinions that happen to be dominant in their particular communities. Sometimes this is done by questioning the motives and thus stigmatizing those who dissent from prevailing opinions; or by disrupting their presentations; or by demanding that they be excluded from campus or, if they have already been invited, disinvited. Sometimes students and faculty members turn their backs on speakers whose opinions they don't like or simply walk out and refuse to listen to those whose convictions offend their values. Of course, the right to peacefully protest, including on campuses, is sacrosanct. But before exercising that right, each of us should ask: Might it not be better to listen respectfully and try to learn from a speaker with whom I disagree? Might it better serve the cause of truth-seeking to engage the speaker in frank civil discussion?
Our willingness to listen to and respectfully engage those with whom we disagree (especially about matters of profound importance) contributes vitally to the maintenance of a milieu in which people feel free to speak their minds, consider unpopular positions, and explore lines of argument that may undercut established ways of thinking. Such an ethos protects us against dogmatism and groupthink, both of which are toxic to the health of academic communities and to the functioning of democracies.
This site is a free speech site because I believe in free speech. But the free speech here has also been personally good for me -- because, over the years, the challenges to my thinking by commenters here have made me a sharper and more carefully logical thinker. I also learn a lot and have changed my mind on a number of issues, after being driven to look into others' points of view (and sometimes getting mocked into doing that -- but that's okay).
After a lifetime of valuing free speech -- and seeing speaking freely but also listening to others modeled by my mother -- the idea that hurt feelz should be prioritized over free speech...well, it's a bit like suggesting we stop breathing because there might be a little pollen in the air.
One eye wide shuttiepoo.
Why Is It A Good Thing For Women To Be Treated Like The Kid Somebody Lets Win At Chess?
I got an email from a publicist for a company, proudly trumpeting that they were giving all the women at the company the day off on International Women's Day.
But not just that -- paid time off on that day.
He was supposedly doing this "in solidarity of women's rights and values."
Right. Or "in solidarity" with the need to get a little public relations.
I wrote to the publicist, wanting to make sure I got it right:
So, men have to work and only women get the day off?
She wrote, spinningly:
Yes. Women across the country are participating in a national day of strike (called "A Day Without Women") on International Women's Day as a way of showing how important women are in the workplace. [This] CEO supports this movement and has encouraged any women in the office who wish to participate to do so.
Um, if you're truly important in the workplace, you can't be missed.
I wonder how many companies figured out that they could maybe do without so many of those workers who called in "sick" on March 8.
Oh, and P.S., if you're for equal rights, you're for men and women getting treated equally.
Especially lately, that seems to escape a fuckton of people.
Silence is golden if you're a coffee mug.
The Short Skirt Police: Feminist Fundamentalism At PAX
Like puritanical religions, PAX -- the gaming festival -- has a dress code for women, and, uh, anyone dressed as a woman.
How far we haven't come.
Oh, and, after I tweeted the link, @Yeyoza snickered to me on Twitter about "female intrasexual competition." As I wrote in a column:
Social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Jean Twenge report that it's widely believed that men drive the "cultural suppression of female sexuality" -- which could include shaming women for how they dress. However, in reviewing the research, they make a persuasive case that it's primarily women (often without awareness of their motives) who work to "stifle each other's sexuality."
This is right in keeping with research on female competition. While men fight openly -- "Bring it! I will ruin you!" -- women take a sneakier approach. As female competition researcher Tracy Vaillancourt explains it, women fight for their interests using "indirect aggression," like gossip, mean looks, disparaging remarks, and other underhanded tactics to "reduce the mate value of a rival." Underhanded tactics? You know -- like suggesting you're selling out womankind if you wear a skirt or winged eyeliner.