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Avatar for GeraldFnord

( GeraldFnord )

Comments made by GeraldFnord

Exploring The "Liberal Gene"

I will not dispute the idea that our politics are almost entirely a matter of temperament, with a rational[ising] mask plastered on top at the last moment (if at all, and if not ripped off joyously and publicly as you murder our history whilst in Colonial drag). I would dispute the extent that our temperaments are so much the products of our genes; it's a familiar and an attractive idea, and as such should be mistrusted.

Example:
Eastern and Central European Jews migrated to the U.S. and to Canada. Those of us who came to the States, and to Ontario, tend to be to the left of the middle of our right-tilted U.S. political specturm; those who went to the province of Quebec tend to be on the right--Barbara and David Frum, Saul and Adam Bellow, and Mordechai Richler come to mind.

November 1, 2010 at 10:08 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Are Tea Partiers Hate Groups?

I think it's a grey area: I think they are not intrinsically hate groups, but I think they appeal to the hate group crowd. I would judge them differently according to whether their backers and organisers (Freedom Works, Roger Ailes) are actively encouraging those aspects that so appeal or not----I don't know, but I note that Roger Ailes was in the 1960s committed to bringing as many white bigots into the Republican Party as possible.

October 25, 2010 at 8:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

California's Marijuana Proposition

I'm pro-legalisation, but I feel the need to point out that marijuana will be much cheaper after legalisation: the premium induced by the threat of violence (from random strangers, and from the judicial system) will be gone, and if it were to be taxed too much, people would opt for illegal stuff---think of moonshine.

This means that marijuana will probably no longer be the state's premier cash-crop...for some people, this in fact might be a selling-point.

October 20, 2010 at 7:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Prop 19: Legal Weed In Calif.

People will not only make money on the pot dependencies of some people, but also on the non-dependent use of many others, and the honest medical use of some more.

Unlike some on my side, I freely admit that it is a drug (if it's good enough), and that in our amorally-grounded universe anything powerful enough to help is potentially powerful enough to hurt. I would point out, however, that the plant-based drug has been in near-continuous use for thousands of years, so (like maize, tomatoes, and cats) has been subject to a certain amount of selection for _not_ being injurious...although the distortions to its chemical profile engendered by a scant few decades' prohibition may in fact have screwed that up somewhat.

Still, the root idea of Enlightenment thought is that the universe is knowable through observation and tractable though reason, and that human desires are not so fundamentally evil that we cannot trust ourselves to pursue happiness for the most part reasonably.

I'm not a Libertarian, actually: I think that a society which encourages danger and uncertainty in our lives will probably have more drugs use than it would otherwise, and as such it is the duty of such a society to provide treatment for those who want it. But I am much more comfortable with Government being there to help pick up the pieces than with it's preventing people from doing what they will with their own bodies---yes, to you those people may appear to be jumping off a cliff, but maybe the ground is actually just a few feet down, and maybe (just maybe) some of those jumpers will learn to fly.

And, be that as it may, we must aask ourselves why liquor-sellers are no longer gunning each other down in our streets, endangering the rest of us even as they make life difficult for our garbage-men?

October 16, 2010 at 6:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Promise Of The Pill Not Always Met

It's forgotten now, post "Humanae Vitae", that many involved in working on a birth-control pill believed that the Church might be more amenable to such than to the barrier methods used then; I believe (but am not sure) that Alan Guttmacher claimed to have got such an opinion privately from a cardinal and other hierarchs. This was based on the thought that the Pill was less directly involved in the prevention of pregnancy; the Church ended up caring more about the intent, though in that case the rhythm method (where intent is often more significant than effect) should be ruled-out....

It's also not generally remembered that Western Europe, and especially France, achieved lower birth-rates in the 1890s and early 1900s, often even without access to barrier methods. The key points seem to be education of women and enough resources to make it reasonable to think of putting more of them into fewer children (example: have three children, send one to college or technical school).

August 31, 2010 at 10:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Public Scrutiny Focuses On Civic Salaries

It's silly that I have to start by saying that I'm not an hard-core Marxist; I am not any type of Marxist at all...but my guess is that some will call me that should I quote Jay Gould (think: Richard Mellon Scaife, except he actually once did some work) 's saying, 'I can get one-half the working class to kill the other half.' I will say that it's even easier to get most of the working classes to keep _themselves_ down.

It's only natural to resent public servants' having decent pensions when you don't. It is counter-productive to insist that theirs be brought down to your level, rather than that there be a re-ordering of the world such that a decent retirement were available to all.

Ours, and the industrialised world in general, is an amazingly productive society----this is the reason we can still afford Social Security, even though the number of retirees/worker has grown, and even considering that the owners are making more proportionately from productivity gains (in forms not subject to Social Security taxes) than the workers. Add a enough shots of nano- and bio-tech to the mix, and allowing everyone a decent living, even someone as useless as R.M. Scaife, a decent living should not be a problem...except we've purposely been blinded to its possibility. Please consider how _impossibly_ rich our life-style would appear to the average human since the adoption of agriculture---that is, a peasant who owned almost nothing and lived a life of pain, faith, and ignorance dwarfing that of even a regular TMZ viewer....

Too many buy into the myth that they will someday be wealthy, or that those who are wealthy all got there solely by their own, God/Market-approved, efforts, and so it is either against their self-interests and/or immoral to make sure that they pay a fair share of the unnatural property they have acquired via their own efforts, luck, and the existence of the government they deride and the society that made them. The reality is that America now has less economic mobility than Denmark, France, Germany,...only Britain (of the comparable European nations), heir to the same Anglo-Saxon Marketolatry and a worse class system, ranks below us.

August 6, 2010 at 10:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Prop 8 Overturned, What's Next?

Firstly: Ma'am, it's not a matter of the majority's "ruling incorrectly"; our system must be able to work despite frequent bad decisions on the part of the majority. What this is about is the majority's ruling in an area beyond its constitutional (both in the written and the original sense, as in 'arrangement of parts', senses) purview. Allowing majority rule over the basic civil rights of the minority is as senseless as demanding that the President directly approve of your choice of appetiser.

I'm reminded of the work of (I think it was) Jonathan Haidt. He identified five pillars of morality, with conservatives giving most value to three of them (tradition,loyalty, and purity) whilst liberals prefer a disjoint two (nurturance and choice). I think non-theocratic conservatives like choice as well, but I think what he identifies as a concern with purity, which in this context may be seen as meaning "ritual purity", is in play here: opponents basically think same-sex sexual activity is unclean, and allowing gay and lesbian people to marry would make the entire institution of marriage "unclean".

(Personally, I hold that bad, and particularly abusive, marriages devalue my marriage, no matter the gender of the partners...but for some reasons, I feel no need to outlaw them.)

Note to those who would deride the Constitution's being a "living" document: do you wish to be wed to the definition of "cruel" to which our Founders cleaved? Do you wish the distinction between petit theft and grand theft to be set at the line of (I think it was) $20 as in those days? Do you wish wish gun rights restricted to muskets, and freedom of the press limited to hand-operated presses? I never agreed to the Constitution in the 1780s; by staying in America, I am implicitly agreeing to abide by it as I, a person of these times, understands it. The rabbis claimed, or at least asked us to consider the notion, that the souls of all Jews ever to be born were present at Horeb and Sinai to agree with the Covenant, and so we're all bound thereby. As charming as this inventive fable may be, I have not _yet_ heard any Founder-centric person's claiming the same of all American citizens, though I wouldn't be surprised thereby....

August 6, 2010 at 9:36 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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