What ‘privilege’ means to me

Recently there’s been some back and forth on feminist blogs about the term “privilege”, beginning with “Shut Up, Rich Boy”: The Problem With “Privilege.” and continuing with several responses defending the use of the term.

Here’s what the feminist term of art “privilege” means to me.

1. I, as a straight white male, am being what feminists called “othered” – that is, consigned to a category of the threateningly alien that justifies misbehavior ranging from verbal assault all the way up to actual violence and organized political coercion.

2. The speaker is uninterested in (or outright incapable of) seeing beyond race/gender/ascriptive-identity labels to the individual reality of individuals in the “privileged” category.

3. The speaker is stuck in an epistemically-closed belief system, and will interpret logical or fact-based criticism of it as a power-seeking maneuver. Reasoned argument with this person is thus essentially impossible.

4. The speaker has failed to apply power-relations analysis to her (or his) own behavior, and so does not realize that use of the term “privilege” passes all that theory’s tests for a power-seeking maneuver intended to suppress thought under the pretense of provoking it.

5. If the speaker has not already attempted to kafkatrap me, such an attempt is near certain within the next few minutes.

That is all.

377 thoughts on “What ‘privilege’ means to me

  1. 6. The speaker attributes magical powers to penises. Maybe penises do have a big effect on such people, but they’re a minority.

  2. Point 4 of the original essay reminds me of the article “Eek, A Male!” which was featured on Hacker News recently. It was about how male teachers were supposedly being unfairly suspected of pedophilia just because they were male. Well, some commenter on HN did the numbers, and it turns out — a disconcertingly large percentage of male teachers are pedophiles, so putting teachers under suspicion because they have a penis is an entirely reasonable, cautious approach to take.

  3. I do believe that succinctly covers pretty much the entire issue, in most of its public applications.

    So, bravo.

  4. (Also, re. Andy:

    “I don’t know about you, but mine is freakin’ amazing…”)

  5. >HN did the numbers, and it turns out — a disconcertingly large percentage of male teachers are pedophiles

    I read the link you provided. It fails to support this claim, because it doesn’t address the incidence of pedophila among teachers at all. The only occupation for which it gives statistics is daycare workers. So, on the evidence presented, being suspicious of male teachers is not justified.

  6. 1. I, as a straight white male, am being what feminists called “othered” – that is, consigned to a category of the threateningly alien that justifies misbehavior ranging from verbal assault all the way up to actual violence and organized political coercion.

    No, you’re not. I’ve seen this mainly from the subset of feminists who fulfill the dreary stereotypes of the female-supremacist and perpetually very angry “feminazi”. What “privileged” means is that your opinions on certain issues are going to be biased by the fact that you haven’t had a certain kind of negative experience based on what you are. For example, it’s very unlikely that anyone has made inappropriate, unwanted verbal remarks or physical contact with you at an open source convention, yet this happens to female developers all the time. Therefore, your conclusions about women in computing are going to be vastly different from those of, well, women in computing — and your conclusions are going to be considered less relevant because you’re not living with the unpleasant consequences of maintaining the status quo.

    2. The speaker is uninterested in (or outright incapable of) seeing beyond race/gender/ascriptive-identity labels to the individual reality of individuals in the “privileged” category.

    Batman didn’t drive the Joker insane; the Joker’s insanity created the need for a Batman in the first place.

    Similarly, activists didn’t create those labels. They were created by institutions intrinsic to the enclosing society, and their existence created the need for activists. For example, there’s precious little genetic or physiological basis for “race”. But once enough members of a particular “racial group” shared the same negative experiences of oppression, they could be politically addressed as a group and take action as a group. If it weren’t for the KKK, the Black Panthers would be unnecessary.

    There’s quite a bit more physiological basis separating men from women, but the political group of women didn’t become necessary until women began wanting to do things they politically couldn’t do because they were women.

    3. The speaker is stuck in an epistemically-closed belief system, and will interpret logical or fact-based criticism of it as a power-seeking maneuver. Reasoned argument with this person is thus essentially impossible.

    If you cite facts or statistics that have been bias-corrected and someone dismisses them because you’re “privileged”, you have every right to call bullshit. But don’t be surprised if the unprivileged draw different conclusions from the facts. And I will say that most of the time, being privileged means that you are unaware of facts relating to the issue at hand, as above in the women-in-computing case.

    4. The speaker has failed to apply power-relations analysis to her (or his) own behavior, and so does not realize that use of the term “privilege” passes all that theory’s tests for a power-seeking maneuver intended to suppress thought under the pretense of provoking it.

    I’d be interested to know what those tests are.

    5. If the speaker has not already attempted to kafkatrap me, such an attempt is near certain within the next few minutes.

    “Help, help! I’m being kafkatrapped!”

    Sorry, I can’t get over that this sounds a lot like guilt by association.

  7. >I’ve seen this mainly from the subset of feminists who fulfill the dreary stereotypes of the female-supremacist and perpetually very angry “feminazi”.

    I concede as a theoretical possibility that I might someday meet a feminist who uses the term “privilege” and is not in this subset, but I have not yet observed the creature in reality.

  8. I concede as a theoretical possibility that I might someday meet a feminist who uses the term “privilege” and is not in this subset, but I have not yet observed the creature in reality.

    You need to get out more.

  9. @Jeff Read I, a white male, have been at times been exposed to inappropriate comments and unwanted touching, sometimes from women, and sometimes at conferences, as well as at other venues.

    I choose to interpret those experiences to mean that being the recipient of poorly socialized awkward unwanted advances is an experience shared by most all humans.

    The people who chose to interpret such experiences as an affront or attack on women (or other labeled groups) demonstrates a failure of imagination, a failure to see outside their own insularity. Which, funny enough, is the attitude ascribed to those possessing “privilege”.

  10. @ESR why are you wasting your time trying to argue with such shallow people? Your description of them sounds like they are the same type of people who try to slap the “racism” label on anyone who doesn’t agree with the Obama agenda.

    I’m sure you already know the metaphor comparing Internet arguments to the Special Olympics.

  11. A less sarcastic suggestion suggestion for a #6 than Andy’s would be something to the effect of “6. It is clear that there is no conceivable action or set of actions I can take that will escape the label, therefore the impact of this label on my actions and beliefs is null.”

    Without thinking, various -ist groups have created a situation in which nobody is actually motivated to change. Since I’m a *-ist by mere virtue of my [skin color/gender/ethnicity/orientation/whatever], since I can’t possibly understand X regardless of what real experiences I may have, since there’s no evidence that there’s any way to dodge the label, I have no motivation to even try.

    Zealously defending the proposition that “I can’t possibly understand” at all costs may be emotionally satisfying to the defender, but it is actively counterproductive to the cause in question.

  12. >Your description of them sounds like they are the same type of people who try to slap the “racism” label on anyone who doesn’t agree with the Obama agenda.

    Yes, of course they are. I’m not trying to argue with them, I’m trying to clarify matters for people who have not yet been sucked into that kind of belief system.

  13. @esr

    >3. The speaker is stuck in an epistemically-closed belief system, and will interpret logical or fact-based criticism of it as a power-seeking maneuver. Reasoned argument with this person is thus essentially impossible.

    This definitely coincides with my experience. I have noticed the use of the term ‘get it’, as in ‘he clearly doesn’t get it’, as a way to shut down reasoned argument from such people. The nature of ‘it’ is never made clear.

  14. @Mark:

    I choose to interpret those experiences to mean that being the recipient of poorly socialized awkward unwanted advances is an experience shared by most all humans.

    Is it possible that the very point is that your interpretation is based on your subjective experience and hence flawed?

    You’re criticizing them for interpreting such interaction as hostile, when their very point is that they interpret that interaction to be hostile (in the background context of previous class/group interactions).

    Or, nah-nah-nah.

    @esr:

    3. The speaker is stuck in an epistemically-closed belief system, and will interpret logical or fact-based criticism of it as a power-seeking maneuver. Reasoned argument with this person is thus essentially impossible.

    I’ll have to copy this down, very well worded.

  15. I choose to interpret those experiences to mean that being the recipient of poorly socialized awkward unwanted advances is an experience shared by most all humans.

    How many men experience sexual assault during their lifetime? And how many women?

    No, I’m not saying that an unwanted sexual advance is the same thing as an assault. What I am saying is that women, knowing that they have a disturbingly high likelihood of being assaulted during their lifetime, and that they are usually physically smaller and weaker than a man and less able to physically defend themselves if it became necessary, may respond to an unwanted sexual advance (especially an aggressive or skeevy one) by questioning their physical safety — whereas a man in the same situation would have no reason to think about such things.

    To respond to something like, “I don’t like it when I get catcalled on the street” by getting defensive or by rationalizing that this isn’t a problem because it’s not a problem for you is to miss the point. We’re asking you to consider and understand how our experiences differ from yours and how that affects the context in which we may perceive your actions.

  16. >Zealously defending the proposition that “I can’t possibly understand” at all costs may be emotionally satisfying to the defender, but it is actively counterproductive to the cause in question.

    This isn’t hard to understand. In many *-ist groups, the actual objective has long ceased to be the actual liberation of anybody. They’ve become vehicles for special-interest groups, and the rhetoric is intended to maintain an illusion of moral superiority over competing interest groups.

  17. @esr

    >the actual objective has long ceased to be the actual liberation of anybody.

    Right. This certainly seems to be the case if these arguments about privilege are supposed to fall under the rubric of feminism.

    Feminism, as far as I know, has the objective of securing equal social rights and opportunities for women. It does not aim to secure all women from any potentially awkward or unwanted social encounters.

  18. I read that article and nodded the whole way through it.
    Then I read the first comment, particularly the bit about “I didn’t ask for that…” and almost laughed.

    Assuming that “privilege” existed as stated (and it’s irrelevant to this comment whether it does or not), i’d be the first to say “i didn’t ask for that and why won’t it go away”.

    Because dammit I worked hard to be what I am and know what I know today and any argument that suggests I didn’t is going to have to come up with a whole heap of evidence to overcome my personal evidence to the contrary.

  19. >We’re asking you to consider and understand how our experiences differ from yours and how that affects the context in which we may perceive your actions.

    This request is justified, and I support it. (I also directly support women in rectifying that power imbalance by teaching them to shoot and defend themselves hand-to-hand.)

    But the rhetoric around “privilege” is not a request, it’s a demand. It denies me, as one of the designated “privileged”, the standing to question the facts, logic, or moral premises of the designated “unprivileged”. If I try, I don’t “get it” – I am merely confirming my own privilege.

  20. I largely agree with the author of the original article here, in that I believe that ‘privilege’, as used by those who are not insane, is a valuable concept that needs to be addressed. I am aware that, by virtue of birth anyway, I am one of the most ‘privileged’ people around; even leaving out the rather nebulous idea of social benefits from being a white male, I am able-bodied, young, intelligent, have only a few relatively insignificant genetic predispositions to disease–good stuff, and I acknowledge that my life is better for these things which I did nothing in particular to earn. The problem is that, again, most of the people using the term are, in fact, insane. And hence use it solely to shut down anyone who disagrees with them. (Also, there’s a sort of confusion here, where people want to make things equal by dragging down the higher, rather than by uplifting the lower. I read “my life is better for things which I did nothing in particular to earn”, and I think “Good! Now let’s give that to everyone else.” Others read it and seem to think “Hey! Let’s take it away from him.”)

  21. @Cassie: “What I am saying is that women, knowing that they have a disturbingly high likelihood of being assaulted during their lifetime, and that they are usually physically smaller and weaker than a man and less able to physically defend themselves if it became necessary, may respond to an unwanted sexual advance (especially an aggressive or skeevy one) by questioning their physical safety — whereas a man in the same situation would have no reason to think about such things.”

    Careful. You came terribly close to admitting there are intrinsic and irremediable differences between male and female. That does not fit the approved narrative and such is therefore forbidden and may get you ostracised.

    At that point I guess you’d know more what it’s like to be “privileged”.

  22. @Michael Hipp

    >You came terribly close to admitting there are intrinsic and irremediable differences between male and female.

    Nobody ever claimed otherwise.

  23. Tom Says: “Nobody ever claimed otherwise.”

    You’ve not been paying attention in class again.

  24. > Feminism, as far as I know, has the objective of securing equal social rights and opportunities for women. It does not aim to secure all women from any potentially awkward or unwanted social encounters.

    Your definition of feminism does not correspond to actual usage.

  25. Privilege are only what we, – as a whole – give to certain groups or people. In a moral or societal sense of the sentence.
    Treat others as equally rightful people and “privilege” will make less and less sense.

    Physical, political, racial or gender’ial sense of superiority is another beast (in my opinion, the exact opposite), which is more difficult to beat, because it’s diffuse and profoundly engraved in those *-ist.
    Fighting them with the same closed mind just justify their own stance.

  26. @Cassie

    “How many men experience sexual assault during their lifetime? And how many women?”

    1 in 6 approximately by the age of 16, we don’t know lifetime numbers because of the stigma attached to being a male rape victim… 1 in 4 is the approximate number of women, and I am part of that 1 in 4, though, ironically, during the time in my life (high school, specifically, in front of a hundred people, and I spoke clearly into a live microphone telling him to stop touching my breasts. Nobody did anything.) when I was presenting as a cissexually constructed male instead of an authentic female.

    http://1in6.org/

    Male privilege is not about freedom from sexual assault. It is about society having different expectations for you. Expectations that you will be less educated, more expendable, more exposed to violence and mayhem, and work harder, and that you will prefer it that way. There exists an inverse to that. It’s not the equivalent of White Privilege or Cis Privilege, where the holder enjoys an absolute advantage in almost all spheres.

    Let me put it this way… some women have reported difficulty getting financial institutions to take them seriously, and when there is a divorce or a decision to keep one’s own name, etc, they will refuse or be reluctant to accept her name by common usage, demanding a name change before allowing her to even receive correspondence respectful of her life. Some men have lost children because the courts felt that a female parent was more fit than a male parent.

    Trans women, and men, suffer BOTH. There is a clear demonstration of unidirectional oppression. Where trans people are not accorded respect for their identities, seen as unfit parents and employees, seen as immoral, hyper-sexualized, you name it. For every instance of disparity between trans people and cis people there is not a correlative instance of disparity in the reverse direction. There isn’t a 60 hour cis workweek to explain the cis-trans pay gap. There isn’t a higher cis death rate to explain it.

    And yeah as to physicality, I never beat my younger sister in an arm-wrestle growing up, which is why she loved intermittently challenging me to them… and I was a frightened gopher, still sort of am. Boys were very good at teaching me, with the encouragement of their peers, male and female, to be afraid… And having no sisterhood to fall back on, I was forced to think about those sort of things.

  27. But the rhetoric around “privilege” is not a request, it’s a demand. It denies me, as one of the designated “privileged”, the standing to question the facts, logic, or moral premises of the designated “unprivileged”. If I try, I don’t “get it” – I am merely confirming my own privilege.

    This, as you noted, is a model M kafkatrap. Given that, is the use of the word “privilege” in the feminist manner an automatic signal that the argument is logically invalid and may be summarily ignored?

  28. At that point I guess you’d know more what it’s like to be “privileged”.

    I am privileged. Privilege is not something that is “bad” or your “fault” for having, or something you’re supposed to get rid of — it’s something you can’t get rid of, any more than you can change your sex (barring certain surgical procedures, I guess…) or race or age or disability status, or anything else that fundamentally affects how you perceive the world and which problems affect you more or less than others.

    I’m white — I don’t have to deal with racism in my everyday life the way racial minorities do. There are issues they are faced with that I am unaware of, and won’t ever fully understand simply because I can’t actually experience them the same way non-whites do.

    I’m able-bodied — I don’t have to deal with mobility issues in my everyday life. When I go somewhere I don’t have to worry about whether they have a ramp, whether my wheelchair can fit through the door, whether there are elevators, whether the bathroom is handicapped-accessible, etc. I don’t have to deal with people treating me differently because of my disability. I can imagine what it’s like, but the only way I can ever fully understand is if someday I become disabled and have to deal with it for real.

    And you’re male — you don’t have to deal with sexism, sexual harassment, sexual assault and related issues the way women do. You won’t ever fully understand because you are not a woman and don’t experience these things the same way women do.

    None of these are moral failings on either of our parts; they’re just facts. Our responsibility as privileged people (in the areas in which we are privileged) is not to apologize or atone for this, but to bear in mind that other people are dealing with a different set of problems than we are, and to not dismiss another group’s problems as less real or valid than ours simply because we have the good fortune to not be personally affected by them.

  29. @Jeff Read:

    If it weren’t for the KKK, the Black Panthers would be unnecessary.

    Are you really that clueless? I’m originally from Detroit. And I did not grow up in a white suburban neighborhood insulated from the poorest segments in society. I grew up in a blue collar neighborhood. Let me tell you something: the Black Panthers would most definitely have existed with or without the KKK. Hate is hate. You don’t need to be white to be a racist.

  30. @Michael Hipp

    > You’ve not been paying attention in class again.

    Are you seriously contending that there are feminists who claim no intrinsic physical differences between men and women? Care to cite an example?

  31. “there are certain things that a white male doesn’t have to worry about that other groups can [sic],”

    So? There are certain things that females don’t have to worry about that males do. There are things whites have to worry about that other ethnicities don’t. There are things people with reasonably-good vision don’t have to worry about that the severely myopic have to deal with. We each have our own peculiar bundle of crap we have to deal with. Get over it.

    The truly annoying thing about “privilege” is that is says:

    Because you are a member of ethnic/gender/orientation group $Oppressor (which is not a matter of your choice in any way) you therefore possess $Oppressor.attribute[$n] quality.

    How is that any different from:

    Because you are a member of ethnic/gender/orientation group $Victim (which is not a matter of your choice in any way) you therefore possess $Victim.attribute[$n] quality.

    “Well, you know how them Darkies is!”

    In short, isn’t assigning such attributes to all members of a group… prejudice?

  32. The Monster: Of course it is.

    When I do it to you, it’s discrimination.
    When you do it to me, it’s affirmative action.

    The same hypocrisy permeates the entire field. It’s not bad when $Victim does it.

  33. @Morgan Greywolf

    >Well, if he is,he’d be right. Here, read this debate on gender differences at Harvard, for starters.

    Very interesting, but this debate pertains to cognitive, rather than physical, capabilities, no?

  34. >This, as you noted, is a model M kafkatrap. Given that, is the use of the word “privilege” in the feminist manner an automatic signal that the argument is logically invalid and may be summarily ignored?

    In theory, no. We have one commenter here (Cassie) who presents a sort of best-practice version of “privilege” rhetoric that avoids kafkatrapping. However, the version I encounter in practice – that is, whenever I’ve seen feminists bring “privilege” into discussion of other issues rather than meta-discussion of privilege itself – invariably has that flaw.

  35. The idea that there are intrinsic physical differences between men and women is cisnormative and has no basis in the current thought on sex and gender. Hint: Sex refers to physical equipment; gender refers to socially constructed identity. Of course there are going to be differences in physical equipment, but manhood or womanhood is no longer solely defined by this. It is entirely possible to be born a girl with male tackle and no female tackle. At least one such individual has posted here — probably more than one.

  36. @Jeff Read

    >cisnormative

    This is a new one on me, and I can’t find a definition anywhere. Could you provide one?

  37. Oh, I never said I was confused about the reasoning behind my point. I was targeting the same set of people you’re targeting, the ones who may actually think it’s about the proximate issues.

    It occurs to me there’s an analogy to the concept of falsifiability of a scientific theorem. A claim about my moral standing on some topic that is impossible for me to falsify in the past or the future isn’t a claim about my moral standing at all, it’s just an insult.

  38. Are you seriously contending that there are feminists who claim no intrinsic physical differences between men and women? Care to cite an example?

    I don’t know if she was a feminist or not but I got that precise message in a science class in my 11th year of schooling. I actually called her on it but at the time couldn’t discuss past the inaccuracies inherent in the word “average” and she fairly quickly shut down the conversation.

  39. “It is entirely possible to be born a girl with male tackle and no female tackle”.

    Its official, words no longer have meaning.
    Good night.

  40. @JonCB

    >I don’t know if she was a feminist or not but I got that precise message in a science class in my 11th year of schooling. I actually called her on it but at the time couldn’t discuss past the inaccuracies inherent in the word “average” and she fairly quickly shut down the conversation.

    Wow. Perhaps I have been sheltered from this sort of thing. In a science class you were told that there are no physical differences (except, I assume, basic differences of genitalia) between males and females? That’s crazy.

    Would you agree, though, that this must be an extreme minority position? It certainly does not reflect the mainstream of feminist thought that I have been exposed to.

  41. Cassie Says:
    > How many men experience sexual assault during their lifetime? And how many women?

    Sorry Cassie, I’m sympathetic to your point of view, but the simple plain fact is that in the United States far more men are raped than women, and many of them are raped systematically and regularly. I am talking of course of the US prison system where, by some estimates, 25% of men out of a population of 2 million are raped on a regular basis.

    Furthermore, men are far more subject to violence than women. A casual look at crime statistics will back this up. It is their evolutionary role to fight and the thin veneer of civilization peels back very easily. Witness current events in London.

    Violence against women is a terrible thing, but so is violence against men.

  42. @Jessica Boxer

    >Sorry Cassie, I’m sympathetic to your point of view, but the simple plain fact is that in the United States far more men are raped than women, and many of them are raped systematically and regularly. I am talking of course of the US prison system where, by some estimates, 25% of men out of a population of 2 million are raped on a regular basis.

    I think this is a bit disingenuous. We are talking about behaviour in mainstream society, not in the prison system.

  43. >Its official, words no longer have meaning.

    It’s not that simple. Physical intersexes are rare but do occur, and there are also cases in which chromosomal sex is different from phenotypical sex. There’s nothing intrinsically absurd about the idea of a human with a set of genitals that doesn’t quite match the sex differentiation of his or her brain. This does happen, and the consequences are generally tragic.

    In fact, it could be argued that I’m a (non-tragic) case myself. There’s a band of nerve tissue called the “corpus callosum” which links the hemispheres of the brain; it tends to be small and inactive in men but larger and active in women. But…in the 1970s, a neuropsychologist named Reuben Gur put me through a test battery because his observations of my behavior and interests caused him to suspect that I have a “female-like” brain organization with an active corpus callosum and low laterality.

    I don’t think Dr. Gur was wrong. I’ll probably never know, because his preliminary results spooked him so badly that he broke off contact with me and avoided me for the next five years until I gave up. A shame, that. But the experience did motivate me to study sex differences in neural organization and behavior; they do exist and are important, though workers in the field tend to discuss them in hushed whispers out of fear of the PC police.

    Sometimes I think I barely dodged a bullet. My sexual identity is male and not at all fragile – but if my brain had been organized just a little further off-mean, a bit more like a female’s, perhaps I too would have been one of the deeply conflicted people whose neural wiring doesn’t match their genitals. It’s a good thing this condition is rare because they tend to be severely psychologically fucked up both before and after reassignment surgery – their rate of post-surgical suicide is more than five times the general population.

    So try to have some sympathy for the transsexuals. Yes, they whine a a lot and throw around unhelpful jargon like “cisnormative”; when they start with the victimology crap and special pleading I too want to drop-kick them into next week. But they’re in real pain that is not their fault. A certain amount of silly acting-out is probably inevitable.

  44. Would you agree, though, that this must be an extreme minority position? It certainly does not reflect the mainstream of feminist thought that I have been exposed to.

    I think it’s a minority statement of taking a majority position to it’s logical extreme. I’m sure you’ve seen the “Girls can do ANYTHING!” (emphasis in original) stickers/campaigns right? Now i’m certainly not arguing with the original sentiment… there’s should be no such thing as “you can’t do XYZ because you’re a girl”… thats retarded and wrong(and i’d like to point and laugh at anyone so parochial as to disagree with that statement in this day and age).

    But if you agree with that and then say “But boys are generally stronger”(as an obvious example) then it allows someone to argue “But you’re not strong enough” in proxy to “But you’re a girl”. At least that’s my rational guess as to why the argument appears.

    Violence against women is a terrible thing, but so is violence against men.

    Why do we have to specify? Because it’s easier to make targetted slogans? is “To violence against good people… Australia says no” worse than “To violence against women… Australia says no”?

    Violence is a terrible thing(yes, sometimes a regrettably required thing but still a terrible thing)… any attempt to classify violence against men or violence against women is unnecessary and sexist.

    It’s not like violence against either gender is any better or worse than the other.

  45. I don’t mind feminism, I just don’t like feminism containing proto-rationalist contrivances (such as “privilege”). Can anybody write down a reasonably correct and complete semantics for the English language? The answer as of writing is no, so a rationalistic account of human interaction (being intertwined with language) is unjustified. However, like language, humans can _do_ interaction just fine.

    One thing I always ask women who complain about gender issues is this: exactly what is it that you can’t do because you’re a woman? For every complaint raised I can point to something males have to put up with that women don’t. What’s funny is that most of this tosh comes from extremely lucky women in rich countries with laughable first-world “problems”. Let’s focus on the main game: shaming those who deliberately hold people back for stupid reasons (sex, race, etc).

  46. @Tom:

    Very interesting, but this debate pertains to cognitive, rather than physical, capabilities, no?

    To a strict physicalist, there is no difference, no?

    @Jeff Read:

    The idea that there are intrinsic physical differences between men and women is cisnormative and has no basis in the current thought on sex and gender.

    Citation needed. And a scholarly article, please, not politically correct crap written by some liberal wymynist group.

  47. @Morgan Greywolf

    >To a strict physicalist, there is no difference, no?

    Yes, ok, that’s true. But in this context I am using ‘physical’ in contrast to ‘cognitive’ in order to refer to attributes like size and strength.

  48. The idea that there are intrinsic physical differences between men and women is cisnormative and has no basis in the current thought on sex and gender.

    ‘cisnormative’? *googles*

    Wow, that is an entirely unhelpful word.

    By ‘men’ and ‘women’, here, are they referring to the difference in sex or the difference in gender? (If I’m using the distinction right.) If the latter, then this might almost make sense, as long as you completely ignore the fact that gendered men and women are determined by physical structures (in the brain) just like sexed men and women are determined by gross anatomical and hormonal differences.

  49. > If it weren’t for the KKK, the Black Panthers would be unnecessary.

    Oh really? What, exactly, did the Black Panthers do about the KKK?

    Since the answer is “nothing”, you get to explain how the existence of the KKK made the Black Panthers necessary.

  50. @JonCB

    >But if you agree with that and then say “But boys are generally stronger”(as an obvious example) then it allows someone to argue “But you’re not strong enough” in proxy to “But you’re a girl”. At least that’s my rational guess as to why the argument appears.

    I can understand how a stupid (or just intellectually superficial) person might become confused in such a fashion, but I don’t think it is the ‘logical extreme’ of the majority position. There is nothing remotely logical about it.

  51. @Cassie: How many men experience it or how many men report it? Are you willing to be certain those numbers are the same?

  52. Also: How many female-on-males rapes go unreported? How much female-on-male partner abuse goes unreported? Why is nobody even asking these questions?

  53. @Cassie
    in response too:
    > How many men experience sexual assault during their lifetime? And how many women?

    1 in 6 for men, and 1 in 4 for women.

    The statistics for flat out rape: 1 in 8 men. 1 in 6 Women.

    Even though that number looks small, men tend to be less likely to report so the percieved difference is greater than the actual difference.

    I do not have the actual studies to site at the moment, but I have been taking Victim Advocasy classes recently, so the numbers are kind of stuck in my head (along with many other things on the subject that one would rather not have there).

    I agree 100% however, that the fears of women (and men who think about the issue) are to be taken seriously.

    > — whereas a man in the same situation would have no reason to think about such things.

    I however have to 100% disagree with this statement… Ok, 75% disagree, just on the grounds that men (I am one, so I have some experience in the matter) are idiots that tend to not think about their own safety enough, and tend to be too proud to admit when they should be adressing the matter.

    As for the word “privilege” and what it means, quite often it is used in the exact way that the blog post implies that it is. The word privilege has been used by many in recent history in negative ways.

    @Phi
    In regards to your words have no meaning comment: Even beyond the issue of transgendered persons, there are literally people who are occasionally born XX with male genetalia or XY with female. There are even people occasionally born with both sets.

    The idea of Gender in its modern concets really IS a social construct. If you were to leave mental and emotional aspects out all together, the human species tends to produce at least five distinct genders (based entirely on physiology and not psychology).

    This alone is enough for me to look at “common wisdom” on the subject of sexuality and just say “Ah, screw it.”

  54. To a strict physicalist, there is no difference, no?

    Sort of. But only in one direction. To assert that there are no physical differences between men and women would imply that there are also no cognitive differences. But to assert that there are no cognitive differences implies merely that there are no physical differences in the brain. There may still be physical differences in parts of the body not responsible for cognition.

    Of course, there are in fact physical differences between male and female brains, but few enough people are aware of this that feminists can, in a sufficiently small crowd, safely assert that no such differences exist.

  55. I can understand how a stupid (or just intellectually superficial) person might become confused in such a fashion, but I don’t think it is the ‘logical extreme’ of the majority position. There is nothing remotely logical about it.

    I have two thoughts on this.

    On one side, I can see a line of reasoning that is very logical. Sure it probably makes a few leaps of logic here or there but then thats not so uncommon. To put it another way… it probably feels like a logical outcome from the inside.

    On the other you might be right and logical isn’t the right word, perhaps inevitable is better.

    Either way i think it comes down to the same thing. The same thought process that leads some liberals to demonize conservatives(and vice versa), because arguments are soldiers and if you don’t attempt to destroy every argument of your enemy then you are providing aid and comfort to that enemy and stabbing your own arguments in the back, is what leads to this extreme (see politics is the mindkiller).

  56. One of the challenges with sharing values with people from all over the political spectrum is realizing that we all have anti-shibboleth terms. As a libertarian, I rather like “privilege” as a term. I also think that it makes sense to replace it with “power relations(hip)” if it causes a strong collectivist reaction among your own group against another. The mapping isn’t perfect, but it’s close enough.

    I clearly have a lot of implicit power relationships with people which profoundly distort the probability distribution of interactions that I can have with them (terminology mismatchs are just one of them). It’s hard to see that when I’m the person who benefits most from a particular arrangement. I think it’s natural that I don’t really pay attention to things that just innately bend things toward my position.

    For instance, I think most people with English accents don’t go around thinking “OMG, it’s awesome I get a +2 INT just for talking funny.” But if people ignore what you say because, say, you have a squeaky voice, that’s going to affect you more profoundly. And if I say, in my sleek and elegant tones, “Well, it can’t be *that* bad”, I think it’s worth highlighting that as a privilege, because I don’t actually think about how something as stupid as my timbre gives me a benefit in a lot of situations. Same with being tall, or having awesome front teeth.

    I don’t actually see being accused of being privileged as an attack. It’s an attempt to draw attention to something people frequently ignore. I’m almost certainly one of the most privileged people in any random selection of people. It’s not like it’s my fault, so when people highlight it, I’m like, “True. What did it blind me to this time?”.

    I do get a bit bored of people who get offended at terminology. It’s political anti-correctness gone mad, I tell you!

  57. Jeff, so … apparently because I’m a straight white male, I was never molested by a (one can only imagine) homosexual janitor after hours in the computer room whose key he controlled. Thus, neither I **nor any other straight white male** can possibly appreciate how a woman feels when she’s molested by a male.

    See, it’s defenses like the one you make that make me realize that … using the word “privilege” is an expression of privilege, and negates itself.

  58. esr wrote:
    > It’s not that simple.

    Oh wow. Thanks for this, I had no idea. I’d sure like having my own corpus callosum measured, some day. Size does matter, after all, but of a different organ. :-)

  59. Privilege is not something that is “bad” or your “fault” for having, or something you’re supposed to get rid of — it’s something you can’t get rid of

    And that’s why privilege is such a bad choice of word for the concept.

    Privilege was originally special rights granted (by law: privilegium – from privis+lex) to individuals and then by analogy to a small group of people. Special rights that, by their nature, could not be granted to all, as they were power over other people. [The original privileges were granted with imperium, that is "the power to rule", so a propraetor would be granted imperium over a province, together with propraetorial privileges, which included five lictors when outside the pomerium]

    That meaning still hangs heavy over the word. Many of the things that are described as privilege in feminist discourse are not privileges; they are rights that are denied to some people (for male privilege, to women, for cis privilege, to trans people, etc). There is a profound moral and ethical distinction between a denied right and a privilege; a privilege is something that it is impossible to grant to all, and that morally no-one should have. For instance men have the privilege that if they rape a woman, it’s unlikely to be reported to the police. That’s a real privilege; something that should be taken away. A right is something that everyone should have, and if some don’t have it, then it’s a right that they are being denied.

    The retreat from rights discourse to privilege discourse – in a simplified form, from complaining about things women don’t have, to complaining about things men do have – is the big error of late second and early third wave feminism.

    If you’re complaining that women can’t walk the streets in safety, then complain about that, don’t complain that men can. Every time I see someone listing male privileges, I have to mentally switch gears to realise that they aren’t proposing that they be taken away from men, but extended to women.

    This is also why equality is the wrong model. To take an example there, women, fairly, complain that women in the public eye are judged much more on their physical appearances than men. Look at how Michele Bachmann is discussed, and compare to any of the men running for the Republican candidacy. But you could achieve equality by judging men much more on their appearances too. If you have a privilege discourse (“men in politics have the privilege to be judged primarily on their ideas and words and not on their appearances”) then the implication is that we should look more at men’s appearances. If you have a rights discourse (“women in politics should have the right to be judged primarily on their ideas and words and not on their appearances”) then you might get somewhere.

    TLDR: The very definition of a privilege is that it’s something that cannot be made universal. Most of the things that are described as “privilege” are rights that some people are being denied. We should call them such.

    ESR says: Excellent analysis. I agree with both the reasoning and the conclusion.

  60. >Oh wow. Thanks for this, I had no idea. I’d sure like having my own corpus callosum measured, some day.

    So would I. In the 1970s, Dr. Gur could only check his theory indirectly by running me through a psychometric battery, looking for evidence of rapid and fluid mode-switching between logical and intuitive processing in the way I handled cognitive challenges. (Sperry’s split-brain experiments were the hottest thing in the literature then.) Nowadays we have good enough brain-monitoring tools that it might be possible to measure corpus-callosum activation directly.

    There’s a postscript to this. In the 1980s I met another neurologist at a party and told him about Dr. Gur’s experiments on me, and he told me something fascinating. He said the sort of fluid mode-switching Gur was looking for often develops as a learned behavior in people who have to do creative work under rigid logical constraints – computer programmers, design engineers, some kinds of musician. Aha! So I am not a singular freak, it seems.

    He said “And this is very interesting, because it is one of a very few learned behaviors we can correlate with a grossly measurable change in the physiology of the brain – an elevated level of dopamine in the frontal lobes.”

    A few years after that, I read The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, and when I read Sacks’s description of what it is like to have a clinical level of dopamine excess in the brain I experienced a shock of recognition. The poor bastards with Tourette’s Syndrome are like me, except their mental processes are so fast and jagged that they have trouble maintaining coherent thought…

    This is why I have sometimes mumbled, on this blog and elsewhere, about being a sort of subclinical Tourette’s case.

  61. Every time I see someone listing male privileges, I have to mentally switch gears to realise that they aren’t proposing that they be taken away from men, but extended to women.

    They do normally make it fairly clear that men’s behavior has to change for this to happen, and that this is in some cases going to feel like a sacrifice – “giving up privilege”. But yeah, those male privilege checklists are not great tools for convincing newcomers to the discussion.

    If you have a rights discourse (“women in politics should have the right to be judged primarily on their ideas and words and not on their appearances”) then you might get somewhere.

    Once you’d educated everyone on the distinction, maybe. Not quite sure how it would make it easier to have the desired result come about, though.

    My problem with telling someone they’re privileged is that you’re pretty much saying they’re spoilt (and thus less worthy of respect). Which is great if you want them to get defensive.

    Thanks for that link to noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com, Eric. I’d been thinking about starting something along those lines (but with a considerably narrower focus). Interesting site.

  62. Did anyone explain just what the precise nickel-plated fuck “cisnormative” means? Or does it have any meaning that can be separated from politically correct bullshit?

  63. Did anyone explain just what the precise nickel-plated fuck “cisnormative” means? Or does it have any meaning that can be separated from politically correct bullshit?

    It means a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or “wrong”.

  64. It means a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or “wrong”.

    So…political correctness on top of political correctness.

    Why not just say it, instead of inventing words that only serve to obfuscate unless you’re part of the group trying to achieve through language what you can’t achieve through argument?

  65. ^ oops.
    thought we were looking for a definition for cisgender – misread the ‘cis-normative’ question

    /goes to get more coffee

  66. Jeff Read:

    It means a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or “wrong”.

    Jay Maynard:

    Why not just say it, instead of inventing words that only serve to obfuscate unless you’re part of the group trying to achieve through language what you can’t achieve through argument?

    What word would you use to describe: “a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or ‘wrong’.” ?

  67. Crap, screwed up the blockquotes:

    Jeff Read:

    It means a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or “wrong”.

    Jay Maynard:

    Why not just say it, instead of inventing words that only serve to obfuscate unless you’re part of the group trying to achieve through language what you can’t achieve through argument?

    What word would you use to describe: “a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or ‘wrong’.” ?

  68. >Why not just say it, instead of inventing words that only serve to obfuscate unless you’re part of the group trying to achieve through language what you can’t achieve through argument?

    it’s a lot shorter than ” from a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant”, so it works better in sentences. I suppose that, if you’re writing an essay on the subject, it’s convenient to refer to that concept by a single word.

  69. Pot meet kettles.

    To me these “Ultra Feminist” discussions do not appear much different from a lot of Anarcho-Libertarian discussions I have seen. Just replace “Male” with “Communist”. Including angles-on-a-pin, holier-than-thou flame wars about principles.

    As much brain involved, btw. (e.g., Males have killed more people and committed more atrocities than Communists)

  70. Jeff Read Says:

    > Well, some commenter on HN did the numbers, and it turns out —
    > a disconcertingly large percentage of male teachers are pedophiles,
    > so putting teachers under suspicion because they have a penis is an
    > entirely reasonable, cautious approach to take.

    Eeek! Profiling!

  71. “a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or ‘wrong’.”

    How can a transgender person NOT be aberrant?
    (Aberrant definition 2: deviating from the usual or natural type : atypical)

    The “trans” part of “transgender” indicates they’re transitioning from their natural type to something else. If they’re born with a Y chromosome and transition to female, or born without one and become male, they’re deviating from the gender their genetic code produced.

    Those rare people whose physical arrangement disagrees with their chromosomal endowment are born deviating from their genetic blueprints. That they are rare indicates they are unusual.

  72. @Jeff Read

    >>The idea that there are intrinsic physical differences between men and women is cisnormative and has no basis in the current thought on sex and gender.

    >It means a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or “wrong”.

    Ok. But for the purposes of a discussion regarding sensitivity to how the experience of women in society differs from that of men, this idea is irrelevant and obscurantist.

    For the vast, vast, vast majority of people we encounter in society it is trivial to determine, without a moment’s thought, whether they are a man or a woman. And it is a simple fact that there are gross physical (and perhaps also cognitive) differences between these two categories as they are generally understood. That I may struggle to provide a precise definition of the categories is irrelevant; we know them when we see them.

    The claim by Cassie was that:

    > [women] are usually physically smaller and weaker than a man and less able to physically defend themselves

    We were then sucked into a discussion of ‘cisgender’ that only served to obscure the basic fact that Cassie is undeniably correct in this assertion.

    Yes, men should be aware that women are generally more vulnerable to physical assault than they are.

    What I object to is:

    1. The use of the term ‘privilege’ to shut down discussion, and as a convenient term to identify men as the enemy, and therefore ‘other’.
    2. The idea that men should subordinate their behaviour to the demands of women, and that women should never have to feel awkward or uncomfortable.
    3. The idea that all women will react in the same way to the same behaviour, and that we are incapable of using judgment based on character and context to inform our interactions with other people, rather than adhering to a strict codex of rules.

  73. The feminist accuser is privileged because “she” seeks social castration of the accused who has violated her right to equal everything. The accused lives without obligating others to confirm his right to his penis and testosterone. Fundamentally, “rights” are the antithesis of freedom. If equal distribution were possible, then perfection would be possible and nothing would exist, i.e. if the economic cost of arriving at 100% coverage of any natural phenomena were not asymptotically infinite. Put another way, knowledge requires (or is) degrees-of-freedom, thus the feminist is ignorance directed because “she” attempts to lower the degrees-of-freedom of the male, such that his actions must dovetail with her perceived rights. The distinction between rights and (social) harmony or resonance, is that the amount of power required to obtain work is proportional to friction, thus truly harming others is inefficient and ignorance directed. Tolerance unbinds and leads to greater diversity and more degrees-of-freedom.

  74. >[Cisnormative] means a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or “wrong”.

    This term is at best hopelessly confusing, because transsexuality certainly is aberrant in exactly the same way my congenital cerebral palsy is – it’s the result of a failure of morphogenesis to take its genetically-intended course to full function of the organism. Something important got broken.

  75. What positive things does feminism have to say about males and masculinity?

    When I read feminist books, I am overwhelmed by the air of “MEN ARE THE SOURCE OF ALL THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD!”

    If your aim is to get equality and equal rights, why present mysandry so prominently?

  76. This “cisnormative” crap reminds me of the Never-Ending Political Correctness Treadmill.

    Don’t call them “crippled”; that’s mean. Call them “handicapped”.
    Don’t call them “handicapped”; that’s mean. Call them “disabled”.
    Don’t call them “disabled”; that’s mean. Call them “differently abled”.

    No matter what you call them, they are what they are. After people get used to the new word, they realize that it means what they old word means, which is considered “mean”. So we come up with a new word that isn’t “mean” yet, because people don’t know what it means.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Don’t call them “n*****s”; that’s raaaaacist. Call them “negroes”.
    Don’t call them “negroes”; that’s raaaaacist. Call them “colored people”.
    Don’t call them “colored people”; that’s raaaaacist. Call them “Afro-American”.
    Don’t call them “Afro-American”; that’s raaaaacist. Call them “Black”.
    Don’t call them “Black”; that’s raaaaacist. Call them “Persons of Color”.
    Don’t call them “Persons of Color”; that’s raaaaacist. Call them “African American”.

    I may have the order wrong on this one. I think part of the game is to have conflicting rules so that no matter what you do, you’re breaking one of them.

  77. > For example, there’s precious little genetic or physiological basis for “race”

    Check out “The Root of the Phylogenetic Tree of Human Populations”

    The genetic differences between human races are comparable to the genetic difference between humans and apes.

    For example Table 1 gives the genetic distance between Northern Europeans and African Bantu as 33.7, and the difference between African Bantu and Chimps as 62.1, larger, but not vastly larger.

    Protein polymorphism is probably the most relevant measure of genetic distance for the kind of differences that humans care about. by which measure the genetic distance between Europeans and Africans is merely 6.2, while the genetic distance between Africans and chimps is 56.7, nine times larger. That measure makes us all one species, unlike some of the other measures, one of which suggests that chimps and true humans both evolved from Nigerians, but one ninth the distance between man and ape still a lot more than “precious little”

    The measure that suggests that Nigerians are a different and considerably more primitive species (table 4, figure 5) is arguably misleading because it measures our exposure to retroviral diseases, which is unlikely to correlate well with adaption to a human, rather than chimp, lifestyle, but all of the measures give differences that are a lot more than “precious little”

    So you have a good argument for going with the least objectionable measure, protein polymorphism, but all measures of genetic distance give disturbing results, table four and figure five being very disturbing indeed.

  78. Don’t call them “n*****s”; that’s raaaaacist. Call them “negroes”.

    So why did you censor the word? Or were you quoting someone else?

  79. Don’t call them “African-Americans”. Call them “people”.

    Don’t call them “people”. That’s mean. Call them “carbon units.”

  80. @Ken Burnside

    >Don’t call them “African-Americans”. Call them “people”.

    So we should eliminate the word for black people in order that we cannot even think or speak about the category. The very definition of newspeak.

  81. The Monster,

    That is just an extension of the fact that people do not want to call attention to sensitive things out of respect or fear. Compare, in real life, the different names for God in Judaism: YHWH => Adonai => Hashem, or fictionally a similar process that occurred with a Harry Potter character: Tom Riddle => Voldemort => He-who-must-not-be-named (or “the Dark Lord”, depending on whose side you were on). To me it is a symptom of justly held white guilt, not an attempt to control by some limousine liberal elite. It is what it is, a part of human nature millennia old, and you’re not going to be able to take the term “porch monkey” back, at least not until the philosophy that holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.

  82. > until the philosophy that holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.

    But, quite obviously, races differ in ways that make them superior and inferior. Notoriously, for example, white men can’t jump and black men can’t swim.

    A couple of hours ago, I was watching the London riots. A team of blacks darted past a massive line of riot police to hurl rocks at police cars creeping in a big police traffic jam. As each one hurled his rock, he gracefully span around and darted back. A white man could not do that with such astonishing swiftness and grace. Nor *would* a white man do that.

  83. Jeff Read Says:

    ‘What “privileged” means is that your opinions on certain issues are going to be biased by the fact that you haven’t had a certain kind of negative experience based on what you are.’

    I see. Women no longer have scholarships denied them because of their sex, but men do (there are no lack of female-only scholarships). Women have the option of pursuing a career or concentrating on their families, while men are pretty much limited to the former. Women can rest assured that, in the case of a divorce, they are almost guaranteed to get custody of the kids, unless their behavior is completely outrageous — and even then they still might get custody (I know of cases where a drug-abusing woman got custody just because she was the mother, in spite of her reckless and irresponsible behavior, and one where a woman HIRED A HIT MAN TO KILL HER SPOUSE and still got custody of the kids). Women don’t experience having their sex constantly portrayed as idiots or outright monsters in the media. Women don’t have to worry that their lives can be destroyed by a single unsupported accusation against them by a member of the opposite sex.

    Sounds to me like women are the privileged ones here.

  84. “I concede as a theoretical possibility that I might someday meet a feminist who uses the term “privilege” and is not in this subset, but I have not yet observed the creature in reality.”

    Jeff is doing the old Obi-Wan “these are not the feminists you were looking for” Jedi mind trick that is so popular in these arguments (he’s not the only one who uses – I just saw the same thing on another forum yesterday.)

    It’s rather transparent.

  85. Cassie Says:

    “How many men experience sexual assault during their lifetime?”

    Quite a substantial number, actually — ever heard of prison rape? Whereas everyone properly condemns rape of women in the strongest possible terms, prison rape of men is treated as a joke, or as simply an expected part of the prison sentence.

    And for those men who suffer prison rape, it’s not a one-time life-shattering experience — it’s a life-shattering experience that is repeated over and over again, with no hope of escape.

  86. > If it weren’t for the KKK, the Black Panthers would be unnecessary.

    Rather than the Black Panthers, you probably meant the Deacons for Defense and Justice. They actually stood up to the KKK and related oppressors in white dominated society, often as low-profile bodyguards and deterrents in support of groups that professed nonviolence. Often composed of military veterans from Korea and World War II, the Deacons stepped into the vacuum left by racist white police forces, offering a credible deterrent to many whites who otherwise would disrupt civil rights work through violence.

    Unfortunately the Deacons were displaced by the Black Panthers. Unlike the Deacons, who kept their membership secret and only recruited mature males, the Black Panther leadership sought visibility and notoriety. And unlike the Deacons, we have first-person accounts of the corruption and antisocial behavior of Panther leadership from both their contemporary adversaries (e.g. FBI) and allies (e.g. David Horowitz).

  87. Tom Says:
    “I think this is a bit disingenuous. We are talking about behaviour in mainstream society, not in the prison system.”

    Why carve out that exception? The prison system is part of our society, and if you’re a black man you face a significant chance of ending up in prison at some time in your life. In fact, it’s not too hard for anyone to end up in prison these days (see the book “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent”.)

  88. @James A Donald

    > Nor *would* a white man do that

    Do what, exactly?

  89. @Kevin S. Van Horn

    >Why carve out that exception?

    Because behavioural expectations are completely different within the prison system. We were having a discussion about how women perceive themselves to be more vulnerable to attack than men in mainstream society. This perception is quite justified *in mainstream society* which is where we find ourselves.

  90. then again,
    woman perceive themselves vulnerable to attack, assault, rape, … by men.
    In prison, men get raped by men.
    so yes, let’s include the prisons as a part of mainstream society and conclude that all men are potential rapists and should be threated as such.

  91. Some of both sexes may perceive themselves vulnerable to economic rape by fascism that can evolve from statism. An armed citizenry is more effective than police who arrive even 1 second after ejaculation. Thus the female has a free market option that doesn’t enslave herself in social force, which also does not bind the freedom of people who want to flirt and copulate. But for the feminist, preventing the rape is not enough and she is willing to sacrifice her own future freedom in exchange for preventing acts that lead to nature’s intercourse, such as flirting with a sexy woman or being sexy.

  92. “That measure makes us all one species”

    Actually, the measure that makes us all one species is that we can breed with each other and produce fertile offspring.

  93. @kn

    Are you being sarcastic? If so, which parts?

    To be clear: men may be raped a lot in prison, but most men are not, and have not been, in prison. Therefore they do not have the experience of what it is like to be as vulnerable to attack as men who have been in prison. Therefore, the experience of men in prison is not relevant to a discussion of the differential experiences of men and women in mainstream society with regard to their perceived vulnerability to rape.

  94. >Actually, the measure that makes us all one species is that we can breed with each other and produce fertile offspring.

    There is at least one population for which this is only partially true – Kalahari bushmen. Back in the 1970s my college anthro textbook noted that matings with them by non-Bushmen are about 60% infertile. They show physiological adaptations for long-term water storage not found in other homo sapiens populations and some gross differences in neurology, too (less cortical folding). If we studied humans as dispassionately as we study, say, seagulls, they’d probably be designated as a separate subspecies homo sapiens kalaharensis.

  95. I think that Kafkatrapping is the ultimate purpose of the dialog mature feminists seek to create. After showing esr’s post on privilege to a friend who went to an all-girl’s college, the two of us had a nice discussion, supplemented by a few essays on privilege (below). After reading the essays, I know the technical definition of privilege and believe it to be a real phenomenon.

    However, I asked repeatedly, “what is the practical purpose of discussing privilege? Why are we focusing on the modest and unasked for benefits of unjust discrimination rather than focusing on the cost to those unjustly discriminated against and ways to eliminate unjust discrimination from our society?”

    It does not seem to me that the concept of privilege will in any way help to eliminate unjust discrimination. It may serve to set up a facile and untrue attempt to convince the innocent of their guilt in contributing to unjust discrimination. It may serve as a means to allow a feminist to wrap herself in the warm blanket of righteous indignation in front of a broader audience than the facts justify. It won’t be useful as we try to grow as a society.

    http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/ele3600/mcintosh.html
    https://sindeloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/37/
    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/09/12/shall-we-talk-about-privilege/

  96. @Tom
    Me, sarcastic ? never.
    /sarcasm

    It’s not a matter of “which parts”, but rather “which level”.

    You can read that comment as a reductio ad absurdum, sort of.

    The underlying, non-sarcastic part is that I find it troubling that women and men would consider each other enemies. That the female half of the species would consider itself “victim” to the male half, or vice versa. And even more so : that some people are teaching others to think that way.
    I mean, simply from a continuation of the species pov, such thinking is rather disastrous, wouldn’t you say ?

    But then again, my opinion on the matter is irrelevant, because I’m privileged, or so I’ve heard.

  97. I’d point out that there are many people on this thread complaining about the dangers of “political correctness” attempting to devalue perfectly useful terms for political reasons, on a post which is specifically about the undesirability of a particular term because of its political connotations. By all means go after the details of the terms, but please stop suggesting that devaluing or emphasizing different terms isn’t an ongoing and actually valid process used by a huge range of groups.

    I’m going to happily continue to use “privilege” both because I find it useful, and now in the hope that I can belie some people’s belief that I turn into a magical feminazi the moment I utter it. I don’t really use ‘cisnormative’ that much, but I’d say it’s another useful term, especially as without it, people seem to be instantly begin confusing “rarely-considered” with “aberrant” in the sense of “worthy of moral condemnation” in this thread.

    Also, while I’m joining in the climate of censoriousness, can my fellow white male dudes cut it out with the “i’m a victim too” language? Is your answer to your perception that left-wing critiques are whiny and victimizing really to be *even whinier than them*?

    I swear, you’re losing *my* sympathy, and I’m exactly like you. Although I’m not sure we’d actually be able to breed with each other.

  98. >can my fellow white male dudes cut it out with the “i’m a victim too” language?

    For the record, this sort of talk tends to lose me, too. I think it’s unmanly – and I say that knowing that a lot of people will laugh at me or think me impossibly retro for using “unmanly” seriously, but that dismissiveness is a major part of men’s problems in our day. If you think you’re a victim, don’t whine. Man up and fight back.

  99. @kn

    >The underlying, non-sarcastic part is that I find it troubling that women and men would consider each other enemies. That the female half of the species would consider itself “victim” to the male half, or vice versa. And even more so : that some people are teaching others to think that way.

    I don’t disagree. I was simply pointing out that including prison statistics in a discussion about rape in the general population is disingenuous and irrelevant.

  100. > please stop suggesting that devaluing or emphasizing different terms isn’t an ongoing and actually valid process used by a huge range of groups.

    So, you’re the arbiter of “valid”.

    I’m sure that many of the folks who use “privilege” as being discussed find it useful, but where do you get off telling other people that they can’t criticize that usage as illegitimate and harmful?

    > I’m going to happily continue to use “privilege” both because I find it useful, and now in the hope that I can belie some people’s belief that I turn into a magical feminazi the moment I utter it.

    I suspect that the critics see that usage as a symptom, not a cause.

    > Also, while I’m joining in the climate of censoriousness, can my fellow white male dudes cut it out with the “i’m a victim too” language? Is your answer to your perception that left-wing critiques are whiny and victimizing really to be *even whinier than them*?

    No, their answer is to ask you to live up to the ideals that you profess and demand of others. They’ve shown that they’re subject to the same “oppression” that you feel warrants action in other case and are asking for the same consideration that you demand on behalf of others.

    What should we conclude from the fact that you belittle them instead, using the same language that you decry when it is directed at those whose “whines” you favor?

    It may well be that they should “man up”, but that only raises the question why the same doesn’t apply to women.

    Your choice of battles is also “interesting”. Why should any typical person, who has no chance at a CEO job, care whether women from a rarified class get the same chance at being CEO as their male counterparts?

  101. Now that I think about it, “shut up rich boy” really is what the feminists mean to say, and is a valid thing to say, in certain contexts. Specifically, when someone is telling you to shut up and listen, and hear their experiences because they are different than yours and because you might not have ever seen the same things that they have, by virtue of your privileged status.

  102. > So, you’re the arbiter of “valid”.

    Okay, we’re going into infinite loops of justification here. I’m not saying you *can’t* criticize certain terms — in fact, I specifically said that you can argue about the terms themselves. It’s the people who are saying that attempts to change language are somehow an invalid action, and then go on to applaud the demonizing certain language they oppose as “dangerous”. And I when I mean “people”, I mean actual individuals who do both at the same time.

    I find them as annoying as people who said that trying to change the framework of “open source” and “free software” was somehow an invalid move, yet felt that the use of one term or another was preferable. To my knowledge, neither RMS nor the key open source advocates tied themselves in that knot. I would prefer my opponents to be *wrong* and my friends to be right, but I’d also like both groups of arguments to be *logically* valid.

    > No, their answer is to ask you to live up to the ideals that you profess and demand of others.

    Well, you too. Not that I know what the hell my ideals are, and what I’m demanding from others, apart from a little rhetorical consistency. From my point of view, this is all just a mad internal debate left-wing people have with right-wing people where you all decide to go “Ahahha! But do you see now? It is YOU who is the racist/sexist!” “Ah, but by doing that, you have played the race card!” “No, but it is *you*, my hypocritical friend, who have played the race card!”.

    Look, whatever you think I am, I’m perfectly happy to say that I’m a racist and a sexist. I’m actually pretty hard-wired to be both, and it’s a constant fight not to be, because despite them both being very fulfilling and tempting things for my brain to indulge in, I’m pretty sure from my admittedly biased historically-situated context that they’re both bad ideas in practice.

    I look to right wing nutters to make sure that I don’t censor myself so much that I miss some perfectly obvious truths, and I look to my left wing moonbats to keep a check on when, as a person who has succeeded through some pretty cushy accidents, I’m placing a lower value on other people because of my implicit tendency to stick with my own kind. You’re all lovely, but when you’re both whining together about how inhuman the other side is, I get a headache.

  103. > It may well be that they should “man up”, but that only raises the question why the same doesn’t apply to women.

    Because woman are the weaker sex, and also less capable of logic.

  104. Thinking about one’s victimhood is a central component of being a victim. Just as privilege hides important facts and contradictions of the real world from our abstraction-addled minds, victimhood emphasizes contingent and unnecessary circumstances so much as to make long-term dispassionate inquiry and consideration impossible. I realize that many people are in fact victims, and I pity those who can’t break out of that rut. At the same time, I admire those who do rise above their circumstances, even if (especially if) that rise is merely the stoic refusal to care about those circumstances.

    Those I do not understand are they who would poison their own souls for the pretense of a momentary rhetorical advantage. If you are a white male American who has usually had enough to eat, retains the use of at least half of his limbs, and has never been to prison then you are truly among the winners of history. Why would you voluntarily take up the mantle of victim?

  105. >Because woman are the weaker sex, and also less capable of logic.

    While both may be literally true, it’s on the level of averages and the variation within both genders utterly swamps the difference between them. Due to this and the political climate surrounding similar statements, this is a supremely unhelpful thing to say.

  106. @Danny O’Brien:

    You’re all lovely, but when you’re both whining together about how inhuman the other side is, I get a headache.

    I think Occam’s Razor says that there is a small kernel of truth in all the whining all around, but that the human capacity to overgeneralize has to be reined in significantly all around before any old truths can be usefully shared or any new truths discovered. Headache material indeed.

  107. It means a perspective that regards cisgender people as normal and transgender people as aberrant or “wrong”.

    What I don’t understand is why this matters. People who are different will always be outcasts. When I was a kid I had to deal with daily bullying/assaults because I was into computers. I don’t see that as “unfair”, just the emergent behaviour of children. My reaction was to not give a shit what other people thought and to stick up for myself. So long as people aren’t being held back in careers and other necessities who cares what people think? I’m sure there are all kinds of “theories” extrapolating harms from such things, but it all reeks of the “mrs vs ms” debate to me.

    The whole debate has gone off a cliff IMO. Instead of focusing on concrete problems and solutions there’s endless proliferation of unhelpful terminology. I’ve noticed lately a lot of people talking about “ableism”. Where does this get anybody?

  108. > From my point of view, this is all just a mad internal debate left-wing people have with right-wing people where you all decide to go “Ahahha! But do you see now? It is YOU who is the racist/sexist!”

    If that’s all that you’re hearing, you’re not listening. Some people are pointing out that there are other folks who are suffering from exactly the same sorts of things that you feel demand consideration. However, you think that said other folks should man up, stop whining, etc. That’s exactly the sort of response that you condemn when it is addressed to those that you favor with those sufferings.

    > Look, whatever you think I am, I’m perfectly happy to say that I’m a racist and a sexist.

    Since you don’t give racists or sexists a pass wrt these issues, why do you think that you should get one? (Surely you’re not claiming to be a victim….)

  109. > If you are a white male American who has usually had enough to eat, retains the use of at least half of his limbs, and has never been to prison then you are truly among the winners of history.

    As are white female Americans and not-white male/female Americans.

    > Why would you voluntarily take up the mantle of victim?

    Why aren’t the reasons that people in those other groups use good enough?

    As I pointed out, feminists think that I should care whether Bill Gates’ daughter has an equal chance at being CEO as his son. Surely you don’t believe that the typical white male American described above has it better than Bill Gates’ daughter, yet ….

  110. When told to stop whining, “but they’re whining too!” is not an effective response.

    To be clear, effective responses do exist. You just haven’t happened upon one yet.

  111. @Andy Freeman:

    As I pointed out, feminists think that I should care whether Bill Gates’ daughter has an equal chance at being CEO as his son.

    The theory of trickle-down power?

  112. >Look, whatever you think I am, I’m perfectly happy to say that I’m a racist and a sexist.

    Oh, bollocks. You’re confusing yourself and ceding far too much to the PC police when you say things like that. OK, so you may think you’re hard-wired to be these things, but you’re hard-wired to need food, too; does this make you a glutton? It’s not what your hard-wiring is that makes you a {racist,sexist}, it’s the actual choices that you actually make. It’s wrong to give away your own agency, and it’s especially silly to give it away to the sort of fuckwit that runs around screeching that all white males are bigots.

  113. ESR: I think it’s unmanly – and I say that knowing that a lot of people will laugh at me or think me impossibly retro for using “unmanly” seriously, but that dismissiveness is a major part of men’s problems in our day.

    Do you have an equivalent sense for “unwomanly” that you would use in some circumstances? It might be just as effective to say that you don’t think any self-respecting person should do such things.

  114. >It might be just as effective to say that you don’t think any self-respecting person should do such things.

    I expect women to appeal to men for protection when they’ve been victimized. It’s what we’re for.

    It’s true that women can handle the job of protecting themselves better under modern conditions than in the EEA, and I try to help by teaching them to shoot and fight hand-to-hand. But the underlying patterns of adaptation and instinct are still there, and still matter.

  115. I expect women to appeal to men for protection when they’ve been victimized. It’s what we’re for.

    This is because individual males are expendable, but a premenopausal female is not. Each uterus-year left represents the chance to produce x more children (where 0 < x < 1 or so). In the Ancestral Environment, with high infant and child mortality rates, keeping those uteri cranking out kids whenever there’s enough food to keep the maternal fat levels decent is one of the basic genetic propagation strategies.

  116. I know you know this, but there aren’t actually any PC police (yet although I’m sure Nobama is probably setting up the internment camps as we speak). I think it’s confusing to imply that there are when there are *actual* police with actually forceful powers (and many others who don’t have the imprimatur of the state or other accepted excuses to threaten or exact violence).

    That out of the way, I think that we may be diverging on what I meant when I said “racist” and “sexist” there. Fair enough, because there’s obviously a descriptive and a normative component there, which is why it’s become a outraged bark more than anything else on all sides. I think you’re reading it as “I am a sinner, too!”, which is fair, but I’m actually trying to eke out the other, descriptive side, because that’s where I feel the most productive conversations lie. I enjoy reading the power analysis of the left, because it seems to me they are much more sensitive about implicit bias because it doesn’t so deeply threaten any of their basic theses. (Sometimes it reinforces it a bit too much and gets a bit gilded, which obviously is what infuriates many here. Fair enough. Who doesn’t sometimes go a bit too far on their favorite wings?)

    That analysis *is* interesting to me, though, because at least are not in denial that somehow we live in a perfectly free world, with a perfectly free market of ideas or of products. I hope there’s some sympathetic irritation for that delusion, because the immanent perfection of man seems like one of the classic small-c conservative critiques of leftist thought. I’m not so crazy that I think that, say, eliminating government overnight is going to solve all of our problems.

    The conversations I enjoy are effectively the ones which say “We’re racist and sexist, and this is bad and this is how we can fix it”, or alternatively “We’re racist and sexist because of X, Y, and Z, and it doesn’t matter/actually is important because A,B,C/won’t be fixed and may in fact be made worse by D,E,F.” People who go “I’m not racist *or* sexist, you ignorant clod!” are just like people who say “Oh I don’t really need food” or “there are no differences between men and women” to me. I admire their ability to either draconically evade their biological destiny or gloss over the world’s truths, but I think they’re missing something about how people operate, historically and in the present.

    Of course, as Eric says, there’s a different between internal bias and actual action, just as there’s a difference of opportunity between people who have limited recourse for racist retribution, say, and those who have opportunity to build their entire society around it. I’m not denying free will here, but neither do I think human burst out of wombs without implicit bias.

    I hope that’s broadly acceptable to everyone, so let me go on to outrage Andy Freeman even more and controversially say, on a point average, I simply think it’s unlikely that being white and a male makes you suffer particularly badly in this country per se. There is subtlety here: I think being white and male and poor probably compounds your problems being poor; I think being poor and white and male and from the American South, say, is going to cause you to seriously have some setbacks if you’re setting about being the CEO of Microsoft, to pluck an example out of the air. But if your argument against the power analysis of the left is that white American males suffer just as badly as a black American female, say, as per those attributes, and that’s because of the feminazi PC police, I’m going to politely shift the conversation to talk about corpi callosa and gun rights, because you’re never going to actually get me on common territory here. It just sounds like special pleading.

    And yeah, it’s whiny. And as I get older and more ornery and I admit it, more American, I just get less tolerant of a fine white whine. I know some fine conspiracy-wielding gun nuts who are marvelous to hang out with, I also know some entertaining and whip-smart feminists, and I’d like to think that they’d both unite to put you in the combined NRA/FEMA re-education camps, I mean roll their eyes at your crazy-legs statistics and go back to sharing out the whisky shots with me.

  117. Trans-gender people are NOT normal. People who use logic are NOT normal. Very tall people are NOT normal. People with CP are NOT normal. I could go on, but very quickly you would see that normal people are rare.

  118. @Russ, Corollary: removing gender doesn’t move us any closer to equality.

  119. All racists are fools.

    Genetically, Homo Sapience can be divided into some dozen “clads”, wherever you draw the line. All but one lived in sub-Saharan Africa up to modern times. All humans with their known roots outside sub-Saharan Africa are genetically more alike than any two sub-Saharan Africans from different tribal/language families.

    That said, any two humans, how distantly related, are more alike genetically than any two gorillas meeting in a forest in the Congo. It is impossible to name three measurable characteristics that will each define the same “human race”. It is probably not even possible to name two. Race is an utterly useless term to differentiate between human populations.

    Furthermore, all humans not only interbreed, the offspring of parents of different supposed races are stronger and healthier on any medical scale. Their fertility is higher. The supposed human races not only interbreed, they do so with enthusiasm, and fertility.

    Eric already alluded to an exception. There are so called “dwarf forms” of humans living in exceptionally harsh conditions. Pygmies, Bushmen, and some other tribes are much shorter than the rest of the humans (0.9-1.2 m for adults). They have other adaptations to their lifestyle that might affect the fertility of interbreeding. The most obvious one is anatomical. A 0.9 m high mother giving birth to a baby from a 1.8 m high father will most likely die in childbirth. This is also known from other, small, women who grew up under famine and then get a baby when well fed.

  120. We’re talking Bushmen here, not Homo Floriensis. Average adult height is around 1.4-1.5m

  121. > there aren’t actually any PC police

    There are PC police. For example, the regulators examined each bank for compliance with the CRA, and to pass as being compliant, the employees had to plausibly believe in the CRA, had to appear to believe that unequal outcomes were evidence of invidious and irrational racial discrimination. If any employee overtly doubted the principles underlying the CRA, the bank would have likely been deemed non compliant. So the banks had to fire any employee whose doubts in the CRA were detectable.

  122. > All humans with their known roots outside sub-Saharan Africa are genetically more alike than
    > any two sub-Saharan Africans from different tribal/language families.

    This simply is not true:

    See, for example Table 1 “The Root of the Phylogenetic Tree of Human Populations”, which gives the genetic distance between one tribe of Amerindians and Chinese as 30.5 and the genetic distance between Pygmy and Bantu as 25.3

    What you are thinking of is that African Y Chromosomes and Mitochondrial genes are more diverse than the rest of the world, indicating that the rest of the world was settled by a rather small group of people who came out of Africa. But there has been quite a bit of evolution to diverse environments since people came out of Africa.

  123. Eh, I think these people are irrelevant anyway, both practically and intellectually, they don’t even recognize how much they are shooting themselves in the foot.

    1. Practically irrelevant, because if you tell me I cannot understand your problems, you just gave me an excellent excuse why not to care about them. Empathy, compassion begins with putting myself in someone’s shoes. If I am told I cannot do that it means they don’t want my empathy, compassion – fine, why care about them then? There are plenty of people out there who want it.

    Presumably, they are trying to guilt-trip, but this only works with narcissistic people who care a lot about how they feel about themselves, who are obssessed with having a perfectly spotless conscience because they care so much about their self-image and importance. If you are not too narcissitic / have a small ego you put only a limited effort in examining your conscience because you know that you are not that important anyway, and you know that you are not perfect.

    2. Intellectually irrelevant, because they equate inequality with privilege with hierarchy with authority with power with oppression with unfairness with injustice / evil. Who wants to take people seriously who use different and only to some extent related concepts basically randomly, interchangeably?

  124. All racists are fools.

    Racism is inefficiency.

    You show me a company that hires based on race and i’ll go looking for a company that hires based on talent and ability and buy their stock instead. And that goes for any position at any level(well potentially any level above menial but my experience is that anyone arguing about a lack of {minority} in a workplace probably isn’t talking about menial labour).

  125. >The retreat from rights discourse to privilege discourse – in a simplified form, from complaining about things women don’t have, to complaining about things men do have – is the big error of late second and early third wave feminism.

    On a broader scope, the rights discourse, beginning roughly in the 16th-18th century is a retreat from duties / taboos discourse and now it is repeating the same error magnified.

    “Do not kill” makes sense. “Right to life” does not – a tiger or hurricane does not care about our rights, only humans do, but in the humans case it basically means “do not kill”, except that it states it a lot muddier way: instead of telling us what to do and not do, actively, it tells us what ought to happen to us in an ideal world, passively.

    This change of discourse from the active to the passive, from the “do” and “don’t do” to “should happen to you” and “should not happen to you” might be useful in certain cases, especially when it is directed against government, because it is easier to say “right to bear arms” than to explain the problem in long baroque sentences in a duties / taboos language (“forbidding is forbidden”), but on the whole is not a useful way to think about ethics. I goes too far away from the basic idea of ethics, namely that it is about normative rules about what should we do and not do.

    Privilege is one more step in this direction. Duties are taboos are 100% active: if you break a tabo, you did wrong. Rights are 50% active 50% passive – they are about things that happen to you and not things you do, but generally we can assume if a right of yours was violated, then although not yourself but someone somewhere did something wrong, broke a taboo, a duty. Privilege is 100% passive, if you for example are born rich, and get called privileged, it is not at all clear anyone ever did anything wrong at all, it is basically just a wish that things should “be” differently, they have no relation to human behaviour whatsoever. Basically it completely denies the active role to people, doesn’t even attempt to regulate human behaviour, does not give any normative claims what we should do and not do, it basically hands over the active role, the role of the doer to some external power who reorganizes people’s privileges, presumably government. Calling you privileged does not address you at all, does not tell you what to do or not do. It addresses purely society at large, the way things are organized and ordered. It’s a call for reorganization, not an ethical command.

  126. @James A Donald
    “See, for example Table 1 “The Root of the Phylogenetic Tree of Human Populations”,”

    That is from 1996, using microsatelite data. And trying to link intra-species human variation to inter-species genetic differences is DNA astrology.

    If you look at these recent papers cited below you will see a tree with two or three branches, Africa on the one hand and Asia and Europe on the other. Differences inside Europe and Asia are much smaller than inside Africa. And if you think nuclear DNA from non-sex chromosomes will tell you anything about races, then you have obviously not understood population genetics. Read the Nature paper about the complete lack of genetic isolation between populations.

    As I wrote, all racists are fools. And ignorant at that.

    Nature: Human Evolutionary Tree
    http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/human-evolutionary-tree-417

    Mutation: Updated Comprehensive Phylogenetic Tree of Global Human Mitochondrial DNA Variation
    http://volgagermanbrit.us/documents/Oven_Kayser__PhyloTree_mtDNA.pdf

    ISBRA: A Consensus Tree Approach for Reconstructing Human Evolutionary History and Detecting Population Substructure
    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~guyb/papers/TBRS10.pdf

  127. Jeff:

    To me it is a symptom of justly held white guilt

    Drop dead, racist. There’s no such thing. I’m not guilty of a damned thing my ancestors may have done. (I don’t know if I’m descended from slaveowners.)

  128. >I know you know this, but there aren’t actually any PC police

    Tried applying for grant money lately?

    Ever been involved in a campus speech code prosecution?

    Ever had a public-facing job in government?

    There sure as hell are PC police. They don’t wear uniforms and they don’t use guns, but they have a great deal of institutional power and they glory in using it.

  129. @Shenpen
    “Do not kill” makes sense. “Right to life” does not

    Wrong. In many jurisdictions, you are legally required to help avert danger. That is, you are not allowed to stay passive and refuse to help someone in danger. There are severe limitations to that: E.g., you are not required to endanger yourself.

    Still, in my country you have a “right to life” and others can be compelled to help you. It is not just interpreted as narrowly as you do.

  130. In many jurisdictions, you are legally required to help avert danger.

    That is an indication that the legal requirement does not map to a right.

    In order to respect my rights, you literally need do nothing: if you take no action that infringes upon my person or property, you have not violated those rights. Rights do not place any positive obligations on others, which is why we can all have rights at the same time.

    Any “right” that requires others to act in a certain way (as opposed to refraining from acting in certain ways) isn’t really a right at all, because it infringes upon the inalienable right to liberty (to engage in any act that does not infringe upon the person or property of others). A “right to health care” is a right to enslave doctors, nurses, orderlies, lab techs, and/or the taxpayers who pay those people. A “right to housing” is a right to enslave construction workers,…

  131. @The Monster
    “Rights do not place any positive obligations on others, which is why we can all have rights at the same time.”
    “Any “right” that requires others to act in a certain way (as opposed to refraining from acting in certain ways) isn’t really a right at all, because it infringes upon the inalienable right to liberty (to engage in any act that does not infringe upon the person or property of others).”

    That is an empirical question of law. And my example just refuted it.

    In my country you can be compelled to act. You are liable if you do not help someone. In practice, this is very weak. But if I do not call for help if I see someone dying, I might be held liable in my country. So your inalienable rights are alienable in my country. QED

  132. Winter, you’re seeing the fundamental disconnect between Europeans and Americans.

    Europeans think rights are granted by governments. That’s why, to you, it’s an empirical question of law.

    Americans think rights are inherent in being a citizen of a free society, and are not granted, though they can most certainly be infringed on. (To an atheist, this is what “granted by God” reduces to.) Thus, The Monster’s statement is correct in the American context.

  133. “So we should eliminate the word for black people in order that we cannot even think or speak about the category. The very definition of newspeak.”

    What do you call African-Americans who were, say, born in Europe, and have never been to Africa or America?

  134. “If you think you’re a victim, don’t whine. Man up and fight back.”

    I’d say that a decent-sized contingent of American men are doing that, in an unexpected way: use of PUA techniques and/or the movement, if you can call it that, of men who don’t want marriage, or even, really much to do with women except sex.

    I can’t provide cites, it’s just a guess based on what I’ve seen online including comments at places like Roissy’s or Ann Althouse’s blog. It’s a little disturbing watching segments of society Balkanize themselves on gender lines.

  135. Winter, if you help someone in danger, and make a mistake that injures them, can you be held legally liable? If so, you have just advocated a law that requires you to put YOURSELF in danger.

    As Jay said, you are using a different root concept for “right” than the Americans in this discussion are. It’s not helpful for you to be operating from different principles. You are welcome to use your definition, but you can’t use it in a context where it doesn’t mean the same thing.

  136. @Jay Maynard

    with you so far – inalienable rights are “God given rights” for atheists.
    So if I were to dispute that, say, the “right to property” is inalienable. Who’s to say I’m wrong? With god given rights, you can at least have a theological discussion about it, or simply go by whatever your church decrees, but how does that work with those inalienable rights ?

  137. @Rick C
    “Winter, if you help someone in danger, and make a mistake that injures them, can you be held legally liable?”

    Not to the level as in the USA. In general, risks are distributed different in Europe than in the USA. If I get a drowning person out of the water, any injuries I cause doing that are the responsibility of the saved person. The same for MDs. If you are treated for a medical condition, you are the one who will bear the risk, not the doctor.

    But “helping” here means calling an ambulance and trying to avert any outside danger. Not to actually perform an operation.

  138. >how does that work with those inalienable rights ?

    That depends on your philosophical tradition. I can give the classical-liberal/libertarian one: “inalienable” rights are those without which it is predictable that your society will descend into hell for most of its members.

  139. @Jay Maynard
    “Americans think rights are inherent in being a citizen of a free society, and are not granted, though they can most certainly be infringed on. ”

    And who decide what rights you get? And what rights are unalienable?

    And we Europeans do not think rights are given by the government. The government is US. We have rights and the government is nothing but the executable branch that should preserve these rights.

  140. > And we Europeans do not think rights are given by the government

    And yet you take the existence of a particular law (act of government) as proof that the law embodies a right.

  141. “What do you call African-Americans who were, say, born in Europe, and have never been to Africa or America?”

    My favorite example of this absurdity occurs in Robert Sheckley’s novelization of the Babylon 5 TV-movie “A Call To Arms”. Earthforce starship captain Leonard Anderson is referred to as “African American,” even though he could have been born anywhere on Earth, or even on Mars, Proxima III, or Orion VII (all colonies that were all part of the Earth Alliance).

  142. If a “right” establishes a positive obligation on the part of others, then situations will exist in which those obligations come into conflict. What should be the right of the individual to use his own judgement will instead be political decisions creating a hierarchy of obligations. Feh.

  143. @The Monster
    “And yet you take the existence of a particular law (act of government) as proof that the law embodies a right.”

    Strange, you posit “natural rights” based on only your own conviction. However, a law that has been passed by our chosen representatives is not seen as empirical evidence that we see this law as encoding our morals? And if you ask around you will find that our population does consider helping a person in danger an obligation.

    Remember that we do not have a common law, but Roman law system. Our laws are made by parliament, and not by the judiciary.

    Anyhow, government is US, not them. This is OUR government. We chose them, we dismiss them. These are OUR people, not some invaders or aliens.

    You really should travel more beyond the borders, might broaden your vision of what people outside the USA think and how they feel.

  144. August 10th, 2011 at 6:58 am

    @James A Donald
    > > “See, for example Table 1 “The Root of the Phylogenetic Tree of Human Populations”,”

    @Winter
    > That is from 1996, using microsatelite data.

    In response to this paper, the hammer came down. All papers vaguely relevant to this issue from late 1996 to 2010 suffer from the same ailment as global warming papers – the grotesque substitution of piety for science, and peer review as censorship. The official truth was proclaimed that there are no genetic differences between races, that races refer to continent of origin, so one can be 100% white, and “Asian”, for example most of the population of Afghanistan. As we speak, a journalist in Australia, Andrew Bolt, is suffering a thought crime trial for claiming he can tell people’s race by looking at them, which thought crime seems to have made a thought crime in order to forbid papers such as “The Root of the Phylogenetic Tree of Human Populations”

  145. > a law that has been passed by our chosen representatives is not seen as empirical evidence that we see this law as encoding our morals?

    If you voted against the chosen representative, then the representative doesn’t necessarily share your morals. If you did vote for him, but he voted in the minority in parliament, the law does not necessarily encode your morals.

    The laws duly passed by the Reichstag encoded morals that did not recognize a Jew’s right to life.

    You keep saying that the government IS the people. That’s absurd on its face. When the police arrest a criminal suspect, the police are the government, and the suspect is not. If he is tried in court, the judge (and jury if there is one) is the government; the defendant is not. If he is convicted, the warden and his staff are the government (or a private contractor deputized by the government) and the inmate is not. It could not be otherwise, for the suspect could simply declare to the police “Stand down on order of THE GOVERNMENT!”

    The people are permitted from time to time to act in the lowest-ranking government positions, Voter and Juror, but they are no more “The Government” than a pitcher is “the baseball team”.

    >might broaden your vision of what people outside the USA think and how they feel.

    There are plenty of people in the US who feel the way you describe, and I’ve had the pleasure of communicating over the Internet with folks in many countries who think what I think about the proper role of government.

  146. To quote “Ashley Montagu noted that Bushmen have the following neotenous traits relative to Caucasoids: “large brain”, light skin pigment, less hairy, round-headed, bulging forehead, small cranial sinuses, flat roof of the nose, small face, small mastoid processes, wide eye separation, median eye fold, short stature and horizontal penis.[36]”

    I looked up neotenous, and it meens as relating to child hood. Which brings up the question of how are male childrens penises “horizontal.” Think its just a wikipedia prank?

  147. Ohhh, it just meens they still stand out strait even when flaccid. Carry on with the intelectual conversation then. My inner 12 year old’s curiosity is satisfied.

  148. > But if your argument against the power analysis of the left is that white American males suffer just as badly as a black American female, say, as per those attributes, and that’s because of the feminazi PC police,

    Oh really? My nephews have it better than Obama’s daughters? Good to know.

    Do you really think that genitals and skin color are the most important characteristics?

    > I simply think it’s unlikely that being white and a male makes you suffer particularly badly in this country per se.

    I didn’t say otherwise. However, it’s also true that being black/brown/red/yellow or female also doesn’t make you suffer particularly badly in this society either. Other factors are far more important.

    Yes, there are disproportionatelly many blacks in bad situations, but that’s because they’re living in a trash culture. Their fate isn’t much different from folks of other colors in those situations. (And yes, they exist. The majority of aid recipients are white.)

  149. @Morgan Greywolf Says:
    “Let me tell you something: the Black Panthers would most definitely have existed with or without the KKK. Hate is hate. You don’t need to be white to be a racist.”

    Do you even know what the focus of the Black Panthers was? Please back up what you are speculating on about the (second original) Black Panthers. Please prove to me that the Black Panthers held racism up as an organizational ideal. Do that or admit you are just running off at the mouth. If you can prove it, I will admit error. I am all ears.

  150. @ Kevin S. Van Horn, The Monster, …

    An other way of looking at it is this.

    From what I read on this blog, I gather Americans see society as a mere collection of individuals, whereas Europeans seem to see society as a group they are a member of. As such, we (Europeans) put certain obligations and responsibilities to society (or nation, or tribe, if you will) : we expect “the tribe” to take care of its elder and sick, we expect the tribe to provide a certain level of education to its members, we expect the stronger to help the weaker, etc.
    “Government” are the ones we appointed to get all of that organized (so not necessarily a collection of individuals representing other individuals). Likewise, laws, the dos and don’ts of of a nation, indeed encode that society’s morals.

    In that perspective, Winter’s “the government is us, not them” makes perfect sense.

    Of course, from an American (or is that from a US Libertarian) pov, none of that makes sense, because their pov is strictly based on individual rights and individual interest, and a bare minimum of mechanisms to resolve conflicting interests or facilitate transactions.

    Obviously, if you think its right and just and natural that every man should only have its own best interest at heart, you can not really trust your politicians to always act in your interest, so I can see (somewhat) where this “me against them” attitude comes from.
    But it”s the product of a very specific mindset, and imposing it on other people (eg by saying Euiropeans suffer from Stockholm Syndrome ) is a sign of severe tunnel vision.

  151. Sometimes the Washington memorial is just the Washington memorial; not a phallic symbol. In fact, pretty much all the time.

    Sometimes folks get abused or even physically harmed, and it has nothing to do with the color of their skin, or their gender. In fact, alot of the time. As a white male, I found I got abused quite often when I was 5’4″. Surely not because of my race. I find I am abused not at all now that I am 6’4″, weigh 220 and can break most spines. It still does not mean I wander dark streets late at night, or even consider whining about it. And please don’t assume I am a proponent of the law of the jungle. Just sayin’.

    And @kn. I can not figure out if you purposefully misconstrue libertarianism, or if you simply have not invested the time to see the straw man you have created.

  152. @kn

    You need to grasp this fundamental equation:
    society != government

    The difference is that if “society” doesn’t like something I do, I might not be invited to certain parties, or offered certain jobs, etc., but when a government disapproves of my actions, it sends Men With Badges And Guns to punish me.

  153. The Monster,
    I think that my explanation shows that I understand that equation – re the part that says – and I’ll rephrase for clarity : Within the society (or the nation, or the tribe, …), “government” are those members we appointed to get [ misc. stuff] organized.

    government will send Men With Badges And Guns if you engage in activity your society considers sufficiently undesirable to warrant punishment. It’s not the Men With Badges And Guns that’ll punish you, they come to pick you up and bring you before a jury of your peers where you will be given the opportunity to explain yourself.

  154. @Andy Freeman
    “Yes, there are disproportionatelly many blacks in bad situations, but that’s because they’re living in a trash culture.”

    Can you please explain what you mean when you say trash culture? Examples would be nice.

  155. Pat @ 1:27 pm, you don’t need to refer to TV. There was a clip a year or so back of a European newscaster calling some people, I want to say it was people of Moroccan descent, African Americans, and then stumbling over it. Googling for the clip didn’t return much because I couldn’t figure out a way to phrase the search that didn’t return nothing but noise.

  156. @Rick C
    @Pat

    >you don’t need to refer to TV. There was a clip a year or so back of a European newscaster calling some people, I want to say it was people of Moroccan descent, African Americans, and then stumbling over it.

    I have actually encountered this phenomenon personally. I live in the UK, where we naturally do not use the term ‘African-American’ to mean ‘black person’ but people are familiar with the term from watching American television.

    Years ago, a work colleague of mine referred to to an ‘African-American’ person she was seeing. I asked what he was up to in England, thinking he was an American visiting the country on holiday or for work. Of course, it turned out that the person had no connection with the US at all, and that he was simply black. My colleague had become so confused, thinking that ‘African-American’ was the PC term she was supposed to be using, that she applied it to a British person who was black.

    Furthermore, she took my question of ‘what is he up to over here in the UK?’ to mean ‘why would a black person be in England?’ and thereafter assumed I was a racist who believed that black people should not be allowed in the country.

  157. > I gather Americans see society as a mere collection of individuals, whereas Europeans seem to see society as a group they are a member of.

    Wrong on Americans. Society is both groups and individuals (to us). However, it isn interesting that you think that there are only two possibilities.

    Yes, I’m an American, but I’m lots of other things as well. All of them are part of “society”, and there are other components that are part of said society that I’m not part of.

    > As such, we (Europeans) put certain obligations and responsibilities to society (or nation, or tribe, if you will) : we expect “the tribe” to take care of its elder and sick, we expect the tribe to provide a certain level of education to its members, we expect the stronger to help the weaker, etc.

    It’s interesting that you think that “tribe” and “nation” are the same thing. (It’s also interesting that you seem to think that US tribes, and the US govt, don’t do those things as well, but I’ll leave that ignorance for some other time.)

    Don’t Europeans have families? Don’t they have other organizations?

    Perhaps that explains why Americans give to charities and Europeans don’t. We understand that when “everyone” is responsible, no one is.

    I’m fond of pointing out that whenever there’s a disaster somewhere in the world, no one asks “when will the Euros get here?”. Instead, they ask “when will the Americans get here?”. That’s understandable because Americans always provide significantly more help, despite the fact that Europe has a larger GDP.

    Note that said American help comes from two sources, govt and private. The latter dwarfs Euro aid public and private….

    My point? If Euros are so damn caring….

  158. > you can not really trust your politicians to always act in your interest, so I can see (somewhat) where this “me against them” attitude comes from.

    Enlighten me – where are there politicians who always act in the best interests of their citizens?

    I’ll agree that the US is not one of those places, but since you’re insisting that the US is different, there must be some places where the politicians always act in the best interests of their citizens.

    Let’s have some examples.

  159. @Jiro
    > Can you please explain what you mean when you say trash culture? Examples would be nice.

    *Anyone* in poverty with no prospects for a good education or career is more likely to resort to crime, violence, and hatred, partly out of desperation and partly because they don’t know better. It doesn’t help when an entire community of such people lives together, because then there are fewer good examples and role models and the whole destructive culture perpetuates itself across generational boundaries. I believe there are studies which show that people aspire to roughly the same social status as their parents, although I can’t cite any off the top of my head.

    Now, enter race. In the past, there were unfair racially-based policies in both the private and public sector, which systematically destroyed certain people’s prospects for careers and education, and segregation resulted in ghettoes and the like which remain separated out of sheer inertia. So the problems continue even after the actual racist policies have been for the most part stamped out.

    The argument being made here is that while racism had a major part to play in the *origin* of this problem, it is not the primary factor in the *perpetuation* of the problem, and it cannot be solved as if it were still a racial problem. Instead of asking, “how can we give black people better prospects?” we should be asking, “how can we give poor people better prospects?” To do otherwise is to miss the trees for the saplings.

  160. > Can you please explain what you mean when you say trash culture? Examples would be nice.

    The ones that teach “getting an education is `acting white’ and wrong” qualify. So do the ones that say that it’s wrong to “snitch” on folks who are destroying your community.

    Are you really suggesting that all cultures are skittles and beer, that there aren’t any self-destructive cultures in the US? (I’ve heard “we’re self-destructive because we’re oppressed” but never got a chance to ask how that’s a rational response. Perhaps you’ll provide one.)

  161. Andy Freeman speaks truth. I think people who fear that noone will be taken care of through private charity without coercion feel so because they know they’d never contribute themselves.

  162. (And I don’t think we can give poor people better prospects through redistributionism. That gives *everyone* worse prospects up and down the board.)

  163. Andy Freeman and Joshua are dead on…if you doubt it, just look at the rate of charitable giving of conservative vs. liberal politicians.

  164. I think that my explanation shows that I understand that equation
    . . .
    government will send Men With Badges And Guns if you engage in activity your society considers sufficiently undesirable to warrant punishment.

    No, you clearly do not understand it, because you’ve gone right back to talking about “society” as something with the power to “punish” people via government. Government is not a subset of society. It is not a part of society at all. Whenever government acts, society is absent. Government is force; society is reasonable people in voluntary association.

  165. Anyhow, government is US, not them. This is OUR government. We chose them, we dismiss them. These are OUR people, not some invaders or aliens.

    Not in the US. There’s the people, who get things done and create wealth, and there’s government, which takes an destroys wealth and is in no way under the control of the average citizen except in extraordinary circumstances.

    The government in Washington barely represents me, and only after the sea change in the 2010 House of Representatives elections. The Senate is far to my left, and the President even farther.

    Neither my Representative nor either of my Senators represents me; the Senators (including the execrable Al Franken) are typical hard-left liberals, while my Representative is so deep in Nancy Pelosi’s pocket he’s choking on lint.

    In the US, it’s definitely us vs. them.

  166. > Can you please explain what you mean when you say trash culture? Examples would be nice.

    There is one particular family that I know where the kids grow up, hang out, get involved in crime, get arrested and sent to jail, come back after their release, commit more crimes, go back to jail, ad infinitum for the rest of their lives. They produce children that follow them in the same pattern, generation after generation. They seem to have no awareness of, or desire to know about any opportunities that might be available to them if they were to look *outside* of their own culture.

    Of course, no one outside of their culture, in the mainstream, wants to have anything to do with them, what with them being criminals and all. It’s a very hard cycle to break out of.

    Some people would like to divide us into races, so that a simple, “those Lootonians are just stupider than other people” explains it all. Unfortunately, the problem is worse than that. These are people that are just as intelligent as anyone else, yet they deliberately choose stupidity over intelligent behavior, for reasons of “coolness” in their own society. The love and respect of those around you is a powerful force, and can be really destructive at times.

    …and the more you tell them that their culture is making them poor, the harder they’re going to cling to it. Don’t expect the situation to change any time soon.

  167. # kn Says:
    “From what I read on this blog, I gather Americans see society as a mere collection of individuals”

    No, not a mere collection of individuals; individuals generally derive a lot of benefit from interacting with other individuals, both psychic benefit (as we are social animals) and material benefit (through trade).

    Individualism isn’t about being self-centered. An individualist simply realizes that it is only individual human beings that think, reason, love, live, die, experience joy and suffer pain. Clubs, foundations, corporations, churches, governments, and vague abstractions such as tribes, nations and societies do none of these themselves. Individual human beings have what in decision theory one would call “terminal value” — value in themselves, and not as a means to some other end. Organizations, cultures, and societies, on the other hand, have only instrumental value — they are means to ends, but not ultimate ends themselves. Their worth is measured only in what they contribute to the well-being of actual individual human beings.

    Collectivists get this exactly backward. They elevate abstractions above actual humans, whom they treat as mere cogs in the machine, resources to be exploited, and expendable appendages that can and should be sacrificed when necessary to make the machine run smoothly.

  168. Andy Freeman Says:
    August 10th, 2011 at 7:45 pm
    > Can you please explain what you mean when you say trash culture? Examples would be nice.

    >>The ones that teach “getting an education is `acting white’ and wrong” qualify. So do the ones that say that it’s wrong to
    >>“snitch” on folks who are destroying your community.

    >>Are you really suggesting that all cultures are skittles and beer, that there aren’t any self-destructive cultures in the US?
    >>(I’ve heard “we’re self-destructive because we’re oppressed” but never got a chance to ask how that’s a rational
    >>response. Perhaps you’ll provide one.)

    Wow that’s a lot of assuming you are doing there. It’s quite overwhelming, I’ll do my best to respond.

    Saying that getting an education is acting white and wrong are stupid, but that’s not a culture. It’s just stupidity, and its a stupidity you are trying to hang on an entire group of people with no substantial facts to back it up. You only provide anecdotal drek.

    I was not originally suggesting anything. I was suspicious you were speaking as an authority on something you knew nothing about, and now I am more certain, but not sure that yes you think it is okay (popular even) to disparage an entire group of people because no one checks you on it. You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to think it is a smart opinion when it is not informed by anything but pop cultural crap. I don’t know what pitiful self-denigrating black people you know, but I can asure you that they do not speak for or represent all black people anymore than caucasians that live in the Appalachians represent America.

    The funny thing about race in America is so many people have such empassioned opinions that are about as informed as a fortune cookie.

    This may surprise you, but I know plenty of black engineers and not one black crack-head. Are there black crack-heads? Obviously. But if I were to follow your reasoning then I would refute the existence of the black crack-head and declare “black culture” an engineering culture.

    The issue isn’t racism. No this is an issue of prejudice and it isn’t evil, just a tad bit ignorant. It often unjustly gets confused with racism and it is a normal limitation of the human mind. We chunk, we can’t know everyone. No big deal. So I accept your mental limitations, loathe the black people you know that feel sorry for themselves and I am done with this conversation.

  169. @esr
    > “inalienable” rights are those without which it is predictable that your society will descend into hell for most of its members.

    I had understood that “inalienable” meant unable to be sold or transferred to another.

    @James A Donald
    > As we speak, a journalist in Australia, Andrew Bolt, is suffering a thought crime trial for claiming he can tell people’s race by looking at them

    This is not true, although you are by no means alone in misunderstanding the issues.

    Mr Bolt has been prosecuted under provisions of the federal Racial Discrimination Act which prohibit offensive behavior based on racial hatred. This arose from articles published by Mr Bolt which in substance alleged that some named individuals chose to identify as Aboriginal (and arguably imply that those individuals have done so for financial gain).

    A slightly ironic wrinkle is that there is no constitutional protection for free speech (or indeed many other “rights”) in Australia. This is a position long supported by conservatives such as Mr Bolt with vociferous opposition to proposals for A Bill of Rights.

    [OT: Someone else has been posting here as "Tom" so I've now added an "M"]

  170. Saying that getting an education is acting white and wrong are stupid, but that’s not a culture. It’s just stupidity, and its a stupidity you are trying to hang on an entire group of people with no substantial facts to back it up. You only provide anecdotal drek.

    He’s hanging that stupidity on precisely that group of people with that set of shared values—that is, that culture.

    This may surprise you, but I know plenty of black engineers and not one black crack-head. Are there black crack-heads? Obviously. But if I were to follow your reasoning then I would refute the existence of the black crack-head and declare “black culture” an engineering culture.

    At least you have some hard evidence and not “anecdotal drek”! Where exactly did Andy say that all black people are thuggish brutes? On the other hand, there undeniably exists a subculture in the black community that has precisely those attitudes toward education and productive work—and if Bill Cosby isn’t black enough to be able to say so without being dismissed as racist, then we’re clearly back in kafkatrap territory.

  171. > *Anyone* in poverty with no prospects for a good education or career is more likely to resort to crime,
    > violence, and hatred, partly out of desperation and partly because they don’t know better

    Bullshit.

    The great depression had low and falling crime rates. Before welfare, the crime rate among black people was substantially lower.

    It is welfare and politics that produces crime. The schools teach blacks to attack whites, the poor to attack the middle class. Observe the huge increase in racially motivated black attacks on whites when Obama was elected. Did poverty cause that?

    Is poverty causing the riots in England?

  172. @ Max E.

    I can agree with your final sentiments in terms of class being the really big decider in these things. That is what you were saying no? Please correct me if I am wrong. It’s how you got there that made me squint and scrunch up my nose a little.

    Black people are not helpless. Just because the numbers paint an abysmal picture and that seems to offend people’s sensibilities doesn’t really move me. *Insert silly black poverty movie here* be damned. Work to solve it or ignore it. In short just look away. The only thing that should at this point be of concern is institutional (legal) racism where (if at all) it may still exist and on a personal level prejudice that makes you say things like, “Wow, _you_ are an engineer???” or makes you assume that it’s an affirmative action thing.

    At the risk of sounding cold-hearted, I say black people’s problems are their own. If you feel like black people are stealing your cheese then I don’t know what to tell you. Other than that, and like I said already, just look away. It’s not your problem unless you are crusader against all poverty. Which in that case, transcends race anyway.

  173. @Christopher Smith

    “At least you have some hard evidence and not “anecdotal drek”! Where exactly did Andy say that all black people are thuggish brutes? On the other hand, there undeniably exists a subculture in the black community that has precisely those attitudes toward education and productive work—and if Bill Cosby isn’t black enough to be able to say so without being dismissed as racist, then we’re clearly back in kafkatrap territory.”

    I never said Andy said all black people were thuggish brutes. I said that he took a subset of a group and stretched their values over the entire group. In a nutshell there is no monolithic black culture no more than there is a monolithic culture in America. That was all I was saying, to say I was saying otherwise seems intentionally inflammatory disingenuous at best.

    Now your next sentence makes more sense, and with that I agree, but there are stupid people that do stupid things in just about any arbitrary grouping you would care to make. Let’s face it, Andy said some silly things. It’s not the end of the world.

    I don’t recall or see where I said Bill Cosby wasn’t black enough or that he was racist. If I did then I was being silly. Also, I clearly stated that I did not think anything Andy said was racist. I, in fact, made it utterly clear that he sounded prejudice due to his overgeneralization of a grouping that you and he seem to be fond of.

    I am now done with you and your misrepresentation of my words that are clearly there in black and white.

  174. @Christopher Smith

    “At least you have some hard evidence and not “anecdotal drek”!”

    Ah, lest you think I am ducking this, I will address this. If a person is going to disparage an entire group then I think the responsibility to validate would be with that person. I asked for something more concrete and got more of the same. So, I returned the favor as a tribute of sorts. Anecdote for anecdote as it were. There isn’t any moral outrage to gnaw on here. I called him out for saying something silly. Is that so wrong? Go find something else to chew on.

  175. @The Monster
    “You keep saying that the government IS the people. That’s absurd on its face.”

    What we feel is not related to what you think.

    Moreover, you are making the reification error. Government is a label put on an organized group of people. When my neighbors work for the (local) government, either as civil servants or as chosen representatives, they are still my neighbors, and that makes the government still us.

    @The Monster
    “If you did vote for him, but he voted in the minority in parliament, the law does not necessarily encode your morals. “

    Even if I do not agree with all the rules, it can still be “my game”. With voter turnout at around 60%, and personal experience, I am quite confident that the majority of my compatriots feel represented in parliament. Even more feel they should obey laws.

    Anyhow, the particular law about the obligation to help people in danger has never been contested as far as I know. So this argument against it is moot.

    @The Monster
    “The laws duly passed by the Reichstag encoded morals that did not recognize a Jew’s right to life.”

    Godwin’s law, I win. Nothing my government does, nor what my people do, comes anywhere near genocide nor war crimes.

    @Kevin S. Van Horn
    “Stockholm syndrome”

    The conditions necessary to induce the Stockholm syndrome do not exist in my country, nor anywhere else in the EU. I see bringing up the Stockholm Syndrome as a lame excuse to ignore our opinions. In your vocabulary, to deny us agency.

    @The Monster
    “The difference is that if “society” doesn’t like something I do, I might not be invited to certain parties, or offered certain jobs, etc., but when a government disapproves of my actions, it sends Men With Badges And Guns to punish me.”

    You really should get out more. In most places on earth, if society does not like what you do, the Men With Badges And Guns are the only ones protecting you against their wrath. The primary function of the police is to prevent people from resorting to mob and lynch justice. See current day England.

    @The Monster
    “Government is not a subset of society. It is not a part of society at all. Whenever government acts, society is absent. Government is force; society is reasonable people in voluntary association.”

    This is at the utter fringe of political thinking in Europe. We do have anarchists in the political fringe, but they are predominantly extreme left. Libertarian anarchists are a fringe in that anarchistic fringe. In short, we do not feel that way.

  176. @Jiro
    Historical experience suggests that young men who think they have no future will at some point resort to violence. If there are a lot of them, this mean general uprisings. Recent changes mean that women will join in.

    This was the underlying force in the Arab uprisings, which thankfully were non-violent (from the protesters, not the offical response). The recent sub-Saharan civil unrest in Nigeria and Kenia can be ascribed to the same cause, but were all extremely bloody. The burning cities in France of a few year back were also an example.

    Note that what these young people think is what is important, not reallity. The violence is generally worse if there is a history of police oppression, which seems to have been a factor in both England and France. In the Arab world it seems that the feeling of liberating everyone and building a new country prevented the protesters from becoming violent.

    Trying to make parents or morals responsible for the violence are counter productive. Young males resorting to violence for a place in the group is part of the behavioral repertoir in all primates. Just giving the youngsters a way out will do the job perfectly, however ephemeral the chance of success will be.

  177. Winter:

    This is at the utter fringe of political thinking in Europe. We do have anarchists in the political fringe, but they are predominantly extreme left. Libertarian anarchists are a fringe in that anarchistic fringe. In short, we do not feel that way.

    Fine. Understand and accept that Americans do, and we’ll have a basis for discussion.

  178. @Jay Maynard
    “Understand and accept that Americans do, and we’ll have a basis for discussion.”

    Obviously, Americans can do what they want in their own country. I just tried to correct commenters on this blog who tend to overgeneralize their personal experiences and made claims about the world outside the USA that are demonstrably false.

  179. I just tried to correct commenters on this blog who tend to overgeneralize their personal experiences and made claims about the world outside the USA that are demonstrably false.

    The problem arises because you seem to want to apply European standards to Americans.

  180. @Jay Maynard
    “The problem arises because you seem to want to apply European standards to Americans.”

    You mean standards of meaning?

    Like they said, Great Britain and the USA, separated by a common language. But most of communication is trying to find common meanings to exchange information.

  181. Fine. Understand and accept that Americans do, and we’ll have a basis for discussion.

    The problem arises because you seem to want to apply European standards to Americans.

    It works both ways.
    To me, it appears that some people here apply American standards to Europeans/European situations.

    Actually “standards” is the wrong word here. It’s rather what sociologists would refer to as “frame of reference” : “The context, viewpoint, or set of presuppositions or of evaluative criteria within which a person’s perception and thinking seem always to occur, and which constrains selectively the course and outcome of these activities”.

    That is actually what I was getting at when I contrasted “American perspective” with “European perspective” earlier on.

  182. That all grates on Americans, though, because this country was founded on getting away from the European way of doing things.

    If we want a European nanny state, we know where to find several.

  183. nanny state

    Right. You’re absolutely not judging a European approach by US/Libertarian standards here.

    :-)

  184. @Jay Maynard

    “Winter, you’re seeing the fundamental disconnect between Europeans and Americans.”

    On the rough average, this is true, but using the world “fundamental” suggests that nobody is capable of understanding these concepts east of the pond, which is plain simply not true. For example, the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus is getting published by Cato Institute, or you might also enjoy the English-language section of commentaire.fr. So on the average, yes, but there is nothing “fundamental” in it, it just happened to happen usually that way, largely due to population density, but there are plenty of exceptions.

  185. Government is a label put on an organized group of people.

    The Boy Scouts is a label put on an organized group of people.
    Walmart is a label put on an organized group of people.
    The International Red Cross is a label put on an organized group of people.
    Manhattan Christian College is a label put on an organized group of people.
    Real Madrid is a label put on an organized group of people.

    None of those organized groups of people threaten the initiation of force against people who violate their norms. Government does. A crime syndicate does too, but its members don’t have badges; they just have guns.

    Godwin’s law, I win. Nothing my government does, nor what my people do, comes anywhere near genocide nor war crimes.

    Bullshit.

    Godwin’s law doesn’t mean you win. If you claim that your government is not capable of doing what the Nazis did, you have to explain what it is that makes your government so damned special. The history of governments committing atrocities against various minorities (especially Jews) is long and well established. Ironically, one of the reasons there were so many Jews in Germany and Poland at the time of the Shoah is because they’d already been treated so badly by other countries, most notably Spain and France. That those countries had formed nation-states much earlier than squabbling principalities and duchies that characterized Mitteleuropa (which tended to be much more tolerant of religious differences) is what allowed a policy of official discrimination in the first place.

    This is at the utter fringe of political thinking in Europe.

    Which is why Europe is where so many governments have been granted sufficient power to do such things. You are so used to government being inextricably linked into society that it really is just a slippery slope to totalitarian fascism. And “slippery slope” is not inherently a fallacy; you have to show that the slope really isn’t so slippery, that there is something that will stop the slide.

    The primary function of the police is to prevent people from resorting to mob and lynch justice

    Indeed, this is the primary function and moral justification for the existence of “Government” itself. This is where a minarchist such as myself parts company with an anarchist like ESR: I recognize that civilized society requires that some entity must be recognized as having the authority to adjudicate disputes and punish the aggressor once his crime has been duly proven.

    But that entity is not just another part of society any more than a referee is part of the teams contending upon the pitch. It is a neutral party set apart by distinctive uniforms. So government can’t justly get into business providing some good or service; if it does so, it’s now a player rather than a referee. How can government agencies treat General Motors (in which the government itself holds a large stake) equally to Ford (which remains in private hands)? FIFA won’t let an English or German referee a match between their respective national teams.

  186. > I don’t know what pitiful self-denigrating black people you know, but I can asure you that they do not speak for or represent all black people anymore than caucasians that live in the Appalachians represent America.

    I never said that they did.

    > This may surprise you, but I know plenty of black engineers and not one black crack-head.

    Good for you. Perhaps some of them will teach you reading comprenension.

    > Are there black crack-heads? Obviously. But if I were to follow your reasoning then I would refute the existence of the black crack-head and declare “black culture” an engineering culture.

    No, that wouldn’t be “following my reasoning”.

    I never said that all US blacks are in trash cultures. I said that many US blacks, like many US whites, are in trash cultures.

  187. > I never said Andy said all black people were thuggish brutes. I said that he took a subset of a group and stretched their values over the entire group.

    And you’re wrong because I didn’t do that.

    Here’s what I actually wrote:

    >>Yes, there are disproportionatelly many blacks in bad situations, but that’s because they’re living in a trash culture. Their fate isn’t much different from folks of other colors in those situations. (And yes, they exist. The majority of aid recipients are white.)

    That says nothing about all US blacks. It’s limited to those blacks in “bad situations”.

    > In a nutshell there is no monolithic black culture

    and I’ve never written or suggested that there is. In fact, what I wrote implies that there isn’t.

    > no more than there is a monolithic culture in America.

    I agree that there isn’t a monolithic culture in the US. I’ve also stated that there isn’t even a monolithic white culture.

  188. @Andy Freeman
    “Yes, there are disproportionatelly many blacks in bad situations, but that’s because they’re living in a trash culture.”

    Fair enough. I made a mistake. We do not disagree enough for it to matter. My apologies.

  189. “Yes, there are disproportionatelly many blacks in bad situations, but that’s because they’re living in a trash culture.”

    Ironically, the person who says this, disagreeing with the idea that those blacks are in bad situations due to some genetics disproportionately conferred upon blacks, is called “racist”. The mind truly boggles.

  190. @James A. Donald
    > The great depression had low and falling crime rates.
    The difference is that the sufferers in the Depression had lived at least part of their lives *before* becoming poverty-stricken, and they’d grown up in a healthier culture. Even the children born during the Depression had their parents as good role models.

    > Before welfare, the crime rate among black people was substantially lower.
    I do concur that welfare tends to de-incentivize self-improvement, and probably contributes to modern crime rates to some extent. It doesn’t explain everything though.

  191. @ The Monster
    > Ironically, the person who says this, disagreeing with the idea that those blacks are in bad situations due to some genetics disproportionately conferred upon blacks, is called “racist”.

    I’m afraid you’ll need to join the dots for us on this.

    What “genetics” are “disproportionately conferred” upon “blacks” so as to cause “blacks” to be in “bad situations”?

  192. >What “genetics” are “disproportionately conferred” upon “blacks” so as to cause “blacks” to be in “bad situations”?

    You need to work on your reading comprehension. Go back and read what Monster actually wrote. Carefully.

  193. >>What “genetics” are “disproportionately conferred” upon “blacks” so as to cause “blacks” to be in “bad situations”?

    > You need to work on your reading comprehension. Go back and read what Monster actually wrote. Carefully.

    Now now, you know that’s not how the game is played.

    “Good people” are entitled, if not obligated, to call other folks racist based on simple pattern matching, especially if those other folk might be somewhat to the right of said good people.

    I suspect some might disagree with my characterization of “good people”, but there are at least two examples in the above thread and it’s not hard to find others.

    That’s why many of us use accusations of racism as an easy way to identify fools.

  194. @esr, The Monster

    I am not calling anyone “racist”. Just trying to disentangle some mind boggling.

  195. El Monster:
    > Real Madrid is a label put on an organized group of people.

    > None of those organized groups of people threaten the initiation of force against people who violate their norms.

    Then I don’t think you’ve been to a Real Madrid game, and I don’t think you look a lot like Samuel Eto’o.

  196. @The Monster
    “Ironically, the person who says this, disagreeing with the idea that those blacks are in bad situations due to some genetics disproportionately conferred upon blacks, is called “racist”. The mind truly boggles.”

    Purely out of curiosity, who is the entity in that sentence that is labeling someone a racist?

  197. >Purely out of curiosity, who is the entity in that sentence that is labeling someone a racist?

    J. Random Leftie. They do that a lot; “racist” is a word that meant something important once upon a time, but has become left-wing code for “you’re winning the argument, so I’ll change the subject now”.

  198. @esr

    Ah, I see. So I’ll bite, how does genetics inform the “plight” of black people?

  199. @esr
    > become left-wing code for “you’re winning the argument, so I’ll change the subject now”.

    I don’t meant to (a) be impolite or (b) defend over-use of epithets by enthusiastic culture warriors of any political stripe, but it strikes me that this response gives too much succour to pseudo-libertarian conservatives.

    Isn’t there a risk that your attitude exculpates them from any responsibility to actually engage with the possibility that they may be prejudiced in a given case?

  200. @esr:

    but has become left-wing code for “you’re winning the argument, so I’ll change the subject now”.

    It has also become right-wing code for “hey, this works for the lefties, so with a little creative editing here and taking things out of context there we can make it work for us, too!”

    @TomM:

    Isn’t there a risk that your attitude exculpates them from any responsibility to actually engage with the possibility that they may be prejudiced in a given case?

    But the word is both too loaded and over used now in any case. It’s been too loaded for awhile now. It used to define a lot of clearly delineated antisocial behavior, but now (a) most people, in general, are a lot less racist, (b) most (but certainly not all) of those people who are still quite racist have learned to hide it a lot better, (c) when chasing after those who have hidden it quite well, the chasers are often boxing at shadows, hitting targets who aren’t really racist at all, and (d) some racist people, and some of the people who weren’t all that racist but who have been stung by the charge, upon learning how effective the word is, have learned to use it back. (c) and (d) together make the word over used, but that was probably always to be expected of a word that fits comfortably on a quarter of a bumper sticker.

    One example that still upsets me is the whole “tar baby” thing. Now, I don’t pay enough attention or travel in the right circles to know if this was ever truly used as a racial epithet or why (although I can certainly believe it was), but it’s distressing, because I always thought B’rer Rabbit was a great story, and “tar baby” was a great metaphor for a lot of situations in which we find ourselves.

    In any case, “racist” is not a word I would currently use for any except the most egregious of cases. In other cases, simply describe the putatively offensive behavior, describe how it might appear, describe why some might view it as favorable or unfavorable to certain groups, and let your target draw his own conclusions about his behavior. Obviously, that’s not good for an evening news soundbite, but serious discussion rarely is, and a calm discussion that doesn’t trigger bad visceral reactions is never good for ratings for any news outlet.

  201. >Ah, I see. So I’ll bite, how does genetics inform the “plight” of black people?

    See http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=142

    Nobody knows for sure whether genetic differences or what an earlier commenter rightly called “trash culture” are a larger factor, and the question is so politically radioactive that we’re not likely to see sound research into it for decades, if ever. Of course, the sort of people we used to call “racists” before the left hollowed out that term to near-meaninglessness irrationally jump to the “genetics” conclusion, but even if that belief happens to be true it’s not justified. Bien-pensant lefties jump with almost as little justification to the “trash culture” conclusion, that is if they’re not too too busy blaming the plight of blacks on a conspiracy of evil white people.

    Myself, I think trash culture and the rotting effects of welfare-statism are more important than the average-IQ difference; I advance as evidence the fact that some black subgroups (such as immigrants from the Caribbean to the U.S.) who are not stuck with a trash culture do as well or better than average non-blacks on measures of education, income, and crime rates. However, I recognize the (highly unpleasant) possibility that I am wrong about this.

  202. >Isn’t there a risk that your attitude exculpates them from any responsibility to actually engage with the possibility that they may be prejudiced in a given case?

    Why yes, there is. But that’s not by my choice – if it were up to me, “racist” would only be used very strictly and carefully, for a person who prejudges individuals based on unjustified beliefs about group differences, or who is emotionally prone to make unjustified inferences from justified beliefs. Sadly, the only people I see using it that way in 2011 are libertarians and some libertarian-leaning conservatives.

  203. > Isn’t there a risk that your attitude exculpates them from any responsibility to actually engage with the possibility that they may be prejudiced in a given case?

    Maybe, but experience shows that odds are low enough to ignore.

    If you actually wanted the term to be taken seriously, you would be taking that up with the folks who misuse it, not their targets. They’re the ones creating the a (potential) “cry wolf” situation that you claim to be concerned about.

    You’re a smart guy, so the fact that you didn’t do that ….

  204. I do blame the “femenazi” phenomen in part on the English language and its lack of gender. That gender-neutrality of English is in no small part responsible for the unisex society we live in.

    Femenizis and Oprah: Perhaps the two most mortal diseases ever infliced upon the American female.

  205. Oh dear, not this again.

    There is no evidence that a language’s grammatical structure has any causal effect on the attitudes of the society which uses it. (Source: I watched the Teaching Company linguistics course.)

  206. I see two patterns here:

    1) Racists are fools, and they want to advertise it (hint, if you use pseudo-science genetic arguments, make sure you have a clue about population genetics)

    2) If the market doesn’t solve a problem, blame the victim
    Clearly, the plight of the colored man (there are black people in Africa, Americans are at most brown) is not better in the conservative states, more likely worse. And this nearly half a century after the US caste system was officially abolished. So either the market is not working, or the victims are to blame. Clearly the market must be working. Therefore, the victims are to blame.

    For comparison, a large influx at the end of the seventies of African Americans into the Netherlands from one of our colonies in South America resolved itself in 3 decades. Starting in a “ghetto” in Amsterdam, their descendants are happily climbing the socio-economic ladder and mixing with the aboriginals. These African-Americans seem not be bothered by the “genetic disadvantages” that are supposed to hamper their North American “brothers”. The same story with descendants of US soldiers who left offspring with German women after WWII.

  207. @ Andy Freeman
    > If you actually wanted the term to be taken seriously, you would be taking that up with the folks who misuse it, not their targets.

    Well, that all depends.

    I live in Australia, where real red-blooded racism of the sort Eric describes up-thread has something of a rusted-on quality about it, at least in relation to the Aboriginal population.

    This has included in recent years a concerted effort by a small but influential group of conservative commentators and academics to literally re-write the history of Australian foundation to write out its more obscene chapters, such as the large scale massacre of Aboriginal people and (later) the Government-sanctioned forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families (a practice which continued in some places well into last century and which was the subject of an official apology from the Prime Minister only
    4 years ago).

    In this environment, while I share some of your and Eric’s concern at the too-easy use of “racist” as a slur meant to shut down debate, I am also concerned about the potential for this to be something of a reverse kafkatrap, providing insulation for prejudice behind a veneer of respectable outrage.

  208. >Myself, I think trash culture and the rotting effects of welfare-statism are more important than the average-IQ difference; I advance as >evidence the fact that some black subgroups (such as immigrants from the Caribbean to the U.S.) who are not stuck with a trash culture >do as well or better than average non-blacks on measures of education, income, and crime rates. However, I recognize the (highly >unpleasant) possibility that I am wrong about this.

    You can isolate for culture in other ways. There have been different black populations in the US that were geographically and culturally distinct. You can examine those cultures and look at their performance, in terms of income, education, crime rate, etc. You can also look at the performance of ‘white’ populations that share cultural traits with the different black populations. The two taken together are a pretty strong indication as to which means more, race or culture. Thomas Sowell covers this ground fairly regularly, and is heavily (and to me convincingly) on the “culture” side.

  209. >2) If the market doesn’t solve a problem, blame the victim
    >Clearly, the plight of the colored man (there are black people in Africa, Americans are at most brown) is not better in the conservative >states, more likely worse. And this nearly half a century after the US caste system was officially abolished. So either the market is not >working, or the victims are to blame. Clearly the market must be working. Therefore, the victims are to blame.

    Several things here. You are once again generalizing from painful lack of knowledge, and you are inclined to blame the market for distortions caused by actions of government.

    Hint: measure of performance (income, education, marriage statistics, etc) among the black population had been improving for decades before the mass introduction of welfare, and that improvement either slowed or reversed after. That’s not a MARKET failure.

  210. @Yet Another Darren

    I distinguish the team from its fans.

    @Max E.

    “There is no evidence that a language’s grammatical structure has any causal effect on the attitudes of the society which uses it.”

    No evidence that the academic establishment will recognize, because then they’d have to admit that some languages encourage certain kinds of thinking, such as that all cultures are.

    Mind you, I’m not just talking about “grammatical structure” but also the vocabulary, not only including formal definitions, but also idiom and slang. Friends who are fluent in Arabic say it as perfectly suited for describing shadowy conspiracies. The idea of finding pleasure in someone else’s pain was so literally foreign to Anglophone culture that we had to import the German “Schadenfreude” to discuss the phenomenon.

    Of course correlation does not necessarily prove causation, and there are good reasons to believe that language evolves in response to culture, but language is also a significant vector for transmitting the culture. At a more fundamental level, humans think above the perceptual level using language. Sloppy language breeds sloppy thinking. A slanguage that assigns many opposing ideas to the same symbol is an impediment to rational thought.

    @TomM

    “I am also concerned about the potential for this to be something of a reverse kafkatrap, providing insulation for prejudice behind a veneer of respectable outrage.”

    Then you should support efforts to reclaim the word “racist” from those who have diluted it to the point where it no longer distinguishes actual racists from those who oppose leftist ideas.

  211. @The Monster
    “No evidence that the academic establishment will recognize, because then they’d have to admit that some languages encourage certain kinds of thinking, such as that all cultures are.”

    And so it always comes back to the same old argument:

    Science is a failed endeavor!

    Because, whenever it really counts, Scientists simply refuse to find what you know is the truth. Even worse, they simply say you are wrong.

    And the funny thing is, you do not even know whether they deny your position, because you are completely ignorant about what they actually write. I am pretty sure you have not kept up with the literature in cultural anthropology, general linguistics, or human genetics. Given your writings in this blog, I suspect you would not even understand what they are writing about if you did.

  212. @Winter

    I do not simply reject the conclusions of “science” out of hand. The hard sciences produce replicable results, which can then be relied upon. I do have a low opinion of science that is mostly funded by government grants, because the politics taint the science. (See also Lysenkoism.)

    I know of too many cases, particularly in the “social” sciences, where experimental data are discarded and tweaked until they produce the preordained conclusion. For example, I have read Jerry Pournelle’s account of a research project he worked on for the Defense Department at the University of Washington. The project objectively produced good results, which were politically incorrect, and therefore no further work was done.

    I read a lot of scientific papers, but of course don’t have the time to read everything in any one discipline, much less several of them. And neither do you, so take your sneering “you have not kept up with the literature” and shove it sideways up your ass.

  213. @The Monster
    “I know of too many cases, particularly in the “social” sciences, where experimental data are discarded and tweaked until they produce the preordained conclusion.”

    Yes, these elusive “many examples of fraud” I never get to see. There are weeds in every garden, and they have to be removed. But you do not want trees, only bonsai. And Jerry Pournell left research a loooong time ago. And do not get me started on Military research.

    @The Monster
    “No, … such that all cultures are not as equal as they say they are.”

    Case in point. This is complete and utter nonsense. You will be hard pressed to get a peer reviewed publication in linguistics or cultural anthropology that says this.

    Whole branches in academia are concerned in mapping out the possible variation in human cultures, languages, and genetic variation. They will travel to the corners of the earth to dig up old bones, settlements, and languages to find the extremes of what is possible.

    You will NEVER find a cultural anthropologist saying all cultures are equal, or a linguist saying all languages are equal, or a geneticist that all populations are equal. They will only state that we are all human.

    But maybe that is the pain point: There are people who want to deny that we are all human.

    @The Monster
    “I read a lot of scientific papers,”

    Not in genetics, because what you write above about genetics would fail a high-schooler. And your linguistic understanding is non-existent. I cannot remember having read anything from you about anthropology, but from your ignorant remarks about European cultures, I suspect it is even worse than your genetics.

    @The Monster
    “And neither do you, ”

    Obviously not. But I do not claim these academics are all a bunch of fraudulent wankers. And I actually DO read primary literature in genetics, linguistics, and anthropology. If you want to accuse people of scientific fraud, you should actually make an effort and read what they wrote.

    And what Fox News tells you is not evidence.

  214. @Monster:

    > No evidence that the academic establishment will recognize, because then they’d have to admit that some languages encourage certain kinds of thinking, such as that all cultures are.

    Take the word “intelligent” for example. It is pronounced differently for masculine and femenine in French. That in itself conveys the subtle nuance of male and female intelligence being different. Now try and tell and that to the femenazis and see what their reaction would be.

    I do blame the existence of the femenazis *in part* on the gender neutrality of English. If you were to translate their speak and statements into other languages the outcome would be so laughable even to the females themselves of these other cultures.

  215. Not in genetics, because what you write above about genetics would fail a high-schooler.

    What did I write about genetics? I wrote NOTHING about genetics. I wrote about whether disagreeing with a certain BELIEF about genetics should be considered “racist”. I made no comment whatsoever as to whether that belief was well founded.

    And your linguistic understanding is non-existent.

    I daresay I understand more about linguistics than 95% of the people on this planet, if not more. (Actual linguists, who understand their field better than I do, are quite rare.)

    I cannot remember having read anything from you about anthropology, but from your ignorant remarks about European cultures, I suspect it is even worse than your genetics.

    You need to be more specific than that. Was it the remark that European governments have treated Jews badly that has your panties in a bunch?

  216. @The Monster
    “What did I write about genetics? I wrote NOTHING about genetics.”

    You are right and I am wrong. I misread the quotation. You did not express yourself about genetics.

    @The Monster
    You wrote:
    “The difference is that if “society” doesn’t like something I do, I might not be invited to certain parties, or offered certain jobs, etc., but when a government disapproves of my actions, it sends Men With Badges And Guns to punish me.”

    “That those countries had formed nation-states much earlier than squabbling principalities and duchies that characterized Mitteleuropa (which tended to be much more tolerant of religious differences) is what allowed a policy of official discrimination in the first place.”

    This is something no anthropologist would ever write. Neither would a historian, btw. Whether or not jews, gypsies, or witches were persecuted was not related to the level of state power.

    @The Monster
    You wrote
    “The idea of finding pleasure in someone else’s pain was so literally foreign to Anglophone culture that we had to import the German “Schadenfreude” to discuss the phenomenon.”

    Now every psycholinguist will clinch and wince when they read this. Stephen Pinker wrote a book to squash it (The language instinct).

  217. >to literally re-write the history of Australian foundation to write out its more obscene chapters

    Having looked into the matter after reading The Fatal Shore, I think the two cases you mention are very different.

    I don’t think there’s any good evidence for deliberate large-scale massacres of aboriginals during the settlement period; unlike the parallel phenomenon in the early American South, this appears to me to be purely a myth invented by left-wing historians. There are several reasons I believe this; one is that aboriginal population densities were much lower than Amerind population densities in the U.S., so that even if Australian whites wanted to arrange a large-scale massacre it would have been rather more difficult.

    On the other hand, the mistreatment of aboriginal children was real and one of the most horrifying examples of “benevolence” gone wrong I’ve ever encountered; it really should be considered a national disgrace. It’s appalling that it continued as late as the 1960s. And the forced sterilization of aboriginal adults should be added to the account. (Most of my readers won’t know about this, so I will mention that both policies were justified by saving actual and potential children from having alcoholic parents.)

  218. @Winter

    Nothing in your quotes indicates that I am “ignorant” of European culture, only that we disagree on whether a large nation state is more likely to engage in religious oppression than a small duchy, and the significance of loanwords in a language.

    On the first point, do you dispute that the French and Spanish Inquisitions drove Jews out of those countries while the neighboring “Holy Roman Empire” found it more profitable to keep them around so that they could be taxed? You may not agree that competitive pressures kept any individual Duke or Prince from treating them too badly, lest he lose that income stream. That you don’t agree with me on why something happened doesn’t make me “ignorant”. It just means I haven’t made my case well enough to persuade you (yet).

    On the second, do you dispute that an imported idea is often represented by a loanword? I know that L’Académie française cobbles together “French” words and tries to enforce their use instead of loanwords for new ideas like “email” that originated in other languages, but it’s hardly “ignorant” to note the general tendency.

  219. @The Monster
    1 The French drove away Jews and then asked them back again in response to popularl mobs had worked their ways through the ghettos. The Spanish reconquistador was a completely different matter. Pogroms raged in Europe when states were unable to squash the unrest (cf England and the low countries). You are simply picking isolated facts out of context.
    .
    2 Read Pinker about the lack of any relation between words and possible toughts.

  220. @esr
    >See http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=142

    Reading that post two things struck me.

    One is this statement sort of stood out: “But that is an abuse of the term, because it means that believing the objective truth, without any intent to use it to prejudge individuals, can make you a racist.”

    Admittedly this may be pedantic, and I wouldn’t be offended if you dismissed it as such, but to my mind belief and objective truth maintain completely different trajectories intellectually. So much so that belief is what you adhere to in the face of a lack of objective truth. Well that’s the goal anyway, no?

    Why do I point this out? Well, it seems to me (and I could be wrong) that you are attempting to point out that someone acknowledging that people are different and can be grouped as such without any evil intentions is wholly possible. I agree. In fact I often use the example of the fact that women can get pregnant as a major oversight among most feminist theory that I have come across. Not saying it doesn’t exist, I just haven’t seen it. It is my _hope_ that it does in fact exist out there somewhere, and that is simply because it is a non-negotiable difference between men and most women. Of course one could refine this to take into account that this is not true for all women and that it is certainly not true for the entire life of a woman. Regardless, it is a concrete enough reality of difference that is unassailable.

    In the case of race the grouping is easily more difficult to delineate. Please allow me to digress. I once read a book about american pit bull breeders in Texas. In it there was a guy who had breed several lines of grand champions. When asked what was his secret he said he had none. Instead he offered this, “A good dog is where you find one.” I think you alluded to this with your sports examples. If a black can and wants to swim with the best then good for them. If a white runner can sprint world class then there is no need to stop them. Although your running analogy falls apart as long distances and short distances are all easily dominated by people with enough melanin to not be considered caucasian, but (in my very minute understanding of genetics if there is any understanding at all) this can probably be attributed to the fact that the continent of Africa has a range of diversity that is more broad than the rest of the world combined.

    Also, and you probably saw this coming, do you suggest that the IQ classifications by race should control with genetic testing for actual racial make-up? Surely no one is 100% anything. All in all, I will admit what you put forward seems harmless and doesn’t bother me at all. I can’t speak for any rabid leftist, but I can guess that it would make black people nervous because of issues of trust. Even if you are dead on right, I could easily see black people reacting badly out of a deep mistrust for a country that has a bad track record when it comes to anything race related.

    Secondly, I thank you for clarifying most of the discourse here, I am obviously not the audience. Well defined problems and possible solutions are what interest me most. Speculation and/or responsive (reactionary even?) discourse have their place, but I’d personally rather read it in fiction form. I applaud your stance to investigate the scientifically taboo, but I also in turn question our ability to arrive at an objective truth on the matter. That is no reason not to search for it, just label me a skeptic in this regard.

    So, yes I agree, the word racist has been completely gutted and has been rendered meaningless by political grandstanding, overzealous guilt laden lefties and reactionary minorities.

    Let me offer this: a racist is someone who actively oppresses people not of their race through violence and institutional devices. And this, “if it were up to me, “racist” would only be used very strictly and carefully, for a person who prejudges individuals based on unjustified beliefs about group differences, or who is emotionally prone to make unjustified inferences from justified beliefs.” could rationally just be referred to as being prejudice.

    In the end this would mean that unless you campaign for re-instating jim crow law or have driven your truck over a black person just because they were black then you are not a racist. I don’t want to define the terms here. It’s just a suggestion that can help everyone move on to more important things, because surely black people’s problems are their own.

  221. >Also, and you probably saw this coming, do you suggest that the IQ classifications by race should control with genetic testing for actual racial make-up?

    Sorry, I don’t understand this question.

    >I could easily see black people reacting badly out of a deep mistrust for a country that has a bad track record when it comes to anything race related.

    Comparatively, the U.S.’s record is actually good. Many Americans don’t realize this, but that’s because (a) alleging it to be uniquely bad has been a weapon in our domestic politics for so long, (b) Americans have a weird fondness for guilt-tripping themselves, it’s a sort of flip side of idealism. Racialist slavery lasted longer in South and Central America than in the U.S. and is still practiced in the Islamic world.

  222. @Winter

    “1 …You are simply picking isolated facts out of context.”
    I am PRESENTING some facts because there isn’t room here to do a systematic analysis of any possible correlation between the size and scope of government, and the degree of persecution of Jews. It appears to me that there is correlation

    “2 Read Pinker about the lack of any relation between words and possible toughts [sic].”

    It is not possible for there to be no relation between words and thoughts. Language is the tool we use for high-level thinking, and the quality of tools always bears some relation to that of the work.

    Pinker thinks that language is the product of thought, and that it never produces any feedback onto the thinking process itself. Pinker thinks there is some “mentalese” that is the actual language of thought, which we then translate into a human language for the purposes of communication. I don’t believe he’s proven that. I know that I think in English, German, Mathematics, perl, (k)sh, bash, C, and (God help me) sometimes in Visual Basic (at which point I feel very dirty and need to take a shower).

  223. @esr
    >Sorry, I don’t understand this question.

    Yeah, I worded that really tricky. I am asking if you think that in concert with categorizing IQ testing by race, that DNA testing should be done to determine the actual racial make-up of each individual?

    >Comparatively, the U.S.’s record is actually good.

    That is true, but humans are self-interested creatures. Much like parents telling their kids that some other kid in the world is starving, this isn’t going to make the spinach taste any better to someone who doesn’t like it.

    I am not interested in debating this, I just thought to point out that relative is as relative thinks. If I think I might be harmed, telling me that other people have and have had it far worse is not going to make the average person say, “Well in that case, I should just be happy with what I got.” Be clear I am not taking a moral stance or saying they would be justified one way or another. It’s just that all of these discussions will only amount to “Cathedral” meanderings if they do not engage black people directly.

    All of this has me really speculating (I know, I know, funny isn’t it?) about what kind of discourse would be taking place if black people had been and were an order of magnitude more assertive. If they were ashamed of government intervention, accepting that they are different from american whites and decidedly, with strong self-interest, pushing for their own well being. I guess (*wild speculation alert*) that the conversation would be very very different but just as intense.

    There were few a comments about the Black Panthers earlier, are you familiar with them at all? Armed and educated self-reliance, I’d be really interested on your view of their efforts.

  224. uma,

    Take the word “intelligent” for example. It is pronounced differently for masculine and femenine in French. That in itself conveys the subtle nuance of male and female intelligence being different. Now try and tell and that to the femenazis and see what their reaction would be.

    Actually the feminazis would just eat that up because that is exactly the kind of really, really creative and baseless interpretation that gives rise to the pomo “deconstructionist readings of texts” that allow many a feminist academic to continue infesting the university system.

    Let’s talk about autonomous vehicles in French. We can speak of “a smart plane” (un avion intelligent) or “a smart car” (une voiture intelligente). There is nothing inherently “masculine” or “feminine” about the “intelligences” under discussion, and similar types of control software would be necessary to implement both car “intelligence” and plane “intelligence”. It just so happens arbitrarily that airplanes are masculine in French and cars are feminine and the adjective is changed to fit.

    Similar pronunciation differences exist for the word “interesting”, e.g., un film intéressant, une présentation intéressante. Will you purport to tell us that there are different masculine and feminine qualities of interestingness being conveyed here?

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  225. >I am asking if you think that in concert with categorizing IQ testing by race, that DNA testing should be done to determine the actual racial make-up of each individual?

    Why do we want this information? IQ is an interesting statistic because it predicts important capabilities. Hypothetically, if we could also directly measure sociability or time preference, those would be interesting too. But “racial make-up” is not very interesting unless an individual has a sentimental interest in knowing who his or her ancestors were.

  226. @esr
    >Why do we want this information?

    So that we could actually know what race the person is if someone is sifting IQ statistics based on race. I don’t personally think it is interesting at all, but if I am going to say things like the average IQ of blacks in America is X, then it only makes sense that I have scientific grounds for the categorization of black. Like I said no one is 100% anything.

    If one were to use whatever the person self-identified as, I could accept that but I wouldn’t take it seriously. Looking at someone and guessing their race seems like a trivial task in a thought experiment, but I am sure it would not stand up to scientific rigor.

    Also, given an excessively low or high average among any given categorization should necessarily instigate scientific inquiry into the scores of that population more closely. Does the data pattern mimic other groups or is there a sub-sub-group pushing the numbers down or up and so on? Basically inquiry into the why should closely follow the what for me to consider it legitimate research. Without establishing a fact based criteria of race delineation I would categorize the research as infantile at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.

  227. Statistically, men average out about 1 to 1.5 IQ points (not standard deviations) smarter than women.

    The spread in IQ between the brightest dumbest men is very very wide – it ranges from about 70 to upwards of 180 in statistically meaningful numbers.

    The spread of IQ between the brightest and dumbest women is much narrower. Women rarely drop below an IQ of 80, and once you get past about 130, their numbers drop precipitously in the population relative to men.

    The populations of prisons and upper end mathematics and physics departments are predominantly male. Women now make up somewhere around 60% of college admission cohorts, and within a decade may make up the majority of doctors in the US, and in two, the majority of the legal profession.

    Clearly, if we are going to demand that the representative sample of “population N” – be it electricians, computer programmers, doctors or policemen – match that of the general population (the stated aim of diversity training), we should also be demanding that the prison populations have proportionate numbers of 53-year old white grandmothers.

    After all, if it’s injustice, it’s injustice, right?

  228. >> If you actually wanted the term to be taken seriously, you would be taking that up with the folks who misuse it, not their targets.

    >Well, that all depends.

    > I live in Australia, where real red-blooded racism of the sort Eric describes up-thread has something of a rusted-on quality about it, at least in relation to the Aboriginal population.

    No one claims that there are no racists or that one shouldn’t do anything about them.

    Similarly, there are (or at least were) wolves, and they shouldn’t be ignored.

    Hence the danger of crying wolf.

    >In this environment, while I share some of your and Eric’s concern at the too-easy use of “racist” as a slur meant to shut down debate, I am also concerned about the potential for this to be something of a reverse kafkatrap, providing insulation for prejudice behind a veneer of respectable outrage.

    Real racists only get to use the “you’re crying wolf” defense if that’s how the term is used, hence the importance of only using appropriately.

    In other words, by not shutting down those folks, you’re actually making it harder to fight racists.

    It’s almost like the “anti-racists” aren’t actually concerned about racism but are instead using it anti-racism as a way to get political power.

    Disagree? Then show how the dominant “anti-racist” campaign is inconsistent with that thesis. Specifically, when they have a choice between seeking power and fighting racism, what do they do?

  229. @Ken Burnside:

    > the stated aim of diversity training

    Back in the 90s, I worked for Digital Semiconductor for a short while on PC graphics (back when they wanted to fill the fab, right before they sold a bunch of capacity to Cirrus Logic.)

    A bunch of guys in a meeting were talking about checking colors, and I mentioned that flesh tones were the hardest to get right but that I thought I could get lots of good samples off the internet.

    My boss told me “Careful, Pat, or I might need to send you to ‘Valuing Diversity’,” to which, naturally, I responded “Oh, but I do value diversity. If everybody looked the same, there wouldn’t be nearly so many good pictures to choose from!”

  230. @esr
    > I don’t think there’s any good evidence for deliberate large-scale massacres of aboriginals during the settlement period

    While there has been some vigorous debate about this, I think the weight of scholarship supports a different conclusion.

    The Wikipedia article about the violent dispossession of Tasmanian Aboriginals (euphemistically called the “Black War”) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_War] might be of interest.

    @ Andy Freeman
    > show how the dominant “anti-racist” campaign is inconsistent with that thesis. Specifically, when they have a choice between seeking power and fighting racism, what do they do?

    What do you mean by “the dominant “anti-racist” campaign”? I’ve already said I don’t agree with the inappropriate and too-easy use of the label “racist” to shut down debate.

  231. > On the other hand, the mistreatment of aboriginal children was real and one of the most horrifying examples of “benevolence” gone wrong I’ve ever encountered; it really should be considered a national disgrace. It’s appalling that it continued as late as the 1960s. And the forced sterilization of aboriginal adults should be added to the account. (Most of my readers won’t know about this, so I will mention that both policies were justified by saving actual and potential children from having alcoholic parents.)

    It’s just Progressive SOP. As Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: ” The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.” and “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_v._Bell .

  232. > What do you mean by “the dominant “anti-racist” campaign”?

    In the US, it’s most of the left.

    > I’ve already said I don’t agree with the inappropriate and too-easy use of the label “racist” to shut down debate.

    and then you went on to defend it. You wrote: “In this environment, while I share some of your and Eric’s concern at the too-easy use of “racist” as a slur meant to shut down debate, I am also concerned about the potential for this to be something of a reverse kafkatrap, providing insulation for prejudice behind a veneer of respectable outrage.”

    The boy who cried wolf is a story, but I doubt you’ll find any firefighters who are okay with false alarms.

    I can give plenty of examples where folks who are serious about fighting something don’t tolerate “cry wolf” and comparable misuse. Why do you think that racism is different?

  233. > Why do you think that racism is different?

    I think you might have missed my point.

    I think there is a tendency for conservatives to be outraged at being called “racist” for expressing certain views that the left disagrees with.

    I agree this is a problem for the left, but I think it is also a problem for conservatives, who are permitted, according to the view espoused by Eric and you, to ignore any such claims without examining them because the word “racist” has been emptied of (much of) its “true” meaning.

    I also think that this is an issue that requires more reasoned and nuanced discussion than cultural warriors (of any stripe) are interested in.

  234. @ Andy Freeman
    > It’s just Progressive SOP.

    I suspect you might not know much about Australian history.

    Forced child removal policies were introduced, at least in parts of Australia, for explicitly racist reasons. This included, in some cases, deliberate and documented efforts to “breed out the color” by removing so-called “half-caste” children from Aboriginal communities.

    This has been described by some on the left as attempted genocide, a charge which has made the blood of many a conservative well and truly boil.

    The standard defense of removal practices (still repeated by conservatives today) was that removal was necessary to protect the children from neglect. To believe this was ever the whole truth would require one to overlook statutory definitions of neglect which deemed any “half-caste” child to be neglected regardless of her circumstances.

  235. [apologies for confusion - I've posted as both "Tom" and "TomM" due to switching devices and not updating the name field]

  236. >This has been described by some on the left as attempted genocide, a charge which has made the blood of many a conservative well and truly boil.

    But a well-deserved charge nevertheless. The left got this one correct.

  237. @Jeff Read

    Actually the feminazis would just eat that up because that is exactly the kind of really, really creative and baseless interpretation that gives rise to the pomo “deconstructionist readings of texts” that allow many a feminist academic to continue infesting the university system.

    Let’s talk about autonomous vehicles in French. We can speak of “a smart plane” (un avion intelligent) or “a smart car” (une voiture intelligente). There is nothing inherently “masculine” or “feminine” about the “intelligences” under discussion, and similar types of control software would be necessary to implement both car “intelligence” and plane “intelligence”. It just so happens arbitrarily that airplanes are masculine in French and cars are feminine and the adjective is changed to fit.

    The idea that the masculine and feminine forms of “intelligent” mean exactly the same thing simply isn’t true. If you put that in the context of so many other things/adjectives/etc taking different forms for male and female then all of a sudden you discover that there are two parallel universes: one for men and one for women.

    The femenazis here can bitch and moan all they want. The french femenazis incessantly whine that “sexism” is so ingrained in the very core French culture and language. So it is either the french femenazis who moan that in the “board rooms” of corporate France their breed of “intelligent” isn’t quite the same as that of males are right, or it is the bitches/witches at Harvard. It can’t be both ways.

    As for why planes are “masculine” while cars are “feminine” it may not be as arbitrary as you think. Perhaps indeed planes have had more masculine qualities while cars have had more femenine qualities in the eyes of the French when those two words emerged into being.

    Similar pronunciation differences exist for the word “interesting”, e.g., un film intéressant, une présentation intéressante. Will you purport to tell us that there are different masculine and feminine qualities of interestingness being conveyed here?

    Absolutely. Keep on reading.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    un cigare: masculine
    une cigarette: femenine

    Is that “arbitrary” ? The cigarette being slim, trim, and gorgeous is naturally a female. The cigar on the other hand being thick, and dominating in all respects over the cigarette is naturally male. Non ?!

  238. Let me illustrate white privilege:

    Professor Lionel McIntyre of the highly prestigious Columbia university had a discussion with a female employee at that university, in which he sucker punched her in the face. Another employee remonstrated, whereupon Professor Lionel McIntyre punched him in the face.

    Observe that has soon as I said “sucker punched her in the face”, you knew he was black. How terribly racist of you to know what you are not supposed to know.

    Observe: The bouncers did not throw Professor Lionel McIntyre into the street, which surely would have happened if he was white. Indeed.

    Observe Professor Lionel McIntyre did not lose his job, which surely would have happened if he was white.

    Professor Lionel McIntyre was charged, but failed to appear in court. The court, instead of convicting him in absentia and issuing an arrest warrant, set another date. And another. And another. Eventually he deigned to show up, and was given three days community service.

    Observe Professor Lionel McIntyre does not give classes, nor perform the usual duties of a professor. His duty is simply to be black, while being a professor.

    In a very large proportion of cases, perhaps most cases, affirmative action jobs are just welfare. The recipient does not show up, to everyone’s considerable relief.

  239. > Observe that has soon as I said “sucker punched her in the face”, you knew he was black.

    No, actually, I didn’t. When you said “professor” I assumed he was white. This may be racist of me, or it might just be my subconscious accurately assessing the odds.

    > Observe Professor Lionel McIntyre did not lose his job, which surely would have happened if he was white.

    Unsupported. You have one data point, and it was extremely easy for me to find a white professor who punched someone, and then didn’t go to jail or lose his job. I give you Professor Doug Dokken.

  240. > Observe that has soon as I said “sucker punched her in the face”, you knew he was black.

    > No, actually, I didn’t.

    I find that hard to believe.

    > it was extremely easy for me to find a white professor who punched someone,
    > and then didn’t go to jail or lose his job

    Professor Doug Dokken punched a man who was physically harassing him. That is acting like a man. Sucker punching a *woman* in the face is acting like a nigger^H^H^H^H^H^Hunderclass – which is why you knew perfectly well that Lionel McIntyre is black as soon as I said “sucker punched *her* in the face”

    A long time back, I had an altercation. A guy kept touching me, just as the mascot kept touching Dokken, so I shoved him, so he kicked me, so I beat and choked him in front of onlookers and police (I was bigger). I explained to police “he started it, he touched me first”, whereupon the other guy started explaining that his touch was non threatening and non offensive. Police were fine with my explanation, unimpressed by the other guys explanation. They did not seem to believe that the touch of a male stranger could be non aggressive and non threatening.

    I got off. If I had sucker punched a woman, as Lionel McIntyre did, would not have gotten off

  241. > which is why you knew perfectly well that Lionel McIntyre is black as soon as I said “sucker punched *her* in the face”

    No. Seriously, I didn’t. I’m not sure which I find more disturbing, your inability to believe me, or your inability to believe that a white professor is incapable of assault.

  242. @esr, Canada has a complicated relationship with its aboriginals similar to Australia’s (which you talk about here: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3567#comment-317392). Systematic removal of First Nation’s children and educating them in white ways. Very destructive of native cultures. And this went on well into the previous century. During our lifetimes, I believe.

  243. > I’m not sure which I find more disturbing, your inability to believe me,
    > or your inability to believe that a white professor is incapable of assault.

    A white professor is incapable of assault, because he would never be made professor if he was capable of assault.

    Similarly, every single male computer science graduate can parse a boolean expression, because if he could not parse, could not graduate.

  244. >A white professor is incapable of assault, because he would never be made professor if he was capable of assault.
    This may be a correlation, but I have a very hard time believing that it is universally true. Beware of overstatements; your opponents may seize them as an excuse to ignore the entirety of your argument even when a toned-down version is valid.

  245. >A white professor is incapable of assault, because he would never be made professor if he was capable of assault.

    This is nonsense. Universities can reject professor-candidates for a history of physical assault, but they do not have any way of evaluating “capability”.

    It is indeed an outrage and an injustice that this MacIntyre clown got a pass from being canned apparently on account of being a protected minority (I read about the case at the time). But you are not helping by arguing like a crude racist, nor by assuming that the rest of us are racists who would jump to a conclusion about his race based on the act of violence itself.

  246. s/inability to believe that a white professor is incapable of assault/inability to believe that a white professor is capable of assault/

  247. @Tom-Dickson Hunt:

    Beware of overstatements; your opponents may seize them as an excuse to ignore the entirety of your argument even when a toned-down version is valid.

    The only possibly valid argument there is that when political correctness runs amok, injustice can be done. But that particular political correctness is a reactionary response to other injustices which are both historical and, in some cases, ongoing, and the rest of the proffered argument consists of ugly half-truths.

    Speaking of black vs. white professors, who here thinks that a white professor, overtired and cranky from a long plane trip, would have found himself in the same situation as Henry Louis Gates, no matter how much he failed to bite his tongue?

    Who thinks that the “independent” panel of “experts” which declared “Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates each missed opportunities to ‘ratchet down’ the situation and end it peacefully” completely missed the fucking point that it’s a goddamn cop’s JOB to be alert and do the right thing when confronted with all manner of tired, cranky humanity, and to be especially sensitive when invading a man’s castle?

  248. @James A Donald:

    Similarly, every single male computer science graduate can parse a boolean expression, because if he could not parse, could not graduate.

    I don’t know what you’re smoking, but I don’t want any, because it is clouding your judgment, your powers of observation, or both. I have personally met several who could not do such parsing absent lots of coaching.

  249. > This is nonsense. Universities can reject professor-candidates for a history of physical assault, but they do not have
    > any way of evaluating “capability”.

    Sure they do. You can smell it out. From the visible aspects of someone’s character, you can make a pretty good guess at the invisible aspects of someone’s character.

    > assuming that the rest of us are racists who would jump to a conclusion about his race
    > based on the act of violence itself.

    Oh what piety. Sheer coincidence that he just happened to be black. Seems that there are a mighty large number of similar coincidences.

    From that he sucker punched a woman, you can deduce he is underclass, therefore probably black. White underclass exist, but they don’t get to be professors. Therefore certainly protected minority. He could perhaps be native American or hispanic or some such, but since he hit a woman, probably black.

  250. > who here thinks that a white professor, overtired and cranky from a long plane trip, would have found himself in the
    > same situation as Henry Louis Gate

    Some people were entering my neighbors house while he was out. I strolled up. Without me opening my mouth to say a word, they were immediately apologetic, and proceeded to explain the situation, as if I was about to summon an army to arrest them, though they were as white as I am and as affluent as I am, and I was dressed in my gardening clothes.

    I am pretty sure that is how a white professor would have acted had he been in Gates shoes.

  251. La barque {f}, le bateau {m}.
    While this, like almost any, distinction can be rationalized, I think arbitrary is easier to believe.

  252. @James A Donald:

    Sure they do. You can smell it out. From the visible aspects of someone’s character, you can make a pretty good guess at the invisible aspects of someone’s character.

    To the extent that a human being is a state machine, it is a reasonably complicated state machine. Almost all humans are capable of killing and also of practically unlimited kindness. The theory that you can discern any but a very small range of states in a job interview setting is supported only by your own confirmation bias, e.g. not at all.

  253. James A Donald:

    Sucker punching a *woman* in the face is acting like a nigger^H^H^H^H^H^Hunderclass – which is why you knew perfectly well that Lionel McIntyre is black as soon as I said “sucker punched *her* in the face”

    Horseshit and hogwash. I had not heard of the case, but I drew exactly no conclusions about the professor’s race from the description of the event. The only conclusion I drew was that the professor was a prime asshole. People are just as capable of being prime assholes no matter what the color of their skin.

    Methinks thou dost protest too much.

    This is a symptom of a larger problem: People on the left, aided and abetted by professional race-baiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, see racism even when there is none. Not everything bad that happens to a black person is due to racism, and not everything bad a black person does can be validly attributed to his race or culture.

    There are far fewer racists lurking under beds than Al Sharpton would have you believe.

  254. @James A Donald:

    Some people were entering my neighbors house while he was out. I strolled up. Without me opening my mouth to say a word, they were immediately apologetic, and proceeded to explain the situation, as if I was about to summon an army to arrest them, though they were as white as I am and as affluent as I am, and I was dressed in my gardening clothes.

    I am pretty sure that is how a white professor would have acted had he been in Gates shoes.

    Gates was already inside his house when the cop showed up, so I’m not at all sure what your point is.

    Tired, cranky, and distracted by being on the phone trying to get his door fixed before he could slump into bed, and then interrupted by a cop at his front door. Those are facts. Everything else you think you might know about how Gates acted is probably unknowable, and the police report is an obvious fabrication. By all accounts, and by his work itself, Gates is probably one of the least racist and least threatening black men out there.

    Obama reacted viscerally to this incident and got pummelled for it. That was a huge political mistake. It would have been much better not to bring up race at all, to simply say that a friend of his was arrested in his own home and that police should work hard to do better (despite the fact that in most cases it takes a lot more work for a white man to commit contempt of cop than for a black man to do so).

    The right to be left alone in your own home when you are not committing a crime is one of those “privileges” that the original article and the comments on the original article were discussing — they are not extra things that white people enjoy. Rather, they are rights that are arguably denied to blacks at a higher rate than whites. But dwelling on racism that may or may not be present in a particular context is obviously counterproductive. We should focus on the actions against this particular man at this particular time, and explain to the policeman and the police union in no uncertain terms that this, and similar actions in the future, are simply unacceptable. To do this properly will almost certainly require stripping policemen of some of the immunities they enjoy, which may make the cure unachievable.

  255. > Speaking of black vs. white professors, who here thinks that a white professor, overtired and cranky from a long plane trip, would have found himself in the same situation as Henry Louis Gates, no matter how much he failed to bite his tongue?

    Hello

    I can easily imagine a white professor being run in the way Professor Gates was, for failing to tug his forelock to the police, very ‘umble sir. Apparently a lot of conservative commentators at the time could too, given how many of them tumbled out to defend forelock-tugging as the proper and appropriately deferential behavior for peasants private citizens when interacting with annointed knights policemen.

  256. @Deep Lurker:

    I don’t disagree at all. However, I think those particular “conservative commentators” showed their true colors. But, it’s certainly arguable whether those true colors are racist or fascist, which is why the assumption that those true colors are racist (and that any “codewords” emanating from those same mouths are equally racist, and not just fascist) has proven to be counterproductive.

    Much better to argue for rights in general, and to scream loudly whenever they are restricted in particular cases, than to impute motives to the bad actors, however transparent the motives seem at the time.

  257. horse shit, and you know it.
    Society gives you rights and privileges which are explicitly denied people whose naughty bits are different.
    No one is accusing you of being personally responsible for a woman needing a Ph.D. to earn as much as a man with a Bachelor’s, for example, but it’s there, and you are a beneficiary.

    (Assuming you are not talking exclusively about fringe nut cases, as I am not.)

  258. >Society gives you rights and privileges which are explicitly denied people whose naughty bits are different.

    Frequently they have privileges I do not. I guarantee, for example, that I have never been a “diversity hire”, privileged to underperform because my naughty bits are concave rather than convex or my skin color matches some grievance-peddler’s favored range of melanization.

  259. No one is accusing you of being personally responsible for a woman needing a Ph.D. to earn as much as a man with a Bachelor’s, for example, but it’s there, and you are a beneficiary.

    That’s assigning blame without the corresponding responsibility. Is it any wonder that that ides gets summarily rejected?

    I refuse to accept responsibility, or blame, or anything else. If I’m not responsible for it, then don’t complain at me. Complain at those who are responsible, or get off your lazy butt and fix it yourself.

  260. Who thinks that the “independent” panel of “experts” which declared “Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates each missed opportunities to ‘ratchet down’ the situation and end it peacefully” completely missed the fucking point that it’s a goddamn cop’s JOB to be alert and do the right thing when confronted with all manner of tired, cranky humanity, and to be especially sensitive when invading a man’s castle?

    In this case, the “goddamn cop” was responding to eyewitness accounts that someone had made forced entry to the castle in question, and thought it was a good idea to determine the identity of the person he found in the castle. The man in question failed to appreciate that the “goddamn cop” was protecting HIS CASTLE against what he had every reason to believe was burglary, and rather than saying “Officer, let me show you my ID that says I live here”, immediately got snitty with him.

    I don’t really attribute Gates’ attitude to his blackness so much as to his position in academia that has led him to believe his feces have no malodorous emissions.

    Long ago, I was leaving the restaurant I managed late on a Saturday night (we closed an hour after most of the other businesses in the shopping center) and was starting to drive to the bank to make the night drop when a police officer pulled me over. When he came up to the window of my car and saw me, he recognized me (as he frequently ate in the restaurant) and apologized for having bothered me. I told him that he had done nothing wrong; he saw an unfamiliar vehicle with out-of-county plates (I live a half mile into an adjoining county) in the parking lot at such an hour, and had every reason to suspect something funny was going on. In fact, I thanked him for PROTECTING ME from a hypothetical robber that might have fit all of those criteria. I’d like to think I’d have done the same if I had to break into my house and a cop showed up to investigate a likely burglary.

  261. I would not touch this topic with a rented dildo. There’s a reason children read Br’er Rabbit’s transcription of the the story of the Tar Baby — or if they don’t, they otta. (Ohcrap, I mentioned a white dude’s take on traditional African tales as imported to and adapted by people who were enslaved. I’m doomed. Doooooomed. It’s that sneaky Anansi; he spidered me into it).

  262. > The theory that you can discern any but a very small range of states in a job interview setting
    > is supported only by your own confirmation bias, e.g. not at all.

    I used to work for Informix. They had hundreds of engineers and other staff with 24/7 access to any given building. Each building had hundreds of computers and such, small items of high value, containing very small items of high value. If someone cleaned out the cpus and memory chips, he could have walked out of the building with a lot of money in his pocket. No one ever stole anything, except the office supplies. Therefore, you can tell a thief just by sniffing at him, and it is a lot easier to smell out a thug than a thief.

    I can reliably pick a liar when he speaking, and often in text. Confirmation bias? Maybe, but that Informix interviewers could pick a thief is reliably confirmed. That I can sometimes spot lies in text is unusual, but not extraordinary. The ability to fairly reliably spot oral lies is common, and job interviewers are often selected in part for that ability.

    Suppose group A and group B differ in mean and distribution in some desirable or undesirable quality. Chances are that there is a lot of overlap in the middle, but when you select the very best, perhaps for some prestigious and well paid job, and the very worst, perhaps to lock them up and get them off the streets, the bell curve implies not much overlap. Because not much overlap, if you apply affirmative action there will be very little overlap between those who earned the prestigious job, and those affirmative actioned into the prestigious job. Most of the affirmative action job holders, on casual inspection seemingly all of them, will be incapable of fulfilling the normal requirements of the job. (For a notorious recent example, female firefighters during the 9/11 fire)

    Hence the outrage at the bell curve: The mathematics of the bell curve shows that affirmative action is always going to be a disaster. Everyone here knows mathematics, unlike most of the rest of the elite, so this should not be controversial, though you will piously pretend that it is, and disagree with the noisy sound of piously indignant passion.

    The same thing applies for affirmative action enforcement of criminal and honor codes, for selection of the worst rather than the best. You are going to refrain from expelling, firing, or imprisoning people who quite obviously would have been imprisoned or fired had they been white, making the differences between the two groups glaringly obvious, even though if you look at people in the middle, there is a great deal of overlap.

    Thus affirmative action results in very conspicuous group privilege and very conspicuous group differences – that people of the favored group rarely perform their jobs, and regularly get away with stuff a normal man would not be allowed to get away with, as if members of the favored group were wild animals in the zoo. If you select a black and random and a white at random, there is a substantial chance the black is better than the white. If you select a black and white prestigious job holder at random, the white is almost certainly going to be substantially better than the black. Just about every white prestigious job holder will be better than just about every black prestigious job holder. (Unless of course, it is basketball, where affirmative action works the other way around, and every black on the team is better than any white on the team) That is not racism, that is the mathematics of the normal distribution. And every fireman is better than every “firefighter”.

    The intent of affirmative action was to make it easier for everyone to politely ignore group differences, but the actual consequence has been to make the differences dramatically obvious, and most obvious to members of the elite. We mostly elite here, so we all know the truth, though members of the elite can least afford to speak the truth.

    The pious lie relies on there being lots of overlap, enough overlap to obfuscate the ugly and hurtful truth. Affirmative action drastically reduces the overlap, near enough eliminates it, leaving the ugly truth bare ass naked.

    And all these people who piously tell me that they did not assume the professor was black when they read “the professor sucker punched her”, I bet every singly one of them is highly impressed by how well spoken Obama is. The reason Obama gets away with “57 states” and “corpse man” and suchlike is not just because he is a Democrat, but because everyone has low expectations for a black man’s linguistic skills. You are impressed by Obama’s speaking skills as you would be impressed by a dog walking on its hind legs. When Obama reads a long complex sentence from the teleprompter, he is apt to apply stress and pauses in the wrong places. Sarah Palin can speak on a complex topic from brief notes; I can speak on a complex topic from brief notes. Obama cannot, and yet you perceive him, and I perceive him, as well spoken. Of course he is well spoken – for a black man. You are all in denial, pretending you do not know what you do know.

    Affirmative action has the unintended effect that the elite know better than anyone that group differences are disturbingly large and ugly, the opposite of what it was intended to do, while enforcement of political correctness forces them to hypocritically lie more than anyone on this topic.

  263. >I bet every singly one of them is highly impressed by how well spoken Obama is.

    Er, not me. As an orator, Obama is distinctly second-rate. He cannot extemporize, and requires a teleprompter and a prepared speech. I would be ashamed of myself if I ever required those crutches.

  264. > I can easily imagine a white professor being run in the way Professor Gates was,
    > for failing to tug his forelock to the police, very ‘umble sir.

    When I wandered up to what looked like, but was not, a burglary in progress, the people entering my neighbors house tugged their forlocks and were very ‘umble sir, because they realized it looked mighty like a burglary.

  265. >I don’t really attribute Gates’ attitude to his blackness so much as to his position in academia that has led him to believe his feces have no malodorous emissions.

    I agree. I thought the strenuous attempt from all sides to racialize the incident were especially absurd in this case.

  266. I think I want to put on the record that James A. Donald’s posts in this thread (and previous ones touching similar subjects) creep me out. They are exactly what I think nasty old-fashioned racial bigotry sounds like when it’s cloaked in up-to-the-minute 21st-century rationalizations.

    The creepiest thing about them is his assumption that I and the regulars here, because we are caustically skeptical about all the PC bullshit out there, must make exactly the sort of leap he does from statistical generalizations about race to prejudging individual cases (such as “knowing” that if a professor sucker-punched an employee the professor had to be black). I am not willing to make that sort of leap, and I find his willingness to make it repellent.

    I will not ban him for this – I’ve tolerated far worse on free-speech principle – but I want it clear that I do not approve.

  267. And all these people who piously tell me that they did not assume the professor was black when they read “the professor sucker punched her”, I bet every singly one of them is highly impressed by how well spoken Obama is.

    You’re 0 for 2. Care to try projecting another attitude on me that doesn’t fit, so I can shoot it dfown in flames too?

    For the record, there’s not a thing that impresses me about Obama except his ability to peddle bullshit as the exact medicine this country needs and have people take it.

  268. I thought the strenuous attempt from all sides to racialize the incident were especially absurd in this case.

    See my comments about professional race-baiters, above.

  269. > @ Andy Freeman
    > It’s just Progressive SOP.

    >I suspect you might not know much about Australian history.

    And I know that you didn’t read the reference that I provided.

    > Forced child removal policies were introduced, at least in parts of Australia, for explicitly racist reasons. This included, in some cases, deliberate and documented efforts to “breed out the color”

    You seem to think that progressives weren’t racists. However, “breed out the color” isn’t significantly different from “three generations of imbiciles is enough”.

    Yes, imbiciles and color are different, but the folks going after imbiciles were also pushing segregation with the same arguments.

    There are lots of arguments for racism. The progressives are the “scientific” sorts.

  270. > I think there is a tendency for conservatives to be outraged at being called “racist” for expressing certain views that the left disagrees with.

    > I agree this is a problem for the left, but I think it is also a problem for conservatives, who are permitted, according to the view espoused by Eric and you, to ignore any such claims without examining them because the word “racist” has been emptied of (much of) its “true” meaning.

    We’re “permitted” to ignore such claims because there’s no reason to examine them.

    You seem to think that conservatives have some obligation here to examine themselves for racism. You’re wrong.

    However, I’m still waiting for you to explain how defending the folks who cry wolf, which you continue to do, is the sort of thing that someone who is actually concerned about racism would do.

    > I also think that this is an issue that requires more reasoned and nuanced discussion than cultural warriors (of any stripe) are interested in.

    Ah, the old “it’s too subtle for you to understand” dodge. Try me.

    What is the “reasoned and nuanced” reason to defend folks who throw around false accusations of racism? Heck, I’ll settle for any reason. (And no, you haven’t provided one, you’ve merely asserted that there is one and provided some examples of racism.)

  271. Sorry, Andy, but when a leftist says “nuance’, I grab my wallet and my crotch: they’re trying to screw me or rob me.

  272. @esr:

    Frequently they have privileges I do not. I guarantee, for example, that I have never been a “diversity hire”, privileged to underperform because my naughty bits are concave rather than convex or my skin color matches some grievance-peddler’s favored range of melanization.

    But, viewed from that context, you now have the very real privilege that no one ever suspects that you got where you are because of affirmative action. And that’s the real evil of affirmative action.

    @The Monster:

    In this case, the “goddamn cop” was responding to eyewitness accounts that someone had made forced entry to the castle in question, and thought it was a good idea to determine the identity of the person he found in the castle. The man in question failed to appreciate that the “goddamn cop” was protecting HIS CASTLE against what he had every reason to believe was burglary, and rather than saying “Officer, let me show you my ID that says I live here”, immediately got snitty with him.

    If you read the accounts carefully, and read what you can see of the police transcripts, you might come to the conclusion that there is zero evidence other than the cop’s word that Gates was particularly intransigent, and you might also come to the conclusion that all those things in the police report that were falsifiable by reliable extrinsic evidence were, in fact, falsified.

    In fact, I thanked him for PROTECTING ME from a hypothetical robber that might have fit all of those criteria. I’d like to think I’d have done the same if I had to break into my house and a cop showed up to investigate a likely burglary.

    AFAIK, we have zero evidence that Gates didn’t say “Thank you but everything is OK here” before it escalated, but IMO it’s really besides the point.

    I don’t really attribute Gates’ attitude to his blackness so much as to his position in academia that has led him to believe his feces have no malodorous emissions.

    My position is that, regardless of Gates’ attitude, he shouldn’t have been given a trip down to the station. That’s absolutely wrong under the circumstances, and a cop who thinks he needs to teach Gates that lesson ought to be taught one of his own. It’s good to be nice to cops (and people in general) and I try to (and I think most people try to, FWIW, and in other circumstances that Gates would have tried harder), but I would like to think that when I’m tired and cranky and I’ve shown the cop it’s my house and I belong there, he would just go away and leave me alone.

    @Andy Freeman:

    You seem to think that conservatives have some obligation here to examine themselves for racism. You’re wrong.

    I think self-examination is a great tool that everybody should use. But out of curiosity, what do you think are best practices for the propagation of standards of moral behavior?

  273. > the sort of leap he does from statistical generalizations about race to prejudging individual cases

    Affirmative action means that you can prejudge individual cases for the reasons I explained above. People who take advantage of disorder to loot a shop might be twenty percent white underclass, seventy percent black underclass, as in some of the recent British riots (though many of the recent British mobs were 100% black), so you cannot assume someone is black because he is a looter. However government employees that take advantage of disorder to loot a shop to supplement their generous government salaries will be one hundred percent protected minority underclass, because the edge of the bell curve decays faster than exponentially. If a government employee is caught looting, or sucker punching a woman, you can assume he is black.

    Further, if anyone claims to doubt this, if anyone claims he does not prejudge such cases, I do not believe him. He utters the pieties, fearing the penalties for heresy.

    Poor people never believed that kind of stuff about blacks, because it used not to be true. The poor were merely demonized by their betters as believing that kind of stuff about blacks. But now the elite does believe that stuff about blacks because the elite has by selection made it true for an important subset.

    It is like the last days of communism. Everyone says they hold the faith, no one actually holds the faith. Eric, the truth is that not only do you believe this bullshit no more than Yeltzin believed in communism, but that Neil in Chicago believes this bullshit no more than Gorbachev believed in communism. Neil in Chicago says what he is paid to say, and you, Eric, piously edge away from James Donald lest punishment fall upon everyone in my vicinity.

  274. esr says:
    > prejudging individual cases

    You cannot conclude from the fact that so and so punched a woman in the face that so and so is black. You can, however, thanks to affirmative action, conclude from the fact that so and so holds a prestigious job, and yet he punched a woman in the face, that so and so is black. Thanks to affirmative action, you can prejudge individual cases, as if blacks were a different species, whereas formerly you could not.

    And everyone in the elite knows it, just as in the last days of communism, every member of the communist elite would fly to Finland to buy light bulbs and toilet paper.

  275. James A Donald, you can spew all the bullshit you like, and unless you stoop to the deliberately insulting, Eric isn’t likely to run your ass out of here.

    Just don’t try to tell the rest of us what we do or do not believe.

  276. >You seem to think that progressives weren’t racists.

    History lesson for all: From when Sir Francis Galton proposed it in 1883 until the end of World War II, eugenics (“Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”) including such practices as forced sterilization of the indigent poor (and aborigines, in Australia) was a Progressive cause; the opposition to it came from classical liberals (people who would now be called libertarians) and a few conservatives.

    The most generous evaluation of the nexus between progressive eugenics and racism is that the racism in the program was implicit rather than explicit – usually. During that period, evaluating human races as “high types” and “low types” was respectable, and if you’re guessing that the “low types” tended to be black or dark-skinned you win a no-prize. Progressive eugenicists aimed at eliminating “low” traits such as imbecility, criminality, and (in modern terminology) high time preference.

    After 1945 the atrocities of Naziism made all sorts of racialism disrespectable, and Progressives threw their support for eugenics down the memory hole as rapidly as possible.

  277. >You can, however, thanks to affirmative action, conclude from the fact that so and so holds a prestigious job, and yet he punched a woman in the face, that so and so is black.

    No. That he is black becomes the most plausible conjecture only after you know that the University system failed to punish or expel him for this misbehavior. That does suggest “affirmative-action hire” pretty strongly, in a way that the bare fact of the assault on a woman by a professor does not.

    Before that information, the plausible range of hypotheses is much wider; it includes undiagnosed mental illness, drunkenness, and several other possibilities. It is your eagerness to jump for the race-centered explanation in advance that I find repellent, and your ascription of that tendency to others that is insulting, creepy, and suggests you are a racist in the full old-fashioned sense of the world.

    As Jay said, don’t try to tell us what we believe. The corrupt racial-preference systems in so many of our institutions are not a valid excuse for racism.

  278. @esr:

    > That does suggest “affirmative-action hire” pretty strongly…

    FWIW, I know of a lot of businesses that don’t engage in affirmative action hiring, but that do, because of the legal climate, essentially engage in affirmative action firing. Firing any person who is a member of a protected class is, these days, a drawn-out and expensive affair for many businesses.

  279. @ Andy Freeman
    > We’re “permitted” to ignore such claims because there’s no reason to examine them.
    I have no problem with you evaluating a “racism” claim and deciding it is unfounded. But refusing to evaluate such a claim at all, simply because you think the claimant is “crying wolf” carries with it the risk that the unexamined claim is well founded, leaving you further exposed to claims of a lack of self awareness. My view is that this is an unwise approach – you disagree. Fine.

    > You seem to think that conservatives have some obligation here to examine themselves for racism. You’re wrong.

    It sounds a lot like what you really want is to be able to say whatever you like without having to worry that someone might think you are a racist.

    > What is the “reasoned and nuanced” reason to defend folks who throw around false accusations of racism?

    I’m not sure why, but you seem to want to reduce the discussion to the equivalent of pistols-at-forty-paces.

    The point I was trying to make is that there is a risk that being too cavalier about this can support (even unintentionally) the intellectual project of genuine racists.

  280. there is a risk that being too cavalier about this can support (even unintentionally) the intellectual project of genuine racists.

    Irrelevant. If telling the truth happens to support opinions one finds odious, it is nevertheless the truth.

  281. >Irrelevant. If telling the truth happens to support opinions one finds odious, it is nevertheless the truth.

    Arthur Koestler: “One should either write fearlessly what one believes or else shut the hell up!”

  282. We’re “permitted” to ignore such claims because there’s no reason to examine them.

    > I have no problem with you evaluating a “racism” claim and deciding it is unfounded. But refusing to evaluate such a claim at all, simply because you think the claimant is “crying wolf” carries with it the risk that the unexamined claim is well founded, leaving you further exposed to claims of a lack of self awareness. My view is that this is an unwise approach – you disagree. Fine.

    That’s how pedophiles argue.

    >> You seem to think that conservatives have some obligation here to examine themselves for racism. You’re wrong.

    >It sounds a lot like what you really want is to be able to say whatever you like without having to worry that someone might think you are a racist.

    Again, spoken like a true pedophile.

    What? You object to being called a pedophile? Why aren’t you willing to examine yourself each and every time I call you a pedophile? Why don’t you concede whatever argument I’m making while you’re doing said examination?

    Or, if you prefer, I didn’t call you a pedophile, I merely stated that you’re arguing like one. If that’s a problem, you should do something about it.

    (Hint – conservatives, as such have no special obligations wrt racism. In fact, given history, if any political group has such an obligation, it’s leftists and progressives.)

    >> What is the “reasoned and nuanced” reason to defend folks who throw around false accusations of racism?

    > I’m not sure why, but you seem to want to reduce the discussion to the equivalent of pistols-at-forty-paces.

    Not at all. You claimed that there was a defensible argument in favor of crying wolf wrt racism. I’m merely asking you to produce said argument.

    > The point I was trying to make is that there is a risk that being too cavalier about this can support (even unintentionally) the intellectual project of genuine racists.

    That may be your point, but it is wrong. Meanwhile, crying wolf actually has that effect and you’re defending it.

    Yup, you’re either a pedophile or a closet supporter.

  283. @Andy Freeman:

    I’m not going to go back and read everything, but I don’t think TomM is really making a case for crying wolf, or even defending crying wolf. If anything, he’s making the case for vigorously refuting the crying of wolf, starting from first principles by analyzing what the little boy said about where the wolf is, searching there for the wolf, looking for wolf tracks, etc.

    Your valid point is that such a naughty little boy can easily amuse himself for very little effort by uttering a single statement and then watching the adults run around for hours looking for the damn wolf, when any sensible adult would bend the boy over his knee and give him what for.

    Unfortunately, we have lots of little boys egging each other on, and a few real wolves hanging about, which makes it a catch-22 all the way around. If you ignore the charge, that counts against you with all the other little boys (and some of the teenagers, who ought to know better, but don’t). If you answer the charge, you protest too much, and they’ll be back with a new charge tomorrow.

    Your charge of pedophile is cute, but irrelevant unless you can make Tom’s life miserable by convincing everybody he knows that he is, in fact, a pedophile.

  284. I think Professor Gates was in the right, but imprudent. I am reminded of the rhyme:

    “Here lies Joe Blow, buried today.
    He died defending his right-of-way.
    He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
    but he’s dead as if he’d been dead wrong.”

    There are three classes of people in a policeman’s world.

    1) Police. Military officers and senior NCOs sometimes get temporary honorary membership.
    2) Citizens
    3) Scum

    You cannot get yourself into class #1. Your best hope is to firmly establish yourself as a member of class #2. If they think you’re in class #3 you’ve got big problems.

    It’s not right. It’s a function of the incentives.

  285. @esr & The Monster

    Irrelevant. If telling the truth happens to support opinions one finds odious, it is nevertheless the truth.

    Arthur Koestler: “One should either write fearlessly what one believes or else shut the hell up!”

    We might say along with Niven’s law; “There is no cause so noble that it won’t attract fugheads.

    There are few causes so ignoble that they can muster no valid arguments.

  286. @ Andy Freeman
    > That may be your point, but it is wrong. Meanwhile, crying wolf actually has that effect and you’re defending it.

    Let me say it again:

    1. I am not defending wolf crying. I agree that this can be problem for the left.

    2. I also agree that the moral imperative to speak the truth (however unpalatable) should be paramount.

    3. If the truth is that a claim of racism is empty, then let’s all agree we should say so.

    4. If the truth is that a claim of racism is well-founded, then let’s all agree we should say so.

    Some posting here seem to think that because 3. happens too often, this somehow means that there is no longer room for reasonable discussion and all claims of racism should be ignored. I just do not agree.

    My larger point was that I think we need more reasonable discussion, not blanket refusal to engage with criticism.

    (Although I will agree it was unfair of me to single out conservatives. The point applies across the political spectrum.)

  287. >(Although I will agree it was unfair of me to single out conservatives. The point applies across the political spectrum.)

    It was indeed unfair. Not being a conservative myself I don’t have Andy’s twitch reflex on this subject, but I sympathize with it. The constant not-so-subtle equation of “conservative” with “racist” in the mainstream media would have to get wearing, in much the same way it is for libertarians like me to get lumped in with LaRouchites.

  288. > I don’t think TomM is really making a case for crying wolf, or even defending crying wolf. If anything, he’s making the case for vigorously refuting the crying of wolf

    While TomM hasn’t provided said “good reason”, TomM e has said that there is good reason to make baseless charges of racism against conservatives.

    So, it’s true that he isn’t “making a case”, but ….

    > Your valid point is that such a naughty little boy can easily amuse himself for very little effort by

    That’s not quite my point because I don’t think that the folks TomM is defending are “naughtly little boys” trying to amuse themselves. I think that they’re trying to get political power/defeat conservatives “by any means necessary”. Other explanations are welcome.

    > Your charge of pedophile is cute, but irrelevant unless you can make Tom’s life miserable by convincing everybody he knows that he is, in fact, a pedophile.

    It’s irrelevant in that sense, but if TomM believes what he demands of folks accused of racism, that accusation should trigger self-examination by TomM.

    After all, there are pedophiles and some of them share TomM’s political beliefs.

    Or, he can argue that baseless accusations of pedophilia, like false fire alarms, are different than accusing folks of racism.

  289. @ Andy Freeman
    > Or, he can argue that baseless accusations of pedophilia, like false fire alarms, are different than accusing folks of racism.

    I am willing to agree that a baseless claim of racism, a baseless allegation of pedophilia and a false fire alarm can be considered to share the same general class of moral turpitude.

    But to know a fire alarm was false requires the fire department to turn up and have a look.

    You’re arguing that the bell is ringing so often that the fire department should stop bothering.

  290. Jay Maynard Says:
    > Just don’t try to tell the rest of us what we do or do not believe.

    One can tell what people really believe by revealed preference. Also I am pretty good at sensing lies even in text, but revealed preference is far more reliable.

    If there was significant overlap between people who were affirmative actioned into a role, and the people who are in that role because they actually perform to that role, you, and Eric, would be scandalized by the fact that conspicuously different standards are applied to those who are affirmative actioned, much as Eric indignantly denied applying a different standard to Obama’s speaking skills.

    You are not scandalized, so you know, and Eric knows, that there is no substantial overlap between those in a role because of affirmative action, and those in a role because they perform to that role.

    If you take a random member of group A and a random member of group B, one cannot reliably predict which one is better, one cannot prejudge individual cases. But if one takes a random member of group A that is in some role, and a random member of group B that has been affirmative actioned into that role, one can prejudge that the member of group B is not performing, and is not really expected to perform to that role. One can in that case very reliably predict that the member of group B will be inferior, assuming he shows up for work at all – and you, and Eric, unconsciously reveal that you know it.

  291. @Andy Freeman:

    It’s irrelevant in that sense, but if TomM believes what he demands of folks accused of racism, that accusation should trigger self-examination by TomM.

    Sure, and it probably did. It probably just didn’t take very long to complete. Neither would most charges of racism. Less time to self-examine than to decide whether or not to self-examine, and much less time than to discuss whether to do it or not. If any particular charge of racism requires a longer self-examination, that’s probably worth completing just so you have ammunition the next time that particular charge is leveled at you. The way you write, you probably do all this practically subconsciously.

  292. Jay Maynard Says:
    > Just don’t try to tell the rest of us what we do or do not believe.

    If you believed what you say you believe, you would be outraged every time someone praises Obama’s speaking skills.

  293. @James A Donald:

    If you believed what you say you believe, you would be outraged every time someone praises Obama’s speaking skills.

    If somebody says that Obama can speak well, they may merely be comparing him favorably to Bush, where he actually doesn’t come off too badly. Or they may mean it in an absolute sense, in which case I might question their judgment.

    However, it is entirely possible for them to believe that, and no particular cause for my outrage. But this racist asshole James A Donald, who claims to know what I think and when I should be outraged, is starting to really piss me off.

  294. If you believed what you say you believe, you would be outraged every time someone praises Obama’s speaking skills.

    0 for 3. Who says I’m not?

  295. >>It’s irrelevant in that sense, but if TomM believes what he demands of folks accused of racism, that accusation should trigger self-examination by TomM.

    >Sure, and it probably did.

    And then there’s the second part, which TomM also defends, namely that the accusation should serve as conclusive evidence in another argument.

    Remember, they’re not crying racist for amusement, they’re crying racist to win another argument.

    TomM is fine with that because he thinks that self-examination triggered by the accusation is valuable. He also thinks that we should take all such accusations seriously because there are racists in the world.

    Like I said, he talks like a pedophile.

  296. > > If you believed what you say you believe, you would be outraged every time someone praises Obama’s speaking skills.

    Jay Maynard Says:
    > 0 for 3. Who says I’m not?

    No one cries “racist” for such behavior, therefore you do not cry racist for such behavior.

    People who have been affirmative actioned into a role are routinely held to a considerably lower standard. Everyone expects it, everyone knows it, no one cries “racist”. Therefore you do not cry “racist” even though those low expectations say implicitly what I am called a racist for saying explicitly. The bouncers that sat tight when Lionel McIntyre started punching were by their inaction implicitly saying what I was called a racist for explicitly saying.

    Everyone knows it, no one says it, and when it is said, even such brave politically incorrect people as esr flee in terror.

  297. >Everyone knows it, no one says it, and when it is said, even such brave politically incorrect people as esr flee in terror.

    Every time you trot out this “everyone knows” it’s tied to a different assertion. This one (people who have been affirmative actioned into a role are routinely held to a considerably lower standard) is true, would not be a racist claim even if it were asserted and false, and I am in no way afraid to shout it from the rooftops. You are still a racist, a creep and an asshole for supposing that we would deduce McIntyre was black from the fact that he sucker-punched a woman.

  298. @Andy Freeman:

    And then there’s the second part, which TomM also defends, namely that the accusation should serve as conclusive evidence in another argument.

    I missed that, but I’m way too tired to go back and look it up.

    Remember, they’re not crying racist for amusement, they’re crying racist to win another argument.

    There is no question that most public charges of racism are insincere and done for political purposes. But there are people who really don’t understand (for a simple example, the distinction between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome). So in a few cases, understanding why the charge is leveled, and responding appropriately, can help educate others. There really are people who are capable of understanding and changing their minds if you approach them correctly. Whether that can happen often enough to be worth your while is a judgment only you can make, based on your own personal circumstances.

    Based on my own optimistic worldview, I thought that was basically what TomM was arguing for. Perhaps you’re right and there’s a subtlety I missed, or perhaps he just wasn’t arguing very well.

  299. @ Andy Freeman
    > And then there’s the second part, which TomM also defends, namely that the accusation should serve as conclusive evidence in another argument.

    I defy you to identify anything in what I’ve written that is fairly summarized in this way.

    > Like I said, he talks like a pedophile.

    Now you’re being unpleasant.

  300. James A Donald: You’ve just added one and one and gotten six. Here’s a clue: One need not have race in the front of their minds when deciding whether to be outraged at Obama being called a great orator. I, like Eric, am outraged because he’s simply not. He’s a pedestrian hack who the Left fawns over because he champions their causes.

  301. @TomM:

    > Now you’re being unpleasant.

    esr keeps his little corner of the web remarkably free of trolling without using too heavy of a hand. Unfortunately, several of the regulars believe that the verbal equivalent of corporal punishment should be used regularly and at the first sign of mild incoherence. I like to believe most of them mean well. They have a point that the people who understand will probably get over the abuse, realizing that it’s not really directed at them, and that the people who willfully misunderstand (especially those who act on that misunderstanding) probably deserve even more than the abuse, but they sometimes seem to miss that for the few people who can be taught, you really can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

  302. >I, like Eric, am outraged because he’s simply not.

    “Outrage” is too strong (well, about Obama’s rhetorical skills, anyway). Yes, he’s at best a second-rate orator, but that’s no worse than most politicians. I hold myself to a much higher standard (I extemporize all my speeches, never use a teleprompter or even notes, will never be caught in a blunder like “all 57 states”, and am at least as good at stem-winding a crowd if not better), but I can do that because I have some IQ and neurochemical/personality advantages I don’t expect Obama or any other politician to replicate. I’m not outraged at Obama or any other politician over this; they lack my factory-issued talents, too bad for them, end of story.

    What Jay is really outraged at is probably that Obama is put forward by partisan hacks and a slavishly worshipful media as a great orator when he’s not one. This is a reasonable thing to be exercised about, but a different subject.

  303. I had drawn from your earlier comment that you were outraged not at Obama, but at those calling him a great orator. I am indeed outraged at Obama, but for other reasons; I am outraged at those who claim Obama’s a great orator, just as I am at those who claim he’s possibly the smartest President ever, because neither claim is true and both demean the trait they’re supposedly praising Obama for exemplifying.

  304. > You’re arguing that the bell is ringing so often that the fire department should stop bothering.

    That implies that false alarms have no cost, and is relevant only if you think that false accusations of racism have no cost.

    In reality, false alarms do have cost, so fire department have to ignore constant ringing bells because responding would use all the resources, leaving nothing to fight fires.

    I’m pretty sure that you know that the false accusation has a cost, it’s just that you’re happy with that cost (making such charges useless) because of some benefit. The logical candidate is the largest benefit, namely shutting down conservatives. There is no “fighting racism” benefit and the cost goes against that goal anyway.

  305. > > Like I said, he talks like a pedophile.

    > Now you’re being unpleasant.

    That’s not a problem when wrt racism, so why is pedophilia different?

  306. > But there are people who really don’t understand (for a simple example, the distinction between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome). So in a few cases, understanding why the charge is leveled, and responding appropriately, can help educate others. There really are people who are capable of understanding and changing their minds if you approach them correctly. Whether that can happen often enough to be worth your while is a judgment only you can make, based on your own personal circumstances.

    True enough in the general world, but not in Eric’s corner of the web.

    > Based on my own optimistic worldview, I thought that was basically what TomM was arguing for.

    He never wrote anything suggesting that folks who made false accusations should be educated. Instead, he said that the practice was acceptable because racism exists and for subtle and nuanced reasons that haven’t been forthcoming.

    As to “self-examination”, does he seriously think that real racists are going to hear “you’re a racist”, self-examine, and change? Or is he hoping that not-racists will be cowed?

    “In the wild”, the former is unlikely and the latter is reasonably common and he knows it.

  307. @ Andy Freeman
    > Instead, he said that the practice was acceptable because racism exists and for subtle and nuanced reasons that haven’t been forthcoming.

    Except that is not what I have said. You seem to have in mind what you think I mean but refuse to accept on their own the things I have said.

    Let me try one more time.

    I am not “accepting” or defending the practice of making false claims of racism and have made none here (false or otherwise). I took exception to an earlier comment from esr to the effect that the left’s overuse of the term “racist” means that in practical terms all claims of racism can be disregarded.

    > As to “self-examination”, does he seriously think that real racists are going to hear “you’re a racist”, self-examine, and change? Or is he hoping that not-racists will be cowed?

    You have a point. Maybe I am too optimistic.

  308. Jay Maynard Says:
    > Here’s a clue: One need not have race in the front of their minds when deciding whether to be outraged at Obama being called a great orator.

    Q: What did Obama receive a Nobel Prize for?

    A: He has never been to jail and looks after his kids.

    White leftists are doubtless held to a lower standard than white rightists, but they are still held to a much higher standard than Obama.

    Eric found it necessary to call me a racist for mentioning some undeniably true, but disturbing facts. He did not actually deny the facts, just said that those facts, and therefore I myself, am racist.

    Neither Eric nor you find it necessary to call people racist when they apply radically lower standards and expectations to members of the black elite than to members of the white elite: Which reveals that you all know the truth.

    Observe we are not actually arguing whether those facts are true, whether the black elite does overlap significantly with the white elite, we are arguing whether everyone knows them to be true and no one admits them to be true. You, and Eric, keep denying that you know these ugly facts, yet feel absolutely no inclination to attempt to argue that they are not true, other than calling those facts, and myself, racist.

  309. Pingback: Chicks dig jerks, 1513AD edition « Jim’s Blog

  310. >Eric found it necessary to call me a racist for mentioning some undeniably true, but disturbing facts. He did not actually deny the facts, just said that those facts, and therefore I myself, am racist.

    No. I called you a racist for believing, and expecting the rest of us to believe that “McIntyre is black” is deducible from “McIntyre sucker-punched a woman” without the additional fact that the university effectively refused to discipline him. There are no racist facts, only racist patterns of inference – which you continue to display and expect others to display. You come closer to tempting me to exercise viewpoint censorship than anyone in the history of this blog.

  311. James A Donald:

    Q: What did Obama receive a Nobel Prize for?

    A. Not being George W. Bush.
    This shows the intellectual dishonesty and outright political bias of the Nobel committee. He would have gotten that prize if he’d been white, just because he’s a leftist who promised the Left the moon and stars.

    Neither Eric nor you find it necessary to call people racist when they apply radically lower standards and expectations to members of the black elite than to members of the white elite:

    0 for 4. I do find that racist in the extreme. I know that people can perform at the same high level at any endeavor they apply themselves to, regardless of the color of their skin. Yes, that puts me in conflict with those on the Left who think affirmative action is a Good Thing. This bothers me exactly not at all.

  312. James A Donald,

    esr is right when he says this:

    > I called you a racist for believing, and expecting the rest of us to believe that “McIntyre is black” is deducible from “McIntyre sucker-punched a woman” without the additional fact that the university effectively refused to discipline him. There are no racist facts, only racist patterns of inference – which you continue to display and expect others to display.

    That’s exactly where you stepped over the line. BTW, I would say that even with the additional fact that the university effectively refused to discipline him, that’s not enough. There are too many different sorts of protected classes these days, including talented athletes, union thugs, best friends of the bouncer and the children of the powerful. Generally speaking, I think any liberal tenured professor, white, black or other, stands a good chance of getting away with sucker punching someone. (Aside: Are there still company goons? I bet there are, but I haven’t read any reports recently.) We all know people who are not going to be disciplined because of some sort of favoritism, and, for a long time, most of the people I knew who benefitted from such favoritism were white. But then I am fifty-one.

    Yours,
    Tom

  313. >> Instead, he said that the practice was acceptable because racism exists and for subtle and nuanced reasons that haven’t been forthcoming.

    >Except that is not what I have said. You seem to have in mind what you think I mean but refuse to accept on their own the things I have said.

    Let’s review.

    >> If you actually wanted the term to be taken seriously, you would be taking that up with the folks who misuse it, not their targets.

    >Well, that all depends.

    And then TomM points out that racists exist. That’s relevant only if the existence of racism justifies misusing the term.

    > I think there is a tendency for conservatives to be outraged at being called “racist” for expressing certain views that the left disagrees with.

    Note that “certain views” aren’t alleged to be racist.

    > I agree this is a problem for the left, but I think it is also a problem for conservatives,

    What, exactly, is the “problem for conservatives” when they’re called racists by leftists in situations that have nothing to do with racism?

    > who are permitted, according to the view espoused by Eric and you, to ignore any such claims without examining them because the word “racist” has been emptied of (much of) its “true” meaning.

    Since “racist” has been emptied of its true meaning by leftists, what would TomM have conservatives do?

    The following seems to be the core of TomM’s position.

    > In this environment, while I share some of your and Eric’s concern at the too-easy use of “racist” as a slur meant to shut down debate, I am also concerned about the potential for this to be something of a reverse kafkatrap, providing insulation for prejudice behind a veneer of respectable outrage.

    TomM’s concern isn’t aimed at the folks making the term useless, but the folks who are attacked using the term without basis because some racist somewhere will (rightly) say that leftists throw around the term without basis. If he’s given up on theidea that the charge will provoke useful self-examination by such folks, the only reason for making the charge is to rally others, which devaluing the term hurts.

    It’s easy to disable that potential kafkatrap – stop using “racist” when it isn’t appropriate, but TomM doesn’t like that. He wants conservatives to do something.

    We agree that racism is serious. I think that that demands that we maintain tools to fight it. TomM is willing to give up the term once-strong term “racist”.

  314. @Andy Freeman:

    Good research and analysis. Unfortunately, the word “racist” is powerful and popular precisely because it easily fits on a bumper sticker, but the cure is to never let anybody actually put it on a bumper sticker. Use of the word should be accompanied with a cogent explanation about why this particular behavior falls into the category, and we should demand that of anybody using the word.

  315. >BTW, I would say that even with the additional fact that the university effectively refused to discipline him, that’s not enough. There are too many different sorts of protected classes these days, including talented athletes, union thugs, best friends of the bouncer and the children of the powerful.

    This is true, which is why I was previously careful to qualify my statement. I haven’t actually said that those three facts justify the deduction that McIntyre is black, just that they make it the most plausible conjecture (they set a probability distribution of expectation in a certain way). Blacks are the most protected class, so the with “university refused to discipline” fixed, the probability that “malfeasor was black” rises with the severity of the offense.

    I thought of adding some snark to the effect that if McIntyre were a conservative or libertarian, his unacceptable politics would have overridden his blackness and he would have been disciplined as though he were white. But I didn’t go there, because (a) it would have distracted from the argument I was trying to make, and (b) I can’t think of any plausible way Columbia University would have hired a professor without identikit left-wing politics in the first place.

  316. Andy Freeman Says:
    > We agree that racism is serious.

    Oh such piety.

    If anyone believed that there was substantial overlap between the elite, and people nominally given elite status by affirmative action, Professor Lionel McIntyre would have been thrown out by the bouncers, and Obama would not have been given his Nobel prize until they had some plausible excuse for giving him a Nobel prize.

    You are all piously making politically correct lies, even when you criticize the loonier extremes of political correctness, you are all on both sides of the debate piously saying what you do not believe, and piously calling anyone who doubts you a racist.

    White racism is not a problem in a society that elected Barack Hussein Obama. Sexism is not a problem in a society where female computer science graduates can seldom parse a boolean, and female fire fighters do not fight fires. The only racism that is a problem is black flash mobs forming to beat up whites.

    I know it. You, Andy Freeman know it. And of course the people you are arguing with know it.

  317. esr Says:
    > No. I called you a racist for believing, and expecting the rest of us to believe that “McIntyre is black”
    > is deducible from “McIntyre sucker-punched a woman” without the additional fact that the university
    > effectively refused to discipline him. T

    You cannot deduce that McIntyre is black from the fact that he sucker punched a woman. You can, and quite certainly did, deduce that McIntyre is black from the fact that Professor McIntyre sucker punched a woman. Where is the white professor who sucker punched a woman?

    The reaction of the university and the reaction of the bouncers, shows that everyone expects this from blacks affirmative actioned into the elite.

    And I know that you expect it also, for you called me racist, yet did not call the bouncers and the university racist for having low expectations, nor the Nobel prize committee racist for having low expectations.

    The University and the bouncers treated Professor McIntyre as if he was a trained monkey at a tea party. and the Nobel prize committee treated Obama likewise. Everyone applauds and is greatly impressed, when the monkey manages to sit on the chair and drink tea, and overlooks the numerous incidents preceding and following the tea drinking where the monkey broke the illusion.

    Yet you don’t call them racist. You called me racist for pointing at what everyone pretends to ignore.

    > here are no racist facts, only racist patterns of inference – which you continue to display and expect others to display.

    Yet the racist pattern of inference is valid – no white professor has sucker punched a woman in public.

    And the behavior of the university, and the behavior of the bouncers, and the behavior of the Nobel prize committee, reveals that they make the same pattern of inference, that they also have low expectations of the beneficiaries of affirmative action.

    And the fact that you denounce the pattern of inference as racist, but do not explain the pattern of inference to be invalid, and the fact that you fail to see racism in widely shared low expectations, yet indignantly cry racism when those low expectations are explicitly stated, reveals that you yourself share that pattern of inference.

    You come closer to tempting me to exercise viewpoint censorship than anyone in the history of this blog.

  318. >And I know that you expect it also, for you called me racist, yet did not call the bouncers and the university racist for having low expectations, nor the Nobel prize committee racist for having low expectations.

    Their racism is not the issue here, because they’re not trying to pollute my blog with apologetics for racist thinking. You are.

  319. Tom DeGisi Says:
    > even with the additional fact that the university effectively refused to discipline him, that’s not enough.
    > There are too many different sorts of protected classes these days, including talented athletes,
    > union thugs, best friends of the bouncer and the children of the powerful.

    And where is the white child of the powerful who was made a professor and yet sucker punched a woman?

  320. James A Donald,

    > And where is the white child of the powerful who was made a professor and yet sucker punched a woman?

    What about the white Senator, definitely a child of the powerful, who drowned a woman, which is much worse? Do you really think you can win this argument? I put myself on really solid ground here.

    Yours,
    Tom

  321. > I called you a racist for believing, and expecting the rest of us to believe that “McIntyre is black”
    > is deducible from “McIntyre sucker-punched a woman” without the additional fact that the
    > university effectively refused to discipline him.

    For that additional fact to be necessary, there would need to exist an example of a real professor who sucker punched a woman, and was disciplined.

    You did not bother googling for such a professor, because you knew you were not going to find him.

    Since you knew you were not going to find him, you knew that McIntyre is black the moment you read that “Professor McIntyre sucker-punched a woman”, a guilty knowledge that you reveal every time you drop the word “Professor

    If you had not known it then, then later when you claimed that the additional fact that the university failed to discipline him was required, you would have gone googling for an example to prove your point. You did not bother, revealing you know your point is not true, that it is mere empty piety. You don’t believe, and you do not really expect others to believe. You do, however, expect others to joint the pretense, and am indignant because I call out the pretence.

    A real professor might murder a woman, quietly, out of sight, might do all sorts of terrible things, but he is not going to lose self control and punch a woman in public over a discussion.

    When Tom DeGisi changes the topic to crimes more typical of whites and less typical of blacks, he implicitly admits what he explicitly denies.

  322. @ Andy Freeman
    > It’s easy to disable that potential kafkatrap – stop using “racist” when it isn’t appropriate, but TomM doesn’t like that. He wants conservatives to do something.

    To borrow a Bushism, I think you misunderestimate me.

    I do not use “racist” when it isn’t appropriate and will happily communicate that to your leftist enemies also. I have never said otherwise. The only thing I want anyone to do is not to dismiss all such claims without examining them.

    > We agree that racism is serious. I think that that demands that we maintain tools to fight it.

    I think we agree about more than we disagree on this.

  323. esr,

    > Their racism is not the issue here, because they’re not trying to pollute my blog with apologetics for racist thinking. You are.

    Are you sure James A Donald is doing that? When we hear of criminal flash mobs these days, it’s almost always black people. Just like when we hear about certain crimes we almost always think ‘Muslim’. Are you sure he isn’t just setting his “probability distribution of expectation” a little differently than you are? I am now backing off from where I called you correct. I think we are better off making sure we calibrate our “probability distribution of expectations” correctly, rather than calling James an apologist for racist thinking. Part of the data that messes us up is the tendency for some descriptive terms never to make it into the news. For example, the “pick the party” game, where, if it’s a scandal and the Party is not mentioned, it’s a Democrat.

    Yours,
    Tom

  324. James,

    > You did not bother googling for such a professor, because you knew you were not going to find him.

    No, I was pretty sure I would find a white professor who had committed an ‘underclass’ style crime. I didn’t bother because I didn’t want to take the time. I’m multitasking.

    Your ability to read my mind is really bad. I did not know “that McIntyre is black the moment” I read that “Professor McIntyre sucker-punched a woman”. I didn’t. It wasn’t like the flash mobs and it wasn’t like Major Hasan. I know that there are news stories where my mind inserts the words the reporter left out. This was not one of them. I always win the point when I describe what I am thinking. Once again, I am on very solid ground and you are not.

    > When Tom DeGisi changes the topic to crimes more typical of whites and less typical of blacks, he implicitly admits what he explicitly denies.

    Wrong. Just going for a well known example. Bad mind reading again. I can do this all day, even while multitasking.

    Yours,
    Tom

  325. > trying to pollute my blog with apologetics for racist thinking. You are.

    As long as you will not admit what you know to be true, what everyone, including the Nobel prize committee, demonstrates by their behavior that they know to be true, you are still in a Kafka trap, which people can and will use against you. For example, someone points out that that blacks are still under represented among professors, and deduces that affirmative action is insignificant and needs to be stronger. Any rebuttal that is actually logical and coherent is going to come horribly close to implicitly asserting what you explicitly deny, will imply that few blacks are qualified to be professors, and the great majority of those that have been made professors are conspicuously unqualified. So you will not be able to make a coherent rebuttal.

    And when someone used that argument, no one made coherent rebuttal, not even me. You made no rebuttal because you are in a Kafka trap, and I made no rebuttal because I would no more bother rebutting the spokesmen of the state than I would rebut a spammer. They both say what they are paid to say.

  326. >Are you sure James A Donald is doing that?

    Sadly, I am. And I grow more sure of it the more he ascribes thought processes to other people rather than simply reporting his own. He’s attempting a kind of hypnotism – it’s creepy. So is the way he keeps changing his assertions to less racist ones when challenged only to revert to the nastiest versions when he thinks he can slip them into someone’s thinking. This is exactly the way the really clever bastards at white-nationalist cesspits like Stormfront operate. You apparently don’t have the right kind of experience to recognize the type. I do.

    But I grant your other points. Jumping from “terrorist of a kind the news story doesn’t specify” to “Islamic Jihadi” is well-justified these days, precisely because we know what kinds of ascriptions the mainstream media wants to suppress. From “scandal-struck politician of unspecified party” to “Democrat” is also well justified. I’d say the contingent probability from “criminal flash mob” to “blacks” is a bit lower, there are circumstances in which the most plausible guess is white hard-lefties in balaclavas or merely British football hooligans.

  327. >Any rebuttal that is actually logical and coherent is going to come horribly close to implicitly asserting what you explicitly deny, will imply that few blacks are qualified to be professors, and the great majority of those that have been made professors are conspicuously unqualified.

    You’re like, 0 for a million at this point. Because I am in fact prepared to say, right out loud, that relatively few blacks are qualified to be professors and that many of those that are professors are underqualified jokes. The reasons for this are not a mystery, and some of them even have to do with the 15-point difference in mean IQ. The difference between me and you is that I refuse to jump from that statistical fact about aggregates to prejudging individual black professors, or to refusing to hire blacks as professors. I know that it’s content of character and not color of skin that matters, and I behave accordingly.

    Nor do I traffic in wink-wink-nod-nod racial stereotyping like your disgusting “joke” about Barack Obama. He may be a gormless twit and an appalling cod-Marxist, but nobody deserves that. You are a noisome pool of slime, and you smell worse every time you try to attribute your own sliminess to others.

  328. esr,

    > You apparently don’t have the right kind of experience to recognize the type. I do.

    I probably don’t. But I do know, based on how people work, that real racists are often strongly motivated to claim and believe that they aren’t rascists. And such a real racist might behave like James A Donald.

    > You’re like, 0 for a million at this point. Because I am in fact prepared to say, right out loud, that relatively few blacks are qualified to be professors and that many of those that are professors are underqualified jokes. The reasons for this are not a mystery, and some of them even have to do with the 15-point difference in mean IQ. The difference between me and you is that I refuse to jump from that statistical fact about aggregates to prejudging individual black professors, or to refusing to hire blacks as professors. I know that it’s content of character and not color of skin that matters, and I behave accordingly.

    Ah! Polyrhythmic hand drumming on a rented drum!

    Yours,
    Tom

  329. “Douglas Dokken, a 60-year-old math professor at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, lost his cool with the buck-toothed mascot after Goldy sat behind him and began tapping on his shoulder during a men’s gymnastics meet Saturday night.”

    The visual on that is perfect.

  330. Patrick,

    I see that now. And in that case, whether James A Donald is racist or not, he isn’t very good at picking a reasonable argument.

    Yours,
    Tom

  331. This comment was really bad. http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3567#comment-317521

    Right after we have an example of a white professor committing assault, James A Donald claims that a white professor would never commit assault. Never? When it’s the very first thing Bing lists? When you have just been given an example? Never?

    Dude! That’s a bad argument.

    Yours,
    Tom

  332. > But I do know, based on how people work, that real racists are often strongly motivated to claim and believe that they aren’t rascists.

    Perhaps TomM will tell us how this distinguishes racists from non-racists.

    Or, perhaps he’ll tell us how non-racists should respond to unwarranted accusations of racism.

    > The only thing I want anyone to do is not to dismiss all such claims without examining them.

    Why?

    It’s pretty clear that real racists aren’t affected by such claims, so the only benefit of such claims must be on non-racists.

    What, exactly, is the value of a non-racist examining such a claim, a claim which is false.

    If you want us to examine claims, there has to be a benefit to doing so. The current dominance of false claims eliminates that benefit wrt racism. Therefore, the benefit of a false claim has nothing to do with racism. We can determine that benefit by observing who uses the false claim and to what end.

    If TomM wants folks to examine claims of racism to affect racism, he has to work to ensure that the claim is used only when racism is actually at issue. The existence of real racists doesn’t excuse false claims; that existence is the reason why we shouldn’t tolerate false claims.

    TomM wants conservatives to “do something” about these false claims. (This is interesting because they’re not the ones making the false claims and they’re injured by these claims.) I’ll ask again – what exactly should the victims of false claims of racism do?

    Note “examine all such claims” isn’t an answer that makes any sense.

  333. Tom DeGisi Says:
    > Right after we have an example of a white professor committing assault, James A Donald claims that a white professor would never commit assault.

    Liar:

    I said a white professor would never commit the kind of assault that “professor” McIntyre did.

    And no white professor has.

  334. > The difference between me and you is that I refuse to jump from that statistical fact about aggregates to prejudging individual black professors,

    But that fact about aggregates is sufficiently extreme that you can validly prejudge individual black professors.

    You might refrain from using drawing valid conclusions in ways that are horribly politically incorrect, but in fact you do prejudge individual black professors. If you did not, you would have busily googled for an assault by a white professor that was plausibly comparable in lack of self control to the assault committed by Professor McIntyre.

  335. Tom DeGisi Says:
    > I was pretty sure I would find a white professor who had committed an ‘underclass’ style crime.

    And yet you did not, for I have committed a similar “crime”, in front of police, and I am not underclass, and police chose to overlook it.

    Unwanted touching by a male is provocative in ways that unwanted speaking by a female is not supposed to be. Punching a male who touches you in a hostile fashion is not underclass. Punching a female who disagrees with you is underclass. \

    You did not find a white professor who had committed an underclass style crime, and you did not look, for you knew you would not find it.

  336. James A Donald,

    You are spending argument capital defending a really bad argument. I’m having fun though, so let’s continue.

    > And no white professor has.

    Sure he has. You are just choosing to distinguish it using your own made up definition on a frivolous basis. The word sucker punch is a clue.

    > And yet you did not, for I have committed a similar “crime”, in front of police, and I am not underclass, and police chose to overlook it.

    I’d say, based on your description of your behavior, and your argument style that you are underclass. See? I can play with definitions too. Perhaps you should stop misusing the word. However, your incident was not similar. Here are some differences:

    1. A mascot is even more defenseless than a woman. The guy you fought was not so hampered.
    2. Your incident went through a series of escalations. You sucker punched no one. Dokken? No escalations and a sucker punch.
    3. Mascots are jesters. They are allowed to mock people. The mascot was acting in a socially approved way in his social situation. Your assailant? Not so much.

    > Unwanted touching by a male is provocative in ways that unwanted speaking by a female is not supposed to be. Punching a male who touches you in a hostile fashion is not underclass. Punching a female who disagrees with you is underclass.

    University mascots aren’t “males”. They are costumed jesters. They are deliberately taking a ‘beta’ or even a ‘gamma’ position to fulfill a specific social function. Punching a jester is not classy – like punching a woman.

    I’m afraid the professors are similar and you are not.

    > You did not find a white professor who had committed an underclass style crime, and you did not look, for you knew you would not find it.

    I did look. I did find it. Then I stopped looking. More mind reading fail. Lots of folks are trying to teach you not to do this. You aren’t learning.

    Yours,
    Tom

  337. Pingback: Kritik: „Männer sind privilegiert“ « Alles Evolution

  338. > > And no white professor has.

    > Sure he has. You are just choosing to distinguish it using your own made up definition on a frivolous basis.

    Hitting a man is obviously different from hitting a woman. Hitting a man who is physically harassing you is so very different from hitting a woman who is merely saying thing that you do not want to hear, that you can usually get away with it. It is expected. Manly even. One man is not supposed to lay hands on another, and if he does, you can usually get away with doing something about it.

    Not being underclass I would not punch a woman, and even when a woman has been physically violent to me, I have restrained her in safe manner. But I have punched quite a few men for quite a few reasons, and have always gotten away with it.

    No white professor has ever done anything resembling what Professor McIntyre did, sucker punched a woman in front of witnesses – nor would anyone expect that any white professor has, so, hearing that professor McIntyre sucker punched a woman as a result of a discussion, you knew he was black.

    Your guilty knowledge was revealed when you attributed to me a much stronger claim than I made – a little bit of dishonesty that revealed that you knew that the original claim I made was true. If you had not known Professor McIntyre was black on reading that a Professor sucker punched a woman, you would not have felt the need to attribute to me a more extreme claim.

  339. > University mascots aren’t “males”. They are costumed jesters. They are deliberately taking a ‘beta’ or even a ‘gamma’ position

    Jesters do not touch people from behind – that is making a joke of the person touched, while a jester makes a joke of himself. A jester makes himself the center of attention (an alpha position) though beta moves. Harassing someone from behind forces the target to pay attention, which is not a beta move. When a jester starts pranking people, he makes himself a legitimate target, though the reprisal is supposed to be at least somewhat funny, for example upending the jester or pouring water over him, rather than punching him.

  340. James A Donald,

    > Hitting a man is obviously different from hitting a woman. Hitting a man who is physically harassing you is so very different from hitting a woman who is merely saying thing that you do not want to hear, that you can usually get away with it. It is expected. Manly even. One man is not supposed to lay hands on another, and if he does, you can usually get away with doing something about it.

    How did Dokken know the person in the costume was male? Often they aren’t. Not obviously different. Goldy the gopher does not have any of the visible characteristics of the human male.

    > Not being underclass I would not punch a woman, and even when a woman has been physically violent to me, I have restrained her in safe manner. But I have punched quite a few men for quite a few reasons, and have always gotten away with it.

    How many men have you punched? And since you always got away with it, I have to ask: Are you a black professor?

    > No white professor has ever done anything resembling what Professor McIntyre did, sucker punched a woman in front of witnesses – nor would anyone expect that any white professor has, so, hearing that professor McIntyre sucker punched a woman as a result of a discussion, you knew he was black.

    OK, here’s a Japanese professor who punched a woman for stepping on his foot.

    > Your guilty knowledge was revealed when you attributed to me a much stronger claim than I made – a little bit of dishonesty that revealed that you knew that the original claim I made was true. If you had not known Professor McIntyre was black on reading that a Professor sucker punched a woman, you would not have felt the need to attribute to me a more extreme claim.

    No, that’s you mind reading again. You can’t win an argument like that. Debate my points, not my imagined internal state of mind. The debate judges mark you down severely every time you do that.

    Yours,
    Tom

  341. A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

    Time to drop James A Donald into the virtual killfile. It’s obvious that he’s going to project his racist views on everyone else, even if he has to make up things the other doesn’t actually believe in order to do it. There’s no point in discussing with such a person.

  342. @James A Donald

    You wouldn’t tell a two-year-old that he “knows” how many days it is to Christmas in the middle of August, even though an adult can quickly determine that subtracting the day of the month from 147 will produce the desired answer. It’s just mean to treat someone with an undeveloped mind that way.

    Clearly, your powers of reasoning are similarly superior to ours, because you were able to divine the ethnicity of the professor without knowing any other facts, and we aren’t. It is really annoying for you to rub our noses in it.

  343. Jay Maynard,

    Come now, I found him a professor who punched a woman. Give him a chance to reply. It’s an excellent opportunity for him to change his mind.

    Yours,
    Tom

  344. P.S. There are lots of possibilities for changing his mind, BTW. Perhaps he will become more careful about Google challenges, for example. Google is pretty good at serving up examples of human behavior. And humans are very good at behaving in wildly different ways.

  345. @Andy Freeman
    > TomM wants conservatives to “do something” about these false claims. (This is interesting because they’re not the ones making the false claims and they’re injured by these claims.) I’ll ask again – what exactly should the victims of false claims of racism do?

    I apologise for exhuming this comment but I just came across it and am struck again by the way your argument justifies itself.

    I understand that you consider most (all?) claims of racism to be “false” and I also understand that you think the left does this on purpose to shut down debate. Therefore, your conclusion is that all persons who receive a claim of racism are permitted to ignore the claim without examining it.

    Your thesis is essentially that James A. Donald’s best response to the smacks he’s received here is to ignore them.

    In earlier comments I referred to examples of genuine and seriously racist policy measures historically adopted in Australia. When, as still happens, conservative commentators put forward meritless defences of those practices, my view is that I am entitled to put seriously to them the case that their defences are racist (or justifications of racist thinking).

    Your argument would allow those commentators the rhetorical room to ignore my claim without engaging with it. I fail to see how this is a helpful position to take.

  346. > I understand that you consider most (all?) claims of racism to be “false” and I also understand that you think the left does this on purpose to shut down debate.

    Note that TomM doesn’t dispute either of those points. (I never said that all accusations were false.)

    Note also that TomM still doesn’t answer my question, namely, what should conservatives do about false accusations of racism? This is curious because he demanded that they do something.

    The phrase “blaming the victim” comes to mind, but then I think that someone who has been falsely accused of racism has been injured. TomM may disagree.

    Instead, TomM ignores my question, after quoting it, and goes on to.

    > Therefore, your conclusion is that all persons who receive a claim of racism are permitted to ignore the claim without examining it.

    No, that’s not my conclusion. I said that non-racists should ignore such accusations, and folks who are actually concerned about racism should work against false accusations. TomM disagrees.

    As to what actual racists “should” do ….

    > Your thesis is essentially that James A. Donald’s best response to the smacks he’s received here is to ignore them.

    I’ve ignored him but I’ll agree that racists’ self-interest are served by ignoring such accusations and pointing out that the vast majority of such accusations are false. Does TomM think that his stance changes that?

    > Your argument would allow those commentators the rhetorical room to ignore my claim without engaging with it. I fail to see how this is a helpful position to take.

    My argument is that the rhetorical room that TomM is “concerned” about was created by false accusations of racism, accusations that he tolerates because racism exists.

  347. Andy and TomM,

    > My argument is that the rhetorical room that TomM is “concerned” about was created by false accusations of racism, accusations that he tolerates because racism exists.

    Maybe I can help. Many false accusations of racism are actually demonstrations of racism. This is especially true when done to shut down debate. After all, many of these accusations are attributing to the so-called racist that his position is based on race when it is not. That’s racist.

    So, what should conservatives do about false accusations of racism? Point out that the accuser is being racist and why. This was true recently for Ed Schultz, who decided that ‘black cloud’ must refer to Obama. Only a racist would think that, so Ed Schultz was being racist. Then there are all the people screaming ‘racist’ who aren’t willing to allow blacks to think for themselves. They are a liberal, leftist set of racists.

    Yours,
    Tom

  348. @ Andy Freeman

    OK, I’ll bite. How does one establish that a claim of racism is false without examining it?

    > folks who are actually concerned about racism should work against false accusations. TomM disagrees.

    You keep asserting that I disagree with you about this. I do not.

  349. Note, we’re still waiting for TomM to tell us what folks falsely accused of racism should do about false accusations.

    He’s quite clear that they should take such accusations seriously, but that does nothing to deter false accusations. If anything, that examination encourages false accusations.

    In other words, if self-examination is TomM’s answer to “what should conservatives do about false accusations of racism”, he’s saying that there should be more such false accuations.

    > OK, I’ll bite. How does one establish that a claim of racism is false without examining it?

    How did TomM establish that he isn’t a latent pedophile without examining the accusation? After all, I can show that pedophiles use the same sorts of arguments. WRT racism, that’s “enough”.

    Of course, there is a difference. Accusations of pedophila are not done for political advantage, while, as TomM admits, accusations of racism are regularly used that way.

    TomM wants folks to self-examine when they’re accused of racism, knowing that the only result of said self-examination is give the accuser some unwarranted advantage. After all, real racists aren’t going to self-examine, so the only people doing the self-examination that TomM demands are not-racists being falsely accused.

    >> folks who are actually concerned about racism should work against false accusations. TomM disagrees.

    > You keep asserting that I disagree with you about this. I do not.

    Oh really? Then why the insistence on self-examination? Why bring up real racists when someone points out that most accusations of racism are false?

    Yes, TomM says that he’s concerned about false accusations of racism, but when it comes to actually doing anything, he makes excuses or comes up with a response that encourages false accusations.

  350. Andy Freeman,

    It is trivially true that you must examine an accusation of racism to determine whether it is false. Therefore your contention that examination encourages false accusations is false. In addition, if the accusation of racism is about myself, I must necessarily self-examine in order to examine the accusation to determine whether it is false. Therefore if you were contending that self-examination encourages false accusations that also is false.

    There is no way to determine that an accusation is false without examining it. Sorry.

    Examination does not encourage false accusations per se. Certain kinds of self flagellating examination which cause the accused to flee the field, however, do encourage false accusations. Therefore, the question becomes, is TomM encouraging that sort of examination? No, not directly or on purpose. If you wish to contend that TomM is indirectly or mistakenly encouraging that sort of examination you are going to have to make that case. You haven’t. Not close. Not at all.

    I would also like TomM to mention what he thinks should be done about false accusations of racism. And I would like you to quit playing silly gotcha games (not on purpose, by mistake, it took me long enough to see the mistake myself) and mention what you think should be done. I have mentioned what I think should be done.

    Yours,
    Tom

  351. @ Andy Freeman
    > Oh really?

    Yes, really.

    > How did TomM establish that he isn’t a latent pedophile without examining the accusation?

    I did this by evaluating all of the evidence you presented (i.e. none). This process did not take long.

  352. > It is trivially true that you must examine an accusation of racism to determine whether it is false.

    Yes

    > Therefore your contention that examination encourages false accusations is false.

    No.

    That self-examination has a cost, paid by the self-examiner, and it interrupts the self-examiner. Meanwhile the accuser continues working towards his goal. Moreover, any defense on works to the advantage of the accuser because some bystanders will believe the accusation because of repetition and “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” and “of course a racist would deny it”. (That’s the point of TomM’s “there are racists” response.)

    LBJ is said to have proposed “leaking” that one of his political opponents was a pig-fucker. When the conduit for the leak asked if actually believed that, LBJ supposedly said “of course not, but I want to see him deny it”.

    And there’s still the fact that the proposed examination has no benefit because racists won’t do it, so the only people doing it are non-racists.

  353. >>> Oh really?

    > Yes, really.

    No, not really. As the next two sentences said “Then why the insistence on self-examination? Why bring up real racists when someone points out that most accusations of racism are false?”

    > I did this by evaluating all of the evidence you presented (i.e. none). This process did not take long.

    Actually, I did present evidence. I showed that you were using argument patterns that pedophiles and their sympathizers use. While it’s possible that there’s an innocent explanation for your behavior, the burden is now on you to show that it is in fact innocent.

    That’s how racism accusations work, so ….

  354. @ Andy Freeman
    > I showed that you were using argument patterns that pedophiles and their sympathizers use

    No, you didn’t “show” this, you asserted it without evidence. Cute trick, though.

    Anyway, I feel that we have probably about exhausted the patience of our host by continuing this exchange. Given that we probably agree more than we disagree about the problem of racism, I’m not sure there’s much left to add.

  355. @Tom DeGisi
    > I would also like TomM to mention what he thinks should be done about false accusations of racism.

    Fair enough.

    If we are talking about the sort of accusations that Andy seems to have in mind (false accusations made by persons who know them to be false and make them solely for political effect) then I agree those false accusations should be loudly condemned by both the receiver and all reasonable and sensible observers.

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