Spent the weekend in Alexandria, at the Women in Secularism III conference. While there was lots of great stuff heard, it also pisses me off as I hear the stories about what women go through when asserting themselves. Here's my reactionary rant:
I'm so sick of MRA assholes. I'm so sick of women receiving multiple daily threats of rape and death because they spoke up online. I'm sick of them receiving even more threats because they mention the threats they already receive. I'm sick of claims that those threats are just words, are not really harmful. I'm sick of the assumption that this is stuff women have to fix, that it's their problem. I'm sick of it mainly coming from smug atheists with a tenuous grasp on social realities. I'm sick of men who think free speech means they can send threats to women or stalk them online, but that others can't moderate comments on their own blog. I'm sick of people who think free speech means they shouldn't be criticized. I'm sick of entitled white men thinking that the world owes them a hearing. I'm sick of whiny white men complaining that every small decrease in their privilege is a calamity, that every loss they have in life is the gravest injustice and proof that the system is actually against them, that misandry runs rampant. (Everyone loses at times, even when they're in the right. Get used to it. Women and folks of color have to deal with it *all the time.*) I'm sick of simplistic shallow Libertarian thought and the pitiful need Libertarians have for drawing bright lines, because they gave up on God but can't deal with the resulting lack of objective rules.
And I'm a 6 foot tall white guy. In my over 20 years on the Internet, I've received a grand total of one threat of violence. (For drawing Mohammed, from someone located in the Middle East.) While it wasn't a remotely realistic threat, it still bothered me. I can't even imagine what it would be like to actually be a female feminist and have to deal with this shit day after day after day.
So, as you've likely heard, Scalia did an interview in which he admitted believing in a personified Devil. When the interviewer was incredulous, he retorted:
You're looking at me as though I'm weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It's in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.
And I don't know which is worse, that Scalia believes in a personified Devil or that he's actually correct in his retort.
Constitutionalists are anything but. They're typically racist, sexist assholes trying to preserve the inequities of the past. Here's a nice post on the subject: Scalia and the 9th Amendment.
And here's my rant from a few years back: The Fallacy of Strict Constitutionalism.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the Supreme Court striking down part of the Voting Rights Act. Their argument seems to be that the formula used in it is no longer valid, outdated. To which I respond:
How the fuck would a bunch of white guys know the extent to which this stuff is still needed? Do they have any fucking idea? (Thomas gets a bye on this, although I'm convinced he actually thinks he's white.)
And since when is it the court's job to decide whether Congress did due diligence? Congress re-authorized it, thereby explicitly saying they're okay with it as it stands. This is the exact sort of rank
activism the right wing of the court claims to detest.
The court seems to be saying that the concept of pre-clearance is okay, it's just that Congress is using an outdated formula. So, can Congress pass a new formula? What if it ends up covering the same states. What if it's the same states, plus Florida? What will the court say then? Will they give it a thumbs up? Or will they come up with some other excuse? Take a wild guess.
Maybe there's a simpler explanation, like, I dunno, they're fucking assholes who don't care whether people with which they disagree actually get to vote? Of course, that's not true. The truth is that the actively want these folks to not be able to vote.
I guess the bottom line is that the court is saying
Yeah, we buy the concept, but Congress didn't implement the concept to our satisfaction. To which I just shake my head. In what possible judicial philosophy is that something the court does? At least we can all stop pretending who the actual
activist judges are.
Well, maybe I'm overreacting. After all, it's not as if there have been recent attempts at restricting voting. No, none at all.
Doesn't ensuring that everyone can vote trump all other Constitutional considerations? It's the bedrock on which representational government rests.
Here's the thing I don't get about Todd Akin and Paul Ryan. Which is worse:
Obviously person #1 is a truly stupid sack-o-shit. But isn't person #2 more evil than person #1?
Leaving aside the fact that pegging personhood at the moment of conception makes no sense, biologically speaking. Nor is it really Biblically-based, either. (Not that being Biblically-based should matter at all.)
So the Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare. I'm happy. I do wonder whether Roberts is basically betting that Obama will win again in November and is positioning himself to work with a possibly more liberal court in the future. While I think he's an ass, he's clearly not as bat-shit insane as Scalia and Thomas. (Then again, most people as bat-shit insane as Scalia are in padded rooms. Or on Fox News.)
But that's not about which I want to write. I have a theory related to the health care debate. It's not fully fleshed out but I think it's interesting. It deals with how we talk about the right to health care. I think we're phrasing it wrong and it hurts the cause of those of us who want a sane system, like all the rest of the civilized world.
When we talk about a right to health care, that's how we phrase it, as a right to health care. And that leads to two responses by the other side. One response is that of self-responsibility. People don't deserve health care, they need to earn it. (Left unexplained is why access to health care should be linked to the ability to earn income, as if the ability to earn income is the objective ultimate sign of general worthiness.)
The other response is the oddball one you get from Libertarians, in which a right to health care means slavery for doctors. If you're going to provide health care, then you'll have to force doctors to provide it.
It's that second response that started me thinking. Libertarians don't complain when the government provides law enforcement to protect their property ownership rights. Nor do they complain that the county may certify surveyors and maintains a records office to document some of those property rights. And why not? Because no one says there's a
right to a records office. Instead, there's a right to buy and own property. A records office is merely a government provided service to enable folks to pursue the ownership of property.
Why don't we look at health care in the same way? We should be talking about a right to pursue good health, with access to health care being an enabling service. After all, health care providers don't hand out health. My doctor can't make me be healthy. All he can really do is provide advice, expertise, and tools to help me keep myself healthy. Maybe we should stop talking about the enabling service as being the actual
right. After all, a right to pursue good health fits into two of the three pieces of
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And, it also puts the proper focus on self-responsibility. Easy access to health enables people to actually be responsible for themselves. Again, health providers don't hand out health. They only provide advice, expertise, and tools which help other be responsible. Doctors can't cure my diabetes. But they can provide the tests and medications that help me control it. The onus is still on me. It's up to me to pursue good health. If folks really were concerned about self-responsibility, they would welcome easy access to health care as an enabler. Or, rather, as the removal of an excuse for any failures on my part.
Of course, there is no such thing as an objective right. We have whatever rights we as a society decide we have. Harsh, but true.
So, for which words does DHS look in order to mark sites as suspicious? Well, it's currently only available as scans of a handbook. But I've copied them to a PDF and will patiently wait for Google to OCR them into editable text. Hee hee hee!
Sometimes atheists joke that we can't wait for the Rapture to actually happen and take all the most annoying Christians away.
Personally, I'm waiting for Libertarians to
go Galt already and leave the rest of us to continue maintaining civilization. Seriously, go off somewhere, set up your Libertarian paradise, and stop suckling off the teat of the very social contract you claim to reject.
But no, it's whine whine whine about being subjected to a social contract to which they didn't consent, even though they're providing implied consent by staying within the society.
Just fucking leave already.
I posted this on Facebook, as a series of comments. I think it's good enough to be a blog post:
I don't know if I can take much more stupidity surrounding the Martin shooting. But here are some tips to avoid looking stupid:
(If I get any of these wrong, please tell me.)
1) Things like
Stand Your Ground are a defense, not a Not-Get-Arrested card. Think about it. How do we know Zimmerman reasonably felt threatened? Via sworn witnesses and other evidence. What's the forum for presenting that evidence? That would be a trial.
As long as there's enough evidence to get past a Grand Jury, he ought to be arrested. Zimmerman's disregard of the 911 operator and his own admitted chasing of Martin would bring enough doubt to his
Stand Your Ground defense to get past a Grand Jury.
2) That photo of Martin with his drawers hangin' low and giving the finger isn't him.
3) Even if that photo was of him, even if he's a bad, bad kid, it still doesn't matter. Unless Zimmerman has prior knowledge of that, it doesn't support his claims of reasonably fearing harm.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty isn't a general rule, it's a legal concept. You can't point to it if Zimmerman hasn't even been arrested yet. You can certainly say that you think people should reserve judgement, but me thinking and even saying that Zimmerman is probably racist scum looking for trouble isn't violating some
Innocent Until Proven Guilty right.
5) Arrest isn't the same as conviction. People are upset that Zimmerman hasn't been arrested. I don't think anyone is suggesting that he should be thrown in prison without trial.
(Now, afterwords, when people go fucking nuts that the case wasn't decided the way they think it should be and start talking about street justice, then you can complain about them.)
6) In the US, jails are typically where you hold folks before trial, if they weren't granted or couldn't make bail. Prisons are typically where they go if they're convicted. Saying you think Zimmerman should be in jail means you think he should have been arrested and not allowed bail. Saying you think he should be in prison means you think he should have been found guilty.
So, it's perfectly fine for me to say I think he should be in jail. But I wasn't there, so I can't say whether he should be in prison. (Pedantic, but important.)
And, let us not forget that Cresco is the Birthplace of Genius.