Why I am an Atheist – Anurag »« The Schwyzer betrayal

Comments

  1. melissaf says

    Kristinc – I’m so sorry for what you experienced too.
    It’s strange, this doesn’t feel at all like what the (objectively minor, personally devastating) sexual abuse I experienced as a child.

    I just feel really upset that I tried to get him to stop, but because I used variations of ‘no’ and not the word itself he didn’t take me seriously. I thought I communicated my desire to not have sex perfectly well. I don’t get why I didn’t just say ‘no’ though. I think I was just startled and a bit freaked out, and for some reason the word ‘no’ just wouldn’t come out. And because of that he says he thought I was playing along. And maybe so, but fuck, what a colossal misunderstanding.

    And I’m hurt by the fact that he can’t seem to say ‘sorry, I didn’t mean to do that, that isn’t what I wanted. I’m sorry.’ He’s too busy trying to defend himself against accusations I’m not even making. When talking to him about it I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt, and told him that I know him, and he’s not a person who would purposely rape anyone. But I need to know that he gets what happened, and to stop trying to make himself feel better by trying to put the blame for the situation on me. He’s not a bad person, but he’s acting like an arsehole right now. /ramble

  2. melissaf says

    The Sailor – fuck yes, good advice. A safe word would have stopped that from happening. I’m normally so vanilla I didn’t think we’d need one. Obviously I was wrong *wry smile*

  3. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Great advice Sailor. I’m not one who can reliably safeword when I’m in trouble (I tend to get sort of lost in my own head) but being sexually active again and recovering from having flashbacks to being raped was only possible because I knew that the instant my partner had the slightest clue something was not right, he stopped right. then. Instantly. Completely.

  4. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Everyone is giving very good advice, and I’m crying a little. Melissaf, here’s a hug *hug*. I see that you’re doing some self-talk that’s a bit worrying. You are blaming yourself for being raped. If you can’t blame your husband (which, as someone who was also raped by someone I had loved and trusted for years, I understand is very hard to do), please at least try to remember that there’s no such thing as not saying “no” well enough. If there’s not a safeword already in play, “no” should be more than enough.

  5. Rey Fox says

    Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, has introduced a bill that would set specific “performance standards” for singing and playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at any event sponsored by public schools and state universities.

    I don’t know how they’d enforce those standards, but it honestly doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me. My family has season tickets to sports at BSU, and I’ve heard lots and lots of bad anthems.

    Of course, if you were to ask me, I’d prefer that we just ditch the national anthem before sporting events altogether because what the hell are we, a fascist state? (don’t answer that)

  6. Weed Monkey says

    melissaf, don’t blame yourself one bit. You communicated what you wanted and didn’t want quite clearly. He chose not to listen.

  7. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Someone just told me that my style phase right now appears to be “River Tam, Anarchist.” I was like BEST COMPLIMENT EVER O_O
    And also, it turns out that he’s not mad at me, which is fantastic, because he’s the only one of my J-Town acquaintances I was never upset with but I thought he was upset with me for some reason.
    Yay.

  8. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    Does anyone know who parson Brown was? The xmas quiz at the pub last night asked which song mentioned him and one sad person knew that it was Winter Wonderland and the rest of us all went for Frosty The Snowman.

    Not that the point we lost would have made any difference…

  9. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    According to Urban Dictionary,

    “Parson Brown” is the term used to talk about a typical angelican priest of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. “Parson Brown” is not an actual person (though he might have been at some time), but a figure of speech, like “John Doe” is an unidentified male and “Charley” is a watchman. “Parson” by itself means minister.

  10. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    Thanks CC.

    I had to look the lyric up because I have never really registered what they were after In the meadow we can build a snowman… (and I have just heard it in a film on TV and still couldn’t exactly make it out!)

  11. melissaf says

    Classical Cipher, Weed Monkey – thanks. I’ll try to resist blaming myself. Its hard though, especially when I love the guy & just want things to be repaired.
    And Classical Cipher – Yay! River Tam is awesome, totally the best compliment ever :)

  12. janine says

    Want to know which christmas carol bothers me?

    Silent Night.

    Round John Virgin, mother and child.

    Round John Virgin is a terrible name to give someone.

  13. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    Rey,

    I think the drink has irreparably affected me because I never once checked google or the pffft of all knowledge.

    Damn, I am going to be no use at all next Tuesday.

  14. shouldbeworking says

    Of all the Xmas ‘carols’ i dislike, Winter Wonderland and Silver Bells are the highest on list for their cavity inducing and brain numbing lyrics. Give me Grandma got run over by a reindeer instead.

  15. janine says

    One of my relatives has a figurine that plays Grandma… It is of a reindeer laying onto top of an old woman. When the song plays, the reindeer is wiggling. It is a great monument to Christmas bestiality.

    I hate that thing!

  16. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Of all the Xmas ‘carols’ i dislike, Winter Wonderland and Silver Bells are the highest on list for their cavity inducing and brain numbing lyrics.

    *evil cackle*

  17. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    Give me Grandma got run over by a reindeer instead.

    Now that is one I will have to find…

    In my band days we used to sneak I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus into the background of other tunes and the only time anyone ever noticed was when we played for a wedding and they played back the video…

  18. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    I have just realised that I am alcoherent again… when I say played for a wedding, I really mean for the evening dance. The bride didn’t walk down the aisle to anything involving Santa (as far as I know.)

  19. says

    A bit late to the party (Again).
    Kristinc- *hugs* just because.

    Cipher (River Tam)- You lovely dear! You nailed the self talk beautifully! It’s scaring a bit too. *Hugs ’cause you need ‘em*

    melissaf- Please know that you carry no blame at all! Not one bit!

  20. cicely, Disturber of the Peas says

    *hugs* for melissaf. Your husband was wrong, wrong, wrong.
    -

    Somebody else doesn’t like Keira Knightly – I *sniff* thought I was all alone *sob*

    I don’t much like her, either; but I don’t dislike her with anything approaching the intensity of my disliking for Kirsten Dunst or whatshername….Kristen Stewart. They have dead eyes.
    -

    I don’t get why I didn’t just say ‘no’ though.

    Cultural conditioning. You aren’t supposed to say ‘no’ to your husband.
    -

    Does anyone know who parson Brown was?

    From “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”; the couple in the song was hypothetically capable of building a snowman of this “Parson Brown” to act as a sort of voodoo-doll clergyman stand-in for use in their fantasy nuptials.
    -

  21. walton says

    North Korea: it is a monarchy, even in legal terms…

    You know that I’m passionate in my disgust of and opposition to monarchy and nobility, but how can you condone destroying artifacts and documents?

    Wow. I disappear for several days, and return to a discussion which is (at least loosely) about monarchy and which I did not start. This is an unprecedented experience.

    (And I still don’t see what definition of “monarchy” fits North Korea, given that hereditary rule is neither necessary nor sufficient to constitute a monarchy; the Stadholders of the Netherlands were hereditary rulers who were not monarchs, and the Pope is a monarch who is not hereditary. But still. I suppose it’s just semantics, in the end.)

    ===

    Oh, yes! It certainly looks that way. Rather, when I say I “am ultimately in favor of a communist state which mandates atheism by force, although I believe successful implementation of such a program will take several generations, the first of which should focus on suppressing clergy rather than all believers“, I’m expressing a general hope about the communist states of the future.

    No religious viewpoint, atheism included, should ever be imposed by force. Trying to change social norms and behaviours by brute force is almost always a catastrophically bad idea; even when it is effective (which it frequently is not), it generally comes at a social cost far higher than whatever harm it is intended to prevent. And no government should ever be trusted with the power to decide how people may think or which opinions they may express; that is a very dangerous road.

    On the basis of history, I am very strongly opposed to any attempt to build a utopia on earth through the forcible imposition of a state ideology and the violent suppression of dissent. Such projects, whether of the left or the right, are extremely dangerous. I very much agree with ॐ’s longstanding criticisms of modern corporate-capitalist states and their security-industrial complexes, but replacing those institutions with a different form of institutionalized violence will not make anything better. In an ideal world, being something of a Tolstoyan, I would be in favour of the elimination of all forms of coercive violence altogether. Since that is not possible (or, at the very least, has never been successfully tried in any society), I’ll settle for supporting a liberal state with very strict limits on state power and with maximum personal freedom. (More specifically, I’ll settle for supporting the abolition of racist border controls, an end to the “War on Drugs”, an end to aggressive wars and the means of fighting them, a more-or-less absolutist conception of freedom of speech and peaceful association, and a radical scaling-back of the powers, numbers and resources of police forces and other coercive arms of the state.)

  22. says

    *wave at Cicely*

    The writing bug has bitten again and there’s a story clawing around in my brain demanding to be written. I have a feeling this one is going to be much bigger and longer than the one I wrote yesterday.
    Might have a few manic/spastic moments..I tend to get that way when I’m working on something and there may be a few odd questions tossed to TET if you don’t mind me picking over your collective knowledge for information.

    Welcome back Walton!

  23. Pteryxx says

    please at least try to remember that there’s no such thing as not saying “no” well enough.

    I’m not brave enough or coherent enough to add anything to everyone’s great advice and support, but I did see this, by Harriet J:

    http://www.fugitivus.net/2010/12/22/dear-second-and-third-wave-feminists-with-publicly-recognizable-names/

    We are trying to create a world where all people are responsible for ensuring that sex is wanted, sex is safe, sex is sane. We are trying to create a world where the responsibility for stopping rape does not lie with the person who is being raped. And, too, we are trying to create a world where the responsibility for defining rape does not lie with the person being raped.

    For many of us, that is what saying “no” during a frightening sexual encounter means; if our partner does not care if we want sex, if our partner does not care how we want sex, if our partner does not care if we are in pain or pleasure, if our partner does not care if we feel safe, if our partner does not care that we are moving away from them, if our partner does not care that we are trying to get to the door, then our partner will not care if we say “no,” and we will be raped. This is not difficult math for us to calculate. The only further calculation is how bad our rape is going to be, how long it will last, and how badly we will be injured. So as long as we keep our mouths shut, it will not be rape, and we will not be victims, and this will be over much sooner. If we say no, it will become rape, because “no” is what creates rape, “no” is what defines consent, not the lack of a “yes”. We are responsible for taking what could just be “bad sex,” over quickly and without too much pain, and turning it into “rape,” because we are responsible for saying “no” and our partners are not responsible for seeking an enthusiastic, mutual “yes.”

    The people intent upon raping us know that “no means no” as much as we do. The people intent upon raping us do not want to think of this as a rape, do not want to think of themselves as rapists, do not want to allow the possibility of facing consequences for raping us. They will do everything within their power to make that “no” unbelievable or invisible. Perhaps they will try to make us eventually say “yes,” though we have said “no” twenty times. Perhaps they will threaten consequences that do not amount to force, but amount to our partner threatening consequences, and the implication that they are willing to threaten, to punish, to hurt us to acquire our defeat is not lost upon us. Perhaps they will yell, and cry, and scream. Perhaps they will pretend they did not hear us. Perhaps they will pretend they thought we only meant “no” to this and not that. Perhaps they will ask us to coffee later, or text us sweetly in the morning, or tuck us in afterward, and if we do not scream and cry and flee to the police in a shamble, this will be proof that our “no” could not have been such a “no,” because victims do not have coffee with their rapists, and rapists do not kiss their victims kindly. Or, perhaps, they will hurt us, escalate the rape into something that is now (thanks to your work) more commonly conceived as a rape. We do not wish to go through that. We do not wish to be beaten, threatened, choked, or made to bleed internally as the price for knowing it is not our fault. We will say “yes” rather than go through that. We will say “yes” when we know it is coming to that, and we will do that whether or not we have gained that knowledge through acts or words that are defined as rape in a court of law. We will do that because that is how human beings survive attacks. They do not wait for them to get worse. They do not wait until the legal threshold of allowable violence has been passed. We do this because we must adapt to survive, because we are smart and we are strong and we know that living through this with fewer scars is worth more than the bare glimmer of justice years of harassment from now; we do not do this because we are moral children who do not know better.

  24. says

    changeable moniker,

    I’m not sure why people prefer (or have) to hold debt at a loss rather than cash; mandatory investment rules, maybe?

    I thought so too, and probably, my mistake was thinking that 310m EUR was a lot of money. To institutional investors, it’s probably not that much, they’d probably put more into German bonds…

    (For instance, the Bundesbank is planning to give out 250b EUR in 2012, just looking at 6 month bonds will be given out in volumes of 4b EUR once a month)

    Walton,

    Wow. I disappear for several days, and return to a discussion which is (at least loosely) about monarchy and which I did not start. This is an unprecedented experience.

    (And I still don’t see what definition of “monarchy” fits North Korea, given that hereditary rule is neither necessary nor sufficient to constitute a monarchy; the Stadholders of the Netherlands were hereditary rulers who were not monarchs, and the Pope is a monarch who is not hereditary. But still. I suppose it’s just semantics, in the end.)

    Well, it’s not just semantics. Last time, I accepted your argument of “no true monarchy” because there didn’t seem to be a formal legal correspondence. But it turns out there is, namely that of secretary-general.

    Having read up on Dutch history, I also disagree that the stadhouders were not monarchs. Once the highest post in a state becomes hereditary, I fail to see why it isn’t a monarchy. (An anomymous Wikipedia author: “In feite verschilde toen de toestand niet veel van een monarchie.” “In fact the situation didn’t differ much from a monarchy”)

    The Dutch Republic, as well as North Korean communism, refuse(d) to openly call themselves a monarchy, because of ideological reasons. But this doesn’t mean that more objective outside observers wouldn’t end up classifying them as such.

    Regarding elective monarchy, since you keep bringing it up: from what I can see, the most stereotypical monarchy is hereditary, elective monarchies being rare and exceptions of some sort. However, I stand by my assumption that an elective monarchy has to have hereditary-feudal aspects in its system, i.e. restricting the pool of electors or electees.

    Though I’m willing to hear some more arguments why they shouldn’t be classified as monarchy.

    Alethea

    We do have some good musical political satire in Australia – you could look on YouTube for Keating the Musical, or The Wharf Revue – but you’d really need to know about our pollies for it to make any sense. Not just feds, either, the latest wharf revue was heavily NSW-centric.

    Thanks, I downloaded the MP3s of the last three years’ Wharf Revue from the Radio Australia Website :)..

    theophontes,

    Look up Pieter Dirk Uys. (Linky( => guess where I am now)) He performed cabaret 4evah in South Africa. (Tidbits: The Space Theatre he refers to was my favourite place as a very young kid. He bought a train station in the countryside and converted into a theatre/restaurant/museum complex. There is actually a train that goes there from Cape Town.)

    Veery interesting character, this. Thanks for telling me.

  25. says

    Something else: in conservative Switzerland, an initiative has been started by leftist and Christian groups to introduce a nation-wide inheritance tax of 20%. Right now, it’s canton by canton, and the rich just move their residency to whichever canton offers the best tax conditions, including foreign billionaires.

    They’re still collecting signatures, and the law wouldn’t take effect until 2015, but the “threshold date” would be tomorrow, i.e. January 1, 2012. Any capital inherited (or given away in circumvention of inheritance taxation) after that date would be subject to the tax, even retroactively. According to Spiegel Online, which admittedly likes to hype news like this, the rich have been panicking in Switzerland. In the canton Zürich alone, 10b SFR alone were donated by panicking rich people, and the notaries are clogged up, with everybody doing overtime.

    In Zürich, the richest 1% own as much as the poorest 95%. The initiator of the bill, an economist, said, to truly change the way of income distribution in society, the tax rate would need to be around 50%. The bill says that any inheritance below 2m SFR would continue to be tax-free, so this would affect only 1.7% of taxpayers, or 80k people.

    (I fully support an inheritance tax of 50%, which would probably be the constitutional limit in Germany, though I think that was regarding the general tax burden)

    (Source)

  26. cicely, Disturber of the Peas says

    *waving back at NovaC*
    I used to have a writing bug, but it died under the weight of my fear that anything I wrote would be horribly derivative of…something. Possibly something I wouldn’t even remember having read, until the accusations of plagiarism brought it to my attention.

    These days, W. Bug (no relation to A. Bug) chiefly writes bits of in-game ambiance for the discomfort of Player Characters, and occasionally horks up the odd bit of Bad Haiku.
    -

  27. walton says

    Regarding elective monarchy, since you keep bringing it up: from what I can see, the most stereotypical monarchy is hereditary, elective monarchies being rare and exceptions of some sort. However, I stand by my assumption that an elective monarchy has to have hereditary-feudal aspects in its system, i.e. restricting the pool of electors or electees.

    That’s been true of most elective monarchies I can think of – with the exception of the Vatican City State, and even then, popes and cardinals have tended historically to be drawn from aristocratic backgrounds – but it isn’t uniquely a feature of elective monarchies, since many republics have been governed wholly or partly by a hereditary aristocratic class. The republics of Venice and Genoa, for instance, were both governed by a class of wealthy patrician families from whom the Doge, the head of state, was elected. And there are modern-day republics in which a hereditary class has a special role in government: the President of Fiji under the old 1997 constitution was elected by the mostly-hereditary Great Council of Chiefs, for instance. Thus, I don’t see that hereditariness or a restricted pool of electors can be among the defining characteristics which separate monarchies from republics.

    I just can’t see any objective, value-neutral way of defining the terms “monarchy” and “republic”, other than by going with what the states in question actually call themselves. And, honestly, I don’t think it matters very much. I see it as a purely semantic issue. Classifying a state as “monarchy” or “republic” doesn’t tell us anything very useful about the actual distribution of power: Denmark and Saudi Arabia are both monarchies, and Ireland and Syria are both republics, but this doesn’t imply that either pair of countries has anything much in common politically.

  28. Tethys says

    Classical Cipher aka River Tam

    That was the most putrid, gag inducing carol I have ever heard.
    Rob Lowe?! How bizarre.

  29. says

    Walton,

    When the topic of North Korea first came up, the issue was about hereditary monarchy. Please if you keep continuing bringing up exceptions, stop with the elective monarchy ones and bring up more hereditary ones like stadhouder.

    Indeed I see Venice and other medieval city-states (perhaps even Ancient Rome) as examples of “nobility republics”, and from a modern p.o.v. I’d hesitate to call them “true republics”, but that would be anachronistic. In many cases, these nobility republics became hereditary also (see Medici of Florence), and the constitutional changes in Venice reflect the fear of various noble families that someone would pull a Medici there…
    And Fiji would be odd too, but I’d call it an elective monarchy too.

    I don’t really see it as a question of semantics. States call themselves many things, North Korea calls itself a republic and a democracy, and is neither. Or why would you grant it the one attribute, but not the other?

  30. says

    Cicely

    I blame PET…I had mentioned having a box of writings that I had crammed in a box and called crap out of fear of not being able to use language properly to convey my thoughts. Got called on it and was given a deadline of Monday to have 50 to 100 words written. Completed it yesterday and posted it to PET for review.
    Now, because of a thread on PET, I have an idea that badly wants to be a story.

  31. says

    (of course it is also a question of semantics, as we are discussing definitions. What I meant is, it’s not just a semantic quibble to me)

  32. says

    On the basis of history, I am very strongly opposed to any attempt to build a utopia on earth through the forcible imposition of a state ideology and the violent suppression of dissent. Such projects, whether of the left or the right, are extremely dangerous.

    But that’s how capitalism was already imposed upon us. Are we now not allowed to undo it?

    I very much agree with ॐ’s longstanding criticisms of modern corporate-capitalist states and their security-industrial complexes, but replacing those institutions with a different form of institutionalized violence will not make anything better.

    Oh, that’s just the feel-good rhetoric of false equivalence. Flogging might be better than imprisonment, for instance.

    What’s really better depends entirely on how much violence we’re talking about, and how it’s distributed.

    «Some questions: is levelling the field possible by revolutionary force? If revolution could be achieved on an international scale, such that imperialist powers are toppled before they can again harness and subvert competition from the third world, could a classless society eventually be achieved? Can we ever ensure that there are no rich and no poor?

    For if we do not, then the rich shall forever hold guns to the heads of the poor.

    As with my question about Reconstruction, we already know the consequences of doing it half-assed.»

    I’ll settle for supporting a liberal state with very strict limits on state power and with maximum personal freedom.

    Larry articulates well what you’re settling for:

    «The reformist program of the “liberal” bourgeoisie is not to eliminate economic and social injustice, it is to ensure that injustice is not arbitrarily imposed by race or gender. Oppression and exploitation are not inherently wrong, it is wrong only to oppress non-white people because they are not white, and women because they are women. [...]

    But reformist program can liberate only a tiny fraction of women and non-white people; the bourgeoisie can be only a fraction of the population. The vast majority of people will still be crushed by the capitalist, imperialist system. I suppose it will be a comfort to a working class black woman to know she’s being crushed because she’s poor, not because she’s black or a woman, but she’ll still be crushed.

    And the bourgeoisie is perfectly OK with the vast majority of people being crushed by the system, just so long as their own economic privilege is maintained.»

  33. ChasCPeterson says

    In the meadow we can build a snowman
    Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
    He’ll say “are you married?”
    We’ll say “no, man,
    But you can do the job when you’re in town”

    oh, it’s ‘Winter Wonderland’, all right.
    the definitive version, imo

  34. melissaf says

    Thanks cicely :)
    Pteryxx, Harriet J is brilliant!
    I talked to husband, & after much discussion and not a few angry words, I think he at last gets it. He apologised sincerely, and told me to remember that I can always say an outright ‘no’ to him. I think he feels really horrible for not taking me seriously. It’ll take me awhile to fully forgive him, but things are at least on the mend :) Thanks for listening & all the advice & kind words, everyone, its really helped me.

  35. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Guess what *I* got for xmas, kids! Laid-off!

    Yep. I am officially Unemployed.

    However, it’s exactly what I wanted. I fucking HATED my job, my lazy, useless butthead of a boss, and the unethical, unprofessional firm as a whole.

    I get several weeks of pay and, of course unemployment if I need it.

    Interestingly, the (full-time, permanent) job agency that sent me to this place called me a bunch of times already. Clearly, there’s jobs I could get right now in my field.

    But, i could also go the unemployment/going back to school route. If I act quickly, that is.

    Decisions, decisions.

  36. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter – I can’t even read Feministe anymore. haven’t in YEARS. I have much respect for Jill and several other contributors but the comments on that site are toxic. Slut-shaming, classism, racism, religious supremacy – it’s fucking tragic.

    Of course, that was several years ago, so perhaps it’s gotten better. I do remember there were several regulars who were awesome. But toxic trolls are allowed too much free reign. When even the blog owner frequently expresses exasperation at the behavior of the commenters, that’s not a safe place to be.

  37. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    But that’s how capitalism was already imposed upon us. Are we now not allowed to undo it?

    “Not allowed to undo it” and “not allowed to use the same tactics to undo it” are not equivalent. The distinction matters a lot.

  38. says

    “Not allowed to undo it” and “not allowed to use the same tactics to undo it” are not equivalent. The distinction matters a lot.

    I would not advocate the same tactics, because the same tactics could not result in what I want: democratic control of the economy.

    Capitalism was imposed by a few elites upon masses of people. A communist revolution that can survive indefinitely will require a democratic mandate.

    If it ever again appears that economic equality might be within reach, capitalists will commit murder again to stop it, and we will have to fight back.

  39. says

    LM,

    why don’t you give us some concrete data instead of empty blabla of would-be revolutionaries?

    Here are some to start with

    R/P 10%: The ratio of the average income of the richest 10% to the poorest 10%

    New Zealand 4.5
    Japan 4.5
    Czech Republic 5
    [...]
    Sweden 6.2
    [...]
    Germany 6.9
    [...]
    Indonesia 7.8
    [...]
    United Kingdom 13.8
    [...]
    United States 15.9
    [...]
    China 21.6

    R/P 20%: The ratio of average income of the richest 20% to the poorest 20%

    Japan 3.4
    Czech Republic 3.5
    Finland 3.8
    [...]
    Sweden 4.0
    [...]
    Germany 4.3
    [...]
    Indonesia 5.2
    [...]
    United Kingdom 7.0
    [...]
    United States 8.4
    [...]
    China 12.2

    Gini: Gini index, a quantified representation of a nation’s Lorenz curve

    Japan: 25
    Denmark: 25
    Sweden: 25
    [...]
    Germany: 28
    [...]
    United Kingdom: 36
    [...]
    Indonesia: 37
    [...]
    United States: 41
    [...]
    China: 42

    Now also the Wealth Gini:

    Japan: 54.7
    China: 55.0
    Spain: 57.0
    [...]
    Germany: 66.7
    [...]
    United Kingdom: 69.7
    [...]
    Sweden: 74.2
    [...]
    Indonesia: 76.4
    [...]
    United States: 80.1
    Worldwide: 80.4

    Tax revenue as percentage of GDP (OECD, figures for China and Indonesia from the Heritage Foundation)

    Denmark: 48.2
    Sweden: 47.1
    Italy: 42.8
    [...]
    Germany: 37.0
    [...]
    United Kingdom: 34.3
    [...]
    Japan: 28.1
    [...]
    United States: 24.0
    [...]
    China: 17.0
    [...]
    Indonesia: 11.0

    The Scandinavian model hasn’t been to successful regarding wealth distribution (Denmark’s Wealth Gini coefficient is even higher than that of the US), but property taxes can alleviate this, though they have rarely been high enough. Japan used to have a very high income tax rate for decades (85% after the war, 70% until 1986). The Japanese model, while not completely comparable to a Social Democratic one, has nonetheless had many egalitarian facets.

    So yeah, I’m with Walton on this one. (I also don’t dispute that many post-communist states have low levels of income inequality, as by different indicators. But my point is that you can reduce income inequality through democratic reform)

  40. shouldbeworking says

    @548 illuminata,
    I feel your pain/joy at your change in employment status. My brother had a job like that, he described his future as 30 30 30: 30 seconds for the boss to piss him off, 30 minutes to fill out tthe paperwork for the pension, and 30 days for the paperwork to be processed.

    The school idea sounds interesting, I would like to do that, but a regular paycheck is habit forming, the mortgage company is addicted to their monthly payment.

  41. consciousness razor says

    I would not advocate the same tactics, because the same tactics could not result in what I want: democratic control of the economy.

    Oh for fuck’s sake. It is not difficult to understand that Classical Cipher meant sameness in the sense that both would be violently suppressing dissent, not using the exact same tactics suited to the very same goal. If I interpreted it incorrectly, I will eat my hat.

  42. says

    But my point is that you can reduce income inequality through democratic reform

    So you’re saying you can bring the average income of the wealthiest 10% down to 4.5 times as much as the average income of the poorest 10%.

    And that should be settled for?

    Cold comfort to the poorest 10%.

  43. says

    Japan used to have a very high income tax rate for decades (85% after the war, 70% until 1986).

    Sorry, that was the maximum tax rate.

    Found a diagram comparing income tax revenues v. GDP, and while Sweden was always between 18% and 23%, Japan’s income tax was around 8% of GDP in 1965, then almost 15% in 1990, and nowadays around 9%.

    The US and Germany have similar percentages for income taxation. France, South Korea and Italy all used to have low income tax revenues, around 5% in 1965, but they all have risen to around 9%-15% now.

  44. says

    Oh for fuck’s sake. It is not difficult to understand that Classical Cipher meant sameness in the sense that both would be violently suppressing dissent,

    So? There’s no reason why I have to play along with liberal word games where everything is lumped together into false equivalencies.

    There’s a big difference between <1% of the population stealing everything they can from the rest, and the rest fighting to take it back.

    For instance, you think you can dismantle the prison-industrial complex nonviolently? Good luck, seriously. But if you're wrong about that, then it's morally obligatory to do more, to do what is necessary to smash that system by force.

  45. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I would not advocate the same tactics, because the same tactics could not result in what I want: democratic control of the economy.

    Hmm. I think I’m confused. I apologize to people who are following this better than I am for belaboring the point, but just for the sake of my understanding, let me clarify what I meant and then you can just verify whether that’s what you understood me to be saying. There’s a distinction between “allowed to undo it” and “allowed to use ‘the forcible imposition of a state ideology and the violent suppression of dissent’ to undo it.” When you asked if we weren’t allowed to undo it, I feel that obscured the distinction somewhat – I think many of those who are arguing against you would completely agree that we’re allowed to undo it, but are in disagreement with you about how. For what it’s worth, right now I don’t think the possibility of successfully achieving democratic control of the economy – are certain or compelling enough to make totalitarian enforcement of ideology and violent repression of dissent valid. I feel we’d have to be quite certain that we’d succeed and quite certain that the goal is worth the cost, and I’m not. I’m still open to argument, but most of my reaction is visceral inarticulate horror.
    Thanks for the links. Reading.

    Also, I ♥ everybody who has called me River Tam ^.^

  46. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    And then just pretend there wasn’t a massive editing mistake in there. I meant “is,” not a dash and then “are.”

  47. consciousness razor says

    So?

    So don’t misrepresent what people write. By the way, this does not in any way resemble my position:

    And the bourgeoisie is perfectly OK with the vast majority of people being crushed by the system, just so long as their own economic privilege is maintained.

  48. says

    So you’re saying you can bring the average income of the wealthiest 10% down to 4.5 times as much as the average income of the poorest 10%.

    And that should be settled for?

    Cold comfort to the poorest 10%.

    There will always be inequality, and thus always be reason for working towards reducing it.

    For instance, you think you can dismantle the prison-industrial complex nonviolently?

    So tell me about the Second Civil War that erupted when FDR made the New Deal…

  49. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    P.S.

    So? There’s no reason why I have to play along with liberal word games where everything is lumped together into false equivalencies.

    Because I resent that,
    There’s no reason why I have to play along with SGBM word games where SGBM ignores what he knows full well I meant, in favor of a deceptively literal and limited interpretation of my words.

  50. consciousness razor says

    There will always be inequality, and thus always be reason for working towards reducing it.

    Well, like they say, “if it can’t be fixed, break it.”

  51. says

    To me, a ratio of 4.5:1 as in Japan/Sweden/Czech, or 15:1 as in the US or 20:1 as in China makes a considerable difference. But that doesn’t mean the 4.5:1 countries should rest on their laurels.

    Also, read this article about income distribution in the Soviet Union

    Some quotes

    During the 1970s, the salary ratio of the highest 10 percent of all wage earners to the lowest 10 percent has been estimated as ranging from four to one to ten to one. Dissident Soviet historian Roy Medvedev has stated that within the same enterprise the salaries of senior executives ranged from ten to fifty times that of workers.

    You sound oddly dismissive about the 4.5:1 ratio, but I find it remarkable that Japan and Sweden have achieved Soviet Union like income distribution levels without turning communist.

  52. says

    Oh sorry, 4.5 was New Zealand, while Sweden was 6.2, though still within the margin of what has been calculated for the Soviet Union.

  53. says

    There will always be inequality, and thus always be reason for working towards reducing it.

    “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good” — Mark 14:7

    That is the understandable pessimism of the pre-modern mind. And when the Four Noble Truths were formulated, it must have been unthinkable that everyone could be fed.

    Will women always be subjects to men? Will black and brown people always be systemically deprived of a fair start?

    Or do you reserve this pessimism only for the economy, which you are unwilling to hand over to democratic control?

    So tell me about the Second Civil War that erupted when FDR made the New Deal…

    Because the New Deal turned out to not be a real threat to business, that civil war never got past the planning stage.

    I’ve lived in the United States all my life, pelamun. If the New Deal was sufficient, I would probably be a right-wing libertarian today, complaining about unconstitutional impositions upon free enterprise because “poverty doesn’t even exist in America!”

    But you know, don’t you, that FDR was only able to accomplish what he accomplished because there was real fear that riots would turn into to revolution?

  54. says

    For your first bit, I’ll just cite consciousness razor here:

    So don’t misrepresent what people write.

    and again, instead of repeating platitudes, come up with something more concrete.

    Because the New Deal turned out to not be a real threat to business, that civil war never got past the planning stage.

    I’ve lived in the United States all my life, pelamun. If the New Deal was sufficient, I would probably be a right-wing libertarian today, complaining about unconstitutional impositions upon free enterprise because “poverty doesn’t even exist in America!”

    Now I have to ask you if you are an idiot? After citing all these indicators of how much more unequal the United States is, how can you even think I was suggesting that the New Deal was sufficient? The mind boggles.

    But you know, don’t you, that FDR was only able to accomplish what he accomplished because there was real fear that riots would turn into to revolution?

    So what. There’s also this idea formulated by Sen that democracy is effective in averting (or at least reducing) famines because the politicians are afraid of food riots and being voted out of office. Of course it’s part of the left-leaning politician’s tool box to overcome opposition from business interests by appealing to their fears of popular revolt.

    The New Deal isn’t perfect, but a good example of what can be achieved by working within the system. Would have been better if subsequent reforms would have been successful, like the universal health care plan by Truman, or even the Great Society Plans of LBJ, but unfortunately they weren’t. My hope is that the Occupy Movement will lead to a more leftist bent in national politics, but I fear the process will be slow…

  55. says

    (Also from what I gather, the Business Plot is controversial among historians. It appears far from certain if there ever was a concrete plan. But this only as an aside.)

  56. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh, and moar vagina : The New Full-Frontal: Has Pubic Hair in America Gone Extinct?

    Outrageous, stupid, slavish porn conformism. Goddamn, that makes me mad (no, not that people choose to groom the way they want to; that it’s culturally enforced while everyone pretends it’s “naturally” and obviously “more sexy”).

    It’s happening to men, too. So sick of looking at waxed hair-free male bodies.

  57. says

    There’s this strand of pol.sci which looks at the international system and global business interests (I don’t remember what’s it called or who is famous for working in the area), but as globalisation and interdependence of economic systems around the world have been increasing, the aversion to wars and internal unrest has been increasing. These theories would predict that the possibility of China and the US going to war over Taiwan is miniscule (though there is always an irrational element, more so in the CCP than in the US, I’d say), and probably the same theory would also predict that revolts in economically important countries are to be avoided (thus, at some point the political and economic actors will agree on introducing welfare reforms instead of continuing to suppress protests).

    Does this sound familiar to anyone, I’d be happy about some names I could look up. The above is mostly what a pol.sci grad student once told me at a party ;)…

  58. says

    There’s no reason why I have to play along with SGBM word games where SGBM ignores what he knows full well I meant, in favor of a deceptively literal and limited interpretation of my words.

    What I know you meant turns out to be (if unintentionally on your part) a deceptive description of reality. There is a difference between crushing poor people who had little chance to fight back, and crushing the institutions by which they’ve been oppressed now for hundreds of years.

    There’s a distinction between “allowed to undo it” and “allowed to use ‘the forcible imposition of a state ideology and the violent suppression of dissent’ to undo it.”

    But if it turns out the former cannot be achieved without the latter? At least you’re sensibly open to the possibility:

    For what it’s worth, right now I don’t think the possibility of successfully achieving democratic control of the economy – are certain or compelling enough to make totalitarian enforcement of ideology and violent repression of dissent valid. I feel we’d have to be quite certain that we’d succeed and quite certain that the goal is worth the cost,

    Well, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, so you’ll have some time to think it through.

    pelamun has been extolling the virtues of political gridlock: “In a liberal democracy, change of power (however cosmetic this might be in some cases) occurs from time to time, and parties of different political stripes keep each other at bay. Again, this doesn’t work perfectly, but I still think it’s the least bad system we have.”

    That might be tolerable if everyone lives for thousands of years and there’s millions of years to work out all our problems.

    But we face an immediate crisis with global warming, and every year of gridlock makes the collapse of civilization more likely. And at this time, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The situation looks very bad, and keeps getting worse.

    Can anyone seriously argue that it would be a bad thing if we outlawed the promulgation of AGW denialism? I’m not talking about imprisoning or even fining every single yahoo who thinks that God will never let humans destroy the environment, but a solution would become much easier if it was illegal to broadcast falsehoods about the climate over any mass media, and if the funders of such initiatives, and politicians who oppose realistic climate change legislation, were imprisoned and silenced.

    Keep this possibility in mind over the years as you watch nothing get done. If the final options are suppression of dissent or the certain deaths of billions and the probable end of civilization, this “freedom of speech” nonsense may eventually seem less attractive.

    +++++

    By the way, this does not in any way resemble my position:

    And the bourgeoisie is perfectly OK with the vast majority of people being crushed by the system, just so long as their own economic privilege is maintained.

    As far as I can tell from your words, it does.

    When people who’ve learned to think like capitalists come to understand that violence was a part of the gay rights movement from the beginning, they say “well maybe that was necessary, and after all, it was worth it.”

    Same for violence in the black liberation movement — it’s hard to imagine how it could have successfully proceeded any other way.

    But when we talk about economic inequality, suddenly violent resistance is anathema, and “if that’s how it has to be achieved, then it’s not worth it.”

    How to come to any other conclusion, than to recognize this means perpetual economic exploitation is tolerable in a way that other exploitations are not?

    You sound oddly dismissive about the 4.5:1 ratio,

    It’s not odd to be dismissive when someone offers poverty as a worthy achievement.

    but I find it remarkable that Japan and Sweden have achieved Soviet Union like income distribution levels without turning communist.

    I find it unremarkable that they haven’t managed to do better.

  59. chigau (難しい) says

    I hate most xmas carols.
    Most North American Natives are quite beardless and body hairless. also Japaneses.
    In less than 4 hours it will be New Year in Kiritimati.

  60. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Sorry mate, didn’t want to make you mad…:-)

    Heh. You can’t worry about that. After all you know how easily I get mad. .lol:)

  61. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Goddamn, that makes me mad (no, not that people choose to groom the way they want to; that it’s culturally enforced while everyone pretends it’s “naturally” and obviously “more sexy”).

    But Jossssshhhhhhh, everyone knows it’s just so much fun to rip out body hair by the roots! No wonder millions of women all discovered it completely independently and all decided entirely on our own to adopt it! (Bonus: it helps us figure out what to do with the money trees we all have in our backyards.)

  62. says

    and again, instead of repeating platitudes

    This is a profoundly stupid thing to say after you made the assertion that “there will always be inequality”.

    That is a dogma. There is no reason to believe it has to be true. If you can’t recognize that it’s an ancient platitude, there is something wrong with your brain.

    how can you even think I was suggesting that the New Deal was sufficient?

    Because what I said is: capitalists will initiate violence if it ever again appears that economic equality might be within reach.

    If your response is that “they didn’t initiate violence over X”, then you ought to mean that X was sufficient or at the time seemingly sufficient to bring about economicn equality.

    If that’s not what you mean, then “they didn’t initiate violence over X” is quite irrelevant. We’re in agreement that they’re less likely to initiate violence — that is, over and above the current and constant level of violence they bring against squatters and derelicts — in response to an initiative which is insufficient to eliminate an oppressive system.

    I’m apparently able to keep up with what both of us are saying. Are you? Maybe you’d like to drop the talk of idiocy? I’m really not in the mood for an all out fight.

    So what.

    So violent resistance should be one of the options we keep on the table.

    (Also from what I gather, the Business Plot is controversial among historians. It appears far from certain if there ever was a concrete plan. But this only as an aside.)

    Indeed, my link said as much. But there is agreement among historians that such a putsch was considered.

  63. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    No wonder millions of women all discovered it completely independently and all decided entirely on our own to adopt it!

    Exactly, Kristin. I fucking hate lemming behavior when the lemmings all act as though they’ve all simultaneously stumbled on a Universal Natural Truth that has Nothing To Do With Group Conformity.

  64. says

    LM,

    this is getting old fast.

    pelamun has been extolling the virtues of political gridlock: “In a liberal democracy, change of power (however cosmetic this might be in some cases) occurs from time to time, and parties of different political stripes keep each other at bay. Again, this doesn’t work perfectly, but I still think it’s the least bad system we have.”

    This was in the context of the fundamental political problem of “who is watching the watchmen”. All communist systems until now have utterly failed in this regard, and yet you put all your hopes on a communist revolution, just in case the next time will be different? This is truly idiotic.

    That might be tolerable if everyone lives for thousands of years and there’s millions of years to work out all our problems.

    But we face an immediate crisis with global warming, and every year of gridlock makes the collapse of civilization more likely. And at this time, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The situation looks very bad, and keeps getting worse.

    Do you really want to go look for figures about how communist countries mistreated the environment? How this was worse because there were no independent ecological watchdogs and local protests were silenced by authorities?

    Japan went through a string of severe environmental problems following its rapid economic rise, and had to deal with it because of popular pressure. Again, advantage liberal democracy.

    Can anyone seriously argue that it would be a bad thing if we outlawed the promulgation of AGW denialism? I’m not talking about imprisoning or even fining every single yahoo who thinks that God will never let humans destroy the environment, but a solution would become much easier if it was illegal to broadcast falsehoods about the climate over any mass media, and if the funders of such initiatives, and politicians who oppose realistic climate change legislation, were imprisoned and silenced.

    The UK might already be close to this with its libel laws. Misrepresentation of facts could easily be added onto that. But this has nothing to do with the current discussion of communist revolution vs. democratic reform. Plenty of democratic countries already restrict free speech, it would thus be conceivable to extend this to wooism. I’d probably support it, but only if it was sufficiently worded.

    It’s not odd to be dismissive when someone offers poverty as a worthy achievement.

    I find it unremarkable that they haven’t managed to do better.

    It’s like talking to a wall. So even the Soviet Union did not live up to your standards? Again, next time will be better???

    4.5:1 is a better ratio than the US has, than China has, and comparable to what has been estimated for the Soviet Union. That is an achievement in terms of more equal income distribution. Only a demagogue would see this as a celebration of poverty.

    Also, since you keep being very vague, and ignoring my demand for concrete figures, define poverty then? I’ve given various figures and standards people have used, if you’re not happy with those, then give your own instead of repeating your ideological platitudes.

  65. says

    6 and a half hours until 2012 here, and I have some tough decisions to make. This is meant to be a day off, but it feels like work. Of the 3 things that my life currently consists of, drinking, blogging and working, one has to go.
    Better have a beer.

  66. says

    LM,

    then fucking define inequality and poverty.

    These are relative concepts to most people, so per definitionem there will always be inequality and poverty.

  67. says

    there are other ways of measuring poverty, by nutrition, disease, educational levels etc.

    I’m almost 95% sure that both the Japanese and the Scandinavian models will fare better than the UK/US or China/Indonesia in these fields. If you define a concrete goal, then in that sense it’d be possible to eradicate poverty.

    But all societies, including the communist ones of the recent past, have income and wealth inequalities. In that sense, inequality will always be there, but you can reduce the level of inequality, and a society with a 4.5:1 ratio has done that better than one with a 15:1 ratio.

  68. Richard Austin says

    As long as there is scarcity, there will be uneven distribution. It doesn’t matter whom that uneven distribution favors – it will exist. As long as it is impossible for everyone to have everything, some will have and some will have not.

    It will therefore fall to someone(s) to determine who will have and who will have not. We know that populations as a whole are not necessarily just; that’s why things like judicial review theoretically exist, and why the concept of a pure democracy can induce visions of mob rule: we’re too susceptible to “us vs them” conceptualization (which seems to be inherent in primates, at least to my understanding). We know that individuals are not necessarily just, especially when their own self-interest is a factor; even when said self-interest is nearly non-existent, individuals can be influenced by others into unjust positions. Yet decisions on who will have and who will have not must be made, one way or another.

    I don’t see a way to eliminate inequality without eliminating scarcity, and I really don’t see any practical methods for eliminating scarcity. Reducing it as much as possible may be the only practical compromise. But if anyone sees any flaw in these statements, by all means bring it up: to me, this seems like a trap, and I would love to have a way out of it.

  69. says

    Richard,

    no I fully agree.
    To me the idea of a planned economy is doomed from the start due to the problem of making decisions re scarcity (I think it’s called the Economic calculation problem). Though I understand the debate in economics is ongoing. I think Ludwig von Mises said that it was impossible, while other economists said a socialist economy was merely inefficient. (Note: I never was, and will probably never be, an Austrian)*)

    Actually I’d like to see more figures on this. Surely there must be economists who studied the distribution of goods in planned economies in light of the economic calculation problem. Any good literature tips?

    *) well if David M. keeps sending to people to Sweden, I can say things like I’ll never be an Austrian :D

  70. says

    this is getting old fast.

    You can stop at any time.

    This was in the context of the fundamental political problem of “who is watching the watchmen”. All communist systems until now have utterly failed in this regard, and yet you put all your hopes on a communist revolution, just in case the next time will be different?

    No, not just in case. If you cared to engage with what I actually say, you’d note that I also want “a strong judiciary which can enforce constitutional guarantees of personal freedom”.

    You dismiss other communist constitutions, but as I see it the problem with their systems is precisely the lack of a strong judiciary.

    Do you really want to go look for figures about how communist countries mistreated the environment?

    I’m well aware of it.

    How this was worse because there were no independent ecological watchdogs and local protests were silenced by authorities?

    That’s a bad thing, and shouldn’t be repeated. (This is the exact same response that you permit yourself to make about any failures of liberal democracy, of course.)

    Japan went through a string of severe environmental problems following its rapid economic rise, and had to deal with it because of popular pressure. Again, advantage liberal democracy.

    There’s no advantage here to speak of. When Japan brings its carbon emissions down to sustainable levels, let me know.

    The UK might already be close to this with its libel laws. Misrepresentation of facts could easily be added onto that.

    “Easily” as though there is no political effort by the oil industry to resist this. Again, when a liberal democracy outlaws misrepresentation of climate facts, then you can champion it.

    But this has nothing to do with the current discussion of communist revolution vs. democratic reform.

    Oh but it does, because under communism we can outlaw the right wing.

    So even the Soviet Union did not live up to your standards?

    Of course not? What an odd question. Have you ever read anything by any modern New Left communist? Or anything by Trotskyists of any era? Or anything written by Bolsheviks after de-Stalinization?

    Permanent revolution is necessarily a work in progress. I will settle for nothing but equality. If the Soviet Union or any other state does not achieve equality, then it is not to be settled for.

    4.5:1 is a better ratio than the US has, than China has

    Deng Xiaoping and his capitalist roaders have done much to introduce new economic inequality to China.

    That is an achievement in terms of more equal income distribution. Only a demagogue would see this as a celebration of poverty.

    Oh, by itself it’s not a celebration of poverty. But when you add your dogma that “there will always be inequality”, it becomes an inexcusable acquiescence to permanent oppression.

    define poverty then?

    Heavens, but it’s not a good sign for you when you have to act like you don’t know what poverty is.

    http://www.cpag.org.nz/

  71. says

    “this is getting old fast.”

    What, are you new here?

    Hehe, Sailor made a funny !

    As to my comment above, it’s more a message to myself, I’m not about to pull a Geiger. Lifestyle advice not sought, thanks.

    The CoynePigliucci drama makes for mildly entertaining reading.

  72. says

    Of course not? What an odd question. Have you ever read anything by any modern New Left communist? Or anything by Trotskyists of any era? Or anything written by Bolsheviks after de-Stalinization?

    Permanent revolution is necessarily a work in progress. I will settle for nothing but equality. If the Soviet Union or any other state does not achieve equality, then it is not to be settled for.

    And this is why discussions with communist utopians (utopists?) is like discussions with fundie Christians. There is no basis in reality.

    You know there are plenty of capitalist and libertarian utopias too you know. If you only allow your communist utopia to count, then it’s like people discussing which holy book is better.

    I prefer to look at actual cases of communist systems in power. We can compare those to different liberal and illiberal democracies, and so forth. This will give us hints on what will probably work and what won’t. The track record for communists in power is dismal. Again, I have a lot of respect (and in my younger days even warm fuzzy feelings) for the communist ideal.

    No, not just in case. If you cared to engage with what I actually say, you’d note that I also want “a strong judiciary which can enforce constitutional guarantees of personal freedom”.

    You dismiss other communist constitutions, but as I see it the problem with their systems is precisely the lack of a strong judiciary.

    OK, I refrain from personal insults, but I told you before to ACTUALLY have a look at what rights were guaranteed in the constitutions of various communist states. Again, in an one-party system, there will be no oversight. (If you’re actually advocating a democratic reform of the system towards communism, then congratulations, you’re a pre-Bad Godesberg Social Democrat!

    There’s no advantage here to speak of. When Japan brings its carbon emissions down to sustainable levels, let me know.

    This offends me. Do you even know anything about the environmental movement in Japan and how citizens’ group, some of whom suffered horribly from various diseases caused by pollution fought for the strict environmental laws Japan has today.

    CO2 is admittedly an area where Japan has not done much beyond lending the protocol its name and venue, but to dismiss the struggle of the environmental movement in Japan like that, I find it downright offensive.

  73. chigau (難しい) says

    Lifestyle advice not sought, thanks.

    Good thing.
    My suggestion was going to be keep the beer and blogging.
    And that is probably not sustainable.

  74. says

    And that is probably not sustainable.

    The 2 mortgages and the liver parenchyma tend to get in the way of that kind of Utopian paradise.

  75. says

    Deng Xiaoping and his capitalist roaders have done much to introduce new economic inequality to China.

    Paradox here: the “new” China has increased relative poverty (income inequalities), but done a lot to reduce absolute poverty.

    But environmental groups in China are harassed by the state, and pleas for introducing environmental regulations fall on deaf ears, and even the few guidelines in existence are often ignored.

    Compare this to Japan. This is what I meant by “advantage liberal democracy”. (It doesn’t matter if China is a capitalist or communist dictatorship for the purposes of this comparison)

  76. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    Heads up for PZ, who likes to stay on top of these things: School board in Southern Ontario was still allowing Gideon to distribute bibles in a public school.

    I’m depressed that such a thing happened in a public school in Canada, but comforted by the top rated comments pissing all over the people responsible.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/handout-of-gideon-bibles-in-public-schools-ignites-passions-over-tradition/article2286680/

    I did benefit from the practise back when I was in elementary school. I started reading the thing and got to the ‘begats’ and thought ‘this has to be the most stupid and boring thing I have ever laid eyes on in my vast nine or ten years of experience.’ Still, you don’t want the more credulous youngsters getting dumb ideas.

  77. says

    I feel like I have to make my point here more precisely:

    You dismiss other communist constitutions, but as I see it the problem with their systems is precisely the lack of a strong judiciary.

    In any system where on party has a predominant position, the independence of the judiciary can be in jeopardy. It even happened when FDR was threatening to stack the Supreme Court, or in many non-communist dictatorships where judges were beholden to the government.

    Most recent examples: Putin’s Russia, or even the trial of the two journalists in Ethiopia.

  78. says

    (but in many developing countries, corruption is a bigger, or at least as big as a threat to judicial independence. This is a big problem in countries such as Indonesia, which have become (more) democratic but retain a judiciary plagued by corruption)

  79. says

    pelamun, I’m not a utopian.

    You expressed some surprise that the Soviet Union was not good enough for me. I point out that the Soviet Union was not good enough for Bolsheviks within the Soviet Union; they too had ideas for how things could be improved. And pointing to criticisms of the USSR, by members of that own country’s Communist Party, is supposedly utopian? No, no. It’s just honest.

    I don’t know why you want me to be satisfied with the USSR or modern China. Is that just what you’re accustomed to when you argue with other communists? Well, I’m sorry, but as I said, I’m quite ignorant of standard apologetics, so I’ll be unable to live up to your expectations.

    I prefer to look at actual cases of communist systems in power.

    Well, yes. So do I. But what I prefer to do is consider these not as historical inevitabilities, but flawed states which could be better or worse, just like any other state on Earth.

    Modern China can be improved as well.

    Again, in an one-party system, there will be no oversight.

    That’s awfully idealistic of you. In a one-party system, there will be rival factions. If the judiciary has real power, and its power is threatened by the executive, then the judiciary too will consolidate its power.

    If you’re actually advocating a democratic reform of the system towards communism

    I’m advocating communism by whatever means it can be achieved. As I reject the tactic of “heightening the contradictions”, I do not object to any democratic reforms toward communism, although I believe they are likely to be inadequate.

    This offends me.

    Using the mediocre gains of environmental groups to argue for the validity of a system which is stacked against them ought to offend you as well.

  80. says

    In any system where on party has a predominant position, the independence of the judiciary can be in jeopardy.

    The ideological independence of the judiciary is quite a different matter from its organizational independence and strength to oppose the executive. What’s necessary is that the judiciary can forcefully oppose and obstruct the executive for acting in contradiction to the party’s goals or democratic mandate.

    It even happened when FDR was threatening to stack the Supreme Court,

    Eek! Don’t throw me into the briar patch!

  81. says

    I don’t know why you want me to be satisfied with the USSR or modern China. Is that just what you’re accustomed to when you argue with other communists? Well, I’m sorry, but as I said, I’m quite ignorant of standard apologetics, so I’ll be unable to live up to your expectations.

    I don’t want you to be satisfied with them. Just dismissing the failure of all communist systems until now and instead positing some kind of imaginary communist system which could be better to me is similar to what fundie Christians do, and I don’t want nothing to do with it.

    I haven’t met many communists, because where I’m from, communism has utterly discredited itself with its track record so there aren’t that many left. Redistribution of wealth, however, remains popular with the democratic left.

    Well, yes. So do I. But what I prefer to do is consider these not as historical inevitabilities, but flawed states which could be better or worse, just like any other state on Earth.

    Well how many tries do you want until you’re satisfied? Besides, a revolution has huge costs, lives will be lost, the entire economy will be severely disrupted (affecting all strata of society), and all of this for the off chance that the umpteenth attempt at a communist revolution will turn out different from all the other ones…

    Sure it’s not inevitable, but again, to me this is almost as irrational as most religionists are.

    That’s awfully idealistic of you. In a one-party system, there will be rival factions. If the judiciary has real power, and its power is threatened by the executive, then the judiciary too will consolidate its power.

    No, my standpoint is based on empirical data, namely on what has happened in one-party systems to date. Or show me examples of one-party states where an independent judiciary was actually able to assert itself. (Again, if you look at many constitutions, of both communist and non-communist states, most of them posit a formally independent judiciary. Even Saudi Arabia does this, in its Art. 46 of the Basic Law)

    Using the mediocre gains of environmental groups to argue for the validity of a system which is stacked against them ought to offend you as well.

    If you call being ranked 20 out of 161 countries on the EPI score mediocre, then you live in a different reality. (Sweden 4, UK 14, Germany 17, US 61, China 121)

  82. says

    A ratio of 1:5 sounds pretty near utopian to me, as long as that “1″ represents a decent standard of living.

    This is the thing that bothers me about communism – that idea that we are all perfectible. Once educated properly, with no pesky right wing ideologues and religions to pervert the pure moral fibre of the proletariat, there will be no more greed or envy or gaming the system or robbery or whatever. And I will ride to my socially useful job of unalienated labour on a unicorn that farts rainbows.

  83. says

    So even the Soviet Union did not live up to your standards?

    I don’t want you to be satisfied with them.

    Mmhmm.

    Just dismissing the failure of all communist systems until now

    This is obviously a standard line of argumentation for you, so you’re unable to notice when it does not apply. But in fact, by criticizing some things that communists have done, and defending other things communists have done, and offering how communist thought has changed in response to the empirical evidence of past problems, I am of course not “dismissing” anything.

    Well how many tries do you want until you’re satisfied?

    If non-communist states ever figure out how to end poverty, and achieve full employment for everyone who wants to be employed, I suppose we’ll all be satisfied.

    If they won’t — if a surplus labor pool of unemployed and desperate people really is necessary for capitalism — then no one should be satisfied.

    No, my standpoint is based on empirical data, namely on what has happened in one-party systems to date. Or show me examples of one-party states where an independent judiciary was actually able to assert itself.

    There’s never been a one-party state which was built with the intention of having an independent judiciary which could assert itself. That ought to be tried.

    If you call being ranked 20 out of 161 countries on the EPI score mediocre, then you live in a different reality. (Sweden 4, UK 14, Germany 17, US 61, China 121)

    Let’s remember what happened here. I brought up global warming, you responded with some environmental laws which do not pertain to global warming. I responded about global warming, and you claimed this offended you.

    Look, what you’re pointing to really is less than mediocre. I was trying to be kind. If every nation were to emulate Japan’s course, that would literally mean the deaths of billions of people and the probable end of civilization. It really won’t matter if some rivers get cleaned up in the meantime.

  84. says

    Look, what you’re pointing to really is less than mediocre. I was trying to be kind. If every nation were to emulate Japan’s course, that would literally mean the deaths of billions of people and the probable end of civilization. It really won’t matter if some rivers get cleaned up in the meantime.

    Not so fast, Mr. I-can’t-be-bothered-to-cite-any-statistics-in-this-debate!

    While I acknowledge Japan’s record on CO2 is pretty dismal, give me some concrete figures, studies, and analyses why it is justifiable to single out Japan here? Volume-wise, I worry much more about what China and the US are doing (or not doing).

  85. says

    This is the thing that bothers me about communism – that idea that we are all perfectible.

    If you could provide some quote that could justify your strawman, that might be helpful.

    Once educated properly, with no pesky right wing ideologues and religions to pervert the pure moral fibre of the proletariat, there will be no more greed or envy or gaming the system or robbery or whatever.

    That’s a bizarre allegation, having nothing to do with anything at all.

    It’s particularly bizarre while we’re talking about courts. Why would I even suggest that courts might be necessary, if there was no greed or envy or gaming the system?

  86. says

    While I acknowledge Japan’s record on CO2 is pretty dismal, give me some concrete figures, studies, and analyses why it is justifiable to single out Japan here?

    Because you’re offering Japan as an example. I didn’t bring up Japan.

    Volume-wise, I worry much more about what China and the US are doing (or not doing).

    Yes? So do I? But I didn’t bring up any of them as a model to be followed environmentally.

  87. says

    What gave me the idea? Reading Marx. And lots of Marxists.

    And I know that not even the current 1:5 countries supply a decent standard of living at the bottom. Duh. And that idealised 1:1 would be no good either in such a case.

  88. says

    What gave me the idea? Reading Marx. And lots of Marxists.

    Again, I am woefully ignorant of the rote apologetics that any right-thinking Marxist might be expected to learn. So if you want to make criticisms which apply to the communism being advocated by the communist actually present in this conversation, you might try talking with me instead of acting like I’m a proxy for somebody else you had different disagreements with.

    We’re certainly in agreement that people will try to exploit any niche they can find. I’m more or less the same person you’ve been aware of for years now, so I hope I can expect that you know I have a pessimistic view of individuals, and I favor using situational influences to adjust behavior as changing circumstances necessitate.

  89. says

    Alethea,

    Australia is apparently at 12.5:1, which surprises me since Australia has this image of being so much more egalitarian than the US (at 15:1)

    It’s hard to find figures what this actually means for the “:1″ part. In many absolute poverty statistics, these countries often don’t appear, and I’m not sure how easily comparable a standard like “national poverty line” is.

    The last 20 years haven’t been good for income equality, in most OECD nations the gap between poor and rich has widened. In Japan’s case, the long recession hasn’t helped, especially a big problem is the demographic development leading to a big increase of impoverished senior citizens.

    The UNDP report also warns in a footnote (p.198, fn b) that due to differences of how the data for household incomes are collected, the ratios are not strictly comparable country to country. I guess, it’s just a first step.

  90. says

    Those who condemn (and convict) the utterings of some stupid right-wing politician in Austria as “denigration of religious teachings” clearly have never listened to Wolfgang Ambros. I was on the committee that organised an Ambros concert in the Black Forest in 1983, he asked for 40.000 DM (The Stones were around 100.000), that was actually fairly expensive at the time. Was a good concert tho, I ended up in some public swimming pool.

  91. says

    LM,

    your jumping back and forth between relative and absolute poverty whenever it suits your argument is noted.

    Various organisation have been observing that poverty levels in Japan are rising, especially in old age. The woman in your article was earning $17,000 a year, I recall a figure from the OECD that the lowest 10% were estimated to earn $6,000 a year, which is lower than the OECD average of $7,000.

    (Unfortunately the OECD report didn’t publish its raw data on the net, so from what I’ve read about it, it appears contradictory. OTOH, they say the poorest 10% earned $6000 (OECD $7000) a years vs. the richest 10% earned $60,000 (OECD $52,000). But in another table, they have the ratio as 5:1.).

    I did find a statistic that shows that from 1984 to 2008, Japan is the only OECD country besides Israel where the income adjusted for inflation for the poorest 10% fell, by 0.5% (top 10% rose by 0.3%). (United States: +0.5% for poorest 10%, +1.9% for richest 10%)

    (Source, table 1)

  92. says

    Upthread, I mentioned the Japanese model was different in some ways from the Scandinavian one: one of the differences is that the state is spending less on welfare than the Nordic countries (which is a point the OECD made in its country notes on Australia as well). One of the reasons that poverty levels have been rising in the long recession, and the social safety net has not been up to the task.

    (The other main difference is the traditional gender role model that is still prevalent. These two factors make the Japanese model less desirable to me than the Nordic one, or the New Zealand one. We can hope that the new Japanese government will change things, but it’s a more centrist than leftist government, so I’m not too optimistic about it.)

  93. says

    your jumping back and forth between relative and absolute poverty whenever it suits your argument is noted.

    This is the part where I say you’re either lying or misreading me, and insist that you quote me.

  94. says

    well, where are the figures?

    And instead of just splashing a link to a NZ website, how about giving us some concrete figures? Do you expect us to read through the entire website? I can only see pronouncements about income inequality. When talking about absolute poverty, I’d like to see cross-country comparisons, or at least some kind of useful definition, otherwise a discussion is useless.

  95. says

    rorschach,

    who’s saying these things? I don’t think the German press has picked up on this yet, is it at this point a debate mostly internal to Austria?

    But of course, I’m all about getting rid of blasphemy laws. In some countries, you can go to jail for 4-6 years for not eating the host at communion..

  96. says

    Annual report on major donations (usually more than 50,000 EUR, typically made by companies) to German political parties

    CDU (conservative): 516,000 EUR
    CSU (conservativeRRR, only in Bavaria): 512,000 EUR
    FDP (neo-liberal): 320,000 EUR (these are the guys who first thing after coming to power lowered the VAT for hotels)
    SPD (social democratic): 355,000 EUR
    Green party: 110,000 EUR
    Left party (ex-communists): 0 EUR

    The Greens were able to almost double their donations, the ruling coalition of CDU, CSU and FDP lost a lot (these figures represent huge losses)

    In 2010 though the total volume had been 2.5m EUR, this year was now 1.8m EUR. A trend that should continue. (Somehow, 1.8m-2.5m EUR looks laughably low already)

  97. says

    And instead of just splashing a link to a NZ website, how about giving us some concrete figures? Do you expect us to read through the entire website? I can only see pronouncements about income inequality.

    I see right there on their front page: “230,000 New Zealand children whose well-being and future is compromised by their meagre standard of living.”

    However they figure that, if well-being is compromised, they’re talking about absolute poverty. If you want to see some of those outcomes, you can scroll through these slides.

    When talking about absolute poverty, I’d like to see cross-country comparisons, or at least some kind of useful definition, otherwise a discussion is useless.

    That figure suffices to show that your 4.5:1 ratio includes bad shit which ought not to be settled for.

    +++++
    Now, again:

    your jumping back and forth between relative and absolute poverty whenever it suits your argument is noted.

    This is the part where I say you’re either lying or misreading me, and insist that you quote me.

    (And now this is the part where I suggest that intellectually honest treatment of your debate opponent might not be important to you.)

  98. says

    yeah, rorschach, I read that. But the article only mentions the judge and the plaintiffs as being supportive of the verdict. The newspaper might have some agenda of mentioning that one of the groups supporting the accused split off from the Conservative Party after advocating some xenophobic and extremist views (like getting rid of the Anti-Nazi-Holocaust denial law), but other than that I can’t see much in it.

    Again, while getting rid of blasphemy laws is important, I think it’s important not to stigmatise Muslim immigrants in the process. But I know too little of what’s been going on in Austria on that front recently to be able to judge that.

  99. says

    LM,

    yes because all political systems are bad except your communist utopia lalaland. I had the impression that you were manipulating different definitions of poverty in this debate to suit your point, and at this point I no longer care if this was a misreading or not.

    I’m done discussing this topic with you.

  100. says

    Again, while getting rid of blasphemy laws is important, I think it’s important not to stigmatise Muslim immigrants in the process.

    I don’t quite get what that has to do with a court sentencing a(undoubtedly islamophobic) politician for quoting from the Quran. I analysed this on my blog, go and have a look if you like, the judge’s reasoning is rather, err, flimsy.

  101. McCthulhu's new upbeat 2012 nym. says

    Pelamun @628: Americans should be desperately jealous of those numbers. The amount of money that it takes to be elected president of the United States is currently estimated at around 1 billion US dollars (that’s B, as in billion). I’m sure that if the founders could foresee that the legislators in DC would be spending 70% of their working hours fundraising instead of nation-building and maintenance, being chased by trillions of dollars of lobbyists and spending half of their four year session campaigning, the old sods in powder wigs would have just said fuck it and told that nutcase from England to be their king again, since that’s instability you can manage with drugs.

  102. says

    yes because all political systems are bad except your communist utopia lalaland.

    No, I’m pretty sure I’ve indicated several times now that the communism I’m advocating is bad too. As I say about nearly every conclusion I come to, these ideas are only the least worst I’ve come across.

    I had the impression that you were manipulating different definitions of poverty in this debate to suit your point, and at this point I no longer care if this was a misreading or not.

    Well!

    I’m surprised at your outright admission of intellectual dishonesty.

    That’s quite refreshing. I hope it serves you well.

  103. Minnie The Finn, avec de cèpes de Bordeaux says

    Happy last monkey of the year, everyone!

    We’re having presidential elections next month, and it looks like the Green Party candidate is doing surprisingly strongly on the polls. He’s openly gay, and I believe that’s getting him a lot of votes after the Xtian Party’s same sex marriage fiasco last year. This is going to get very interesting.

    I finally got around to ordering an e-cigarette, so maybe 2012 will be a healthier year for me. A lot of people have come out of the woodwork, offering their support and telling that it has actually worked for them or someone they know. I’m cautiously optimistic.

    Also, kitteh just proved he is sentient in an amazing way. He typo-toed across my keyboard and in the process managed to open one of Greta Christina’s Caturday posts in a new tab. A post I hadn’t read, so it couldn’t have been in my browser history. He’s a feminist feline, he is.

  104. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ melissaf (upthread)

    *hugs* (Don’t know what to say, other than to suggest hanging out here. There are a lot of good people to give you moral support.)

    @ Sailor 489

    we would then have to buy a copy of W7 for each of the VMs.

    One shouldn’t have to pay for an OS. (Don’t you own the original systems anyhow?)

    I dithered a bit (“dual booting”) and then just jumped in boots and all. Now have eight machines up and running without any problems. The anticipated problems never materialised and the known problems (ie with Windose) disappeared. It is sometimes good to move cheeses and cut out dead woods.

    @ pelamun 534

    Pieter Dirk Uys

    He is a real character. He used to mock the shit out of politicians. Even with (as was often the case) police in the audience keeping an eye on him. He was (and is) a cross-dressing, gay, goddless, liberal, uppity …. {drum roll, here comes the worst bit} … AFRIKANER. All that ebil and a volksverader nogal.

    His main character is “Tannie” Evita Bezuidenhout. (“Auntie” Evita South-of-the-woods). The name of his cabaret theatre? “Evita se Perron” kekekeke

    [Taiwan]

    Holy jeeebus…. I must really be turning into a pandahugger! I have suggested China take over the running of two countries in the space of two weeks! :/

    [Inheritance Tax]

    Very good idea for here too. (I would suggest a sliding scale though … it could happily go over 50%. Warren Buffet is a good role model.)

    [{directed at pelamun by sgbm}: "I’m surprised at your outright admission of intellectual dishonesty."]

    Welcome onboard pelamun, your trial-by-fire initiation is hereby complete. You are now officially a TET regular ™.

    @ Alethea 610

    And I will ride to my socially useful job of unalienated labour on a unicorn that farts rainbows.

    kekekeke XD

    …………

    New Year

    Early to bed and early to rise. Will climb the mountain behind our hovel to look out on the sunrise of the new year.

    /hippydippymumbojumpbo hippy

  105. says

    [{directed at pelamun by sgbm}: "I’m surprised at your outright admission of intellectual dishonesty."]

    Welcome onboard pelamun, your trial-by-fire initiation is hereby complete. You are now officially a TET regular ™.

    This is the part where pelamun is cordially invited to the spanking parlor.

    Or something with pullets? I can’t remember. Hold these goddamn chickens.

  106. says

    Hi there
    Uff, taking 15 min in the armchair.
    I already made the soup and the Limonia chicken yesterday, and so far have made soda bread, griddle cakes ready to be fried, the pastry for the figue tarts ant the custard and wrapped the dried fruit in bacon. Next step is making the figue tarts and preparing the spinach. If I’m very lucky I can take a nap later before the guests arrive, but at east I get a decent chance to spend the evening with them instead of the kitchen.
    And a new edition of “Black Stories”

    melissaf
    It’s good that you talked and it’s good that he begins to understand. He needs to understand what enthusiastic consent is. IMO you were absolutely clear about your desires. It’s not about he magical word “no”.
    If somebody asked you if you want beer, and you say “I just want water”, nobody is going to argue that you didn’t say “no” to beer.
    Here’s one of the best links around for that: Yes means yes

  107. says

    Welcome onboard pelamun, your trial-by-fire initiation is hereby complete. You are now officially a TET regular ™.

    Yes, and sadly that involves giving up on hoping to have any meaningful discussion with any of the incarnations of SGBM ever. It’s like realising Santa isn’t real. It hurts for a while, but then one is better off for it. We’ve all been there.

  108. says

    This is the same thing with say WL Craig. If I was to go onto a podium discussion with some crazy religionists and I could pick 2 people to come with me, I’d take truth machine and SGBM, and our team would be assured a win. Like, noone in the fucking world would beat that team. But, just winning is, while sometimes desired, not always the best outcome, having the better arguments also counts. And I feel that SGBM is way too much about winning these days.

  109. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ ॐ 638

    ;D

    @ rorschach

    [re: SGBM] It hurts for a while, but then one is better off for it. We’ve all been there.

    You two can only get the spanking couch after teh initiation ceremonies are completed.

  110. says

    You two can only get the spanking couch after teh initiation ceremonies are completed.

    You must be new here. SGBM and I have been to the spanking couch many times, and in the end Patricia kicked us out because we were hopeless…

  111. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ rorschach

    Aaah! Then you need an intervention by the Director of Romance.

    (Believe it or not, there is actually such a title: Linky.)

    The director of romance works very closely with guests, both in advance of arrival and during their stay, to conceive, plan and create a romantic experience that fulfills their desires and fantasies.

    Time to promote one of the Pullet Patrol…

  112. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    Happy 2012 rorshach – we have 9 hours and 57 minutes until the jollity begins…

  113. says

    Oh, and re: safe words
    I think that safe words are fine and dandy when people are actually playing games and have agreed before to do so.
    I don’t think they’re much use in a situation where one partner is already having problems saying “the magic word” under distress* and the other partner is playing dumb on purpose. It could allow him to further weasel out and remove the blame from himself by convincing himself that he doesn’t have to pay attention to anything except the safe word.
    A different idea at least for initial consent might be that he’s only allowed to enter on an explicit invitation, either by asking and getting “yes”, by her asking or by her slipping him in.

  114. says

    The Coyne – Pigliucci drama makes for mildly entertaining reading.

    So I see Dawkins has no problem apologizing quickly to Pigliucci. Rebecca Watson’s a different story.

    I’m so tired of Pigliucci, Coyne, and Dawkins and their assorted retinues.

  115. carlie says

    Oh, and moar vagina : The New Full-Frontal: Has Pubic Hair in America Gone Extinct?

    And once again, a fad of young, rich, white people gets treated as if it’s a society-wide cultural phenomenon.

  116. says

    I’m so tired of Pigliucci, Coyne,

    Up to here I agree with you.

    And once again, a fad of young, rich, white people gets treated as if it’s a society-wide cultural phenomenon.

    Yep. That’s why I’ve gone off the white people wrt dating. And never looked back.

    Nite nite. See you in 2012.

  117. walton says

    Can anyone seriously argue that it would be a bad thing if we outlawed the promulgation of AGW denialism? I’m not talking about imprisoning or even fining every single yahoo who thinks that God will never let humans destroy the environment, but a solution would become much easier if it was illegal to broadcast falsehoods about the climate over any mass media, and if the funders of such initiatives, and politicians who oppose realistic climate change legislation, were imprisoned and silenced.

    Yes. Yes, it would be a bad thing. It would be an utter disaster. Aside from the inherent horror and danger of those kinds of repressive measures – when we use violence to repress dissent, we necessarily accept that might makes right, and that the strong are entitled to silence the weak – it also would not work. It would just allow climate-change-deniers to paint themselves as martyrs being silenced by an oppressive state. (And to be honest, they’d be right.)

    It’s the same reason why European countries’ laws against “hate speech” have been ineffective at silencing the far right. Nick Griffin and Geert Wilders weren’t silenced by their respective prosecutions; if anything, they were strengthened, since there is nothing political activists of any stripe love more than to be afforded the opportunity to paint themselves as persecuted martyrs. Hitler benefited politically from being imprisoned after the Munich Putsch. The kinds of laws you propose are not generally effective. A free and open debate, while not perfect, is always preferable to silencing dissent through violence.

    Laws that forcibly suppress political dissent are wrong in principle, but even if you do not accept that they are wrong in principle, they are generally ineffective in practice. Of course they could be effective, conceivably, if one were to launch a sort of Stalinist Terror and assassinate all one’s political critics or place them in gulags; but that would be enormously more harmful and destructive, both in terms of the immediate lost human life and the long-term social cost, than any of the ills one is trying to prevent. (Given that you do not pretend that your proposal would instantly enable society overnight to counteract the threat of global warming, something which it is probably too late to do in any case. Either way, we face a future imperiled by environmental disaster and the risk of our own deaths; I’d rather not compound the misery by living in a 1984-esque dystopia in which those who question the government’s position face violent reprisals.)

    The reformist program of the “liberal” bourgeoisie is not to eliminate economic and social injustice, it is to ensure that injustice is not arbitrarily imposed by race or gender. Oppression and exploitation are not inherently wrong, it is wrong only to oppress non-white people because they are not white, and women because they are women.

    Well, I don’t speak for the “liberal bourgeoisie”, but my “reformist program” is not so limited. Racial justice, for instance, extends not just to ending direct racial discrimination, but also to ending structural factors which amount to discrimination against marginalized ethnic minorities – such as restrictive immigration laws, and an unjust penal system which treats non-whites and the poor more harshly. Nor am I in denial about the fact that race and gender intersect with class, poverty and other structural social factors. Poor non-white people are usually worse off than poor white people; poor non-white women of irregular immigration status are usually the worst-off of all.

    My opposition is not to your analysis of social injustice. My opposition is to the tactics you propose to address it, which seem to consist in replacing violence and oppression with more violence and oppression. Violence has rarely, if ever, cured social ills; at best, it replaces them with a different set of social ills. I think Tolstoy was largely right when he said:

    The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation of the existing order and in the assertion that, without Authority there could not be worse violence than that of Authority under existing conditions. They are mistaken only in thinking that anarchy can be instituted by a violent revolution…

    Only two issues present themselves, and both are closed. One is to destroy violence by violence, by terrorism, dynamite bombs and daggers as our Nihilists and Anarchists have attempted to do, to destroy this conspiracy of Governments against nations, from without; the other is to come to an agreement with the Government, making concessions to it, participating in it, in order gradually to disentangle the net which is binding the people, and to set them free. Both these issues are closed. Dynamite and the dagger, as experience has already shown, only cause reaction, and destroy the most valuable power, the only one at our command, that of public opinion.

    To use violence is impossible; it would only cause reaction. To join the ranks of the Government is also impossible — one would only become its instrument. One course therefore remains — to fight the Government by means of thought, speech, actions, life, neither yielding to Government nor joining its ranks and thereby increasing its power…

    There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one: the regeneration of the inner man.

    (Substitute “inner person” in the final sentence, obviously. I don’t speak Russian, but I strongly suspect the gendered language was inserted by the translator rather than Tolstoy himself.)

  118. ChasCPeterson says

    I’m so tired of Pigliucci, Coyne, and Dawkins and their assorted retinues.

    yeah. Egos, squared and cubed.

  119. says

    One is to destroy violence by violence, by terrorism, dynamite bombs and daggers as our Nihilists and Anarchists have attempted to do,

    Tolstoy was writing about some anarchists, primarily in Russia, more than a century ago. He disagreed with their methods, but was essentially an anarchist himself. This is a silly and ignorant presentation of the past century-plus of anarchist methods. It would help if you’d learn some history.

  120. walton says

    Tolstoy was writing about some anarchists, primarily in Russia, more than a century ago. He disagreed with their methods, but was essentially an anarchist himself.

    Yes, I know. Where did I say otherwise? :-/ My point was precisely to praise Tolstoy’s form of pacifistic anarchism.

    This is a silly and ignorant presentation of the past century-plus of anarchist methods.

    Where did I say that it represented “the past century-plus of anarchist methods”? (It would be rather strange if an essay written in 1900 were to be taken as referring to “anarchist methods” used long after that date. Tolstoy was many things, but he didn’t have a psychic ability to see the future, as far as I’m aware.) You’re reading things into my writing that are not there.

    It would help if you’d learn some history.

    It would help if you’d read what I say, instead of accusing me of historical ignorance.

  121. walton says

    For the sake of clarity, I have a great deal of sympathy with Tolstoy’s brand of anarchism. I was not attacking anarchism. I was attacking the idea that social change can or should be brought about by revolutionary violence.

  122. ChasCPeterson says

    What am I doing wrong?

    You’re just not out there flying flags of philosophical sophistification and self-regard every day, man. Get yourself some damn hobbyhorses! You could also use a bit more sniffingly sanctimonious condescension and maybe some footwear shots.

  123. walton says

    I mean, seriously, did you think that I believed that all anarchists were attempting to “destroy violence by violence, by terrorism, dynamite bombs and daggers”? After I’ve written many times about my own sympathy with certain forms of anarchism?

    I was writing in direct response to strange gods, who is not, as far as I know, an anarchist. Nothing I wrote was intended as a dig at anarchists or anarchism in general. Rather, the point I was trying to draw from Tolstoy’s writing is that positive, long-term, meaningful social improvement will not be brought about by violence. This is a view that Tolstoy, as a pacifist, espoused, and I think he was right about that.

  124. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    MelissaF, I’m sorry I’m commenting so late on what you’ve written, but my heart goes out to you. I am glad your husband is at last getting a clue that he was in the wrong. I wholly endorse Giliell’s link to “Yes Means Yes” — it’s a great site to browse and bookmark. Just be warned that sometimes rape apologists show up in comments.

    Illuminata — getting laid off is a hassle, but I’m glad you have resources and that you didn’t lose a job you loved. As for Feministe… all the big feminist sites are toxic, quite frankly. Feministing linked approvingly to Clarisse Thorn’s interview with him in which he admitted to fucking his students, and Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon is reportedly sympathizing with him on his Facebook wall. But Feministe is just trainwreck after trainwreck after trainwreck. If anything, it’s gotten worse.

    I don’t respect Jill Filipovic anymore, quite frankly, given that she permits people like Clarisse Thorn, or the asshole who thought it was hilarious that her BFF pressured a virgin man into sex (he was Christian, ha-ha, that means he doesn’t deserve bodily autonomy!), to post there. Hell, Feministe isn’t even going to commit itself to banning Schwyzer! They’ve just made it known he’s not welcome there, and they’re putting all his comments into moderation. And that’s not even getting into all the “respect mah beleeefz!!” crap over there.

    Lately I’ve been looking at Tumblr for interesting feminist blogposts. A lot of people there are genuinely interested in intersectionality (without interpreting it to mean that every other oppression outweighs misogyny), and they aren’t restricted by the need to cater to the lowest common denominator of any given “feminist community.” Granted, Tumblr is also full of idiots, from transphobic radfems to “otherkin” who think they’re “oppressed” by those with “human privilege” (I shit you not), but there are gems to be found. I’ve really been liking what icewomancometh, fresafresca, lilacturtl, and nakedcrip, just to name four Tumblr writers, have been saying about the Schwyzer fiasco. (I’d rather not link directly to all of them, lest I get stuck in the queue – they’re all at http://{userhandle}.tumblr.com.)

  125. says

    Where did I say that it represented “the past century-plus of anarchist methods”?

    Sorry – I became confused in searching, and didn’t even realize I was responding to you and not lm. I do have a hair trigger when it comes to the anarchist-terrorist stereotype, and get annoyed when anarchist terrorists are brought up in a manner that suggests they were representative.

  126. walton says

    I don’t respect Jill Filipovic anymore, quite frankly,

    Is she the one who wrote that bizarre article claiming that men who don’t want to have penetrative sex with women who are menstruating are misogynists? Or am I thinking of someone else? :-/

  127. walton says

    Sorry – I became confused in searching, and didn’t even realize I was responding to you and not lm. I do have a hair trigger when it comes to the anarchist-terrorist stereotype, and get annoyed when anarchist terrorists are brought up in a manner that suggests they were representative.

    Oh, ok. Fair enough. I apologize too; I could have been clearer.

  128. says

    I was writing in direct response to strange gods, who is not, as far as I know, an anarchist.

    I know! There are so many apt examples of Communist violence and authoritarianism to choose from! (In fact, the anarchists covered that with great insight and prescience.) Anyway, like I said, I was confused about what I was responding to.

    ***

    You’re just not out there flying flags of philosophical sophistification and self-regard every day, man. Get yourself some damn hobbyhorses! You could also use a bit more sniffingly sanctimonious condescension and maybe some footwear shots.

    :)

  129. says

    You’re just not out there flying flags of philosophical sophistification and self-regard every day, man. Get yourself some damn hobbyhorses! You could also use a bit more sniffingly sanctimonious condescension and maybe some footwear shots.

    You could also limit your endless smug exchanges almost entirely to the same handful of men.

  130. says

    I had the impression that you were manipulating different definitions of poverty in this debate to suit your point, and at this point I no longer care if this was a misreading or not.

    If it helps it’s a similar impression why I gave up.