Socialism And Capitalism

You might remember the old saw “If you are not a liberal at 25, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 35 you have no brain.” Even if it wasn’t pretty obvious who benefits from that one, it’s never been true in practice anyway. I don’t think I need to list extremely smart people who are liberal or lefter than that, nor the shall we say less gifted out there who use their conservatism as counterfactual proof of their intellect. I will simply say that I have reason to believe I am not a moron, and as time goes by and the injustices produced by our various (but not terribly varied) current systems become harder and harder to miss it pushes me further into the guillotine-sharpening camp – and that is from someone who did an MBA so any claims that I do not understand business or capitalism in general are not going to hold a lot of water. [Read more…]

Going Down the YouTubes

TV Camera Operator, by Mitchell Hobbs via Wikimedia Commons

So, the Great American Satan alerted us here on FtB to the existence of a brief “Youtube Walkout”. For the next four days, until the 14th, we encourage you not to watch, embed, or especially upload content to YouTube. This is in response to their new terms of service which include the chilling clause saying that they reserve to right to “delete any account they deem commercially unviable”. That’s laying the groundwork to kick out anything they don’t deem to be pulling in ad revenue for them, which of course disproportionately affects small channels and marginalized voices. See Marcus Ranum’s analysis of this for more details and some useful links.

I agree with everything Marcus said there, but in fact… he didn’t go far enough. You see, it’s not just a matter of Youtube being even worse youtubery garbage than usual, which is saying something for a company that so egregiously polices, demonetizes, and hides queer content that they’re being sued for it. Twitter just announced new restrictions on content. Last December, Tumblr banned NSFW content and thereby took a chainsaw to their userbase and traffic. Facebook (and therefore Instagram) has always been shitty about queer content but now they’re willing to delete anything that even HINTS at queerness or sexuality.

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The Grift at the End of Mental Health

"Mental Health" graffiti. From Infers Group via Wikimedia Commons

One thing I have absolutely been through the wringer over is mental health.

I half wonder if it would somehow be interesting to collect my comments on this very site, because I have been here long enough that for most of the time – everything but the last two years, in honesty – my issues were uncontrolled. They were uncontrolled because they were unidentified; and they were unidentified because, by and large, nobody bothered to look beyond the first ideas. It’s one thing to go by “if you hear hoofbeats, assume horses, not zebras” but to keep saying ‘horse’ when you’re staring at a stripy black and white walking barcode is taking it much too far.

To be clear: I disagree heavily with Marcus (whose blog I follow assiduously) on this one topic. I believe that psychology and psychiatry very much are scientific disciplines. Empirically, there are hordes of people out there whose lives have been improved immeasurably by psychological techniques and psychoactive medication, so something must be working. But there are also hordes of people (smaller ones I hope and believe, albeit an anecdotal opinion) who aren’t helped.

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