…And a Suffragist To Be Named Later

Pierce R Butler, a regular reader of this blog and the author of many thoughtful comments around FtB, recently asked an important question about Margaret Sanger, one which I answered in the comments of Killing Black Agency. But it also got me thinking about a project in which I’ve been interested for some time: writing about individual feminists’ philosophies and ethics.

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For Your Enjoyment: Penises, Pepsis, and (Grocery?) Bags

We Hunted the Mammoth is a website probably at least vaguely familiar to any reader of Pervert Justice. While WHTM may or may not be to your taste, author/curator David Futrelle has discovered something interesting and terribly, terribly funny about the tastes of a certain misogynist. While I highly recommend you spend some time browsing the site and especially reading the particular post in question, I cannot stop myself from stealing a few snippets of Futrelle’s work and pasting it here for your enjoyment. Permit me to begin by reposting the very interesting writings of a particular misogynist discovered by Futrelle:

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Killing Black Agency

Error Correction: It turns out that Writey McScriberson is living in Illinois. When I wrote this post, I was under the misimpression that WM was located in the UK. My bad. I have not changed the text below, but any commentary speculating on differences between the UK and the US were obviously motivated by my own misimpressions, not the actual life, experience, or writing of WM.

Shiv’s blog is such a great source of things that need discussion, it is entirely unsurprising that another of her recent posts has inspired me to write.

As I try to do when blatantly ripping off ideas from Shiv, I will be writing about something she mentions but does not explore in depth and let her main points speak for themselves, as they do so reliably and so well.

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My Twitter Ignorance

Okay, I’ve never used twitter and am kinda stupid about this. I would think that one’s twitter “handle” is one’s chosen name on twitter, and where that diverges (which it does not do in many cases) from the “@certainwordshere” bit needed to direct your tweet to a particular destination, there would be another word – address? – for the collection of traffic-directing characters. Yet I hear people use “handle” seemingly to mean both the name used and the collection of traffic-directing characters and wonder if I am missing something; is one the handle and the other not? Even my google-fu failed at the task of finding the a single, identifiably-correct term be for the one that is not a “handle”?

So I’m crowdsourcing this one: what is one to call the “name” on one’s twitter account (especially when it is an obvious pseudonym) and what is one to call the traffic-directing characters?

I’d tend to say “twitter handle” and “twitter address” but I am afraid I might be very, very wrong in this and would like my readership to actually understand whatever the hell it is I’m trying to say. That’s not guaranteed just because I get twitter terms right, but after this maybe I can learn how to create individual sentences of less than twenty words each.

Texas, Dear Bountiful Spheres of Meaty Goodness and Tentacles of Semolina, What Have You Done?

So, I was reading Shiv’s blog post about the NHS and abortion coverage for residents of Northern Ireland when I ran across a Guardian article while trying to get my facts straight before commenting.

While you already have the important bits from the title of this post, permit me to quote directly from the article:

…the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose to 23.8 in 2014 from 18.8 in 2000 – or about 27%.

But the report singled out Texas for special concern, saying the doubling of mortality rates in a two-year period was hard to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval”.

From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies.

No other state saw a comparable increase.

You have that right: the USA is the only urbanized country in the word where the national maternal death rate is increasing to any statistically significant degree. Moreover, in almost all urbanized countries, the maternal death rate actually fell a statistically significant degree. But Texas, dear, sweet, Texas: you are a state with resources exceeding many of those measured nations, and your maternal death rate shot up so fast that experts were left with no explanation other than a previously undetected war, natural disaster, or economic upheaval.

Molly Ivins would tell you herself to flush your health policies into the Gulf of Mexico (after extensive detoxifying treatment, of course), but she’s not here, so I have to do it.

Texas: Your health policies suck. Your legislative actions and inactions suck. Your religious rationalizations for medical malpractice suck. And, well, I’m having a hard time coming up with any reason not to say that as a state your entire corporate entity sucks.


Texas, you suck.

Hobby Lobby Funds ISIS, But Not Birth Control

You may remember the Hobby Lobby corporation from their assault on women’s rights. Rather, I should say “its” assault on women’s rights because what was at issue in that lawsuit was whether or not a corporation can be said to have a religion.

People, of course, can have religious beliefs. Corporations, however, are set up for the sole purpose of not being the people who own them. This becomes important when a company goes bankrupt: creditors can go after the assets of the corporation, but not the assets of the persons who own or run the corporation. This is true because under the law the corporation is not the people that make it up. It is its own entity.

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Republicans Asked WHAT?

In one of the more amusing screams to come out of the lethal circus fire that is the Republicans’ “big tent” these days, we now hear this complaint:

  • Senate Democrats, from Sen. Bernie Sanders to Sen. Joe Manchin, have followed Sen. Chuck Schumer’s lead and refused to negotiate with Republicans on a path forward to replacing Obamacare.

Well, I could mention the fact that refusing to negotiate and refusing to repeal are two different things, but then I’d pour water on this thing when the really exciting explosions are just about to…


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Moral Flexibility: TLDR

In my immediately previous post, I set out the basics necessary to understand the concept of metaethical flexibility. In short, this is a term to describe how the same person might appeal to consequences when considering one ethical question but god’s commands when considering another and in still others use a different form of moral reasoning altogether.

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Moral Flexibility: Why Ethicists Are Wrong About Why Things Are Wrong

It is hard to say that I work as a professional ethicist as their are few jobs that are framed in just this way. To the extent “professional ethicist” jobs are known as such, they are largely professorial positions. I’ve never held such a position, even when I was teaching in a university. However, many jobs include making ethical recommendations as an important part of the total role. Though some lobbyists would not want their jobs to be connected with ethics in any way (typically for fear of scrutiny), those who craft public policy proposals are actually in the business of morality and ethics. Implementations of a proposal might depend on a host of practical questions, but the motivation for a public policy proposal is very often moral or ethical in nature. Also moral or ethical in nature are many of the arguments for a legislator to vote on a proposal, or submit a bill, or act to move a bill forward procedurally. The same is no less true when lobbying an administrative official for regulatory or enforcement action (or inaction). Understood in this way, it’s quite clear that I (and many, many others) have experience working as a professional ethicist. The full number of people working professionally on questions of ethics dwarf the subset whose job titles explicitly include ethics. It is this larger set of ethicists to which I indisputably belong that imposes a moral responsibility upon me to question and critique ethics as a profession and ethicists as a group.

But even this larger group does not sum up all people who think seriously about ethical questions. In our non-professional lives, too, we must frequently engage quite explicitly with questions of ethics. Anyone with a child in the “Why?” phase of conversational development certainly spends more than 40 hours a week on ethical questions.*1 Anyone who takes the responsibility of voting seriously must also engage in questions of ethics. It is precisely the ubiquity of ethical reasoning in human life that inspires me to write today about an important shortcoming in the field of ethics.

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