Friday, April 27, 2012

Quotes of the week

In a comment left on this article:
Enough of the LGBT blogs and major LGBT groups force-feeding us Obama and the 2party system.
Obama is GWB’s 3rd term in the assault on civil liberties, war, the drug war, drones, environmental destruction, and government secrecy + killing US citizens, supporting indefinite detention, and the attack on the internet.
By Glenn Reynolds:

The raids on marijuana clinics?

The opposition to gay marriage?

The drone attacks?

The Mom Jeans?

Just wondering. . . .

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This gives me guarded hope.

A Pew Research Center poll shows that Americans are becoming more freedom-loving on both gun rights and same-sex marriage:
Opinions about a pair of contentious social issues, gun control and gay marriage, have changed substantially since previous presidential campaigns. On gun control, Americans have become more conservative; on gay marriage, they have become more liberal.

Currently, 49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, while 45% say it is more important to control gun ownership. Opinion has been divided since early 2009, shortly after Barack Obama’s election. From 1993 through 2008, majorities had said it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun rights.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 4-15, 2012, also finds that the public is divided over gay marriage: 47% favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, while 43% are opposed. In 2008, 39% favored and 51% opposed gay marriage, based on an average of polls conducted that year. In 2004, just 31% supported gay marriage, while nearly twice as many (60%) were opposed.
Support for abortion rights is also holding steady.

According to a Libertarian Party blog post, this means that Americans are moving in a more libertarian direction on the issues of gun rights and same-sex marriage. This is good as far as it goes, but since there are plenty of other issues, cries of "We won!" are premature.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Quote of the week

"I once shared a joint with a House staffer whose boss had recently proposed a piece of drug war legislation and an aide to a GOP presidential candidate; worked with a guy who bought his weed from the son of a congressman; and shared a bowl with a Democratic speechwriter." — Mike Riggs on pot smokers in D.C.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I just know.

There are certain things that I just know. I do not know them on the basis of evidence; rather, my just knowing transcends the whole concept of evidence. I just know that it does.

For example, I just know what certain cities, states, and countries are like, without having been there or even read up on them. I just know what consequences an action will have; if that action has always had different consequences before, I just know that things will work out differently this time. I just know that someone whom I have just glimpsed across the room is the one for me.

Moreover, in religion, I just know what God wants me to do and, more to the point, what God wants you to do. You needn't bother pointing out contrary passages in the holy book of the religion in which I claim membership. I just know which passages are a crystal-clear expression of God's eternal will, which have been superseded, and which need to be interpreted correctly. For the last category, I just know what the correct interpretation is.

Furthermore, I just know all relevant facts about you, even when my only contact with you is over the Internet. I just know your socioeconomic background, your appearance, and all relevant details of whatever parts of your history you choose to bring up. I also just know your inner identity and mental state and how those things came to be. Please don't waste your time telling me that I'm mistaken, since I just know that you're lying.

There is no point in providing evidence or logic to gainsay what I just know. When those things contradict what I just know, I just know that the evidence must have been misconstrued and that the logic must be flawed.

Finally, it will do no good to point out that other people, or even you, just know something mutually exclusive with what I just know. I just know that everyone else is just making stuff up. How do I know that what I just know isn't something that I just made up? I just know.

Today's vocabulary word: American

American, adj. having any characteristic that I don't like, regardless of actual country of origin; used by Internet arguers who cannot be bothered to check facts

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thoughts as tax day approaches

If we're going to have a Buffett rule, the threshold should be lower. If it's such a sin unto death for Warren Buffett to pay a lower effective rate than his secretary, why is it acceptable for Obama to do so as well?

Speaking of which, it should be illegal for the President, the Vice President, or any member of either house of Congress to use a paid tax preparer. Who do they think gave us the current tax code? If that tax code is good enough for us little people, it's more than good enough for them.

Living in the Washington area, I often hear that taxes shouldn't hurt. Why not? I'd like to see taxes collected in a lump sum, due on the day before each primary or general election. Maybe then people would have a better appreciation of the cost of the gourmet designer government that they crave.

Finally, if so many people think that the government is giving something to them just because they get tax refunds — which are, after all, payouts on zero-interest loans to the government — that just shows what a lost art critical thinking is.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quote of the week

"One of the anomalies of contemporary thought is that acceptance of Darwin's theory, which posits a brutally competitive, amoral, and goalless process of natural selection, has come to be identified with liberal political beliefs, while traditional Christianity, with its New Testament teachings about brotherhood, serving the poor, and turning the other cheeck, is equated with conservatism." — Christopher Clausen, Wilson Quarterly

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More evidence that the politically correct left is at heart conservative

This article on possible orgins of our political personalities sets forth the following moral concerns that characterize liberals and conservatives:
With my colleagues at, I have developed Moral Foundations Theory, which outlines six clusters of moral concerns—care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation—upon which all political cultures and movements base their moral appeals. Political liberals tend to rely primarily on the moral foundation of care/harm, followed by fairness/cheating and liberty/oppression. Social conservatives, in contrast, use all six foundations. They are less concerned than liberals about harm to innocent victims, but they are much more concerned about the moral foundations that bind groups and nations together, i.e., loyalty (patriotism), authority (law and order, traditional families), and sanctity (the Bible, God, the flag as a sacred object).
That is, conservatives differ from liberals in that the former attach greater weight to loyalty, authority, and sanctity:
When I speak to liberal audiences about the three “binding” foundations—loyalty, authority, and sanctity—I find that many in the audience don’t just fail to resonate; they actively reject these concerns as immoral. Loyalty to a group shrinks the moral circle; it is the basis of racism and exclusion, they say. Authority is oppression. Sanctity is religious mumbo-jumbo whose only function is to suppress female sexuality and justify homophobia.
But consider the politically correct take on those three binding foundations. The P.C. crowd prizes loyalty to one's group; consider the importance of identity politics. As for authority, the movement has as a basic tenet "I know what's best for you and have the moral authority to impose it on you." Political correctness also has its own sanctity, in terms of its many shibboleths and taboos.

In short, political correctness does not reject loyality, authority, or sanctity, but instead embraces the right kinds of loyalty, authority, and sanctity. That is, rather than rejecting social conservatism, it embraces the right kind of social conservatism.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Going Galt from the Catholic Church

Joseph Amodeo describes his decision here:
In light of Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan's comments directed at the LGBT community, I resigned from the Executive Committee of the Junior Board of Catholic Charities. By this action, I seek not to disparage the work of Catholic Charities, but to voluntarily remove myself as a leader with an organization under the pastoral leadership of Dolan.
Good for him. I've been saying for a while that we need to withdraw the sanction of the victim from churches and other institutions that demonize us. I cut all ties with one such church in my early twenties, despite my close emotional identification with that church, and have never regretted having done so.

Marion Barry is sorry you feel that way.

Presented without comment.

Who has the lowest breakup rate: lesbians, heterosexuals, or gay men?

You know the answer already, right? The infallible dogmas that have been pounded into our heads over the last several decades have answered this question conclusively, right?

Maybe not. According to this:
In the UK, same sex couples can form legally recognized relationships, akin to marriages, and have had this right since the Civil Partnership Act came into effect in December 2005. Just like marriages these unions can be dissolved via a legal process similar to a divorce (which in the UK requires someone to be at fault).
The most recent evidence from the UK Office of National Statistics finds that homosexual couples that joined in 2005 were significantly less likely to have filed for dissolution four years later than heterosexual couples were to have filed for divorce: 2.5% compared to 5.5%.
As Hattersley points out, however, male couples were much less likely to dissolve their relationship than were female couples: By the end of 2010, 1.6 % of male civil partnerships had ended in dissolution compared to 3.3 % of female partnerships.
As you can see from both the article itself and the comments, everyone with an opinion proposes reasons — some backed by evidence, some not — for the different rates. Most amusingly, one commenter writes,
It is very clear from the social research that men like being taken care of, and do get taken care of in het relationships more than women. Women do more of the work. I suspect gay men are also in it for getting taken care of (what you are oversimplifying as "stability."
That comment makes gay male relationships sound like an Escher print.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to tell you've won an argument against a politically correct person

The radfem blog The Cotton Ceiling has a rather interesting take on etymology:
Cis. We’ve all heard it. Most women find the word offensive. Perhaps it’s because at some subconscious level women know there’s something creepy about the word? They’d be right. “Cis” comes from the Latin root meaning to “cut” or “kill.”
With this is mind, what do trans really mean when they call women cis-women or cis-females or cis-lesbians? They are literally saying, “cut and kill women/females/lesbians.”
A few commenters who were less than 100% ideologically pure tried to point out what we should have all learned in high-school chemistry, namely, that "cis" has another meaning. After the usual politically correct non-arguments, including appeal to ridicule and "La la la, I can't hear you," did not scare off those wrong thinkers, the gates came clanging down:
I will not be approving any more comments which argues that Cis means something other than what it does in order to appease trans and their woman-hating religion.
Another commenter used up the entire world output of irony for one year:
The reason [transgendered people] cannot get political analysis right is that it is based on fantasy and role-play. That’s what happens when you just make stuff up.
All that's missing is "I'll pray for you."