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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Brouhaha in a Bottle

As is not atypical for me, I'm going to rush in where angels fear to tread and write about the somewhat recent uproar over a Forbes column by Bill Frezza titled "Drunk Female Guests Are The Gravest Threat To Fraternities."  I'd love to provide a link to the article, but I can't. Why?  Because shortly after it appeared, "[t]he column was almost immediately jerked from the site, and Frezza, who has written for Forbes since 2011, was summarily fired."  So the best I can do is provide a link to a different site that has apparently kept Frezza's column's contents around in order to criticize it.

I'm writing about this because Frezza is "president of the alumni house corporation of [his] MIT fraternity" and since I went to MIT and was in a fraternity (the coolest one ever, of course!), the topic is somewhat near and dear to my heart.

Frezza's title is clearly not the most politically correct thing ever written.  It's also not quite accurate. The gravest threat to fraternities is the problem that they are comprised of young, adult(ish) males who, more than occasionally, do really, really stupid things, as they have since the emergence of our species (and probably long before).  However, that problem can only be fixed by either eliminating fraternities, which would just mean the young males would just go elsewhere to be stupid, or eliminating males entirely, which might be bad for the species.

Frezza may, however, have correctly identified drunken females as a threat to fraternities, even if not the primary threat.  For example,
A recent incident at MIT’s Lambda Chi Alpha chapter in which a drunk female student apparently danced her way out of a window has, once again, resulted in a clamp-down on all fraternity parties.
Frezza's advice is, unsurprisingly, very, very fraternity-centric. After all, that's his job.  His advice includes things like:

  • Don't let male or female drunks into a party.
  • If someone at a party seems drunk and out-of-control, ask them to leave, pay for a cab to take them home, and if they refuse to leave, call the campus police to escort them away.
  • "Never, ever take a drunk female guest to your bedroom."
  • "Do not let a drunk brother take a drunk female to his bedroom."
Sounds like sound advice to me.  In fact, when I read his piece, I didn't notice any advice that I wouldn't advise my old frat to follow as well.

However, it didn't sound like sound advice to the folks who complained to Forbes and caused Frezza to be fired. For example, Austin Hess, the editor of MIT's student newspaper, The Tech, minced no words in responding:
Frezza’s sentiments are certainly not original — thinly veiled victim blaming is pervasive from students to politicians and sadly common among both men and women. What is far more troubling, however, is that he presents almost without pretense the fact that he cares far more about preventing the dissolution of his fraternity than preventing whatever sort of accident or incident that would cause such an outcome. [...]
An actual line: “Although we were once reprimanded for turning away a drunk female student who ultimately required an ambulance when she passed out on our sidewalk, it would have gone a lot worse for us had she collapsed inside.”
Portraying it this way, it seems that Austin also doesn't much care about "preventing whatever sort of accident or incident that would cause such an outcome."  Clearly he should be calling for changing the rules to NOT screw the fraternity if a drunken woman passes out on the premises since that would likely be better than her passing out on the street.  Then she wouldn't have been turned away.
I am somewhat glad the piece was published, after all, because it provides a grotesque caricature of the entrenched proponents of sexism more poignantly than any Onion article.
To me, the sentence above provides a grotesque caricature of "right thinking" and therefore, non-thinking, people.
But the fact that Frezza ever became the alumni president of Chi Phi begs troubling questions. 
Is Frezza’s concern for preventing suspension over preventing rape or fatal accidents shared by others in the MIT fraternity system?
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. To me, Frezza's advice is very, very focused on preventing rape, sexual assault, unwanted advances, regret the morning after, and so forth. Let me repeat his advice: don't let drunks in, kick out-of-control drunk people out, don't take drunk girls to your room, don't let drunk brothers take girls to their rooms. Prevent rape, prevent suspension. Pretty straightforward.

Now let's backtrack and consider the title of The Tech article: "Can fraternities be feminist?"
Is it unreasonable to hope that fraternities adopt a strong stance — internally and externally — in favor of feminism? Not merely in platitudes and public statements, but in real, measurable actions?
Yes, it's very unreasonable, in my opinion. Organizations have primary missions and need to focus on those and leave other missions to their individual members and other organizations.  For example, the NRA doesn't take in homeless cats, the Bonsai Club doesn't host race car rallies, the Harry Potter Club doesn't maintain a fleet of yachts, etc. And none of those organizations are feminist either, though many of their individual members probably are. It is unreasonable for one of a fraternity's primary missions to be a feminist organization. Just keeping their members safe, doing well in school, and out of trouble is more than a sufficiently large agenda for fraternities.

I'm also lost as to which parts of Frezza's advice are sexist anyway? Why is worrying about possible events that may well cause suspension and dissolution of a fraternity sexist? Why is it bad or sexist to not take drunk girls to your room?  Why is it bad or sexist to not let drunks in the door (the message seems clear to me - you want to come to our party? Then don't come drunk - and that's a very positive message)? Why is it bad or sexist for an organization to make survival a top priority. Why is it the job of a fraternity to ensure that other people don't get drunk when not on its premises? Why is it the job of a fraternity to take care of people who got drunk illegally not on its premises? Why doesn't the author of The Tech article drive around in his car on weekend nights looking for drunken students in order to rescue them?  Why isn't it his job?

I have so many questions that my head is spinning (and no, I'm not drunk). I've never been so confused as I am by the reactions to Frezza and his article.

128 comments:

erp said...

Ban alcohol on the campus like they did smoking and problem solved.

Sheesh. I thought you MIT boys were smart or something.

Peter said...

Organizations have primary missions and need to focus on those and leave other missions to their individual members and other organizations.

I dunno, Bret, I'm starting to get the impression the primary mission of the NFL is to fight breast cancer and that football is just the incidental entertainment. Plus there seem to be a lot of oil companies in the Alberta tar sands that assure me nightly they only exist to protect the environment. I don't know whether you have a bank that is as committed to your family's personal financial future as mine, but I trust you sleep soundly if you do.

erp is right, of course. Date rape doesn't seem to be a big problem in libraries. Of course, prohibition has such a sterling record of success elsewhere that I'm sure campus bans would solve the problem chop chop.

erp said...

Peter, Darn right!

BTW -- do you wonder why the smoking prohibition is so widely accepted and those few pathetic folk who still indulge must sneak around back alleys for a couple of puffs?

Ya think it had to do with drinking being glorified as what the beautiful people do in cool speakeasies while the anti- drinking crowd were bible-thumping old harpies and today's glossy ads depict all the cool kids with a beer or glass of wine in their hands -- not to mention stronger mind altering fare now in the process of being legalized from sea to shinning sea?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

I can't see why this is polemical either.

Working in a very liberal environment - as universities usually are - I've already seen female students dancing naked in the public halls at night, over the influence of alcohol (and who knows what more).

I don't know about parties the students make elsewhere, but I'd be happy enough if we could make sure they could not be partying drunk in the University premises, be them male or female.

(Before any funny comment, I'd say that, as beautiful naked ladies may ever be, it is kind of disconcerting to see that behavior in your working environment).

Bret said...

The vast majority of the fraternity houses at MIT aren't on campus.

Alcohol is mostly prohibited on campus. They show up drunk precisely because it is prohibited. So prohibition hasn't helped.

Indeed, that's one of Frezza's suggestions. Stop the prohibition, lower the drinking age to 18, and have a keg at these parties so people will drink beer slowly(ish) through the night instead of chugging vodka ahead of time.

Peter said...

Clovis:

It has become all but impossible in North America to publically discuss these kinds of issues by asserting any connection between the behaviours of women and forseeable consequences. Apparently, we have a rape culture. Not a sex culture, not an alcohol culture, but a rape culture.

But I'm not sure I would look to guys like Frezza to lead the charge for common sense. It is true that "the brothers" (Oh, grow up!) should keep one another from taking drunk girls into their bedrooms, but I would hope for a more noble purpose than keeping the fraternity out of trouble. That may be his job, but hopefully his character and values are a little broader than that.

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "I would hope for a more noble purpose than keeping the fraternity out of trouble."

Why is keeping blossoming adults (who will soon grow to be the next generation of leaders, movers, and shakers) out of trouble while they finish maturing and growing not a noble purpose?

Why is keeping a young woman who chugged a pint of vodka out of trouble somehow more noble?

Peter said...

They are. I wasn't disagreeing with his objective, just a bit put off by the motivation.

Bret said...

Bill Frezza writes about his article:

http://menckenism.com/2014/10/04/why-i-so-passionately-fear-binge-drinking/

Excerpt:

==============================

... So why did I stick my neck out like this? Here is why.

Thirteen years ago, the day before my son was supposed to come home for Christmas during his senior year at Stanford, my wife and I got a call from the emergency room telling us he was gone. The pain from the loss of a child is unimaginable to anyone that hasn’t experienced it. As hard as you might strive to conquer it, it leaves an anger in your heart that sometimes comes out in ways that are difficult to control.

My son made a foolish risk-reward decision in an attempt to have some fun, a decision that ended his life and sent mine spinning out of control. After my first marriage broke up and I moved back to Boston, lifelong friends I had made through my fraternity at MIT—men of upstanding character spanning five decades in age—helped me put my life back together. I would not have made it without them.

I have spent the last 12 years trying to repay that debt to the organization that brought us together, chairing a capital campaign that raised $1.6 million to refurbish our national historic landmark chapter house, and serving on my house corporation board. Today, as president of that board, I share responsibility for the well-being of 40 young men—good kids, with no resemblance to the Animal House stereotype. And yet, whenever they host a party I go to bed terrified.

...

=============================

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Why is keeping blossoming adults (who will soon grow to be the next generation of leaders, movers, and shakers) out of trouble while they finish maturing and growing not a noble purpose?
---
I was surprised to read that coming from you. I thought Libertarian positions would make one less of an spoiled knob, but it looks to be not the case.

Instead of the nanny-state you prefer nanny-brothers looking out and "protecting" you while you "finish maturing"? What happened to that self-reliance thing?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Indeed, that's one of Frezza's suggestions. Stop the prohibition, lower the drinking age to 18, and have a keg at these parties so people will drink beer slowly(ish) through the night instead of chugging vodka ahead of time.
---

I don't think much of this Frezza's suggestion.

Down here drinking age is 18, and I can assure you that doesn't make binge drinking less of a problem at all.

They will dry that keg and that vodka, and ask for more all over again before the night is over. Many times.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "Instead of the nanny-state you prefer nanny-brothers looking out and "protecting" you while you "finish maturing"? What happened to that self-reliance thing?"

Do you think that all libertarians want to be hermits in the woods? That we reject all forms of community? Friendship? Family? That we refuse to live with any sort of rules imposed by those we voluntarily associate with (joining a fraternity is a voluntary action)?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "Down here drinking age is 18, and I can assure you that doesn't make binge drinking less of a problem at all."

Having lived under both regimes, my observation is that it does make a substantial difference.

There probably is more total drinking and possibly even more total drunkenness with the 18-year-old drinking age, but the 2+ sigma outlier drinking is much less severe with the 18-year-old regime.

By the way, I was under the impression that South America, for the most part, didn't have a drinking age. Has that changed in the last few decades?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Do you think that all libertarians want to be hermits in the woods? That we reject all forms of community? Friendship? Family? That we refuse to live with any sort of rules imposed by those we voluntarily associate with (joining a fraternity is a voluntary action)?
---

Well, I did not have such a definite view of Libertarians, but now that you ask, I guess my image of them is more like a "yes" for all questions above.

It is not that I thought they did not want family, community and all that, it is just that I have the impression they suffer a lot from their existence even when they do want it around :-)

Bret said...

Clovis,

You would, of course, be incorrect.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
By the way, I was under the impression that South America, for the most part, didn't have a drinking age. Has that changed in the last few decades?
---
I was under the impression much of South America always had a drinking age, when was it any different?

What may be confusing for you is that, like many other things in South America, to have laws may be different from enforcing them. So it is not so standard for people to ask for age proof in many places, but in theory you can have problems for selling alcohol to minors.

In practice, minors have no problem to get booze material. But I guess they don't have much difficulty for that in the US too, do they?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
You would, of course, be incorrect.
---
Nonetheless I am still impressed on how the self-reliance concept disappeared when you talk about fraternities.

When do you turn self-reliance on or off? I thought it needed to be hard-wired - it was the only way to explain the contempt I feel Libertarians here show for people who fall down.

Harry Eagar said...

Who will preserve the maidens who do not go to college?

Harry Eagar said...

My brother was (I guess still is) an MIT Chi Phi bro. I thought the biggest threat, as he relayed it to me while he was an undergrad, was that bros got mugged on the porch.

'Do you think that all libertarians want to be hermits in the woods? That we reject all forms of community"

That was my understanding. I did not go to MIT but to probably the most rightwing/libertarian college in the country. Nathaniel Branden gave so many lectures on campus he was practically a member of the faculty.

As for leading drunken young ladies into bedrooms, I think agency is -- as Jimmy Buffet put it -- the issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL9O0B0gzZE

erp said...

About 30 years ago the Dean of Students at a college where I worked talking about student drinking said, formerly students ( boys) drank at frat parties and during the event some may have gotten drunk. Now the purpose of the party is to get drunk. Apparently the only thing that's changed over the years is the same thing applies to girls now.

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "I'm starting to get the impression the primary mission of the NFL is to fight breast cancer..."

That's part of why I think it counterproductive for a fraternity to (pretend to) be a feminist organization. Everybody would suspect it was self-serving fraud, just like everybody realizes that the NFL's crusade against breast cancer is self-serving fraud.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

As Bret tried to point out, and I have tried in the past, in your comment

--
Instead of the nanny-state you prefer nanny-brothers looking out and "protecting" you while you "finish maturing"? What happened to that self-reliance thing?
--

your failure is to grasp the concept of consent. This is mordantly amusing, since the topic of this post is related to rape, which differs from sex in precisely that way. I read your comment as no different than "You are against rape, but you support marriage. What happened to controlling one's one body?". When you understand the difference between rape and marriage, then you will understand the different betwee the nanny state and the nanny brothers. It's exactly the same distinction.

P.S. You need to read actual libertarian stuff, if you think libertarians feel burdened by the existence of family or community.

Peter said...

We've been beating up on Harry these days, but he does pose a good question here. Why all the focus on colleges? If this is the way colleges should be policed, why not the military, civil services, teachers, etc.? Is it because we see college students still as kids in respect of whom "we" (a.k.a. the state) must play in loco parentis or do we see them as wild animals who have broken out of the zoo?

I smell the pressure of rich, liberal fathers trying to square their "respect" for their daughters' "choices" with their atavistic urge to kill any punk who dishonours their babies.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter;

Yes, that is a point that I have wondered about myself, why it is only the daughters of privilege who deserve protection. One can even wonder what happens if guy from school A has drunken sex with girl from school B - as far as I can tell, neither school is responsible in that case.

But I can't tell if Eagar thinks the problem is too much or too little protection. I would think this kind of paternalism is strongly aligned with his policy preferences.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
your failure is to grasp the concept of consent.
---
I do get it, AOG, really. My question was underneath that point.

I did read the emphasis on self-reliance, pointed out here before by you and others, as something of a hard-wired life choice. So I was surprised to see that it was not.

I get the impression that Libertarians here see no point in a nanny-state because they already have backing enough in their lives. They have connections to people who can provide indications for jobs, or contacts with people who can finance their projects, or even helping hands if they fall on financial/personal disgrace - just like it was exemplified by Frezza' sad story that Bret linked above, where he explains why he "risked his neck" on this matter.

One thing I've learned in my contacts with poverty down here was how a lot of it could be predicted by lack of access to such people's network. Many of the people in favelas arrived from nothing and with nothing - but that's not the worst, the worst was that they had no links to their new community, so no one to provide the contacts you may need to overcome those difficulties.

In this context, a helping hand by the state may well be invited, for it is the only one they'll have. The contempt for that option, that I feel yourself often shows, sounds very hyprocritical if you have used other networks too, like fraternities. It is like "Yeah, I have all the backing I need, so I pose to be self-reliant while mocking those who don't".


---
P.S. You need to read actual libertarian stuff, if you think libertarians feel burdened by the existence of family or community.
---

Look, this is very subjective, but I say so with sincerity: when I try to put myself in your shoes - you know, to really absorb your overall philosophy, to look the world and others through what I get from your positions and writings here - I do really end up feeling myself very dry, pessimistic and joyless about everything and everyone else.

I may be doing something wrong here, and that's absolutely a subjective feeling, but I am being honest about it.

Harry Eagar said...

'I would think this kind of paternalism is strongly aligned with his policy preferences.'

You could ask.

I think I mentioned that I went to the most conservative/libertarian college in the country. It rejected in loco parentis, after a bit of a hiccup once it finally admitted coeds (during my second year). I was cool with that.

Harry Eagar said...

'I get the impression that Libertarians here see no point in a nanny-state because they already have backing enough in their lives.'

That is a very astute comment.

It is amusing to see the outcome of the recent libertarian experiment in Chile, where, it turns out, the backing was lacking.

Oh, how they squealed!

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "In this context, a helping hand by the state may well be invited, for it is the only one they'll have."

Which State? The federal government? State or provincial governments? Local governments? Or perhaps a someday-to-be-formed World government?

I've been accused (not by you yet) of being a robot and a bit inhuman. And unfortunately, the accusation has a least a grain of truth to it.

For example, one of my problems is that I don't feel any more attachment, friendship, kinship, and responsibility for some poor black kid in Mississippi than I do for some poor black kid in Madagascar (the world's poorest country). I feel bad for both, but far more bad for the Madagascan because he is much, much worse off.

I wonder why I have money taken from me by some bureaucrat in Washington to give to some Mississippian who doesn't need it nearly as much as the much poorer Madagascan. If it's about helping the poor, why not focus on the really, really poor? On the other hand, if the Madagascans can take care of themselves (except for a trickle or foreign aid), then the Mississippians, who are literally 30 times richer on average, can certainly take care of themselves. No?

So to me, either we should be a truly caring nation and send the money where it's truly needed (Madagascar and friends*), or we should let the money stay local where local knowledge can be used to deploy it with at least the potential for maximum efficiency.

Lastly, if for some sort of internal fairness, we decide that a slightly poorer state like Mississippi needs help, then no-strings-attached block grants from richer states like New York works for me as well (as long as the federal government isn't involved).

*Note that Brazil would've been in that list not all that long ago.

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "Is it because we see college students still as kids..."

But only the women. We're perfectly happy to ruin the lives of falsely accused boy "children" in order to supposedly protect some supposedly equal in capability, maturity, and responsibility girl "children."

Society has always considered women as "children" (and property!) that can't stand on their own two feet on their own and this proves to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that we still do. I was once convinced of gender equality. I'm not so sure any more.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I'm not sure where you get the emphasis on self-reliance, I have emphasized consent over and over.

when I try to put myself in your shoes [...] I do really end up feeling myself very dry, pessimistic and joyless about everything and everyone else.

While at the same time you think Libertarians have a good life because "they already have backing enough in their lives. They have connections to people who can provide indications for jobs, or contacts with people who can finance their projects, or even helping hands if they fall on financial/personal disgrace"? You think Frezza took no joy in his connections to the people in his fraternity?

Do you see any inconsistency at all in these two views?

Mr. Eagar;

You could ask

I have found that to be very unproductive approach with you in the past. That you still failed to explain demonstrates why that is.

Peter;

Think of modern feminism as neo-Victorianism and it's all clear. It's really the same attitudes toward women.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Which State?
---
In your context or mine? In my context, it mostly needs to be the Federal govt. for many reasons. And contrary to your case, there are no constitutional objections at all.

---
For example, one of my problems is that I don't feel any more attachment, friendship, kinship, and responsibility for some poor black kid in Mississippi than I do for some poor black kid in Madagascar
---
Well, Bret, as Skipper likes to remind us, States are not moral beings, they act on their own interests. The argument to choose the Mississippi boy is simple: it will potentially improve your own country standing.

But I'd like to point out I was not accusing Libertarians of being robots for not have feelings towards poor kids. My point - a very subjective one - was that, upon trying to "impersonate" a Libertarian, I've felt myself lacking empathy not only for poor kids, but for everything alive. Please notice this is an argument really only about myself.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
[Clovis] when I try to put myself in your shoes [...] I do really end up feeling myself very dry,
[Aog] While at the same time you think Libertarians have a good life because "they already have backing enough in their lives. [...]
You think Frezza took no joy in his connections to the people in his fraternity?
Do you see any inconsistency at all in these two views?
---

Not really. One argument was about my subjective personal feelings. I hope you remember feelings are not exactly rational and easy to explain. The other comment was about a sense of security, mainly financial security, which does not directly translate to a sense of joy or happiness about life.

I won't talk about Frezza, I don't know him, but as stated above to Bret, please notice I am not implying things about you. I can believe you somehow manage to keep your positions and still have a joyful life.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

It's not the financial security, but the personal relationships that create it. I don't see how those exist for a joyless person who doesn't care about other people.

Harry Eagar said...

Knowing history is a curse. There was a time when the US government did spend money to help that Madagascarene kid (Tricia was involved).

Then the USSR collapsed (yay!) but then its economy collapsed (boo!) so the rightwingers took the money from the Madagascarene kid (boo!) and gave it to some American (yay!) who was going to help the Russians (yay!) fix their agriculture (yay!).

Only it didn't work, because pretty much everything the rightwing security state types do doesn't work.

Meanwhile the cute animal faction is out to save the lemurs.

(Unfortunately, the lesson I absorbed from talking to the Madagascarene agriculturalists was that the overpopulation problem there was way past the point where recovery is possible. But it is not a topic I know a great deal about.)

Peter said...

I think we should give Harry a prize for diverting this thread as far as it is possible to divert one.

Getting back to the far more enjoyable topic of sex, and speaking of Harry, I laughed when I saw him boast about how supportive he was when his college dropped in loco parentis. Let freedom ring. Of course he was, we men all were, because we thought it would bring us that much closer to the eternal male fantasy of consequence-free sex. Damn those STDs and feckless, unstable women.

Clovis talks about neo-Victorianism and he isn't wrong, but the difference today is that women are trying to hang the difference between what is permitted and what is severaly sanctioned (a very narrow divide)on subjective states of minds rather than objective behaviours. All manner of outrages can follow, but the male reaction shouldn't be to taunt women about how they should toughen up in the bedroom if they expect to be equal in the workplace. It is screamingly obvious that men and women (often)experience sex differently, psychologically and even physically. When did you ever hear of a man in therapy trying to deal with the emotional fallout of sleeping around too much? Lothario is a semi-compliment, slut is not. Ever hear of a guy taking endless compulsive showers after an unwanted sexual encounter? I'm sure not going to back a frat boy's droit de seigneur in the name of freedom and gender equality.

BTW, don't women look out for one another anymore? I seem to recall an era when, if a guy tried to take a very drunk girl to a bedroom at a party, he might have encountered a few determined individuals blocking him, and they wouldn't have been his brothers.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter;

It's neo-Victorianism because of the underlying attitude of women being too delicate for the real world and therefore need special protections.

As some wag elsewhere pointed out, drunken sex is just fine for women and they shouldn't be "slut shamed" for it, except, by the way, it's so horrible the man must be severely punished for it.

Peter said...

I wonder whether that "wag" is also the type who thinks that any woman who objects to his sexual jokes and innuendos at work is "too delicate for the real world". Or maybe he feels aggrieved for life that he has to pay child support when she promised him she was on the pill.

To be sure, there is a lot of nonsense spouted in the feminist camp, especially on campus's, but they aren't wrong about everything. They understands very well which side pays the price for radical sexual "liberation". We could go on about this all day, but how did we ever get to the point where we think it is perfectly normal and ok to have it on with sloshed strangers, no matter how naive, stupid or unstable, and that any fallout is their problem, not ours?

Harry Eagar said...

Actually, the way it worked out Peter, was that on the day Cow College admitted women, I met Tricia and we married pretty soon after that. We are still married.

So I was never in the hunt for consequence-free sex.

In those days, there was a draft, and the argument made by me and my compeers at Cow College was that if we could be relied upon to machinegun brown people, we could be trusted to drink 3.2-percent beer.

I have the impression nobody clicked the link to that Jimmy Buffett song. Perhaps you've never heard it.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter;

Unlikely. The comment was the views of modern feminism, not his own.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "Well, Bret, as Skipper likes to remind us, States are not moral beings, they act on their own interests."

Perhaps, but first, I'm not the state, and second, that would certainly change the debate quite a bit. Instead of "think of the poor children" it would be "but don't you want a strong state." Do you think nearly as many people here would support redistribution based on the second argument?

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "I think we should give Harry a prize for diverting this thread as far as it is possible to divert one."

Indeed. Who knew that we used to send boatloads of money to Madagascar but the reason we don't now send as much money to Madagascar as Mississippi was because of furry animals? I guess my knowledge of history really isn't up to snuff.

Peter wrote: "...but the male reaction shouldn't be to taunt women about how they should toughen up in the bedroom if they expect to be equal in the workplace."

I think they're unfortunately more related than you think for a variety of reasons. Their lack of toughness in the bedroom seems to me to be related to their lack of toughness in the workplace. For example, a male colleague might let a wisecrack slip and the fainting flowers of femininity freak about possible sexual innuendos in said wisecrack and start suing everybody left and right and damage a lot of people because they've been oh-so-traumatized and everybody needs to get sensitivity training and jump through dozens of hoops to show adequate contrition and remorse.

And I suspect if they toughened up in the workplace, they'd probably end up a bit tougher in the bedroom.

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "how did we ever get to the point where we think it is perfectly normal and ok to have it on with sloshed strangers, no matter how naive, stupid or unstable, and that any fallout is their problem, not ours?"

Is anybody claiming it's normal? I'm claiming the fallout is the problem of whoever made the decision to get sloshed and nobody else's problem IF we're going to believe that individual is an adult and competent to make any decision at all in any arena.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Instead of "think of the poor children" it would be "but don't you want a strong state." Do you think nearly as many people here would support redistribution based on the second argument?
---
I guess you are making a bit of confusion here, Bret. The second argument would be "but don't you want a strong society", and that's different from a "strong state".

Or should I interpret the Libertarian call for "less government" as the same as "weaker society"?

Bret said...

Clovis,

Your clarification makes it better - that is indeed what I meant. Still, do you think people would feel as charitable? My society is stronger but I'm weaker but ok?

Howard said...

...pretty much everything the rightwing security state types do doesn't work.

Wonderful, they have common ground with the left. Always look for the positive.

Harry Eagar said...

Oh, I'd say things like the Marshall Plan and anticolonialism (to the limited extent that was practiced) had a reasonable record.

If there is an accounting in the afterlife, the cold warriors are gonna have a hell of a time.

I have been thinking of this lately in the context of epidemic disease in west Africa. The last time that happened was in 1970 when cholera was reintroduced from (probably) south Russia. It's unlikely, if the big powers hadn't been working so hard to sacrifice poor and colored people instead of settling their disputes themselves, that Russia would have established direct air links to Freetown or Conakry or wherever it came in.

Annoying Old Guy said...

should I interpret the Libertarian call for "less government" as the same as "weaker society"?

As far as I am concerned, you should consider them exactly the opposite - the call for less government is a call for a stronger society.

Peter said...

Their lack of toughness in the bedroom...

Their WHAT?

erp said...

Harry, I seem to recall you condemned the Marshall plan some time ago. I don't remember why.

Do you agree with those who believe Ebola was developed by whites to wipe out black Africans?

Harry Eagar said...

No, erp, that wasn't me. That was one of the rightwingers here, though just now I don't recall which. I believe that Orrin hates it.

And no, why would I sign into an antiscience, racist, rightwing, paranoid meme. Why in the world would you think I would buy into an idea originated by Limbaugh?

Harry Eagar said...

'the call for less government is a call for a stronger society.'

Tell me, where, if anywhere, has any socoiety come closest to this dream?

Howard said...

...an idea originated by Limbaugh

Harry, how long have you been listening to Rush?........Oh, I didn't think so. Did you get that from your fevered imagination or from one of the media outlets that routinely lie about what he said?

erp said...

Harry, another off-the-wall non sequitur. Limbaugh?

It was you who trashed the Marshall plan. No one else here was against containing the Soviets.

Answer to your question above is an easy one. The U.S. of A. prior to our cultural revolution.

Annoying Old Guy said...

USA, before the Great Society. Read Tocqueville for a more detailed analysis.

Harry Eagar said...

Howard, you're right, I was tipped to Limbaugh's idea by Rightwing Watch; but you're wrong about misrepresentation. His tirade was linked. That's a thing you can do on the Internet now.

Really, Guy, the US had a strong society in the 1830s? One that included everybody? No Irish need apply.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

You got me there. Government has always done racial and ethnic discrimination much better than the private sector. You must be so proud to be part of that tradition.

Howard;

Remember, it's not the idea or its merit that matters, but who thought it first.

Howard said...

That's a thing you can do on the Internet now.

Selective editing and mischaracterizations are also things that can be done on the internet now...

erp said...

Howard, brings to mind Limbaugh's edited remarks about Chelsea's Clinton's looks. Outrageous to embarrass a child like that to make false accusation.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Still, do you think people would feel as charitable? My society is stronger but I'm weaker but ok?
---
And are you weaker today due to that? Honestly?

Harry Eagar said...

'Government has always done racial and ethnic discrimination much better than the private sector'

I guess you missed the 'no Irish need apply' jibe.

In a democracy, government is the private sector, until the lawhawks come along -- which they began to do in 1919 -- and say, hey, you have to abide by the ideas in the Constitution.

Your 'strong society' in the 1830s excluded something on the order of 90% of the citizens: women, blacks, Indians, Irish, Catholics, Jews, Chinese etc. etc. These exclusions were, sometimes, made into political movements, but not with great success. The Know-Nothings faded about as quickly as the TeaParty and for similar reasons.



Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Well, Bret, as Skipper likes to remind us, States are not moral beings, they act on their own interests.

Ummm, no. With respect to international relations, within which there is no central authority, the development and implementation of national security strategy is completely amoral. (Which a direct quote would have made clear, by the way.)

That's completely different from civil society.

I get the impression that Libertarians here see no point in a nanny-state because they already have backing enough in their lives. They have connections to people who can provide indications for jobs, or contacts with people who can finance their projects, or even helping hands if they fall on financial/personal disgrace …

Granted, being well off and connected makes it easier to give that one-fingered wave to the nanny state. But doesn't that rather let the nanny state off the hook for its rewarding vice and penalizing virtue? There is no single cause for the breakdown of the American family, but the nanny state must take some blame for being an enabler. The nanny state is nowhere more omnipresent than in black urban areas. So maybe, just maybe, there are very real costs to nanny state collectivism that need taking into account. Like, for instance, the more you have of it, the more you need it.

[Bret:] I wonder why I have money taken from me by some bureaucrat in Washington to give to some Mississippian who doesn't need it nearly as much as the much poorer Madagascan. If it's about helping the poor, why not focus on the really, really poor?

The inescapable fatal flaw of collectivism is that it is a good theory that doesn't work in practice: it accounts for everything except human nature.

That "if" contains implicit, and elided, and invalid assumptions fatally undermining everything following it.

Howard, you're right, I was tipped to Limbaugh's idea by Rightwing Watch; but you're wrong about misrepresentation. His tirade was linked. That's a thing you can do on the Internet now.

Then how about setting an example and linking to his tirade.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

I guess you missed the 'no Irish need apply' jibe.

No, I was specifically replying to that.

In a democracy, government is the private sector

No. Do words mean anything at all to you?

excluded something on the order of 90% of the citizens

So all of those people you list, did not interact with society at all, being exluded? Hmmm, excluded, let's quote Wikipedia -

--
Irish Catholics concentrated in a few medium-sized cities, where they were highly visible, especially in Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans.[21][22] They became local leaders in the Democratic party
--

Huh. Local leaders. That's what you count as excluded? And you think there were "No Irish Need Apply" signs in the 1830s, along with large numbers of Chinese immigrants? And that Marbury vs. Madison was decided in 1919? No wonder you think knowing history is a curse.

Given your complete inability to grasp nuance, I expect you will read any defense as a complete exoneration, despite the difference to those of us who still think words have standard meanings.

P.S. Interesting tack from someone who has openly endorsed government enforced ethnic discrimination against Jews and Asians.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
With respect to international relations, within which there is no central authority, the development and implementation of national security strategy is completely amoral. (Which a direct quote would have made clear, by the way.)
---
My point to Bret was about international relations, since he asked why not give to a foreign country what he would be giving to a inner member of the federation. Or is that not covered by your theory on international relations?

---
So maybe, just maybe, there are very real costs to nanny state collectivism that need taking into account. Like, for instance, the more you have of it, the more you need it.
---
Granted, I recognize those costs are real. So if they are too high, the doctor should order the action of a scissor, as opposed of an ax.

Going back to the comparison with a Fraternity, should it be closed down forever after a too loud party or should it first pay a fine and get a second chance?

Harry Eagar said...

'Huh. Local leaders. That's what you count as excluded?'

I saw what you did there. I say that up to 1919, a tiny power elite used its economic and social status to run the government.

Since it was a democracy (an unrealized but powerful promise), excluded social elements tried to work the other side of the street. If they had local successes, that hardly invalidates that proposition that this so-called strong society excluded most of its members.

Anyhow, the original question was for an example of a strong society, and you picked one that is the pluperfect definition of one where the people born on third base all thought they had hit triples.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

I saw what you did there

I doubt it. You rarely pay that much attention, nor show much understanding when you do.

As in this case, where you continue to miss the distinction of society and government. When you have a minimal state, the former matters much less. Since I see no real hope of a government the size of USA federal one not being run by a tine power elite, I seek solutions ameliorate that problem.

You, as far as I can tell, simply want to put your particular power elite in charge so they can strangle civil society and re-educate us to suit them.

Then you write Since it was a democracy (an unrealized but powerful promise). Well, what was it? A democracy or not, because it was unrealized? I think you've lost the thread of your own argument with too vigorous of a "squirrel!" defense.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Since I see no real hope of a government the size of USA federal one not being run by a tine power elite, I seek solutions ameliorate that problem.
You, as far as I can tell, simply want to put your particular power elite in charge so they can strangle civil society and re-educate us to suit them.
---
Interesting.

So in the meantime, while you can't get the Libertarian ideals running place again (which, following your arguments, is since Tocqueville times), what's your next best solution? You do engage in placing your own particular elite there too?

If so, in practice, what real difference there is between you and your enemy?

Harry Eagar said...

The Constitution was radical and liberal. It was not taken seriously for a long time but eventually the logic began to take hold. Eh, voila! The national state!

I have been trying to think how I would define 'strong society.' This is it: a society in which almost everyone has a powerful interest in seeing it continue along the same general lines. (This sounds somewhat like Mills's but is different, as you no doubt will quickly apprehend.)

No one would think the US in th4 1830s was that kind of society. That helps explain the explosion of reformist movements in that decade.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;



If I'm so ineffectual, what does it matter?

Mr. Eagar;

I think the Constitution was taken quite seriously long before the 1900s. There was a bit of a brouhaha on that subject around the 1860s or so - look it up.

As for reformist movements I would draw exactly the opposite conclusion - the ability to have such movements, to see and voluntarily attempt problems, is a sign of strength. Having to have such things imposed by force is a sign of weakness.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
If I'm so ineffectual, what does it matter?
---
I don't understand what you mean here. Where you answering my previous question?

Harry Eagar said...

'imposed by force'

That's why we have elections.

Like the rest of libertarianism, what you say sounds logical but doesn't work in the real world.

Slavery for example. There were numerous private, voluntary movements to end it. All failed completely.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Yes. You asked what my backup plan was, since I couldn't get my libertarian views in effect. But if I can't do that, what does my backup plan matter?

Mr. Eagar;

The libertarian solution there was to get the government to stop enforcing slavery. That is, to stop imposing slavery by force. For some reason you never see the original problem created by government force, and interpret the removal of that force as its opposite. I find it quite bizarre.

Given that is what happened, it seems like a proven real world solution to me.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

That's quite a strange answer. I mean, it is not like to get your "libertarian views in effect" depended much on you.

I understand you don't really want to answer my initial question. You should just have told me, or ignored it from the begin.

Bret said...

Clovis asks: "And are you weaker today due to that [redistribution]? Honestly?"

In my opinion, certainly. Redistribution slows growth, and even slowing by just a couple tenths of a percent per year adds up over the decades and generations. Slower growth -> less economic and technological might -> weaker.

Harry Eagar said...

'The libertarian solution there was to get the government to stop enforcing slavery.'

Really? Am I to believe that the owners would not have defended their property anyhow?

They could have and they did.

So, next step: I have to believe that libertarians would have countenanced an attack on property. We know that the sanctity of property was one of the most potent arguments used against government-imposed emancipation.

Anyhow, I'd give a purty to see the libertarian attack on property.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I find your question very strange. I answered it as best I could. I have goals, I work toward them. I think if I thought them truly unobtainable, I'd probably go the full hedonism route.

Mr. Eagar;

Am I to believe that the owners would not have defended their property anyhow?

Believe whatever you like. But as you yourself have stated many times, if the State doesn't define something as property and aid in its defense, it's not really property at all (e.g., intellectual property).

The slave owners knew this, hence the Fugitive Slave laws. Again, I see why you view knowing history as a curse, it makes your Narrative hard to sustain.

I have to believe that libertarians would have countenanced an attack on property.

No. Libertarianism starts with the premise that people are not property, it is their primary argument for a minimal state.

Bret;

Not to mention keeping the poor poorer.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
I work toward them. I think if I thought them truly unobtainable, I'd probably go the full hedonism route.
---
Which means you are already at the 99% Hedonism route...?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Redistribution slows growth, and even slowing by just a couple tenths of a percent per year adds up over the decades and generations.
---
It must take either balls or ignorance to make such an affirmation with no signs of how the uncertainty on your knowledge disavows it.

Annoying Old Guy said...

you are already at the 99% Hedonism route...?

No. Waiting on the OPM famine to really start kicking in.

It must take either balls or ignorance to make such an affirmation

You mean like declaring valid data "mathematically false"?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I mean like declaring false affirmations based on small data samples.

BTW, what do you mean by "full hedonism route"?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "It must take either balls or ignorance..."

Nope, just wisdom and experience. Just because you haven't figured it out yet, doesn't mean I haven't.

Clovis e Adri said...

A good answer Bret. Not one particularly humble, but at least more polite than mine. I'll change my tone.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

That was counter-evidence, not an affirmation.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

It looks like there are other people who would say the welfare may even give growth a hand.

An excerpt:
----------------
Many believe the following three statements to be true. The welfare state undermines
productivity and economic growth. The United States has an unusually small welfare state. And,
the United States is and always has been a welfare state laggard. This paper is based largely on
our book entitled Wealth and Welfare States: Is America A Laggard or Leader? (Garfinkel
Rainwater and Smeeding 2010) with some updated for recent events. The paper shows that all
three propositions are false. All rich nations, including the United States, have large welfare
states because the socialized programs that constitute the welfare state—public education and
health and social insurance—enhance the productivity of capitalism and spur economic
development. In public education, the most productive part of the welfare state, for most of the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the United States was the world leader, but is no longer.

Though few would argue that public education is not part of the welfare state, most
previous cross-national analyses of welfare states have omitted education. Including education as
part of the welfare state has profound consequences, undergirding the case for the productivity of
welfare state programs and the explanation for why all rich nations have large welfare states, as
well as identifying US welfare state leadership.
---------------

Annoying Old Guy said...

"Our claims don't pan out, so let's change our definitions until they do". Got it.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,


They clearly look to believe that, absent the welfare state, most rich nations would be less productive and have less growth.

And that's the opposite of Bret's claim.

You could try to answer that point, instead of running from the argument with sarcasm.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Right, and so they redefined "welfare state" to suit. It's not the opposite of Bret's claim because they changed the meaning of the term. Now that's ideological commitment that exceeds even mine.

Or, would find it acceptable for me to disprove your claims by redefining the words you used? Like Eagar does with "government" and "private sector"?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

In another thread, a while ago, you told me welfare spending could only be properly accounted by taking all transfer payments.

Now you complain they are including that particular transfer in their definition?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Spending on education isn't a transfer payment, it is the purchase of a service, the same way military spending isn't a transfer payment.

I would also note that if that was so clear and inarguable, the paper you cite wouldn't need to argue it.

Finally, it's a rather disingenuous tactic, IMHO, to try to justify pure transfer payments by stating that educational spending is beneficial, it is to me an admission that the welfare state in the sense the term is normally is used can't be justified on that basis.

Clovis e Adri said...

If you pay the school for my children, aren't you making a transfer of part of your income to mine?

Annoying Old Guy said...

If I pay a cop to protect them, am I making a transfer of my income to you?

What, in your view, distinguishes a transfer payment from a non-transfer payment? What things does the government do that are not transfer payments?

In my view if the government pays a person to perform a service of general benefit, it's not a transfer payment. A transfer payment is moving money from citizen A to citizen for the benefit of B. This is also the standard definition.

Clovis e Adri said...

Do your kids use public school, AOG?

If not, I fail to see how the taxes you pay to sustain those schools is not a transfer payment by your very definition.

erp said...

Clovis, until relatively recently (30-40 years ago), public schools were the function of local communities and as such differed greatly from each other. Communities interested in their children's education put more of their taxes into the schools and attracted like-minded people to their communities. Even the less affluent community schools were adequate in teaching the basics, so graduates were able to go into the world to seek their fortunes (yes, Harry, blacks had it harder, but in fact, were able to succeed as well until the Great Society and its minions, the all-powerful teachers’ unions, put the kibosh to that).

After the "it's not fair" people got into power and states started penalizing school districts which spent more than some imaginary base conjured up by social scientists and our school systems were hi-jacked by state boards of education there-to-fore nonexistent, followed by a federal cabinet position department of education thus insuring an un(mis)-informed citizenry, the very kind Benjamin Franklin cautioned would not be able to keep the republic he and the other FF created for us.

As with many things, old Ben knew what he was talking about which is why now the president rules by fiat and it’s mainly only us old geezers who think there’s anything wrong with that.

In your universe, do public roads and byways represent money transferred directly from those who don’t own cars to those who do in the same way funds from those who don’t have kids in school transfer their money directly to those who do?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
In your universe, do public roads and byways represent money transferred directly from those who don’t own cars to those who do in the same way funds from those who don’t have kids in school transfer their money directly to those who do?
---

Good question. We could do the same question regarding many areas of "traditonal welfare" - like healthcare, for example, where the exact tranfer payment from A to B is hard to locate too.

I am not arguing about schools being part of welfare just to disagree with AOG, as he likes to believe. Down here, public schools and universities have been always seen as part of the general welfare provided by the State (be it at federal, state or local level of govt.). I was in fact surprised to discover they aren't seen as such in the USA.

BTW, with few exceptions, public schools (contrary to public universities) here are generally seen as very weak places of learning. So in practice the people who most use it (who tend to be poor) are the ones least paying for it by their taxes. The higher income people all have their children in good private schools, so they are both paying directly for their children education, and indirectly for the education of others. It sure looks like a transfer payment system to me. The ones not using the public system are not directly benefitted by it.

And that's a clear difference from roads, bridges and Police stations: you may not use a car, or you may not being robbed just right now, but we can argue you are being directly benefited by therie xistence anyway (how would goods arrive to you if there were no roads and neither cops to guard them?)

So, going back to AOG's criterium (" A transfer payment is moving money from citizen A to citizen for the benefit of B"), it is clear that schools and healthcare are covered, IMHO, while the Police and Roads is not (since both citizen A and B get to be benefitted).


Apart from this discussion, I'd like to get back to Bret's initial point, "Redistribution slows growth", which he stated in absolute ways. I believe the link I presented - wheter you agree with his definition of welafre or not - is still an argument on redistribution being, under right circumstances, possibly conducive to growth. That's not being answered by you guys, IMO.

erp said...

Clovis, my traditional lament is that the left doesn't define its terms and your trying to equate conditions in Brazil with our system doesn't work. Welfare, stimulus and other gimmicks do not contribute to prosperity, nor could they. It’s like the old joke, that when your business is losing money, you don’t make it up in volume.

Charity for the unfortunate is a way of life for most of us and something we do gladly either individually or through religious or civics associations. Welfare is bribery which infantilizes people and makes them dependent. Stimulus as can be seen now by everyone except its recipients has done nothing more than create a whole new class of crony capitalists and beggared our formerly formidable middle class.

We have a Constitution in the U.S. (it might be a good idea for you to read it -- it's very short and easy to read before trying to contort yourself into comparisons where none can exist) which spells out a very simple blue print to be followed by all the states and specifically says that states may do as they please with things not specifically assigned to the feds. However, as our citizens have become increasing propagandized and dumbed down over the years, the feds have appropriated more and more power unto itself until we have the specter of Obama et al. ruling by diktat.

If you read what I said above, prior to the takeover of the public schools by the leftist teachers’ unions (a result of the assassination of Kennedy when the public was ready to approve any nonsense they were fed), people lived in the kind of towns that had the services they required and were prepared to pay for, like excellent schools, parks, etc. In some upscale towns, the public schools were better than most private schools. Middle class towns also had good schools because people with families were willing to give up a good percentage of their incomes for them. Big cities were able to finance their public schools and also provide really superior special schools for those kids with exceptional ability (I know that personally because I am a product of the New York City school system where in the 40’s and 50’s there were kids of every possible racial and ethnic group represented – the high school I attended had 6,000 students). The schools were safe havens even in the ghettoes and kids learned!

All gone now – progressives take a bow.

Harry Eagar said...

'the left doesn't define its terms'

I'll be happy to define my terms:

Around 1975, the public school system of Norfolk, Virginia, was planning to replace its all-black high school, Booker T. Washington, which was falling apart from lack of maintenance. The white schools, Granby and Maury, built at the same time, were showplaces.

The New Booker T. was still 3 or 4 years in the future when the water system to the lockerrooms failed. The all-white, all rightwing local school board decided it would be throwing good money after bad to repair the pipes in a building that was going to be torn down in a few years.

The left objected.

erp, you can stop telling lies because I was there. I know what happened.

erp said...

Harry, thanks for that bit of news. I had no idea there were fascists in charge of the Norfolk schools during the mid-70's.

Harry Eagar said...

Rightwingers, erp. Conservative, Christian Republicans.

erp said...

Harry, so sorry. I keep forgetting that in the south, the very same Democrats who were the slave owners, instituted Jim Crow, invented the KKK, held regularly scheduled lynchings, etc. transmogrified into Republicans and Christians to boot, just in time to stop the water flow into the locker rooms of the darkie high school.

You really can't make up this stuff.

... and BTW - I didn't say the schools in the ghettoes were show places, I said they were were safe havens and the kids learned -- too bad that is no longer true.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

If you take a look at what are the determinant factors for a kid succeding in school, it has a lot more to do with his home than with the school itself.

So all this blame game you have against unions, boards and whatever else, is a bit misguided, as usual. They have a share of blame for some decaying conditions in schools, but it has so much more to do with home/family dynamics and ensuing values.

I know, I need to deal with consequences of that even at the university level.

erp said...

Of course, the home is the most important factor, but we are not talking about kids with that advantage, but kids without it.

It's much easier to say (and possibly even believe) that I and others who share my values are misguided than it is to come to grips with the reality that lefty solutions so integral to your thinking don't and can't work.

Things were better before social engineering, to mis-quote a famous philosopher, people ain't beanbag.

It's over 50 years since the GREAT SOCIETY fixed everything and things are much much worse (except for the bottom line of the poverty pimps).

To quote Harry: because I was there. I know what happened.

Harry Eagar said...

As a matter of recorded fact, erp, yes. In 1969, the voters of Norfolk rejected the Democratic Party for the first time in generations and elected as their congressman Bill Whitehurst, and kept electing him for the next 20 years.

Whitehurst is ranked in the rightward third of all congressmen, very close to a rightwinger you may have heard about (but then again, since you know so little of our history, maybe not) Guy van der Jagt.

So, yes, the mass movement of white racists into the Republican party, which had begun with Goldwater (not Nixon) was just about complete by 1970.

erp said...

Nixon was a socialist. Since racism is the wholly subsidiary of the left, you can shout this theory from the rooftops till you turn blue (pun intended), it doesn't make it any truer.

Harry Eagar said...

Was Goldwater a socialist? The racist southern wing of the Democratic Party realized shortly after Kennedy was elected their strategy of blocking antiracism by occupying a keystone position in the Democratic Party was out of date. They certainly got the message when Judge Smith, the rabid racist who chaired the Rules Committee, was beaten by a liberal in the primary.

They changed course. They were more comfortable among Republicans on most issues anyway, so the migration was so much easier. They had only ever been Democrats anyway because the Republicans had been in office when the South lost the war.

Some Republicans were liberal in those days, like Javits, but the Goldwater revolution got rid of them. The Republican party joyfully welcomed the racists and has never looked back. Even Judge Posner has finally, rather late, recognized it:

http://www.salon.com/2014/10/13/gop_voter_id_law_gets_crushed_why_judge_richard_posners_ruling_is_so_amazing/

erp said...

No Harry, Goldwater wasn't a socialist, but Nixon was. Why did we need liberals in the conservative movement? Let the Javits/Rockefeller people go left and good riddance.

Nothing you say will chance the facts. The left is racist and anti-Semitic. Conservatives are their polar opposites. We embrace everybody as individuals. We don't pigeon-hole people and see them as members of a group.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Of course, the home is the most important factor, but we are not talking about kids with that advantage, but kids without it.
---
I don't think you get my point, Erp. I am talking about people with homes. Sometimes with good and big homes - I mean financially - yet with no real guidance from their parents. They turn into failing students because they lack simple skills that a more caring family would usually provide.

If you want to blame liberals for the woes in education, you can rightly set your blame on the dysfuncional family models they helped to spread around, instead of your usual culprit the unions.

erp said...

The unions are the culprit in the schools. You don't get my point. The schools were the safe haven and the place where kids from all different backgrounds learned about our country, had pride in our ideals while also learning how to read, write and do arithmetic. They read the classics, learned how to be civilized citizens, etc. The reason the kids today are not versed in these things is because even their grandparents are the victims of bad union run schools starting in the 60's.

Harry Eagar said...

Many of them weren't even in school, erp. Not working class kids. They quit after 6 or 8 years.

erp said...

Harry, are we back in the 1800's again?

Kids had to stay in school until 16 in my day.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
You don't get my point. The schools were the safe haven and the place where kids from all different backgrounds learned [...]
---
There you go again, thinking school had magical wands to compensate for the lack of parenting.

They hadn't Erp, it just happened that back then there were more parents, where by "parents" I mean the caring kind, not just the biological one.

In black neighborhoods, the school would need to "compensate" for a 20% parent-less class, not for a 80% of your present days. That's a big difference.

The same goes to some extent in your white schools today too, where the kid may have parents around, but they don't do the hard work of actually educating them at the basics: they just spoil the child and expect school will take from there.

erp said...

Schools don't have magic wands. They provide a place where kids can learn what they aren't taught at home and if you would actually internalize what I say, you would understand that the schools since the 60's are deliberately mis-educating students, so the parents and even grandparents of today's kids are also victims of their propagandizing.

The blame for our decline falls directly on leftwing policies, but they couldn't succeed without the teachers' unions doing their part in preparing our citizens to accept their claptrap.

Clovis e Adri said...

I get the feeling we are not even talking about the same issue, Erp.

Would you like to provide examples?

erp said...

I've made my positions abundantly clear several times and examples are our dumbed down citizenry.

Harry Eagar said...

Nevertheless, many poor kids did not stay in school. You could actually find out about this if you wanted to do so, instead of just making stuff up.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Your positions are anything but "abundantly clear".

I wonder if in the parallel universe you live the Unions invade the classes and start lecturing to kids about how rich people are evil.

erp said...

Clovis, don't you understand. The unions RUN the schools, they don't have to invade the classrooms. This has nothing to do with rich people??? The schools, like the rest of the country, have gone the full Alinsky.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

So we are indeed talking about different subjects.

Your complaint looks to be narrowly related to the political alignment of unions, and you think that translates (how?) to policial alignment of the teacher in the classroom and the content he teaches. (I wonder how that happens in math classes, for example).

I was talking about other not so much related topic, which is effectivity of learning, of schools achieving what they were supposedly made for.

You are a profoundly political person, which makes you forget that most people in schools - students and teachers - are not really caring so much por politics. The math teacher is, in the ideal case, really interested in making people learn math. The math student, in the ideal case, is interested in getting what the teacher is talking about. And so on...

To judge the merits of schools today by your political prism, as opposed to their effectiveness as a learning center, only really shows something about you, Erp, not the schools.

erp said...

Clovis, as in most things about the U.S., you don't know what you are talking about. Lefty politics permeates everything in the schools. It starts in the education departments and teachers' colleges. Read about the new Common Core curriculum -- only latest abomination and yes it's in the math classrooms too.

What it shows about me Clovis, is that I care about our kids and our country. The few teachers who think they can get around the union soon find out their masters run a tight ship and no deviation is permitted, so seek other employment.

Clovis e Adri said...

Ok Erp, I 'll accept my ignorance and withdraw from the topic.

I still wonder how math can be such a political topic in your classroom, but I hardly expect you'll specify that.

Harry Eagar said...

Curiously, opposition to Common Core comes also from teachers' unions but don't confuse erp with information.

erp said...

Perhaps Harry would enlighten with his facts about why many teachers' union now oppose common core. His version should very entertaining.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

I was aware of that after I went to read about the subject, but facts mean very little for Erp. There is a whole wild world inside her head, better not to distract her with the real world around.

erp said...

Clovis, good, Harry is probably busy, so why don't you tell us why the teachers' unions oppose common core.

Clovis e Adri said...

Well, that's obvious: because they are Libertarians just like you.

Oh, wait.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

AOG's criterium (" A transfer payment is moving money from citizen A to citizen for the benefit of B"), it is clear that schools and healthcare are covered

No, because the money is not moved to B, but to a provider of services for education. Health insurance is a transfer payment because the money is moved to B. Government provided health care is a bit of a grey area.

By the way, I am still waiting for your definition of "transfer payment" that doesn't cover all government spending.

I believe the link I presented - wheter you agree with his definition of welafre or not - is still an argument on redistribution being, under right circumstances, possibly conducive to growth

You are presuming an unproven causation from a correlation. It is quite possible it goes the other way - a country becomes rich due to free markets, and therefore creates a welfare state. That was the history of Sweden, for instance. You can see kind of a cycle of that in New Zealand as well over the last 20 years or so.

On the other hand, it's quite possible that under certain circumstances, such spending is conducive to growth. And some people who smoke cigarettes live long and healthy lives.

As for politizing math, allow me to clarify it by noting the teacher's unions are leading the way.

P.S. I must say Eagar's comment about "defining terms" was a classic of proving your opponents point obliviously.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

As long we are citing studies, I will do so as well. Does that constitute a response?

--
If the U.S. economy had grown an extra 2% per year since 1949, 2014′s GDP would be about $58 trillion, not $17 trillion. So says a study called “Federal Regulation and Aggregate Economic Growth,” published in 2013 by the Journal of Economic Growth. More than taxes, it’s been runaway federal regulation that’s crimped U.S. growth by the year
--

I'm out of town this week, at a tech conference. I have to get up early to day to help a Brazilian newbie who flew up to Sunnyvale to attend.

erp said...

Ahhh, aog, I believe that is what is known as a "teaching moment."

Wow! Bret. Have your robots moved to take over GGW's!

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
No, because the money is not moved to B, but to a provider of services for education. Health insurance is a transfer payment because the money is moved to B. Government provided health care is a bit of a grey area.
---
I can't really see the difference between your examples above. I could say in both cases that money was moved to a provider of services. In the healh insurance case, no one getting subsidies for their insurance would have them without buying the insurance, so the transfer of money is from citizen A (a higher payer of taxes) -> Govt -> citizen B (a lower payer of taxes) -> service provider.

But that's not even the point, since what you need to look for - following your own definition of transfer payments - is who is getting benefited by the money moving around. And by that prism, both in education and health insurance you have transfer payments happening.

---
By the way, I am still waiting for your definition of "transfer payment" that doesn't cover all government spending.
---
I don't need another definition, yours is good enough for me, as I pointed out before.

That you can not consistently use your own definition is not my problem.

---
You are presuming an unproven causation from a correlation.
---
Right. Great point. For that's my whole point against Bret's initial position. He takes a limited correlation and applies it as if it were a proven general causation. I've shown then other correlations that goes counter the one he takes as granted. Simple as that. What I am arguing here is not that welfare is necessarily good, but that its portray as necessarily bad is misguided.

---
As for politizing math, allow me to clarify it by noting the teacher's unions are leading the way.
---
I don't know what to make of that, AOG. That didn't look like a class for kids. And I don't share her opinions that her examples would have any political meaning. She may believe that, but that's only proof that unions may have stupid people in their leadership. I am shocked by that, aren't you?

---
As long we are citing studies, I will do so as well. Does that constitute a response?
---
It is a response, just not a serious one. My link was indeed a study, while your is a political ranting supplemented by an elementary exercise in math.

---
I'm out of town this week, at a tech conference. I have to get up early to day to help a Brazilian newbie who flew up to Sunnyvale to attend.
---
Are they even paying you for that? If you give the guy an address, believe me, even Brazilians can figure out how to get a cab in an airport. :-)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

can't really see the difference between your examples above

That you can't see that is not my problem. As your own original cite indicated, that's a standard distinction.

I don't know what to make of that, AOG.

Except that I'm wrong. You seemed to have made that out of it.

If you give the guy an address, believe me, even Brazilians can figure out how to get a cab in an airport.

Um, OK. I didn't discuss that with him.