Of Babies, Bathwater, and Blind People.

I always thought that the expression about throwing out the baby with the bath water was silly. I mean, who doesn’t know the difference between slightly soapy liquid and small human? Unless, of course, every adult involved in this is blind and lacks the sense of touch.

Now I’m not so sure, because I see people all around me do it. They mix up baby and bath water, and confuse signs of health and signs of decadence, and generally take the opportunity to bewail the current state of affairs as a sign of terrible things to come, and evil days ahead. And generally make me want to get my broomstick and crack some heads.

Look, I’m not going to say we’re in the best situation possible. I don’t lie to my friends. (I almost typed that fiends, which also applies: Sarah’s Fiends or Shall We Toss Out Baby is a title for a great Victorian novel.)

I have in the past – on this very blog – explained to people the mess we’re in. From the fiat currency in which no one with half a brain can put any faith at all, to the miserable state of underemployment, to the fact that most of us keep retrenching and still coming up short on money.

So, the picture is not rosy. For any other country I’d say it’s impossible. But we’re not any other country. We’re Americans. We fix things. We do things. We built new things. And we have enough of an history of consistently pulling rabbits out of the hat (ours or someone else’s) that I expect we’ll do it once again. Maybe G-d does love children, drunkards and the United States of America. Or maybe we just aren’t good at laying down and dying. Who knows?

What I know is that I’m hearing bewailed as signs of our decadence (supposed. I think rumors of our decadence, like rumors of our death, are grossly exaggerated) aren’t.

I’ll start by explaining: I was raised in a very traditional society. The ah… state capitalism system I was born under (I’m not using “fascist” simply because the regime by itself was neither anti-Semitic nor allied with the Axis and if it stayed neutral in world war two it was more penury and the fact that Spain could have marched in any minute. But State Capitalist it was. Say like China today, if a little less ruthless) was a very traditional society. Very. Like most societies ruled from above by people who think of themselves as do-gooders, it behooved everyone to fit in as much as they could. It wasn’t a good idea, for instance, to shout out bad things about the politicians in charge or the country, or the countries history. And if you were a foreigner, it wasn’t safe to tell people how poor they were compared to the rest of the world. At any rate we already knew it.

There were certain advantages to the situation – no, I’m not actually joking. I’m not defending the regime either – in the sense that it almost stopped innovation, and that things were comfy and familiar. My childhood was better than my mother’s in that we had antibiotics and vaccines, and most of my generation didn’t die. (Though a substantial number did in one epidemic.)

Oh, we were poor as Job and there were no imported luxuries because things like coke were strictly forbidden (in fact the only – very expensive – soft drink I remember from childhood was orange soda. I got it as a treat once a month or so in summer. With peanuts.) And people were so destitute they stole clothes from the line. Also, people would unravel an old sweater, re-dye the wool and knit a “new” sweater.

But we also all lived more or less at the same level. And there were no surprises. No one suddenly struck it rich. No one became poor overnight.

When that changed (and the people who came in were another flavor of socialist but that’s a long story) people became panicky and started talking about things like it was the end of the world.

And I don’t mean political stuff, which sometimes was almost the end of the world, but society stuff. As in, “We now have coke in stores. This is decadence and misery.” Yeah. Because for some reason in humans’ heads the trigger for “Run and hide” is close to the trigger for “things are changing and I have to adapt to new things.”

The reason is probably because when everything changed and our ancestors were barely human, running and hiding was the only sensible thing. Right?

New tribe over the ridge? Run and hide. Earthquake? Run and hide. River dried out? Run and hide.

Unfortunately this doesn’t help in the current state of affairs.

Again, I’m not saying we don’t have reasons to worry. We have tons of reasons to worry. But I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts that most of the free-floating anxiety you feel right now has more to do with the fact that things are changing really fast.

Used to be you could look ahead and sort of predict where you’d be in five/ten years. And I don’t mean the fact none of us knows where he/she will be because, well, we don’t know how to survive in this economy just now. I mean…

Take my profession. In ten years, I have no idea what it will look like, or what things I’ll be doing. Take the launch of Witchfinder. It is not something I’d have even THOUGHT of ten years ago. Or five. Three, perhaps. Barely.

Things change. Fast. This scares us and we mumble of decadence and disorder.

Then there’s yeah, our education is for sh*t right now, partly intentional I’m sure on the part of education luminaries taught by Ayers. But that’s neither here nor there. Over the next ten years, people will find new ways of learning what they know. People are good at adapting. We’ll lose some percentage, but there’s no perfect system. We always lose some percentage. Right now, most of what school teaches is wrong, and do we want them better at teaching wrong things.

But of course what we get is “those illiterate kids! It’s the end of the world.”

And then there Americans’ acceptance of the oddball, the weird, the frankly strange. We have it, you know. All of us.

Look, that was the first thing I noticed when I came here, and remember I was in the North East which is a bastion of conformity, compared to the rest of us.

Anywhere else in the world, an adult with an accent is not just an oddity; he or she is someone to be shunned.

And I don’t know if it’s Portugal’s totalitarian heritage, or just a cultural thing, but I used to agonize about wearing the “wrong” length skirt. Because people care that you wear that year’s fashions and look like everyone else.

My first experience in the states reveled in oddities. The high school students who dressed (clearly) in their grandparents’ clothes. The kids who were pursuing a different course of study. The young people very serious about an artistic vocation and pursuing it without waiting the blessing of their elders.

All these were special to me, as were joke sayings on the teacher’s walls, or the fact everyone was so approachable.

To me it was like coming home. When my mom visited years later, she thought it was the end of the world and “anarchy.”

What I’m trying to say is this: the people – particularly on the right – who think the fifties were the last time this country was healthy should consider the regime then in many ways resembled that which I was born under: it was more conformist, more stultifying than what we have now. Not stultifying enough, though, to keep tech from progressing and when tech changes, society eventually changes. Not immediately, but like the snow flakes accumulating till there’s an avalanche. And when the avalanche hits, that’s when people think it’s the end of the world.

While the end of the world is more likely to come to a “stable” and “top down” regime.

It’s not that diversity is our strength so much – certainly not diversity of skin color which means nothing. It’s that our toleration for the odd allows us to import Odds from all over the world. And Odds, in the way of outliers everywhere, are often the most productive (and the least productive – sometimes the same person – people in the universe.)

Decadence might yet come to America, but it won’t be in the form of wild clothes, or people of different opinions (or sexual preferences, or…) not being afraid to be themselves. That’s rather a sign that we’re not decadent. (Those who have different opinions being persecuted is not so much a sign of people’s oddities or sexual preferences hanging out, it’s a sign of way too many Marxists around. Honestly, it’s high time someone made a spray called Marx Be Gone.)

It’s countries who are dying who do stupid things like pass restrictive laws on private behavior, to seem strong. Russia is doing this because it is dying and a society under stress can’t afford anyone who acts odd, at all. I’m not saying the wounded bear is negligible or that it won’t take a good chunk of civilization down with it. I’m saying that’s not a healthy civilization: birth rate, age at death, and the ever-present flight of women – all speak the dying bear.

We don’t need that. That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Next thing you know, as in Iran, we’d be policing haircuts, clothes, and making sure women are REALLY covered up. No, thanks. I’ll pass.

What I first fell in love with, in America, was the fact people could laugh – even at themselves – and that even odd ducks were accepted.

I’m an odd duck who can pass. (Not odd that way. But odd in this SF/F way we have.) But not having to pass frees energies for writing and other world.

And writing, btw, it would be really hard in Portugal, because who do I think I am? Here I think I’m me, and write me, and people buy it. And it’s good.

Which brings me to: don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. I don’t want to go back to the fifties and you know neither do you. The fifties the lamenters would like to go back to, never existed, anyway. They’re an artifact of looking back. In the fifties, with the kids all having automobiles and the break up of the extended family and the move to the suburbs – you know the world was falling apart and we were decadent.

We always are. And yet, we always remain standing while other countries fall. Because we reinvent ourselves, and, at the last minute, grab the baby of technological innovation and tolerance for the odd (and the Odd) and throw out the bathwater of division, forced conformity and dictation from above in all its forms.

Let’s do it again.

428 responses to “Of Babies, Bathwater, and Blind People.

  1. And the last thing out of the box was Hope. Thanks, Sarah, for seeing the bright spots.
    It’s real easy, looking fixedly at the problems, to become saturated with gloom. Sort of a Societal Affective Disorder (SAD) caused by fixating on the problems, instead of a lack of sunshine

  2. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I don’t want to bring things back to the fifties.

    I know what the Democrats were doing/pulling in the fifties.

    That they’ve stopped doing it, or at least changed the who and the how is a good thing.

    And it was in some ways worse before the fifties. In the fifties, Americans had just seen and rejected what Hitler and the Nazis were up to,not to mention the Showa Tenno et al., and were in the middle on reflecting on and changing things at home.

  3. One comment that diverges on a tangent, but somewhat relevant.

    Over at ESR’s blog was a LONG discussion related to the whole Firefox/Eich thing.

    I’m not going to go into the details, but the point was made that “just because humanity believed ‘X’ for thousands of years doesn’t make that belief wrong…. (and ESR made the point that one of the counterexamples provided – slavery – actually had thousands of years of moral opposition…)

    That made me think for a bit. It stuck in my craw for two reasons. One – the assumption that this long standing societal custom had no purpose (it was wrong, period), and second, that for thousands and thousands of years, humanity was wrong, BUT WE KNOW BETTER NOW. (yes, the progressive contempt for the past, because every generation that follows is superior…)

    There are some things (like not understanding gravity or how the planets move, or chemistry) where our understanding – our model of “how things work” IS indeed factually wrong. But any custom or rule that has been in place for a while – that has naturally grown and STAYED (and by “for a while I do mean decades, even a few generations) serves a purpose.

    So. our knowledge of how the universe works may change, but people don’t change so much. If a societal custom stays in place for centuries, perhaps this attitude that was “wrong” was actually helpful under different circumstances than we have now. Perhaps by so eagerly ripping up and throwing away old customs without figuring out why they were there, we are indeed throwing out the good with the bad, or as the title here suggests, the baby with the bathwater.

    Perhaps because we are not so close to the edge of survival that we have allowed attitudes to flourish that prioritize happiness and self-fulfillment over raising another generation of kids. Certainly, despite claims of supporting any woman’s choice to have a career or not as they choose, there’s an active disdain for staying home and raising a family (especially when one is young and healthy). And what kind of jobs do many women get? [note, generalization follows] Taking care of and teaching other peoples kids. Taking care of other peoples homes, and other people’s health. organizing other people’s lives as secretaries and HR people (and yes, some become engineers and machinists, etc….). Or doing stuff that was once a hobby (art, etc..).

    So yes, I thoroughly don’t care who one chooses to sleep with. I certainly don’t encourage people to beat up or bully someone over it. I don’t care if a woman who’s good at it works in an office, designs circuits, designs buildings, or writes code.

    I DO think that we tear down custom without understanding it at our peril. And I think that we need to consider making sure we factor in having and teaching the next generation as a priority if we want to pass our values on.

    • I guess it’s the Odd streak in me, but more and more I find myself looking at something the Right Sort of People don’t like and wondering “why did this practice/tradition start? What was the original purpose?” There might have been a legitimate reason at the time, or it might be related to a condition that has since passed (in some places). And if you dig hard enough, there might still be a good underlying societal reason for an “out of date/ disempowering/ patriarchal/ hypocritical” practice like, oh, abstaining from random sexual encounters, or eating modest amounts of animal protein, or not poking sleeping bears. And other practices, such as chattel slavery, have been studied to death and should, indeed, be eradicated, even though various religions can point to their/our holy writings allowing or even commanding slavery.

      • This is Chesterton’s Fence. Don’t tear something down if you don’t know why it was first put up.

        • But you have to look at where the holes already are. They’re already there. Our sexual mores have already changed more, because of safe contraceptives than at any time in the history of humanity. And it has changed marriage. I’m not saying all of it is bad. I intended to have as many kids as I could — turned out it was two whoo hooo — but I can see an advantage in women not spending most of their lives pregnant both for women and society. And I’m not saying all of it is good. We seem to be contracepting ourselves out of existence and our young women are emotional messes ever-more-dependent on government. I’m saying we have to look at how the custom changed, why, and not simply say “Let’s go back to the way it was 100 years ago,” because that won’t work, because it’s already changed. Rational reaction is needed, not backlashing.

          • William O. B'Livion

            “because of safe contraceptives”

            Safe in which sense?

            How many abortions since Roe V. Wade. What is the increase in STDs? What percentage of children were born out of wedlock in 1964? In 2014 what will it be?

            Aids. Antibiotic resistent Syphilis. HPV.

            Tell me again about “safe” contraceptives?

            • I just meant the pill — safe in the sense that 90% of the time it will work, which is a vast improvement on what there was before, in the sense that “some herbs” were as likely to kill the mother as the baby.
              Yep — the other stuff is because it is safe or perceived as such. What I’m trying to say is women’s sexuality has changed because of perception (and to an extent reality) of EFFECTIVE contraception.
              Note, I ALSO didn’t say it was a good thing, just that it had happened.
              In many cases, it’s a very bad thing. Most of you know my views on abortion, I don’t blog on it because who has the time to deal with the troll-vasion?

              • because who has the time to deal with the troll-vasion?

                Larry Correia.

                • Mike Williamson? But they tend to tag-team, so that might not be a straight apples-to-apples comparison.

                  • Okay. I might have the time too, if I weren’t up to my neck in stuff that dropped last year. You’ll have to be patient with me.

                    • Dr. Jerry Pournelle used to tell the story of a SF writer who was starving while he wrote replies to his fans. Not the sort of thing anyone should emulate.

                      You seem to have your priorities straight. We are glad to see you catching up and will be patient.

                  • It’s a hobby for those guys. Something they do to relax. You can find yourself devoting an awful lot of time to your hobbies…

          • I suppose my real reservation about this particular shift is there has been no real debate on it. The involved subject matter is still more or less taboo for public discourse, so no one really discusses it, or why it is, or where people thing it is going.

            People just seem to treat it as the same thing as the civil rights movement, and then they seem to treat the civil rights movement as something that was received from the heavens, and completely miss the couple of centuries of very serious debate about the subject, that lead to modern civil rights. If you want to hold onto it, you need to remember where it came from to begin which, not push it out of the realms of polite conversation.

            That which the heavens dispense, the heavens take away.

            And that’s my rant for the day.

        • Locally there was a ditch that on research appears to have been dug in the late 1800’s based on the route and maps of ownership. A local developer built a parking lot on it, and because it was a soft area, built the lot up sufficiently so it wouldn’t buckle or slump. Of course, the neighborhood flooded the next winter. The ditch had been dug to drain a marshy area so it could be farmed and the parking lot was now essentially a dam for a fairly extensive area. So, yes, if there is a lot of effort spent on something it is probably because it serves a purpose.

        • Give ‘em the full glory:

          In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

          This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.

          • Sometimes the purpose is to father and solidify the hold of those in power.

            Of course, this is not the case anywhere near as often as the “occupy” crowd would like it to be.

            • Sometimes the purpose is to father and solidify the hold of those in power.

              Important thing to keep in mind: against what?

              Kind of like when you start thinking too hard about Star Wars, you can start having nightmares about the effect that a sudden removal of everything gov’t related will have on that universe. (My bets on the Hutt types taking over.)

              • Or that because of the constant exposure to violence, death, and fighting, by the end of the Clone Wars, ALL of the Jedi were tainted by the Dark Side, and there was NO good choice for Anakin at the point where Palpatine and Mace Windu were having their climactic duel, so the statement of Obi-Wan Kenobi that the Jedi were guardians of peace and justice is either hearkening back to an even earlier period (say, Qui-Gon’s time) or self-serving romanticizing about the way things used to be as seen hazily after nearly twenty years in the wilderness.

                Speaking of tangents in ATH…

                • Elfie and I are in agreement that the Jedi were NOT light– they were order vs the Sith’s chaos. (How do you make chaos strong? Make it so there’s only one top dog at a time. Anarchy taken to the logical extreme.)

                  If the Jedi were good, then they wouldn’t freaking mind-control people. (‘These are not the droids you are looking for.’)

                  So there should be lawful good as opposed to the lawful and chaotic neutral of the Jedi and Sith.

                  • If the Jedi were good, then they wouldn’t freaking mind-control people. (‘These are not the droids you are looking for.’)

                    Counterpoint: if Ben Kenobi were evilly inclined, he could have been using said mind-control powers for a lot more than staying alive and unarrested. The fact that he lives like a hermit in a simple house in the desert suggests that he exercises restraint in his use of said powers.

                    What other occasions do we see him use that? He creates a phantom noise to distract some guards on the Death Star (kinder than killing them, though they presumably die later on when Luke blows it up), and that’s it, to my memory. He never, for example, uses it on the starship captain he’s negotiating passage to Alderaan with, to get a lower price. Instead, he accepts a price that’s just barely on the edge of the resources he has. He also doesn’t mind-control the Jawa to whom he sells the landspeeder.

                    Now, about the Jedi of the alleged* prequels, I might agree with you. Forbidding Jedi from marrying? How freakin’ stupid is that?

                    * “Alleged” because, like the R.O.U.S.es, I don’t believe they exist. In the Star Wars game I’m currently GMing (using FFG’s Edge of the Empire system), I consider the original trilogy, plus Zahn’s novels, to be canon… and that’s it.

                    • Ah, but it’s explained to only work on the weak-minded….which smugglers and pawn shops are unlikely to have.

                      Still, most of the supporting evidence is from the “prequels.”

                    • Yes, let us not speak of these so-called, these alleged prequels, and their muddying of certain waters. If we just look at the original trilogy, and Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy (haven’t read the follow up yet), then things are a lot more clear.

                      I’d point out, however, that I don’t believe that the Sith are chaotic, per se. They have very strict laws and conventions, including the absolute limit on the number of Sith there are at any given time – that being two. (And yes, I’m drawing on more than just the original trilogy there. I don’t have to be consistent if Lucas doesn’t!)

                      The Jedi, with their stated goal being to free themselves from attachment and too much emotion, are probably more of a purely neutral organization. They tolerate members who run from chaotic good to lawful neutral. The only thing they don’t accept in their ranks is provable evil. To be at the top spot, however, I guess you do have to be more of a rule-follower… maybe I’m talking myself out of this…

                      Bah. Anyway, tainted. All of ‘em. With the possible exceptions of Yoda and Obi-Wan, which would give mythic / quasi-mystic reasons for their survival.

                      Incidentally, I also DM a Star Wars game, running WotC’s d20 Saga edition. We just finished a big campaign, and running a smaller, shorter one while we wait for everyone to get and get familiar with the new Firefly RPG.

                    • Nerdy quibble: IIRC, the limit is two Sith Lords. Lesser Sith could be numerous.

                    • Ah, yes, yes, well stated. Hurm.

                      I’m willing to concede the point.

                    • You people are nuts! Have I mentioned that?

                    • But what KIND of nuts? Distinctions are important. :-)

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Everybody is nuts here (except for me). [Very Very Big Nutty Grin]

                    • Yes. The dragon shifter is TOTALLY the sane one! (Rolls eyes.)

                    • Hey now! I’ll have you know I am firmly in Animalia! I have nothing to do with those fruits in Plantae; that’s what food eats.

                    • Nuts are we, hmmm? Surprises you this does?

                      On Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 1:28 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > accordingtohoyt commented: “You people are nuts! Have I mentioned > that?” >

              • marycatelli

                Yeah. Tyranny has its points when the alternative is anarchy, if only because a single tyrant and his flunkies are a comparatively limited set.

                Like in Girl Genius where at first Klaus Wulfenbach looks like your typical Evil Overlord. By the time we’re done with the Sturmvoraus family and seen other evidence of the truth of “Mad scientists rule the world. Badly,” we see he is an eminently reasonable overlord with a great deal to contain. We are quite ready to believe that his reign, after a short period, is fondly remembered as a Golden Age.

                • As I’m sure we’ve ranted about here before, applying standards where they don’t apply is bad. (perfect is the enemy of the good)

                • Y’know, after I found out about Klaus’ reasonable overlord status, I was quite rooting for the Empire, especially after the Sturmvoraus arc. I really should catch up; I’ve let a lot of webcomics slide in the past year of Super Busyness.

                  • Then there was the scene with Boris and Wooster and the jaegar generals. I was reflecting after that, that while Boris is trying to make life worse for Agatha and Wooster, better, nevertheless it is clear that Boris ought to triumph because it would be better in general.

            • marycatelli

              “Sometimes the purpose is to father and solidify the hold of those in power. ”

              That falls under the “folly” attempt. Imputing evil motives to those responsible doesn’t get a grip on the problem.

      • sabrinachase

        Just like Einstein’s theory of relativity did not invalidate Newton’s laws of motion. Newton’s laws are still as valid as ever, we just found out that they are only valid in non-relativistic scenarios. There may have been survival-related reasons for women staying near/in the home, covering their faces around strangers, a long time ago. It is equally invalid to maintain Chesterton’s fence when the reason for it is gone.

        It is hard to maintain the correct dynamic tension between tradition and innovation. I think that’s what stresses people out and they overreact between ‘we must do as our wise ancestors did before’ and ‘we must cast off EVERYTHING old just because it is old’. There is no answer section in the back of the book. We have to figure it out, on the fly. And a lot of people don’t CARE, don’t want to have to think. They just want the answer. Any answer. So you get cults (I consider OFA, global warming, etc. cults) And that means reasoning with them is just like lemon juice on a paper cut, because they joined the cult precisely so they wouldn’t have to think and there you are, *making them think*. You rude person, you.

        • You ARE correct on cults, oh boy!

        • OFA?

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          But since it is human systems, it is messier and more confusing than physical systems, at least for me.

          What are the circumstances around a custom? Those are probably the society or societies.

          What makes a society? I suspect so many factors that no one really had identified all of them, much less fully understands them.

          Societies change. If everything changes, sooner or later a society will change its underpinnings out from under it. What happens then?

          There are some societies types that are either very stable, or they are so easy to create that they amount to the same thing. These might be called barbarism or savagery. Either way, they make up the bulk of societies across history and prehistory. Ignore the noble savage myth. LeBlanc’s Constant Battles is a good description of a typical society. One measure is the lifetime death rate of males to human violence. 20-30% is not unusual for a typical society that is breaking even or winning. Much less than that is atypical.

          The failure mode of an atypical society seems to be to move in the typical direction. If it has the customs of a less atypical previous society in place, it might catch on them and stay. However, if it has nothing it is likely to stop only when it gets back to typical. Assuming the persons involved are not too dysfunctional for even a typical society.

          I think it is more difficult to find an objective and conclusive answer to whether the reason for an instance of Chesterton’s fence is gone, than it is for the tensile strength of a material.

        • the “wise ancestors” have the advantage, because we know their stuff — functioned. You can’t even say that of the stuff we bring to replace the old because it is old.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I remember a line that went “Something isn’t good because it is old. It’s old because it is good”. IE a custom, law, etc lasted because it was good and if it wasn’t good, it won’t have lasted.

        • Ooh, I like being rude like that.

          Ttthhhpppbbbttt!!! :-P

        • It is hard to maintain the correct dynamic tension between tradition and innovation. I think that’s what stresses people out and they overreact between ‘we must do as our wise ancestors did before’ and ‘we must cast off EVERYTHING old just because it is old’.

          …this would be the current plotline tension of the current Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novel series… O_o

      • That’s what I find so infuriating about the gay marriage debate, and why I have so little respect for most of the pro-gay marriage side. Even though I agree with their final position, they refuse to acknowledge that their opponents might have a rational point. To them opposing gay marriage means that one is irrationally afraid of gays. To be fair, there are a significant number of people who oppose gay marriage simply because they think that G-d dislikes gays (though how many is hard, they tend to be disproportionately vocal). But far more have actually reasoned through the issue and come up with a different conclusion than I have, either because they ascribe far more weight to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or they think that the ubiquity of marriage is due to its role in encouraging reproduction.

        But the neo-NKVD today cannot admit that anyone could come to a different conclusion then they did. If you disagree with a small panel of judges redefining a fundamental social structure for an entire state the only possibility is that you’re infected with “H8″. It’s primarily why I have no respect for the intellectual strenght or depth of the Left.

        • marycatelli

          And then they go and have vapors when you point out that the arguments they use would legitimize incestous or other relationships, too. They evince, by their own lights, an irrational fear of other sexual attractions. Perhaps they realize how hard it would be to come up with an argument for their side that fundamentally does not turn on sexual attraction being sufficient grounds to demand marriage.

          • Part of that is due to the fact that far too many of the vocal bigots make idiotic arguments like equating gay marriage with bestiality or pedophilia. Or using the slippery slope fallacy to say that supporters of gay marriage also support group marriage when in fact one of the most common arguments raised in defense of traditional marriage – think of the children – is the strongest argument I see in favor of group marriage.

            • Group marriages haven’t traditionally worked out too well for the children. The Bible has some descriptions of the consequences of the mothers angling to improve their own children’s positions at the expense of the other children’s. Ones own children always outrank someone else’s.

              • Given that one of the most likely vectors for physical or sexual abuse is “Mom’s boyfriend” or similar, I’m very leery of groups, whether the plural is in one gender or both. Not saying it can’t work, and separate households in a one-to-many would help, it’s just that I’m uncomfortable with the risks involved in the experiments necessary to gather that dataset

              • Inherentence is now generally much less of a big deal than it was in Biblical times, even for the upper social strata. At most you’ve demonstrated that one type of group marriage – the harem – is bad for kids.

                I’m not going to try a defend group marriage, there are multiple variables that I haven’t fully thought through, and at this stage most of the “thinking” on the subject is from those who conflate a group marriage with cheap and easy sex with multiple partners.

                • I’m sure some people can make such arrangements work, but I’m confident that they’re a vanishingly small minority, and I’m not a fan of overturning long-standing social institutions for the gratification of vanishingly small minorities. Especially when the institutions in question don’t involve actual oppression or persecution of said minorities.

                  • I find in general that polygamy is its own punishment.

                    • My thoughts when some guy says he wants multiple wives, “ARE YOU FLIPPIN’ INSANE, or just a masochist?!!”

                    • multiple husbands wouldn’t be much better. Right now I live with three adult males. Two are my sons. It’s still… fraught.

                    • I don’t know of too many societies that routinely practice polyandry* (I’m sure there are some, given that just about everything seems to have been done in some society somewhere), but I imagine it would also be its own punishment.

                      * I don’t consider prostitution to be the equivalent of polyandry. It does have some parallels, but there are some notable differences that would make the equivalency fail. Most notably, that in most societies prostitution is officially condemned (even though it’s almost always unofficially tolerated, and sometimes even encouraged), while a society that practices polyandry and/or polygamy would be doing so officially: there would be ceremonies that say, “Do you take these men to be your lawful wedded husbands?” and so on.

        • they think that the ubiquity of marriage is due to its role in encouraging reproduction.

          Marriage isn’t necessary to reproduction, but it IS, IMO, necessary to the survival of civil society. You can produce all the feral, neurotic children you want without marriage. Producing stable, well-socialized *citizens* requires a more stable upbringing, and good role models of each sex, ideally role models who have a vested interest in the long-term success of the children in question.

          And then there’s the point that marriage confers equal parental status on fathers, and thus a personal interest in the well-being of certain children. Motherhood is obvious. Absent marriage, fatherhood is a matter of opinion, and when paternity is uncertain, why should any man be willing to work, bleed, kill, and die for the benefit of any given woman or her spawn? Much easier to buy, or take, a little physical affection when desired and otherwise just kick back and party with the guys. Let the ankle-biters and their moms take care of themselves.

          Of course is marriage isn’t about children, then why does any society bother to recognize it at all? I have no vested interest in subsidizing anyone else’s sex life if I’m not getting anything (like the perpetuation of my society) out of it.

          • Well said.

            Protecting the rights of the kids is also why we’ve got so much legal knot-work involved in marriage– I’ve linked it before, but here it is again. A nice little history of marriage law.

            • I attempted to find a non-membership required site with that article to link to, but am failing. I assume that quite a few of those here are non-members and thus unable to read the article you linked.

              • Oh, good grief– did the morons they paid to transfer the site get rid of the “read a direct link without subscribing” ability, too?

              • Five kinds of poxes on their privates! They did.

                That article has gotten at least a half dozen folks to sign up just to comment on it.

                Add it to the long list of moron moves during this “migration.” (Problem #1: they’re going to Word press to cut down on how much they spend on tech support.)

                • LOL. They could have made worse choices than WordPress, but most of those worse choices are tied up in government contracts like hosting healthcare sites.

          • But how does gay marriage impact that? Is there any couple that has said “Well, we were going to get married and start a family, but since them queers started getting hitched we decided against it”? My bachelorhood has nothing to do with my friend Nikki marrying a woman. I would point to the facilitation of divorce as a far bigger factor in cheapening marriage.

            Why does society recognize marriage? IMO it’s primarily to strengthen pair bonds and reduce sexual competition. I think quite a lot of the hedonism you see in the gay community is due to the lack of a social structure that encourages finding one partner and settling down (the “up yours, normal!” mindset also plays a big part). You get something out of it in the reduced numbers of 20, 30, and 40 year olds acting like idiot teenagers trying to impress potential sex partners.

            • I wasn’t addressing gay marriage, but to answer your question, gay relationships don’t, AFAIK, directly impact straight marriage. My objection is that they’re intrinsically non-fertile, yet by demanding equal status with traditional marriage, they increase the burden on everyone else by taking advantage of the legal and legally-mandated benefits (paid for by your taxes and mine) that exist to make family formation easier for male/female couples.

              Strip away all the legal marriage benefits for childless couples, and I expect the demand for legal recognition of their relationships would fade away in short order. The *practical* benefits of cohabitation don’t require government intervention.

              If they’re claiming that they want respect…well, putting a gun to my head and demanding that I respect them (using the government to enforce recognition of their relationships as equivalent to marriage) isn’t the way to do it.

              Frankly I’m looking forward to the time when we definitively discover the cause(s?) of homosexuality and find a way to prevent and/or cure it. The uproars over *that* development should provide quite a few amusing discussions:-).

              • Yes, but tons of straight marriage is non fertile — particularly these days.

                • Yes, and I’d withdraw the legal benefits of marriage from *those* unions as well, were I in a position to do so. The whole *point* of marriage is children as far as I’m concerned.

                  I’m willing to subsidize those couples that are helping to perpetuate my society. As for those that don’t, why should I? They shouldn’t need society to reward them for being in love or for living together.

                  • Well — if that were the case I wouldn’t have an issue. Also, I think we should trade gay marriage for the end of no fault divorce. BUT who is going to give us that?

                    • That would be a losing trade. No fault divorce would be re-implemented in short order and there would be no commensurate roll-back of gay marriage. Compromise only works if both sides are negotiating in good faith, and the Left values its vision or how the world should be well above such bourgeois notions as “honor” or “honesty”:-(.

                    • Oh, lud, no-fault divorce is a GOOD thing. My mom would never have been able to get a divorce from my abusive sire if lawyers had been involved — she hadn’t been left enough money for more than filing the papers! (Plus he’d already trashed her credit rating.)

                      I am all for divorce being easy. Binding people together in a miserable marriage “for the children”? That’s why I was suicidal for a while in there, around age 11-12. I knew that was the only reason my parents were married, and my sire’d just tried to strangle my mom. Maybe if there’d been better support for someone LEAVING, he’d have realized he needed to clean up his act instead of just doubling-own on the emotional and occasional physical abuse, and threatening to kidnap me if she tried for a divorce.

                      I DANCED when they divorced.

                    • Yes — but have you ever heard “hard cases make bad law.” Your mom was an exception — and there should HAVE been charity organizations to help (I don’t know if there are, but I’d assume so. Abused women’s shelters and such.)
                      BUT I personally know three women who got divorced for stupid reasons and then regretted it, because it was too easy and they never stopped to think. Stuff like “he’s not making as much as I thought he would, and I’m better than this.” OR my favorite “I don’t feel the love anymore.”
                      Yes, sometimes it’s easier to escape an abuser through “no fault.” BUT there are (and should be) other ways to escape abuse.

                    • marycatelli

                      I also note that your mother did not need a divorce.

                      A no-fault legal separation would have done the trick.

                  • My husband and I got married after our fertile years. You would annul our marriage because we don’t have kids? We support our siblings who do have children.

                    • Basically he is saying you would have a civil union, that marriage would be reserved specifically for those that procreate. Not sure how he would view adoption, but suspect it would be allowed under the “procreation marriage” banner. I would have to do some serious studying before I agreed with him, but he definitely has a point, many of the legal advantages of marriage, tax breaks, etc. were specifically designed to ease and encourage procreation and the raising of the next generation.

                    • I’d withdraw the legal benefits associated with your marriage (note: I don’t expect any of my ideas to ever get any traction with the general public, let alone the politicians, so what I’d do were I God/King/Emperor of America is moot). I realize that that comes across as harsh, but absent children, the State has no justifiable interest in what consensual living arrangements adults work out for themselves, aside from enforcing contracts.

                      Adoption makes this issue less clear cut. I could see limited benefits being extended to cohabiting couples who’ve adopted, at least for the minority period of the adoptees. Assistance to adult relatives? No. The tax code already allows gift of up to ~$13K per year, tax free for the recipient. No tax benefits to the givers though AFAIK.

                    • Are you talking about legal benefits, or only tax benefits. The legal benefits of marriage, some of which she mentioned in her comment, are far more wide-ranging than tax breaks, and are currently some of the things that are being used in the arguments for gay marriage, such as visitation in hospitals, inheritance, etc.

                    • I’m talking about any legally-mandated benefits that cost money. Be it inheritance rights, tax deductions, or whatever. I’ve read that there are something like 1,000 such benefits, though I’ve never seen a comprehensive list.

                      While I like the idea of getting government out of the marriage business altogether, I don’t see it happening. Property rights, child custody, and contracts all intersect with government, and they’re all common issues in marriage.

                    • Just to nail down at least one of the things you’re implying with that statement, then, you would support doing away with a spouse’s right to inherit their spouse’s Estate, even though it is written into a Will? Because cases of gay partners being legally denied such by existing family of the deceased, even though it was willed to them by their partner, is another of the arguments for gay marriage.

                    • Not their right to inherit, but their right to inherit *tax free*.

                      As for familial interference, didn’t Lazarus Long have a scheme for avoiding that? Something about running the will through probate *before* the person died…or somesuch? Absent evidence of last-minute shenanigans I figure the deceased’s desires should get precedence.

                      Of course if I really had my druthers it’d be a moot point because there wouldn’t be any inheritance taxes at all. Nor income taxes. Just sales taxes on first-time retail sales (I’ve probably said this before, so I apologize for the repetition).

                    • I’ve probably said this before

                      Repitition? Riding of hobby-horses? Standing on soapboxes? No, we never do any of that ’round here! Have you no decency, sir?!

                      Hey, I even made it through most of that with a straight face! :D

                    • cost money_ ONLY IF THE MONEY ALL BELONGS TO THE GOVERNMENT.
                      Check the fallacy, please. My money is mine. My not paying to the government doesn’t mean the government has lost anything that it should have had. And my paying a less extortionate rate doesn’t COST anyone money.
                      a) the money is not the government’s, they have no right to it. b) the government doesn’t have set expenditures. If I don’t pay it doesn’t mean you have to. they take all the money they can and eat it or something. c) I already pay extortionate rates due to my being self-employed. This doesn’t mean non-self-employed people cost me money. It means the government steals it out of my pocket.
                      The government failing to steal money from your neighbors costs you nothing.

                    • But if you don’t have to pay taxes that I do have to pay, how is that just? What have you done to earn that exemption? (I’m using “you” in the abstract sense here, not attacking anyone in particular).

                      If we’re going to have a tax code at all, I want it to apply equally to everyone, and any exemptions or deductions should be well justified. Making married parenthood cheaper is a good justification, as it’s conducive to preserving and perpetuating civil society. Rewarding people for shacking up isn’t. IMHO.

                    • How can you use tax and just in the same sentence? Pfui.

                    • Well, short of anarchy, you’re going to have taxes. I’d prefer they be as close to “just” as possible. As a friend of mine likes to say, “no perfection this side of heaven”.

                    • Yes, but what does our tax code — labyrinthine, insane, possible of multiple interpretations have to do with justice?

                    • Even if it were more “fair” — whatever that means — what would it have to do with justice? Taxes must be paid sometimes. I’d pay taxes to support defense, for instance. BUT it has nothing to do with just or unjust. Using the term “just” assumes that the government can dispense justice, such as punish those who earn “too much” and give to those who earn “too little.”
                      Again, these definitions creep into our minds. Yes, first sale tax would rid us of all of it. BUT until then its important to keep our minds clear.

                    • Fair enough. I was using “just” in the sense of “merited” or “earned”. If some people are going to get exemptions from the burdens that everyone else must shoulder, shouldn’t the rest of us get something in return? Hence it is “just”, IMO, that married couples with children get relief not afforded to the married and childless, or the unmarried, because they’re contributing in the most tangible way to the continued existence of the polity.

                    • To further clarify, Jeff Gauch’s three-tiered system would place you and your husband squarely in tier-two. That’s a compromise situation that I think most would find acceptable were the gay marriage lobby not so adamant about refusing to compromise.

                      Me, I mostly object to having to subsidize non-procreative relationships. From my perspective, childless, married couples are functionally indistinguishable from childless, un-married couples, and as I’m not required to subsidize the latter, why should I have to subsidize the former?

                    • because it makes tons of paperwork/bureaucracy more convenient. And the bureaucracy we shall always have with us.

                    • “because it makes tons of paperwork/bureaucracy more convenient.”

                      Might want to reword that argument, I don’t know that I want to make tons of paperwork/bureaucracy more convenient. *grin*

                    • Oh, heck, I don’t either — but this is a portion of it that falls to individuals. If my husband and I weren’t married, what we’d need to use instead boggles the mind.

                  • The problem is that heterosexual couples have a startling tendency to produce children at the oddest moments. If you had a doctor’s certificate that both of them were sterile, and they assured you they wanted no children — still, this baby might come along. Marriage is good for handling situations like that.

                    • That’s where Gauch’s two-tiered system would come in handy. You’re a couple for some, limited, non-taxpayer-funded purposes, but if you produce children you have the option of upgrading.

                      Won’t happen of course.

                    • I’m a big fan of totally-un-related-to-sex units called “households”– for situations like the classic maiden aunties, so they could enter contracts and see each other at the hospital, even if they’re not really blood relations.

              • That’s why my solution has three tiers: marriage, a religious institution with zero government involvement; civil unions, open to any couple whose primary benefits revolve around property sharing and next of kin, maybe some tax benefits; and parental unions, open to any couple with children, greater tax benefits but much harder to dissolve.

                They demand respect because they don’t know what respect is. They’re still stuck in the childish version of respect where you don’t say anything mean about someone else. They’ve never grown up. Pity them.

                The technology that can cure homosexuality is the same technology that can rewrite personalities. If we ever come up with it we need to kill it with fire and nuke the site from orbit.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  “Civil Unions” are officially homophobic according to some in the gay-marriage movement. “Civil Unions” were the compromise that I was willing to support but I was told that “Civil Unions” weren’t good enough. [Frown]

                  • Their objection was the distinction between straight couples with marriages and gay couples with civil unions. Not enough people were willing to abandon the word “marriage” in civil affairs.

                    • See, in Portugal — an officially Catholic country — religious marriage has no legal force, and civil unions must be procured by ALL couples to have legal force. Normally religious people do this by going to the registry office with a couple of friends a week or two before the wedding. The real anniversary for them is the religious wedding. My brother and SIL, at the time not religious, though, had their marriage (civil union) in my parents’ front parlor.

                    • I’m convinced we could have saved ourselves billions of dollars and man-centuries of bickering if we had simply done a find-and-replace of marriage for “civil union” in the legal code.

                    • well, in Portugal it took major upheaval and a revolution — not in the seventies, in the twenties. So…

                • The technology that can cure homosexuality is the same technology that can rewrite personalities. If we ever come up with it we need to kill it with fire and nuke the site from orbit.

                  That depends on the tech. I’m of the opinion that homosexuality is caused by hormonal conditions in utero. If that’s correct, then monitoring and hormonal adjustment tech could ensure that the developing brain simply never gets mis-wired.

                  Retro-active correction is a much trickier proposition, granted. I wonder how many people who opt for radical surgical reconstruction might opt instead for mental reorientation if they had the choice available to them.

                  • marycatelli

                    Note, for instance, that the more older brothers a boy has, the more likely he is to be homosexual. (Actually, they suspect that one is because the maternal immunity system has started to attack. You could eliminate that one without anyone realizing that you were doing so — even you.)

                • That’s why my solution has three tiers: marriage, a religious institution with zero government involvement; civil unions, open to any couple whose primary benefits revolve around property sharing and next of kin, maybe some tax benefits; and parental unions, open to any couple with children, greater tax benefits but much harder to dissolve.

                  That would be a sensible compromise, but for that very reason I don’t expect to ever see it implemented.

                  • Frankly, those of us who do have kids are owed a debt by the childless our kids will be paying taxes to support — instead we get told we consume too much and we’re “breeders.” Ask Foxfier.

                    • I support people who have children. I pay taxes for public schools. My husband and I decided not to have children because we’d be bad parents and because there is a high likelihood that I wouldn’t be able to bring a child to term. So Steve and I would be penalized because we chose not to try to have children.

                      Sarah you said that childless couples owe couples with children, because your children will support us in our old age. Tell me how much I owe you and I’ll write you a check.

                    • well — Emily it’s not you. You’re older than I (I think.) It’s all the young couples who are saying that they don’t want to be ENCUMBERED with children, and I’m evil for taking “too many resources.” They will have their hand out in fifty years, and no one to care for them.
                      Also — don’t get me started on public schools.
                      However, for the record, no one is going to tax you to give me a tax break. You know that, I know that. And as far as I’m concerned, they shouldn’t tax you for public schools either. (As far as I’m concerned they shouldn’t tax ANYONE — but policy speaking it would make more sense to give a tax break only to parents with children, not everyone.)

                    • I’m 52. Everyone must have a child is one of my hot buttons. I encountered it a lot in Montgomery, AL.

                    • Yes, but that’s not what I’m saying. Clearly it’s your hot button. What we were exploring was the difference in nature between gay and straight marriage. (And this is not under the “everyone is alike male and female, but on a continuum I d*mn guarantee a lot of gay guys are more feminine than I am.) It is also about policy. The government SHOULD encourage people to have kids if they’re trying to keep the blue model alive. One of the things I can’t get is how they can build the social security ponzi scheme, and then guilt people into NOT having kids. What?
                      Remember that I almost was childless not by choice and that three of my closest friends are childless. I don’t think everyone SHOULD have a child. I think however that it would be better for us, as a country if more people did. I like humans, I guess.

                    • I totally agree with you.

                    • Oh, and none of this was directed at you — and no one is trying to pick a fight.
                      The problem is someone made marriage contingent on reproduction (which is the SANE way to deny gay marriage.) But that, as I keep pointing out, also denies marriage to anyone past child-bearing age (did my marriage stop being one seventeen years ago, when I didn’t have children, I had miscarriages?)
                      The Catholic church solves this by saying that marriages can be fertile in growth, etc. But that again brings us to gay couples. They solve that by saying that there is a mystical nature to male and female. Well and good if you’re Catholic. If you’re not and if you know more than one long-term (like 20 years) gay couple, you probably know they get mutual support and growth as well (and in some cases as badly) as other couples.
                      This brings us to “two tiered marriage” which you and I know that is never going to happen but is LOGICAL — even if socially impossible. It’s logical to say “normal married couples get no tax break. Those bearing/raising children under majority do”
                      Now note, that couples in reality get no tax break, or at least not a significant one — instead we get a marriage penalty. So this would be a change indeed. And it won’t happen. Though frankly parents should get the local taxes, not the schools, but again never mind.
                      However, leaving the philosophical debate of what society should support with money aside, the system would be hellish. I mean most couples don’t know on getting married if they CAN have children.
                      Also, I agree with Jeff — marriage might have been a way to encourage kids, but these days it seems to be more a matter of creating a social/economic unit and reducing sexual competition. So–
                      Tiers are stupid and everyone should be able to marry. Gays want to marry? Well and good. Let them show us what they do. Just don’t let them sue churches or synagogues into marrying them. (Suing mosques would be kind of funny. In fact, if I were a trouble making gay male in the US right now, that’s whom I would sue for marriage. Just for the LOLZ. But I’m me.)

                    • “Oh, good, you finally got a boy! So you’re done, now?”

                      *grrrrrrr*

                  • The really sad thing is that when I floated it on Facebook a year or so ago, I had progs argue with me about it.

                    • come on, Jeff. They’ve argued with me about how they aren’t Marxists. Not coherently, but vile progs are rarely coherent.

                    • And this surprises you why? The opposition to such a proposal in mainly from the progressives, of course they are the ones going to be arguing against it.

                      Most of those on the right arguing against it take the position; the current laws work all right for me, and EVERY time laws are changed they slip something in I don’t like, so I am going to argue for the status quo. I’m not losing anything if nothing changes, and I don’t stand to gain anything, while having a high likelihood of losing something if the law is changed, so why would I want to change it?

                    • I’m pretty sure you could have heard the same things in Versailles back in 1780. We have a moral imperative to look at how laws affect everyone, not just ourselves.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      “moral imperative”? Why are you trying to force your morality onto the rest of us? [Sarcastic Grin]

                      Sorry, any more when somebody talks about “morality” in a pro-gay marriage mode, I think of the people who slam Christians about “forcing their morality”. [Sad Smile]

                    • The left has no morals, which after a while causes many of those on the right to compromise theirs, because every time they follow their morals they get the shaft.

                      I support your proposal, I was just pointing out that it won’t fly, because the progressives are against, and a significant portion on the right see no advantage to them and a possibility of a disadvantage, so they aren’t going to support it either.

                • I have advocated basically this in the past, I believe marriage is a religious institution and the government should have no say in it. We’ve had this discussion here before.

                • I can only get the benefit of my husband’s insurance etc. by being his wife. If you say that I shouldn’t be considered his wife because we don’t have kids, would leave me in a very bad spot. I would have no insurance of any kind. I’d also have to pay a higher tax rate. Also if we weren’t husband and wife, we couldn’t be medical proxies for each other.

                  Is it your opinion, that to oppose same sex marriage marriage is not only between one man and one woman, it must have children.

                  I think that you have gone a step too far. Where does it say that all marriages must bear fruit to be considered marriages by society? I approve of the Defense of Marriage Act. I also agree that In General traditional marriage is for the benefit of the children if any. I think that saying that there must 100% compliance in having children to be married is COMPLETELY WRONG!. I think that there should be a little wiggle room in your definition of marriage.

                  • Not Jeff’s. He’s saying that fertile marriages would just have extra benefits — like extra tax deductions, say. I’m okay with that…

                  • I mean, if we got enough that it equaled the tax deductions of the fifties by percentage of taxes, it would be enough….

                  • You misunderstand. Under my plan “Married” would no longer exist as a legal concept. There would be partners in a civil union, who would be proxies for one another. Insurance companies would be free to offer coverage to partners just like they currently offer coverage to spouses (I imagine the word “spouse” would transition in legal documents to cover what I’m calling partners). If you have kids you can qualify for additional benefits from the government, in exchange for making dissolution of the union much more difficult, but it would be a subset of civil unions.

                    • This, I don’t understand. Why can’t anyone just buy a group insurance policy and put whomever the heck they want to on it? Is that illegal? If so, why? I’m on a family phone plan..and now I’m wondering if non-family group-phone plans are an option…

                    • There’s some company that just started doing that, but I’m eyebrows-deep in code right now and can’t spare the cycles to tell you whom.

                    • The “family” phone plans actually have no requirement of any actual relation. I know several people we have their boyfriend/girlfriend on their family plan as well as one who has her husband’s, ex-wife’s, uncle’s, widow on her plan; and I’m pretty sure that isn’t a relationship normally legally recognized.

            • Yes. Your thoughts agree closely with mine.

            • We’ve already seen some implementation of the notion that it’s about adult sexual relations, and not the kids.

              We can now definitely say that your children will be better off if you DIE rather than divorce. Also that stepparents are much better than cohabiting with a non-parent.

              The way we have gotten this information has been very ugly indeed. It is time to roll back that attitude, not extend it farther.

            • marycatelli

              ” IMO it’s primarily to strengthen pair bonds and reduce sexual competition. ”

              Come to think of it, this is impossible. It is impossible because it has occurred in forms that increase sexual competitions — polygamy — and more pertinently, because if that were true, it would always have been orientation neutral.

              In reality, it has increased sexual competition by frequently coercively pulling homosexuals into heterosexual unions. Whatever your predilection, you did your duty where having children was concerned. In The Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes casually mention that men with a predilection for other men must be forced by law to marry and begot children; the idea that they were incapable of it was not even brought up.

              • I’m referring to the modern usage. Despite what some claim, the definition of marriage has changed quite a bit over the past dozen centuries. What started out as a transfer of property from father to husband has turned into the merging of two lives and, if you buy that sort of thing, souls.

                • Yep. That was the meaning of Romeo and Juliet, and the taboo they broke.

                • marycatelli

                  yes, and the modern usage has left an ugly trail of misery behind it. Including lots of dead kids. (If your parents divorce, you have a greater chance of dying than the children of undivorced parents — even when you’re all forty.)

                  Perhaps we should look at whether the change was a good idea.

                  • Sadly, the alternative to not having divorce has been murder – usually of the wife and children, or the husband (especially if he’s the abusive partner). Having gone through the problems of not having any divorce at all, or rather, having divorce only allowed for Muslims and no other group, there’s a massive drawback to not being able to split from partners, especially abusive ones.

                    • Not seeing the problem with murder of an abusive partner myself. Seems like an ideal solution to the problem.*

                      *I’ve never been able to figure out why people claim I’m unsympathetic. :)

                    • The point at issue here, though, was no fault divorce. That is, no reason is needed beyond, “I just don’t want to be married to that person any more.”

                      Abuse has been generally considered a good enough reason, though emotional abuse HAS been difficult to show.

                    • Once again, I should’ve finished reading the tread before commenting:-P.

                    • Yeah, things like that never happen here. Especially not to me (he says, while trying to look as innocent as possible).

                    • If no fault divorce didn’t exist, I’d still be trapped to my emotionally abusive American husband, for no good reason. I wouldn’t be able to find a good job in the Philippines, because I was always assessed a risk – my husband was American, why do you need to work? And any training we spend on this person would be wasted the moment she migrates to the US! So no, don’t hire her, regardless of her qualifications.

                      Murder would not have been an option for me since I was a whole ocean and continent away, and the abuse didn’t start till after the marriage, and crime shouldn’t be the only recourse out of a bad situation, and there are people who are in worse situations than I was in.

                    • If no fault divorce didn’t exist, I’d still be trapped to my emotionally abusive American husband, for no good reason

                      No fault certainly benefits some (else it never would’ve been proposed, let alone passed), but it’s done far more harm than good to the societies that have adopted it IMO. It’s comparable to killing a spider by burning down the house it’s in. Sure, you get rid of the spider, but…

                    • I haven’t seen anyone here arguing that divorce should be outlawed, only no-fault divorce. My understanding is that abuse, abandonment, infidelity, and infertility were all considered legitimate grounds for divorce when grounds were required.

                    • The Philippines does not have divorce for any Filipino citizen, unless you’re Muslim, which allows divorce and is the only divorce recognized by the state. I’m pointing that out as an example of the opposite extreme.

                    • Legal separation gives you what you need there.

                    • I’m not sure it does, actually, in terms of finances, etc.

                    • Not if I wanted to ever remarry, which I do. In fact, I still have to wade through a lot of legal crap still to try get the divorce I did finally get after eight years of harassment and aggravation recognized in the Philippines. There’s a whole list of laws that basically make it very difficult to allow remarrying, and it’s also ridiculously difficult to recognize legal separation – even legal separation doesn’t remove all legal ties and obligations in Philippine law. Say I were legally separated, and I died. Half of my legitime automatically goes to my legally separated spouse, even if I were separated from him; the other half is divided amongst my children, because of how Philippine family law works. (To prevent the mere discarding of the legally married wife and legitimate children in favor of the mistress and favored illegitimate children.)

                      It’s really an opposite extreme, and I understand the reasons behind the laws; indeed, most of them are valid most of the time. It would have been better if certain circumstances allowed for divorce in the Philippines, but the laws have been very slow to change.

                      In fact, if you weren’t Muslim when you got married, and the marriage isn’t Muslim, you can’t convert to Islam and then push for divorce. (The only people allowed divorce in the Philippines are Muslims.) There’s been recent concessions for people who migrated overseas, attained citizenship and then divorced the spouse still a Filipino citizen, but they’re insanely hard to obtain recognition for.

                      It’s ‘entertaining’ to have to deal with different sets of laws, not just American ones. Roughly the same level of major amputations sans anesthesia, and more drawn out.

        • To be fair, there are a significant number of people who oppose gay marriage simply because they think that G-d dislikes gays (though how many is hard, they tend to be disproportionately vocal).

          I’d argue “God dislikes homosexual activity” or possibly even “those who voluntarily engage in homosexual activity” would be a better description*. Other than The Nasty Lawyer Clan of Trolling For Lawsuits, I haven’t run into a genuine example of folks claiming Himself hates homosexuals. Whole heck of a lot of false flags, though…..

          The idea that people are best classified by their groin-based impulses is kind of distasteful to a lot of religious folks.

          *and at that, it’s a little like those lists of strange laws that say things like “Kansas City has a law against sodomizing a gerbil on Tuesdays” based on there being a law against bestiality. Why, yes, I did drive myself nuts trying to track down the origins for a list of laws, starting with when I figured out that the “women can’t wear patent leather shoes” was loosely based on a law against using reflective things to look up skirts.

          • Other than The Nasty Lawyer Clan of Trolling For Lawsuits, I haven’t run into a genuine example of folks claiming Himself hates homosexuals.

            Another data point here: all of the people I know who hold the “God dislikes homosexual activity” position are careful to distinguish between the act and the person. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is a statement that gets routinely mocked in some circles, but I know lots of people who say it with full sincerity, and try to live it.

            • From what I understand, this is the current official position of the Catholic Church – which is why Catholic institutions can employ gay people, as long as they remain single, don’t marry … in other words, abide by Catholic rules.

              • My understanding of the Catholic position (I’m not Catholic) is that you can be homosexual, you just can’t be a practicing homosexual. Which makes perfect sense, since they believe in abstinence before marriage it really doesn’t matter who you are attracted to, you are still supposed to remain celibate.

                • I’m not Catholic either, it’s just something my mother, a Dominican Tertiary nun, told me a couple of years ago. I could be wrong, but yeah, you can be a homosexual and not practice it (ergo, not act on your desires.) There was a newsy documentary, she recounted, about homosexuals in the Philippines who choose to marry lesbians so they can have children, and interestingly enough, do not cheat (or so they say) sexually. The couples do maintain emotional relationships but feel their faith and adherence to it’s commandments stronger than base urges.

          • One notices that part of the issue is that conflation of the orientation and the activity into one thing, so refraining from the activity is somehow an attack on the orientation.

            Pointing out that if the activity spontaneously overflows from orientation, it means they can’t control their actions, and are a risk to themselves or others through disease– well, things get ugly because they do not want to admit to being legally incompetent or take up the notion that they could choose what to do.

            • Reminds me of a couple of raving arguments I got into with a Doctor on the Bar. He insisted that Abstinence. Does. Not. Work. as a birth control method. His reasoning? Because many people don’t abstain, and then get pregnant. My pointing out that not bothering to take the pill, or use condom often results in pregnancy also, and asking if we should blame the pill or condom for those pregnancies was ignored. He just flat didn’t believe that people had the self-control to not have sex.

              • Most people don’t. Sorry. You can demand it under a certain age, because people are under the control of a parental authority and it sort of works (obviously not perfect. Nothing is.) But life long? Most people can’t without a religious vocation.

                • The point is that abstinence works, if you don’t use it, it obviously doesn’t work, but that isn’t abstinence’s fault. There has only ever been one instance of abstinence failing as birth control, that is pretty dang close to a perfect record.

                  Yes most people don’t abstain, but they could, they just choose not to. Saying you CAN’T is a copout, you just don’t want to. Note I’m not condemning those that choose not to abstain, that is their choice, but claiming they are incapable of abstaining is either a) a lie or b) admitting they have so little self-control that they can’t make their own choices.

                  Of course the government likes the b) alternative, because that means that they need someone else to make those choices for them, and who better than the government to do that?

                  • One notes that if b is disastrous for them — as they often claim — they can’t control themselves and are a danger to themselves or others.

                    We have nice secure institutions for such people.

                  • I’m not saying anything about it as contraception. Note I never got pregnant while I was single and celibate :-P At one point my mom suspected it and I had to explain to her in words of a syllable that no, I wasn’t THAT holy. I just had a stomach flu.
                    BUT asking someone to stay alone all his/her life — just the prospect of it — to abstain from sex life long is a lot, unless the person has a strong religious conviction. (Note I used to have a gay friend who was celibate and didn’t even indulge his fantasy life. BUT he was extremely devout, and might be a saint in training.)

                    • Well the arguments were about it as a contraceptive, he claimed it didn’t work, period. dot. (the subject was actually usually teen pregnancies, he advocated dispensing birth control in schools starting as soon as girls hit puberty). He claimed there was no point in teaching abstinence because teenagers don’t have the self-control to abstain. He would actually go so far as to call anyone who claimed to do so themselves liars.

                    • And if the fiery Latina can do it… *runs away*

                    • An easily tested hypothesis. Go to a sexually attractive teen (old enough for legal consent preferably), ask said teen to have sex with you. Repeat this process enough to get a statistically representative sample (though given the premise, that teens *cannot* control themselves wrt sex, then even one counter-example should be enough to disprove the hypothesis).

            • It also makes the, ah, known ability of some women to take any affection so long as they believe it’s affection a very odd thing. (I’m talking about LUG, not ‘bi’.)

              • what on EARTH is LUG? And yes.

                • Lesbian Until Graduation.

                  • Oh. There’s another reason for that. Women are more influenced by societal clues than guys and it’s assumed all women will go through a lesbian phase, so they do. They see it in movies and books and stuff.
                    I’ll note in my day this was assumed of guys not women. (Or maybe it was because I lived in a country with deep Graeco-Roman roots.) But guys are harder to influence. (Shrug.)

                  • ewww and why? there are men available even in all women schools. My college imported them from the men’s division for us.

                • Lesbian Until Graduation.

                  Some actually sleep with women, some just “date” to have an easy way to say no.

                  • Why can’t they say No?

                    • Because Sex Is Good; nobody healthy doesn’t want to be having sex, so if you’re turning down every guy who does the “nice shoes, wanna ****” line there must be something wrong with you.

                      If you like women, and even have a girlfriend– well, then, that’s different.

                    • yep. It’s assumed you’re repressed and need help, if you don’t want to screw every guy. Being a slut is “empowering”. Gag, what a load.

                    • A couple of girls who… well, they meant well… in high school staged a full-on intervention when they found out I was a virgin. (I didn’t refuse to sign a “sex is for marriage” intention card at youth group… and I just figured out who told everyone, I’d never thought about it.)

                      I suspect a pretty good portion of the population was lying about it, since we didn’t have a truly massive STD problem, but the idea that I might not WANT some 16 year old moron using me as a blow-up doll was a non-starter.

                    • This degrades the value of sex and the woman too.

                    • Only if you define a person by something besides their sexual activity.

                      If sex is the truest measure of a person, then a lack of sexual activity is a horrible degradation.

                    • If it becomes generally accepted that people can refuse to have sex then the justification for much of the War on Women rhetoric goes out the window.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Because the mind-set on college campuses is “everybody wants to have sex” and “if you don’t want to have sex with me it’s because something’s wrong with you not with me”. [Frown]

                    • “if you’re turning down every guy who does the “nice shoes, wanna ****” line there must be something wrong with you.”

                      Obviously. Otherwise there’s something wrong with THEM, that you are turning them down.

                      Girls Gone Mild and A Return to Modesty recount among other things stories of girls who can’t figure out how to say No and so say Yes, because they don’t know any way to say it that doesn’t imply something wrong with the guy.

                    • I guess “I’m waiting until marriage” is right out then

                    • Even for boys. People have accused older son of..stuff because of saying that.

        • ” To be fair, there are a significant number of people who oppose gay marriage simply because they think that G-d dislikes gays ”

          A significant percentage of those classed as such would not oppose gay marriage, except they know that the gay marriage proponents will not be satisfied with having the right to be married by a JP or in a pro-gay church. But will instead insist on forcing their church which follows the teachings of the Bible (or Koran or Torah, etc.) to perform the marriage ceremony despite it being against their religious beliefs.

          The “I’m going to grind your nose in it, because you gave me the power to, and I can” attitude causes a lot of people that could otherwise really care less what someone else does to bow up and not give an inch. The pro-gay marriage faction has proven themselves so thoroughly untrustworthy that I doubt they can overcome this handicap within the next couple generations, even if they were to change their ways today.

          • The “I’m going to grind your nose in it, because you gave me the power to, and I can” attitude causes a lot of people that could otherwise really care less what someone else does to bow up and not give an inch. The pro-gay marriage faction has proven themselves so thoroughly untrustworthy that I doubt they can overcome this handicap within the next couple generations, even if they were to change their ways today.

            This is why I’m opposed to it, or rather, grew to be opposed to it. The LGBT advocates don’t win me over by saying “you’re for equality, when I’m for equality, so you should be supportive of us,” then promptly contradict that by using my own values against me AND forcing other people to approve and be accepting of them through litigation.That’s not equality.

            • Between Chick-Fil-A, Duck Dynasty, and Mozilla, I’m seeing some evidence that people are willing to push back against the gaystapo. I think some might try and push for a forced church wedding, but I don’t think they’ll be successful.

                • Slightly different issue. That case runs into the idea that facilities offered to the public can’t discriminate. Since the Methodists don’t restrict use of the pavilion to themselves, they have to let anybody rent it. I don’t like it, but it’s been common for the past 50 years. And there is a sizable difference between forcing an organization to accept a customer and forcing a priest to perform a religious ceremony he finds objectionable.

                  • They didn’t force the minister to perform the ceremony (then again they never asked the minister to do so as far as I can determine), but they forced the church to have the ceremony performed on their property, I don’t see much difference.

                    • The difference is that the property in question was routinely rented out by the church to perform non-Methodist weddings. Ever since the Civil Rights Act it’s been the law that public accommodations can’t discriminate. Basically, if you run a business (in this case renting out a pavilion) you can’t turn away a customer just because of their race – later extended to sexual preference. Like I said, I don’t agree with it – I think it’s a gross violation of freedom of association – but it’s a long way from forcing pastors to solemnize marriages they disagree with.

              • Mozilla? If I may ask, what happened there? It’s news to me. The Duck Dynasty thing I only vaguely got hints of, so I’m also not familiar with the circumstances surrounding it.

                • Six years ago, Eichs gave $1000 in support for Prop 8 in California. When he was promoted to CEO of Mozilla (which he co-founded), this came out, and he was forced to resign a few days later. (Voluntarily, of course.) This is because they value equality and a diversity of ideas (their words).

                  On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 10:21 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                  > Shadowdancer Duskstar / Cutelildrow commented: “Mozilla? If I may ask, > what happened there? It’s news to me. The Duck Dynasty thing I only vaguely > got hints of, so I’m also not familiar with the circumstances surrounding > it.” >

                  • Mozilla’s executive chairwoman Michelle Baker’s speech can be found here: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/375250/mozillas-statement-brendan-eich-controversy-explained-hans-von-spakovsky
                    But here are few choice excerpts from it:

                    Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech

                    And you need free speech to fight for equality

                    Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness

                    We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views.

                    We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public

                • Short version: Mozilla got a new CEO who contributed in favor of Prop. 8, the ballot initiative in California reimposing the traditional definition of marriage. A week or so ago OKCupid puts up a pop-up on Firefox users calling the CEO a homophobe and saying they would prefer their users use another browser. The gaystapo gets the bit in their teeth and late last week Mozilla got a new CEO. And then got hit with a massive backlash, their feedback site is almost uniformly negative and almost all of the comments relate to the resignation.

                  • Have people withdrawn their support from Mint? I heard that the creator supposedly has strong anti-semitic views. But those views, as far as I’m concerned, have nothing to do with the operating system.

                    Then again, being anti-semitic seems to be a thing the vile progs give subtle approval to, so that might be why it doesn’t matter as much.

                    • Hadn’t heard that about Mint, which is good because I prefer it to Ubuntu.

                      I think part of the reason the left cares more about gays than Jews (aside from the endemic antisemitism that has always infested that side) is because the Jews were victims a half-century ago, and then refused to be victims anymore. When your entire worldview is based on the deification of victimhood, Jews are the ultimate apostate. They also point out that victimhood isn’t a permanent condition, which would mean that progs’ failings can’t be blamed on their victim status. You’ve got to admit, stripping those precious snowflakes of their psychological binkies is pretty evil. ;)

                    • Ubuntu has, from what I’ve heard from my in-house sysadmin, become seriously bloated. When I went from Windows, he helped me install LMDE on my system and ‘buntu on my mother’s. She complains that it’s rather slow now, and since I’m not in the same country as she is any more, I can’t figure out if it’s hardware or OS.

                      “Deification of victimhood.’ … You know, I’d wondered what they were going to replace religion with, given the vile prog sneering regards religious beliefs as a group (except Islam, because ‘tolerance’.) That’s … a rather pale replacement.

                • http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/03/us-mozilla-ceo-resignation-idUSBREA321Y320140403

                  Eich, who was appointed as CEO recently donated $1000 in 2008 in support of Prop 8, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman in California. Gay rights activists threw a fit and he was forced to resign.

                  “Developers Hampton Catlin and Michael Lintorn Catlin, a married gay couple that co-founded tech company Rarebit, removed their app from the Mozilla Marketplace and called for Eich to apologize or resign. They described the outcome as a sad victory in their latest post on the episode.

                  “We never expected this to get as big as it has and we never expected that Brendan wouldn’t make a simple statement,” Rarebit said. “Seriously, we assumed that he would reconsider his thoughts on the impact of the law (not his personal beliefs), issue an apology, and then he’d go on to be a great CEO. The fact it ever went this far is really disturbing to us.”

                  Pull the other one, it has bells on.

                  • ….given that the CEO lost his job, it doesn’t sound like Mozilla is standing up for non-PC personal opinions and stances, which is rather different from what I remember of the Chick-Fil-A kerfuffle.

                    My head is still relentlessly pounding, so I may have missed something here.

                  • marycatelli

                    What’s so surprising about that? They probably thought he would. After all, everybody really agrees with them, and as soon as you draw the facts to their attention, they will pull up their socks.

                    I have really heard, with my own ears, leftists solemnly informing me that education would get everyone to fall in line with their plans.

                    • I don’t think that education means what they think it means.

                    • Well, you see, most of them don’t grasp that mankind is made up entirely of human beings. They think there’s a small handful of human beings — them and their circle — and then there’s a bunch of chessmen that can be pushed about and will go, and stay, where pushed. Their education would work then.

                      The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder. — Adam Smith

                • And these are the people that we are assured would never do anything like suing the church to force them to marry them.

                • And see, I don’t have a real problem with that. It falls into the same private/professional dichotomy I appeal to when addressing issues like Mozilla. What I do in my off time should be of no concern to my employer, unless it interferes with my job. My employer should have broad discretion in dealing with my behavior on the clock, or if I bring them into my private actions. Posting wedding announcements on Facebook or the newspaper doesn’t count (unless they make a point of their affiliation with their employer in the announcement). By the same token, I don’t have a problem with an employer refusing to recognize a marriage they object to, but only so far as to exclude the “spouse” from benefits etc. As far as the employer is concerned, the employee is single.

                  • A bit hard to argue that when you’re a teacher in a Catholic institution. A teacher is expected to do more than teach just the subject they are teaching; especially in a Catholic school. They’re expected to represent to the students, as well as teach, Catholic morals. Can’t do that if you’re actively flouting doctrine with your life.

                    And yes, I am assuming that these guys sign a workplace agreement when they get hired or apply for a position and are accepted by the Catholic employer, so it’s not like they’re not unaware of these religious objections and yet agree to it. Unfair? Sure. So are plenty of other workplace agreements and yet, they agreed to this. But it’s the Catholic workplace that’s ‘wrong’ for …adhering to their morals and beliefs. Why?

                    A better question would be, why are the gay people not looking for work elsewhere, that doesn’t have those pesky religious objections, or looking for employment with Muslim employers? Surely that couldn’t be because they respect those religious objections (they clearly don’t) and ‘coz the latter advocates murdering homosexuals.

                    See, this is the problem with a few assholes wrecking everything for everyone else. I remember the days when we didn’t have insane checks to get on a plane. I deal with being constantly treated as if I were an illegal immigrant even if I’m not, because there are people who’ve wrecked the goodwill of people by breaking laws to get what they want, regardless of whether or not it’s right or wrong. People like myself, who originally supported the LGBT push for equal rights are driven away because I see the rights of other people being taken away, thought policed, and persecuted. And it’s not a fear of misuse of privilages; they’re being misused. It’s basically being told to choose between their morals, and mine. I’m in the same place that Paul Howard is, and it took me a long time to get there. I don’t trust the movement, though I support the concept of equal rights for gays. I don’t support their idea that they must have approval from everyone, and cannot be criticized.

          • Maybe it’s the libertarian in me, but I have a problem with denying people privileges based solely on the fear that they might misuse them. If your only objection to gay marriage is that some might try and use that to infringe on religious freedom, the support gay marriage and be prepared to fight for everyone’s religious freedom. The slippery slope argument is a fallacy.

            • The slippery slope argument is a fallacy.

              In this case, or in general? Pretty much all of the slippery-slope arguments against divorce have proven out. Likewise Affirmative Action. I’m sure other commentators can point to other examples.

              • Likely because all political slippery slopes are affected by Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy – which generalized tells us that ANY organization, even if it has achieved its original goal, will continue to expand the scope and depth of its power and grow in size.

              • In general. Mostly because it ignores the idea that people have limits, but also because any action is a first step onto a slippery slope to something bad.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Sorry Jeff, but the load-mouthed bigots of the pro-gay marriage movement turned me from somebody who looked for compromise to somebody who doesn’t trust the entire pro-gay marriage movement.

              Work with them?

              No way, they’ll just betray any sane people in their own movement.

              Work to protect Religious Freedom?

              Religious Freedom is under attack from many of the same groups that support gay marriage.

              Slippery Slope? Heck yes it exists and the Marxists are making the slope even more slippery.

            • Yeah. That would be really silly to think that some might try and use it as a wedge against churches.
              Heh.

              • Oh, they will — but that will bring its own punishment, I think.

              • I mean, this can’t go on.

                • I agree. I’d much rather we have tolerance, in a live and let live sort of way, but it seems some people have other things in mind. Saw a report about a year ago with a clip of a SSM activist claiming that the whole thing was a gambit to eventually get rid of marriage altogether.

                  Here’s the link.

                  • Her explanation of how she has three kids with five parents and how she would like to live in a legal system that reflects that is about as enlightening about her mental processes (or lack thereof) as her statement, “I agree that it is a no brainer gays should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it is a no brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.”

                • What can’t go on won’t.

              • What would be silly would be to make a policy judgment based on the bad actions of a few. We rightly laugh at the vile progs who use mass shootings to advocate against gun rights, why emulate them?

                Assholes exist, trying to craft a policy that can’t be abused by them is a fool’s errand. Address the issue at hand and be prepared to smack the idiots down when they go too far.

                • And crafting a policy that is tailor made for abuse is either an even bigger fool’s errand, or being crafted by an abuser.

                  Now if they introduced a bill that removed government from marriages in general, that I could support.

                  • But it isn’t crafted for abuse*. Saying that a gay couple has the same access to a marriage license makes no statement about religious activity. To claim that a marriage license entitles one to a wedding in a church is just as nonsensical as saying it entitles a straight gentile couple to a wedding in a synagogue.

                    *I would like to point out that certain military regulations incentivise abusing marriage. Now that DOMA and Don’t ask, Don’t tell are gone I expect to see a spike in homosexual marriages among the E-1 through E-4 ranks, since it’s hard for them to get single BAH. But that’s more a problem with how the military treats single vs. married troops.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I don’t know what bearcat means by “crafted for abuse” but IMO the situation is dangerous because of the “Thou Shall Not Criticize Gays” mindset. The gays who disagree with the gay kooks are silent as in “not criticizing the kooks”, the news media does a poor job of reporting about (or criticizing) the gay kooks and of course anybody else who criticizes the gay kooks publicly are automatically “Haters Of Gays”.

                      When some gays attempt to force priests/ministers to marry (in a religious marriage) it won’t be a surprise to me but too many people are publicly saying that it won’t happen or worse saying that it *can’t* happen.

                      The “won’t happen” is could be just ignorance of the kooks who would attempt it.

                      The “can’t happen” is, at the least, dangerously optimistic.

                    • Actually they’re not silent. I know several of them, and they’re nowhere near silent. But their blogs, vehement protestations on FB, etc, are ALL ignored by the media and the “consensus.” Sigh. Makes you wonder if all Muslims really are silent in the face of terror, or if it’s an MSM thing.

            • marycatelli

              On the contrary, we started on this slippery slope with no-fault divorce, and fallacy or not — it exists.

        • To them opposing gay marriage means that one is irrationally afraid of gays. … But far more have actually reasoned through the issue and come up with a different conclusion than I have, either because they ascribe far more weight to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or they think that the ubiquity of marriage is due to its role in encouraging reproduction.”

          A good example: I recently said this on G+


          When you get something, and are fighting for it, the wrong thing to do is abuse it the moment you do get it. The only thing you prove are all the negative opinions and fears about the whole procedure, and fuck it seriously up for the people who aren’t evil like you.

          more here:
          http://www.rpvnetwork.org/profiles/blogs/gay-adoption-horror-duke

          Apparently, saying “You’re screwing it up for other people by doing that” is homophobia, because someone hashtagged the post as such. So is pointing out that there are evil people using an agenda usually seen as a positive thing to get what they want. Interestingly enough, that proves the theory I’ve seen that gay people don’t like being criticized and scream discrimination if they are.

          Seriously, proving Putin right isn’t a good thing.

          • NO ONE likes being criticized. It just proves gays are human. They also don’t like being tied up to vile people who share ONE characteristic with them. Most of the people screaming aren’t even gay themselves. Just like in SF most of the people screaming for Glittery Previleges are just Marxist Assholes TM.

            • Yes, nobody likes being criticized, but nobody is also exempt from criticism. Being called a bigot and homophobe for criticizing someone who is gay for something that is valid criticism is just as much of a shut up as me screaming ‘racist’ every time someone criticizes something I said/do/ or me. Treating gays like every other human being isn’t bigotry, but it’s sure being made that way.

              But yeah, like normal people, I’ve met gays who don’t care if I treat them no different from anybody else, and I’ve met gays who get SUPER OFFENDED that I don’t treat them like magical special snowflakes because of their gayness.

              (Also, back later. Medical appointment.)

              • Yes, of course. OTOH the whole pedophilia/adoption is a sore spot. You can’t tell if the percentage is same in natural families, simply because straight pervs can have their own victims, and only get caught if they’re REALLY careless.
                Not to say that there should be strict supervision for all families. I think both have tiny percentages of this nonsense, but…
                What I’m trying to say is different circumstances should be taken into account.
                I’d purely hate to be lumped in with every Portuguese criminal around. I wouldn’t call people “racist” because I’m not stupid, but it would p*ss me off more because I’d be suspected because of something I couldn’t help, if that makes sense.

                • Much in the same way, I don’t believe that all gays are pedophiles. Yet, in rather prominent examples that were very quickly hushed by the media, gays were represented for the right to adopt by gay pedophiles who abused the right as soon as they got it. I still don’t believe that gays are pedophiles as a group, or even remotely assume that most of them are (in fact, I think most gays prefer adult sexual partners.) The problem is, thanks to the glittery demands and Marxist attitudes that surround the LGBT agendas, what would be perfectly reasonable otherwise (the right of gay couples to adopt children) and what should be given equal scrutiny regardless of the sexual orientation of the prospective parents… well, they’re not. Prospective heterosexual parents are given the wringer because there have been pedophiles of heterosexual stripe who abused the adoption process. Yet, out of fear of being called homophobes, the same scrutiny wasn’t applied to a gay couple even if the social workers saw signs that would have normally lead to more investigation. The children lose because of political correctness and because of the vast intolerance of being critical towards gays.

                  Worse, the fact that they were briefly represented by pedophiles who sought to 1) abuse the system 2)use the protections given to gays as a shield against scrutiny was quickly buried and citing it at all = homophobia (even when valid reasons for citing it are given) will only highlight the inequal favoritism slanted towards gays, and only make the flaws of said system worse as opposed to better. If the flaw cannot be criticized nor examined, it will not be fixed. If the same stringent measures cannot apply to one group regards adoption, then it invites outright abuse of the system overall, not just regards pedophiles. “I want” becomes the overarching rule and only applies to gays, and other more important, or equally valid reasons to deny are made secondary.

                  So yeah, I agree that equal scrutiny SHOULD be applied, but because the repercussions of doing so to a gay couple are higher risk and politically charged, that’s not happening, thus, something I can’t actively support even if I agree with the basic premise. And even the basic premise comes with a but/exception – gays should not be able to force an adoption agency that is of a religious institution that does not approve of homosexuals to allow them to adopt, nor can they sue them for discrimination, especially as there are state run orphanages for them to apply to.

                  Yes, radical, rabid leftist Marxist vile progs may not be the whole of the LGBT group but they’re certainly doing most of the active representing and influencing of laws. In the long run, the gays who don’t want that suffer, as per the example of forcing churches to marry them given by Paul and dgarsys. I don’t want that either, because the loss of the rights of the religious, plus the negative backlash against gays who would otherwise be okay with letting the religious folk alone and be fine with purely secular forms of union and recognition.

                  (I fear I must excuse myself if responses are somewhat tangled / delayed. I’ve been suffering from very horrible headaches and they derail my train of thought. The headaches are caused by my eyeglasses grade having changed and until I get my specs replaced, the pain will remain.)

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              That’s what’s sad Sarah. If (as I believe will happen) the radical gays attempt (or worse succeed) to force churches to marry gays via the Supreme Court, then all gays would likely suffer. [Frown]

              • yes. But it’s not just the radical gays — it’s the marxists who push their cause.
                It’s like if the Glitteries get their way, our daughters will be in Burkas.

                • A long time ago, whilst still hang in’ at the Bar, a barfly once commented how he got OUT of the gay rights movement (IIRC up around the lakes or such, certainly east of California).

                  Basically, a bunch came in to “help” and consult from California in a short period of time, and one (secondhand please) told him straight up that they’re fighting for not just “gay marriage” – but the use of “marriage” as a legal term in order to use it as a wedge against churches.

    • Jonah talked about this in his recent g-file.

      What I think is fascinating — and something I’ve been noodling for a book idea that’s been bouncing around my head like something that bounces inside something else that is conducive to lots of bouncing — is that prices aren’t unique. We think they are a category unto themselves. A price isn’t like anything else, right? Well, wrong — maybe. If prices are simply the agglomeration of disparate and complex information boiled down to a number, can’t other things be agglomerations of disparate and complex information boiled down to something else? Lord knows I’ve written a lot about embedded knowledge and intangible capital in this space (I’m referring to Jimmy Lord, a really attentive G-File reader, by the way. He remembers everything I write). The whole point of “I, Pencil” (Now a major Internet movie!) is that the pencil itself is a huge storehouse of knowledge and information not possessed by any single person. That the price of the pencil puts a monetary value on all that doesn’t for a moment detract from the wonder of the pencil itself.

      But here’s the thing: concepts, traditions, customs, and habits are also huge storehouses of knowledge. For instance, we don’t know all the reasons we do all of the things that fall under the rubric of “good manners.”

      Anyway, the point I’m getting at is that there’s nothing — nothing — that we say, do, own, make, or believe that isn’t brimming with all of the sorts of information that go into a price. The fact that we can’t put a price on some of them, doesn’t mean that they have less information in them. In fact, it probably means that they have more information in them. And that makes not just prices mysterious, but life itself. And that should fill us with awe and humility.

      • Or as I like to look at it, what we call “now” is a moving wave front proceeding at the constant speed of one second per second, and every point on that front is the accumulation of countless billions of events that led up to each individual and unique point. In that respect it’s not so much we rise on the shoulders of giants, but rather on the constantly growing mound of grains of sand.
        No wonder most of us ignore the past or objectify it with trite simplifications. The true vastness of it all is mind bending.

        • We need to have respect for tradition while still looking forward and innovating.

          • Stop me! The tangents! They’re doing it again!

            One of my personal cognitive dissonances is my abiding love for the music of “The Fiddler on the Roof” – I still find some of the songs sentimental and/ or funny. At least in the early half.

            Having grown up though – holy crap is that play full of communist propaganda. And while the opening song is a wonderful pean to tradition (and so is “If I were a rich man” – what does he want to do when wealth frees up his time? Worship, study, be wise…), the play itself is almost entirely about tearing down traditions, and how they’re all rather stupid in this modern time.

    • Well, the opposition to slavery meant nothing, until we had the technology to do the unpleasant/boring jobs in other ways. In the same way our entire sexual culture is in upheaval (And we might manage to become extinct for it.) Frankly, the devaluing of children and the people who care for them worries me more than gay people being out of the closet — it’s a greater violation and more scary — as is encouraging young women to sleep around because “Own your sexuality” and “no slut shamming.” It causes much more damage in terms of later fertility not to mention sanity.
      It is of course based on “safe contraceptives” which allow it. It might still kill us. The important thing is to look at how tech has changed the way we live, how it’s changing customs we think are immutable but which have already changed and then figure out where we go from here.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I wonder how much opposition to slavery in the past was more “I don’t want to be enslaved but other people are born slaves”. [Sad Smile]

        On the technology ending slavery angle, I’m not so sure of that.

        Slavery (including its cousin serfdom) had all but ended in Western Europe by the late middle ages/early modern period.

        Slavery IMO ended in Western Europe mainly because people in power objected to it not because “it wasn’t necessary anymore”.

        Black slavery was a “rebirth” of slavery not a continuation of slavery.

        • Um… not quite Drak. If you study it more closely, there was always slavery — might be called by other names, but it was slavery. Apprentices were slaves, sold to a master for x time. People objecting to things doesn’t make them go away. It just makes them go underground. UNTIL they can go away — if they can. Part of the issue is the Marxists believe that things can go away because you mau-mau them. Most of the things theyw ant to go away SHOULDN’T, but leaving that aside, they won’t. They’ll just go underground.

          • How do we get rid of Marxists?

            • Ruger makes an excellent conscientious objector.

            • We expose them and their vile beliefs for what they are. They — like vampires — can only live with glammour. If people could see what they intend for the rest of us it would be torch and pitchfork time.

            • Best you can do is thin the herd.
              It is after all a condition of the young. Smart people grow out of it (note I said smart, not intelligent, big difference).
              It is worth giving them a closer look as many who claim to be Marxist are in fact simply using the label in an effort to gain control over others.
              A true Marxist is flat out deluded, incapable of seeing that their pet theories fly in the face of human nature. That other type are after power and sooner or later need to be dealt with harshly.
              Neither should ever be allowed anywhere near a position of power over the rest of us. Our failure to do so goes a long way toward explaining our current situation.

            • William O. B'Livion

              Mau Mau them.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I’ve heard too many times the idea that the US didn’t have to fight the Civil War because “slavery would have ended anyway” due to technological/economic factors.

            I don’t buy that idea.

            Slavery ended (as much as it has) more because a large percentage of people in society decided that “this isn’t right”.

            Technological/economic factors were more involved in making the “this isn’t right” work.

            While I agree that “Just Passing A Law Will Prevent it” idea doesn’t work, the “This Isn’t Right” mindset is a factor as well as the technological/economic factors.

            Still, I’m not wanting a big fight with you on this. [Smile]

            • Oh, no. It would not have ended. Just because something is more convenient doesn’t mean it just passes away, particularly when people are deriving benefit from it.
              I don’t think we’re fighting. I think we’re on the same side. It’s the nuances we’re trying to clarify.

              • William O. B'Livion

                Slavery on an “industrial” scale would have gone away within 2 generations because machinery would have been cheaper than maintaining slaves 12 months out of the year.

                “Servant Slavery” would possibly have hung on for a while longer, but in much smaller numbers because some worthless scumbags *like* having slaves.

                Eventually it would have been made illegal (though probably not a new amendment to the constitution) because it’s morally icky.

                • Slavery on an industrial scale might well have lasted until 1950 or thereabouts, because of the unequal difficulty of automating different jobs. This is what I mean specifically:

                  Slavery in the American colonies was not especially profitable. It appeared to be an institution that would die a natural death in the days when Thomas Jefferson was trembling for his country. Then the invention of the cotton gin and steam-powered textile machinery hugely increased the demand for raw cotton, which could only be picked by human hands. That turned slavery into an immense growth industry in the cotton belt. So insatiable was the demand for slaves that specialized plantations arose to breed them for sale, and these plantations were immensely profitable. (A good short treatment of this topic can be found in Paul Johnson’s The Birth of the Modern.) While those circumstances held, there was no economic reason why slavery should disappear.

                  After slavery was abolished, cotton planters were forced to find other ways of getting labour, but it was a heavy expense to them. Even the free labour would have been too expensive to hire had it not been for the mass of ex-slaves who could not find other work. In the long run, the only economically viable alternative to slavery in the cotton fields was mechanization. There was no economic reason why slavery should have died out before then; indeed, the economic interest of the planters was all on the side of keeping their labourers as close to chattel servitude as the law would allow.

                  The trouble was that cotton picking was tremendously difficult to automate. Cotton gins, spinning machines, and power looms are all relatively simple machines; by comparison, the design required for a cotton-picking machine almost rises to the level of robotics. Mechanical cotton pickers were not invented until the 1930s; they did not become commercially available until 1947.

                  Within a decade after that, the civil rights movement became a major force in American politics, and the Jim Crow laws began to be repealed. This is no coincidence. Reform became feasible when King Cotton no longer needed to prevent it. I would suggest that slavery would have remained economically viable until that date if it had not been outlawed on moral grounds.

                  • Nah, the perceived need for mechanization wasn’t high enough. The first line of mechanization should have been something that just went through and cut all the plants and loaded them into a wagon so that people could pick the cotton off the plants without having to walk through the fields, carrying their sack of cotton and bending over to the plants all the time. Had the labor shortage been worse, it would have happened.

                  • I point out that the wonders of Jim Crow were brought to us by none other than the Progressives. From the Reconstruction onward, such laws were slapped down. But when Woodrow Wilson was elected, he stopped the slapping — and went to segregate the federal workforce instead.

            • While true that the economics of slavery were aligned against it continuing, and that was a major factor in ending the practice in the British Commonwealth, there is a strong appeal in the practice towards the most base and evil of human urges, total control over another person. Otherwise, how to explain the existence of the practice in this modern day still.

              • Exactly. And come on, Marxism is yet another attempt at slavery in large scale, even though it DEMONSTRABLY is an economic loss. I’m not saying it would have ended because of tech. I’m saying tech made it POSSIBLE to end it. Not the same thing, and blood sweat and toil still required.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Correct, in Marxism people are owned by the State (not officially but in practice).

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  By the way, have anybody else read H. Beam Piper’s “A Slave Is A Slave”? In it a pure slave society (if you weren’t a master, you were a slave) was ended by outsiders. What happened was the Higher Status Slaves created a Marxist society where everybody was owned by the State and they managed the State.

                  • I’ve read “A slave is a slave.” It and Heinlein’s “Logic of Empire” are intresting reads.

                    Most of the works of Piper can be found at Project Gutenberg.

                    Some choice quotes from “A slave is a slave.”

                    “There has always been strong sympathy for the poor, meek, downtrodden slave—
                    the kindly little man, oppressed by cruel and overbearing masters. Could that sympathy possibly be misplaced?”

                    “Obray, Count Erskyll was opposed to the use of force. Force, he believed, was the last resort of incompetence; he had said so frequently enough since this operation had begun. Of course, he was absolutely right, though not in the way he meant. Only the incompetent wait until the last extremity to use force, and by then, it is usually too late to use anything, even prayer.

                    But, at the same time, he was opposed to authoritarianism, except, of course, when necessary for the real good of the people. And he did not like rulers who called themselves Lords-Master. Good democratic rulers called themselves Servants of the People.”

            • It’s not that it would have ended without the war, it’s that it wouldn’t have ended even with the war, without the technology to replace it.

              It was actually waning before the war, but kind of like people using horses after automobiles became common, it wouldn’t have disappeared on its own, it would have just became either a hobby or niche market.

              • Waning in the West perhaps. Slavery was only suppressed in the rest of the world because the British and the Americans made a conscientious effort, at great national expense, to stamp it out. Only in Christendom was slavery qua slavery *ever* seen as evil. The best you could get elsewhere was that it was wrong to enslave members of your own group, but anyone else was fair game.

                • marycatelli

                  Nah, some Stoics also thought it evil.

                  And as often as you reflect how much power you have over a slave, remember that your master has just as much power over you. “But I have no master,” you say. You are still young; perhaps you will have one. Do you not know at what age Hecuba entered captivity, or Croesus, or the mother of Darius, or Plato, or Diogenes?
                  — Seneca

                  And apparently there were Greeks, too, because when Aristotle argued that some people were fit only to be slaves, namely those people who lack the deliberative faculty — a faculty which he noted that even children had, so we are talking about people with serious mental problems — he then looked at real life and observed that those Greeks had a point about it’s being arbitrary, because in real life, you could easily see natural slaves as legal free men and natural free men as legal slaves.

                  • Sure, there have always been *individuals* in slave-accepting societies that thought it was bad. But the societies in general didn’t accept their conclusions. Only in the West did it ever, AFAIK, become a general consensus.

                    • Yep but since we were talking the US Civil War, I assumed we were talking about its popularity in the US also. It is still quite popular in many parts of the world today.

            • If the Russian example is valid, and some of the Roman practices, slave factory labor would have become a lot more common in the US. The Russians ended up with entire small villages sold to one factory and relocated. (And people think Lowell MA and the other mill-towns were bad? *shakes head*) I suspect things like that would have become more common, and practices like the debt-peonage of New Spain would also have increased. YMMV, IANA labor (or Labour) historian.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Nod. While I think the meme of the evil industrialist is over-done, I do see a society that believes slavery is OK having slave labor in factories.

              • But your own examples, as well as the Nazi experience with the V-2, point to the major flaw. What kind of quality do you think slave workers produce? Slave-run factories would always be outcompeted by employee-run factories. The only wya for a slave favotry to survive would be if all forms of competition were outlawed.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Jeff, in the Southern Slave State certain professions (like blacksmiths) were seen as “Slave Professions” and poor free whites wouldn’t go into those professions because they saw them as “not something a free man should do”.

                  If factory work was seen as “slave work”, then a factory owner wanting to use free workers might have a hard time getting people willing to for them.

                  Even if a factory owner could get free workers as employees, the owners of the already established slave factories would see the “free” factories as a threat as “that man will give our workers ideas and they’ll get uppity”.

                  The owners of the slave factories would likely use various illegal and legal means to make sure the “free” factories failed.

                  Now admittedly it would be hard for a slave factory to compete if it tried to compete with already existing “free” factories and the early industrial US would be the last place IMO that slave factories could get started.

                  There would be two reasons for that however.

                  First, the heartland of the early industrial US was also the area of the US that had strongly rejected slavery even before it became industrialized.

                  Second, the South discouraged immigration from Europe and the more industrialized North encouraged immigration from Europe. So the industrialized North had more than enough free men willing to work in the factories. They didn’t need slave workers in their factories.

                  • But you’re assuming that the factories would be located in slave states. As transportation technology improved in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the captive market for local production shrank. By 1900 it would have been cheaper for a southerner to buy a product made in Detroit than a worse-quality product made in Charleston.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nope, I’m thinking more generally about a world that accepts slavery and wants to industrialize.

                      Industrialization would start with using slaves in the factories and thus somebody who later wanted to use free labor in his factories may have the problems I mentioned in starting up.

                      Now I agree that a nation that started industrialization using slave labor could have problems competing with nations that started industrialization using free labor.

                      What I’m saying is that without the belief that Slavery is wrong, industrialization alone wouldn’t “magically” end Slavery.

                      IMO without “free labor” competition, industrialization won’t end Slavery.

                • Yep, the AK-47 never stood a chance of competing with the M-16.

                  Oh and none of us ever buy cheap junk made in China or Pakistan instead of better quality stuff made in Japan or the US, because we are only going to use it once and the cheap junk will work well enough for what we are using it for, while costing a lot less.

        • There was a certain dialectial effect with technology. The Romans knew the waterwheel, but didn’t use it. Some even openly declared that they wanted to keep the poor employed. The medievals had more interested in labor-saving; obviously, labor was rarer, the rights conceded to a serf showed that you had to give more for labor.

          That the middle ages also shook off much of the stigma of being interested in making things work better was another help. Plus a serf’s having interest in making his work more effective.

          • Ah, actually, the archaeologists have discovered in the last 15 years that water wheels of all sorts were common in the Roman Empire – we just didn’t know how to look for them. Their numbers dropped in the Dark Ages/Late Antiquity and early Middle Ages, then rose again after 1350 or so. Windmills didn’t appear in the Roman Empire, though, for reasons still being argued over. So now the historians and anthropologists are arguing over why the Romans had both water power and chattel slavery. (I’m currently reading the Oxford Book of Technology in the Classical World.)

            • William O. B'Livion

              Because water wheels don’t hoe fields.

              • Rob Crawford

                And water power isn’t available everywhere. Pompeii was built on a stone outcropping; the water that came in was for bathing and drinking. Slaves and mules ground grain.

            • The horse collar hadn’t been invented yet. People are more efficient than horses when you strangle the horse every time you try to make it pull a plow.

          • William O. B'Livion

            My father was in the medical sales field for 30 or 40 years.

            At one point he (or a friend, memory doesn’t tell me) went to call on a catholic hospital in the mid-west run by an order of Nuns. He was attempting to sell them new disposable dressing/bandages. The nun refused to buy them. He queried why. She took him to a room in the basement where there were several older women who were carefully rolling freshly sterilized bandages for distribution. The Sister explained that if she started buying disposable bandages these women would be out of work.

            Today we put them out of work and most of the “retraining” is bullshit government scams. So they wind up on SSDI or welfare or whatever.

            • I’m trying to parse out your statement…

              I mean, the disposable bandages have obvious benefits, possibly are safer, possibly more economic, and the women (not necessarily nuns themselves) could have been directed towards other activities.

              But it sounds like in your second paragraph that you’re arguing against that kind of thing by saying that today we push forward and do that and the result isn’t good.

              Maybe I’m missing the point. Are you saying that this an example of Chesterton’s fence (the older ladies in the story needed a form of employment, hence the reason for the old fashioned bandages)? Are you saying that because gov’t retraining is ineffective, that all retraining or re-direction in these kinds of cases is wrong?

              • William O. B'Livion

                My story was in reponse to the commented “Wanted to keep the poor working”.

                The problem with technology is that people are incredibly complex machines. You can’t repurpose a linotype once optical typsetting comes along, not most of them anyway. There is virtually no use for a Compaq ES45 today. You don’t repurpose them, you recycle them. People are not so easy.

                There’s nothing wrong with being poor (as distinguished from “living in poverty”) other than it’s boring and frustrating. But being poor and not working, that is soul destroying. By providing the old women with work–even inefficient work, the Sisters not only kept them from having to eat cat food (or the cat), but let them keep their dignity, gave them a reason to get out of bed in the morning and gave them a (another?) community.

                Today those women (well, their daughters) are sitting locked inside a small house or an apartment with the windows and doors locked, shuttered inside the world of Television and the occasional visit from a relative or the UPS guy bringing htem another load of stuff from the Shopping Network.

                Because the world outside is dark and scary and Oprah, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz have all the answers.

                We used to have a purpose for old people. Now we use them as sinks for material goods.

                • “If it’s jobs you want, give them spoons, not shovels.”

                  The choice isn’t between unemployment or make-work. We need to allow the economy to find ways of utilizing the poor, not hiding them away in senecures.

                  • William O. B'Livion

                    It’s not an issue of rich/poor. It’s an issue of ability to handle complexity and change. Those that can can make their way in this world(given, of course a reasonably functional school system which much of the country DOES NOT HAVE) .

                    Those that cannot are the problem. Some of them (the old ladies in my story above) were just past the age when they could make the adjustments. Others are, frankly, just too stupid, too broken by life and drugs, or whatever to be able to surf the future-shock-wave.

                    Leaves always need to be raked, but why would I want to pay someone of dubious work history and chemical intake when I can buy a robot and skip the bills for the health insurance and workmans comp that will cost me more than his salary?

                    In my field (unix/linux administration) that “We can replace you with a short perl script”. Many of “us” have been replaced by not terribly longer ones. (Puppet && Chef, Cobbler && Kickstart, VMware and ILOs). Now you’ve got people who rack and stack, and those that write code to manage them.

                    Industry is coming back to America, but most of the jobs aren’t because robots are cheaper and in a lot of cases SMARTER than the people they replaced.

                    Today huge numbers of jobs are basically sinecures because you have to have some way of identifying useful employees and firing your entire technical support crew and replacing it with an expert system scares the utter cr*p out of people.

                    Finding a job for the incompetent that isn’t make work is going to be harder and harder. And more and more of us are going to fall into that “incompetent” bucket as life gets more complicated.

                • I’ve been listening to http://www.nerdist.com/podcast/the-browncast/ the Browncast, and one of them has an interview where these two Food Network hosts are talking about how they can’t imagine being a cook because it requires a tolerance for repetition that is beyond them, and being a head chef requires…well, the way they describe it is eerily like people talking about all the menial jobs that are done by machines now and which mean whole swaths of people will never be called for again.

                  Pshaw.

                  It’s an infection of the “people are widgets” mentality.

                  The nun didn’t want to use the hand-rolled stuff because that class of women needed the work, but because those specific women were doing it.

                  To use a slightly different example, when my husband was about to graduate high school his dad went and bought a riding mower. The person who previously did the job was going, so he could be replaced by a machine. Same thing with ranch hands, as they get old and can’t do this or that, the job gets shored up by machine.

                  There’s not a class of people who are “those who roll bandages.”

                  If the guy selling the bandages had said “Alright, sister– I understand you don’t want to put these ladies out of work. However, if you start to have more of a demand for bandages than they can fulfill, please contact us!” then he probably would’ve had a sale as the ladies passed on.
                  (See also, downsizing the gov’t by NOT automatically hiring to fill places as people retire.)

    • I was listening to discussions on that yesterday. They had a recording of one of Mozilla’s people stating how their company welcomes people with all kinds of beliefs and doesn’t discriminate against anybody for their religious beliefs, sexual orientantion, political beliefs, etc. And how they support everyone’s rights under the constitution. Apparently someone who 8 years ago gave money to a political campaign supported by the majority of voters (it passed by popular vote) in the state doesn’t have the rights of everyone else and can be discriminated against with impugnity, however.

      • They are tolerant. Tolerant of the Right People. However the people he supported aren’t the Right People. Who are the Right People comes from the “Elites”. If you aren’t on their nice list then you are naughty and need to be punished. Majorities are irrelevant. They are reactionary oligopolists.

        • Just a note – While I think the entire Eich affair may be an example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I tried to avoid details because I don’t think the specific issue is relevant to the general attitude and principle I was pointing out. Even my point – that long – standing social institutions serve a purpose (even if its a dysfunctional one) and thus we should be cautious in discarding them (no matter how we disagree), and that it is presumptuous to believe that our forebears were entirely “wrong” on a subject we see in a different moral light is somewhat off topic, and barring our kind-hostess’s forbearance and patience on allowing it, let’s not go entirely off into left field with a discussion of the ins and outs of the whole Mozilla kerfluffle.

        • They are reactionaries! Human Wave is the future! Judge people by what they do, not what they say.

    • Chesterton’s Fence– or, as I sometimes paraphrase it, “if you don’t understand why something in your way was put up, don’t pull it down; ‘because people are poopie heads’ is not a valid reason why it was put up.”

      There are some exceptions, mostly based in a cost/benefit situation where the cost of not doing something is simply too dear, but it’s like knocking out walls in a house and then being surprised when your bedroom falls down into the den.

      • I put it, “You can’t see why that fence is there right now, no. But there might be a bull just over that hill, and if you tear the fence down, he’s liable to gore you.”

        • Of course, the opposite is a favorite family joke– the story of the lady who cuts the ends off of her potroast.

          There’s a long, drawn out chain of her asking up and up the family tree, and finally she asks her grandma why they cut the ends off the potroast and put them in the bottom of the pan.

          The answer? Because her pan was too small.

          ******

          Oh, I was going to add and forgot– guessing folks here are familiar with the story about the study where they punished the other monkeys in a cage if one went up a pole for bananas, and once that was established they started slowly switching out monkeys, and eventually they had no monkeys who’d ever been sprayed but they were still pulling down anybody who went for the food.

          Lileks linked to someone trying to find the source and turns out that it seems to have appeared from nothingness when it was cited in a book, and the only surviving author gets really pissed and refuses to speak to anyone who wants to know where the original study was.

          A slightly similar one had toys that would shock the monkeys if they played with them, same swap out thing, and found that the apes would warn away possible mates from the danger but still only resulted in a lower, non-zero rate of playing with the toys that previously caused pain.

  4. Thanks, Sarah, occasionally I feel surrounded by the doom-fetishists. Reminders are appreciated.

  5. So it’s not _a_ baby, it’s twins! Technology and Tolerance. Sheesh, the names some people give their kids! At least Tech looks healthy. I worry a bit about Tol.

  6. Trouble is, Sarah, I see more faux “Tolerance” for people who dress funny, get stoned, or do non-warrantied things with their genitalia, but absolutely ZERO genuine tolerance for independent thought. Huxley’s _Brave New World_ exactly predicted this situation: plenty of sex&drugs&fun, but rigid conformity of thought — and it’s all enforced “for your own good” by genuinely well-meaning tyrants.

    And despite all our blather about technology empowering the individual, that’s not a law of nature. The Internet that lets you share your thoughts also lets the NSA find out who you’re sharing them with. In the very near future, as our understanding of the brain improves, we’re going to be faced with the prospect of genuine brainwashing and mind control. How many people will really resist the urge to let the nice doctors help them overcome “unacceptable” thoughts? Being Odd is hard; if there was a pill that would cure it, how many people would refuse it?

    • Yes, but that is because we have a bad infestation of Marxists. Part of the Marxist power is caused by what Sabrina says — comment below — where it’s a cult. (And btw, Marxism always turns in the end on people who dress funny, like funny music and do weird things with their genitalia. ALWAYS. They just use them as a wedge to get in.)
      Marxism MUST be fought to the knife, wherever found. It’s malware corrupting the species’ ability to think.

    • I question the genuinity (is so a word) and the well-meaningity of the tyrants. They genuinely mean themselves well, otherwise not so much.

      • I think that you mean genuineness and well meaning ness

      • You have the herd, and then you have the herd masters.
        As we have seen over and over again historically, even the most devout Marxists will assume control over the people “just until we get things straightened out, control will revert to the masses once we get things up and running.” Funny how they never seem to reach that happy day, ain’t it? Meanwhile, because they work so hard and care so much the movers and shakers get to shop in the good stores, take a break in a Dacha by the lake, have all the perks and bennies to ease their terrible burden.
        Thing is our fearless leaders seem to have much the same attitude.

        • The “herd master” is also master at inciting division in the herd.

          After a recent exercise class, a group of ladies was discussing if their insurance costs had gone up and how much and one lady popped up to say hers went way down and how happy she was with her new exchange policy.

          She is paying $20 a month for what costs me $600 a month, (same basic plan each with $6000 out of pocket) I hesitantly said, but what about the people who have had their inexpensive policies cancelled and now are frantic? She said, and I do not kid: “Well, to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs”.

          Breaking eggs do not make a loud crash and draw tv crews, like the collapse of the world trade towers. But government forcing family budgets into chaos does create a different kind of crash. I am resentful that I must pay MORE so that smug woman pays LESS. What’s next? Will I pay be forced to pay $30 a gallon for milk so she can pay one dollar? a $900 car payment so she can get the same car for $30?

          Sarah, I agree that Americans are “special”. How long can special hold up under deliberately incited resentments?

          • I bet her plan isn’t that good, either. I bet she’ll find when she tries to use it.

          • Of course, you see it wasn’t her eggs getting broken.
            Just compare what you used to pay for your insurance against that $600 you are now forced to fork over. The difference is what that sanctimonious twit has stolen straight out of your pocket. And she’ll be back to do the same next month, and the month after, and the months after that. And when the system crashes and burns she will be the first to blame the “greedy fat cats” for their refusal to continue to support what in reality amounts to a barely disguised transfer of wealth through institutionalized theft.

            • She’s a leech who feels that she should have everything bought with your money.

              I think that in the Vile Marxists’ minds we tax paying citizens should be the Morlocks to their Eloi.

              Wealth doesn’t belong to those who produce it. Oh no, it belongs to the Vile Marxists and their pets. They should read a little history. The last we Americans were fleeced like we had a nasty no holds barred war. If they continue this way there will be war.

        • I have actually read today a quote from a book that says that when hunting with falcons or hounds, you give them just enough of the kill to satiate their taste for blood — and so too with corporations, but nowadays the corporations are eating most of the kill.

          Yes, folks, if you own stock, you’re not human, you’re a dog or bird that belongs to the REAL human beings.

          • I value my hounds more than 99% of the human race; so I can think of worse things to be compared to.

    • And how many would be allergic to it? In the late 60’s our family doctor prescribed Ritalin for me – I was ADHD, and that’ was the #1 med for the problem. Except —
      I had a severe reaction to it, and wound up hospitalized. I am also somewhat claustrophobic, and when I reacted to all the gray walls around me, the hospital staff stuck me in a locked ward. I spent a full month in the hospital, mostly because no one bothered to listen.
      I recall a SF short story/novelette about a guy who accidentally OD’d on a popular soda (The Martians Are Coming?) and while everyone else enjoyed it, he was the only one untouched by it.
      Help, someone – what was the story?

  7. yes– I need a little hope today (maybe the Hope Diamond– anyone, anyone?) I have been updating and revising my medical biography (and collections). I found that today even though it is impermanent is much better than 2003 or 2005. Most of the change thrown at us (my husband and I) in the last decade has been bad. I am hoping that some change will be good soon. *crossing my fingers

  8. Slightly off topic, or maybe not.

    http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2014/04/06/vanishing-point/

    Richard Fernadez of Belmont Club has a article describing a protest at google executive Kevin Rose home.

    His crime in their complant is quote “As a partner venture capitalist at Google Ventures, Kevin directs the flow of capital from Google into the tech startup bubble that is destroying San Francisco. The start-ups that he funds bring the swarms of young entrepreneurs that have ravaged the landscapes of San Francisco and Oakland”

    Their solution to the vile violation of their bay area utopia is quote “To this end, we now make our first clear demand of Google. We demand that Google give three billion dollars to an anarchist organization of our choosing. This money will then be used to create autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. In these communities, whether in San Francisco or in the woods, no one will ever have to pay rent and housing will be free.”

    I know google is evil but that right there is funny no matter who you are.
    (Anarchist organizations! Free housing for everyone except the suckers who have to pony up $3,000,000,000)

    • And creating “autonomous, anti-capitalist, anti-racist communities” in the woods of the Bay Area and Northern California will repair the ravaged landscapes of San Francisco and Oakland, how?

      Sorry but anarchist and anti-capitalist mix about as well as oil and water. Anarchists by definition are capitalists, they certainly don’t believe in some higher power divvying stuff up, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

      • Trying to imagine a part of Berkley being even MORE anarchist/anticapitalist/whateverist.

        • The bad parts of Mogadishu and southern Afghanistan come to mind, crossed with the worst parts of Detroit and Chicago.

      • it would be great if this happens, and then we could go there and kick all the anarchists out of the housing, just for kicks. They want anarchy? I can give it to them, and they will not like it at all.

      • Rob Crawford

        Modern “anarchists” are just Marxists in disguise. They’re playing off his “the state will wither away, after the dictatorship of the proletariat” nonsense.

        Pay attention to them — you’ll never see a large-mouthed anarchist support anything that actually increases liberty in a meaningful way. They just push Marxist crap and open violence.

        • Oh, there are anarcho-capitalists out there. I have a couple of them as Facebook friends. They take a bit longer to start shoveling out handwavium, but they get there in the end (mostly because they can’t figure out how their neat little liberty communities can be co-opted, corrupted, or just plain conqured by people interested in exercising power).

  9. And of course the “anarchist” organization will need some Good People at the top to decide who exactly gets the “free” housing and how those people must live their lives.

    A better solution would be for Google (or any other company in this situation) to pack up and move to a sane state, thus leaving the landscapes and people of the Bay Area to their own devices. The great thing about web-based businesses is that you can run them from anywhere.

    • marycatelli

      Those other states aren’t Cool. And don’t deserve an influx of Californians bent on making them the same foul nest that they fled before.

    • Anarchists organize?

      • The one good thing to come out of the Occupy movement was that we now have some data on the effective half-life of an anarchist society before it breaks down into some form of structure. It appears to be on the order of a couple of weeks.

  10. I’m gonna have to disagree with some of this and for a simple reason. The people in the US regularly discriminate on those that are different from them. Yes, there is some racial/religious/etc aspect sometimes, but primarily it’s discrimination against people who disagree with them. When CEOs of profitable corporations can be fired because of a political donation, but people who donated to the president’s campaign are in charge of investigating him, you’ve got a HUGE problem. Actually, when you’ve got a cabinet department investigating the president, who they freaking WORK FOR, you’ve got a problem regardless. The fact that it’s a political donor to the campaign just makes it worse.

    Fortunately, there is some hope. There was a movement a few years ago to force talk radio to broadcast liberal propa… errr…. have a more “balanced” viewpoint that was stalled in Congress. Apparently, someone on the right asked for “equal time” in print and on TV. Can’t have that, now can we?

    This is, in fact, not a tolerant society. The government doesn’t have to censor the media because the majority of the media does their dirty work for them. For example:
    Late last week in the City of Detroit a white man hit a black child who had run out into traffic. The little boy is ok now. The white man, last I heard, was in critical condition. Why? Because he got his ass kicked by a mob of black people when he stopped to get out of the car. The overwhelming media response: He had it coming. Really. The fact that maybe Whitey took a beating because he was, um… I dunno…. white? is roundly mocked. Things like that don’t happen>

    Look, maybe it was racial (it sounds that way to me) and maybe it wasn’t. The kid was walking through his neighborhood and seeing a kid get run over may have angered some people. Especially since the assailants are described as teenage and male. I used to be a teenage male. Teenage males, by and large, are hotheads regardless of race. So the possibility exists. My problem is that anyone who suggests that a beating of a white man by several black people may have been race-based is dismissed for no other reason than that it doesn’t fit the narrative. That’s not tolerance, at least not tolerance of ideas. It’s not even close.

    • Marxists. Again, we have a Marxist infestation. AND IT’S BAD.
      “Have a Marxist infestation? You need defenestration! Throw them out the nearest window.” (okay, okay. I need caffeine.)

    • The danger here is confusing the narrative with the people. There is assuredly a faction of our society that is tied up in and guilty of all you’ve listed. But are they actually reflective of our society?

      I tend to say no, though it’s a complex question. We are not, in any aspect, a homogeneous society. As a result, we can pick behaviors out to support any number of notions. And usually be wrong in the majority, at least on the particulars.

      In truth, we are a profoundly tolerant society. Not in the new-speak babble spouted by the ‘special ones’ but in the core and significant ways. How tolerant this society truly is is difficult to understand without having spent some time in other societies and observed their actual (as opposed to professed) behaviors.

      Oftentimes, the bigotry and division so lovingly portrayed is a misrepresentation of small population dynamics and the designation of the ‘other.’ It is not an uncommon refrain to hear someone denounce a group for stereotypical behaviors, while excluding a nominal member of that group who is part of the small community from denunciation.

      “Oh, I’m not talking about Fayed. He and Fatima come to the BBQ’s all the time, and the kids have a grand time. Fatima makes these little desert squares… Anyway, I’m not talking about them, they’re good people. I’m talking about those other folks.”

      This is likely to be reported as simple bigotry, often ignoring the in-group dynamics and the incredibly important fact that Fayed and Fatima may agree with the declaration. Lack of the appropriate sophistication in conveying the idea will be used to condemn the whole affair. The whole time ignoring the simple reality that the small population and its behaviors may well be impossible in other societies.

      Anyroad, my brain is fogged from sinuses and family concerns, so if this trends to the incoherent feel free to pull it apart and stack the sticks as kindling.

      This society is far greater than its detractors understand, that’s my take.

  11. What I’m trying to say is this: the people – particularly on the right – who think the fifties were the last time this country was healthy should consider the regime then in many ways resembled that which I was born under: it was more conformist, more stultifying than what we have now.

    I wouldn’t be too sure– my grandfather and great-uncles were in comfortable old age at that point, respectable pillars of the community etc with a batch of kids in the 50s, and my dad needed translators for if they got talking too fast. (Scottish)

    That was northern California, in a working area with tons of different immigrants, so maybe back east and in the deep city it was more like that? I notice that a LOT of the really…um… questionable or objectionable things are directly related to there being a single, central authority trying to manage everything. (If I had ten cents for every time folks told me that nobody did something that both sides of my family were doing at the time….)

    From memory, that would’ve been during the come-down after the, ah, unusual national policies before and during WWII. The culture would still be more “American,” even if it was adapting to the national policies.

    Honestly, the US is so big that one person talking about the 50s could be talking about a dang near polar opposite of someone else talking about the 50s, and that assumes that they’re going off of some kind of history instead of the mythology of 2.5 kids, cookie cutter everything and no women anywhere!

  12. “I always thought that the expression about throwing out the baby with the bath water was silly.”

    The saying is not about distinguishing between water and babies. It goes back to the time when babies were washed in metal or porcelain basins. The usual post-washing steps were to move the baby to a safe spot, pick up basin, and throw the water out a window or door. A harried, confused, or mentally ill baby-bather could do the last two steps without performing the first. The modern day equivalent is driving away with your infant buckled into the car seat that’s sitting on the roof of the car.

  13. Spinning off of jabrwok’s fish video, I give you the Rainmakers.

    Tenuous connection, but I love this song. :D

  14. OT: Just finished Witchfinder. Twas grand!

    Now all’s youse stop bugging her so she can finish the other one!!
    :D

  15. Dropped down because it ran out of replies.

    accordingtohoyt | April 8, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
    See, in Portugal — an officially Catholic country — religious marriage has no legal force, and civil unions must be procured by ALL couples to have legal force. Normally religious people do this by going to the registry office with a couple of friends a week or two before the wedding. The real anniversary for them is the religious wedding. My brother and SIL, at the time not religious, though, had their marriage (civil union) in my parents’ front parlor.

    Religious ceremonies here don’t have any force, either– back in about ’03 there were lesbians getting ceremonies in my home valley.

    The US just lets the civil marriages be performed at the same time as the religious ones.

    (There are exceptions for, basically, establishing a common law marriage– evidence of intent and commitment to living as husband and wife.)

    • Religious marriages, by whatever name, of same-sex couples, multiple-partner groups, and other non-current-normative types have (continued to) be(en) happening in the USA for a heckuva long time. By/for people who don’t always understand the full consequences as well as those who do, using long-established ceremonies as well as those ad-libbed on the spot.

      AND as long as our means of communication continues to assign monovalues for words once used in a variety of ways there will be confusion, distrust, and even open aggression created when a perfectly good word like “marriage” is forced into specific legal definition shapes instead of allowing open discourse to hold sway.

      • The word was just fine until some people who think equivocation is a way of life decided to try to bully others into giving them validation.

        The word IS just fine. The problem is the bullies.

        • “Preach it, sister!”

          The bullies need a good shunning. A complete, thorough, unrepentant shunning. (Of course, that would require a society where the rules would already be so different as to lessen the putative impact of “true” bullying behavior in the first place…)

  16. A good example of strange stuff coming into the US is in the form of the self defense and martial arts industry, generally unregulated compared to firearms or more American white boy stuff.

    Katie Couric recently interviewed Tim Larkin, the instructor that got banned while trying to travel to Britain via the air. The British didn’t want people coming in and teaching the communities under Islamic siege and rioting, certain things. They deemed that dangerous, while opening more and more immigration welfare channels to Islamics.

    This kind of combination of old and modern individual research, produces an advancement similar to how Sam Colt made humanity equal. It refilters power downwards into the hands of the individual and removes the Authoritarian ability to threaten and coerce behaviors. If anyone is able to see the interview with Couric, she doesn’t even realize it because nobody has given he orders to attack “martial arts” since that’s an Asian thing, not a white boy American thing.

    So Hoyt’s point about advances going forward, not looking back, is on the right path.

    For some background context on where I stand, I participated in Tim Larkin’s training methodology sometime after 2001. I also encountered something rotten in Denmark in 08, when I had an online contact with David Brin. People can probably guess how that turned out.