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  • posted a message on Official 2008 United States Presidential Election thread
    Quote from Hodoku

    Tax cuts: As has been said, removing them amount to increasing taxes, which as any economist will tell you, is BAD FOR THE ECONOMY.

    This entirely depends on the persons/organizations from which the money is taken and the programs to which it is assigned. The most sustained and dramatic period of economic expansion in this country, namely the postwar boom, took place in a period of extraordinarily high tax rates for the rich and fairly high rates for everyone else. A great deal of that income was channeled to aid the great expansion of the middle class, and ultimately the economy benefited greatly, at least until the entire edifice began collapsing in the 1970s. At this point, old-fashioned Keynesian policies are fairly impractical, given the drastic changes that have taken place in our economic structure, but you're still wrong to categorically assert that increasing taxes will always harm the economy.

    Quote from Hodoku »
    Gay rights: Gay rights are not an issue that matters in this election, at least to me. Besides, even if they WANT to get married, there wont be any real progress until we clean up the mess we're in now. There are more important things on we need to worry about. If anything, bring it up in 2012.

    Regardless, it still marks a candidate as conservative. Most liberals are of the opinion that the "let's talk about this later" argument in regards to minority rights is merely a coy way of expressing socially conservative tendencies.

    Quote from Hodokuu »
    Abortion: Abortion, otoh, is not a right, but a massive mistake. Besides, I'd rather vote for someone against abortion than someone who wants to treat live birth botched abortions as abortable fetuses.

    I'm curious as to what you're referring to here, since I've never heard of it. There is a preexisting ban on partial-birth abortions, so what you describe should never occur. In regards to the more prevalent and relevant methods of abortion, however, a firmly negative stance is still a position that betrays a socially conservative mindset.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Official 2008 United States Presidential Election thread
    I wonder if it occurs to anyone that she is far more likely than Biden to actually end up in the president's chair. After all, McCain is far more likely to drop dead in office (barring the worries about assassination for Obama), and I think it bears thought to consider Palin not just from the standpoint of shoring up McCain's campaign, but also how well she could perform the job of the President. Historically, it would be fascinating for her to be the first female president; since she's a)young, b) about as far outside the political establishment as you can get while still holding a major office, and c)Republican.

    EDIT:And I didn't notice that this topic came up on the one page I hadn't read yet. Sorry, sorry...
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    You want to classify fundamentalist Christians (and presumably Muslims) who dislike and condemn homosexuality as provoking violence based on the fact that people can take their words to mean that they should ignore social norms like non-violence and attack homosexuals. Does that clarify?

    Alright, so I'll clarify/edit for the last time, since you've got me here. If anyone advocates violence against a minority group, if a crime is actually committed, and if a clear link between the one person's speech and the other person's action can be established beyond a reasonable doubt, then the person who spoke should be punished as well as the person who acted. Thank you for knocking my inner repressive utopianism back to where it belongs.

    Quote from TIBA »
    Those that are always willing to compromise soon find that they have nothing left to compromise with. There must be boundaries and lines where you refuse to compromise. If we gave a government the right to control "hateful" speech in public, wouldn't private be next? We could keep compromising down this road forever, until we all have cameras in our bedrooms.

    What annoys me about this argument is that people always focus on the compromises that didn't work at the expense of those that do. We have hate speech laws right now, and they generally work on the principle of whether or not they threaten violence. If you look way protesting at abortion clinics is regulated, you see an example of a working compromise between the ability of the protesters to voice their entirely legitimate condemnation of the procedure and the desire of the doctors and patients not to have a legally permissible procedure disrupted by protesting, never mind the entirely necessary protections against death threats. If the government banned the protesters, that would unfairly restrict free speech, but if it let them scream into the windows or attack women on their way inside the clinic, that would violate the property and physical sanctity of the doctors and patients. A balance, therefore, was teased out through legal compromise.

    Quote from TIBA »
    Generally, this is only possible if there's a defining characteristic of the line. If the only thing marking the line is our position relative to it, it always tends to slide. If we crossed one line to alter the rules, why not do so again? Although it's not greatly applicable in this case, I agree, since your original suggestion is still actually pretty horrible, although you refuse to see it. Maybe it's because you think those that agree with you will always be the ones making the rules about what's okay to say or not?

    I'm just going to point out that "the line" isn't a static thing - the American people haven't always considered free speech to mean everything we take it for today. It's not so much a slippery slope of steadily declining protections, as you seem to cast the matter, as a set of standards moving around. At the moment, many people think that one should be able to viciously attack the government and not be able to attack minority groups, but in the past, the standards worked in the opposite direction.

    And yes, my initial suggestion was horrible because I didn't think it through properly, and you correctly chastised me on it. I've now compromised between my initial position in favor of something closer to what you believe and hopefully what the rest of the country wishes as well. I don't intend to be fascist, but my train of thought, like most people's, begins with "People shouldn't do this" and only later moves on to "I don't think people should do this, but the Constitution says that I, if I were a politician, could only limit it in such-and-such a way, if at all."

    Quote from TIBA »
    This is largely incoherent, and I'm not really sure how you're tying the Reign of Terror in with refusing to censor opposing viewpoints. Order is generic. Rule of law is what's actually necessary for liberty; economic and social freedoms, which are often chaotic, are also necessary. The same threat of punishment hangs over the head of all who would consider crimes against us, but beyond that we have to accept that in a free society, we may be attacked by those that would ignore consequences. There is no non-tyrannical way of solving this problem.

    Upon rereading, that was a bit incoherent; I usually don't intend to be that confrontational. I suppose what I mean to say is that people who can be shown to have broken existing subornation laws should be more effectively prosecuted - to make the "threat of punishment" a little more inclined to actually fall on their heads instead of floating in the metaphorical clouds of ignorance and apathy.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    And then define "condoning violence" to somehow include the groups you don't like?

    Against the groups I don't like? By the groups I don't like? I'm slightly confused here.

    Quote from TIBA »

    Fallacy of the Middle Ground.

    There is no "happy medium" here. You're not really talking about outlawing incitement to violence, which is already illegal and has been for ages; you're trying to argue that people should be punished for any view that might lead to violent action. But war and politics are, as Fred Hampton observed, merely different forms of the same creature. Any political or social end can be pursued violently or peacefully (ironically, peace itself is very frequently used as a goal to justify violence- see what's going on in Georgia, for instance).

    You're walking down a grim and winding road that ends in the Gulag.

    First, I should have stated more clearly that said people could only be prosecuted if violence actually resulted from their actions - I'd stick to the principle of innocent until proven guilty. I understand that subornation is already illegal, but the law is rarely applied in the case of crimes against minorities, insofar as I know. Second, the "fallacy of the middle ground" is, like all pretty constructions of logic and overgeneralization, only occasionally applicable. Compromise runs this country, and when people refuse to compromise, nothing gets done. Similarly, the idea of the slippery slope is only sometimes applicable - it is perfectly possible to draw a line beyond which we, as a nation, will not go.

    If you wish to start a war of competing authorities, let's bring up Hobbes, shall we? Order is a prerequisite for liberty, as evidenced by the failed democracies all across the world, and turning a blind eye to the sort of people who inflame and condone gay-bashing vigilantes (or lynch mobs, for that matter) is not acceptable in an orderly society. Rather, it restricts the liberty of the people who are vulnerable to attack because of something beyond their control, never mind threatening their lives. We occasionally compromise our liberties not out of ignorance of the gulag, but fear of the Reign of Terror.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Farm Subsidies
    Yes. Prices fluctuate in every market; I don't see why farmers should have special protection, or why private insurance companies wouldn't adjust to cover dangers of drought or flooding.

    Well, I think SnoopDoggAtog was trying to point out that speculation-driven price fluctuations can bankrupt small farmers while leaving the large factory farms alive. If someone could actually institute an insurance system like you mention (or, better yet, a system of storing crops that lets farmers wait out unfavorable prices), then the small farmers could manage better.

    Quote from Captain Morgan »
    ost Green Revolution farming is too resource intensive, a secondary revolution will be necessary to continue. At least the use of things such as no tilling techniques are being developed, but there needs to be more done in plant breeding.

    Breeding would be a good road to follow, along with selecting natural plant varieties and farming methods that are actually suited to the climate where they're farmed, instead of Green Revolution one-method-fits-all engineering. There's some fascinating info I've read about self-sustaining polycultures that can produce yields comparable to or better than those achieved with those god-awful petrochemical fertilizers.

    Quote from Captain Morgan »
    Supply side economics though?

    Um, no. Subsidies are subsidies, and "supply-side economics" is a fancy-sounding way of saying "don't tax people I like."
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    So if a political group preaches against a government, and one of the followers of that movement commits an act of violence, logically, everyone in that group is suborning the government. Therefore, opposing the government is terrorism.

    ...Oh. Well, perhaps I should modify that to "preaching in such a way that advocates or condones violence against persons?" Realistically, most people who oppose government actions in this country don't seriously call for violence, and most of those that do would qualify as terrorists, no? I'm trying to find a legally sound "happy medium" that allows people inciting violence to be prosecuted without inviting the potential for repressive abuse, which I consider to be an optimum solution. Free speech is always desirable in a vacuum, but when people are getting hurt or killed, I feel that the circumstances necessitate some kind of compromise.

    @Captain Morgan: I really have no idea what you're getting at. Creating incentives for sterilization is one of the many population ways of dealing with overpopulation in a free society, but I have no idea what effect that would have on homosexuality or why you're connecting the church to the idea. Most churches I know would blow a gasket at the very thought of any sterilization program, voluntary or not.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    It is a problem in general, in many fields in life, that people are very often wrong-headed and believe wrong-headed things. The inherent problem, if it's not already obvious, about trying to regulate that people believe the "right" thing, besides the moral implications, is that nothing's to prevent the government and laws in charge of such things from being wrong-headed. The best way we have to separate good ideas from bad is to let them clash freely. The good idea tends to win in a fair fight.

    I understand the principle, although, IMO, all ideas fall flat when confronted with religious principles, since asking a person to accept the idea is usually tantamount to forcing them to admit that their religion is fallible. Regardless, though, there are laws against suborning someone to commit a crime, and if someone preaches hatred against a particular group to the point where one of their adherents attacks a member of that group, that's subornation.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on [Gaymers] Peek at Your Deck
    I do like to lurk here and flit in and out from time to time.

    Name: Daniel
    Country: USA
    Age: 17
    Gender: Male
    Orientation: Gay (with an extra 10% or something of platonic admiration for beautiful females.)
    Height: 6' 1''-ish
    Weight:164 lbs
    Relationship Status: ...*acerbic laughter*. Right.
    If you were attracted to someone in a bar, what would be you're "chat-up line"?
    I'm not really a bar person. One, I'm not nearly old enough, and two, I have an irrational fear of alcohol.
    Describe one interesting fact about yourself?
    I'm a classically trained singer, and I do music theatre too. Also, I like pretty much all of the social sciences to an unreasonable degree.
    What do you think of the gay "scene"?
    Disastrous. I'm far too bourgeois to approve of the party scene or sexual promiscuity, and I see it as politically counterproductive. Call me the gay Booker T. Washington.
    If you won a million dollars tomorrow what would you do with it?
    Um...save and invest it until such time as I actually know what to use it for?
    Describe what you look for in a partner?
    I appear to gravitate towards somewhat moody people, but I'd probably work well with someone much steadier than me. I haven't really had much experience here, since I'm tragically closeted and have a terrible penchant for latching onto hopelessly straight guys.
    Tell us one thing about yourself that you're embarrassed about?
    I have something of a volatile temperament, so I can go from murderously chatty to somber very quickly. Usually I'll be somber about how ridiculous I've previously been. Also, I have a terrible fear that I'm unwittingly flaming.

    I try to call people by their full handles on forums to avoid using an incorrectly gendered pronoun, but I do default to "they" sometimes. It makes my inner grammar nazi squirm, but what can you do?
    Posted in: Retired Clan Threads
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    Quote from Blinking Spirit
    Which means, given that Evangelicals generally don't advocate violence, you're left without a leg to stand on for this particular issue.

    Well, that's where a lot of these things get fiddly. Generally, one of the reasons we have protections against hate speech is that even you get people virulently angry at/about the existence of a particular group, there's a strong possibility that they'll go out and attempt physical violence against said people. I mean, when certain evangelicals preach that homosexuals are abominations against God and have no right to exist, don't you think that some listeners are going to treat them as such? I'm not certain how you deal with this problem without recourse to such unethical and counterproductive tools as censorship, but there's a problem nonetheless.

    Quote from SSJ Alakazam »
    Actions, independent of their cause, can be intolerable, but it is completely unacceptable to persecute thought.

    Along those lines, the idea of a 'hate crime' is utter nonsense.

    Hating a person is not a crime. Murdering them is. Is the difference clear?

    Yes...theoretically. But there are cases where people are beaten or murdered (not to mention more psychological forms of violence) simply because they are of such-and-such minority group. The normal legal distinctions for murder get fuzzy, because the criminal's motivation boils down simply to an irrational hatred of that group. Surely there should be some sort of legal category to encompass this sort of a crime. Also, what would you say about speech that incites someone to commit a crime against a specific group? Does that deserve its own special category, or should it be grouped with subornation in general?
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    Quote from gerg

    People have called me out before on the belief that parents should not be able to home-school their children (in place of taking them to public schools, with the exception for children that would require special schooling). On the one hand I understand the right to bring up your children how you please, but doesn't my desire for parents to not be able to remove their children from public schooling (and thus the environment within it) go against that?

    I'd suggest that you go with your first instincts and not attempt to stop people from homeschooling because, frankly, attempting behavior modification of parents' children against their will is a bad, bad idea that will be met with unearthly opposition every time. As much as we would like to teach people certain beliefs that we consider essential, attempting to force that teaching through a public institution is coercive. What if, hypothetically, your parents wanted to homeschool you so that they could teach you that homosexuality was perfectly normal and the school grabbed you and forced you to sit down in classes detailing all the ways in which being gay was an abomination?

    Quote from gerg »
    Are homosexuals actively and negatively affecting other people's lives? No.

    Are some Christians actively and negatively affecting other people's lives? Yes.

    In a conflict of interest, it is the group that is actively and negatively affecting the other group that should be forced to make concessions.

    As urweak pointed out, try taking the other point of view. As those certain Christians see it, we're trying to indoctrinate their children into believing that a terrible sin is perfectly normal, which, to them, is harmful. Now, they're sure as hell harming gays and lesbians by raising a group of kids to believe that we all metaphorically deserve to be stoned to death, but again coercion is both unethical and ineffectual.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Farm Subsidies
    Yeah, lack of subsidies should produce more efficiency, not less. I really don't think a scale-down is needed, but it could be as simple as half the subsidies for the next two years, then eliminate them on the third. And eliminate the price floor and other special policies.

    You're certainly correct about the efficiency, but I might disagree with you about the necessity of a scale-down. Given that it takes time for any company, let alone one as overspecialized and hulking as a factory farm, to change its way of doing business, you're not going to see an immediate gain in efficiency after removing subsidies, just a sudden jump in food prices for consumers. Assuming that the tax burden remains the same (the money for subsidies just gets transferred to something else), you're going to have a lot of very angry shoppers. Perhaps a better solution is to to set a timetable for the eventual removal of subsidies, allowing the company owners sufficient time to adjust their business model in preparation of the removal.

    @SnoopDoggAtog: I think you're referring more to the continuing prosperity of existing family farms than the true reestablishment of a significant rural population. When you speak of your family going "back" to their land, you're referring to a situation where the people in question have a significant memory of rural living. For most kids raised in the city or the suburbs, neither they nor their family can even conceive of actually living and working on a farm.

    I'm unsure what you're trying to say in your second point - doesn't "regulation protecting commodity values" qualify as a subsidy? You seem to think that speculation is the essential cause of the instability in commodity prices that makes farmers vulnerable and dependent on subsidies, and I would agree that it is one cause. However, if I remember my history right it was the general glut of agricultural products that caused prices to crash before the Great Depression and bankrupted farmers. Do you believe that the current global demand for food makes a similar situation unlikely? Otherwise, the government is going to be propping up the prices of oversupplied agricultural products and creating the same vicious cycle of overproduction that currently exists.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Farm Subsidies
    I swear, TIBA, you read my mind. I was just thinking that we needed something on the front page other than the perpetual presidential drama and bickering about teh gays. Grin

    Well, since most everyone agrees that farm subsidies are bad, how should we go about removing them? The current subsidy-fueled factory farm system isn't going to just magically adjust to a truly spectacular change in its business model if subsidies are cut, and particularly when commodity prices are so high, the price shocks that would result are unacceptable. (Never mind that the structure of the Senate gives agricultural states a huge advantage in keeping subsidies alive. If you want subsidies to go away, you're going to have to make the residents of Kansas et al. want to get rid of them.)

    Even if you're willing to disregard the effects on consumers, you have to consider the vast change this would probably effect on the American countryside. Assume that the end of subsidies destroys the factory farm system and necessitates the return of family farms as our primary method of food production. Do Americans really want to be farmers anymore? If you want family farms to replace the agricultural factories, you're going to have to convince a lot of people to move back to the countryside and forgo what remains attractive in city and suburban life, not to mention reconstructing entire rural communities and networks of transportation.

    None of this is intended to argue against the removal of subsidies - they promote the most inefficient, lumbering, and environmentally destructive agricultural sector the world has ever known. I do think, though, that there are a lot of factors to be considered. Thoughts?
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    Quote from Jedit
    They're just random possibilities that would explain the observed evidence. For crying out loud ... I'm the child of a single mother who went to an all-male boarding school between ages 11-16. If anyone was going to bat for the wrong team on either or both of the bases I threw out it'd be me, but I'm as hetero as they come.

    I was raised by two college-educated, Catholic, moderate liberals, and I have gone to church on a supermajority of Sundays in my life. Nevertheless I am, as Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman so wonderfully put it, gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide. Like you say, you can be in virtually any environment and end up with a nonstandard sexuality. I doubt that external psychological influences are that important to the determination of one's orientation, although I suspect that they do greatly affect how well or badly you react to that discovery.

    Quote from Jedit »
    Answering the question posed in the topic now: non-indoctrinated homophobes feel the way they do because homosexual acts are outside their nature and conception. It's the same natural revulsion most of us feel towards paedophiles. We're given biological imperatives that sometimes do not imprint. It's not the fault of the person who does not follow those imperatives that this happened, but instinctively we see them as an outsider not to be trusted.

    You're really never going to be able to test for the existence of a truly natural revulsion, though, because society always conditions people's responses to stimuli, even something as basic as sex. Like it or not, our current culture does tell people that homosexual contact is icky, so a researcher can't get an unbiased sample. Paedophilia is revolting for some of the same reasons, mainly fairly recent ideas about the age at which children can behave sexually, but I think that what separates that kind of response is that paedophilia is almost always non-consensual. Non-consensual sex of any kind does provoke a very natural negative response, and so paedophilia is very not okay for almost anyone. Note that in non-current societies such as ancient Greece, where the paedophilia was not necessarily non-consensual, it didn't provoke the same sort of reaction.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    Quote from Jedit
    This is a perfect example of post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning. There are any number of reasons why a third male child is more likely to be gay than a first, but none of them have anything to do with nature correcting for overpopulation because an excess of males doesn't cause overpopulation - or if it does, it automatically corrects with the next generation as the excess males don't increase the multiplicative capacity of the species.

    This is perfectly true. For a species to overreach its capacity, all you really need is one very busy male and a lot of females.

    As for your other answers, though...are you just posing these as random possibilities, or do you believe that homosexuality is most likely to be caused by outside psychological factors rather than genes? Also, I'd like to see some data backing up your generalizations, because I'm not sure that they hold true (especially the first one) in modern society.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Homosexuality: Why Don't People Understand Sexual Orientation?
    Quote from Jedit »
    My personal belief is that we're now living in the most homosexual time there will ever be. While evolution won't select for it, sexual divergence has been firmly repressed by society. Gays and similar have been all but forced to marry and procreate so as to appear normal. Now, they're not. This will lead to fewer of them becoming genetic parents, gradually removing the genetic predisposition from the gene pool. A century from now, I wouldn't be surprised if GBLATs comprised less than 1% of the population.

    Before you make that prediction, do recall that many traits, whether or not they result in effective sterility, are constantly maintained in the population within recessive genes. There are many examples of genetic disorders continuing to exist despite the fact that they kill before the sufferer can reproduce.

    More to the point, since homosexuality is most likely a complex combination of multiple genes and environmental factors, it can probably arise in a great number of ways. Most likely, there is no single "gay gene" to be bred out of a population, an event already fairly unlikely by the rules of inheritance.

    Oh, and also - do you really mean to suggest that every gay or lesbian kid has a secretly homosexual parent? Rolleyes I assure you that this is patently untrue.
    Posted in: Debate
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