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  • posted a message on [Gaymers] Peek at Your Deck
    Quote from {mikeyG}
    So it's funny how a bunch of little things will conspire to bring about big changes. To wit:

    Last week, I got the impression that my position at work was going to be eliminated. They hired a new assistant manager (who would be taking my open/close shifts I'd been doing since our last manager quit. No big, I'll lose the hours there and just make them up in my old operations manager gig in the stockroom, right? Wrong. My boss was forced to eliminate stockroom shifts in an effort to save on his weekly budget for hours. No big, I'm still getting 30 hours on the floor.

    Sunday night, I found out that my old supervisor (my self-proclaimed other half) who had just lost her mother to cancer in late March was forced to work a double in the restaurant on Mother's Day (we have two supes, one of whom is off because his doctor put him off due to nerve damage in a broken arm, and the manager, who apparently wanted that day off). Things went south quick. Another coworker tells me that this has been common since the second supe was put off. My other half is now working six days a week, often doubles. This is on top of taking care of her three kids, her father (who was just diagnosed with epilepsy), and the very recent death of her mom. Once upon a time, I used to help with her stress by being my usual charming self, taking the weight off a bit and dull the edge, give her a smile and room to deal. Without that, she's cracking. I've heard rumors of her going on stress leave or quitting altogether.

    Then on Monday I come to find out that I'm getting my store keys taken away from me. I was left to presume that this would in turn leave my Wingman no choice but to demote me completely, including my wage.

    Then we had the tipping thread in Debate, which dredged up a lot of practical facts I'd forgotten. Such as when I was making $30 an hour for working four shifts a week. It started getting me thinking that I should seriously consider getting back into serving to get out of this financial sinkhole I'm in.

    Last night, a friend asked me how things were going. I was silent for a while when I realised that things are really ******. My job is unceasing stress for very little cash, I'm deeper in debt than I've ever been despite having no rent. No rent because I live with family who are just as stressed as me, yell at each other a lot and have a fussy baby. I've got no friends here and hardly any life at all. I barely have enough money to buy a juice box and sandwich for lunch, let alone launch a social life. I could accept all that if it was leading somewhere, but it's not. It's just really not. My hope is that in six months I might be able to afford to live in the projects? Not exactly a great future.

    My other half finds out and asks if I ever considered going back home. And I hadn't. But I started thinking about how much happier I was there. Same bleak future, but at least I could say I was content with my life. However much more I dreamed to have, I was at least happy.

    Come to find out from my boss/Wingman today that our District Manager in fact wants me fired. And even though my boss refused to fire me, the DM is coming down next week with a list of things to lay into us for, and evidently picking apart my performance in the attempt to force my boss to let me go is high on his to do list. My Wingman is hopeful that if I do everything perfectly and mind my manners and do every little thing asked of me, I might keep my job. If not my position, keys or wage. He told me that he thinks of me as someone who won't give a creep like our DM the satisfaction of being right. And he's right, to an extent.

    Just not in this case. I'm not about to pander to some jackass from corporate to keep a barely-decent job that pays half of what I need. There will be no pleasing him. If he wants me gone, playing nice on this trip won't throw him off that idea. I doubt I even could. I'm {mikeyG} and I play ***** for no one. Especially not a two-faced prick from Quebec who thinks he's hot **** because he runs the poorest district in a second-rate Canadian clothing franchise. He can suck it.

    This kid's going home. My other half is talking with the restaurant manager about giving me my old position, I've got leads on a few places I could live and the smile is already back on my face. Seems wrong that I'm happy about ending up where I started six months ago, but I don't feel bad about any of this. I didn't give up my entire life and everyone I love to work a crappy job under constant fear of getting fired by the special tyrant.

    That was just about the best tract I've ever read. Best rant on this forum. I'm sorry things have gone spectacularly bad. It looks like you're handling it well.
    Posted in: Retired Clan Threads
  • posted a message on Is Greed Good?
    I thank you for your sincere, cordial response. As you know, we have had disagreements about economics, and we will probably continue to have such disagreements. However, I am unclear about what it is your are trying to say. Are you refuting my claim that externalities are problematic, or that there should be some way of containing externalities? It seems like we are on common ground here: I take a lot of your claims (insofar as I understand them) to be in support of my argument that externalities are bad.

    Quote from ljossberir

    All men have desires. On the one extreme we have those in desperate states of poverty, some of which are mentally ill. These are the people that are content with a bit of bread and a coat to enable their survival, maybe some alcohol or drugs if they can get it. On the other extreme we have those who have such little meaning to their lives that they have to acquire luxury upon luxury in order to distract themselves from their emptiness. And then in between we have the 95% of society that includes all sorts of healthier variants.


    Quote from ljossberir

    When we put forth a universal approach to ethics and arrive at the conclusion that all men by right own themselves and thus, the fruits of their labor, that all men (not just some) can own and exercise use of justly acquired property - we are left only with the market system.

    I agree that people have the right to the fruits of their own labor, but I am unsure that self-ownership is the explanation I want to account for human freedom.

    Quote from ljossberir

    The market system encompasses capitalism and communism and any other arrangement that man can arrive at voluntarily with each other, submitting only what they rightfully own to the agreement - and not the persons or properties of other.

    Is it fair to say that externalities impose costs upon other people, and indeed, violate any such voluntary agreement?

    Quote from ljossberir

    Besides being the only ethical arrangement (in my understanding), the market is also best equipped to deal with the fact that man desires. This is because the marketplace channels desire (or greed, as you will) to creative rather than destructive purposes. In order to satisfy the desires of another in the market, one must fulfill the desires of another. E.g., you can sing and desire a bushel of wheat and I have a bushel of wheat and desire to hear someone sing, we agree and the products are exchanged.

    Maybe it's my history advocating socialism on these boards, but it seems like you're trying to defend the market against some imagined attack. I'm not attacking the market, and the question of whether the market is ethical has nothing to do with my claim that third parties should never be forced to bear the costs of somebody else's voluntary transactions, and that in the event such externalities are unavoidable, the at least one of the parties to the transaction should be held responsible for assuming the costs others are otherwise forced to bear. It seems like anything else is a violation of the non-aggression principle.

    Quote from ljossberir

    Consider the alternatives. Powerful politicians fulfill the greed of large corporations by offering them "bailouts", those corporations fulfill the greed of the politicians by offering them kickbacks, thus the desires of these two factions is satisfied at the expense of others without their consent. And to make matters worse in this case, there is fundamentally no way to withdraw consent. One must continue paying taxes to feed the State-corporate arrangement. A million people can cease to do business with said corporation, but it is almost worse to do so - since that would only cause the corporation to fail once again and take another bailouts, again at their expense and without their consent.

    I agree that the bailouts were problematic. The government should not have rescued the financial sector or the auto industry. Hoewever, I find it ironic that if we really played by the rules of capitalism we wouldn't have much of a financial sector to speak of at all.

    Quote from ljossberir

    When we talk about something like a group of people polluting at least one can inform and educate others and withdraw their business until they clean it up.

    I'm sorry, but I find that profoundly inadequate. It is well-documented that pollution creates health costs for people in the area surrounding bad polluters. This is a clear violation of the non-aggression principle. Leaving out the fact that some of these polluters should be taken out and shot for their behavior, it doesn't do to simply say "don't do business with evil corporations." Reparations (to pay for people's health costs attributable to pollution) are in order.

    Quote from ljossberir

    However with the State around that business can bribe particular agents of it to protect them. Such bribery is made possible by the fact that the State is paid for at the expense of the general public and without their consent. Therefore, those who offers bribes pay very little to get the full policing powers of the State - that they could otherwise not afford (or at the very least, would be extremely cost prohibitive and an awful decision for a profit-seeking entity to make).

    That is the kind of stuff that happens everywhere, it especially occurs in corrupt third world countries. On 60 minutes a few weeks ago they talked about a particular case involving, I believe, a South American government and an oil company. The SA government used its police power (and thus the general fund of taxation) to grant the oil company land, probably at a deflated rate. Because it did not own the land, the inevitable occurred: it pillaged the area and polluted surrounding neighborhoods. The government then lined its pockets by "settling" with the company for the pollution while nearby residents were given no say in the arrangement. Thus small bribes were once again used to take full advantage of the general fund of taxation to the detriment of the many.

    The sweatshops, another great example... All industry naturally seeks out lower prices in order to jump on the competition. One way they can do so is by lowering labor costs. So, they seek equilibrium (which is quite wonderful if you think about it) by trying to employ those with lower standards of living. Unfortunately, they also have access to the State. So it is sometimes more profitable to bribe the State to keep competitors out. The State then takes the general fund of taxation paid for by everyone against their will and uses it to enforce deflated labor costs.

    Sorry for all the rambling...

    Mhmm. That's what left-libertarians have been saying for some time now. I am missing the connection of this discussion about the unholy collution of the State and big business and externalities. Could you please fill me in with your thoughts about it?
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Physical Cosmology - Does Space End?
    The question is interesting, but at one point it will no longer be possible to answer this question because the universe will have expanded so much that we won't be able to measure anything.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on should children be taught religion?
    Quote from PandasRpeople2
    Overgeneralization FTL.

    Sure, a lot of the stuff is the Bible is pretty rough; some of it is absurd.


    Quote from PandasRpeople2

    But how is this...

    "This is my commandment, that you love one another."

    or this

    "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

    or this

    "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."

    ...representative of hateful, fear-mongering gibberish?

    The Bible says so many things that it is bound to have something positive to say just by sheer volume. I am profoundly unimpressed. Mortals have produced better moral treatises overall.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Social Justice - more harm then good?
    Quote from XDarkAngelX

    I'm almost certain the 'Q' in "LGBTIQ" is for Questioning, not queer. I've also seen 'A' thrown in there, for 'Allies'.


    Quote from XDarkAngelX

    'Queer', as reclaimed, is supposed to represent the whole spectrum of non-heteronormative people. It's a synonym of LGBTIQ, with each letter being basically a sub-category. It wouldn't make sense to put it in the acronym, unless you're being ironic and self-referential (like WINE, which stands apparently for "WINE Is Not an Emulator").

    Personally I prefer 'queer' since I won't need to add another letter every time the Committee thinks up of another non-heteronormative group to include in there.

    Yeah, down with the alphabet soup.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Who is the arbiter of Morality?
    While this is true, it doesn't take into account that even though many cultures have ideals about what is moral their societies on the grand and on the small scale don't always follow those ideals.

    Of course not, but to say that people don't follow their own rules is not to say that the rules do not exist or that they have no value. I believe that there are some universal rules that apply to all people. It is that sense in which I am a moral realist and moral universalist.

    This doesn't make what's right and wrong subjective. We do what we think is best; those of us who recognize that other beings have certain rights try to do what is best to as many of those beings as possible. But in the current state of things, this certainly isn't everyone.

    I've added emphasis here, because that's what it comes down to. The West has a brutal, oppressive history, and we should acknowledge that. In fact, it's ongoing. When the US supports Israel and doesn't seem to criticize much of anything it does, it sends the message that we hate Arabs and want them to suffer and die. However, the fact that we break the universal moral rules that should bind us does not mean that the rules have no value. In fact, our return to the rules would give them more value.

    Notwithstanding our history as oppressors in the world, it is still true that in the West, we believe in and tend (mostly) to uphold more correct moral propositions and fewer incorrect ones than other parts of the world. In the West, you can be gay, and that's all fine. You can even have a parade and make social authoritarians angry. In most of the Muslim world, being gay is punishable by prison, flogging, or even death. I suspect we don't even need to get started on the rights of women.

    Now that I think about it, is your snag coming from a belief that we have to be perfect or perfectible for moral propositions to have any meaning?
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Hating the wealthy?
    Quote from Fatguy Poolshark
    Something ive noticed in this forum and several others bothers me. I want to understand why there is a pervasive hatred(pick your word for it) of anyone with wealth. I just notice anytime we discuss tax codes and bring up any changes for or against the wealthy a lot of people seem to just act irrational saying that how can you "defend the wealthy" as though they have done something contemptible.


    People are justified in hating wealthy people who have obtained wealth illegitimately. For example, people are justified in hating who they take to be the responsible actors in firms which benefit from third-world terrorist paramilitaries assassinating union organizers.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Theistic Evolution
    If you recognize evolution, I don't understand how saying "God did it" helps you any more to understand the phenomenon of evolution. You look at physical evidence, data, and interpretations of other scientists to draw conclusions. Basically, you use observations and reason, because that's how knowledge is obtained. "God did it" is of zero percent epistemological value.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Possible Ban on Profanity?
    Quote from Card Slinger J

    The bottom line is that this ban or policy If you will violates Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Every American citizen living in the U.S. has Constitutional rights and yet I'm still baffled as to how the U.S. Supreme Court and the FCC could get away with something like this.

    It doesn't baffle me at all. Our society is dominated by a bunch of authoritarians who get queasy when they hear... Sigh, I can't evade the censor without getting a warning...
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Is Greed Good?
    According to the Profit Ayn Rand, yes. According to me, no. If greed is a self-interest destructive of or callously indifferent toward the legitimate interests of others, then greed is clearly a bad thing. Anything else is what we expect in the normal range of human behavior.

    Self-interest in the business world seems okay to me if and only if all costs are contained within their enterprises, and no costs are externalized. However, what I see in the current economic world indicates a broad trend towards externalizing costs (making a mess others have to clean up). I speak mostly of pollution, but also conditions of third-world poverty and human suffering that results from coercive labor practices (like people getting assassinated for trying to organize unions, etc.)

    It turns on precisely what we mean by "greed" and the degree to which costs can be contained in the firms that generate them.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on should children be taught religion?
    "Should children be taught religion?" Absolutely not. Children should be taught to gain knowledge in the natural ways knowledge is obtained, namely by reason and observation. Children should especially not be taught the hateful, fear-mongering gibberish in the Bible, which is based on the epistemology of "for I am the LORD your God because I said so."
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on National T.E.A. Parties
    I voted for the option "I do not agree with the protestors but agree with their right to protest." I think that they were not extreme enough. They also have a rosy view of the state, that being that if we just "return" to true constitutionalism, everything will be fine. Well, it won't.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Handgun Ban in the United States
    No. Banning guns is a terrible idea. We need guns for the revolution.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Who is the arbiter of Morality?
    Quote from bLatch

    There is a Higher moral authority than man, be it a God or a "Natural" moral code, therefore morality is not subjective but objective and there is a "correct" view of what is right and what is wrong.

    Yes. I agree with that, but I can't offer a defense of my views, since I'm not a moral philosopher; I'm an undergraduate computer science student. Nevertheless, I can give it a go. I am a moral realist. According to the Wikipedia summary, moral realism "is the meta-ethical view which claims that: 1) Ethical sentences express propositions; 2) Some such propositions are true; and, 3) Those propositions are made true by objective features of the world, independent of subjective opinion." So basically, on the moral realist view, there is a fact of the matter as to whether or not a moral proposition is true, and the truth of a moral proposition has nothing whatsoever to do with what you and I think.

    Since I can't really defend the view, I'll tell you what I like about the view. In simple terms, it vindicates my conviction that in a debate, somebody is right, and somebody is wrong. Either anal rape is moral, or it's not. It doesn't become moral when two rapists get together and have a moral argument and agree that anal rape is moral. Nor would it become moral if we put it to a vote of the majority of citizens in a nation.

    What I also like about moral realism is that it gives us a grounding to criticize backwardness in other cultures (like almost all Islamic societies); if it turned about that a moral proposition A is correct, and if culture X believes A is actually incorrect, then culture X is backwards in the question, if not in general.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Social Justice - more harm then good?
    Quote from Duce

    1) The White House and the fact that it is white and its seen as a symbol of power, is in a sense, racist.

    -The White House was painted white because it was damaged in the War of 1812. White was one of the only colors available at the time. Also, the Founding Fathers were actually OPPOSED to slavery, so it wasn't intentionally painted white to offend people. People find ways to get offended by pointing out stupid details like this one.

    I didn't know that. I am pretty sure that not every single one of them opposed slavery. Even then, I doubt they opposed slavery on anti-racist grounds. For example, Lincoln (who came much later obviously) thought slavery was a bad thing because it would mean more Black people in the country. His ideal action would be to send them back to Africa, and he's on the record saying and writing racist remarks that people nowadays get shunned for.

    Nevertheless, I agree, it's a fantastically stupid argument. It's about as dumb as spelling women "womyn." (Yes, some of you will know that I used to do that. I am now in the firm grip of rational thought.)

    Quote from Duce

    2) Regardless of your sexual orientation, you must use the word "partner" when referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend. The idea behind this is to not offend gays because they may feel awkward if you use the word "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" around them.

    -what if I don't want people thinking I am gay when I'm not, when I HAVE to use the term partner. I'm a straight male, and if I go up to any individual and say "Hey, yeah, me and my partner went out last night." What are they automatically going to assume?

    Good question. I have some heterosexual radical friends who refer to their "partners," and they don't seem perturbed about it. I think the point is to challenge the assumptions of heterosexuality by using that word, but as you well know, "partner" signifies same gender relationships. If anything, it seems to introduce an assumption. You have to understand that the queer community has intense disagreements within it. In fact, some people here will take exception that I use the word "queer" as an all-inclusive word, and would prefer me to refer to "gays and lesbians" or the more inclusive "LGBTIQ." (I am against the alphabet soup, myself.) The point is, you shouldn't feel put upon that you have to refer to your romantic mates as "partners" in order to be a good ally for the queer community. I would prefer you just help to keep us safe. I don't care whether you say "partner" or not.

    Quote from Duce

    3) We had a lecturer come and give a talk about White Privilege. One of his points was that everyone is a racist, even if you lock your car door if you see a black person passing by.

    -really? So thinking about something is a racist act? Maybe he should look in the mirror and judge himself, or look in the dictionary and see what the real definition of racism is.

    Actually, I'm going to disagree with you here. I think it does reflect a racist bias. I will attempt to establish this point by way of an anecdote, which is admittedly personal experience, and no "evidence" or "proof" of anything. I was walking down the street in my hometown of Helena, Montana--very white town--and I there was a black guy sitting down on a bench next to the sidewalk. He looked pretty unhappy, and maybe even a little angry. I felt intimidated (Black guys are tough--racist stereotype much???) and I was about to give him a wide berth, but just before I passed by him, I shook myself away from my irrationality and potential rudeness: instead of taking evasive action, I kept walking straight, turned to him, looked him in the eye and said "hello."

    If I had avoided him, he would have known full well that I would have done it specifically because he was Black. The overt act of avoidance would have been hurtful and racist. That it even crossed my mind to avoid him could only have issued from a racist bias. I am happy that it is in the open so that I can challenge it and display compassionate behavior to my Black brothers and sisters.

    Quote from Duce

    Essentially, Social Justice is a good thing. Everyone deserves to be treated equal. The question I am concerned with is to what point is it taken over the top, and how often does social justice and diversity do more harm than good?

    It depends. If the radical left pushes the right kind of social justice, then it's a good thing. If it pushes the wrong kind of vision, it's not. It's pretty simple: no oppressed group should be "preferred" over another oppressed group, and all people should have access to resources, academic and otherwise. But people outside the oppressed groups should not be viewed as The Enemy. It is possible to be a male feminist, white anti-racist, or a straight ally.
    Posted in: Debate
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