Thursday, December 11, 2014

I fear I have a bit of environmentalist in me

Warp! has a bit of dialogue that I've loved for decades. If I remember it correctly, it goes something like this:
Character A: He wants to destroy the universe!
Character B: But where will he live?
I don't think of myself as an environmentalist, but I probably am. I hate science fiction stories where people assume the right or inevitable thing to do is to exhaust the Earth and move on. I really like this planet. I'm happy to be a city guy, but I've hiked and camped and canoed, and I suppose that's part of me.

I'm writing this post for two reasons.

Someone I like retweeted something really sweet: "Please remember that the world has always been this bad, and often much much worse. What has changed is your access to information." —Dan Curtis Johnson ‏@dcurtisj

I think that's a very important message. Yet I replied: "Well, except for the environment."

This morning, there was this:


Might Greenpeace have been more respectful of a historical site? Sure, but draping cloth and leaving a few footprints will do far less damage than capitalism is currently doing. And yet, in fine middle-class fashion, Alex Hern is upset because the protest was insufficiently genteel.

So I guess I'm an environmentalist. I can live with that.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The recursiveness of "believe the victim"

If you thought it was possible an accuser might be mistaken or lying, you would say, "Trust the accuser." But because you have presumed guilt, you know the accuser is the victim and express yourself accordingly.

ETA: Tweaked this in the hope of clarity.

Monday, December 8, 2014

How "believe the victim" caused Rolling Stone's rape article debacle, or How "believe the victim" = "presume guilt"

When Rolling Stone published A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA by Sabrina Rudin Erdely, people who were familiar with traditional journalism noticed something odd: the other side of the story was entirely absent. When they began investigating, they discovered something else: the most basic fact-checking had been ignored.

The reason comes from the ethics of the internet's social justice warriors (not to be confused with actual social justice workers):


1. You must "believe the victim" if the accusers are female or consider themselves female.


2. You must not link to or allow comments from anyone who has been accused of harming women or who criticizes intersectional feminism.


The second point follows from the first: once you presume guilt, the guilty do not deserve a chance to defend themselves.


Their binary worldview warps SJW logic. For example, Zerlina Maxwell's No matter what Jackie said, we should generally believe rape claims, begins with an impossible notion: You cannot "generally believe" something happened. Either you believe it or you do not. 
If Maxwell was trying to avoid bias, her title would be something like "No matter what Jackie said, we should support people who say they were raped".

Maxwell's subhead carries her bias further: "Incredulity hurts victims more than it hurts wrongly-accused perps." Because she thinks credulity and incredulity are the only options, she speaks of "wrongly-accused perps". But there's no such thing as a "wrongly-accused perp"; a perpetrator is the person who did something. Good people presume innocence until the perpetrator has been identified beyond reasonable doubt.

What SJWs fail to realize is that rape is a crime like any other crime. Erdely's original article includes this line which she and her editor should have paid more attention to: "studies indicate that false rape reports account for, at most, eight percent of reports." Whether there are more or fewer false reports of other crimes, I don't know, but I do know that only suicidal people would play Russian Roulette if one chance out of twelve was fatal.

The proper attitude toward people who claim to have been raped is not to believe them or disbelieve them; it's to support them while their charge is investigated. To people like Maxwell, investigation equals incredulity, but to those of us who understand statistics, it's only an essential part of establishing truth.

Recommended:

Magazine’s Account of Gang Rape on Virginia Campus Comes Under Scrutiny - NYTimes.com

The College Rape Overcorrection: Campus sexual assault is a serious problem. But the efforts to protect women are infringing on the civil rights of men.  - Slate.com

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dennis Moore socialism, "money-baiting", fighting for justice by making the ruling class more diverse, and always getting fooled again

Nick Mamatas jumped into my twitter feed yesterday, which is always entertaining, though usually for the wrong reasons, but I'm especially grateful this time, because he made me realize there are a great many Dennis Moore socialists.



Dennis Moore socialists take many forms—and I'm sure there are those who'd say I'm one—but the most obvious ones are identitarian socialists who help the rich in the name of feminism or anti-racism without realizing that making the 1% more diverse does nothing for the 99%. Two kinds of "progressives" believe in female and black superiority, so they want a more diverse ruling class. Some think the superiority's inherent, and some think the experiences of women and black folks make them better people than white men. I was in the second camp until Margaret Thatcher showed me she was Ronald Reagan's equal in every way. That made me realize that if people are just people, something other than social identity must explain why those who have more contentedly exploit those who have less.


Yesterday's twittering was a response to my post about Brianna Wu. Nick Mamatas accused me of "money-baiting" when I pointed to her smugness, which amused me—when last I looked, Nick considered himself a socialist, yet he's quick to defend bourgeois folks based on their social identity. I'll grant that in tweeting to Wu, by the standards of middle class moralists, I was being rude, but I continue to think Wu's sense of entitlement is a fine example of the old saying about people born on third base thinking they're achievers when they run home.

In the twittering, Kari Sperring said, "There's an argument that increased female access to capital is redress for centuries of exploitation"


I replied, "Sure. That's Sheryl Sandberg feminism. I think it's why neoliberals love identitarian feminism."


She said, "I'm thinking in class terms, though: as a class, women are widely exploited to service male capital"


I favorited that and said, "Full Agreement."


That discussion went no further, but if it had, I'd have pointed out that Engels made that point, and that making the exploited the new exploiters does nothing to end exploitation.


The Who's "Wont' Get Fooled Again" includes this:

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
Identitarians want the new boss. I want none.



"I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think that it will be based upon the color of the skin." —Malcolm X / El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, January, 1965