Thursday, February 15, 2018

No, it actually isn't about guns.

I know they keep saying it is, and telling people who weren't there hiding or wringing their hands that they're not sympathetic enough to have a valid (let alone voiced) opinion.  But that's because describing the experience of fear is easier than being rational.

Sure, logic and facts aren't the only way to apprehend some truths, but truth and right reason cannot contradict, so if you are struggling with a contradiction, check your facts, check your logic, and check your gut; at least one and possibly all three are wrong.

I normally avoid hot political issues--okay, not abortion, but that's an old controversy and everyone is used to it from a political perspective--because it's an opportunity for social media to go crazy that am no longer young enough to find anything but tiresome and annoying and wrong, but I will make a rare exception and hopefully have the self discipline not to violate my policy...well...a third time.

I'll expand on my next point in the relative future, but without demeaning their horrific experience this week, as long as everyone is being political instead of remember our own and each other's humanity, these kids today, I tell ya...are just as dumb as we were at that age.

"A gun killed 17 students.  A gun caused all this fear."  Bullshit.  A disturbed teenager--I'll restrict my opinion about his mental health versus his snowflake status to watercooler chat at work--killed 17 students.  Or would it really have been okay to you if he just burned the school down?  Probably would have achieved a significantly higher body count; is that a fair trade in your eyes?  And fear?  Okay, the prospect of a shooter is more alarming than that of someone with a machete, Florida schools largely not resembling slasher flicks, but one generally doesn't see honest and well-adjusted people going around crying at the sight of a pistol on a cop's hip or unable to sleep because speculation about how many neighbors might have guns--even field stripped, unloaded, and locked away--in their own houses!

No.  They trot out the fear and hard cases to make hay while the sun's shining, but when the dust settles it's back to normal.  And in the end, no one cares that it was a sick young man who killed 17 children.  No one cares that Congress does not actually have the power to stop a distraught youth from coming unhinged.  But people will keep thinking it does, because they keep listening to people who keep saying it does, because they don't care about murdered teenagers or teenage murderers, they only care about what what they're going to get out of trying to corral public sentiment.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Just so we're clear...

...if someone points out that health care should be non-profit, it would behoove them to be reminded that:
  1. Actual hospitals in the United States already are
  2. "Non-profit" does not mean "government-run," except in the case of VA hospitals, which (alas, tragically, for our vets) are something nobody should be striving for.

Friday, February 02, 2018

A metaphor for abortion

“After my folks died," one apologist for abortion once said, "they left me their house, but I liked living in my townhome downtown; it was close to work and the grocery store so I didn’t need to drive much, and it was cozy.  I knew I would never want to live there—at least, not at that point in my life.  But I still had to go through the neighborhood a lot where the house was, and I didn’t want to be reminded every time I saw it that my parents were dead.  So I burned the house down.”

Okay, she didn't exactly say this, but this argument was identical in shape and logic to the argument she used.

Setting most other considerations to the side for a moment--such as the problem itself--does this not sound at least like one of the less responsible solutions, not more responsible, to her problem?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Fragile male ego?

No, just marketing. Note that the dark shape on the bottom right of the white antiperspirant spray is the proverbial little black dress. That tells you it’s a product for women. So don’t go off about sauce for the gander isn’t sauce for the goose.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

j'ever notice...

...Young single men and women will move to a new town for work or school and go on Craigslist or whatever to find a roommate, find one of the opposite sex, and make plans they swear up and down will be platonic as if they honestly believe it (or maybe it’s a friends with occasional benefits thing; I’m not sure how the younger generations rationalize such things these days)…

…but then when they talk about sources of angst in their lives, the men are like “I’m afraid a woman will make fun of me” and the women are like “I’m afraid a man will kill me?”


Not to trivialize violence and murder, and not to blame the victim—and not to even talk about how or if potential victims could or should protect themselves, and not to deny the asymmetry in what men and women fear from each other, but:
  1. If your first thought whenever you meet someone is “I wonder if he’s going to kill me,” your biggest problem probably is not the potential violence of that person.  Your biggest problem is probably much more immediate and compelling, like the actual death threats you have already received that, yes, compelled you to consider the question so promptly; or your pathological distrust of all men, most of whom (let’s not trivialize this with a “don’t say ‘not all men’” counterrebuttal, shall we?) are not in fact prone to whatever flavor of violence you’re worrying about.  Sure, men are more violent than women, in terms of quantity and severity of injuries (not counting the woman who think it's okay to throw shoes at her beau whenever she's angry at him, on the grounds that her fists are small and his counterarguments are sound), but killing is rarely at the top of the list of intentions.
  2. You don’t get to willingly enter living arrangements with complete strangers and then claim victim status just on principle.
I mean, not for nothing, but you can’t shoot yourself and then blame society for making you a victim of gun violence.

It’s awful that bad things happen like you talk about, but honestly:  what were you thinking?  “that’s not fair” and “you don’t understand” and “I’m sick of hearing that” aren’t answers.

This is why you hear more about how potential victims can avoid becoming actual victims, and less about how bad men can be less bad.  It’s not an either-or zero-sum game.  There are already laws and police and punishments that are supposed to limit that kind of behavior—setting aside the sufficiency or effectiveness of such measures for the time being--but not a trivial amount of that is to stop criminals from taking advantage of the people who not simply cannot but will not learn to take measures to avoid becoming a victim.

A lot of that is earmarked by soliloquies that start with “I should be able to….”  Well, yeah, you should, in a perfect world, and maybe even in a possible world, but it's not this world and we all need to learn to live in it…and sometimes that means learning to avoid criminal behavior and sometimes that means learning not to commit criminal behavior.

I repeat:  it’s not either-or, it’s not zero-sum.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Orwellian language of inclusive corporate policy

So my employer was recently bought by a very large corporation.  One of the new perqs I enjoy *cough* is regular news e-mails from corporate.  A lot of it's just press releases or discussion of proxy fights, but sometimes they throw in something cultural.

All well and good, but it's usually about drumming up interest in one of their "employee resource groups," which interests me for almost two seconds before I realize there's no news there.

To be fair, they don't insist on joining any of these groups.  Some of the our-plant-only committees are always eager for fresh blood, but you can say no to their face and there are no repercussions.  I've heard of other large companies that take a dim view of people who hesitate too long before joining their more progressive employee groups, and I don't see that happening here.

Which is good, because the only groups are for veterans, professional women, Hispanics, and homosexuals.

I only need to point out that I don't really need to point out how odd this juxtaposition is.  I'm also a little surprised there are only four, but that's another matter.

Suffice it to say I'm not interested in any of them because I don't belong and I'm not much of a "join to cheerlead" type.

But then I saw one of these e-mails go out and while explaining how these groups are critical to our vitality as a company, they presented the statistic that 50.2% of employees' children are diverse.

What?  "Diverse" is a quantifiable thing that an individual person can be?

Uh, no, it's not.  You might say the group comprised of all employees' children is diverse, but I am suspicious of whatever survey they did that enabled them to calculate that 502 out of every thousand children raised by my coworkers wears some kind of "diversity" badge.

And when it's over half, aren't we getting to the point that whatever makes them distinctive from the traditional white male workforce no longer qualifies as a diversifying characteristic?  If they were all Hispanic lesbians, the group wouldn't be diverse at all.

For that matter, what are these criteria they're using?  50.2% might just be how many of the children we're talking about are girls. Not saying that doesn't count, but it is mundane.

My sneaking suspicion is that, if they're not just using the number of girls as a shortcut around statistical sampling, they're looking at race and making sure we know they mean homosexuals too when they say "diversity," so we have one more thing to look for in our own children, even if they're too young to know how they're oriented or what claiming to know really means.

I wonder what the veterans group thinks about that.

Actually, I have more than a sneaking suspicion.  Some of the more recent postings have some nice, neutral jabber about how inclusiveness helps make sure ideas and perspectives we might not otherwise consider get brought to the table, as if this were an elementary school where that was a lesson that needed to be taught and was willing to be learned; but just so you know what they mean, the postings are all decorated in rainbows.

Can't just put the bullhorn down once so we can give your intentions the benefit of the doubt for a second, can you?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The cost of social programs

Half a century ago, give or take, the Second Vatican Council normalized the use of the vernacular language in Mass for the first time in centuries in the Latin church.  This was accepted, if not always happily, but many were so excited about that and the other rumored changes that we saw abuses on the level of priests in seminary switching to street clothes and taking girlfriends because "celibacy will be out with Vatican 2."

More recently, the order of the mass was retranslated into English because the previous "dynamic equivalence" attempt had proven itself to have some weaknesses that led to some liturgical abuses and other pastoral problems beyond what seminarians were getting desensitized to.

This was less accepted, by the argument that the fifty-year-old translations were deep-set and had become too familiar to change; but mostly because the people who benefited from or caused these abuses and problems did not want to give it up.

And so, I see the same thing on a much shorter time scale with the health care debate.

Lots of hope about finally bringing all the uninsured masses in from the cold, and lots of drowning out of concerns from people who realized the financial numbers weren't that solid, and it was going to help some people who needed it but only at the expense of other people who belonged to the demographic that already has the lion's share of the tax burden, and that there were some legal irregularities that portended nothing good.

But, Obamacare was pushed through with suspicious ease, and none of the criticisms have proven false.

What do we hear, though?  "We can't repeal it!  Trumpcare will hurt the weakest amongst us!  Your pie in the sky constitutional objections are pure selfishness!"

Well, there were evils attached to it, and both before and after it was signed into law, people suspected Obamacare was designed to fail so the sense of emergency would allow a radical expansion of government control over the health industry and people's well-being.

"Look at how much it would hurt...oh, people over 60!"

Never mind how much it's already hurting, oh, employed middle class people in their 30s and 40s...and would hurt 20somethings if they didn't strategically opt to take the penalty--which they have done, since the loophole was big and obvious enough to fly the Moon through, to the insolvency of Obamacare.  

What's funny is whenever a bill to dismantle or replace Obamacare gets introduced, the talking heads on cable TV and on newsprint start talking about how Trump has already taken away health care for various demographics. Chicken little much?

Look at what you achieved in your year fighting for Obamacare!  All you had to do was pass a black-box law, corrupt the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and rape the largest demographic in the country.  What could go wrong?

"You're metaphorically taller than the rest of us, so you should recognize your obligation to get stuff off the highest shelves for us, even if you don't recognize our entitlement to them!"

Who's this 'us' you're claiming to be a part of, Hollywood?  We're taller than some but we're not the tallest, and we sure as hell aren't taller than you are.  There are just more of us middle classers for you to nominate to carry the burden of hastily developed social programs, so it will just take longer for a different crisis to emerge when you run out of our money.  Surely you realize that's the real reason we're the ones expected to foot the bill for...well, everything.  And yes, I caught that bit where you insinuated that we owe payment because we can make a payment, and you have a rightful claim on behalf of the people who couldn't make a payment--and thus, your behalfism forgives you of any obligation you yourself have for having bank accounts larger than my house.  

Nice try, but false.