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JonIrenicus
06-18-2011, 03:37 AM
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/18/BAQ01J33DI.DTL


and don't give me that bs about not all lefties agree with this type of lawsuit, no sh*t. The point is support for such a lawsuit is much higher among that group than it is the farther right you move.


oh and netflix gets sued for not providing enough closed captioning for the deaf, 30% not enough, people are "entitled" to more apparently.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/17/netflixs-day-sony-pulls-movies-new-bandwidth-options-no-more/

eeeeeeeli
06-18-2011, 11:44 PM
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/18/BAQ01J33DI.DTL


and don't give me that bs about not all lefties agree with this type of lawsuit, no sh*t. The point is support for such a lawsuit is much higher among that group than it is the farther right you move.


oh and netflix gets sued for not providing enough closed captioning for the deaf, 30% not enough, people are "entitled" to more apparently.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/17/netflixs-day-sony-pulls-movies-new-bandwidth-options-no-more/

I see what you're saying. But I think it would be more interesting if you focused on where the line is being drawn, and not a category of people who tend to see the line further away than from where you do*. What their motivations are is interesting, but a much more difficult question - and would likely become better illuminated by a dissection of this specific case anyway.

So, the issue is to what extent a private business ought to be required to provide access to the public, especially one maybe historically discriminated against, either actively or passively.

I don't think it is at all as clear. Ironically (towards your title), one of the things that bugs me is the tendency for the right to want to simplify things into black and white when there are usually shades of gray. What tends to happen is that someone points to a line in the sand and says "this is the standard. This is reasonable." For conservatism, this usually means whatever cultural tradition they happen to be following that particular decade or century.

My problem with this is that it is always relative. To be serious, an argument must do more than simply make a claim on tradition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition). To stand up to time, it must always take into account where that tradition has come from, and then re-evaluate not only whether the original principles were correct, but whether any new events have come to bear whose application might alter those principles.

Returning to the story at hand - there are a number of controversial factors involved in litigating this case. The rights of the property owner must be weighed against the desire for a free society.

How this breaks down on left/right lines likely goes in the main to that old chestnut: "empathy". And so with whom are we empathizing? My guess is that your aggravation here would fit into a long-standing discomfort on the right with so-called "politically correct" meddling that seeks to offer unto certain groups of people assistance with their lives. One piece of it is anti-government intrusion, but it is more than that. There is also a sort of disdain for group politics. This could be anything from sign language aside a speech, to multilingual translations on ATMs.

No matter what the "group" is, there seems to be something annoying about their acknowledgement. And when the acknowledgement is a government mandate, all the worse - now it really seems like fascist tyranny. A longstanding criticism of the right on cultural issues has been the tendency toward reflexive defensiveness of dominant group privilege and norms. In general, here I'm not sure if there's anything conscious going on at all. It's maybe just a sense of tedium that the questions should even be asked.

Of course, expensive regulations are real hardship. But my sense is that this sentiment goes deeper than practical concerns. There something offensive in the questions being asked in the first place. I always picture this sensibility in the embodiment of an old white, possibly ex-military, who just wishes that things would be simple once more - that things have gotten too complex. Of course, much of what has happened, whether it has gone too far at times, has been radically transformational in a positive sense - concerning the self-efficacy of many "groups" that had previously been kind of swept under the rug (or in many cases literally sweeping the rug themselves). Yet the old man doesn't understand the plight of any of these people - minorities, women, gays, people with disabilities, etc. He merely sees the change, and it annoys him.

*edit: I see I've taken it upon myself to engage that larger question!

2nd edit: I should have added that my first reaction is that the lawsuit seems frivolous, ftwitw. However, the issues it involves are not so simple.

sugarkang
06-20-2011, 10:49 AM
The point is support for such a lawsuit is much higher among that group than it is the farther right you move.

I believe that's because righties only wake up in the morning to do evil. If there's no punching babies in the face or stealing money from grandmothers, they're just sleeping in.

While I totally agree with you about the WTF (Winning The Future) nature of this lawsuit, the truly horrible evils are in all of the regulations that are far less obvious. Of course, lefties also don't see how this kind of thing hurts the mom and pop stores, either. Somehow, complying with the myriad regulations is really easy to do and done by magic.

The left. We complain about the economy, but refuse to study economics. We want to bring puppies home, but will never clean up after them.

operative
06-20-2011, 10:56 AM
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/18/BAQ01J33DI.DTL


and don't give me that bs about not all lefties agree with this type of lawsuit, no sh*t. The point is support for such a lawsuit is much higher among that group than it is the farther right you move.


oh and netflix gets sued for not providing enough closed captioning for the deaf, 30% not enough, people are "entitled" to more apparently.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/17/netflixs-day-sony-pulls-movies-new-bandwidth-options-no-more/

That's not even the worst offender I've seen:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122714242388642779.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

sugarkang
06-20-2011, 11:22 AM
That's not even the worst offender I've seen:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122714242388642779.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Holy fucking shit. That really pisses me off.

Oh, and let me just pre-empt the obvious liberal reaction: it's because you're homophobic and racist.

stephanie
06-20-2011, 01:10 PM
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/18/BAQ01J33DI.DTL


and don't give me that bs about not all lefties agree with this type of lawsuit, no sh*t. The point is support for such a lawsuit is much higher among that group than it is the farther right you move.

Unsurprisingly, I do think the reaction to a lawsuit as "this is what's wrong with liberals," is a somewhat strange take.

I also have no opinion on the merits of the lawsuit, since I haven't read the opinion, the cases which were relied on for support, or -- perhaps most significantly -- considered the evidence.

Thus, when you suggest that there's a clearcut position on it that someone should have, I think we need to unpack the argument. Is it that the law which the plaintiff sued based on is, in your opinion, a bad law? Or what?

eeeeeeeli
06-20-2011, 02:32 PM
Oh, and let me just pre-empt the obvious liberal reaction: it's because you're homophobic and racist.

Interestingly, your response has become an obvious conservative reaction.

I'm probably not alone in feeling as though we're staring into a communicative quagmire. I just came across this reference in Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. He quotes Jonathan Haidt, from a highly cited paper called The Emotional Dog and It's Rational Tail. (https://motherjones.com/files/emotional_dog_and_rational_tail.pdf)

Our moral life is plagued by two illusions. The first
illusion can be called the “wag-the-dog” illusion: we
believe that our own moral judgment (the dog) is
driven by our own moral reasoning (the tail). The
second illusion can be called the “wag-the-otherdog’s-
tail” illusion: in a moral argument, we expect
the successful rebuttal of an opponent’s arguments
to change the opponent’s mind. Such a belief is like
thinking that forcing a dog’s tail to wag by moving it
with your hand should make the dog happy.
The wag-the-dog illusion follows directly from
the mechanics of the reasoning process described
above. Pyszczynski and Greenberg (1987) point out
that by going through all the steps of hypothesis
testing, even though every step can be biased by selfserving
motivations, people can maintain an
“illusion of objectivity” about the way they think.

The wag-the-dog illusion may therefore be one of the
mechanisms underlying naive realism (Griffin &
Ross, 1991; Robinson, Keltner, Ward, & Ross,
1995), the finding that people think that they see the
world as it is, while their opponents in a moral
dispute are biased by ideology and self-interest.

The bitterness, futility, and self-righteousness of
most moral arguments can now be explicated. In a
debate on abortion, politics, consensual incest, or on
what my friend did to your friend, both sides believe
that their positions are based on reasoning about the
facts and issues involved (the wag-the-dog illusion).
Both sides present what they take to be excellent
arguments in support of their positions. Both sides
expect the other side to be responsive to such
reasons (the wag-the-other-dog’s-tail illusion). When
the other side fails to be affected by such good
reasons, each side concludes that the other side must
be closed-minded or insincere. In this way the
culture wars over issues such as homosexuality and
abortion can generate morally motivated players on
both sides who believe that their opponents are not
morally motivated.

What we have going here, I think, is the right seeing the left as having a cognitive bias towards prejudicing the right, likely based on faulty, politically-correct assumptions. It can thus be prejudiced towards claims of the left, thus subject to its own cognitive bias.

And the left, in its acceptance of politically correct assumptions, begins with a degree of assumption about the right, that they are more likely to be cognitively biased on issues of race, gender, etc. To take Jon's early statement:
support for such a lawsuit is much higher among [the left] than it is the farther right you move

This is no doubt true, just as there will be less support for campaigns to empower (however you frame it) non-dominant groups the further right you move.

edit: so I think the biggest problem for both sides is to assume cognitive bias in the other side, as sugarkang has done in the first post. I think some degree of kvetching will always be reasonable. But in mixed company, I'm not sure what good it does beyond poisoning the well.

TwinSwords
06-20-2011, 02:51 PM
I'm probably not alone in feeling as though we're staring into a communicative quagmire. I just came across this reference in Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. He quotes Jonathan Haidt, from a highly cited paper called The Emotuional Dog and It's Rational Tail. ()[/QUOTE]

Your link isn't working.

sugarkang
06-20-2011, 03:01 PM
Unsurprisingly, I do think the reaction to a lawsuit as "this is what's wrong with liberals," is a somewhat strange take.

I also have no opinion on the merits of the lawsuit, since I haven't read the opinion, the cases which were relied on for support, or -- perhaps most significantly -- considered the evidence.

Thus, when you suggest that there's a clearcut position on it that someone should have, I think we need to unpack the argument. Is it that the law which the plaintiff sued based on is, in your opinion, a bad law? Or what?

It's because John Rawls doesn't have a monopoly on morality. As far as merits under the actual law, the plaintiff probably has a real case. I don't think that's what we're mad about here, though I can't be sure so I'll just speak for myself.

Put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur that is on the fence about starting up a new restaurant. You saved up enough to secure a business loan, but it's your life savings. While there's no question that you'd be benefiting your local community, city and state by creating new jobs, you're afraid to lose everything. Then you read this crap in the newspaper. You didn't even know that you had to figure in these calculations for starting a business. You factored in all sorts of other stuff like rent, supplies, labor, but not this. You decide it's not worth the risk after all.

How can a party continually complain about the lack of jobs when it is actively destroying them?


Interestingly, your response has become an obvious conservative reaction.

The reaction may be typical conservative, but it doesn't negate its truth. Please don't make me search for the evidence that is strewn all over this board. The basic idea is to pre-empt the obviously stupid argument in order to have a better one. Poisoning the well? No. An invitation to joust.

stephanie
06-20-2011, 03:23 PM
It's because John Rawls doesn't have a monopoly on morality.

No kidding, but irrelevant both to my post and to Jon's original one.

As far as merits under the actual law, the plaintiff probably has a real case. I don't think that's what we're mad about here, though I can't be sure so I'll just speak for myself.

Jon's original post, unless I misunderstood, was that cases like the one in question and the alleged liberal support for them irritate him. Therefore, it seems to me that the irritation must either stem from (1) him thinking the Plaintiff's position is without merit; or (2) him thinking the law under which the Plaintiff sued is a bad law.

Personally, I think the law is fine, but some suits based on it are good and some are stupid, which is how litigation works in this country. I think it's silly to claim this is some irritating liberal view, which is why I wanted to explore the question.

I obviously understand that some are against this law, and plenty of others, as imposing costs that aren't worth it. If that's the real argument Jon wants to make, I'd be happy to address that. So far we haven't gotten there.

sugarkang
06-20-2011, 04:09 PM
No kidding, but irrelevant both to my post and to Jon's original one.

I don't see why. Whether he's upset about the actual law or that he believes the case to be without merit, the consternation stems from the liberal Fairness Doctrine.

Wouldn't you say that fairness, above all else, is the bedrock of liberal morality?


Personally, I think the law is fine, but some suits based on it are good and some are stupid, which is how litigation works in this country. I think it's silly to claim this is some irritating liberal view, which is why I wanted to explore the question.

Well, if the law is clear and plaintiff has a justified grievance, then the judge needs to uphold the law. If that's what you mean by how "litigation works," then I wholeheartedly agree. That's also why I said above that plaintiff might/probably has a valid claim. The "irritating liberal view" or, from my perspective, why these cases / laws exist is due to liberals generally upholding fairness above all else. And while fairness is certainly an important component for social organization and law, it is not the only component. That is all I meant by Rawls not having a monopoly on morality.

stephanie
06-20-2011, 04:27 PM
I don't see why. Whether he's upset about the actual law or that he believes the case to be without merit, the consternation stems from the liberal Fairness Doctrine.

I don't know how you get this from the discussion so far.

Wouldn't you say that fairness, above all else, is the bedrock of liberal morality?

That's too simplistic to have an opinion on. I think everyone, liberal or conservative, goes on about fairness, probably too much, but what people think is unfair differs depending on their moral views and values.

Similarly, people of all views in the US tend to go on about rights, but that doesn't tell us much about what they really believe or why.

But do I think fairness alone is "the bedrock of liberal morality"? No. Indeed, I'd say the likely objection to the lawsuit in question, according to those annoyed by it, is that it's not fair to the defendant.

Well, if the law is clear and plaintiff has a justified grievance, then the judge needs to uphold the law. If that's what you mean by how "litigation works," then I wholeheartedly agree.

What I mean is that it's pointless to point to a plaintiff you think has made a dumb claim and say "this is what's wrong with liberalism." The argument doesn't have much to do with an individual lawsuit -- other than rhetorically, of course -- because people are always going to file and sometimes prevail on dumb lawsuits. They can under our system.

The real question is if there's something wrong -- or "irritating," I guess -- about the law, since that's where we might be able to find a liberal/conservative argument. Now, I think this particular law is hardly supported only by liberals, but I'd agree that liberals are more likely to argue in favor of such laws and probably more likely to be supporters.

Therefore, I think it makes sense to identify what we are really talking about, and then we can figure out whether the disagreement stems from some moral flaw of liberals making us irritating or not.

sugarkang
06-20-2011, 05:08 PM
But do I think fairness alone is "the bedrock of liberal morality"? No. Indeed, I'd say the likely objection to the lawsuit in question, according to those annoyed by it, is that it's not fair to the defendant.

Okay. Assuming that liberals don't hold up fairness above all, how is that line of thought related to those of us annoyed by this case who don't seem particularly liberal? Unless, of course, you're lumping yourself in with the rest of us cranks?


What I mean is that it's pointless to point to a plaintiff you think has made a dumb claim and say "this is what's wrong with liberalism." The argument doesn't have much to do with an individual lawsuit -- other than rhetorically, of course -- because people are always going to file and sometimes prevail on dumb lawsuits. They can under our system.

I don't think it's pointless at all. You're right that people can and will always file stupid claims. I don't think any of us believe that we can eliminate stupid claims. I believe the question is, for someone who thinks this to be a frivolous lawsuit, why do these happen in the first place? You have objected to the proposed answer.

But that isn't my position.

As you'll recall, I've assumed that plaintiff has a valid claim. For me, the question is whether or not it's worth it to place this burden on the restaurant owner in order to make life easier for the handicapped patron. And if it is, on an individual basis, is the result different on an aggregate basis? That points to my hypothetical situation where I asked you to place yourself in the shoes of a hesitant restaurateur.

Either way, the charge is that liberalism, if not the direct source of these problems, is most certainly complicit in perpetuating them.


Therefore, I think it makes sense to identify what we are really talking about, and then we can figure out whether the disagreement stems from some moral flaw of liberals making us irritating or not.

Well, what do you think? I don't think it's a moral flaw of liberals; I think it's a moral deficiency of liberals. I don't mean to suggest that liberals are lacking in moral fiber. Rather, they overvalue the plight of the weak (aka some of us) at the expense of innovation, stability, efficiency, etc. for all of us.

stephanie
06-20-2011, 06:09 PM
Okay. Assuming that liberals don't hold up fairness above all, how is that line of thought related to those of us annoyed by this case who don't seem particularly liberal? Unless, of course, you're lumping yourself in with the rest of us cranks?

I don't understand what you are saying here.

My question to Jon was intended to get at precisely what he is claiming is irritating. Is it the results in this particular case? Or the underlying law? The former would not be a liberal/conservative split, IMO, whereas the latter probably would be.

I believe the question is, for someone who thinks this to be a frivolous lawsuit, why do these happen in the first place?

Like I said, frivolous lawsuits are common; there's nothing particularly "liberal" about them. If the debate here is about the underlying law, then we might have something to talk about.

As you'll recall, I've assumed that plaintiff has a valid claim.

Why assume that? That's part of the question. Is there something wrong with the underlying law, the results here, or what. Of course, I might end up defending the result -- like I said, I have no opinion on it, since I don't know enough about it, including what the procedural posture is, from the coverage I've seen. But before bothering to investigate enough to find out, I'd like to know what we are really arguing about.

In other words, I'm trying to figure out what's supposed to be irritating and liberal, and a result in one case doesn't answer that. That's why I'm asking whether it's the existence of the ADA or something more specific.

Personally, I favor reasonable accommodations, but would agree that not all demanded accommodations would be reasonable. I don't think that "liberalism" means that one must be, well, unreasonable about what's reasonable. However, the existence of something like the ADA means that you will get plaintiffs who claim a need for accommodations that I likely would consider not reasonable, and the way our system works means that you probably will get verdicts that I wouldn't agree with.

That I'm willing to take that risk rather than avoid it by not having the ADA or similar laws probably is a liberal position, but it says nothing about the desired result in the specific case Jon is upset about.

But again if we are going to debate the irritatingness of liberalism, we have to identify the problem correctly, and right now it seems to me it's about the existence of the ADA or similar statutes. If something more specific is being complained of, I'd like to know, so I can analyze the argument. If "liberalism" is simply supposed to be in favor of plaintiffs winning in all cases, all the time, that's false and silly.

eeeeeeeli
06-20-2011, 06:14 PM
"]The Emotuional Dog and It's Rational Tail.[/URL]

Your link isn't working.[/QUOTE]
Oops! Fixed (https://motherjones.com/files/emotional_dog_and_rational_tail.pdf). Thanks.

sugarkang
06-20-2011, 06:50 PM
I don't understand what you are saying here. I suppose I haven't been clear enough. I'm saying that whatever the alleged source of the problem, be it the law, its rationale, the judge, plaintiffs, supporters, etc., it all derives from liberalism, as we loosely define it in the 21st century.

I don't think Jon was irritated with just the result, but I won't presume to know or speak on his behalf.

Like I said, frivolous lawsuits are common; there's nothing particularly "liberal" about them. If the debate here is about the underlying law, then we might have something to talk about.

And I've acknowledged their existence and the fool's errand to try and eliminate them. I don't believe the charge is against liberalism for causing all frivolous lawsuits. I believe the charge is that liberalism is the cause of the lawsuits discussed in this particular thread. I won't say whether or not they are frivolous. But even in the best case scenario where they are not frivolous, my opinion is that they are doing more harm than the good they purport to do.

Why assume that? That's part of the question. Is there something wrong with the underlying law, the results here, or what.

My answer to this is included above.


Of course, I might end up defending the result -- like I said, I have no opinion on it, since I don't know what the precedents or evidence was -- but before bothering forming an opinion on that, I'd like to know what we are really arguing about.

This is precisely my point. I may also defend the result. That doesn't mean it's a good law, even though the rationale has a solid moral justification. Because morals are subjective, the question is whether the law is a good one, on balance, for everyone. I don't think so, in the cases discussed in this thread.

That's why I'm asking whether it's the existence of the ADA or something more specific.

It has to be more specific if we're talking about the American Disabilities Act. I'm as heartless as they come, and even I don't feel that it would be right to just gas all the handicapped people in a large chamber. So, if I'm to criticize the ADA, it would be with certain provisions that are either over-inclusive of certain groups and/or overly accommodating at the expense of efficient social functions.

But, I'll say it again. Whether or not we're talking about a specific law, a case, the plaintiffs, supporters of a specific cause, the charge that I'm making is that liberalism is responsible for this bullshit. See the eHarmony settlement that operative linked to.

I don't think that "liberalism" means that one must be, well, unreasonable about what's reasonable.

Of course not. It's exactly backward. These instances are specific cases of liberalism being unreasonable, not that liberalism is always unreasonable.


However, the existence of something like the ADA means that you will get plaintiffs who claim a need for accommodations that I likely would consider not reasonable, and the way our system works means that you probably will get verdicts that I wouldn't agree with.
No disagreement.


That I'm willing to take that risk rather than avoid it by not having the ADA or similar laws probably is a liberal position, but it says nothing about the desired result in the specific case Jon is upset about.
Don't know about Jon's opinion and have only been stating my own. I care less about the result of the case and more about the cost imposed on society broadly.


But again if we are going to debate the irritatingness of liberalism, we have to identify the problem correctly, and right now it seems to me it's about the existence of the ADA or similar statutes.

I believe I've addressed this, at least from my own POV. With regard to the statute, I have no problem with accommodating the handicapped; to what length and at what cost is the issue.

My claim, however, is not limited to the ADA. It's that this kind of bullshit occurs, broadly speaking, when certain sympathetic groups tug at the heartstrings of liberals and all of a sudden everyone needs to be protected from everything by law. My claim is that liberals engage in identity politics, but conservatives (when they aren't busy being racist and hunting faggots in their pickup trucks) tend to believe in individual rights, equally, for everyone.

stephanie
06-20-2011, 07:08 PM
I suppose I haven't been clear enough. I'm saying that whatever the alleged source of the problem, be it the law, its rationale, the judge, plaintiffs, supporters, etc., it all derives from liberalism, as we loosely define it in the 21st century.

Okay, I don't agree with this at all. For example, if a stupid case makes it to the jury and the jury sympathizes with the plaintiff and finds in his favor, you can't assume that's because of "liberalism." You are just presuming too much to assign the cause like that.

Now, what you can say is that in the absence of the ADA there'd be fewer possibilities for a stupid suit on this issue to be brought, and in that case a liberal might say "worth the risk" and a conservative or libertarian might say "reason not to have the law." On the other hand, I think that's not strictly a liberal/conservative argument, since only a minority of conservatives would say it meant we shouldn't have laws like the ADA or anti-discrimination laws, etc. at all. I realize that tends to be a more common view among libertarians, but again I want to properly define this argument.

Jon is the one who can answer.

I won't say whether or not they are frivolous. But even in the best case scenario where they are not frivolous, my opinion is that they are doing more harm than the good they purport to do.

The question is whether a particular accommodation is reasonable. (Actually, I think there's a more specific and legalistic question in this lawsuit, which is why I'm saying we don't know enough, and I can't tell if the case simply is being permitted to go to the jury or if there's actually been a finding for the plaintiff beyond that and, if so, on what basis.)

But anyway, the legal question once you get past everything else is whether a particular accommodation is reasonable. It's quite possible to agree with the idea of reasonable accommodations but think a particular accommodation which is claimed is not reasonable. My knee-jerk reaction here is that the accommodation requested doesn't sound reasonable. So I wouldn't say that favoring the plaintiff is inherently a liberal position, merely because liberals are more likely to favor the ADA in general.

However, because morals are subjective, the question is whether the law is a good one, on balance, for everyone.

My point, though, is that whether the ADA in general is a good law cannot be determined because there is one stupid result (assuming we agreed the result was stupid). Defending the ADA does not mean defending any case brought under it or even any successful claim under it.

sugarkang
06-20-2011, 07:23 PM
My point, though, is that whether the ADA in general is a good law cannot be determined because there is one stupid result (assuming we agreed the result was stupid). Defending the ADA does not mean defending any case brought under it or even any successful claim under it.

I don't know why you feel the need to make this point. Because, firstly, of course not. Secondly, I'm not talking about the ADA, narrowly. The eHarmony case / settlement is not about the ADA. I'm talking about "group-think" broadly (and not in the Orwellian tradition). Rather, it is the liberals who see people in groups, oppressors and oppressed, that perpetuate this kind of crap.

Now, this is the point where someone like Rachel Maddow says that old white man politics comes into play. Fine. Assuming I concede that, it doesn't render the argument invalid, i.e., what's wrong with going back to protecting individuals and not groups?

And it's not even like I think that this reasoning is wrong. Rather, it's more that this reasoning is now outdated. It's like John McWhorter said in one of the recent diavlogs. People are just weary of this race shit (I'm paraphrasing). However, I'd go a step further and say it extends beyond race and applies to the never ending creation of new groups to be placed in protected categories.

stephanie
06-20-2011, 07:34 PM
I don't know why you feel the need to make this point.

Because the only way I think it makes sense to claim the case in question is about "liberals" is because it's brought under a law -- the ADA -- which liberals tend to support.

It's the "group-think" that is the problem (and not in the Orwellian tradition). Rather, it is the liberals who see people in groups, oppressors and oppressed, that perpetuate this kind of crap.

You and I don't agree about what "liberalism" is, then, because I don't see "seeing people in groups" as liberalism.

What is generally supported by liberals, and sometimes twisted by opponents into some nonsense about "wanting to split people into groups" is anti-discrimination laws. Obviously, to have an anti-discrimination law you need to identify the class which is protected, and those tend to be related to the things that usually lead to discrimination which we have decided, as a society, are not legitimate reasons to make employment and other decisions. Thus, we identify in the relevant laws such things as race, sex, religion, age, and disabilities, and end up giving certain rights to people who can claim discrimination on one of those bases to sue, should they be able to make a claim. And that ends up being basically anyone.

The response is that it's better not to have such laws, as the risk of frivolous suits is too great and too costly, but like I said let's be clear if that's the argument.

You seem to be saying, instead, that liberalism is to blame not merely for the existence of the laws, but for the fact that some people will sue when they weren't really discriminated against or for the fact that juries will sometimes find for juries when you (or me) wouldn't. I think that's just wrong. The jury system sometimes results in juries putting sympathy over what a hard look at the evidence would support, IMO, but that's not about liberalism at all, unless we are really sloppy about what terms mean. Nor is it limited to discrimination cases.

sugarkang
06-20-2011, 08:08 PM
You and I don't agree about what "liberalism" is, then, because I don't see "seeing people in groups" as liberalism.

I didn't say that. I said liberals see people in groups; I don't think that seeing groups defines liberalism. We all see groups. I don't blame liberals exclusively. As I mentioned before, it's a question of degree on a sliding scale.


... some nonsense about "wanting to split people into groups" is anti-discrimination laws. Obviously, to have an anti-discrimination law you need to identify the class which is protected ... Have you defined groups and class as separate concepts?

The response is that it's better not to have such laws, as the risk of frivolous suits is too great and too costly, but like I said let's be clear if that's the argument.
Do you think I've been unfair to you? Why would you say this?


You seem to be saying, instead, that liberalism is to blame not merely for the existence of the laws, but for the fact that some people will sue when they weren't really discriminated against or for the fact that juries will sometimes find for juries when you (or me) wouldn't. I think that's just wrong.

Liberals are to blame for racist laws, yes. Affirmative action? Yes, that's a liberal invention. Needed or not, justified or not, effective or not, moral or not, one thing you cannot argue is that it wasn't racist.

As for the second part of your sentence, assuming you meant "plaintiffs" instead of "juries" in the second instance, then absolutely not. In which case, you would have misunderstood my position, imputed it to me and then denounced it. I have consistently been making a broader point about the imbalance between liberal sympathy for some vs. the cost to the whole. My argument is not that liberals aren't morally justified; they are. My argument is that liberals haven't taken other moral factors into account that are also important. Hence, the charge that liberals are morally deficient.

JonIrenicus
06-20-2011, 09:51 PM
Jon's original post, unless I misunderstood, was that cases like the one in question and the alleged liberal support for them irritate him. Therefore, it seems to me that the irritation must either stem from (1) him thinking the Plaintiff's position is without merit; or (2) him thinking the law under which the Plaintiff sued is a bad law.

Personally, I think the law is fine, but some suits based on it are good and some are stupid, which is how litigation works in this country. I think it's silly to claim this is some irritating liberal view, which is why I wanted to explore the question.

I obviously understand that some are against this law, and plenty of others, as imposing costs that aren't worth it. If that's the real argument Jon wants to make, I'd be happy to address that. So far we haven't gotten there.

#2 is my problem, each suit may be perfectly legitimate under the law, but the fact that the law would encourage such suits in the first place and allow them to prevail annoys me.

the netflix case bothers me most, it would be nice if they provided cc for more of their streaming, but because they have not provided enough in the mind of certain people means they should be sued and forced to do so?

We all tend to have schizophrenic models about what and when coercion is appropriate, but I do think the farther left you go, the more expansive your list of appropriate arenas of restrictions and demands becomes.


I am no pure libertarian, I am probably far more mid stream than many here are liberal. I am fine with putting rules on banks to increase capital requirements, forcing drivers to buy insurance, maybe even mandating healthcare expenses for all, maybe. I still think many of these rules are obnoxious, but I tolerate that obnoxiousness because such rules are often needed to make some basic service or system work better for the larger society. Once you expand beyond those utilitarian calculations my support drops off fast.

CC is not an essential service, neither is whether a business has a counter that is low enough so that a wheelchair bound person can easily see over the counter. And neither is forcing eharmony to cater to gay people. On the last I happen to think the sort of socially conservative stance of that company is obnoxious, but I don't want to FORCE them to cater to a segment of the population they do not want to deal with. Attitude: It does not matter who they wish to cater to, "I" want them to cater to group Y and so they will do so, my will be done. Lovely attitude.

And these things are on a sliding scale, racial discrimination are more mixed, which is where the schizophrenia comes in, but the general trend still stands. The more left you are, the more likely you are to support the sort of laws that make eharmonys discrimination against gays illegal, or force businesses to provide more support for the disabled, etc.

eeeeeeeli
06-21-2011, 02:13 AM
And these things are on a sliding scale, racial discrimination are more mixed, which is where the schizophrenia comes in, but the general trend still stands. The more left you are, the more likely you are to support the sort of laws that make eharmonys discrimination against gays illegal, or force businesses to provide more support for the disabled, etc.
Wait a second, though. Isn't it more about the extremes? For instance, we could get into abortion, drugs, porn, gays and the right gets real heavy-handed.

I thin what's interesting however is the difference in where people are coming from on these issues. With the right it tends to be a religious fundamentalism, while the left it seems more about sub/dominant group relations.

sugarkang
06-21-2011, 04:41 AM
To stephanie's credit, at least she's trying to engage with the issues and not debate strawmen. It's one thing to not understand your adversary's perspective; it's egregious to not even attempt it.

stephanie
06-21-2011, 11:19 AM
Have you defined groups and class as separate concepts?

No, I'm distinguishing between seeing the world or encouraging others to see the world as broken up into groups, classes, whatever and simply acknowledging that people are sometimes discriminated against. I think you can do the latter without having a focus on race or sex or the like more generally, which seems to be the accusation here.

The question is whether the cost of prohibiting discrimination on certain grounds is too high or whether the benefits of anti-discrimination law are worth it, despite the fact that people will bring stupid suits sometimes.

I don't believe that it's only liberals who think that anti-discrimination laws are worth it, although I'd agree that liberals tend to support such laws. However, to try and recast that as "liberals support dumb lawsuits," as Jon did, is a misrepresentation and inaccurate, IMO.

Do you think I've been unfair to you? Why would you say this?

I don't think you've been unfair, no. I'm trying to understand your argument, and you seem to be going on about the laws being bad due to the costs, so that's why I keep trying to figure out if you oppose the laws. If so, that's a real topic to debate. If you are saying you don't, but that there are costs attached to the laws, we don't disagree. But then the whole "this is why liberalism is irritating" thing would make even less sense.

Liberals are to blame for racist laws, yes.

We are talking simply about anti-discrimination laws. Laws that say you have to make reasonable accommodations for disabilities, specifically, but more generally laws that say you cannot discriminate on the basis of race or sex or religion. Those are not "racist" laws. They are neutral.

Now you want to introduce Affirmative Action, but that's not what we've been talking about, and requires a little more definition of terms.

I have consistently been making a broader point about the imbalance between liberal sympathy for some vs. the cost to the whole.

Right -- you've just been asserting that. When I've tried to figure out what policy disagreement it's based on that is relevant here -- are you against the ADA? a specific portion of the ADA? or is it just that dumb laws get brought under the ADA? -- you've resisted answering clearly. That's why I'm perhaps not understanding your position and continue asking questions or misunderstanding.

Jon seems to have clarified that his issue is with the existence of the ADA. That's an answer, at least. I'm willing to acknowledge that liberals are more likely to see the costs, including increased litigation, of something like the ADA as worth it.

My argument is that liberals haven't taken other moral factors into account that are also important. Hence, the charge that liberals are morally deficient.

I see no evidence that liberals haven't taken other moral factors into account here. For example, as I said before, I think reasonable accommodation is warranted. I don't think all demanded accommodations are reasonable, which is why I may see a particular suit as stupid or a particular result as wrong. I just don't see you proposing a non-liberal approach that would resolve the problem of dumb suits being brought other than simply not having the laws in the first place, which you've seemed to deny is your position. Your assumption that "liberals" wouldn't sympathize with the business owner is a false one. That there is cost involved is why there's a balancing test here.

stephanie
06-21-2011, 11:33 AM
#2 is my problem, each suit may be perfectly legitimate under the law, but the fact that the law would encourage such suits in the first place and allow them to prevail annoys me.

Okay, then as I said to sugarkang, I'd agree that liberals typically do think that the ADA is a worthwhile law. In fact, I'd agree with that myself, despite the costs and the fact that people sometimes bring suits that I think are dumb. I'd compare that to the fact that it's worth having the UCC and tort law and all sorts of other statutes and common law that sometimes encourage people to bring stupid lawsuits and even allow them sometimes to win on suits that aren't justified. I don't see why this would be seen as a reason we can't have laws such as the ADA or anti-discrimination laws when it's not seen as a reason we should stop allowing tort lawsuits or the like.

In addition to this, though, I strongly disagree with your assumption that support for the law means that one supports any particular suit or result. If you think the particular case could and should have been precluded by a change in the law that liberals would oppose, that might be one thing -- for example, specific regulations that go to the issue or some such. But you haven't pointed to any such thing.