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-   -   Means and Ends (Joshua Cohen & Glenn Loury) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=7281)

basman 01-04-2012 05:02 PM

Re: Means and Ends (Joshua Cohen & Glenn Loury)
 
...My general view is that Paul is far too imperfect a vessel to allow me to say anything approbative about him. I do think someone else needs to question the American imperium within the context of a serious presidential candidacy, the sooner the better. Again, either there needs to be serious reform within the Democratic Party, or there needs to be a third party...

Truer words hard to come by these, without that assent meaning I'd agree with your answers to the questioning. I suspect I wouldn't. But here's a thought, as usual a slight one: with Obama in a second term and without the pressure of running again, maybe he can be bolder in some things. Progressives, I don't think, can ever do better than Obama, once the mug's game of politics enters into the reckoning of what's realistically politically possible. (At least one progressive friend of mine tends to agree with this.)

Itzik Basman

Sulla the Dictator 01-04-2012 05:14 PM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 236132)
Good article on the contradictions and ambivalence of American liberalism. The connection between centralized banking and financing for war, of course, is much older than the FED (1913). It is as old as the "modern" state ("modern" in the French or European sense, i.e. since the 18th century). See Niall Ferguson, The Cash Nexus, Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000

This is true. Britain practically invented modern finance while bankrolling the European war effort against Bonaparte.

Quote:

I don't know how you intended "America's supposed hegemony," but it would make more sense to say "America's supposed empire." The US certainly has military hegemony, what it manifestly doesn't have is an empire.
That's incorrect on its face.

miceelf 01-04-2012 06:38 PM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 236178)
Funny how you get to throw personal insults like "imbecile" so casually. When I used the more politically correct variant "retard" in a joke, that gets me censored. Don't worry, though. I won't call the BHTV police on you. That's for whiners, right?

Well, some of us get away with more than others, and it's not all on the left. I suspect florian is the one leftward poster that gets away with this kind of thing, and I know of at least one right-leaning craftsperson who also appears to lead a charmed life with regard to the powers that be.

Having said that, if it ever comes up in real life, you should know that "retard" is far LESS politically correct than "imbecile". Both are insults of the same magnitude toward the target, but "retard" is also widely regarded as a slight on people with developmental delays. This may not be entirely fair (the roots of "imbecile" are similar, but its usage broadened long ago, and "retard" is unlikely to do so). If it matters to you, I know people with family members who have Down's syndrome who would be really hurt to see the r-word thrown around, but not at all by "imbecile."

Unit 01-04-2012 07:04 PM

Re: Means and Ends (Joshua Cohen & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane1976 (Post 236091)
I feel the same way about any ideology, including libertarianism. Ideologists don't care what happens to you or me or anybody because all they care about is some notion of a future state that they think would be so much better. It might be better for people just like them, but they never think of anybody else.

That's why I like Obama. I don't find him particularly ideological. He just seems to be trying to be pragmatic, to use his position in whatever way seems to make sense, and also, of course, with a consideration of what it might take to get himself elected again. But that's more or less the same as understanding he has to serve the people. He just has to think more about the fact that we don't mob rule, i.e. catering to whatever the polls say.

I know that's contradictory, but that's why I'm not a politician. I suppose it's about balance. Maybe he'll do better if he gets elected again.

Everybody has an 'ideology', you can't make a decision without it. Facts become relevant only when passed through an ideological filter. Nobody is immune.

Ocean 01-04-2012 07:06 PM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 236204)
Well, some of us get away with more than others, and it's not all on the left. I suspect florian is the one leftward poster that gets away with this kind of thing, and I know of at least one right-leaning craftsperson who also appears to lead a charmed life with regard to the powers that be.

Having said that, if it ever comes up in real life, you should know that "retard" is far LESS politically correct than "imbecile". Both are insults of the same magnitude toward the target, but "retard" is also widely regarded as a slight on people with developmental delays. This may not be entirely fair (the roots of "imbecile" are similar, but its usage broadened long ago, and "retard" is unlikely to do so). If it matters to you, I know people with family members who have Down's syndrome who would be really hurt to see the r-word thrown around, but not at all by "imbecile."

I wonder what people would think if any of us referred to sugarkang or Sulla or any of the right leaning commenters, for example in this way: "the rapist sugarkang", or " Sulla the thief" or some other qualification like that, a lie of course, but as a way of insulting them.

It would be much better if people addressed each other in a more respectful way, regardless of how upsetting their comments seem to be. Commenters could even say "your comment is idiotic", without saying "you're an idiot". That would avoid much of the abrasiveness. And worse comes to worse, when people here cross lines, there's a function called "reporting". It's there for a reason. Bullies don't like when they get reported to the principal. Too bad, right?

Unit 01-04-2012 07:25 PM

Re: Means and Ends (Joshua Cohen & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane1976 (Post 236072)
Public education was traditionally the way of integrating immigrants also, the second generation, making sure that whatever message they got at home or from their religions, which might be fine, was supplemented by teaching about the values and expectations of the new country.

So, some sort of indoctrination? Could be good, could be bad.


Quote:

I noticed that large organizations, government, not sure about private, go through swings back and forth between centralization and decentralization, between tighter and looser control, less and more internal regulation. They always go too far one way and it results in some disaster, a huge financial scandal or a kind of paralysis, and then they move the other way. I, personally, think that systems overall have gone to some extreme resulting in the financial crisis. But I think the problem was too loose control by government, not too much, which is the opposite, of course, of what many people say.
I think it's more complicated than too loose or too tight control. It's much more complex than that.

Quote:

I always want to ask libertarians why they seem to think the only source of power in a modern western democracy is government. That seems wrong to me, like something that was true of much more totalitarian or centralized systems of the past. I think of government as one source of power among a number, and it's the only one we all get to have a say in, so it doesn't make much sense to me to try to cripple it. That seems like an anti-democratic idea. I would say the point would be more to make sure it works as well as possible for all of us, as it should, and to make sure it's not overly beholden to any special groups, etc., as it may be if politicians are too much dependant on money to ever get elected.
The difference is the ability to walk away. Apple is powerful but I don't have to buy its products and in fact its innovation forces its competitors to do better and so that benefits me indirectly. Competition is what keeps power in check, even government power. The key is the ability to walk away, the easier it is, the less threatening power is. If indeed it was easy to 'move to Canada' any time a politician you don't like gets elected (as it's common to threaten) then govt power would be less problematic. Likewise, non-govt power is worse when people's choices are limited. The differences of opinion arise in judging "how limited" these choices really are in practice.

Unit 01-04-2012 07:26 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 235977)

What's wrong with any of those two statements?

Unit 01-04-2012 07:27 PM

Re: Means and Ends (Joshua Cohen & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whburgess (Post 236023)
First time I've ever pulled kleenexes while watching BhTv. I admire the sacrifice these two made in discussing their respective situations publicly like this. It was the profoundest contribution to the BhTv audience I've seen yet. I don't think I could ever be that generous. Thanks guys, for reminding me that I already know what matters most in life; it's easy to forget when you're always trying to learn something new.

For the first time, someone I loved dearly passed two months ago as well, (i've been lucky for a man my age), and I understand Glenn's world of darkness and confusion. Joshua's words of comfort were so incredibly poignant, as they were coming from a man who is facing his own mortality rather then a loved one's and therefore is not confused at all about how one left living should proceed. With strength, decency, contribution, friendship, and love. Thanks for reminding us, Mr. Cohen.

I cried.

miceelf 01-04-2012 07:29 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 236216)
What's wrong with any of those two statements?

Wouldn't it greatly depend on the context? The usual context that gets raised here is as proof that one isn't racist. In that context, both statements are nonsensical.

As statements of fact, they're fine, but that's not always how they come up.

Unit 01-04-2012 07:35 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 236219)
Wouldn't it greatly depend on the context? The usual context that gets raised here is as proof that one isn't racist. In that context, both statements are nonsensical.

As statements of fact, they're fine, but that's not always how they come up.

Why nonsensical? If you want to establish your cosmopolitanism why can't you point to the people you interact with? What's wrong with that?

And what about wanting to legalized drugs? What's nonsensical there?

What next? Are you going to chastise people for saying "I work in a soup kitchen, volunteer a lot of my time and money to help the poor and other worthwhile causes" just because they also don't conform to your favorite policy solutions?

miceelf 01-04-2012 07:43 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 236222)
Why nonsensical? If you want to establish your cosmopolitanism why can't you point to the people you interact with? What's wrong with that?

And what about wanting to legalized drugs? What's nonsensical there?

Again. In general, not nonsensical. The first is relevant to cosmopolitan-ness or social skills. The second is relevant to libertarianism or coolness or hipness or being young at heart. Neither are relevant to racism.

Tyrrell McAllister 01-04-2012 07:49 PM

Re: Means and Ends (Joshua Cohen & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 236141)
Interesting if you think it is interesting to equate human intelligence and artificial intelligence.

Eliezer very much does not equate human and artificial intelligence. AI is potentially much more powerful. (Somehow I doubt that you consider that to be a weakening of your point, though :).)

Unit 01-04-2012 07:54 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 236228)
Again. In general, not nonsensical. The first is relevant to cosmopolitan-ness or social skills. The second is relevant to libertarianism or coolness or hipness or being young at heart. Neither are relevant to racism.

What if one's preference for drug liberalization is driven by one's conviction that the burden of the the war on drugs is falling disproportionally on minorities. Would that not count as a defense against an accusation of racism?

It gets to a point where words and ideas matter for what they are and how they are stated. I certainly would not want to discourage people from saying those two sentences or making it somehow uncool to utter them, as the poster seems to be wanting to do.

TwinSwords 01-04-2012 08:21 PM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 236178)
Funny how you get to throw personal insults like "imbecile" so casually. When I used the more politically correct variant "retard" in a joke, that gets me censored. Don't worry, though. I won't call the BHTV police on you. That's for whiners, right?

LOL! You don't think you're whining right now?

Kang, I hate to break it to you, but you whine more than everyone else who uses this forum combined! It's probably the single defining characteristic by which we know you! And no, I'm not kidding and I'm not exaggerating.

Sulla the Dictator 01-04-2012 08:22 PM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 236239)
Kang, I hate to break it to you, but you whine more than everyone else who uses this forum combined! It's probably the single defining characteristic by which we know you! And no, I'm not kidding and I'm not exaggerating.

That's ironic coming from you. For some reason I picture you hunched over your keyboard with a rape whistle perpetually at the corner of your mouth.

miceelf 01-04-2012 08:36 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 236232)
What if one's preference for drug liberalization is driven by one's conviction that the burden of the the war on drugs is falling disproportionally on minorities. Would that not count as a defense against an accusation of racism?

Sure. But that's a statement that is so much more specific than "I am against the drug war" that's it's a different statement entirely.

sugarkang 01-04-2012 08:41 PM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 236239)
LOL! You don't think you're whining right now?

Kang, I hate to break it to you, but you whine more than everyone else who uses this forum combined! It's probably the single defining characteristic by which we know you! And no, I'm not kidding and I'm not exaggerating.

If that's your definition. My definition of whining is crying to the BHTV police at least twice about having someone's post removed. I wonder who?

graz 01-04-2012 08:51 PM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 236249)
If that's your definition. My definition of whining is crying to the BHTV police at least twice about having someone's post removed. I wonder who?

I think it was was your Koch connection.

By the way, boasting that your not a rat fink is not proof positive.

stephanie 01-04-2012 09:16 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 236232)
What if one's preference for drug liberalization is driven by one's conviction that the burden of the the war on drugs is falling disproportionally on minorities. Would that not count as a defense against an accusation of racism?

Not necessarily. One could be racist in one way and not in others. And, indeed, while I think people are often against the drug war in part due to concern about disproportionate impact, I don't think that people are generally for continuing our current policies (or, say, for the death penalty, which I am also against) because they like the disproportionate impact. They just aren't as convinced it's an inherent problem, etc. It's similarly not a defense to say "I'm for the Civil Rights Act of 1964." It makes more sense to address the issue at hand, whatever it might be, than to assert that some other stance (or a friend or doctor or whatever) makes one immune from any such accusation. That seems quite obviously what the humorous TNC remark relates to, as well as the traditional view of "some of my best friends are X."

Quote:

I certainly would not want to discourage people from saying those two sentences or making it somehow uncool to utter them, as the poster seems to be wanting to do.
No one is saying you can't say "I'm against the drug war." Just that you shouldn't assert it as some proof of being totally non-racist. (Indeed, while I think the drug war, as currently framed, falls disproportionately on minorities, the idea that being against it is inherently some be-all, end-all evidence of being non-racist seems to smack a bit of equating the interest of minorities with being drug users. Similarly, although I am against many aspects of the current war on drugs, the idea that one must be against criminalizing any drug or be racist seems clearly silly.)

Romanized 01-04-2012 10:35 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 236248)
Sure. But that's a statement that is so much more specific than "I am against the drug war" that's it's a different statement entirely.

The main feature of the war on drugs has been its ravaging effect on urban communities. It's enough that Paul is willing to stand up for the liberties of even the most feared demographics in society (young black males and Muslims).

Paul may not want the slightest thing to do with me or anyone that looks like me and I'd still vote for him. It's a simple matter of principles over sentiment. For people like Coats it's the exact opposite.

TwinSwords 01-04-2012 11:35 PM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 236216)
What's wrong with any of those two statements?

Hi Unit. Hope you are doing well.

I think miceelf and Stephanie have already answered this better than I can, but I'll just add a couple thoughts:

TNC made the "drug war" quip in the context of Ron Paul and his defenders' recent suggestions that Ron Paul can't possibly be a racist, because he's in favor of legalizing drugs. That's a preposterous -- and, more importantly, dishonest -- argument.

For one thing, the opposition to the drug war has nothing to do with concern for black people; in fact, to suggest otherwise would contravene a (supposedly) sacred libertarian principle -- that they don't see "groups," because that's collectivism, they only see individuals. Libertarians are opposed to drug wars on philosophical grounds; they don't believe the government has the right to regulate private (individual) behavior. This has nothing to do with blacks; if there were no black people in existence, the libertarian position on the drug war would be exactly the same. Libertarians have been advocating for drug legalization for a long time -- long before they ever thought to utilize the position as proof of their love for black people.

What's surprising is that libertarians don't realize how transparently dishonest their argument is in this case.

To the broader, more general questions you raised: There's nothing wrong, per se, with saying you have black friends, or with saying you're against the drug war. It all depends on the context. If you've just gone on and on about how lazy blacks are or how they are genetically inferior to whites, saying "I have black friends" is a thin defense against the charge of racism.

Baz 01-05-2012 12:15 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 236266)
For one thing, the opposition to the drug war has nothing to do with concern for black people;

But Ron Paul has explicitly made the point numerous times that there's inherent discrimination in the court system in the US which overwhelmingly targets minorites. So this is one of Paul's concerns in his opposition to the drug war.

I share the views of others here regarding some of Paul's other social and economic policies like scrapping the welfare state, etc. But that doesn't mean we can't look at some of his other policies objectively and endorse them if we agree with them.

TwinSwords 01-05-2012 12:28 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 236266)
TNC made the "drug war" quip in the context of Ron Paul and his defenders' recent suggestions that Ron Paul can't possibly be a racist, because he's in favor of legalizing drugs.

Just to provide a little more context, Ta-Nehisi's tweet, above, was part of a series of tweets he posted on Sunday in response to Ron Paul's defense, earlier that same day, of Jim Crow and the apartheid south. (Yes, Ron Paul, the "freedom lover," was back on TV on Sunday advancing the cause of racial apartheid.)

Here are some of Ta-Nehisi's other tweets from the same day, on the same theme:

http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/5722/tnctweet1.png
http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/8035/tnctweet2.png
http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/9004/tnctweet3.png

TwinSwords 01-05-2012 12:33 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 236269)
But that doesn't mean we can't look at some of his other policies objectively and endorse them if we agree with them.

Sure, I agree, but we don't need Ron Paul to do that. I, for one, will continue to advocate for the policies you're referring to, as I always have. But I will never hold up Ron Paul as the leader of the cause, or associate myself or my ideas with him, in any way. In fact, I hope nobody, anywhere, makes any connection between what I believe and what Ron Paul believes. To the extent they do, our cause is weakened.

To be honest, a lot of people are going to have strong doubts about your morality if you connect yourself to Ron Paul. I personally think doing so is morally inexcusable. The man is a revolting, disgusting peddlar of hate, and if that doesn't cause you to run away from him as fast as you can, the question becomes, "What's wrong with you? How can you be so morally blind and morally bankrupt that you would not only associate your own name with his, but help to promote him?" There can be no justification or excuse for doing either.

No disrespect; I'm just telling you how I honestly feel.

Wonderment 01-05-2012 12:44 AM

Chickenhawkery
 
Quote:

I share the views of others here regarding some of Paul's other social and economic policies like scrapping the welfare state, etc. But that doesn't mean we can't look at some of his other policies objectively and endorse them if we agree with them.
He called Newt Gingrich a chickenhawk today. Here's the video.

TwinSwords 01-05-2012 01:05 AM

Re: Chickenhawkery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 236273)
He called Newt Gingrich a chickenhawk today. Here's the video.

Isn't it wrong to use demonizing epithets?

sugarkang 01-05-2012 01:06 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 236271)
To be honest, a lot of people are going to have strong doubts about your morality if you connect yourself to Ron Paul. I personally think doing so is morally inexcusable.

So we're back to guilt by association. And do you feel this moral indignation toward Loury, McWhorter and Wright? The answer would clearly be "no." So what exception do they fall under in the TwinSwords' Code of Equal Justice For All?

TwinSwords 01-05-2012 01:14 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 236277)
So we're back to guilt by association. And do you feel this moral indignation toward Loury, McWhorter and Wright? The answer would clearly be "no." So what exception do they fall under in the TwinSwords' Code of Equal Justice For All?

Bob sounded downright uninformed about the content of the newsletters. I can forgive a Paul fan circa summer of 2011 who had mainly come to know Paul from his debate performances. But once you learn the whole story, if you continue to stick with Paul and try to advance his reputation, there is seriously something wrong with you. I'm not sure if this applies to Bob, John McWhorter, or Glenn, but to answer your question directly, I lost some respect for all three because of their pro-Paul comments. That doesn't mean I've lost all respect for them, of course, but Paul is a mad man, a vile hatemonger, and they should know better.

If someone wants to condemn Paul and then offer as an aside that he has an occasional good idea, that's one thing. Too often, though, the Paul apologists do it the other way: the laud the hatemonger, then offer as an afterthought that, sure, he did some bad things a long time ago, now can we please move on?

What kind of message are these people sending? One of toleration of racism, hate, and apartheid.

graz 01-05-2012 01:16 AM

Re: Chickenhawkery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 236276)
Isn't it wrong to use demonizing epithets?

Not when in service to my agenda. We're at war with militarism. So we must use whatever weapons available ... wait, what? Don't harsh my aggro (mellow).

Florian 01-05-2012 01:45 AM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator (Post 236190)
That's incorrect on its face.

Would you care to explain? Or do you, like sugarkang, expect me to accept some Humpty-Dumpty definition of empire? As you well know words have a history, they are history in fact.

Americans, I am afraid, tend to confuse military hegemony (=the most powerful military and arsenal of weaponry ) with empire. They are not the same. No more than the comicbook superheroes of Hollywood (Batman, Terminator etc. etc) are true heroes.

rubbernecking 01-05-2012 02:35 AM

Re: Means and Ends (Joshua Cohen & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whburgess (Post 236023)
First time I've ever pulled kleenexes while watching BhTv. I admire the sacrifice these two made in discussing their respective situations publicly like this. It was the profoundest contribution to the BhTv audience I've seen yet. I don't think I could ever be that generous. Thanks guys, for reminding me that I already know what matters most in life; it's easy to forget when you're always trying to learn something new.

For the first time, someone I loved dearly passed two months ago as well, (i've been lucky for a man my age), and I understand Glenn's world of darkness and confusion. Joshua's words of comfort were so incredibly poignant, as they were coming from a man who is facing his own mortality rather then a loved one's and therefore is not confused at all about how one left living should proceed. With strength, decency, contribution, friendship, and love. Thanks for reminding us, Mr. Cohen.

hear hear

Thank you, guys.

Florian 01-05-2012 02:45 AM

Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hume's Bastard (Post 236184)
I was using the word solely in ts denotative sense: "preponderant influence or authority over others." I apologize to the IR profession for not using the usual connotations. Perhaps, I should have just used, "medical prowess" or "technological precociousness". Or, maybe just call it "immoral".

I took the word out of the (medical) context in which you were using it (somewhat oddly imo) to make an unrelated point about the difference between hegemony and empire.

Re-reading Stoller, I am not sure what he is actually proposing.

Wonderment 01-05-2012 02:58 AM

Re: Chickenhawkery
 
Quote:

Isn't it wrong to use demonizing epithets?
It's coarse language, but I don't think it's demonizing. It's not like randomly calling someone a retard or a Nazi.

Paul is raising a fair question about a generation of men who did everything possible to avoid military service and exposing themselves or their loved ones to personal danger or sacrifice, while ravenously endorsing war and blithely sending others off to die and suffer the disabilities and traumas of combat.

Dick Cheney epitomized this type of coward, hypocrite and opportunist.

Sulla the Dictator 01-05-2012 04:02 AM

Re: Chickenhawkery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 236286)
It's coarse language, but I don't think it's demonizing. It's not like randomly calling someone a retard or a Nazi.

Paul is raising a fair question about a generation of men who did everything possible to avoid military service and exposing themselves or their loved ones to personal danger or sacrifice, while ravenously endorsing war and blithely sending others off to die and suffer the disabilities and traumas of combat.

Dick Cheney epitomized this type of coward, hypocrite and opportunist.

You are obliged to fight in a war if you support the rational for it? I assume that if one is willing to do this, he has a moral advantage over non-combatants. That is, since the political position of soldiers comes with an affirmative act to legitimize it, then it seems like a far more serious form of politics than the conveniently comfortable life of the pacifist.

Should I be allowed to press gang you into some sort of danger in order for you to be a credible pacifist?

Unit 01-05-2012 04:25 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 236256)
Not necessarily. One could be racist in one way and not in others. And, indeed, while I think people are often against the drug war in part due to concern about disproportionate impact, I don't think that people are generally for continuing our current policies (or, say, for the death penalty, which I am also against) because they like the disproportionate impact. They just aren't as convinced it's an inherent problem, etc. It's similarly not a defense to say "I'm for the Civil Rights Act of 1964." It makes more sense to address the issue at hand, whatever it might be, than to assert that some other stance (or a friend or doctor or whatever) makes one immune from any such accusation. That seems quite obviously what the humorous TNC remark relates to, as well as the traditional view of "some of my best friends are X."



No one is saying you can't say "I'm against the drug war." Just that you shouldn't assert it as some proof of being totally non-racist. (Indeed, while I think the drug war, as currently framed, falls disproportionately on minorities, the idea that being against it is inherently some be-all, end-all evidence of being non-racist seems to smack a bit of equating the interest of minorities with being drug users. Similarly, although I am against many aspects of the current war on drugs, the idea that one must be against criminalizing any drug or be racist seems clearly silly.)

It's exactly because, as you say, people may be more prejudiced in some areas than others that the "some of my best friends are X" defense is valid, because things are not all black or all white (pun intended), and so in order to get an overall picture of someone's beliefs it is useful to know all the ways someone may be semi-racist, and all the ways one may not.

Especially when talking about abstract policies, it's important to distinguish between the actual effects of a given policy and the "impressions" that supporters of a given policy my get. For instance, drug iberalization, school choice, lowering minimum wage, anti-union policies might in fact help the black minority more than other groups. Yet those policies are not generally seen as pro-black by their opponents. So one may think of oneself as being free from prejudice and still be advocating policies that hurt the very group one claims to care for.

Unit 01-05-2012 04:36 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 236266)
Hi Unit. Hope you are doing well.

I think miceelf and Stephanie have already answered this better than I can, but I'll just add a couple thoughts:

TNC made the "drug war" quip in the context of Ron Paul and his defenders' recent suggestions that Ron Paul can't possibly be a racist, because he's in favor of legalizing drugs. That's a preposterous -- and, more importantly, dishonest -- argument.

For one thing, the opposition to the drug war has nothing to do with concern for black people; in fact, to suggest otherwise would contravene a (supposedly) sacred libertarian principle -- that they don't see "groups," because that's collectivism, they only see individuals. Libertarians are opposed to drug wars on philosophical grounds; they don't believe the government has the right to regulate private (individual) behavior. This has nothing to do with blacks; if there were no black people in existence, the libertarian position on the drug war would be exactly the same. Libertarians have been advocating for drug legalization for a long time -- long before they ever thought to utilize the position as proof of their love for black people.

What's surprising is that libertarians don't realize how transparently dishonest their argument is in this case.

To the broader, more general questions you raised: There's nothing wrong, per se, with saying you have black friends, or with saying you're against the drug war. It all depends on the context. If you've just gone on and on about how lazy blacks are or how they are genetically inferior to whites, saying "I have black friends" is a thin defense against the charge of racism.

Hi Twin, thanks, I'm doing ok, could be better.

Of course my point is not an endorsement of Paul. I'm just taking the quotes at face value.

Just a comment: I don't speak for libertarians but I don't think it's true that they wouldn't be in favor of 'groups'. Nobody is against freedom of association. If anything an anti-govt minded person would be in favor of privately formed groups and communities as opposed to govt interference with the process of formation and sustainability of such groups.

stephanie 01-05-2012 06:20 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 236269)
I share the views of others here regarding some of Paul's other social and economic policies like scrapping the welfare state, etc. But that doesn't mean we can't look at some of his other policies objectively and endorse them if we agree with them.

Sure. The argument would be more convincing if based on something other than "the sainted Dr. Paul says..." (For the record, I think Wonderment does a good job, better than Paul, at expressing the anti-war POV. Perhaps you could try to stir up some anti-drug war sentiment. It is simply not believable to me that Paul's real objection to the laws against drugs have to do with racist enforcement. Isn't the stupidity of laws against drugs a basic libertarian thing? Thus, to the extent he tries to use his position against drugs as proof against the racism clearly expressed in his newsletters, well, I think TNC is precisely correct.)

stephanie 01-05-2012 06:25 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 236292)
Just a comment: I don't speak for libertarians but I don't think it's true that they wouldn't be in favor of 'groups'. Nobody is against freedom of association. If anything an anti-govt minded person would be in favor of privately formed groups and communities as opposed to govt interference with the process of formation and sustainability of such groups.

But not with legally recognized groups, not with the idea that a disparate impact is not a valid argument against a facially neutral law, which is what TS is arguing. At least, not based on the libertarians I know or my understanding of libertarianism. For example, they seem to think racism is not a longterm problem, as businesses would not be rational in discriminating, but only on focusing on more relevant "groups," such as those good at whatever the job requires. The fact that customers/clients might care about race, etc. seems to them not a concern.

stephanie 01-05-2012 06:31 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 236291)
It's exactly because, as you say, people may be more prejudiced in some areas than others that the "some of my best friends are X" defense is valid, because things are not all black or all white (pun intended), and so in order to get an overall picture of someone's beliefs it is useful to know all the ways someone may be semi-racist, and all the ways one may not.

There's just no way to say "some of my best friends are..." that doesn't sound self-serving. Plus, people notoriously make exceptions for their friends. It's not a defensible argumnet.

Quote:

Especially when talking about abstract policies, it's important to distinguish between the actual effects of a given policy and the "impressions" that supporters of a given policy my get. For instance, drug iberalization, school choice, lowering minimum wage, anti-union policies might in fact help the black minority more than other groups. Yet those policies are not generally seen as pro-black by their opponents. So one may think of oneself as being free from prejudice and still be advocating policies that hurt the very group one claims to care for.
I agree with this, but it doesn't make either support or opposition for these programs a valid argument for proving non-racism. In particular, I tend to make a class-based argument for school choice. (As someone who lives in Chicago and has money and the ability to make sure a child gets into the right school, I simply would not allow my child to simply go into the public school system, and not a magnet or private school, same for my friends here, who either work the system, pay, or move to the burbs, where housing prices are a form of tuition. It's clear to me that opposing school choice is preventing those less fortunate than me from doing what I and my friends do, even if the skepticism about the overall effect of school choice on the system is right, as I suspect.)

TwinSwords 01-05-2012 07:12 AM

Re: LOL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 236295)
But not with legally recognized groups, not with the idea that a disparate impact is not a valid argument against a facially neutral law, which is what TS is arguing. At least, not based on the libertarians I know or my understanding of libertarianism. For example, they seem to think racism is not a longterm problem, as businesses would not be rational in discriminating, but only on focusing on more relevant "groups," such as those good at whatever the job requires. The fact that customers/clients might care about race, etc. seems to them not a concern.

Yeah. To this I will add that the best evidence against the libertarian human nature argument (which holds that we can count on rational human behavior, e.g., the willingness to serve blacks if only to make a profit) is reality itself -- the Jim Crow South. The Southern states showed quite clearly during the 1940s-1960s that they were willing to take a huge economic hit in order to preserve the racial purity of their apartheid state. They understood perfectly well that their insistence on maintaining a two tiered society was costing them all kinds of income -- from tourism, from black customers, from businesses that refused to locate in the South, etc. -- but they deemed Jim Crow to be more important.

Libertarianism, like Marxism, fails because it fails to accept human nature for what it is.


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