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Thread: Backroom Errata

  1. #61

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    This will tickle @InsaneApache feathers: anti-anti-smoking left-wing bleeding-heart.

    THE POWERS THAT BE say anti-smoking legislation is for our own well-being. Nothing could be further from the truth. The attack on cigarette smoking does not improve the lives of those it claims to protect, be they the “self-destructive” workers who smoke or the moralizing professionals who complain about having to smell them. Anti-smoking legislation is, and always has been, about social control. It is about ratcheting up worker productivity and fostering class hatred, to keep us looking for the enemy in each other instead of in those who are making a killing off cigarettes and anti-smoking campaigns alike. It legitimates the privatization of public space, limits popular assembly, and forces the working class out of political life into private isolation via the social technology of shame. It whitewashes the violence exacted on the poor by the rich to make it all seem like the worker’s own doing. It is, in short, class war by another name.
    So people suffering under capitalism find it more difficult to do small things to slightly alleviate their suffering, for a time. Perhaps. And maybe (the pretense of) preserving their health in one way doesn't matter much when it's being damaged by their work and their society. But it sure has gone fantastic for those of us who don't have to - oh yeah, the solidarity thing.



    Still though, smoke in buildings.
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  2. #62
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Sounds like a load of rubbish.
    I remember going to parties with thick cigarette smoke, and yes, I did absolutely hate it. Nowadays the air isn't always great, but at least it's not filled with thick smoke.
    There are also communists who think solidarity means bringing back the coal mines (yes, like Trump) to give the working class jobs again.
    I suppose so they can strike because they don't get a living wage anyway.


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  3. #63

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    @Strike For The South
    @a completely inoffensive name
    @Seamus Fermanagh

    What do you know, but just as we're discussing law and order our favorite socialists publish an article on judges: what are they good for, anyway?

    The thrust is that judges are unaccountable little emperors who dictate reality for thousands of real people more on the basis of personal preference than anything (including consideration of the consequences for those real people), and that this derives from fundamental aspects of both our system of law and modern judgeship itself.

    But what judges want is some strange intellectual product... The fact that legal arguments are usually completely divorced from reality is partially a function of the law itself, and not solely the judges. That said, nothing prevents judges from acting like rational, normal people instead of playing games with people’s lives and making lawyers jump through hoops. Yet they often play these games, especially at the Supreme Court. They will straight-facedly ask lawyers, for the sake of argument, to justify things that are clearly insane.
    We’ve made a policy shift over the years that strongly favors “predictability,” in place of “justice,” as the chief virtue of the legal system.
    We rarely hear a conservative complain about Scalia’s judicial activism, or a liberal bemoan that RBG wasn’t impartial enough. This is because, deep in our core, we want partiality. Even where we have different conceptions of what “justice” means, we do actually want judges to advance justice rather than merely law.
    Immigration judges in New York grant 88% of asylum cases. Immigration judges in Atlanta grant 2%. Both courts are nominally employing the exact same legal standard. The difference is that most judges in New York are looking for reasons to grant cases, and most judges in Atlanta are looking for reasons to deny them. Usually, the judge will find whatever they are looking for.
    This is the other problem that arises when you champion open judicial “activism”—you tend to over-emphasize the extent to which judicial rulings actually result in social change. ... Obergefell [2015 gay marriage ruling] is due much more to the activities of ACT-UP and the post-Stonewall gay rights movement than to Anthony Kennedy suddenly being a pro-gay rights “activist judge.
    As with most checks and balances, the judiciary’s ability to thwart the other branches of government isn’t so much a reliable safeguard against tyranny as a wild-card element that occasionally works out in our favor. More broadly, the temptation to view judges as potential saviors often seems to sap progressive will for reform efforts through electoral and legislative channels. ... When you put power in the hands of unaccountable elites, you never know what they will do with it.
    This problem does not have a simple solution, but there are perhaps three clarifying ways we can think about the Problem of Judges. One, we should break any habit of looking to the law as a primary source of social change... social justice-minded lawyers play, at best, a bit part or supporting role, formulating legal avenues for the changes already underway to become more solidified in formal practice
    Secondly, when we do seek to enact legal change, one of our concerns should be to craft legal standards with an optimum humane baseline, so that the role for judicial discretion, so far as possible, is forced in the direction of mercy. ... (Sometimes, the best way to do this is to get rid of the stupid law that would have thrust a person into the back of a police car, and then in front of a judge, in the first place.)
    Thirdly, it’s naïve to expect judges to be unusually moral people. That said, basic morality remains the only proper standard by which to assess whether someone is a “good” judge or not. A good judge is someone who uses whatever discretion and whatever legal tools are at their disposal to reduce human suffering. They actively seek to understand the human impact of the cases in front of them. They are humble enough to admit what they don’t understand, and to solicit whatever information or advice they think will help improve their understanding, so that they can make a decision that they believe will be really helpful to people. They care about what happens to the parties in the case. Sure, inasmuch as we disagree about what “goodness” is, this standard for assessing judges is squishy. But we’d rather have that argument any day of the week than 99% of the arguments lawyers are forced to make in court. The solution may not be clear, but what is apparent is that judges are more concerned with law than justice and that they have far too much power to ruin peoples’ lives. Ideally, no one would actually be able to authorize your ouster from your home or the prolonged caging of human beings—so to the extent that we can limit that, we ought to. Beyond that we must strive to make the system and the people within it more just and reduce our dependence on that system for justice and morality in the first place.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    With judges wielding such concentrated and individualized power over cases, courtrooms quickly become stages for bizarre legal farces. Lawyers make arguments they don’t believe, that the judges know the lawyers don’t believe, but everyone has to play along. Only the judge has the power to decide when the game will end, and how.
    We’ve made a policy shift over the years that strongly favors “predictability,” in place of “justice,” as the chief virtue of the legal system. It’s a well-accepted principle of the judicial craft that the important thing is to have a rule, rather than to necessarily have the right rule... We’d much rather have all “similar” cases or issues get decided the same way, instead of different ways, even if this leads to worse practical, real-world results overall for more individual people. Under this system, say, it’s much better if all U.S. agents who kill people from inside U.S. territory are deemed categorically ineligible to be sued, because this is predictable, and predictability is fair. To have a situation where some border guards are sueable and others aren’t, by contrast, is unfair.
    But this binary between “impartial” and “partisan” judges is actually pretty nonsensical. First, evidence suggests that judges are not capable of being impartial at all. Factors as insidious as racial and class bias, as reasonable as background and knowledge, as mundane as when the judge last ate a meal, and as calculated as the judge’s ambitions for career advancement or political office, all clearly influence their choices.
    For Scalia, the supposedly neutral “servant of the law,” the interpretation that best aligned with his socially conservative views almost always turned out to have been the “ordinary meaning of the plain language” all along! Funny how that happens! (This sometimes required Scalia to be pretty creative about what constituted “ordinary meaning”—when he didn’t like the “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state” part of the Second Amendment, for example, he simply declared that it was a purely decorative “prefatory clause,” and when he didn’t like the fact the “plain meaning” intended by the Second Amendment’s drafters could not possibly have anticipated the semiautomatic handgun, he adopted a belief in a kind of evolving Constitution. And for someone who professed to dislike the idea of unaccountable judges thwarting the popular will, he certainly had no qualms about invalidating campaign finance reform legislation passed by the democratically-elected legislature.)
    The law is full of attempts to determine what “reasonable” behavior would be in a particular situation. It should shock no one (except lawyers) that people often have wildly divergent views of what “reasonableness” means in any given situation. For courts, the “reasonable person” standard has a disturbing tendency to align with whatever best suits the positions of those in power. Think of all of the police officers whose shootings of unarmed black people have been deemed “reasonable”—and then say you want a judicial system run by “reasonable” or “impartial” judges.
    Even where judicial discretion isn’t explicitly authored into the system, there are vast areas of law where a judge has the choice between several equally plausible legal arguments, each leading to different outcomes. This, in effect, empowers the judge to make whatever decision they want. This view of the judicial decision-making process was expounded by Richard Posner, one of the U.S.’s most well-known jurists, in an interview with The New York Times after his sudden retirement in September 2017. In Posner’s estimation, it’s rarely difficult for judges to do as they wish: his own modus operandi was to decide what a “sensible” resolution of the case would be, and then look to see if there was any precedent that explicitly barred him from implementing his preferred solution. “And the answer is that’s actually rarely the case… When you have a Supreme Court case or something similar, they’re often extremely easy to get around."
    This is the other problem that arises when you champion open judicial “activism”—you tend to over-emphasize the extent to which judicial rulings actually result in social change... But it’s a very clean, simplistic view of history that thinks “well, at one point there was segregation, and then there was Brown v. Board of Education, and suddenly there wasn’t.” In fact, this isn’t true at all... In post-Civil War America, segregation fluctuated and was fought against over decades of social movements. In Louisiana, for example—a few years before the infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision which legally justified segregation—ox-carts were desegregated after a campaign of sustained protest and sit-ins. Social change doesn’t happen in the courts: courts just eventually catch up to what’s been happening on the ground. If we instead depend on activist judges or lawyers, then social change will never come, and if it does, it will likely not be sustained... The [SCOTUS] denied review of the case [Baker vs. Nelson 1971, on gay marriage rights], stating that there was no Constitutional issue to review. Fast forward to 2015, when Supreme Court struck down a gay marriage ban in Obergefell v. Hodges. What happened in the intervening forty years to make this possible? The Constitution didn’t change regarding these rights. The legal arguments didn’t change either: if you read the briefs from both parties, the arguments advanced in 1971 and 2015 were pretty interchangeable. And the court in 2015 was more conservative, so the deciding factor wasn’t some new critical mass of “activist” liberal judges. The only thing that explains this landmark shift is that, over the past four decades, both mainstream and radical LGBT rights movements had taken to the streets and created a cultural shift. Obergefell is due much more to the activities of ACT-UP and the post-Stonewall gay rights movement than to Anthony Kennedy suddenly being a pro-gay rights “activist judge.
    As with most checks and balances, the judiciary’s ability to thwart the other branches of government isn’t so much a reliable safeguard against tyranny as a wild-card element that occasionally works out in our favor. More broadly, the temptation to view judges as potential saviors often seems to sap progressive will for reform efforts through electoral and legislative channels. We currently have a legislature that is chronically unresponsive to genuine public concerns, and an ongoing concentration of de facto governing power in the president and his executive agencies. In this context, it’s understandable that people want to think of the judiciary as the last, best hope of American democracy. But even an optimally moral and courageous judiciary can usually only engage in obstructionist tactics, which a sufficiently determined executive will then maneuver around, unless the public finds some other way to make this politically inexpedient. The danger of reposing too much power in the judiciary, too, is amply illustrated by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, where the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the exact kinds of reforms that would have made the legislature more beholden to the real interests of the majority of their constituents—and which would thus have reduced the importance of the judicial deus ex machina. If we aspire to a form of democracy where there is an actual connection between the organizing efforts of the general public and the subsequent behavior of our elected officials, pushing for reforms to make our elected government more responsive to popular concerns is a better route than relying on distant elites to undo the mistakes of other elites. When you put power in the hands of unaccountable elites, you never know what they will do with it.
    [W]hat kind of power should judges have to decide the fate of the ordinary people, most of them poor, who come before them with criminal, domestic, housing, and immigration issues? Lower court judges—as opposed to appellate judges, who are often dealing with weird standards of review—have considerable discretion to reach whatever decision they wish to reach... But if you have a judge who fundamentally does not care about the person in front of her, or grossly misunderstands the actual circumstances of their life, this broad discretionary leeway will be, at best, useless. At worst, it will empower the judge to make a unusually bad and biased ruling.
    Part of the problem, of course, is that judges are separated from poor litigants by class and, often, race. If we want more judges to exercise discretion in an empathetic direction, it seems crucial to diversify the pool of judges... Since there’s no good way to actually measure judicial “empathy,” you run the risk of simply adding a diversity gloss to a fundamentally unjust system.



    Here is a list of potential solutions offered too. An interesting observation is that ancient (presumably Classical) Athens eschewed judicial rule of law entirely for majoritarian jurymaking. I knew about the juries, but not their size or dispositive power.

    I'm not sure just how seriously these proposals are meant to be taken though, since there's a self-conscious layer of frivolity present.
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  4. #64
    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Need to think a bit on the bigger point. My understanding of Athenian jurors comes from the apology. Juries could not deliver a sentence, but would vote between the options provided by the opposing sides once the defendant was found guilty.
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

  5. #65
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Here is a list of potential solutions offered too. An interesting observation is that ancient (presumably Classical) Athens eschewed judicial rule of law entirely for majoritarian jurymaking. I knew about the juries, but not their size or dispositive power.

    I'm not sure just how seriously these proposals are meant to be taken though, since there's a self-conscious layer of frivolity present.
    Have you read about the Generals' trial? It's a good counterargument against those who want to argue that the will of the people is always right.

  6. #66
    Old Town Road Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    So the authors kind of answer their own question near the end of the article. The general atrophy of legislatures has caused people to look to the courts as the main arbiter of the law. I would argue it is the legislature, not the courts, that is most court by niche interests and business money. It is an impossible ask to bemoan the judges for inserting their partiality while demanding they also show humanity (your mileage may vary).

    Judicial overreach is such a hotbutton issue because the legislatures have essentially ceded there lawmaking ability beyond their pet projects. Even in a common law system a legislature can craft laws which basically compel the court to acquiesce to their meaning. They reference the supreme court a lot which I don't like. The supreme court is very much an uniqueness within the legal system. A kind of oddity.


    Let’s take an example from a recent Supreme Court case: a U.S. border guard, standing on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border, shot and killed a child who was on the Mexican side of the border. The lawyer for the child’s family, in attempting to sue the border agent, argued that U.S. officials, when they kill people from inside the U.S., should be held liable. Now, it’s already ridiculous that the lawyer’s liability argument had to hinge on which side of the border the officer happened to be standing on, and not on the simple fact that a child was murdered and the person who killed him should obviously be responsible for compensating the family (I rest my case!). But it gets nuttier. The Court asked the attorney (paraphrasing), “Well, what about drone pilots who sit in Nevada and murder people in Pakistan? Are you saying we should hold them liable?” The lawyer—knowing that no court thinks drone pilots are liable for anything, knowing that if he says, “yes, they should also be liable” his client’s case will be lost—felt forced to make an argument that of course drone pilots are different, for… for some reason. In reality, of course, there is no substantive difference between a drone pilot who murders people from inside the U.S. and a border guard who murders people from inside the U.S. The lawyer knew this, and the Court likely knew it too. Yet the Court forced the lawyer to go through the exercise of attempting to draw an insincere distinction, making the lawyer look silly and further distancing the Court from the actual important questions.
    I looked up the authors and both of them are lawyers (including one who went to Harvard, nice). The obviously know that this kind Socratic/logical deduction/whatever you call it is how lawyers operate. It is important to make distinctions, even if you think they are obvious on their face. Once again, they talk about the impossibility of impartiality and then bemoan the fact that judges could not see these very obvious truths. The authors may not see any distinction at all between a military strike and an officer shooting a child but plenty of people do. As a lawyer it is your job to argue that there isn't


    The other problem with impartiality (besides being near impossible and possibly undesirable) is that a lot of seemingly “impartial” legal standards—like the famous “what would a reasonable person do” standard—are inherently subjective, so that it’s hard to say what an “impartial” application would even mean.
    A reasonable person within the context and within the persons experiences. Anyone who has ever empathized with another person has employed this standard.


    This problem does not have a simple solution, but there are perhaps three clarifying ways we can think about the Problem of Judges. One, we should break any habit of looking to the law as a primary source of social change. Sure, we want to eliminate bad laws and enact good ones. But changing the law is usually the middle- or end-point, rather than the starting-point, of on-the-ground changes in human social behavior. Most of the real work will happen not in the courtroom, but in the streets: Social justice-minded lawyers play, at best, a bit part or supporting role, formulating legal avenues for the changes already underway to become more solidified in formal practice.
    Real lasting changes happens with lawmakers and court cases. The streets only create real lasting change proportional to the level of violence employed by either side. When the military desegregated or when the civil rights act was passed, white America did not celebrate a middle or end point of their racism. Rather these legal changes began to chip away at a power structure (that we are still dealing with today).

    Secondly, when we do seek to enact legal change, one of our concerns should be to craft legal standards with an optimum humane baseline, so that the role for judicial discretion, so far as possible, is forced in the direction of mercy. Attempting to make perfect legal rules for all cases is a futile exercise, but we can at least shut off some possibilities for bad exercises of discretion. (Sometimes, the best way to do this is to get rid of the stupid law that would have thrust a person into the back of a police car, and then in front of a judge, in the first place.)
    Humane is just as nebulous as a concept as impartiality.

    Thirdly, it’s naïve to expect judges to be unusually moral people. That said, basic morality remains the only proper standard by which to assess whether someone is a “good” judge or not. A good judge is someone who uses whatever discretion and whatever legal tools are at their disposal to reduce human suffering. They actively seek to understand the human impact of the cases in front of them. They are humble enough to admit what they don’t understand, and to solicit whatever information or advice they think will help improve their understanding, so that they can make a decision that they believe will be really helpful to people. They care about what happens to the parties in the case. Sure, inasmuch as we disagree about what “goodness” is, this standard for assessing judges is squishy. But we’d rather have thatargument any day of the week than 99 percent of the arguments lawyers are forced to make in court.
    This is the opinion of a single person and not the basis of the legal system. The humanity aspect needs to come from the legislature. This article is not so much about judges as it is with the authors problem with the system writ large.
    There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford

    My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.

    I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation.

  7. #67

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by SFTS
    This is the opinion of a single person and not the basis of the legal system. The humanity aspect needs to come from the legislature. This article is not so much about judges as it is with the authors problem with the system writ large.
    I think that's part of the point.

    It is an impossible ask to bemoan the judges for inserting their partiality while demanding they also show humanity (your mileage may vary).
    Partiality is inevitable, humanity (humaneness) is not, perhaps.

    The authors may not see any distinction at all between a military strike and an officer shooting a child but plenty of people do. As a lawyer it is your job to argue that there isn't
    In their ethics it is probably obvious, so they're speaking to a wider issue of what kind of moralities are common in our world and government. It's also the biggest weakness in the position, since it relies less on a structural change and more on having a different kind of society and different people up for the job - obviously a more challenging proposition.

    This companion piece of judicial scenarios probably represents their morality in the (A) options. Here's an example:

    3. A prominent tech company has accidentally disclosed all of its customers’ personal data to the public, including their entire email inboxes, their web search histories, their medical histories, their chat transcripts, their credit card numbers, and their tastes in unconventional pornography. Countless lives have been ruined, mass chaos has resulted. An employee whistleblower at the company reveals to the press that before the breach, the CEO was frequently heard to shout “Fuck the public! We own the public! The customer is the product!” whenever security concerns were raised. The company immediately fired the whistleblowing employee, and citing a small-print provision of the employment contract, demanded the employee pay back the entirety of the salary earned during the 10-year course of their employment. The contract also specifies that if the employee cannot pay, they become permanently indentured to the company. The employee files a lawsuit contesting the contract and alleging wrongful termination, while the customers enter a class action lawsuit over the data breach. You are the judge. Decide.

    A. They did what? Okay, first, clearly you can’t have a contract like that, that’s outrageous. No indentured servitude. Jesus, how is it that I even have to say that? Is this some colonial-era nightmare flashback? The company is ordered to restore the employee to her position, compensate her for the time she was “fired,” and apologize profusely. Actually, you know what, just turn the management of the company over the workers. As for the customers, every single one of them needs to be paid fair compensation for their harm. Duh.
    Quote Originally Posted by SFTS
    A reasonable person within the context and within the persons experiences. Anyone who has ever empathized with another person has employed this standard.
    It's not a standardizable standard, so the point stands. And they clearly don't trust the empathy of most judges.

    Humane is just as nebulous as a concept as impartiality.
    Their point is that "impartial" is an outright myth, while "humane" is concrete but rare. Of course, a Randian might say that mercy is inhumane.

    Real lasting changes happens with lawmakers and court cases. The streets only create real lasting change proportional to the level of violence employed by either side. When the military desegregated or when the civil rights act was passed, white America did not celebrate a middle or end point of their racism. Rather these legal changes began to chip away at a power structure (that we are still dealing with today).
    Aren't you missing who did the hard work of advancing desegregation and civil rights ideas in the public sphere? You know it wasn't "white America" as a whole. But I'll grant that it's an empirical question whether there's a spectrum here, in the relationship between judicial efficacy in social change and judicial acknowledgement of social change.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 06-16-2018 at 22:51.
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  8. #68
    Old Town Road Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    In their ethics it is probably obvious, so they're speaking to a wider issue of what kind of moralities are common in our world and government. It's also the biggest weakness in the position, since it relies less on a structural change and more on having a different kind of society and different people up for the job - obviously a more challenging proposition.
    Right they are arguing morality, not legality. Their "get rid of Judges" position is not so much a reform to the legal system as it is the spearhead of a moral world view. It is not surprising the individual who holds the most power within this system draws most of their ire.

    It's not a standardizable standard, so the point stands. And they clearly don't trust the empathy of most judges.
    If they don't trust judges because of harshness, they should trust juries even less. Judges tend to be much more sympathetic and acquittal prone. The problem is not so much concentrated power within a person as it is a justice system, and a populace, that is overly concerned with punishment. Turning a judges power over to "the people", under current legislative restraints will result in a lot less empathy and humanity.

    An atrophied legislature is not the problem of the judicial system. Elect better legislators and everything will follow.

    Their point is that "impartial" is an outright myth, while "humane" is concrete but rare. Of course, a Randian might say that mercy is inhumane.
    Humane is not anymore concrete than impartial. People are simply more willing to admit their biases rather than their lack (or differing view) of humanity. Why would we even discuss Rand? She's an irrelevant thought exercise for privileged adolescents.

    Aren't you missing who did the hard work of advancing desegregation and civil rights ideas in the public sphere? You know it wasn't "white America" as a whole. But I'll grant that it's an empirical question whether there's a spectrum here, in the relationship between judicial efficacy in social change and judicial acknowledgement of social change.
    I don't think so. The marches and ideas themselves were very unpopular. What tipped the balance was laws that the NAACP fought for and the distaste for outright violence that began to happen in the 50s and 60s. Scratch that, violence was always happening, there was a tipping point then though. Till, 16th street, Mississippi burning all moved white America while the protests hardened them.
    Last edited by Strike For The South; 06-20-2018 at 15:35.
    There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford

    My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.

    I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation.

  9. #69

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Strike For The South View Post
    Humane is not anymore concrete than impartial. People are simply more willing to admit their biases rather than their lack (or differing view) of humanity. Why would we even discuss Rand? She's an irrelevant thought exercise for privileged adolescents.
    If there is partiality, but no impartiality, and humaneness is a form of partiality, then you could say it's concrete whereas impartiality isn't. The problem is different manifestations. If your worldview holds that goodness and growth come from suffering, struggle, and conflict, then mercy and kindness could be inhumane. It's the problem you note above, in that if you want "better" judges, or jurors, or legislators, what you're really asking for is "better people", which is practically untheorizable in a meaningful way.

    I don't think so. The marches and ideas themselves were very unpopular. What tipped the balance was laws that the NAACP fought for and the distaste for outright violence that began to happen in the 50s and 60s. Scratch that, violence was always happening, there was a tipping point then though. Till, 16th street, Mississippi burning all moved white America while the protests hardened them.
    I'm not so sure; the popularity of the protests is a separate matter anyway, from their efficacy. And like I was saying, it probably isn't helpful to think of the relationship between judicial and social as a chicken-egg problem, the two processes interact with one another. Also, of course, there's the third process you are forgetting, one that was clearly influenced by grassroots activism and protest: legislation at the state and federal levels.

    The most forceful argument for the efficacy of bottom-up social change is probably in the gay marriage example; SCOTUS justices are people exposed to the same trends, so it's understandable if these affect their attitudes and assumptions over time. A judge's very understanding of a question is changed, beyond recognizing 'which way the wind is blowing'. I would add the gun rights issue as another case of a judicial framework on the shoulders of long-term social change, although the social change there was more top-down from advocacy groups...
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  10. #70

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    I discovered this only now, but, just relating for fun's sake:

    (In the NRA Headquarters lobby)

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    All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others?
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  11. #71

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Interesting story on how the South Korean government has manufactured "multiculturalism" in place of Minjok ('ethno-state') within just a decade.

    The language introduced in 2005-2006, and backed up by later legislative action, produced a striking change in attitudes. By 2010, the Korean Identity Survey, a national poll run by two research institutes and a South Korean newspaper, found that more than 60 percent of Koreans supported the idea of a multicultural society. As of July 2016, more than 2 million foreigners lived in South Korea, up from just 536,627 in 2006. The country elected its first lawmaker of foreign birth, the Philippine-born Jasmine Lee, in 2012. By 2020, an estimated one-third of all children born in South Korea will be of mixed South Korean and other Asian descent.
    The caveat is that this reflects a policy of tolerating immigration, miscegenation, and assimilation, not exactly multiculturalism, and the change in attitude does not seem to extend to the global refugee conundrum, which South Koreans haven't given much thought in the past. If you look up the situation on the resort island Jeju, a few hundred Yemeni refugees arriving earlier in the year caused widespread panic and protests throughout the country. A majority of the population favors restrictive refugee policies. SK has only admitted a few hundred or thousand (non-North Korean) refugees in its entire modern history (admittedly not many have applied).

    The alt-right loves to talk up East Asian countries as alleged examples of ethnostates. Unsurprisingly the Jeju story has been hot on Breitbart and other such spaces. Another corner of the battle for the future.
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  12. #72
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    It would be like the UK saying "we're diverse - 1/3 of the citizens here are whites from other parts of Europe!!!"

    Why is it a good thing all countries aiming for multi-culturalism?

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
    If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
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  13. #73
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    It would be like the UK saying "we're diverse - 1/3 of the citizens here are whites from other parts of Europe!!!"

    Why is it a good thing all countries aiming for multi-culturalism?

    It would be worse if someone thought diversity were only measured in melanine difference.
    Last edited by Husar; 08-09-2018 at 12:26.


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  14. #74
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    It would be worse if someone thought diversity were only measured in melanine difference.
    Sure - it makes no sense! Either go full-out morphological profiling or just give up: I think I'm about as far away from being "white" as most African-Americans are "black"...even leaving aside albinism.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
    If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
    The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter. Winston Churchill

  15. #75

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Amazon warehouse work experience:

    Bloodworth says it felt like a “prison,” with workers constantly monitored and having to pass through security whenever they went on break or to the bathroom. (Time spent in the security line is, of course, unpaid.) Warehouse workers frequently walked ten miles a day across ten and a half hour shifts, and frequently worked mandatory overtime. The hand-held devices they carried frequently transmitted “admonishments to speed up” and ranked workers from “highest to lowest in terms of the speed at which we collected the items.
    The atmosphere was suffused with jargonistic bullshit. You weren’t supposed to call it a “warehouse,” but a “fulfillment center.” Workers weren’t “fired,” they were “released.” (That one might be accurate.) In fact, they weren’t even “workers,” they were “associates,” and Bloodworth days that on day one management told them that Amazon was an egalitarian workplace because “Jeff Bezos is an associate and so are all of you.” (Some associates are more equal than others, by about $150 billion.) Posters of happy employees had captions like “We love coming to work and miss it when we’re not here!”, though Bloodworth cites a survey of Amazon staff showing: 91 percent wouldn’t recommend working there, 89 percent felt exploited, 71 percent reported walking more than 10 miles per day, and 78 percent felt their breaks were too short. Workers were disciplined with “points,” and anyone who received six points would be fired—sorry, “released,” with points given out for “being sick” or “being late because the Amazon bus didn’t show up.”
    But, amusingly, Amazon did not actually deny my actual factual assertions. Instead, it said things like “We don’t recognise the claim that people walk 20 miles” and “The article references people collapsing, which is not something we recognise.” Not that it doesn’t happen. Just that they don’t recognize it!

    Generations ago, this is genuinely what people speculated a communist dystopia would look like.
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  16. #76
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Generations ago, this is genuinely what people speculated a communist dystopia would look like.
    But they're free to quit and go live under a bridge instead!


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  17. #77
    Member Member Crandar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Fox struggling against the Japanese and the Danes.

  18. #78

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Money is power to order the material world. The state's power runs as far as the material world does, no more but not inevitably less. The purpose of taxing the rich must be framed in terms of breaking their power, not in terms of 'paying for things'.

    Wealth may be immoral in its own right, but unaccountable power is even worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beardsley Rumi, Chairman of NY Fed, 1945
    Final freedom from the domestic money market exists for every sovereign national state where there exists an institution which functions in the manner of a modern central bank, and whose currency is not convertible into gold or into some other commodity. The United States is a national state which has a central banking system, the Federal Reserve System, and whose currency, for domestic purposes, is not convertible into any commodity. It follows that our Federal Government has final freedom from the money market in meeting its financial requirements. Accordingly, the inevitable social and economic consequences of any and all taxes have now become the prime consideration in the imposition of taxes. In general, it may be said that since all taxes have consequences of a social and economic character, the government should look to these consequences in formulating its tax policy. All federal taxes must meet the test of public policy and practical effect. The public purpose which is served should never be obscured in a tax program under the mask of raising revenue.
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  19. #79
    Hǫrðar Member Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Money is power to order the material world. The state's power runs as far as the material world does, no more but not inevitably less. The purpose of taxing the rich must be framed in terms of breaking their power, not in terms of 'paying for things'.
    So you move power from one small group of people to another small group of people, effectively concentrating the power at the hands of a smaller number of people overall. Then what?

    Wealth may be immoral in its own right, but unaccountable power is even worse.
    No one is unaccountable.
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  20. #80
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post

    No one is unaccountable.
    Except Putin and Kim.
    Quote Originally Posted by Suraknar View Post
    The article exists for a reason yes, I did not write it...

  21. #81
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Mahjong Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilrandir View Post
    Except Putin and Kim.
    They too can be held accountable, though the "actionable threshold" for an effort to 'bring them to justice' would be very high.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

  22. #82

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post
    So you move power from one small group of people to another small group of people, effectively concentrating the power at the hands of a smaller number of people overall. Then what?
    Aha, you made the wrong assumption. Eroding concentration of power is the broader principle here. A purely statist or managerial approach runs the risk you describe, but the trend today is to emphasize the transition to decentralized and communitarian organization of society. Without beginning to debate the timescale or balance of powers between local and megapolitan, the goal is exactly to diffuse practical power into more and more hands.

    No one is unaccountable.
    OK, but no one is truly powerful when set against the transcendent might of the Divine. Ask this guy -

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    They too can be held accountable, though the "actionable threshold" for an effort to 'bring them to justice' would be very high.
    he knows his Jesus stuff.
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  23. #83
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Mahjong Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Oh, I don't think it necessarily has to await the next life (what e're that may be), though Putin and Kim et al will face that hurdle as we all must.

    In this life, holding such a leader to account requires existential risk for you and those close to you. Pretty much an "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" level risk with a functionally greater likelihood that any but the last will be taken away from you. Not many are willing to play at those stakes.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

  24. #84
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Treasure Diver Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Mahjong Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Fish Kill Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, KF 9000 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    ...he knows his Jesus stuff.
    Kind of you to say, but any number of hard-shell Baptists would tell you that I, as a Catholic, simply do not.

    I don't agree, but nor would I claim myself to be much of a theologian.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

  25. #85
    Member Member Crandar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    They too can be held accountable, though the "actionable threshold" for an effort to 'bring them to justice' would be very high.
    Depends on what you mean by accountable. No ruler is omnipotent, neither Egyptian pharaohs nor Sarmatian chocolate magnates. Every regime is based on the collaboration and toleration of a part of the society, in order to survive. It may be the nobility, industrialists, shopkeepers, the court, the tribe or even the people, but everyone is accountable. Every wise ruler should know that he needs to fulfill certain expectations, as long as he doesn't wish to get down-voted, overthrown, poisoned or exiled.
    Last edited by Crandar; 10-09-2018 at 14:16. Reason: Poor grammar.

  26. #86

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Oh nooo

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  27. #87

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    I would define nihilism as a combination of three basic elements: a refusal to hope for anything except the ultimate vindication of hopelessness; a rejection of all values, especially values widely regarded as sacrosanct (equality, posterity, and legality); and a glorification of destruction, including self-destruction—or as Walter Benjamin put it, “self-alienation” so extreme that humanity “can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure.” Nihilism is less passive and more perverse than simple despair. “Nihilism is not only despair and negation,” according to Albert Camus, “but, above all, the desire to despair and to negate.”
    Dayum.
    Vitiate Man.

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  28. #88

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Article on the anthropology of polygyny and its different types:

    Norak, being unable to obtain a wife elsewhere, laid hands on Anengnak’s second wife one day and began to drag her away. Anengnak caught hold of her on the other side, and a tug of war ensued, but finally Norak, though the smaller of the two, succeeded in dragging her away to his hut and made her his wife.
    what the $#@! is this even human reality

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  29. #89

    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Speaking of military crimes, here's a story about US Special Forces in Africa (Mali):

    The accusation is that a Green Beret uncovered an embezzlement plot by two members of Seal Team Six to siphon funds allocated for informants and collaborators, the SEALs offered him a cut, he refused, they killed him and claimed it an accident of the victim's drunkenness. Yet he hadn't been drinking...

    If true, these SEALs have disgraced their names before gods and men. AFAIK Military Justice is relatively diligent when it comes to rooting out and punishing violence in the ranks, so they will get to the bottom of things. Right?
    @spmetla
    Heeey @spmetla, remember this?

    Turns out it is murder.

    THE NAVY HAS formally accused a member of SEAL Team 6 with choking a Green Beret to death last year, and then using his field medic skills to cut open the victim’s throat in an effort to fake a lifesaving technique and cover up the murder.
    Melgar had reported to his chain of command that the two SEALs were stealing money from an operational fund used to pay informants
    Last edited by Montmorency; 11-17-2018 at 01:06.
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  30. #90
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backroom Errata

    It's some sick stuff they did. Glad they were put on trial despite the SEALs and their Command trying to distance themselves to make this go away. A "Beatdown" that went bad shouldn't be an okay thing to do. I've never like hazing of the 'cherries' and certainly don't like this.

    Melgar’s accusation that DeDolph and Matthews were stealing from the informant funds led to a larger investigation of potential financial malfeasance at SEAL Team 6 involving the misuse of cash intended for operational and contingency purposes.
    This will undoubtedly shake even more skeletons out of the closet. Though I like the SOF community they do a fair bit of shady stuff because they know they can get away with it.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

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