Friday, June 15, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Ice Cube, 43. The link is to the imdb page, not the All Music page...could have gone either way, but wanted to mention that I don't think I ever got around to writing a post about Three Kings, and I really should some day.

How about some good stuff:

1. Fun post by Garance Franke-Ruta on words and phrases that set off conservatives. Can't believe she missed Glenn Beck's old favorite, social justice. More ideas? A list of such words and phrases for liberals?

2. Useful update on the military post-DADT, from Pauline Jelinek. Hmmm...has anyone done a really good story comparing specific predictions from fear-mongering politicians with actual outcomes?

3. Brad DeLong (and Austin Frakt) on Mitt Romney, health care, and budgeting.

4. And a really smart Alyssa Rosenberg comment on Mad Men.


  1. With regard to the opposition to gay rights, I don't think I've seen any other point of view on a major political issue so prone to logical fallacies. You could probably teach an entire course in elementary logic solely using arguments offered by gay-rights opponents. You've got the bad analogies, the slippery slopes, appeals to authority, begging the question, and so on. As such, it's not surprising that this leads to bad predictions.

    It's funny--you'd think the issue would be purely a question of values (either you think gays deserve equality with their straight brethren, or you don't), but opponents never seem comfortable leaving it at that. They always seem to go further and end up making testable empirical claims, which usually end up being proven false. It is not simply enough to say ending DADT is bad for society; they have to say it will lead to a revolt by straight service members, resulting in chaos. The pathology of opponents is fascinating because of how they allow their case to rest on such easily refutable propositions, again and again and again.

  2. Was thinking the other day that the speed of gay integration in the military makes a strong case for Andrew Sullivan's approach to integration, that is, have a party when gay marriage goes national and declare the movement finished. He takes a fair bit of heat from purists for allegedly devaluing the uniqueness of gay culture or their history of persecution, but his prescription is probably right.

    If 2-4% of the military are gay, that means a lot of companies (each of which is, definitionally, the most teh awesome in the military) have a gay guy in them. Is it any surprise how rapidly homophobia melts away among the newly-revealed gay company member's fellows? Their own sense of awesomeness obviously trumps any homophobia - that's true for all of us, really.

    Taking a page from Sullivan, really the gay movement might be well-served by the stealth placement of individuals in homophobia-compromising positions. What's the most homophobic mega-church in America? Secretly get a gay guy in there, have him work the congregation til he gets elected to council. Then have him come out. You've got a gay guy on your council, mega-church? Still hate you some gays?

    The military approach seems a virtual template for integration. And Sullivan is right: integration is about integrating, moreso perhaps than indulging what makes you special and unique (usually, the very characteristics your enemy hates).

  3. Phrases liberals dislike in the debate over affirmative action: "racial preferences" and "reverse discrimination". Of course, those phrases are accurate, as affirmative action on our college campuses means whites and Asians get passed over for admission to undergraduate, graduate and professional school programs in favor of blacks and Hispanics with lower grades and test scores, but the left much prefers the vaguer term "affirmative action" to the above terms.

  4. Individual (or personal) freedom/rights/responsibility as used by conservatives. Not that I'm against those things per se. I just don't see how regulations that only apply to corporations limits the freedom of the individual. Or why business are not responsible for their actions but their customers are (as in the financial crisis). Or why a society-wide trend toward obesity should just be blamed on millions of bad moral choices, made in a vacuum--conservatives are perfectly capable of seeing the macro effects of "the culture" or even perverse economic incentives when it suits them, but when it doesn't they pretend environment has no influence on behavior.


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