Category Archive 'Coercive Egalitarianism'
19 Mar 2017
Real article by Howard Rachlin, Emeritus Research Professor of Psychology, Stony Brook University and Marvin Frankel, Professor of psychology, Sarah Lawrence College:
It may be objected that parents’ desire to have their own biological children is so strong that they would be blind to the public good, that they would have babies and bring them up in secret. But those babies would not have birth certificates, they would not be citizens, they could not vote, serve in public office and so forth. If discovered, the children might be taken away after the strong bonds of psychological (as opposed to biological) parenthood had been formed. Few Americans would risk these penalties. …
Genetic chauvinism lives on very strongly in our culture. Modern fiction and cinema often present adoptees’ searches for biological parents and siblings in a highly positive light. The law in child custody cases is biased towards biological parents over real parents. You might claim that this bias itself is ‘natural’. It is so common as to seem part of our biological makeup. But subjugation of women was also common in primitive human cultures and remains so in many cultures today. Unnatural as it sounds, social mixing promises many advantages. If we are not willing to adopt it, we should consider carefully why. And if naturalness is the key, we should ask ourselves why on this matter, ungoverned nature should trump social cohesion.
20 Jun 2016
John Hinderaker reports on the latest crusade for racial equity in the Twin Cities:
The Metropolitan Council never saw any human behavior it didn’t want to change. It wants to change the way we get from one place to another, where we live, and where we work. It also isn’t happy with the way we use Twin Cities parks. The Star Tribune headlines: “Racially equitable use of parks is the goal, with big dollars at stake.”
What, exactly, is “racially equitable use of parks”? Are members of some races barred from the region’s parks? Of course not.
A politically charged push is taking shape, with millions of dollars at stake, to break down barriers that are making Twin Cities parks and trails feel to some like white people’s preserves.
Barriers? What barriers? There are no barriers, actually. The “problem” is that a higher percentage of whites than minorities make use of metro area parks and trails.
The main evidence of park disparities in the Twin Cities metro area remains a 2008 survey of the racial and ethnic makeup of visitors to major regional parks and trails, such as the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis or St. Paul’s Como Park.
The “Chain of Lakes” is simply a set of walking and bicycle paths that go around, and connect, Minneapolis’s major lakes: Calhoun, Harriet, Isles and Cedar. Anyone who wants to walk, or run, or bicycle or rollerblade around any of these lakes is welcome to do so. There is nothing stopping him or her.
While blacks make up nearly 7 percent of the metro area’s population, they account for less than 3 percent of regional park and trail users. Percentages for Hispanics look much the same.
Whether a person spends time in parks or on walking or bicycle trails is entirely a matter of choice. No one makes you throw a frisbee or have a picnic in a park, and no one stops you if you choose to do so. Has the Metropolitan Council noticed that there are racial “disparities” with regard to nearly everything? Whether it is going to the opera, attending a soccer game, fishing, or sitting outside to watch a fireworks display, there is no activity that people engage in in equal racial proportions. Are these all problems that need to be fixed by an ever more intrusive government?
What exactly does the Met Council intend to do to encourage or compel more minority residents (or, I guess, fewer whites) to use the region’s parks and trails? The Strib never answers that obvious question. …
This alleged disparity of usage problem is not confined to Minneapolis-St.Paul. Last year, the New York Times was demanding special initiatives to get minorities visiting National Parks.
The national parks attracted a record 292.8 million visitors in 2014, but a vast majority were white and aging. The most recent survey commissioned by the park service on visitation, released in 2011, found that 22 percent of visitors were minorities, though they make up some 37 percent of the population.
This suggests an alarming disconnect. The Census Bureau projects that the country will have a majority nonwhite population by 2044. If that new majority has little or no relationship with the outdoors, then the future of the nation’s parks, and the retail and nonprofit ecosystem that surrounds them, will be in trouble.
Jeff Cheatham grew up in southeast Seattle, and still lives in Mount Rainier’s shadow. Yet, he said of Mount Rainier and other national parks, “I’ve never been, and never thought about going.” A 29-year-old African-American writer, Mr. Cheatham said he didn’t even know what a national park was, or what he would be likely to find at one. “As far as I know, it’s a big field of grass,” he said.
A neighbor, Carla DeRise, has been to Mount Rainier and other parks, and is game to go again. She just can’t get any of her friends to come along. They are worried about unfriendly white people, hungry critters and insects, and unforgiving landscapes, said Ms. DeRise, 51, an African-American. So she mainly hikes alone, albeit with some anxiety. “I don’t have a weapon,” she quipped. “Yet.”
I also live in one of the Rainier neighborhoods, close to where I grew up, the son of a Japanese mother. I met my oldest friend in the Boy Scouts, an African-American from a family that, like mine, frequented the parks. In college, he and I led outings for minority student groups.
There was always nervous banter as we cruised through small rural towns on our way to a park. And there were jokes about finding a “Whites Only” sign at the entrance to our destination or the perils of being lynched or attacked while collecting firewood after the sun went down. Our cultural history taught us what to expect. …
We need to demolish the notion that the national parks and the rest of nature are an exclusive club where minorities are unwelcome.
Coercive egalitarianism inevitable finds “problems,” i.e. targets of opportunity for coercive intervention essentially everywhere.
06 May 2015
Joe Gelonesi, at ABC (Australia), talks with two sophisters who are “investigating the problem.”
So many disputes in our liberal democratic society hinge on the tension between inequality and fairness: between groups, between sexes, between individuals, and increasingly between families.
The power of the family to tilt equality hasn’t gone unnoticed, and academics and public commentators have been blowing the whistle for some time. Now, philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse have felt compelled to conduct a cool reassessment.
Swift in particular has been conflicted for some time over the curious situation that arises when a parent wants to do the best for her child but in the process makes the playing field for others even more lopsided.
Swift and Brighouse needed to sort out those activities that contribute to unnecessary inequality from those that don’t.
Swift and Brighouse grudgingly concede that we probably shouldn’t simply abolish the Family. Private school, on the other hand…
What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people’s children’.
The test they devised was based on what they term ‘familial relationship goods’; those unique and identifiable things that arise within the family unit and contribute to the flourishing of family members.
For Swift, there’s one particular choice that fails the test.
‘Private schooling cannot be justified by appeal to these familial relationship goods,’ he says. ‘It’s just not the case that in order for a family to realise these intimate, loving, authoritative, affectionate, love-based relationships you need to be able to send your child to an elite private school.’
In contrast, reading stories at bedtime, argues Swift, gives rise to acceptable familial relationship goods, even though this also bestows advantage.
‘The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t—the difference in their life chances—is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,’ he says.
This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion—that perhaps in the interests of levelling the playing field, bedtime stories should also be restricted. In Swift’s mind this is where the evaluation of familial relationship goods goes up a notch.
‘You have to allow parents to engage in bedtime stories activities, in fact we encourage them because those are the kinds of interactions between parents and children that do indeed foster and produce these [desired] familial relationship goods.’
Swift makes it clear that although both elite schooling and bedtime stories might both skew the family game, restricting the former would not interfere with the creation of the special loving bond that families give rise to. Taking the books away is another story.
‘We could prevent elite private schooling without any real hit to healthy family relationships, whereas if we say that you can’t read bedtime stories to your kids because it’s not fair that some kids get them and others don’t, then that would be too big a hit at the core of family life.’
So should parents snuggling up for one last story before lights out be even a little concerned about the advantage they might be conferring?
‘I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,’ quips Swift.
Read the whole thing.
01 May 2015
Not because the model is too scantily-clad, but because she is too slender and attractive. Daily Beast:
Sharpie-wielding political activists have overtaken London Underground, writing outraged slogans on posters featuring a svelte, bikini-clad model next to an innocuous question: “Are you beach body ready?”
They’ve scribbled “NOT OKAY” and “Fuck Your Sexist Shit” over the model’s cleavage, signing their work with a now-viral hashtag, #eachbodysready.
A Change.Org petition calling for the removal of Protein World’s campaign on the grounds that it aims “to make [people] feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model” has received nearly 60,000 signatures.
And on Saturday, 750 people (and counting) will attend a “Take Back the Bikini” rally in Hyde Park to protest Protein World’s body-shaming ad campaign.
Well, good on them! Their vandalism, hashtag activism, and protests have made international headlines and prompted the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to scrub the weight loss supplement campaign from Underground stations and ban it from appearing again “in its current form.”
The advertising watchdog has been investigating the “beach body ready” campaign, responding to some 360 complaints that it objectifies women and promotes unhealthy body standards.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the ASA said they are pulling the ads “in the next three days.” (Protein World told The Daily Beast that the campaign’s three-week run in tube stations was already scheduled to end next week.)
The ASA will now determine if the campaign “breaks harm and offense rules or is socially irresponsible.”
So the feminist and body-image activists triumphed over the evil, patriarchal corporation, effectively censoring what they deemed an “unrealistic” and “unhealthy” body standard. …
Protein World’s ad campaign went up in London’s tube stations several weeks ago, prompting a scathing, widely-shared editorial in The Guardian.
Writer and co-founder of the Vagenda blog, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, had returned from Cuba to jarring reverse-culture shock in the “dark, putrid bowels of London’s underground system.”
It was only after visiting Cuba, a totalitarian country where there are no advertisements, that she realized “how much my field of vision is occupied without my consent by images and messages that want to sell me stuff (and, being a woman, it’s usually based on claims that it will make me look better).”
14 Oct 2012
Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Nederlandse Spreekwoorden [Netherlandish Proverbs], also known as The Blue Cloak and The Folly of the World, 1559, Staatliche Museen, Berlin
Dan Greenfield has another absolutely brilliant essay on the contemporary tyranny based upon ressentiment.
[The] same noxious formula of the fight for equality shamelessly transmuted into special privilege has flowed into every struggle that models itself on the civil rights movement. And with each battle, freedom has been lost as a new layer of privilege and the regulations that protect that privilege have been added. We have long ago lost the presumption of innocence, now everyone is guilty of something and the power to wield that guilt like a whip is the ultimate privilege.
With a new wave of civil rights movements popping up every few years, backed by academic papers, grants from the Ford Foundation and “groundbreaking books” with confrontational titles, it is easy not to notice how little actual freedom we have. We spend so much time on the barricades fighting for the next wave of freedom that we are too community organized to realize how much freedom we have lost. We lost it while demanding more regulations to protect our freedom to be regulated from all the people who would take our freedom away from us by giving us back our rights as individuals.
He’s spot-on right. Look at the talk these days about “Marriage Equality.” What Marriage Equality means is a small minority is demanding the right to redefine the most basic and immemorial human institution in such a way as to cause the state to recognize and enforce the moral and social equality of homosexual relations. And if you go around insisting in retaining the freedom to think as you like on that particular subject, you are defined as the oppressor.
Read the whole thing.
20 Nov 2008
“Civil Rights,” n. fabricated and supposititious rights claims, purportedly entitling liberals to use state power to compel individuals and businesses to comply with liberal moral opinions within their own private spheres.
The moral status of homosexuality, homosexuality’s social and political status, to what degree participation in certain kinds of sexual activities constitutes a natural and legitimate identity and whether homosexual inclinations are a product of psychological pathology are all matters of opinion.
There is every reason to expect that large numbers of Americans, on natural and legitimate grounds, would hold 180 degree opposite opinions in this area.
Social and religious conservatives have long since abandoned claims that the state should enforce traditional Judeo-Christian sexual morality on consenting adults with regard to private acts. Today, “the enforcement of morals” (the title of a famous essay on the question of tolerance of homosexuality by Lord Devlin) is, on the contrary, actively, and frequently successfully, pursued by the left.
If right now, at the present time, in which Gay Marriage is only the law of the land in a couple of ultra-liberal states, this kind of claim can be successfully enforced on a business, just imagine what kind of Civil Rights claims will be enforceable in an environment where Gay Marriage is the rule, not the rare aberration. You’ll have lawsuits demanding that Catholic Churches, Mormon Temples, and Jewish Orthodox synagogues solemnize sexually perverted unions, and, I daresay, some of them will prove successful.
The Pasadena-based dating website, heavily promoted by Christian evangelical leaders when it was founded, has agreed in a civil rights settlement to give up its heterosexuals-only policy and offer same-sex matches.
EHarmony was started by psychologist Neil Clark Warren, who is known for his mild-mannered television and radio advertisements. It must not only implement the new policy by March 31 but also give the first 10,000 same-sex registrants a free six-month subscription.
“That was one of the things I asked for,” said Eric McKinley, 46, who complained to New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights after being turned down for a subscription in 2005.
The company said that Warren was not giving interviews on the settlement. But attorney Theodore Olson, who issued a statement on the company’s behalf, made clear that it did not agree to offer gay matches willingly.
“Even though we believed that the complaint resulted from an unfair characterization of our business,” Olson said, “we ultimately decided it was best to settle this case with the attorney general since litigation outcomes can be unpredictable.”
The settlement, which did not find that EHarmony broke any laws, calls for the company to either offer the gay matches …
… on its current venue or create a new site for them. EHarmony has opted to create a site called Compatiblepartners.net.
Warren had said in past interviews that he didn’t want to feature same-sex services on EHarmony — which matches people based on long questionnaires concerning personality traits, relationship history and interests — because he felt he didn’t know enough about gay relationships.
McKinley, who works at a nonprofit in New Jersey he declined to identify, said that he had originally heard of EHarmony through its radio ads. “You hear these wonderful people saying, ‘I met my soul mate on EHarmony.’ I thought, I could do that too,” he said.
But he couldn’t. When he tried to enter the site, the pull-down menus had categories only for a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man. “I felt the whole range of emotions,” McKinley said. “Anger, that I was a second-class citizen.”
But instead of just surfing over to a dating site that admits gay lonely hearts, he contacted the New Jersey civil rights division to file a complaint.
The settlement also calls for EHarmony to pay $50,000 to the state for administrative costs and $5,000 to McKinley.
05 Mar 2008
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (passed when liberal Republican Richard Nixon was president, just wait until you see what John McCain doesn’t veto) wound up being interpreted by the Department of Education as requiring colleges and universities to provide “athletic opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the student enrollment,” i.e. a sexual quota.
Since there was inevitably less female participation in athletics, the only way the required “substantial proportionality” could be achieved was pouring money and recruiting effort into female sports while actively reducing male participation. Colleges consequently often, in deference to Title IX, deliberately eliminated lesser (non-profit center) male sports, such as wrestling, swimming, fencing, gymnastics, and volleyball.
Christina Hoff Summers explains that coercive egalitarianism’s new objective is the sciences.
Math 55 is advertised in the Harvard catalog as “probably the most difficult undergraduate math class in the country.” It is legendary among high school math prodigies, who hear terrifying stories about it in their computer camps and at the Math Olympiads. Some go to Harvard just to have the opportunity to enroll in it. Its formal title is “Honors Advanced Calculus and Linear Algebra,” but it is also known as “math boot camp” and “a cult.” The two-semester freshman course meets for three hours a week, but, as the catalog says, homework for the class takes between 24 and 60 hours a week.
Math 55 does not look like America. Each year as many as 50 students sign up, but at least half drop out within a few weeks. As one former student told The Crimson newspaper in 2006, “We had 51 students the first day, 31 students the second day, 24 for the next four days, 23 for two more weeks, and then 21 for the rest of the first semester.” Said another student, “I guess you can say it’s an episode of ‘Survivor’ with people voting themselves off.” The final class roster, according to The Crimson: “45 percent Jewish, 18 percent Asian, 100 percent male.”
Why do women avoid classes like Math 55? Why, in fact, are there so few women in the high echelons of academic math and in the physical sciences?
Women now earn 57 percent of bachelors degrees and 59 percent of masters degrees. According to the Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2006 was the fifth year in a row in which the majority of research Ph.D.’s awarded to U.S. citizens went to women. Women earn more Ph.D.’s than men in the humanities, social sciences, education, and life sciences. Women now serve as presidents of Harvard, MIT, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and other leading research universities. But elsewhere, the figures are different. Women comprise just 19 percent of tenure-track professors in math, 11 percent in physics, 10 percent in computer science, and 10 percent in electrical engineering. And the pipeline does not promise statistical parity any time soon: women are now earning 24 percent of the Ph.D.’s in the physical sciences—way up from the 4 percent of the 1960s, but still far behind the rate they are winning doctorates in other fields.
“The change is glacial,” says Debra Rolison, a physical chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory.
Rolison, who describes herself as an “uppity woman,” has a solution. A popular anti–gender bias lecturer, she gives talks with titles like “Isn’t a Millennium of Affirmative Action for White Men Sufficient?” She wants to apply Title IX to science education. Title IX, the celebrated gender equity provision of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, has so far mainly been applied to college sports. But the measure is not limited to sports. It provides, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex…be denied the benefits of…any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” …
..in her enthusiasm for Title IX, Rolison is not alone.
On October 17, 2007, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology convened to learn why women are “underrepresented” in academic professorships of science and engineering and to consider what the federal government should do about it.
As a rule, women tend to gravitate to fields such as education, English, psychology, biology, and art history, while men are much more numerous in physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. Why this is so is an interesting question—and the subject of a substantial empirical literature. The research on gender and vocation is complex, vibrant, and full of reasonable disagreements; there is no single, simple answer.
There were, however, no disagreements at the congressional hearing. All five expert witnesses, and all five congressmen, Democrat and Republican, were in complete accord. They attributed the dearth of women in university science to a single cause: sexism. And there was no dispute about the solution. All agreed on the need for a revolutionary transformation of American science itself. “Ultimately,” said Kathie Olsen, deputy director of the National Science Foundation, “our goal is to transform, institution by institution, the entire culture of science and engineering in America, and to be inclusive of all—for the good of all.”
Representative Brian Baird, the Washington-state Democrat who chairs the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, looked at the witnesses and the crowd of more than 100 highly appreciative activists from groups like the American Association of University Women and the National Women’s Law Center and asked, “What kind of hammer should we use?”
From Jim Bass via The Barrister.
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