A teaching moment on sexual assault

This is worse than just “objectification” of women, because we would never tolerate similar thinking about actual objects: If your drive for acquisition overcomes your impulse control, you’re a thief, period. The strength of your greed does you no credit; you’re not complimenting the wealth of the people you steal from; it’s not their fault for having such nice stuff or displaying it so attractively; and we don’t give in to the inevitability of theft whenever valuable objects are visible to people who might desire them. When it comes to object-lust, self-control is the price of staying in civilization; if you can’t muster it, we’ll lock you away”

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2016/10/17/a-teaching-moment-on-sexual-assault/


Instead of dumbing down

So that’s what I suggest as an alternative to dumbing down: See if you can care about your listeners or readers enough to understand why they should want to know this and what direction they can approach it from. Then work on your own understanding of the subject until you grasp it well enough to approach from that direction yourself. In the short term, that may not be as satisfying as ridiculing their stupidity, but in the long term I think it works better.

~ Doug Muder from, https://weeklysift.com/2016/09/12/instead-of-dumbing-down/


The individual and the herd

Here’s what it boils down to: Human beings are simultaneously individuals and members of society, not fundamentally one or the other. Some issues (like free speech) are easier to understand from the individual point of view, while others (like traffic) require a social point of view.

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2015/02/09/the-individual-and-the-herd/

This is a long read and it’s *gasp* “thinky.” It’s also about *swoon* vaccination, but it’s really about individual rights and social responsibility. Repeat this phrase over and over, “an intelligent person can consider an idea without accepting it,” and give this a read.


Rooting for your country to fail is un-patriotic

But there’s a line between legitimate partisanship and lack of patriotism, and this is where it runs: After a decision is made, after it is upheld as constitutional, after America has decided to do something, you don’t root for your country to fail — and you certainly don’t take action to make your country fail.

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2013/12/09/rooting-for-your-country-to-fail-is-unpatriotic/


Is anarchy the answer?

Might not be the “anarchy” you think of at first: Ross criticizes this model from both sides: First, the options offered to the people are too limited and too easily manipulated by those with money and power. My favorite expression of this situation comes from the Cake song “Comfort Eagle“

Some people drink Pepsi, some people drink Coke.
The wacky morning DJ says democracy’s a joke.

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2012/07/16/when-centralized-institutions-fail-is-anarchy-an-answer/



So how did the People vote (narrowly) for a Democratic Congress but get a Republican one instead? That’s certainly not what the Founders intended: The reason there are more House districts than Senate seats and all congressmen have to go back to the voters every two years is that the House is supposed to closely reflect the will of the People.

Why didn’t that work? Why didn’t the House come out with a slight edge for the Democrats, or something closer to a 50-50 split reflecting a close popular vote?

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2012/11/19/how-gerrymandering-painted-the-house-red/


Why the austerity fraud matters

But this week a controversy broke out in economics, and it actually deserves your attention. A paper that has had a major influence on public policy around the world turns out to be wrong. And not just wrong in a subtle way that only geniuses can see, or even wrong in an everybody’s-human way that you look at and say, “Oh yeah, I’ve done that.” This one was wrong in three different ways that make you (or at least me) say, “That can’t be an accident.”

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2013/04/22/why-the-austerity-fraud-matters/

Really, you should read this. Foundations have moved.


Religious freedom turning into passive-aggression

To make this work, conservative Christians need to divert attention from the people they are mistreating by portraying themselves as the victims. And that requires cultivating a hyper-sensitivity to any form of involvement in activities they disapprove of. So rather than sympathize with the lesbian couple who gets the bakery door slammed in their faces, the public should instead sympathize with the poor wedding-cake baker whose moral purity is besmirched when the labor of his hands is used in a celebration of immorality and perversion.

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2013/07/08/religious-freedom-means-christian-passive-aggressive-domination/


What’s really wrong with Congress?

Everybody seems to agree that Congress doesn’t work.

If you’re liberal, you’re appalled that even something like universal background checks for gun purchases (90% public approval!) can’t pass. If you’re conservative, you’re horrified that nothing can be done about the mounting national debt or the projections for exponential growth in entitlement spending.

And even if you care not at all about parties or ideologies, it’s just embarrassing to watch our leaders create one artificial crisis after another. We’re the richest country on the planet, and yet we’re constantly threatening to shut down our government, default on our bonds, mint a trillion-dollar coin, or do some other weird thing that would shame the generalissimo of a banana republic.

Is this any way to run a super power?

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2013/04/29/whats-really-wrong-with-congress/


What if there is no spending problem?

Summing up: Liberals and conservatives agree that we have a long-term problem, but they argue about what kind of problem: a government spending problem or a healthcare cost problem.

Recently I ran into a potentially game-changing question: What if there is no problem? In other words, instead of being trapped in the dismal liberal/conservative argument about which apocalypse we’re headed towards, what if we’re actually not headed towards an apocalypse at all?

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2013/02/25/what-if-theres-no-spending-problem/


The distress of the privileged

If you are one of the newly-visible others, this all sounds whiny compared to the problems you face every day. It’s tempting to blast through such privileged resistance with anger and insult.

Tempting, but also, I think, a mistake. The privileged are still privileged enough to foment a counter-revolution, if their frustrated sense of entitlement hardens.

So I think it’s worthwhile to spend a minute or two looking at the world from George Parker’s point of view: He’s a good 1950s TV father. He never set out to be the bad guy. He never meant to stifle his wife’s humanity or enforce a dull conformity on his kids. Nobody ever asked him whether the world should be black-and-white; it just was.

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2012/09/10/the-distress-of-the-privileged/


The real American discipline problem

I agree that America faces a major discipline problem, but I see the lack of discipline at the top: the bankers, the billionaires, the CEOs. Like Mike Rice, they’re out of control and need to face the consequences of their actions.

The Rice video was seen by Rutgers officials months ago, and their response was a wrist-slap: Rice was suspended for three games and told not to do it again. Isn’t that typical of how things go in America?

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2013/04/08/mike-rice-sean-hannity-and-the-real-american-discipline-problem/


What if secretaries became programmers

But why do women make less? Is it for reasons we can all live with, or is the pay gap an injustice that needs fixing? Several reasons are frequently offered, together with explanations why we can live with those reasons. (Never forget that those are two separate conversations. Even if the whole pay gap could be boiled down to something as simple as “Girls don’t like math”, we’d still need to discuss whether that’s a problem we can or should fix.)

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2012/05/14/77-cents-part-ii-what-if-secretaries-became-programmers/

VERY interesting gender/salary math.


Student debt

Put it all together, and even a student who works part-time and attends a second-rate state university can easily graduate owing over $100,000.

Welcome to the professional class, kid. Just don’t expect to keep any of the money you make. And I almost forgot to mention: We’ve let public transportation go to hell, so you’ll need to buy a car. (Here’s another loan.) We’re letting public schools fail, so if you have kids and want them to stay in the professional class, you’ll need to send them to private schools (Here’s another loan.) And we’re going to toss that national-health-care idea out on its ear, but don’t worry, if you get sick you can put it on your Visa.

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2012/04/02/student-debt-the-new-involuntary-servitude/


You don’t have a job, you have a hobby

That’s the only test that counts. It’s not how hard you work, it’s what happens if you stop. If quitting means real hardship for you or your family, you have a job. If you keep at it even though you could spend the rest of your life skipping rocks at your house by the lake, you have a hobby.

I’ve got nothing against hobbies. The Weekly Sift is a hobby. One way to describe the Marxist vision of Utopia is that we’d all be hobbyists, and the world’s work would get done by people who just wanted the satisfaction of doing it. (That vision even works sometimes: Wikipedia, open source software, and so on.)

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2012/04/16/rich-people-dont-have-jobs/


The republic of babel

But democracies need to be able to talk. I have to know more than just what you want to do or want me to do. I need to understand why you want what you want, and I need to be able to explain why I want something different. We have to be able to discuss the nuances of our hopes and fears and plans — what’s absolutely essential and what isn’t — so that we can cobble together a solution that we can all live with.

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2012/03/05/the-republic-of-babel/


Where the jobs are

While America continues to create market-dominating companies like Apple or Google, the number of American jobs they provide doesn’t compare with market-dominating American companies of the past like General Electric or Ford.

The reason why is simple: While much of the design and management happens in America, most of the physical products are manufactured in low-wage economies like China. Those factories that remain in America are highly automated, so that our manufacturing employment plummets even as our manufacturing output continues to rise. America still makes a lot of stuff, it’s just not made by people.

~ Doug Muder from, http://weeklysift.com/2012/01/30/where-the-jobs-are-and-why/