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JASKN

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  1. Like
    JASKN reacted to softwareNerd in Donald Trump   
    Donald Trump has now made life more difficult for H1-B holders. These are people who earn a minimum of $60,000 a year, and typically closer to $80K. 

    https://scroll.in/latest/855424/policy-change-makes-it-harder-to-renew-us-non-immigrant-visa-including-h-1b
    The irony is that the anti-immigrant voter is also protectionist about "sending jobs to India". They do not understand the causal link between the lowered H1-B quotas and the rise of India's software-export industry. And this one-level-removed complexity is too much for Trump to grasp.

    Despite this, America is still a huge draw. While Trump supporters are the cry-babies who think they have fewer opportunities with each generation; but immigrants see America through selfish eyes that is closer to the mythology of the American dreamer. Lots of people try  for the lottery repeatedly, putting their lives on hold for  years. The majority of H1-B folk then work in the U.S. at jobs they did not really like...sometimes for 7 or 8 years while they await the rest of the process. They hold the American dream in a way that Trump supporters definitely do not.

    There is so much opportunity in this country. Yes, there are many Americans who fall foul of the system, and whose lives become nightmares when the government machine chews on them. But, the vast majority have ample opportunities to make their lives happy and successful. Blaming immigrants for their lack of success and happiness is an understandable but sad psychological defense mechanism.
    Not every potential immigrant attempts the process though. Given that China and India and a few other such countries do have some decent opportunities, many very competent people figure they'll stay there for good...often "taking 2 or 3 American jobs" for every one they'd have "taken" if they'd immigrated. Often, they end up creating hundreds of jobs in India which they would otherwise have created in the US. All while Trump gathers up the votes of American cry-babies.
     
     
  2. Like
    JASKN reacted to Repairman in Donald Trump   
    At the onset of the 2016 primary season, I would not have believed it possible for Donald Trump to win the nomination. How wrong I was!
    There are two rhetorical questions to consider when forming an opinion about Trump: 1) Is Trump the most qualified individual for holding the office he now holds?; 2) What has happened to the nation that made his success in politics possible?
    Is Trump qualified? He meets all of the legal requirements. The legitimacy of his election remains a legal matter to be settled. Was he unlawfully assisted by Russian confederates, or not? I think he stands a good chance of surviving this problem. As others have noted, he gives the appearance of a petulant anti-intellectual bully. If anyone can offer up proof that Trump's threats have actually caused a chilling effect on the press, or direct harm to any American individual or corporation, I'd be willing to look at the evidence. But as far as I can see, he has stayed within the limits of the law in carrying out his agenda. The big question is, just what is Trump's agenda? Is he actually seeking to establish needed reforms, possibly raising his persona to one of a great American historical leader, in his words, "Make America Great Again?" If that is the case, he needs to more clearly define what is the standard of "American Greatness."
    Is his objective to further enrich himself, and his special friends? Donald Trump is a schemer; there is method to his madness. At this point, Trump has already shown that he never had any principled plan for the economy, but only a plan to seize more control of the economy. His support for minimum wage and trade protection may prove to be smart political moves aimed at assuaging the fears of those in lower wage jobs. More likely, if his policies pass, they will result in greater opportunities to the largest companies, while the smaller competitors struggle even harder, or fold. Many of the Trump supporters I've talked to were totally unaware of the billions of dollars which he had at the start of his enterprises, his abuse of eminent domain, and the allegations of his cheating workers out of their wages. On all of this, I believe Donald Trump's only principle is: WINNING! (with an arm pump.)
    Were there more qualified candidates? Perhaps. But there is an overwhelming number of Americans who hate anyone who has any association with DC policy-making. Many of these people never vote, and for that very reason. But in 2016, many of them did get out the vote, because they approved of Trump's language, incoherent as it may be. And he could get away with saying these things because he has held no previous office, inside or outside of DC. I believe this was one of the qualifications his blue-collar supporters find most appealing. In a similar way, Barak Obama appealed to many who never voted before, merely because his complexion more closely matches their demographic.
    This leads to the second rhetorical question: What has happened to the United States, the nation that once led the world in the pursuit of individual liberty and industrial innovation? How could so many voters support a leader who makes no apologies, who openly brags of aspiring to become a strong-man dictator? (I suppose the short answer might be that fewer wished to see a strong-woman dictator. If identity-politics was the only controlling force, 50 percent of the voters would have turned out for Hillary Clinton.) To fully answer this important question, I would encourage you to read, Ominous Parallels, by Leonard Peikoff. I'm reading it for the second time. While the US economy has a long way to go before it hits the depth of Germany's in the 1920s, the breakdown of politics is quickly taking the shape of that of the Weimar Republic. While I do not agree with those who claim that Donald Trump is a Nazi, not even a racist, I would contend that his election is proof that a significant number of Americans would favor a dictatorship, provided that that dictatorship enabled them to oppress those of the opposite ideological and/or racial camp.  Doctor Peikoff wrote this book 35 years ago, and it has never been so relevant as in our present times. I believe we are on the road to tribalism. I can live with being wrong, but I hope I'm dead before that ever happens.
    I hold onto the hope that the checks and balances of the US Constitution will prevent this from happening. If not, I believe Ayn Rand would say: "Brother, you asked for it."
  3. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from softwareNerd in Would Objectivists ever come together and settle in one place?   
    Objectivists are people, too. Best case scenario is that their philosophy is superior, but even that is not a given - do they practice what they preach? Even with a superior philosophy, have they been able to translate that into life success? Can they get along with others? That is, do they have value to trade?
    People are people, too. They're not explicitly rational by choice, they don't explicitly pursue their own personal interests, but in practice, most do live this way most of the time. They are Objectivists to degrees and have translated that into life success, and have a lot of value to offer and trade.
    The world will never, ever present itself to you as the polar choice illustrated in Atlas Shrugged. People are fluid, choosing to change or not change. Atlas Shrugged is meant to crystalize principles, allowing you to make better day to day choices for yourself. It's an exaggeration which will never be a reality, because people have the ability to choose and change, and few of them are all evil or all good. Even more so today, a "band together and separate" fantasy shouldn't be given a fleeting thought, when everyone carries around pocket computers representing perfectly all the value the world has to offer to trade, the world's largest country is heading in the right direction, poverty is low, etc. etc. Why would anyone want to run from that? The world's never been better.
  4. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from Easy Truth in Would Objectivists ever come together and settle in one place?   
    Objectivists are people, too. Best case scenario is that their philosophy is superior, but even that is not a given - do they practice what they preach? Even with a superior philosophy, have they been able to translate that into life success? Can they get along with others? That is, do they have value to trade?
    People are people, too. They're not explicitly rational by choice, they don't explicitly pursue their own personal interests, but in practice, most do live this way most of the time. They are Objectivists to degrees and have translated that into life success, and have a lot of value to offer and trade.
    The world will never, ever present itself to you as the polar choice illustrated in Atlas Shrugged. People are fluid, choosing to change or not change. Atlas Shrugged is meant to crystalize principles, allowing you to make better day to day choices for yourself. It's an exaggeration which will never be a reality, because people have the ability to choose and change, and few of them are all evil or all good. Even more so today, a "band together and separate" fantasy shouldn't be given a fleeting thought, when everyone carries around pocket computers representing perfectly all the value the world has to offer to trade, the world's largest country is heading in the right direction, poverty is low, etc. etc. Why would anyone want to run from that? The world's never been better.
  5. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from splitprimary in Is this rape? Consent? Something else?   
    You suggested Sally has a mental disorder, which isn't stated in the premise, and is not "taking the story as stated." You say verbal consent isn't necessary "as long as everyone is active" - kissing is active. You say a person can change her mind, but that Chris is immoral because he knew prior wishes but then tested for a change of mind. You say "Chris can get Sally more interested, find out what she also is eager to try" non-verbally if "everyone is active," which presumably Sally would be if she is "trying," but then you say that a "prideful way to pursue sex" would be only if Chris communicated verbally.
    Looks like there are a lot of double standards going against Chris.
    And of course, robotic sex instructions like "may I please put my hand on your left breast" isn't how any normal person has sex. In addition to giving Sally a mental disorder, you've moved the premise further from reality by insisting on verbal-instruction-only intercourse.
  6. Like
    JASKN reacted to DonAthos in Why Objectivism is so unpopular   
    I think you're both right.
    The outward/political focus versus self-improvement or the pursuit of personal happiness, and also the combative style... though not necessarily so much Rand's (though that's part of the issue), as that of Objectivists who try to ape her style. In my experience, most Objectivists have no idea how to talk to people outside of the Objectivist community, and no apparent desire to try to distinguish those who might be fundamentally open to reason, yet mistaken on one or several points.
    How to talk to people, to discuss ideas, to persuade -- both within and outside of Objectivism -- is a topic that is not only under-explored, but is regarded with outright suspicion by some. Some people seem content to pass moral judgement and condemn others to hell, rather than the (admittedly more difficult) project of examining their own methods of communication.
    I have found that many Objectivists have the reputation of being "assholes"; so much so that it's arguably regarded as characteristic. I don't think it's even undeserved. But it doesn't have to be so. I've known many utterly pleasant and polite Objectivists, and I see no reason why someone cannot be both correct and nice. Even our expressions of anger, where merited, can stand critical examination and improvement. Above all, I think that empathy is a vital characteristic (I would not go so far as to say that it is a "virtue," because I am not prepared for the argument -- but I'm not dismissing it either).
    I've used this analogy before, and I think it still serves: Objectivists have the best product on the market. We have truth. We have reason and reality on our side -- and despite what you may have heard (and despite humanity's checkered history), reason and reality are fairly persuasive forces. They keep all of us alive, every day, and have formed the basis for all of humanity's many achievements. So despite everything we're working against (deeply ingrained cultural forces, including academia, the media, and political institutions), I think Objectivism stands poised to remake the world.
    What we need -- what any great product needs -- is sales. We need to examine and re-examine (and re-examine again) our means and methods of communicating our ideas to a world which is frankly starving for reason, for peace, for happiness. We must continue to improve upon our approach until we succeed.
  7. Like
    JASKN reacted to softwareNerd in Why Objectivism is so unpopular   
    I think the problem really starts because self-improvement is not the focus.
    It starts with someone reading about Objectivism and thinking: "So much that I've been taught is wrong; yet everyone spouts this wrong stuff". It isn't too surprising that this lowers the reader's empathetic-benevolence to the views of others. E.g. you could love Fountainhead and want to be like Roark, but -- in doing so -- you might conclude: "life is going to be one big struggle, and if I don't get lucky with a good jury I'll end in jail; if I don't get a rich guy who loves my work, I'll end up in a garret" 
    Also, the majority of readers focus on politics. E.g. you might read Atlas Shrugged and end up thinking: "The world is so screwed up that there's really little hope for change". Perhaps you might try to fight for political change in some way, with little success, and end up dejected, and reduced to ranting to other ranting Objectivists. 
    Sure... one can implicate Rand, Peikoff, etc.in this, but in the end Objectivism is about the individual, and the buck stops there. Rand was asked: "How does one live a Rational Life in an irrational World?" and her most fundamental reply was "One must never fail to pronounce moral judgement". At face value, this is flawed at two levels: firstly, the possible premise that the world "is irrational"; and, also in the response.
    I say "at face value" because the question is being interpreted narrowly. Objectivists need to ask a variation of this question. Something like: "How do I live a Happy life in an imperfect world?"
    And, the answer needs to be mostly inward-facing: take all the good self-help books, and extract the the good philosophical principles from those. Even from religious teachers like Rick Warren and from Prosperity-Gospel folk. Anyone who is giving people "life hack" ideas of how to succeed in something. Remove the specifics, and extract the philosophical principles, and you'll get the nuggets that are consistent with Objectivism.
    The primary focus of the individual should be "How to Live a Happy life". The rest is essentially useless if it is does not contribute to that happiness. (Aside: It would be truly ironic if someone agreed and then ended up feeling guilty that he ain't happy enough.)
    Movements makes mistakes, learn, and evolve. Looking at the Objectivism's history, one sees three or four pretty distinct periods, and it gets better each time. Over the last few years, the student groups have taken that focus, even re-branding themselves "Strive". Some local community groups have done the same. I think the movement needs an intellectual or two who pursues this into "a thing": where they demonstrate how Objectivism is -- first and foremost -- the route to personal happiness; where he integrates this with the best self-help ideas and life-hacks out there; and, hopefully, where they do this so well that they become popular. Not sure is Alex Epstein is heading in that direction.
     
  8. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from softwareNerd in Ayn Rand's official public notice   
    I know I've heard or read Piekoff talk about how Rand's group of close friends and acquaintances were deeply disappointed by the general reception of Atlas Shrugged, and that before its publication they had worked themselves up to believe that it would be something like a cultural silver bullet. I don't remember if he'd grouped Rand into that also, or what he said specifically about her reaction.
  9. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from softwareNerd in Is this rape? Consent? Something else?   
    You suggested Sally has a mental disorder, which isn't stated in the premise, and is not "taking the story as stated." You say verbal consent isn't necessary "as long as everyone is active" - kissing is active. You say a person can change her mind, but that Chris is immoral because he knew prior wishes but then tested for a change of mind. You say "Chris can get Sally more interested, find out what she also is eager to try" non-verbally if "everyone is active," which presumably Sally would be if she is "trying," but then you say that a "prideful way to pursue sex" would be only if Chris communicated verbally.
    Looks like there are a lot of double standards going against Chris.
    And of course, robotic sex instructions like "may I please put my hand on your left breast" isn't how any normal person has sex. In addition to giving Sally a mental disorder, you've moved the premise further from reality by insisting on verbal-instruction-only intercourse.
  10. Like
    JASKN reacted to Grames in Is this rape? Consent? Something else?   
    It is a requirement that force or the threat of force must be present to violate a rights.  Bank robberies and muggings are sometimes not actively resisted because of the threat of force.  Rape is accomplished by force or the threat of force, usually a much longer and drawn out sequence of pushing around, threatening, disrobing, striking . ... etc than the "surprise sex" of this contrived scenario.    Sally is not presented with any threats or employment of force and gives every sign of consent to what happens in the darkness up until the moment that penis is in vagina, and then nothing changes after that moment.   Chris doesn't need to use force or even a threat of force.  Why does Chris not need to use force or the threat of force? Because Sally is cooperating and participating, and actively consenting in the make-out session up until the moment of penetration.   After the moment of penetration nothing changes except in the secret recesses of Sally's thoughts.   The consent that was present the moment before penetration is by every outward sign still present after the moment of penetration.
    And no, that she said she didn't want to have sex hours ago does not mean she did not change her mind.  To put the point positively, it is always in Sally's power to decide to have sex.  That decision is communicated by actions and words, but in this case actions speak louder than words because Sally decided not to use any words.  All her actions said "yes".
  11. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from splitprimary in Is this rape? Consent? Something else?   
    More analogous would be an unlocked door of the home hosting a party to which I was invited at 7:00pm but arrived early, then opening the door myself and yelling a hello to the face of a surprised host who then jerks her head at me toward the kitchen.
  12. Like
    JASKN reacted to softwareNerd in The "unappeal" of Objectivism vs. Collectivized Ethics (TVoS 10)   
    I think "sefishness" keeps some people from picking up Rand. It's one part in the vague rumor out there that paints Rand as light-weight  and paints Objectivism as a bit looney.  On the other hand, there could be some who are thus motivated to pick up Rand. My guess would be that all the buzz by pro and anti commentators is a net positive when it comes to picking up Rand.
    Once someone picks up Rand, I don't think it matters too much whether she calls it selfishness, vs. toning down the nomenclature and keeping everything else the same. 
    I think the real problem in the marketing of Objectivism was stressing its politics. Instead, the stress should have been on true selfishness: focus on being happy, and let politics, mostly, go to hell.
  13. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in The "unappeal" of Objectivism vs. Collectivized Ethics (TVoS 10)   
    I'm right there with you for focusing on positives, but the thing is, these things are only meaningful with a selfish personal foundation. Human life itself is only meaningful with selfishness as its basis. We could argue that using another word would be beneficial at this point in civilization due to knee-jerk negative reactions from most. But it's certainly not beneficial if the reason we're finding another word is to try to change its meaning and purpose just because most people don't like the idea that human livelihood has to be based on selfishness!
  14. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from splitprimary in Is this rape? Consent? Something else?   
    Maybe 30% of all communication is verbal.
  15. Like
    JASKN reacted to softwareNerd in White Supremacist Protest Violence   
    There's a meta aspect to this White Supremacist vs. BLM argument, which one sees repeatedly in similar fights across time and geography: Protestant vs. Catholic in Ireland, Hindu vs. Muslim along the Indo-Pakistan border, and many other such conflicts. The aspect is this: the more extreme elements are a small minority around which there is a larger set of people who identify with them to some extent. 
    If one considers the larger group, people on both sides have different ideas, but would likely move closer toward each other's position if they would talk, would probably be willing to talk, and would likely be able to find a workable solution even while disagreeing. However, the extremes are the loudest voices, and this keeps the (larger) group around them polarized, rather than listening and attempting to understand the situation rationally. 
    Often, there will be some specific issue that the larger groups disagree on: it could be confederacy statues in this case, it could be cows and pigs in another case, it could be religious affirmative action in another. The more extreme elements will take an all-or-nothing position, and that's the loudest position. If members of the larger group around them say anything else, they're branded as traitors to the cause.
    On top of this, the extreme elements on both sides will try to provoke physical violations: perhaps using police to enforce what they want, perhaps using private thugs, or perhaps using violence against members of the "enemy" group. This is further polarizing. Once the battle reaches a certain point where people think dialog isn't going to get them anywhere -- because the opposition will use violence in response -- then they do the "rational thing" by cheering on when their own side uses violence.
    From one perspective, white supremacists almost do not exist; from another, millions of white supremacists are out there. If we're speaking of people who want to get rid of blacks, they're a tiny minority. If we threw them all in jail, we'd still have disproportionately more black folk in jails. However, if we expand the definition to include people who think there's probably something biological/genetic about black people that makes them inferior, we now have a slightly bigger set. If we expand this further to include people who think there's probably something cultural about many black people that makes them inferior (in effect, even if not inevitably), then we have a pretty big set: many millions across all states.
    Similarly, the set of people who think these statues should stay up is far larger than the racist hard-core. If nobody addresses their views and their arguments with words, it is no surprise they will give a secret, guilty thumbs up to the thugs enforcing their wishes with force. It is also no surprise that they will point to the thugs on the other side as their primary argument. 
  16. Like
    JASKN reacted to 2046 in White Supremacist Protest Violence   
    I do happen to believe they are the same, morally speaking. 
    I had some experience with some Antifa groups, both online and at some protests. I naively thought they could be open to libertarian and individualist ideas, much in the way that objectivists hoped to influence the tea party groups in this way. After my interactions with them, I find them very similar to neo-Nazi types.
    Let me first explain a bit of history. Antifa, at least in so far as they claim, has its history in the KDP, the communist party of Germany during the Weimar years. Most of you are probably familiar with the stories of red shirts fighting brown shirts in the streets, which originated as the Sparticist Leage, and is basically a Bolshevik group that wants a communist dictatorship. The party is banned in Germany to this day. This is the intellectual heritage they claim and logos they use. It was resurrected in the 1980s by punk rock types and leftist agitators to fight against anything right wing using violence. It is not a singular organized group with a single goal or philosophy, much like the occupy movement, but are a disparate group of loosely networking individuals that get together for protests.
    I was drawn to them for the protest aspect. Many objectivists, I find, either put too much stock in voting and democratic politics, or are just too intellectual to be involved in practical action. I am interested in agorism and building alternative institutions, so naturally a group claiming to be about anti fascist action sounded promising. Objectivists, I still do believe, should be the real Antifa. They are also anti racism, anti sexism, anti bigotry, what are we if not all of those things? So I thought they were about using private, voluntary, and non-state means to fight these things through protests, boycotts, social pressure, doxing, etc, which sounded great. I thought, like many left-liberals dissatisfied with the Democratic Party establishment, they would be young, intellectual, and interested in fighting oppression and injustice, and I could influence them towards liberty and individualism. I knew many of them were left-libertarians or left-anarchists, but I had success in the past interacting with them.
    What I found was a group of extreme, violent anti-liberal racial collectivists who are basically social misfits and losers.
    Many of them are, in fact, extremely racists, much like the BLM folks I interacted with. Events such as "white people stay home day" on campus were endorsed. Yaron mentions this in his podcast, and I can confirm, yes violent leftist agitators were roaming around looking for white people to club. During a protest in California, there was a targeting of anyone who was white in a certain area because it was assumed they were pro-Trump. Many of them believe in some sort of reparation scheme, whereby all whites, regardless of their position in society, must be expropriated to repay for historical oppression. And, this is anecdotal, but I was interacting with an Antifa member who felt comfortable confiding in me, lamentably, that they couldn't openly support extermination of whites. When pushed on this, he circled and said he meant through promoting interracial marriage (except not marriage cause that's oppressive), which is a common thing you hear, that all whites would be technically gone and that would be a good thing. 
    They are also virulently anti-Israel, and to such a point that they want to see it destroyed, and it's not hard to see how that turns into a general hatred of Jews.
    I think there's also a psychological aspect here and the analysis isn't complete without that. As many have pointed out, the type of person drawn to violent political extremism tends to be someone who is an outcast, is socially awkward or ignored in some way, people who just enjoy being edgy and contrarian, thumb their noses at established norms, and people who have psychopathic personality types. We can probably understand how easy it is, for some young people to be disasstisfied with mainstream conservatism, for example, and join the alt right or patriot type movements, only to be disgusted with them, then read Richard Spencer or something and become a full blown Nazi. Without a principled philosophy, this person is just drifting toward a cult or gang like group until they are embraced by the worst.
    The same thing happens on the left. Many were disgusted at the betrayal of the Bernie Sanders movement and looked for a better home that would embrace their psychopathic and nihilistic personalities. And the types I found numerous times. I saw a young girl pepper spray an elderly woman who she supposed was a Trump supporter. I saw kids, disabled people, women, moms and dads, random bystanders, etc. attacked with batons or sticks, or hit with projectiles. When I asked her if this was morally okay to her, I got the usual anti-conceptual "revolution isn't pretty" type response and was told this many times. "Break some eggs, if you want to make an omelette" slogan was repeated to me. I saw the group full of these punk rocker types and various social misfits that had no problem hitting women or elderly people. 
    To the extent that I found anyone receptive to ethical egoism, I only found support of the egoism of Max Stirner, who believed that morality and law were artificial and limiting constructs, and supported a subjectivist and emotionalist type of egoism. But in generally, I found them to be anti-intellectual and not interested in ideas.
    Evaluation of whether something is threatening to me isn't a numerical comparison of sins, such that I would go "Antifa: socialists, Nazis: socialists + racists" that's two sins versus one, so Nazis are more immoral.
    Based on the foregoing, I do put Antifa in the same category as the Klan or Nazi type groups. Both involve bringing in people with nutjob views, dysfunctional personality types, social awkwardness, etc into the cultlike embrace of the group, and derive enjoyment from transgressing established norms of society. Both are racialist and both want socialist dictatorships. Both are perfectly fine with using violence to achieve that goal. Both are, in my view, one step removed from being domestic terrorist groups. Both are a danger to themselves and to me and to society as a whole.
    Im not sure how much political power they have, but Hilary Clinton was opposed by the Sanders movement, incredibly popular with young people. Many of those people moved on to Antifa and BLM groups. They have a way of infiltrating any leftist gathering and scouting for new recruits. I believe they are Soros funded and their actions whitewashed by the media. That's how we see things like mainstream liberal types who just think we need more peace and love protesting right next to a hardened left agitator with a hammer and sickle flag and nobody questions it. But everyone immediately knows Nazis are bad. 
    One thing is certain, don't let your kids or friends join these groups, and don't go to these protests. Just stay away.
     
  17. Like
    JASKN reacted to dream_weaver in White Supremacist Protest Violence   
    Just following orders, Sir! (Couldn't resist.)
  18. Like
    JASKN reacted to softwareNerd in Is this rape? Consent? Something else?   
    That progression is what I meant when I said that if I were a juror, I'd want to roll back a minute or so before the penetration, to understand what happened. When I read the original example, the thing that immediately struck me as inexplicable is the sudden appearance of the penis in the vagina.
    What! where did that come from? That's not this works. In the movies, the guy will work wonders. He'll throw the woman here of there, sometimes lifted up and against a wall, like one of those virtuouso well-built porn starts, and hit is target spot on. Real life doesn't work that way. There's so much more groping and positioning, and most of the time, the woman has to help the guy or he has to probe like he has feelers. 
    If a lawyer were to question the witness, I'd expect to find details such as: he'd got her underwear off with help from her. that he'd stimulated her, that he had repositioned his body in a way that made it possible to enter her, that he has using his penis to probe around her vagina... the details would vary but there would almost certainly be some such lead up, lasting some length of time. I'd be open to testimony that said otherwise, but I'd want to hear it specifically. 
    The second thing I'd question is that she could not simply tut-tut him. Saying no is in pretty integral to couples who have not yet decided how far they want to go. For instance, a girl might tell a boy that she's okay only kissing him. They're kissing and he places his hand on the narrow of her waist and starts to caress her, moving it toward her breast. This probably happens a million times all around the world. It is not the act of some weirdo, but the method but which consent is probed. Heck, she may not even say she's okay being kissed. He might move in and she might allow it. A small twitch in this direction or the other is usually sufficient. Millions of women do this, even if it is their first time.
    Or maybe she allows his hands on her breast through her clothes, and then his lips go down to her neck. Again, no explicit permission was requested. He might progress lower moving from neck in the direction of her breasts. And so on... none of this is sexual assault as such. For it to be sexual assault, we'd need something more than the progression. We'd need some indication -- however small -- that the woman did not want this.
    And, importantly, in the progression above, we'd want this indication to be external. We'll agree that it is not sufficient to say that she was moaning with pleasure while being disgusted with herself. But, similarly, we can't take her unexpressed shyness or other internal state of mind as enough to make this sexual assault.
    We know that Sally had no problem talking about sex and limits. To me, as a juror, it does not sound plausible that she suddenly loses all agency and does not do what is so routine that it is almost second nature.
    These are the things I meant when I said that one has to make the concept concrete. One cannot simply scan for one aspect.
    Also, rape is mot just consent. Nor it is just sexual assault. Another way of answering "what is rape" is not to start with concretes first, but to ask why we need this concept. We're talking of a concept that is primarily a legal concept. Just as we have misdemeanors and felonies, to distinguish degrees to crime, we distinguish between rape and sexual-assault. Attorney's ill go further and may have multiple "degrees" of sexual assault. Rape comes beyond all that. So, when we ask "is this rape", we're asking "is this an extremely serious sexual assault that has gone beyond other types of sexual assault".
    But, there's more... if we keep the concept real, we understand that the whole idea of such concepts is to indicate the penalties. If we are in the U.S., the average sentence for rape is over 9 years, with the criminals ending up actually serving over 5 years. So, when we ask: "is this rape", we're asking "is this a sexual assault that is serious enough to send a person to jail for 5 years or so". 
    One might reject this by saying that that is a different issue. Why talk about sentences? Well, take a rape where a taxi driver veers into a dark alley, holds his passenger down, tears off her clothes, and ignoring her screams and fists, violates her. Perhaps he is strong enough that he does not do her much lasting bodily harm. The bruises might heal in a few weeks, but we all understand that the trauma will be there for ages, perhaps forever. We understand that this goes beyond sexual assault where someone feels up a girl in a crowd. We understand that we want to get the perpetrator off the streets for a long time. All this is the reason we need a separate concept in the first place.
    So, when one thinks of concepts, one cannot divorce this from the need for the concept and all the concretes around that need. We need the concept of rape to describe serious sexual assault for which we're happy to deliver at least some serious jail time. All this is part of how one thinks about concrete instances. That's what I meant when I said that it goes beyond scanning words in an example.
  19. Like
    JASKN reacted to Nicky in Are We Going to Go to War with North Korea?   
    A good relationship with China is far more important than anything we could possibly hope to gain by threatening them. And the only way we can maintain what is currently a good relationship is by leaving the balance of power that has been established in Asia alone. This is not Russia. They're not invading their neighbors, they're not going around grabbing back territories they agreed to give up, they're not even interfering in western elections. They're not perfect, but they're trying to get along with us.
    We already help Taiwan a lot more than they're helping North Korea. China didn't arm North Korea with nukes (Pakistan did). We DO arm Taiwan with sophisticated weaponry. So, if I were in the US government, I'd stay as far away from the subject of Taiwan as I can through all this. Treat it as an entirely separate issue, and be thankful that the Chinese are willing to do that too.
    We should stick with economic pressure. And even that, lightly. China is powerful and confident, and we're lucky they're trying to be somewhat nice.
    For what purpose? Who would Taiwan use them on? Invading Chinese troops, on Taiwanese soil? Or Chinese cities? The Taiwanese and Chinese are the same ethnic group. They're not trying to annihilate each other, they're having a political disagreement.
    Imo, the main thing that move would achieve is that, after the PLA strolls in (in a war that would be both a given and very brief), China would have some US nukes in its arsenal. And the US would have an adversarial China to deal with, for the next few decades.
  20. Like
    JASKN reacted to Nicky in Are We Going to Go to War with North Korea?   
    Just to further elaborate on the options North Koreans have: in case of any conflict or instability, they have the option to surrender to China, rather than the US. That would be something the US side would not just accept, but welcome, because it would solve almost everybody's problems without bloodshed: China would keep its buffer, the US, Japan and SK would no longer have to worry about a rogue regime in the area, and the transition to a more open NK society wouldn't be the US' problem.
    So the North Korean elites wouldn't just be choosing between surrender/reunification (which would mean being held responsible for their crimes) and war. They have a path towards keeping their status/wealth while at the same time getting rid of the frightened, paranoid manchild who's terrorizing them. That is a very strong incentive to avoid a war, as the US (to me at least, seems like consciously, and as part of a well thought out plan) is ratcheting up tensions.
  21. Like
    JASKN reacted to Nicky in Are We Going to Go to War with North Korea?   
    I haven't seen any evidence that North Korea has the ability to deliver nuclear warheads with any accuracy.
    There are also several missile defense systems in the area, that further reduce the success rate of NK missiles. The US is in the process of deploying THAAD missile defense to South Korea, Japan has the ship and air based AEGIS missile defense system, and I'm guessing US bases in the region are protected by both. 
    So, to me at least, North Korea's ability to inflict massive casualties on either SK or Japan is being exaggerated in the media. If they attack with conventional weapons, they would have a few days at most before their offensive capabilities are fully destroyed. If they try to attack with nukes, I'm guessing they would have one try, before the US responds with tactical nukes against their launch sites.
    That's one of the few good things about Trump: he is unlikely to hold back the US military from using appropriate force.
    And that's IF Un even has the power to start a suicidal war. Seems like a tall order for an unpopular, unproven leader to get his military to march into certain death...no matter how ruthless and scary he is.
  22. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from softwareNerd in A solution to the lack of diversity   
    It occurred to me that there's a parallel with church communities. "All sinners welcome" at church, but it's really only those who accept the religious premises on some level. There's an unspoken line that is crossed if the ideology is threatened, and you will soon find yourself slowly shown the door via private "counseling" sessions, social shunning, etc. I've wondered how long a church would actually let me attend, openly as myself.
    Tech companies can worry about silly things because they can afford to! 
  23. Like
    JASKN got a reaction from softwareNerd in A solution to the lack of diversity   
    The general populace validates transgenderism using the same gender constructs that feed the disorder. The transgendered have an idea of "man" and "woman" that they use to satiate whatever mental issue is confounding them, and the populace judges the result by the same gender standards. The goal is to conform to and enforce the standard gender stereotypes. Running culturally parallel is the opposite: Straights and gays who identify physiologically as "man" or "woman," but not necessarily in line with the gender stereotypes. Their goal is to normalize in their own minds a version of their physiological gender that does not enforce the stereotypes. Right now, these opposite goals are conflated culturally.
    A company would need to decide which standard they will use to identify "woman": how a person feels, or a person's physiology. Maybe some companies would be brave enough to use physiology, but I think people would try to appease social equalitists and default to using gender norms. If a stereotypical man called himself a woman but put forth no effort to look like a stereotypical woman, or worse still flagrantly so, everyone would think about how a transgendered person would feel about it, and then they would make judgements using the transgendered gender standards which also exist in their own minds. There would be some awkward, accusatory, defensive, "This man is disgusting for disrespecting the transgendered like this!" with an implicit, "He isn't even trying to adhere to women-gender stereotypes!"
     
  24. Like
    JASKN reacted to softwareNerd in Is art better than sports?   
    Don't want to take the discussion away from sport, but Reality TV might be more Romanticism than many other average TV shows. If you take someones real life, and select only those times when they are consciously pursuing some value, or trying to deal with some situation/problem that has arisen, then you see people as volitional actors...not as pawns of reality. This aspect: humans as volitional beings, is the crucial razor in Rand's concept of Romanticism. Reality TV puts this on steroids. Even if we might pooh-pooh the particular values being pursued, we are seeing volitional beings pursuing values. Not always, and not all the "actors"... but that variety of good and bad is also an element of good drama. I suspect that is why reality-TV is so popular: because it is a sneak Romanticism genre that upended more boring manufactured narratives.
     
    Rather than art, I would relate it to dance. Here's Rand, on dance, which Rand says "... presents a stylized version of man's body in action".
    Rand ("Romantic Manifesto, Ch-4, Art and Cognition): "Every strong emotion has a kinesthetic element, experienced as an impulse to leap or cringe or stamp one's foot, etc. Just as a man's sense of life is part of all his emotions, so it is part of all his movements and determines his manner of using his body: his posture, his gestures, his way of walking, etc. We can observe a different sense of life in a man who characteristically stands straight, walks fast, gestures decisively—and in a man who characteristically slumps, shuffles heavily, gestures limply. This particular element—the overall manner of moving-constitutes the material, the special province of the dance. The dance stylizes it into a system of motion expressing a metaphysical view of man."
     
    Sport is pretty similar. Traditionally it has been male and could be thought of as symbolic physical battles, reenacting the essence of an aspect of physically-manifested heroism that was an important value for centuries. While retaining that element, some forms -- like beach volleyball -- stress human beauty too. And, as one gets to Gymnastics or Synchronized Swimming or could even debate if those are on the borderline between the two sub-genres of art: sport and dance.
  25. Like
    JASKN reacted to StrictlyLogical in What happened to the "like" button?   
    So I find it useful.  Where is the like button now?
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