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I figured this convo had reached its sell-by date. If white people and black people are victimized at about the same rate, why should we suspect that most of the perpetrators are black? Why tease out homicide when that is such a rare event even in most poor neighborhoods? People victimize their neighbors, and their neighbors tend to look like them and be of the same class. The "New Left" to which I refer is the one imagined by our host, not the current faction in power. It's a Sowellian rhetorical tactic to point outside the American black experience as if that has any bearing on the American Black experience. The library anecdote fits in there. Let's see how Latinos do after being targeted by policy for a century and a half. How many middle-class Latino neighborhoods have been relocated for freeway construction? Let's see what happens to the "Latino attitude" when they are prevented from building heritable wealth. We'll end up needing to argue what constitutes race and what constitutes culture, and how they overlap and interact.
Toggle Commented Sep 1, 2015 on Some Short Items at I Want a New Left
Much of what the New Left faces is correcting the mistakes of the Old Left. It’s important to remember that some Old Left policies still continue, and those that have been curtailed still have a living legacy. Righties don’t want to be responsible for correcting the legacy of lefty policy. They seem to believe that if they scream "Democrat" enough times, black people will start voting GOP. And of course, lefties don’t even see that they have made mistakes. But I see that, into the 80s at least, official policy at all levels of jurisdiction specifically targeted black people and black communities in harmful ways. Beyond the idea that more jobs would solve many problems, there remains a recent legacy of injustice that merits correction. I don’t see that as a left or right issue. Unfortunately for me, few righties and not enough lefties are willing to be self-critical along these lines.
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2015 on Some Short Items at I Want a New Left
We actually have a ton of common ground. I’ve been reading your blog for several years, and am about halfway through "War on the Poor". We differ strongly on important aspects about racism, though. That’s why I commented here, and thanks for your replies. DOJ finds that "Poor urban blacks (51.3 per 1,000) had rates of violence similar to poor urban whites (56.4 per 1,000)." The notion of "violent blacks" is not well-supported by data, only by narrative. The way the story is told, one would think every black neighborhood is a shooting gallery and every black person is a bomb about to go off. How does that help anyone? The affirmative action you cite probably doesn’t help poor blacks much. Remember that your wife’s experience in academic hiring is a much different universe than the job market for lower-skilled people in urban areas. Kevin is getting hired and Ta-Nehisi is not. There are multiple surveys in support of this bias. So maybe we’re not affirmative enough?
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2015 on Some Short Items at I Want a New Left
"increased criminality of blacks" conveys a bias itself. Do we have useful data showing poor black people are more likely to be violent than poor people at large? You must have heard about the disparity in sentencing depending whether one sold powder or rock cocaine, for example? Why don’t we hear about poor-on-poor crime? It’s as if black people are somehow inferior that they are afflicted by black-on-black crime. Police are allegedly trained professionals. Are we supposed just accept them "reacting in a natural way”? It might be useful to take many of your ideas about helping the poor in general and apply them to the subset of poor black people. It is hard to get a job if you don’t have a diploma from a good school. It is even harder to get a job if you have that same "inferior" diploma and your name is Ta-Nehisi. Even with affirmative action, the black man named Kevin is getting hired first.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2015 on Some Short Items at I Want a New Left
Sure, most black people want to profess the broader (Christian) belief that all lives matter. Questions the poll did not ask: "Do you believe there is systemic bias against black people in USA?" or "Do police use disproportionate violence against black people?" I’m seeing BLM as a parallel to the TEA Party. TEA started with a focus on taxes. But a body of enthusiastic activists will be co-opted, and the movement lost its focus. BLM arose in response to the issues my questions addressed, but the energy is now being co-opted to advocate a wider raft of traditional leftist complaints. In the model of your New Left, I say that yes, all lives matter. But what do we do about the continuing biases against black people, and the terrible relationship between police and black communities? Stop coddling and enabling criminals is important, but hardly sufficient. There are millions of working black people who are not criminals, who live outside the worst of crime and poverty, but still face unjust hurdles.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2015 on Some Short Items at I Want a New Left
The "letter to the editor" model appeals to me. A like/dislike or other voting input could be free. Perhaps cost is a function of comment length. The first 100 characters are free. More than that, buy a stamp.
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2015 on How to Beat the Trolls at Cobb
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Western secularism lacks the will. But in a long war between Christianity and Islam, the Jesus people have plenty of will. But first the Christians have to get the secularists out of the way. Islamism will actually help reframe the conflict as a religious one which Christians (without leftists) can win.
Don't you see too many factions in the #BlackLivesMatter movement to ascribe such blame to all of them? In MN, the Mall of America event was entirely non-violent, without any chanting for the scalps of cops. They broke they law by trespassing on MOA property, and were prepared to be arrested. That is exactly what the MLK model of disobedient protest looks like. It seems silly to say they're responsible for the acts of a mentally ill person half a continent away.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2014 on Oh, Yes, It’s Fair! at I Want a New Left
I see righties echoing the belief that black people are inclined to criminality and lesser disappointments. It's old-fashion superior race jabber. The food, the music, the styles of black culture are associated with being a lowlife. I'm actually kind of shocked at how much this has come out thanks to Ferguson. It is a minority attitude (heh) among righties, but is more than a fringe, and is not called out very often by the non-racist majorty.
The messages in Brown's milieu are supported by righties as well as leftists. There's not many paths out. While I understand your theme of self-critical leftism, a self-critical rightist would also see a huge waste of not just and individual life, but of all the lives hindered by the right's inability to break into the negative messaging that lets kids grow up to be killed by cops.
Disparate impact is evidence of racism even if every race is not equally impacted. The attitudes of different minorities toward authority also matters. Somalis do not have a couple of generations of family history getting jobbed by the system. East Asians do a great job taking care of their own as means to overcome racism against them. To count only murders is to miss the much larger and more subtle problems of systemic racism.
Christians have engaged in a thousand years of debate to settle these questions and forestall the relativist tendencies you call out. Yes, there are and always will be fringes of belief. But the large and enduring main factions of Christianity have volumes of apologetics that normalize the faithful.
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2014 on Creating a Moderate Islam at I Want a New Left
The trajectory of the head wounds is still a problem for Wilson. Brown was shot in the top of the head, but his body was not abraded as one would expect from a runner falling forward. The shot inside the car almost certainly rendered both men temporarily deaf. If Wilson gave any warning or command, or if Brown offered a surrender, neither would be heard. More evidence may come out, clarifying one way or the other. What troubles me greatly is that exonerating Wilson changes nothing about the horrendous responses by Ferguson PD in the days after. I see much chatter trying to use this autopsy to sweep the other half of the tragedy under the rug.
Those meters represent a petty failure of leftism. Requiring someone with reduced ability to walk half a block to pay for parking increases the suffering of the people for the convenience of the meter maids. The new meter system is very confusing to new users, too. The govt claims parking revenue is up with the new meters. From what I witness, that’s not due to better compliance, but to suburbanites and tourists overpaying. The machine will take your money even when parking at a given space is supposed to be free. It's a racket.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2014 on Some Short Items at I Want a New Left
I still enjoy argument for argument’s sake. And being quippy is good practice for writing ad copy. So I see similar things, but have different preferences. Several of my FB pallys are threatening to quit that habit because of their concerns (and illusions) about privacy. I find it uplifting to see someone quitting FB for what seems a much better reason: Because of how it affects its users, and who they then tend to become. I’ve been an earnest and active player on several fora over the years, and quit them when I realized they were no longer serving me. Since FBing has essentially replaced the blogging I used to do, I lament all the insights and enjoyable quips that are essentially lost to me because they’re made on FB’s servers and on other people’s territory within Facebookland. Keeping the bulk of your output in your own space makes all that output searchable and referenceable, more useful to build upon. Not does FB lack depth, it lacks permanence. At least in a user-friendly way…
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2013 on The Long Form at Cobb
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There must be some limit to immigration. Add too much rice to the gumbo and you don't have gumbo anymore. If we can agree on that, we can argue about how much of which kinds of additions the polity can embrace without changing its essential character. If we cannot agree, then I say unfettered immigration is just slow-motion invasion and conquest. I would repeal the 17th Amendment, to remind us all to focus on the State governments which created the FedGov. Power is not created from above, it is delegated upward. My position would probably apply the 14th a little differently. The points where it was written "Congress shall make no law" have less breadth than "right shall not be infringed".
Toggle Commented Feb 11, 2013 on The False Majority at Cobb
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We need a nation as part of the means of determining which are "us" and which are "them". Any political experiment that doesn't enforce borders will not endure. The Constitutional US of A was probably federal enough to administer an even larger territory and population than it now does. It was empowered to oversee only truly nationwide concerns. But since the democracy fetishists have led to centralizing power in one FedGov (instead of manifold StateGovs), the administrative entity is so big it must fail. Since I hold the Framers' vision in such high regard, I get called both a LINO and a RINO by those respective opposites.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2013 on The False Majority at Cobb
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#9: A person recommending an economic policy is not practicing economics.
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Funny, I wish I *could* erase the Krofft puppets from my memory.
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2012 on Bugs Bunny Pwns Big Bird at Cobb
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“Walking, talking, chess playing automaton” reminded me of Moxon’s Master, by Bierce.
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2012 on A Task for the Humanities at Cobb
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The anti-IP faction would say the inventor should just keep his new mousetrap mechanism a secret. And/or the inventor can still profit by building a brand for his traps. Misrepresenting the origin of a thing (making a knock-off) is actionable in libertopia under the rules for fraud. Next time I get into one of those arguments, I will have to test them on the fraud angle. If there is no IP, does anyone own their own identity? If I start pretending to be Elvis Presley, the real Elvis is still Elvis and loses nothing according to the “non-scarcity of IP” argument.
I went to a few games, and one or two after the move to the Metrodome. Even if the Kicks didn’t have any superstars, I never got tired of saying, “Ace Ntsoelengoe” in the local accent. Goalkeeper Tino Lettieri still sells a line of gas-station food with his name on it.
I have argued this many times with my libertarian and voluntaryist friends. The anti-IP faction relies on the assertion that copying doesn’t take anything from the creator. There’s a particular Jefferson quote they cannot repeat often enough. I have a counter-argument (©): Exclusivity is itself a value. When a work is copied, exclusivity diminishes. Something is taken, and taken without permission, which constitutes theft. My friends in particular are devout evangelists of Austrian economic theory. There is no objective value, and all interactions are measured by their trade value, implicitly subjective. There is no requirement that a thing to be traded exist in the material realm. A secret can be traded. Or stolen.
It gets worse if you go into downtown Minneapolis. The City is trying several different schemes attempting to create safer bike lanes. The confusing and inconsistent markings not only decrease safety, they snarl traffic.
Toggle Commented Jun 27, 2012 on Driving in Minneapolis at I Want a New Left
Even to a non-fan, that was a nifty shot.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2012 on Soccer: What a Curve! at I Want a New Left