Via Instapundit and Bill Quick, I’ve noticed discussion about this Forbes article on why females are under-represented in technology companies.
As someone who has spent an adult lifetime in the tech industry, let me suggest an angle that I didn’t see in this article, and which I have not seen in other similar articles.
Most jobs of any consequence in tech companies require people to successfully write code at some point in their careers. Writing code is a very unusual human activity. In addition to logic skills and some other cognitive capabilities that the articles usually do touch on, there is one aspect of it most people outside the industry have never thought about: you must be comfortable being wrong and prepared to constantly acknowledge and fix your own mistakes.
You are wrong a few dozen times a day. The computer tells you (via a compiler error or problem in the running program) that you are unambiguously wrong, and you *must* figure out how to fix the mistake before you proceed. The mistake can’t be overlooked or ignored. It must be fixed, and to the exacting standards of a machine with no emotions.
And here’s where I think the problem results in disparate impact between males and females: the computer is invulnerable to pleading, sweet-talking, eye blinking, hair tossing, lip licking, or any of the other things a substantial fraction of young women have learned to use to get their way in the world, via persuading a male to take care of it or overlook it.
Think, for example, about all those famous stratagems for getting out of traffic tickets, and the jokes about wanting to use one and finding out the cop is female. Whether feminists like it or not, that behavior is common among young women, and it’s common because it works in many social situations.
Whether you think it’s cultural or genetic, woman are less comfortable in the harsh reality, hard edged world of writing code. I think it’s at least partially because it goes against how they have learned to deal with the world around them. Because the computer isn’t a person, and certainly not a male, their best social skills avail them nothing. Plus, they have to be completely comfortable being told flat out “you are wrong about this – deal with it” many times a day, every day.
This is hard. No one likes being told that they are wrong. I know plenty of men who can’t deal with it either. But I think women, on average, have less experience with it than men.
There is evidence to back that up. For example, there is research confirming that teachers pamper girls in school. So, from a young age, and given our current educational system, I think a male is less likely to have someone overlook their mistakes.
There are certainly amazing and talented women developers. I know some and I’ve hired some. In fact, I’ve hired a larger percentage of the women candidates who interviewed with me than men. I just don’t see that many of them.
I strongly challenge the idea that the disparate numbers are due to sexism at the level of the technology companies. In the ruthlessly competitive world of tech, we’ll take talent where we find it. I don’t care about a candidate’s gender, race, religion, sexual preference, or anything else irrelevant to the prime consideration: can they effectively write software?
In fact, given the current lop-sided proportion of men in the industry, in many cases a qualified woman actually has an advantage! Men are hardwired by eons of evolution to prefer to look at a woman across a conference table than another scruffy, bearded, overweight male nerd. Male decision makers, in my experience, simply never turn down a qualified woman due to sexism. (I supposed there are Neanderthal male decision makers out there who do, but in a long tech career, I’ve never met one.)
So, to the extent that gender matters at all, women typically have the better of it. But decision makers can’t afford to let that factor override the need to perform. Anyone running a software development team knows the dangers of having someone who can’t deal with the harsh realities of being told they are wrong and figuring out how to fix it many times a day. One of the prime characteristics I look for in interviews is defensiveness, which usually indicates an inability to deal with being wrong a lot. Such a person (male or female) not only fails to contribute much, they degrade the overall ability of the team to get things done.
I don’t know how to fix this comparative lack of women in the industry, and I would certainly like to see it fixed. But expecting university computer science departments or tech companies to do it is silly. Any solution is going to have to go a lot further back in a female’s life than young adulthood, and involve a much bigger effort than just encouraging more girls to enter science fairs.
More outrage smoke from Ezekiel Emanuel on the Supreme Court women’s contraception ruling over at Politico lamenting unintended consequences.
Someone should lament the unintended consequences of the ACA, assuming they are unintended.
Blah blah, no personal choice, your company’s religious belief trumps yours, what a crime that companies have provided the majority of American’s health insurance since World War II when we could have had a super good program like ObamaCare is offering right now. Don’t you just wish those evil Supreme Court justices had gone the way of progressive liberal goodness and niceness and made up law like Justice Roberts did when he magiced a penalty, unlawful, into a tax, lawful, instead of reading this new rule to see if it clashed with laws already on the books?
The ACA was crated to, uh, prevent you from being locked into your job you see. Odd, I personally changed jobs, as a father of a family, which HAD pre-existing conditions, of a serious nature, some 9 times over the course of the last 35 years BEFORE the ACA, and oddly must have missed the handcuffs that kept me locked in my job(s). The ACA is a cure all, it will prevent job lock, it will raise wages AND it will keep health care inflation under control. Yeah, course it will. It would have helped win the War on women, but not now because Sharia law!
Here’s a snip….
‘To minimize disruption and reassure most Americans, the Affordable Care Act kept employer-sponsored health insurance intact. The ACA includes an employer mandate enforced by a $2,000 per worker penalty: Employers with more than 50 full-time workers who do not provide insurance that satisfies a minimum requirement must pay.
The minimum requirement includes preventive services from vaccinations to cancer screening tests to cholesterol screening. It also includes contraception. The Hobby Lobby case basically says employers need not cover contraception in the health insurance it provides” (my emphasis)
So well crafted was this law, that women’s contraceptive health coverage wasn’t even included in it. That would be the rule that the evil religious folks NOW can use to control women’s uterus’s! I mean that would be the rule that means the evil religious folks have to pay for birth control.
The ACA passed into law on March 23, 2010 – there was NO provision in the original law for birth control – here’s a FAQ from the National Women’s Law Center web site that explains it was added on August 1, 2011. Added, not voted on, not sent to the House, Senate, President. Just added.
“The health care law (the Affordable Care Act) requires certain preventive health services and screenings to be covered in all new health insurance plans without cost sharing. This means that, for the preventive health care services included, you will not be charged a co-payment for the services, and the costs of the services will not be applied to your deductible. The list of covered preventive services is extensive and includes services such as mammograms, pap-smears, and smoking cessation supports….(I snipped a link ‘for more info)
On August 1, 2011, the list was expanded to include birth control alongside other women’s preventive services, such as an annual well-woman visit.”
Maybe Nancy Pelosi should have read it first to see if that was in there. Or maybe it was, we just couldn’t see it, yet.
That was, not so soon, taken care of by Kathleen Sebelius and the good folks down at US Department of Health and Human Service, a year later. Really, you’d have thought they’d have done it sooner, but maybe they finally read the ACA.
Free contraception for women. They couldn’t possibly have left that out, that would be like a war on women or something, and not a Bush or Republican in sight to take the blame! It’s important, right? It couldn’t have been overlooked. It’s important enough that the government just tried to use it to tell people with objecting religious convictions (dirrrrrrrrty Christians) ….they were going to have to provide contraception coverage.
And now because of the Jihadi Sharia loving 5 maniacs on the Supreme Court, women can’t have contraception, or contraception of their choice, or health care, or something!!!!!!!!
Well, not quite, in this case, specifically, the government mandated Hobby Lobby had to pay for methods they considered to be tantamount to ”abortion’ coverage. Hobby Lobby actually agreed to cover some other forms of contraception, a pretty fair number, in fact, 16.
Robin Abcarian at the LA Times weighed in on the decision too. According to Robin the Supremes should have looked at what the drugs and devices did and made their decision on that basis. So long as when it was done the 5 male Justices that didn’t know for sure what 1 male and 3 female Justices didn’t know for sure, that is, when life begins, listened only to the 3 females because, uh, they have a uterus and ovaries.
Seems to me they probably did consider what those drugs and devices did as it really figures in their determination it was in fact a religious argument, or an argument of ‘faith’ if you will.
Here’s a summary from The Atlantic of what Hobby Lobby is thinking… and that’s where the argument gets religious for them. Hobby Lobby views life as beginning at the point the egg is fertilized by the sperm. The counter argument, and the Atlantic linked an authority appeal of ‘Most Doctors’ which turns out to be the Federal Government and a reference to the American Congress of OBGYNs, is that it begins at implantation (and we all know from Roe v. Wade that what implants is a puppy, or goldfish, or protoblob, until 9 months later a miracle occurs and a human is born.) The Atlantic summary is okay, but to me they torpedo themselves right around the straights of IUD diagram because they rely on their experts to make a decision of faith for Hobby Lobby, and decide that Hobby Lobby’s faith is politely, crap.
Once again, note if the egg hasn’t implanted (yet), the now hysterical side of the argument has decided it’s not a pregnancy. The IUDs prevent implantation and the pills in question prevent fertilization rather than stopping ovulation. And that’s where faith/belief comes in because we didn’t get the instruction book from the Deity of your choice. If you don’t have a deity, I’m not sure what you’re going to decide, but at some point LIFE begins and the two sides do NOT agree definitively when that is.
The 5 mad male Mullah’s on the Supreme Court decided to err on the side of Hobby Lobby’s beliefs. Owing to the Religious Freedom Restoration act. A law, already, on, the, books. Which the new ‘rule’ seemed to contradict in the 4 instances specified.
More from Zeke:
“The closely held corporation limit is no limit at all. It turns out that more than half of U.S. employees work for closely held corporations. While many are small, many, like Hobby Lobby, are large. And it gives an incentive for more employers to become closely held corporations.”
It doesn’t stop contraceptives from being covered, it’s probably not going to lead to a massive rush by companies to drop contraceptive coverage, it’s not some fundamentalist plot to control women and (re)gain control over their reproductive systems.
It was a loss for the progressives though, because they made such a freaking big deal out of making sure the crazy faith holders at Hobby Lobby did as they were damn well told. Hence the lamentations of their…uh, various genders.
As a final note, I can’t help thinking it is interesting to note that while 4 methods of “contraception” are no longer available to female Hobby Lobby employees, no one of these outraged folks is particularly concerned that the Democrats left such an important item out of the original encyclopedic bill or that an Executive branch agency came along and created an entire entitlement completely out of whole cloth a year after “the law” was passed.
You’d almost think they had some plan to make sure they were going to remain permanently in control of those agencies, otherwise that sort of thing would be dangerous if the crazy faith holders ever got back into power and turned the tables on them.
Michael Sam is a college football player. He’s was a good player in college. Good enough, in any event, to barely make it into the NFL draft at number 249 of 256. Which means he probably isn’t a great player, and probably won’t make it in the NFL. After he finished his college football career at Mizzou, he announced he was openly gay.
So, when he was waiting to hear whether or not he’d be drafted, with his boyfriend at his side, TV cameras were there to broadcast live on ESPN, when he heard he’d squeeked into the NFL and exchanged several kisses with his boyfriend.
Now, TV cameras don’t usually show up to see the reaction of guys who get picked #249, mainly because no one usually gives a crap that they got picked. But Michael Sam is different. They decided they were going to cover him, well before the day of coverage.
“We are very aware that in those last two rounds potentially — maybe even before that — Michael will get drafted and we will definitely spend time on that draft pick,’’ said Eric Weinberger, who is running NFL Network’s draft coverage. “We will spend as much time as we think we have to.”
They were there solely because he is openly gay, hoping to get something good out of it. What they got was several good closeups of gay man-kissing. I’m sure they were very happy with that.
Others were less so. The Dolphins’ Defensive Back Don Jones tweeted his displeasure at the scene, which was broadcast live on ESPN. This got him fined and suspended. Apparently, we are no longer allowed to express our opinions in polite society any more, unless that opinion is anything other than fully politically correct. Personally, I feel pretty much the way Bill Burr does in this comedy bit. I don’t have a problem with gays doing whatever they do. Just don’t care. Looking to get upset at whatever gay people are up to doesn’t interest me.
But, I also don’t want to see gay guys kissing or having sex, because I think sex with guys is icky. That’s not something you’re supposed to express publicly. I’m not sure why, but it’s now hateful to state that you might be a little uncomfortable with gay things. I think heterosexual sex that includes golden showers is icky, too. Not being German, I don’t wanna watch that, either. Nobody will yammer for me to lose my job if say say something negative about golden showers, but saying something less that fully accepting about homosexuality can get you a quick trip to “sensitivity training”, or even the unemployment line. Our limits of acceptable opinion are being circumscribed by political correctness. The government doesn’t have to attack free speech. Our culture is doing that job just fine.
It also irks me how the media handles this. They go out of their way to highlight things that stir up controversy, then gleefully report on the controversy they intentionally ginned up, being sure to point out people who say the “wrong” things about it. Those people then have to make elaborate public apologies for saying something politically incorrect. Then they get suspended or fired. It’s getting pretty constant now. The Opie and Anthony radio show are doing a bit where they are trying to go ten days without one of these cycles of apology. So far, they haven’t made it for three days without resetting the clock.
The Framers of the Constitution were terrified the government would stifle free speech. Turns out, they should’ve been worried about the rest of us. Apparently, it’s not something we really want.
There’s a lot of internetness going on over Jay Carney and the choice of posters in his kitchen.
Priorities people….but what the hell, it’s Sunday morning and I’m not cranky yet. Maybe I will be when I’m done .
Apart from the choice of Soviet Era posters that Joe Stalin may have had the originals of in his garage or basement pool room let’s take a visual tour of the rest of the place.
First let us note, admire, and praise the skill of his son flipping that egg, and timing it all so his sister can point at it at precisely the right instant for the camera. Come on people, that’s pretty awesome. How many of you have TRIED to flip an egg in the pan? That boy got some serious hang time there, and I have to assume it’s still going up because the egg hasn’t even rotated over yet. AND I want to be there when that still runny yoke smacks into the pan from that height as Newton’s laws do their thing when it comes back down. Ah, good times, good times…..
Second, I hope the Carneys (Given this photo, can I spell it Carnies? That joke never runs out does it.) enjoy the repast they’ve laid out. When Michelle gets wind of the sugar laden carbo loaded feast for two dozen that the four (I’ve allowed for the photographer) are about to settle down to she’s going to have words with Jimbo about healthy diets.
Food to the left of them,
food to the, uh, even further left of them,
food behind them.
Stacked and plated,
sliced up with special care,
boldly it sits, all there,
gather ye world, and stare.
No spot on the counter bare,
none of them have bed hair,
displaying their hominess flair,
the family of Carney.
Let’s see – nice plate of butter sticks, looks to be about two pounds, poached eggs in cups, bananas just in the left of the frame, blueberries strewn across the counter closing in on one infidel strawberry, sliced bread plates, a tray of bagels, stacks of muffins, stacks of Danish. I can’t tell if that’s an entire cheese cake covered with strawberries, or a massive bowl of said fruit.
Yep, life must be goooooooo-oood at the Carney house if that’s a normal breakfast layout. Maybe there’s a slew of undocumented maids off camera that will be eating after the Carney family is finished picking over this smorgasbord buffet pastry collection that wiped out the local bakeries’ stock for the morning. I’m surprised they’re all so healthy looking if that’s what they normally lay out. What about the hungry? What about the poor? That’s a lot of cash, well, for me it is, laying out in baked goods that are going to get stale before noon. I’d swear they were feeding way more than 4 people. I’ve seen local computer user group meetings where that layout would be the first go round as the vultures, uh, participants, arrived for the 8:00 am opening.
I don’t know, maybe those pastries were provided by ‘green’ bakers looking to schmooze Jay so he’ll put in a good word with the boss for the next big payoff, I uh mean of course, stimulus package. I don’t really care what Jay does with his paycheck, that’s his business, but, dude, kinda wasteful, no? Maybe that’s just the deep down stingy Yankee in me talking. Maybe it’s the jealous guy who’s fighting off and losing against the advance of his stomach over the belt border line. Maybe I’m just a racist who resents imported possibly undocumented Danish pastry taking the jobs of American baking powder biscuits and corn muffins. I think I’m suffering class envy!
As I write this I am link hunting, and discovered Noah Rothman’s most excellent de-construction of this, and other pictures I didn’t know existed. I’ll leave this to Mr. Rothman now, read his piece. I can’t top his, but I am encouraged to see several of the observations he made were ones I made myself.
Where I was going anyway was what disturbs me, and still does despite Rothman’s wonderful take down is that THIS is what it takes to piss people off. THIS is what we talk about around the table, at the water cooler, wherever. We’re not pissed enough that they might be listening in to our phone calls and reading our emails and accessing our computers. We’re not angry enough that they’re ignoring, inventing and mis-enforcing the laws, that they’re using executive branch agencies to clamp down on every conceivable corner of our way of life while they plot new ways to stuff us in neat little demographic pens. Where they can pander and feed and water and house us while they whip up our anger against the people two pens down because they have a bigger pen than we do. They give us a new ball to keep an eye on in a never ending shell game while they pick our pockets and divide us for their own ends.
We riot over whether or not our team loses in the NCAA, heck, we may riot if they win. We worry and grouse, and demand action against “the rich”, without stopping to wonder whether or not we’re ‘rich’ to the guy on the other side of the tracks.
Especially pernicious is their use of race to deflect and divert justifiable criticism of their policies as they work to divide us. Focusing on what makes us different while claiming they want us to embrace and accept everyone in harmony.
Based on the photos, with the exception of the posters (kinda scary really) I guess they want us to judge people based on the content of their kitchen.
Movies made from books seem to have the odds stacked against them, especially science fiction books. My favorite author, Robert Heinlein, wrote two books that were made into movies after his death, and both sucked toxic waste: Puppet Masters and Starship Troopers.
More recently, the last Harry Potter movie did quite a good job of adapting the book. I started reading that series to my then-young children when it came out. Most of the movie adaptations in the series were fair, but the last one was worthy of several repeated viewings. Many Tolkien fans swear by the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They’ll sit through twelve hour marathons to watch all three movies again.
I wish I could say Ender’s Game is in the same league, but I can’t.
I’m assuming most readers have read the book at some point, so I’m not worried about spoilers. For those of you who have not read the book, I suggest that you don’t bother with this movie. It will probably feel like another generic “kid saves the universe” story, with special effects trying to carry a sketchy plot. If you plan to see it despite this advice, then you might want to stop reading now.
For those who have read the book, let me explain my mixed feelings about this movie.
If you already understand the story, this movie isn’t awful. It’s nowhere near as bad as the Heinlein adaptations I mentioned earlier. It has generally good casting and good special effects. If you are a really big fan of the book, as I am, it’s worth a viewing. It really works to stay faithful to the book.
In fact, the movie’s biggest problem is that it tries too hard to stay faithful to the book.
I cited Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 because it is an excellent example of adapting the story to the needs of a movie. There are many things that depart from the book. For example, in the book, Voldemort can’t feel when a Horcrux is destroyed, and Harry can’t just sense their presence. But the movie needed those shortcuts for dramatic effect, and they work very, very well in the film.
Ender’s Game feels like a Cliff’s Notes version of the book. Or perhaps a Cliff’s Notes version with every other page missing.
Every major theme and turning point is included, but most of them are in matchstick drawings instead of fleshed out drama. For example, the battle room scenes are well done from a production standpoint. But there are not many of those scenes. The development of Ender’s skills and leadership is compressed to a mishmash, with one battle against other teams mashing together several battles in the book, simply extracting key scenes from each one. The result feels disconnected and contrived.
When the script does depart from the book, it’s done badly. They obviously wanted the character of Petra in that major battle room scene, so they contrived a sprained ankle by a team member and a dispensation from Graff to get her there. But just before that, it’s explained that Ender’s team is a bunch of misfits anyway. At that point, Petra doesn’t have her own army, so why not just put her in Ender’s and skip the contrivance? That’s the kind of spackling over a problem that makes a movie adaptation smooth.
The final battle is fairly well done. The set for it was perfect, and the use of holographic technology and gestures was as good as any movie I’ve ever seen.
Then that was spoiled with a heavy handed resolution about the battle being real instead of a simulation. That entire part of the movie bends over backwards to slap people in the face with the supposed peaceful nature of the buggers, and how terribly awful it was to kill all of them. As the book made clear, they started the conflict and killed many millions of people. When the survival of one’s species is on the line, giving the benefit of the doubt to an enemy who attacked first is mushy, politically correct sillyness.
Casting is reasonably good. They apparently wanted the gruff version of Harrison Ford here, so that’s what they got the entire movie. They could have done lots worse for the role of Graff. Ben Kingsley was fine as Mazer Rackham.
Most of the kids are good enough to get by. The actress in the role of Petra turned in a good performance, but she looked too soft for my vision of Petra. Plus, she resembled the actress playing Valentine enough that I got confused at least once about which one Ender was talking to.
I have no idea if the kid playing Bean is any good, because they didn’t give him enough of a part to find out. I realize the story had to focus on Ender, and Bean was pushed to the background to allow that. It still grated on me to see one of my favorite characters reduced to wallpaper.
Bottom line: this movie isn’t awful, but it isn’t great either. As I said, if you really liked the book, you’ll probably want to see the movie at some point. You probably won’t be shouting at the screen in rage the way I did at Starship Troopers. But unless you liked it better than I did, you won’t be watching it twice.
This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Republican-led House’s decision to fully fund Obamacare, the economy, and the Obama Administration’s Syria-related stupidity.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
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Over at Just One Minute, Tom takes a look at a couple of articles on the Zimmerman trial, and finds an astonishing admission from a black pastor.
If you’ve been paying attention to the trial, you know that it’s almost over, and every observer with a shred of objectivity thinks Zimmerman will get a “not guilty” verdict.
Problem is, the local black community was convinced from the beginning that Zimmerman was guilty. The media led them right to that conclusion with misleading reporting. For at least one outlet, NBC, it went beyond misleading into outright fraud.
Naturally, those craven journalists will never take responsibility and set the record straight. They even continue to fan the flames with race-baiting articles like the one Tom cites from the New York Times, which included this quote:
Mr. Oliver, the Sanford pastor, said he remained optimistic. “You can feel a little sense that anger is re-emerging,” he said.
You don’t have to be a trained sociologist* to know what that means – possible civil violence, maybe on the scale of the Rodney King riots.
Why anger? Isn’t an innocent man walking free a good thing? Ah, but we’re back to the world of post-modern narrative. Truth doesn’t matter, only narrative matters, and narrative doesn’t have to have any relationship to truth. In the black community, the dominant narrative is that Zimmerman is guilty. As that race-baiting article put it:
Still, black pastors, sociologists and community leaders said in interviews that they feared that Mr. Martin’s death would be a story of justice denied, an all-too common insult that to them places Trayvon Martin’s name next to those of Rodney King, Amadou Diallo and other black men who were abused, beaten or killed by police officers.
That paragraph only makes any sort of logical sense if you assume from the outset that Trayvon is innocent and Zimmerman is guilty.
Out in the real world, where people are watching the trial, there is a dawning realization that the media got it wrong in the first place, and Zimmerman deserves acquittal. Some of us actually went beyond the fraudulent reporting of the major media and realized that months ago.
But the local black community, and others like it across the nation, sounds like it is not prepared to accept that message. They’ve been told for too long how they are victims and Trayvon is just another one.
Despicable race baiters such as the author of that New York Times article, and the sociologist quoted in it, carefully nurture that attitude. Local leaders pick up the tune, amplifying it. The local educational system, mostly dominated by left-leaning teachers unions, reinforces it while simultaneously ensuring that the locals are handicapped in trying to ever break out of that cultural matrix.
The end result is a community culturally isolated from its larger society. It’s members reinforce each others prejudices, and nurture old grievances. They find themselves unsuited for life outside their local community, because they lack the education to fit in anywhere else. This becomes yet more evidence that the outside world has it in for them.
Thus is fulfilled the dreams of the southern white segregationists. Blacks are encouraged to stay in their own culturally isolated communities.** They are encouraged to believe they are somehow different and cannot mix with outside communities. Their poor education marks them as second class citizens.
Who would have thought that government dependence programs, corrupt Democratic city politicians, and a biased leftist media would accomplish what the white segregationists could not?
For me, it’s one more reason to despise the American left. I hate what they have done to my fellow citizens. I despair when I realize that a typical inner-city resident has no reasonable hope of social mobility, and is stuck in a cycle of government dependence, generation after generation. I shake my head at the nonsense peddled to them by the left and by the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Obama.
I hate that one of the more likely outcomes of the Zimmerman trial is that, like the Rodney King affair, black neighborhoods will end up getting torched and looted – by blacks.***
Hey, New York Times and all your “compassionate” leftist race-baiters – does this make you happy?
* Like the race-baiting one in the article, who complained that the non-credible, borderline illiterate star witness for the state was “mammyfied”.
** As one of the effects, just look at how many wealthy suburbs of major American cities are lily-white.
*** I hope it doesn’t happen, and my incurable optimism says maybe the evidence is so clear in this trial that it won’t. But lately, my pessimistic side has a better track record than my optimistic side.
I assume you’re aware of the riots in Turkey. The people of Turkey, or at least a unhappy group of them, are making themselves and their feelings known in a very direct way. According to the WSJ, it began over a park in Istanbul that was going to be replaced by a housing development and shopping center (since the Turkish government controls the media, this “cause” could be as flaky as the anti-Islamic video causing Benghazi). The natives, or at least some of them, are not happy about that.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not happy about the situation either. Why, how dare these people question his government and its motives. They’re pure as the driven snow:
“If you can call someone who is a servant of the country a dictator, then it leaves me speechless,” he said in a televised speech. “I have no aim other than serving the nation.”
The siren song of every dictator I’ve ever heard of or read about. My guess he borrowed the words from Mr. Assad in Syria, who, may have gotten them from Saddam Hussein, who … well you get the picture. And add a little “Bolivarian revolution” to the statement and the dead but unlamented Hugo Chavez or his mentor Fidel Castro could have said them.
Perhaps the most interesting statement, however, came from someone in the street:
People are angry because the government is interfering in everything, be it the alcohol restriction, building of the third bridge, or the new Taksim Square. Everything has piled up, and that’s why people protest,” said Erdal Bozyayla, a 29-year-old restaurant worker who supported the protesters and condemned the violence.
I’d like to believe that’s the real sentiment behind those riots and protests. It may not be. But it got me to thinking what it would take in this country for people to actually take that sort of direct action (and no I’m not condoning or calling for violence … direct action doesn’t have to be violent – witness the civil rights movement). Oh, sure, we’ve had the “Tea Party” rallies and the like, but what is happening in Turkey is obviously much different than that. And if they sentiment expressed is the true cause, why is it that a country like Turkey, with only a short history of freedom (now under concentraged attack by the latest “servant of the country”) apparently have the gumption to say “enough”, when we simply roll over each time another of our freedoms is taken or pared down.
Now, I recognize there could be all sorts of other factions, to include extremist Islamist factions who don’t think Erdogan is moving far or fast enough, could now be trying to co-opt the protests and turn them into something else. But still, was the spark really “the government is interfering in everything” and if so, when, if ever, will that spark be struck here?
Long ago, I argued that the end result of Lawrence v. Texas, and ultimately the legalization of gay marriage, would ineluctably lead to calls to polygamous marriage, and in some fringe cases, incest. Here I am arguing it in 2005. What I was told at the time, essentially was:
Ah, the famed ’slippery slope’ argument. It goes like this: ’’Opening the concept of marriage to any interpretation will lead to a slippery slope for any type of relationship to emerge as the new norm.’’
This is patently offensive. It says that if a loving gay couple can marry, we will have to allow a zookeeper somewhere to marry his monkey. Then, we have to allow Jethro to marry 8 women. We have to allow dad to marry his daughter.
But that response was stupid. Because it was essentially, "Your artificial definition of marriage is monstrous. But my artificial definition of marriage will hold, impervious, for as long as the sun burns hot in space."
But, I was right, of course. Now that gay marriage seems to be becoming fixed as an accepted right, we find ourselves faced with the next logical push for expansion of marriage. In Slate today, Jillian Keenan has penned an article urging the legalization of polygamy. Indeed, according to her, it’s a feminist imperative.
While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.
It will empower women! Indeed, look at how empowered women are in all the polygamous societies that currently exist in the world. And in polygamous societies all throughout history.
Oh. Wait. It’s the exact opposite of that, isn’t it?
Anyway, the argument goes that, under the feministy, empowering regime of legal polygamy it won’t be patriarchal polygyny. No, a woman can have two or three husbands! Because, you know, men like nothing better than letting their wives screw other guys. That’s just human nature.
In any event, the definition of marriage is plastic, you see. it’s just a social construct and it can mean anything we want it to mean. And there’s nothing inherently better in one definition of "marriage" or another. It’s all good! Family is family, right? So, like, whatever.
But, let’s forget the argument about whether polygamy is a good or a bad thing. Ultimately the point is that I was, of course, right to argue that we’d end up with arguments demanding a right to polygamy and, despite gay marriage advocates calling me a monster for even suggesting such an unseemly slippery slope argument, well…here we are.
Eight years ago, the slippery slope polygamy argument was just a load of Rick Santorum, wingnut, Christer bullsh*t. Today, it turns out it was just a logical prediction that was correct, and entirely foreseeable. I suppose that means that, eight years from now, we’ll have to let Jaime and Cersei Lannister get married.
So, we should probably start thinking about how we’re gonna deal that little dick, Joffre, right now.
Following up yesterday’s post, this is really the sort of country I long for as articulated by Troy Senik. In fact, I long for it:
I want a “leave me alone” society — one where Christian schools can turn people away for rejecting their doctrine, just as gay rights groups can reject those who don’t share their beliefs. I don’t want us all to get along — not because I’m misanthropic (well, not just because I’m misanthropic), but because I know that “consensus” is usually a fancy word for muting minority viewpoints. I want us all to be free to be annoyed with each other from our separate corners. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently. Ask Sarah Conely (I still can’t get over the title of her book and the implication it carries which, if she even realizes it, should chill her to the bone). Ask Mayor Bloomberg. Ask most of the left and a good portion of the right.
How did we ever wander away from that direction and end up on the one where a major news organ, the NYT, even gives a forum to crypto-fascists like Conely? What a horrifying person she is. Imagine someone as cavalier about your rights actually in a position of power. Imagine the possibilities. Oh, that’s right, we don’t have too, do we. We have history to provide the examples. Tons of them.
And yet here is this supposed “learned” academic parroting the same authoritarian themes in a soothing voice designed to lull you into feeling good about giving everything away to the authoritarians (or at least enough so that at some point they can just take the rest).
I want what Senik wants. I don’t have a problem with most discrimination. Yeah, I know – that’s heresy isn’t it? Look, if someone wants to discriminate let them – and let them pay the “stupid tax” for doing so. But here’s the point – you should be free to do that. You should have the right to be stupid and to do stupid things (with the usual caveat that it’s only okay as long as your stupid acts don’t harm others or violate their rights). You should have the right to fail, get fat, smoke, drink, and be an ignorant slob without the do gooders deciding they have to save you from yourself and the only way to do that is to take your freedom away. Or to tell you how to act, talk, or interact with penalties for not being politically correct.
Why is it that the Sarah Conely’s of the world are published in the NYT and the ideas of the Troy Senik’s of the world have to settle for blogs? When did Senik’s idea, which was once very main stream in this country, become extremist while what was once not only extremist, an anathema to America, but thoroughly discredited throughout history somehow gain respectability again?
When you boil it all down, it is that dilemma which amply describes why we’re in the awful shape we’re in and why we see our freedoms under constant assault and slowly being taken away.
I’m just wondering when the tipping point occurred.