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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Links - 9th August 2014

The gay radicals of the past didn't want equality: they wanted liberation, and thought marriage was oppression - "The Gay Liberation Front that emerged out of the Stonewall riot insisted that "complete sexual liberation for all people cannot come about unless existing social institutions are abolished". It was pretty clear that one of the social institutions that would have to be done away with was marriage. A Gay Manifesto, an influential radical pamphlet published in 1970, described marriage as "a rotten, oppressive institution"... As for Britain's early Gay Pride get-togethers – they viewed marriage and the family as "a patriarchal prison that enslaves women, gays and children". To depict last night's passing of the gay marriage bill as a victory for these early campaigners is a bit like saying the nuking of Hiroshima was the joyous outcome of CND marches... the gay marriage campaign of today, with its drab demand that homosexuals be granted equal access to the social institution of "rotten, oppressive" marriage, represents not the fulfilment of early gay radicals' demands but the warping of them, the stomping of them into the dirt of history. It is a well-known fact that most radicals end up going straight, eventually donning a suit and tie and accepting a fat wage packet in return for tempering their ideals. But the gay movement, in switching from loathing marriage to longing to enter into it, and from demanding that the state get our of their lives to pleading with the state to officiate their relationships, has performed an about-face that is unprecedented even in modern radical politics... I think it is to do with the gay movement's embrace in recent years of the deadening and divisive politics of identity. Early gay rights warriors were interested in autonomy, which meant their key demand was for the state and the "moral majority" to butt out of their lives and let them do whatever they wanted. Their demand was for moral independence. Today's gay rights spokespeople are obsessed with identity, and as we know, cultural identities are insatiable beasts, constantly needing the recognition and flattery of officialdom and society in order to survive. Thus, their key demand is for the state to come into their lives and give its blessing to their lifestyles and relationships, to effectively say: "Your way of life is valid. We accept it." It is the very opposite of the moral independence and autonomy demanded by yesteryear's gay radicals – it is a needy and cloying demand for state approval rather than a radical insistence that the state has no business determining which relationships are acceptable and which are not. Don't be fooled by the excitable tweets and tears of joy currently being produced by the gay rights lobby – for the gay marriage campaign actually speaks to a shocking lack of confidence among modern-day homosexuals, to a collapse of gay moral autonomy, even to a crisis of gay love. Once, and tragically, this was the love that dared not speak its name; now, equally tragically, it is the love that must have its name bellowed out by the state and the respectable press lest the self-esteem of those who practise it be even slightly damaged"

Sid Ra's answer to What does it feel like to be an unattractive woman? - Quora - "To highlight the importance of beauty, imagine a simple scenario: if a group of women are offered a million dollars in exchange for facially aging fifteen years, how many do you think would take the offer? No matter how many platitudes we state about personality being paramount, the truth is that a woman's looks are the number one hurdle she faces in nearly all of her life interactions."

'Technology Gandalf' Is The Only Meme We've Ever Needed

Barry Hampe's answer to Feminism: What is wrong with the statement: "To the extent that feminists are for equality, I support feminism."? - Quora - "I said nothing negative about feminists. I cast no slur on them. I said, in effect, "Here is where I stand on equality for women. To the extent that others stand with me on this, I support their organization and beliefs." The fact that this seems difficult for some feminists on Quora to understand and accept, frankly, calls into question their good faith on equality for women. If my unconditional support for equality for women, regardless of my view of feminism, is not enough, then they are obviously more about the political aspect and image of their organization than they are about equality. I have to say that it appears to me that those who take exception to my answer are intent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They have driven away a supporter. In the past three days, I have gone from support for feminism with what I considered a minor qualification (about which these nit-pickers seem to be proving me right), to "I no longer give a damn. If this is what feminism is about, then I want nothing to do with it." I still absolutely have unqualified support for equality for women, and I appreciate the many women (perhaps Not True Feminists) who understood that from my original answer and my answer here."
Addendum: Keywords - "you have lost an ally", "i have been"

How tests can help us overcome the "soft bigotry of low expectations" | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute - "In a 2000 campaign speech, George W. Bush famously said:
Some say it is unfair to hold disadvantaged children to rigorous standards. I say it is discrimination to require anything less—the soft bigotry of low expectations...
For a new study recently published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, Rutgers-Newark psychology professor Kent D. Harber and his team gave a poorly written essay to 113 white middle and high school teachers. The teachers were told that the essay was written by a black, a white, or a Latino student and that their feedback would be given directly to the student to help him/her improve. According to one article:
The results showed that the teachers displayed a “positive feedback bias.” The teachers provided more praise and less criticism if they thought that the student who wrote the essay was Black or Hispanic...
in AP classes, there are not only rigorous standards and quality curricular materials, but there are also assessments to which all students will be held, regardless of their background, prior knowledge, or experience. And these assessments set a clear bar for where all students should be. Such clarity makes it more difficult to allow personal biases—whether deliberate or subconscious—to subtly lower standards for students from whom you don’t expect quite as much. It’s become popular in many education circles to decry “teaching to the test,” but this latest research provides one more reason why these independent checks on what students have actually learned are a critical element of an effort to close America’s achievement gap."
Minorities are not always 'disadvantaged' by their race (of course, whether giving equal grades for unequal work is discrimination is another issue)
Given that people complain about bias against minorities, you'd expect them to favor standardised tests which are less likely to be biased


In what ways is it impolite to say no in Japan? - Quora - "Generally speaking, it is impolite to say no by saying 'no' (いいえ iie)."

William Oliver's answer to Racism: Is it true that we're all a little racist? - Quora - "there is a notable difference between prejudice and active discrimination. Everyone has prejudice, this is something that we will probably never escape. But it is important to realize that prejudice is not the same as malice. Prejudice is almost instinctual for some, but some truly do not mean any harm. We need to stop attacking people simply for being prejudice, as these people often have good intentions. If you are prejudice, but you know that it is wrong to be prejudice then you are clearly trying your best. Instead, we should strive to help them remove this prejudice as much as possible."

Adultery is not cruelty, Supreme Court says - The Times of India - "Merely being "intimate" with another woman is not sufficient ground for a man to be held guilty of inflicting cruelty on his wife on the charge of failing to discharge his marital obligations, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday... The SC reading of what constitutes cruelty brought relief to a man who had been convicted by both the trial court and the high court for behaviour that resulted in the suicide of his wife due to an alleged extra-marital affair at his place of work. The ruling came in a case where the wife committed suicide suspecting the husband of intimacy with a woman colleague in office. The trial court and the Gujarat high court held him guilty under Section 498A for causing cruelty to his wife and under Section 306 of IPC for abetting suicide."

Adultery law biased against men, says Supreme Court - The Times of India - "Taking up a matrimonial dispute, the Supreme Court on Thursday concurred with criticism of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code which punishes a man alone for adultery for having consensual sex with a married woman. The criticism of the bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha was on two grounds — that the provision reduces a married woman to a property of the husband, and that punishment is meted out to the man though the woman with whom he had consensual sex was an equal partner in the alleged crime."

Personhood movement, chimeras: How biology complicates politics. - "The impulse is clear. The sponsors, including Ryan, want to protect what they see as human life. They want to prohibit abortions. Unfortunately, they may love life, but they do not understand its earliest developmental stages. Their proposed legislation and the personhood movement ignore the existence of chimeras, among other developmental phenomena... If one twin absorbs part of the other, did it commit homicide? Perhaps so. Conjoined twins are considered to be two different people legally, but what if one of them has only legs and feet that stick out from the fully formed twin (which has actually happened)—is the one twin is a person with some extra parts, or did he or she also commit homicide in some way? What about a chimeric person—does he or she get two votes because of having come from two different fertilizations? If fertilization defines personhood, then surely so. Clearly, this easily leads to nonsense"

High Taxes Are Not a Prime Reason for Relocation, Studies Say - NYTimes.com - "a large majority of people move for far more compelling reasons, like jobs, the cost of housing, family ties or a warmer climate. At least three recent academic studies have demonstrated that the number of people who move for tax reasons is negligible, even among the wealthy... Despite the allure of low taxes, Mr. Depardieu hasn’t been seen in Russia since picking up his passport and seems to be hedging his bets by maintaining a residence in Belgium. Meanwhile, Russian billionaires are snapping up trophy properties in high-tax London, New York and Beverly Hills, Calif... “People who are very rich, who are retired or who aren’t tied to a particular location, do change their residency at a high rate based on tax differentials.” But there aren’t many people like that. “Tax-induced flight is rare,” Professor Tannenwald said. “The rate of interstate migration is low to begin with. To the extent that people leave a state, or shun a potential destination, they do so primarily for other reasons, such as to find more affordable housing, better job prospects or a more attractive climate”... for most people, even the very affluent, it’s not that easy, since most successful businesses and high-paying jobs are tied to specific locations. In addition, “entrepreneurship and earning power are clustered in highly competitive regions like Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and New York City,” he said. “People making over a million are typically close to their peak income years, and are enjoying the fruits of long-term career investments. This is hard to walk away from.” His research in New Jersey found that, while some people left, any lost revenue was more than made up for by added revenue from people who stayed. He estimated that New Jersey’s 2004 tax increase on incomes over $500,000 raised nearly $1 billion a year, “with little cost in terms of tax flight.”"
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