Recent posts by petesahooligan on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Liberal vs Conservative view on education.

In the United States it’s pretty obvious.

The Democrats would like education to be provided by the government.
The Republicans would like education to be provided by the private sector.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

That’s an interesting theory, Vika. I don’t know that I necessarily agree but it’s compelling.

There are two things to examine:
• Higher birthrates in impoverished areas
• Higher birthrates among the less educated

The two are certainly related but not necessarily causal.

I tend to think that poverty is the central factor for 99.8% of all of the bullshit in the world. Where there is wealth, there is education. (And where there is education, there is wealth.) So addressing poverty will therefore address education, which will (presumably) address high birthrates, and so on.

While I can understand that if a woman lives in an area with high mortality rates that she might want to have more children to increase their chances of survival, I don’t really agree that this is the principle reason for high birthrates in impoverished areas.

Consider the logic behind that rationale: If children in an area die a lot, this may also be used to justify a reason NOT to have kids. If a person is very poor, it’s also a good reason NOT to have kids.

Kids are expensive and demanding. Since the moment we discovered sex, (and what a discover it was!), we realized that the impact of babies on a woman is serious business… physically, mentally, economically. It’s so demanding that men since the dawn of time tend to hightail it right out of there as soon as they’ve done their part.

I would accept that in some cultures a large family is a sign of prestige or good-fortune. These cases are the anomaly, though. There are a lot of studies that prove (on average) birthrates decrease as wealth increases.

When an area’s wealth improves, so does health care… and infant mortality rates rise dramatically. Babies are fragile, of course, and it doesn’t take a whole lot to kill them… and most of the stuff that kills infants in poor areas is preventable with some trivial amount of local health care. I’m sort of talking about of my ass… I don’t really know… this is my intuitive framing of the issue. A woman that WANTS a baby may need to attempt the procedure more than once in an area with higher infant mortality rates.

Education’s direct role is to supply family planning strategies… awareness of birth control, understanding the demands and skills required to raise kids (e.g., nutrition, safety, sanitation, etc.). Education’s secondary role is to provide wider opportunities for women so that they might find work and thereby elevate their role beyond the domestic.

There’s another cool vector; the span of unintended versus intended pregnancies. What’s cool about this is that in the US it’s almost exactly 50/50… half (51%) of all pregnancies are unintended (but not necessarily unwanted… just not intentional), the other half (49%) are intended.

A map of the US by education level correlates with unintended pregnancy. (It also correlates with Republican voters, Karma will be unsurprised to note.)

SIDE NOTE: Anti-abortion advocates should be campaigning for education, particularly among the poor and racial minorities!

SIDE NOTE: Fiscal conservatives should be campaigning for Planned Parenthood (the US organization on point for birth control). Birth control saves the nation billions of dollars a year, ($13B+ by some estimates).

Interesting to note that some sociologists attribute higher birthrates among poor women as a symptom of despair. I’m not sure that I buy this, but it’s a viable theory… at least for some births.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

Yes, I’m absolutely furious. All night I’ve been nursing my coronary caused by your infallible logic. (Actually, I made it because I figured that it would come in handy a few times a week.)


Gender inequality is obviously a complex problem with lots of different manifestations. Some of the faces of sexism are more severe than others, and some are more entrenched than others. The solutions are as diverse and complex. Sadly, there’s no silver bullet.

Education for women is a core tenet of any solution and is generally a great place to go for any kind of social change. Education and poverty are typically inversely related; poorer areas are less educated, wealthy areas are more educated.

The education is both the reason for the wealth and also a reflection of it. Wealthier regions have lower crime and stronger infrastructure for creating education-rich environments. Wealthier neighborhoods have funded schools that provide better educations. Wealthier families have more time with their children and can provide for them in their student years.

So poverty is — in its largest sense — a feminist issue. Reducing poverty improves education. Improving education has a host of benefits. A principle benefit is a lower birth-rate.

In places where there is less education (areas that are crippled with poverty), birth-rates can be as high as about 5.6, whereas in someplace like the United States the birth-rate is about 2.

For biological reasons that should be clear, women have a higher degree of responsibility in practicing good birth control.

0Gamer, regarding your videos…

They’re compelling but they’re also suspect. American Enterprise Institute is a neo-conservative think-tank essentially funded to create “independent” studies and language on social and political issues.

You’ll note, for example, that ALL of its “feminist” videos basically debunk some aspect of feminist concerns. It is, in other words, an anti-feminist catalog. You can read the comments and see for yourself; a majority of them are not in identifying a solution to seek improvement (as true feminists do), but rather to “debunk” the claims of feminism… sort of like “this will drive all those feminists nuts! Good job!”

The explanations that these videos provide to explain gender misrepresentation basically boil down to “we don’t know; it’s an opportunity for research” while trotting out the same rationalizations that we’ve heard all our lives. There’s nothing new here.

Anyway, it’s neo-con propaganda straight from AEI (aka, Mordor).

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Liberal vs Conservative view on education.

Some keys to improving education:

• Unify school districts to spread the wealth across larger demographics
• Incentives for teachers that live in the communities in which they teach
• Revisit tenure restrictions
• Eliminate or dramatically revise achievement testing (i.e., “standardized testing”)
• Bolster pre-school education
• Bring back arts funding in public schools
• Create support mechanism for alternative and experimental teaching environments
• Develop stronger programs for parents to be involved in their child’s education
• Renew focus on project-based learning
• Provide access to controversial subjects and curriculum for those students that are interested
• Create ways for local nonprofits to coordinate more closely with public education
• Develop programs to partner students with local industry for applying learning opportunities
• Introduce modern technologies in classrooms so that students are using the same tools for play as they are for learning
• Open schools after hours for community events, workshops, public meetings, and community gatherings

Those are just a few.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

That’s it in a nutshell, Karma.

The problem with public education is a symptom of poverty, not of the institution… and CERTAINLY not because parents need more choices about where their children go.

Donald Trump was on Letterman talking about how China is “ripping the (economic) heart out of America.” Letterman pulled out a few of Trump’s shirts and ties and read the labels… “made in Malaysia,” “made in Mexico,” “made in China…”

Trump explains this by saying that a manufacturer simply cannot compete without China. Maybe that’s true. I’ve worked in manufacturing for a few years and I know that if it’s plastic, it’s made in China.

What this reveals is the inherent dichotomy of the GOP.

You know who DOESN’T feel the pain when jobs are exported to China? The wealthiest 1%. In fact, it probably makes them wealthier. And when those jobs leave China and are moved to India, the 1% will get wealthier still, and China will be stuck with an infrastructure investment built for the middle class…kind of like we are… with nobody to pay for it… kind of like we are.

Grand Old Party is a bunch of good old boys.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

1. Longer prison sentences

Gee, and minorities are given longer sentences than white people convicted of the same crimes. This doesn’t “balance the sheets” but rather illuminates a separate broken system.

2. Lower chance of getting custody of children

True, but not due to gender bias but rather gender inequality. On average, men work more and spend less time at home. Therefore the courts more often award disputed custody to the mothers. They have a lower choice based on an average, and since the courts aren’t run like a lottery, gender bias in custody cases is a myth.

3. Not getting taken seriously if victim of sexual assault, rape, and domestic abuse

Well, neither are a lot of women. What’s your point?

4. Having to sign up for the draft in order to have basic rights

What does this mean? I don’t get it. There are men and women in the military. There is a push to require women to sign up for selective service.

5. Have a bunch of fluorescent haired harpies (aka feminists) tell you that your problems dont matter

Har har, you stinky basement-dwelling troll of the Underdank.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

I’m game for a breakdown. I think it would be interesting. I agree with one of your fundamental claims, 0Gamer, that the words and phrases used in conjunction with feminist topics are often inflammatory and “triggers.” Maybe first it would be helpful to identify those and suggest alternatives.

Feminism is basically synonymous with women’s issues. Some feminists prefer that term because it isn’t as polarizing. Everyone likes women, but not everyone likes feminists. “Feminist” sounds militant.

In the realm of women’s issues there are “issues” and there are “principles.” The issues are areas where there is opportunity to make change. The principles are the guiding ideas that suggest what kind of change should be supported.

Sometimes an aggressive principle can sabotage an issue, and sometimes the other way around. (It happens to environmental and animal-rights activists all the time… everyone likes the environment and animals, but not everyone likes their respective activists.)

Here are some of the issues (and the principle):

• Reproductive rights (women should have the right to choose)
• Open and accessible sex education (girls should be taught about sex and reproduction)
• Freedom from gender discrimination (women should be afforded the same opportunities and support that men receive)
• Equal representation (women should be involved with decisions that affect society)

There is no shortage of principles that many people find radical or offensive.

• There is an inverted relationship between feminism and fascism.
• Swaying the balance of power in women’s favor would not necessarily be a bad thing.
• Violence affects women disproportionately.
• Sex without consent is rape.
• LGBT issues (and the like) are feminist issues.
• Birth control is a feminist issue.

There’s a shit-ton of them… but the point is that some of these principles are going to rub people the wrong way, and that’s okay. That’s what change feels like, and while some of it may not be spot-on target, some of it will.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

We have standardized testing in American education, Vika, and it’s pretty much a huge clusterfuck. Nobody really likes it.

The net result is that funding is attached to test scores so that schools that perform better are “rewarded” with more funds and less structure than schools that are under-performing. There are tons of problems with this system.

First, it unfairly penalizes inner-city schools where a higher percentage of students are coming from poor and/or unstable homes. These kids struggle academically because there’s less support for their education. Conversely, kids from wealthier communities and neighborhoods more often show up for school rested, fed, with required supplies, and ready to go. (Most middle-class kids don’t even take the bus to school anymore… they’re generally driven by their parents.)

Second, teachers are now using curriculum designed specifically for the tests (that provide funding). This removes the flexibility teachers once had in trying new things or more appropriate curriculum for their students. In this sense standardized testing has had the opposite impact than was intended.

There are basically two kinds of tests at work when we’re talking about standardized tests. (My girlfriend has her doctorate in literacy… a branch of education. That hardly makes me an expert but it supplies me with a litany of expert opinion.) The aptitude tests are fairly benign; they measure a person’s potential (or they’re supposed to anyway). Aptitude tests are like the ACT and SAT and shit. The other kind are the achievement tests, and these are the tests that national programs like No Child Left Behind basically implemented… and it’s these achievement tests that have created such a controversy.

An achievement test basically works like this. It asks you a bunch of math questions, then compares your score to a larger body of scores… school district, state, nation, whatever. What YOU get is a percentile score. If you’re better than average at math, your score will be higher than 50… maybe you’ll be in the 80th percentile or something. Inversely, if you suck at math your percentile will be low. Pretty simple.

The problem is that testing knowledge is a huge undertaking. We can measure simple “empirical” things like basic math, language, or history… but what about art or athletics? What if a student sucks at algebra but rocks at geometry? What if a student is a visual problem-solver? What if they understand the problem and can explain the answer but suck at tests? There are a ton of impediments to truly measuring an individual’s knowledge.

What school districts do, then, is simplify and focus on strategic areas. The schools then teach to these tests and the incredible life skills that schools SHOULD be teaching… things like creativity and lateral problem-solving… get moth-balled.

Public transportation may be appropriate for junior- and high-school kids but is not generally appropriate for grade-school kids. Plus, costs are passed on to the student and that creates an economic barrier for some families.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

Inner city schools don’t provide quality education; therefore, additional schools, whether they be public charters or private institutions accessible via vouchers are needed if the end goal is to give kids the best education possible.

They don’t? Could you clarify?

Backing up a bit:

• Public schools in the aggregate perform better than private schools. Hence, it is untrue to claim that private schools are going to provide a better education. If anything, odds are that they will provide a worse education.

• Charter schools are going to severely diminish school funding as schools are currently funded according to need. There is an economy-of-scale at work in public schools that is lost when structures are duplicated again and again. (Though it’s not a bad job-creation program, I suppose.)

• I personally do not consider an education that ignores sex-ed and denies evolution to be “improved.” Perhaps you and I differ on this.

Issendorf, aside from offering families a choice in where families send their kids, what are the benefits of school vouchers?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

It’s probably worth recognizing, 0Gamer, that while gender bias affects ALL people (men and women), as a whole it tends to benefit men.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

Guess what I saw. Feminists complaining about women in game. Complaining about some guy’s shirt. Claiming that they got PTSD from Twitter.

I certainly wouldn’t use this as a representational sample.

There is probably no other labelled issue that concerns as many people as feminism. Feminists topics are often treated conversationally like minority issues… like a fringe concern that represents the interests of a small number of people. If you consider that there are more women than men, (because women live longer), feminist issues are really about “most” of humanity.

So it’s a bit unfair to say that issues that affect a majority of humans—and all of us actually (male and female alike)—as loudmouth complainers that don’t like how they’re treated in the comic book store. It’s obviously much more than that. And it actually IS a big deal. (And, no, I don’t think that the pay-gap has been sufficiently explained.)

Feminist issues are very accessible because they concern the interests of so many people. This isn’t a Golden Age comic book collector club; it is an issue that billions of people can immediately relate to. There’s going to be a diversity in the message… and some of it will sound kooky, but most of it will sound reasonable.

So perhaps we can focus on the most popular ideas found in modern feminist messages.

• The pay-gap is real, especially for women of color.
• Sexual and reproductive rights need to be determined with fair gender representation.
• Women around the world, in some areas more than others, continue to be oppressed.
• Women are under-represented in areas where they can provide value, like politics and business.
• Social issues like sexual harassment are still relevant and deserving of our attention.
• Sex worker and trafficking continues to disproportionately target women and deserves our attention.
• Gender bias, although a deep and complex issue, must be recognized and remain in our collective consciousness.
• It’s important to recognize that the objectification of women in small ways leads to larger social problems.

These are simple ideas.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

The last time I checked, the city of Detroit (working with the analogy you’re a single mother living near downtown Detroit) has buses. Or is that transportation not good enough?

It’s actually NOT good enough. There are almost half-a-million school buses in the United States that carry 25 million kids to school.

While a lot of kids take public transportation to school, (subway, city buses), or walk, more than half take a school bus. Twenty five million is a big number.

As a struggling single mom in Detroit, I have a voucher and would like to send my kid to a school across town… but my kid is too young to take the bus by himself… or the cost of transportation is onerous ($4 a day for a round trip subway ticket… times 20 days a month… is $80 a month).

So… I don’t know. Yes, Detroit has buses. Do YOU think that’s good enough?

This is actually the opposite of economic segregation – you’re making services that were previously only available for the well-off an option for poorer families. The playing field for poor children and rich children is more level.

Is that so?

Okay, Detroit mom makes whatever in salary and tips at Denny’s (franchise diner). After insurance, rent, and bills she has $200 a month left over.

Her school voucher is valued at $10,000 per school year. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it system, so she looks for a school that is as close to $10K without going over. The schools she and her child prefer are $20,000 a year… way out of her price range… and there are some really cheap schools for $8,000 a year but don’t have any after-school programs or offer school lunches… but they’re close.

Where do you think all of the poorest inner-city families are going to send their kids? Where are all the wealthy kids going to be going?

Schools gain prestige largely based on their ability to teach. That sort of the idea behind school choice – allow to students to go to the good schools rather than forcing them to attend the bad ones.

And what do they do with that prestige? They charge more. Public schools have reputations based largely on their neighborhoods and provincial characteristics than their academic performance, but that’s not the really the issue. The issue here is that public education (grade-, middle-, high-school, and community colleges) would be pitted against schools that have marketing budgets… that schools would NOT be promoting their academic potential but instead whatever potential that their market specialty was.

We would have public schools with focuses on sports, on religion, on kids with autism, and so on… and it would become less and less about being exposed to more ideas… it would be about limiting the ideas and providing specialties.

It’s literally a sell-out.

This is mostly true, although there hasn’t been a wealth of studies done on the performance of vouchers, although the general conclusion now seems to be that while they don’t offer improved student performance, they also don’t deter student performance either. That said, if I’m a parent, I at least want to have the option available; more choice is always better than a lack of a choice.

You’re right. We know that in areas of the country that provide vouchers there hasn’t been a measurable improvement in academic performance between kids going to private schools. (In fact there’s been a scandal or two of schools doing a remarkably poor job of actually doing ANYTHING with voucher dollars for the students.)

But we DO know how private schools measure up to public schools academically.

Public schools are better than private schools… they teach better. Kids in public school out-perform kids in private schools academically.

That doesn’t even really matter. What does matter is that the reason this is an issue for voters (when it shouldn’t be) is so that evangelical families can send their kids to non-evolution, non-sex-education schools that teach about the healing power of Christ on the tax-payer’s dime.

All while marrying more public responsibility to big corporate interests. You know what I mean… like our health-care system (was), and our prisons, and more and more other government services.

Hardly redundant since the public schools are incapable of offering a quality education in many urban areas.

What do you mean?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

Issendorf, you refuted my viewpoints on school vouchers but didn’t substantiate them. Please elaborate (at least a little). I’m curious.

By allowing poor, under-privileged children the opportunity to attend a comparatively better private school that they could otherwise never be able to afford.

But it’s more than tuition. It’s geography, it’s community, and it’s compatibility.

If I am a single working mother living near downtown Detroit, there’s an elaborate system to support my child in the public school. There’s transportation and meals and after-school programs and so on.

Enter school vouchers and now I can send my child to any school that will take him/her. The private school may or may not supply transportation. That could be a significant factor in our decision. This would manifest in many areas as a defacto racial segregation.

The school voucher may or may not pay the full amount of the private school’s tuition. As a poor family we would still be shopping for schools that we could afford. This is an economic segregation.

There has been zero evidence of improved student performance in areas that offer vouchers. We would need to choose a school not for its ability to teach but rather for its prestige. This is a cultural segregation.

Schools will have more segregation… racial segregation… religious segregation… intellectual segregation. Schools will no longer expose children to the wide community but instead expose the children to other children that come from families like their own.

Also, funding a second school system is redundant and halves any economies of scale that a single public school system can supply. By increasing the costs of education, it will diminish an already struggling system. It just doesn’t make sense all around.

The drop-out rates of students of all races continue to drop to historic levels. There’s a lot of stuff wrong with public education, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s WAY BETTER than it was when I was a kid going to school. It’s improving all the time.

I believe that Karma nailed it. The challenges of public education are a reflection of our wealth distribution. The issue is that more people are poorer and schools, as a result, are being perceived as scarier places. They are no longer the places where middle-class kids go all day to learn to spell… but instead depicted as a place where you send your kid to brainwashed by Athiests and beat up by hoodlums.

This fear presents the perfect solution: (Surprise!) Let’s privatize schools. More money in the private sector; smaller government; more individual “freedom of choice.” Sounds like a platform!

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

For the record, you changed my mind on vouchers, petes.

Said someone to me on the internet for the first time ever. (Thanks, Kasic. I appreciate the compliment.)

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

I think the practical face of gender bias goes more like this…

“We need a middle-manager that can really implement on this new corporate mandate to produce more with fewer resources. We need someone tough and that can get rid of some of the driftwood.”

If a man and a woman are competing for the job, the role of “hatchet-man” is perceived characteristically as a male role. It’s the tough, ugly decisions… the force of will… the authoritative tone of voice. There are physical characteristics that will benefit the person in the job. Those characteristics are associated with men.

Does that mean that the male is more “physically” qualified for the manager position?

I can see how being a woman might be a disadvantage in certain areas and I think that this should be corrected.

0Gamer, you said this in response to Vika’s illustration of how intellectual domains are associated with gender roles.

I’d be curious to hear your ideas on how you think shaping those gender roles in a more equalized way might be accomplished. If you can come up with a good idea or two, you might be a feminist!

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

Vouchers, the fear goes, will create a free-market system for education and essentially monetize it.

Schools will quickly find that they can increase their budgets through marketing. Some kids (and their parents) will fall for it and others won’t. Schools will become franchised and there will be market segmentation and domination by chain schools.

The incentive for schools won’t be to provide education but rather to provide good consumer value. School vouchers threaten to fundamentally change the reason why schools exist. The problem with public education has more to do with geography and transportation—and the associated funding—than it does with “parental choice.” School vouchers are promoted as a way for parents to decide where to send their kids, but how do vouchers improve education exactly?

There’s a lot more to this than parental choice. What happens in geographic areas where there’s little profit in opening schools? There aren’t a lot of families, or the families are economically depressed… so a high-performing school has little reason to open for this market.

The better schools will compete for wealthier, higher-performing markets. Schools will go where the money is… and (just like grocery stores) the inner-city neighborhoods will be stuck with the shittiest schools.

And the chasm between the Haves and the Have-nots widens. Bad for America.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

I’ve never experienced a better treatment than other people on the basis of my gender.

But see, this is exactly the point. The treatment you receive based on your gender is “normal” for you. However, just because it’s normal for you doesn’t mean that it’s the same treatment for everyone based on their gender.

Yes, society shits on men, too. But society shits on women more often. That’s the issue. Nobody’s claiming that men don’t suffer… or that they have it easy. It’s not a zero-sum game… it’s that women face steeper challenges than men and some of those challenges can be addressed… so let’s figure out what can be done to improve the lives of women.

I’m not sure why women’s rights keep getting attached to “male victimization.” They’re not related.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

Out of curiousity, am I dumb or ignorant for thinking liberalism is fucking moronic?


Charter school vouchers will impact our communities in lots of ways. While affording families with greater educational liberties, it will eviscerate inner-city school budgets. It will compound a failing infrastructure and reinforce a cycle of white-flight and gentrification.

(I agree with fixing tenure in public schools. However, I also support teachers unions… so, I’m conflicted.)

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

It’s worth separating the meaning of words as they apply to important ideas in social change and the meaning of those same words as they’re used in the public vernacular. There is OFTEN a huge difference.

“Check your privilege” has become a bit of a catch-phrase that sort of rides along with “first-world problem” and even “politically correct.” What these terms mean ideologically is pretty different than how they’re used in casual conversations.

It doesn’t really matter to me (or anyone else, probably) how you choose to use these words in conversation. However, when they are invoked in a conversation about social change and the issues behind it, it’s good to have a grasp on what the words represent.

0Gamer, if think the earlier example is pretty interesting. Let’s say there’s a construction job opening. A man and a woman apply for the job and they have the same amount of experience and credentials, but the man is physically stronger. In every other relevant way they are identical.

The man gets the job due to his privilege of being born a man and physically stronger. Because the job requires physical strength, the man is determined to be more qualified. That’s a form of male privilege.

It may seem like an inconsequential event. So what if the man gets the construction job, right?

In time, a leadership position within the company opens up. The same man and woman apply. The man now has experience with the company and has formed professional relationships with the decision-makers. While the leadership position is not physically demanding, and the man and the woman are still equally qualified for the position, the man will be preferred because of his experience in that company.

Multiply this thousands of times and you see professional positions in STEM fields being largely dominated by men… not to mention all those construction jobs. It’s a problem that compounds itself over time.

That’s why using a “physical meritocracy” model to explain gender inequality is not accurate. That’s only a small part of a larger systemic problem.

(Women) are more likely to receive help than men.

There’s a funny joke/observation that the reason you should never buy a white car is because a majority of all car accidents involve a car that is white.

The reason that most accidents involve a white car has nothing to do with the color of the paint but rather than most of the cars on the road are white, and accidents involve cars of all colors proportionally… so there are more white cars in accidents than any other color as a result.

Similarly, it’s like when a person moves because they read in the paper that “75% of all accidents occur within a mile of your home.” They assume that they live in a really dangerous neighborhood, so they move.

Point is: If more women need help, more women will receive help.

What do you mean by “opening access to women”? The access has been opened for a while now.

That’s not exactly true. Women are not afforded the same opportunities as men, and that’s just a simple fact.

To counter that claim that men do are not afforded the same opportunities as women is approaching the scope of the disparity at a different elevation.

Pick a metric — it can be income, or medical care, or education — and you will find that in every area men have a statistical advantage.

Forcing this 50/50 ratio between genders would be discrimination.

Nobody’s trying for “force” anything. Feminists are trying to “fix” something that is obviously broken… well, obvious to many people.

Do you think that there’s anything weird with low-paying positions being firmly in the domain of women while higher paying jobs tend to be “jobs for men?” Perhaps men don’t want to be kindergarten teachers because it doesn’t pay shit and there are other jobs that pay better AND have less competition in their way.

If a woman wants to be an airline pilot, she is free to do so. Why only a few of them want to might be in part because this job it is atypical for a woman so she might face some sort of societal pressure.

Would you agree that the societal pressure for women to choose one profession over another (when physical strength isn’t a factor) might be a form of systemic gender bias? If so, do you think it would be appropriate for society to address and correct for those biases so that better-qualified people can be fairly considered for a job?

I don’t think that looking at gender equality with the notion that all men are privileged or focusing mainly on female issues is beneficial to society.

Funny! I think that not recognizing the privileges afforded men is beneficial to society.

Also, recognizing and understanding the challenges that professional women (and minorities) face just makes you a better human being.

Incidentally, you’re doing a fine job being the “lone voice” on this one. If you do decide to back off your position a little bit, you’ll probably have to field some parting shots. Nonetheless, I admire a person that stands their ground (even when they’re hopelessly wrong).

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

Belisaurius, I’m not going to argue with you about whether the Tea Party is anti-intellectual. It’s a term that lots of different editors and authors have used to describe them. I also see it in the language and delivery of their performances at the podium.

I’m not interested in the Tea Party enough to go into it right now. I consider the whole lot clowns in suits talking about stupid ideas to an audience that they think is stupid. Some people disagree with that, and that’s okay.

Actually, public funding for sports stadiums is pretty much one of the only areas that economists of all stripes largely agree; subsidies for stadiums provide pretty much zero economic benefits – they’re pretty much purely corporate welfare.

I don’t know, issendorf. The Wasilla Gatorlizards pull a pretty big crowd from the neighborhood. There are 15 kids on each team, so that’s (math) 60 parents that all need a place to sit.

TRUMP is sort of a hybrid; a genetic combination of Tea Party populism with John Wayne Gacy butchery.

For one, he’s off his mother-flippin’ rails if he thinks he can get elected to anything short of a County Council. I think the campaign implosion has begun with the “Go back to Univision” thing… which sounds a lot like “Go back to Mexico.” Jorge Ramos is a well-respected journalist and Trump has a lot of explaining to do regarding his position on immigration. Nobody in the White House can get elected without the Hispanic vote, and the Republicans’ single footing there is abortion. On every other social issue, Latinos align Democratic… but abortion isn’t really a hot issue this election season. Republicans are trying hard to MAKE it an important issue…. just watch. (We’re gonna be hearing a lot about abortion, I think.)

Donald Trump will be road-kill by the end of September. I’m willing to put $5 on it.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

Karma, your comment about the impact of their agenda is interesting. I was just thinking about that in regards to the active feminism thread. I just don’t really understand why someone WOULDN’T intellectually and emotionally endorse the feminist movement. Is there some inherent threat that I’m not perceiving?

Likewise, poor Republican voters often toe the party line on issues that really damage them most… and most directly. The Republic anti-union and anti-minimum wage rhetoric doesn’t favor the poor. Republicans position this argument as a job-creation stance but really what it is is a company-profit stance (that presumably turns into jobs through free-market twitchery and economic humplepuffs… but all I see is jobs that pay less).

Obamacare favors the poor but has become somehow explosive for poor right-wing voters.

Immigration is a critical issue for poor Republican voters… for some mysterious reason.

Preserving traditional marriage is another issue that generally doesn’t have shit to do with anyone except the people it provides legal protections for. It redirects attention away from Wall Street’s toxic electoral influence, among other things that directly impact the poor.

Republicans are running on a platform that parents are responsible for the education of their children. To quote the GOP’s own website, “Parents are responsible for the education of their children.” One amusing way to interpret this is that “no child shall be more educated than his or her parents.”

Meanwhile, they continue to pound mandatory sentencing (and its associated costs).

Protecting human rights is, according to the Republican platform, centered on religious freedom. There’s nothing in their language about basic human dignities or inalienable rights… it’s a cultural right. (Earth to GOP, it’s mostly all those self-proclaimed “oppressed” Christians that even give a shit.)

I obviously have no love for the GOP. They’re the party of Big Business as far as I’m concerned.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

Where would I turn to for an unbiased assessment of the Tea Party’s character? How about the Tea Party’s “About Us” page!

However, I’ll play along. Taken DIRECTLY from the “About Us” page of the Tea Party’s very own website…

1. Illegal aliens are here illegally.
2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.
3. A strong military is essential.
4. Special interests must be eliminated.
5. Gun ownership is sacred.
6. Government must be downsized.
7. The national budget must be balanced.
8. Deficit spending must end.
9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal.
10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must.
11. Reducing business income taxes is mandatory.
12. Political offices must be available to average citizens.
13. Intrusive government must be stopped.
14. English as our core language is required.
15. Traditional family values are encouraged.

These are the Tea Party’s “non-negotiable” core beliefs. They’re really stupid. Every single one of these is thoroughly ridiculous.

So, what do they use their national spotlight to promote? Stupid ideas, like (I’m not making this shit up)… “Give gun freedom to our children!” and “Exposing Obama’s Plan to Use Illegal Aliens to Tear Down America!”

It actually IS dumb AND maniacal.

I do not think you know what an anti-intellectual is.

I think I do. (So there.)

Sarah Palin’s son is a high-school drop-out. Apparently the value of education does not permeate the Palin household. And she’s a poster-child of the Tea Party movement.

Sarah Palin’s degree is in sports journalism, and she is considered by the Tea Party as one of their celebrities. She has ZERO political impact outside of political theater.

As mayor of some Alaskan town she cut funding for the local museum and opposed building a new library, but was all in favor of a new sports stadium.

Here’s a woman that equates herself to a “mama grizzly.”

There are too many Michelle Bachmann goodies to pass up. She’s a fucking idiot that appeals to idiots.

“I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?”

Ted Cruz claimed that Net Neutrality was Obamacare for the Internet. What the hell does that even mean? Plus (if it means what I think it means), seriously?!

Ted Cruz, also a moron, denied that he threatened to shut down the government after he repeated and EXPLICITLY threatened to shut down the government. That’s how much contempt he has for the average American’s intellectual capacity. “We know you threatened to shut down the government, Stooge Cruz, because (1) we watched you do it and (2) it was last week.”

And who continues to lead the discussion about Obama’s nationality, Benghazi, and illegal immigration (when it continues its decline into new lows)? Tea Party.

Why? Because they think we’re dumb.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Something needs to be said about feminism/liberalism.

I made a pretty big mistake. I was considering your use of “equal opportunity” as synonymous with “equality.” I apologize for that.

There is still a lot of work to be done in terms of EQUALITY between the genders.

It goes without saying that true equality among genders, and among people, is not within our grasp. True equality requires us all to be identical and that’s obviously not the goal.

Some people believe that their birthright is to serve, while others believe that their birthright is to rule. This is where we run into problems. I am a White male, 6-feet tall, blue eyes, about 190 pounds, and a citizen of the world’s wealthiest country… I have every genetic opportunity afforded to someone. I recognize that privilege.

I earned none of that privilege. As a male, I am provided the privilege of being (as you put it) more physically qualified to be a construction worker than a female. (And as slightly taller than average, more physically advantaged when considered for leadership roles. And as an American, more access to resources than the average human. And so on.)

However, recognizing these practical realities does not justify an anti-feminist position because it’s not a zero-sum game. If I have privileged access to construction jobs because I’m male, the only reason I would campaign against opening access to women is because I didn’t want competition from better-qualified female candidates. That would be a very self-serving reason to not support equal opportunity.

Let’s remove the physically strenuous jobs from the equation for a minute. Most of them are shitty jobs anyway.

The other jobs where we see huge gender disparities (e.g., commercial airline pilots; women are fewer than 6% of this workforce) can only be explained as deep-rooted cultural phenomena. The fact that women are not in roles that invest substantially in start-up tech businesses naturally results in companies and products being financially supported by men… complete with their societal biases. It’s not malicious; it’s merely a reflection of the same rationale you’re claiming.

That’s an example of how gender inequality perpetuates itself.

If we rely on things like culture and society to explain the “reality” of gender inequality, it still doesn’t justify it or mean that gender inequality is an immutable truth.

Feminist principle would ask us to, on a societal level, examine those SOCIETAL factors that result in gender inequality. The second and more important step is then to identify ways to correct those inequities.

Some of those corrective measures will appear to favor women… and in some cases that might be accurate. Similar to affirmative action, a particular manifestation of institutionalized gender discrimination might demand an OVER-corrective measure simply to achieve a kind of balanced equilibrium. These ideas will ALWAYS appear “radical” by critics and skeptics when compared to the status quo… but in time — provided they are sustainable and beneficial to society as a whole — they will (as I illustrated earlier) become accepted and even embraced characteristics of society.

For example, Americans value democracy and women’s right to vote supports that value. However, the idea that women might have the right to vote was once a radical notion. Today, that radical notion resides deep within the self-identity of who we are as a people.

If we were to take a more egalitarian view of gender disparity, I believe that someday we will consider our advances made in eliminating gender inequality a defining characteristic of Western culture. (Hell, we already do when we compare the West to how women are treated in Islamic countries.)

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Trump. No, not cards.

You will remain unconvinced regardless of any evidence I produce.

Where would you like to start? I think the best place to find the most empirical evidence would be in educational achievement. In fact, let’s look at advanced degrees and see where their political affiliations lie.

Oh, oops. By a margin of 22 points, people with advanced degrees are Democrats!

The Tea Party is like the Republican Party with an 8-ball of cocaine and $10,000 in small bills. Maniacal idiots, as far as I’m concerned. Not only are they less intellectual in the extreme, but they are less intellectual in the aggregate.

EDIT: Sorry, source. Does the Pew Research Center square with you as an unbiased view?