ag_NO_stic

Radical SJW Ideology the beginnings of Cult-like Behavior?

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21 hours ago, disillusioned said:

Don't get me wrong. I know a few people who would probably classify as "SJWs". I don't mean to say that they can't be found. But if you got a few of them together, and put them in a room, and asked them to come up with a coherent ideology, I don't think they'd be able to do it. Someone in that room would end up offended, and someone else in the room would be labelled as "an oppressor". This is why the "movement" doesn't really trouble me that much: there is no coherent rhetoric. One person's oppression is another person's free speech. That's the major reason why I don't think it can properly be labelled as even the beginnings of fascism. Fascism, at minimum, has a coherent, unifying cause. I don't see anything unifying about this. 

 

This reminds me of a blog post Tyler Cowen (an economist) made the other day, in response to a query about SJWs:

 

Quote

Most of all, I would say I am all for social justice warriors!  Properly construed, that is.  But two points must be made:

 

1. Many of the people who are called social justice warriors I would not put in charge of a candy shop, much less trust them to lead the next jihad.

2. Many social justice warriors seem more concerned with tearing down, blacklisting, and deplatforming others, or even just whining about them, rather than working hard to actually boost social justice, whatever you might take that to mean.  Most of that struggle requires building things in a positive way, I am sorry to say.

 

That all said, do not waste too much of your own energies countering the not-so-helpful class of social justice warriors.  It is not worth it.  Perhaps someone needs to play such a role, but surely those neuterers are not, or at least should not be, the most talented amongst us.

No matter what your exact view of the world, or what kind of ornery pessimist or determinist or conservative or even reactionary you may be, you should want to be working toward some kind of emancipation in the world.  No, I am not saying there always is a clear “emancipatory” side of a debate, or that most issues are “us vs. them.”  Rather, if you are not sure you are doing the right thing, ask a simple question: am I building something?  Whether it be a structure, an institution, or simply a positive idea, proposal, or method.

The answer to that building question may not always be obvious, but it stands a pretty good chance of getting you to an even better question for your next round of inquiry.

 

Another writer I think is often thoughtful and worth reading on some related topics is Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic

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56 minutes ago, ag_NO_stic said:

FYI, you communicated much more eloquently what I was trying to by saying the left was "eating itself."

 

Ah, this makes sense. It's kind of like it's a standard joke that socialists (I mean like communist party members; actual for-reals socialists...) in the west are always too busy in-fighting to get anywhere. I've seen a bit of that first-hand.

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On 3/22/2019 at 11:28 AM, wellnamed said:

It did, and I agree 100% with both of your last two statements. With that in mind, I'll go back to a couple things very quickly, just out of interest.

 

 

Yes, I think our disagreement was smaller than it appeared at first. In the earlier post you wrote "Do women make $0.77 to the dollar (no)", and I responded to that, which I read to be making the claim that there is, in fact, no wage gap at all. Your second post clarified your intent: "There is clearly a difference in earnings, I'm not arguing that doesn't exist, but I don't think it's discriminatory so I don't see the point of arguing about it or claiming that it is discrimination."

 

So the brief set of points I posted in response to your first statement was mostly about establishing the existence of the gap, and I think with your clarification we have no disagreement on that point. We probably disagree somewhat on whether or not discrimination plays any role whatsoever in the the existence of the wage gap, and I linked to an NBER article that discusses a lot of research about causes of the gap, including evidence for some level of discrimination. 

 

I do have your articles bookmarked for the record, I'm just not always able to read them before I choose to respond to you. I think this post helped me understand a LOT that I haven't before. Like I said before, you see videos online and you begin to think it's more widespread than it actually is. The "oppression" narrative I object to so much does not appear to be what you're even arguing for, I should not have assumed. The oppression narrative is what I object to, not academic interest. I find it equally interesting. In response to your comment about oversimplified things, I could not agree more. I also think sometimes we overcomplicate things. I guess which one's which is the part everyone disagrees with, haha. 

 

On 3/22/2019 at 11:28 AM, wellnamed said:

The first part, to me, sounds a little bit like arguing that there must not be any crime because crime is illegal. The fact that the law exists is not a proof that there is no discrimination, just like the existence of laws is not a proof that there is no crime. I think there is some validity in the rest of your statements there, but I'd say its too simplistic and I think it under-appreciates the role of social factors constraining individual choices. It's also perhaps misconstruing me: I wouldn't call the wage gap a conspiracy at all. I also wouldn't characterize it as something where legitimate individual choices play no role. I think the interplay between individual choice and social constraint is really complicated (cf. the article I linked on career choices).

 

But, to back up a second, I think I should clarify that my interest in this subject is mostly academic, rather than political. If I were making a list of political issues that I think are very important right now, the wage gap wouldn't be too near the top of the list. My list would be something more like { climate change, healthcare, immigration, criminal justice reform, economic inequality, education, ... }. So I'm probably not the person to ask about why it's a topic for political activists. I'm generally not an activist. I also said previously I thought the "Women make $.77 on the dollar" activist framing is misleading, just like "there is no wage gap" is misleading.

 

That said, I think it is a part of those marches because some women are concerned with their ability to earn a living independently as well as men can. I don't think people's concern for that is entirely misguided; I think it's a complicated topic. I do think it gets oversimplified. When I say my interest is mostly academic, I mean that I think the topic is connected to really interesting changes going on in society and that I like to try to understand them.  I don't necessarily mean that I think all such "problems" require political solutions. But to reiterate the pace of change: it's pretty amazing how much things have changed since WWII. Look at women's labor force participation. Think about women being unable to independently open credit accounts until the mid-70s (or other similar examples). Think about norms related to marriage and divorce, or related to sexual consent. A lot has changed and is changing still. If I refer to "social problems" I don't necessarily mean that there are heroes and villains, and I don't necessarily mean that the "problem" is "oppression". I just mean that there are things happening that seem problematic or less than ideal to various people, and that makes sense to me given the pace of change. I wouldn't even limit the "social problems" related to this topic to women. I think it's reasonably likely that the entrance of women into the workforce (just by means of increasing labor supply) played some (maybe small) role in wage stagnation for men in recent decades, although there are other factors from research I've read. When I look at current trends in educational attainment by gender I wonder if, in the future, we may instead have a problem with men lacking economic opportunity relative to women because they are underachieving academically. I think all of it is pretty interesting, but I'll cut myself off here :P

 

In response to your crime comment, I was discussing the "systemic" portion. There may be individual situations that are bad, but if they were to be discovered, they would be punished. Discrimination is not systemically tolerated, it's fought each individual instance at a time. There does not appear to be anything "systemic" getting in the way when you account for personally irresponsible choices. They might be understandable choices, I might sympathize with them or even have made them myself. There are tough situations, yes, but plenty of people "get out" by trying or seeking change. And it's not even a "bootstraps" argument either, I don't believe in 0% aid, I want to help the trying. I believe helping those who don't try is making it far, far worse by rewarding the behavior. I am sure there is legitimate merit in what you're saying, I just prefer to take the "it will be painful for a time, but ultimately worth it" approach that parents have to take when their children in teaching them how to grow and take care of themselves. I don't mean that the rich are a parent to the impoverished, just that they are dependent on the government in a way that is not helping them to get off that dependence. People cannot break the poverty cycle without first breaking painful habits. I'm not even talking about people who need government assistance either, I'm referring to the near perpetually impoverished. Life does not guarantee us comfort but it is very rewarding when you work out, this is my point.

 

I guess you and I just view things differently, I don't feel there is one thing stopping me from earning a living independently as well as a man. In fact, with the way thing are nowadays, I believe I have a better chance than a man of living independently. Similarly to what I said to disillusioned, I find perspective and perception fascinating. I appreciate yours and I appreciate your willingness to explain the otherside. Again, I do plan to the read the articles, any particular order I should read them? :)

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18 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

There may be individual situations that are bad, but if they were to be discovered, they would be punished.

 

You trust this a bit more than I do. My understanding is that employment discrimination suits are very difficult to win. That said, I do believe that if were talking about employment discrimination a lot of is likely the result of more implicit biases rather than intentional discrimination. Hence I tend to think merely shedding some light on different situations is often enough. Moves by employers to measure and publish their own wage gaps is useful to that end, I think, and probably better than more legislation, and even better than marches. Although marches perhaps bring awareness and prompt those sorts of responses.

 

18 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

I guess you and I just view things differently, I don't feel there is one thing stopping me from earning a living independently as well as a man. In fact, with the way thing are nowadays, I believe I have a better chance than a man of living independently. Similarly to what I said to disillusioned, I find perspective and perception fascinating. I appreciate yours and I appreciate your willingness to explain the otherside.

 

I'm glad that you feel that way, and I don't doubt you. I never did get back to one of your earlier posts about narratives of oppression, but I do agree that there's something tricky -- psychologically, or culturally -- about leaning too hard into such narratives. Psychologists talk about "locus of control", i.e. to what extent a person feels like that have individual control over their own life. It's generally more productive to maintain an internal locus of control, for reasons that I think should be intuitive to most people. I'd agree that oppression narratives can discourage that. Again though, it's tricky, because that psychological effect doesn't negate the fact that people don't have complete control over everything that happens to them, and people do face various disadvantages due to accidents of their birth (and not just due to race or gender). I tend to think the right way to balance these things is that -- insofar as the question is "how should I live my life?" -- people are probably better off making themselves responsible and just doing the best they can with the situation they find themselves in, i.e. they ought to try to maintain an internal locus of control even if the world is unfair. On the other hand, when the question is sociological -- what is happening, what problems exist? -- or political -- how can we make the world better for all of us? -- then I don't think we should entirely discount structural factors that we can measure. We should try to be aware of the role of those factors and ameliorate them if we can.

 

18 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

Again, I do plan to the read the articles, any particular order I should read them?

 

Gosh, now I feel bad for maybe dumping too many links. I'd say the Case for Reparations is just a classic essay that's beautifully written and worth everyone's time. I would skip the NBER paper on the wage gap unless you are just really interested in getting down in the weeds on that subject. I'm not sure I've linked anything else that's very long or particularly important, but maybe I forgot.

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He seemed to acknowledge that literal monetary reparations are a tangled web. I've heard Larry Elder and others speak on this. Not all blacks in the US descended from slaves and not all whites in the US descended from slave owners. So it would have to be very detailed and specific as to who owes who, what exactly? The article (which I browsed) seemed to be going past that and suggesting more of an emotional reparations. 

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20 hours ago, wellnamed said:

 

You trust this a bit more than I do. My understanding is that employment discrimination suits are very difficult to win. That said, I do believe that if were talking about employment discrimination a lot of is likely the result of more implicit biases rather than intentional discrimination. Hence I tend to think merely shedding some light on different situations is often enough. Moves by employers to measure and publish their own wage gaps is useful to that end, I think, and probably better than more legislation, and even better than marches. Although marches perhaps bring awareness and prompt those sorts of responses.

 

 

I'm glad that you feel that way, and I don't doubt you. I never did get back to one of your earlier posts about narratives of oppression, but I do agree that there's something tricky -- psychologically, or culturally -- about leaning too hard into such narratives. Psychologists talk about "locus of control", i.e. to what extent a person feels like that have individual control over their own life. It's generally more productive to maintain an internal locus of control, for reasons that I think should be intuitive to most people. I'd agree that oppression narratives can discourage that. Again though, it's tricky, because that psychological effect doesn't negate the fact that people don't have complete control over everything that happens to them, and people do face various disadvantages due to accidents of their birth (and not just due to race or gender). I tend to think the right way to balance these things is that -- insofar as the question is "how should I live my life?" -- people are probably better off making themselves responsible and just doing the best they can with the situation they find themselves in, i.e. they ought to try to maintain an internal locus of control even if the world is unfair. On the other hand, when the question is sociological -- what is happening, what problems exist? -- or political -- how can we make the world better for all of us? -- then I don't think we should entirely discount structural factors that we can measure. We should try to be aware of the role of those factors and ameliorate them if we can.

 

 

Gosh, now I feel bad for maybe dumping too many links. I'd say the Case for Reparations is just a classic essay that's beautifully written and worth everyone's time. I would skip the NBER paper on the wage gap unless you are just really interested in getting down in the weeds on that subject. I'm not sure I've linked anything else that's very long or particularly important, but maybe I forgot.

 

I'll consider your point on locus of control, that's a good point. I just think the left is actively teaching that the locus of control more external than it actually is, which I find to be harmful. I also think your academic interest is a fair point, I just think we need to be careful with the conclusions we draw. We have plenty of evidence that scientific conclusion is not always right and trying to enact social change due to some of these conclusions may not be best for everyone. I think classism is far more of an issue than racism is right now, I think race and class can be correlated too, but some issues that are written off as a race issue, I think is more of a class issue. 

 

Also, no need to feel bad, it's not your fault I'm busy lol. Have several jobs and other reading goals, that's not your fault. :P I feel bad for having that as an "excuse!" I tend to chew on articles after I engage in posts like this, you will probably see me quiet for awhile after the fact while I play catchup. :D

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