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Weekend reflections

April 7th, 2013

As you can see I’m back. The weekend is nearly over, but there’s still time for another weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Side discussions to sandpits, please.

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  1. Fran Barlow
    April 7th, 2013 at 20:31 | #1

    For those who fancy parody … Behold The Mainstream Party. HT: Paul Norton at LP …

    Fabulous stuff … I nominate Karl Pilkington to run for them …

    Here’s why you should consider becoming a volunteer:

    The chances are that you belong to the majority of Australians who have a serious grievance against the Australian Government or a State or Territory Government. At long last a political party has arisen that recognizes the legitimacy of your grievance and wants to do something about it. Your ability to get redress for your grievance depends on our ability to get votes for our candidates. Here are some typical grievances that Australians have:

    •Your children have been taken away from you, and you want to get them back before their minds are totally poisoned against you.
    •You don’t have a job, and it appears unlikely you will EVER have a job while the Labor Party or the Liberal Party remain in power.
    •One of your relatives has been detained in a concentration camp, and you want to get him or her released before the “Public Guardian” can have him or her euthanized.
    •You have gone to a lot of trouble to buy a home in a nice area, and scumbags have moved into the neighbourhood and have made the area uninhabitable.
    •Your church has sold its organ, and recruited a female priest, and they play guitar music and hug each other, and now you don’t have a place where you can go to church.

    Well there you go. Their policies on “defence” and “The Catholic Church” are … hmmm … well just read them if you have a little too much time on your hands …

    It’s so wacky I assume it’s a Poe, but then again, this is the internet.

    The founder is someone called “Geoff Bird” from Indooroopilly (I assume no relation to “Graeme Bird” but I’m not quite sure why).

    If taken seriously, this would be an incipient nativist [email protected] party, but as I said, I assume this is parody. The stuff they suggest has just got to be tongue-in-cheek, surely.

  2. Sancho
    April 7th, 2013 at 22:39 | #2

    Neil Gross has an interesting essay on right wing anti-intellectualism. It touches on one of the most peculiar aspects of modern conservatism: the habit of claiming to stand for freedom and liberty while demanding policies that restrict both.

    Conservatives of previous generations were proud of defending the upper classes from the poison of democracy, but the rise of America has made it fashionable for the right to argue that anything democratic which interferes with the direct rule of popes and billionaires is in fact a tyrannical assault on the freedom of common citizens.

  3. Sancho
    April 7th, 2013 at 22:44 | #3

    @Fran Barlow
    I’m hardly blind to parody, but are you sure that’s a joke site?

    Either way, the square and compass will fuel conspiracy theorists until long after the election.

  4. Polybius
    April 8th, 2013 at 10:58 | #4

    According to IP Australia, they have a trademark number: http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/ols/tmcheck/tmcheck.html?tmquery=mainstream+party.

  5. Tim Macknay
    April 8th, 2013 at 11:16 | #5

    IMHO, by far their best policy is the mail policy. I’ve always wanted a pneumatic tube direct to my house.

    However, I’m extremely disappointed that they don’t even mention magnetic levitation as the obvious solution to our transport woes. That makes them an inferior choice to the Citizen’s Electorial Council, as far as I’m concerned.

  6. Fran Barlow
    April 8th, 2013 at 13:21 | #6

    @Tim Macknay

    Someone said that pizza deliveries by pneumatic tube could constitute fibre to the home ….

  7. Ikonoclast
    April 8th, 2013 at 14:17 | #7

    No fibre in pizzas, only fats and carbs.

  8. Tim Macknay
    April 8th, 2013 at 16:13 | #8

    @Ikonoclast
    You mean cheese doesn’t have fibre? No wonder my diet isn’t working!

  9. Fran Barlow
    April 8th, 2013 at 16:32 | #9

    @Tim Macknay

    There would be some fibre even in a pizza composed of white flour and some nominal veges on the top — just not much 😉

  10. Jim Rose
    April 8th, 2013 at 17:12 | #10

    There is no sense of history in the media reporting of the threats from North Korea.

    N, Korean blew up part of the South Korean cabinet in an attempt to assassinate their president in Rangoon in 1983.

    Even 1983 China got rather annoyed with North Korea over that.

    South Korea shows great forbearance knowing what a stunt is and what an invasion is.

  11. rog
    April 8th, 2013 at 17:17 | #11

    @Tim Macknay That stringy cheese has fibrous characteristics.

    Failing that you can always chew on the box.

  12. Gab
    April 8th, 2013 at 19:26 | #12

    at John Quiggin’s blog, I am limited to one post per day, per thread, because I rile the resident Lefties so.

    Jim Rose

    8 Apr 13 at 7:14 pm

    If this is true, Mr Quiggan then shame on you for depriving Mr Rose of his eloquent comments.

  13. Jordan
    April 8th, 2013 at 19:47 | #13

    Slovenia and Portugal found the way out of the EZ krisis without exiting EZ. The problem of the EZ was that country memebers had no right to print money, only to borrow the money from the banks. This legal constraint rose borrowing costs and caused iliquidity in private and the public sectors. Being forced to slash public sector spending in euros, Slovenia figured out the way to pay their public sector employees part in euros and part in Treasuries.

    This idea came from the experience of Slovenia in Yugoslavia when liquidity crisis got bad and Yugoslavia implemented new money “points” for intra corporate transactions which they also used for workers pay. It had limited use but it was crucial to overcome corporate iliquidity.
    Swiss is also using parallel currency for many years now and it is called VIR Credit, which is used only between 75,000 corporations with VIR Credit Bank.

    Ecuador also implemented parallel currency last year since they were using US$ as their currency which was forced upon them by MMF in 2004. Ecuador’s parallel currency was implemented last year after few years of experimentation as only local currency.

    Paying public employees (soldiers in American Revolution) with small Treasury bills is how fiat money started and evolved into present day fiat digital money. In UK, public finances were being financed by issuing Treasuries to Bank of England which cut them up into smaller bills(money) and sold to the public for gold and few centuries later cancelled out the gold guarantee for those small Treasuries.

    Money is nothing else but small amount Treasuries.

  14. Ernestine Gross
    April 8th, 2013 at 20:03 | #14

    I enjoyed the conversations following Fran’s post.

  15. Fran Barlow
    April 8th, 2013 at 22:05 | #15

    Thatcher has snuffed it, apparently.

  16. Will
    April 9th, 2013 at 00:25 | #16

    Fran Barlow :
    Thatcher has snuffed it, apparently.

    The supporter of the brutal dictators Pinochet and Pol Pot and apartheid apologist spent too much time on this Earth. Opinion on her domestic policies remains strongly divided though.

  17. Ikonoclast
    April 9th, 2013 at 00:38 | #17

    @Jim Rose

    The end of WW2 and the Korean War period were “interesting times” to say the least. General Patton wanted to go all the way to Moscow and General MacAurthur wanted to go all the way to Peking. MacArthur also wanted to use nukes on China. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed and these mad dog Generals were yanked back on the short leash.

    Tempting as it is for some to think that the West might have conquered Russia after 1945 and China some time after that, the West was really in no position to defeat and pacify these two great Continental powers. The ensusng MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) peace of the Cold War era was in some ways the least of several possible evils.

    North Korea is the analogue of what was East Germany. In each case a nation was partitioned by the rival superpowers (US and Russia) to create their own zones of interest and buffer states. Nth Korea today is a big problem and big mess. All the major powers played a role in creating that mess. I can’t see any solution. Maybe the stand-off can and will continue a lot longer yet.

  18. April 9th, 2013 at 01:14 | #18

    @Will

    Thatcher is dead. So what? She was a sad and demented old lady.

    Fascism is not only alive, well and thriving – but also gloating over the little “furore” it is currently fomenting over the discussion of this sad old lady’s death.

    If the biggest reason someone has to celebrate today is the death of this person, then we’re well and truly in the poo.

    The legacy lives on through Cameron, Gillard, Obama and every other neo-con factotum warming the seats these days.

    By the way, out in the real world the latest Wikileaks publication is making very real waves. And, of course, this country will be blinded by its Murdocracy into deeper ignorance.

    Wonderful that Thatcher gave Murdoch ‘Wapping’ and he gave her power and ‘legitimacy’.

    Of course he also gave her a great war. Murdoch has started more wars than any other fascist (or any one else) in history. What a great American citizen.

  19. rog
    April 9th, 2013 at 06:26 | #19

    The passing of Margaret Thatcher represents another milestone in mythology

  20. hc
    April 9th, 2013 at 06:45 | #20

    Thatcher a giant figure in British politics and on the world scene. She turned back the tide on overly intrusive government and trade union power and internationally helped end the tyranny of the Soviet State. In some areas (financial deregulation) she went too far but her basic ideological commitment to freedom was impressive.

    Britain could not have continued as it was with a bloated public sector and a politics driven by irrational trade union power.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2013/04/margaret-thatcher?fsrc=nlw%7Cnewe%7C4-8-2013%7C5491313%7C35836317%7C

  21. spottedquoll
    April 9th, 2013 at 07:01 | #21

    But Maggie wasn’t all evil, she was one of the few scientifically literate leading politicians the world has had and warned against acid precipitation, the hole in the ozone layer and global warming (something I love to throw at those who think it all started with Al Gore) and was instrumental in getting the IPCC set up (however it was the Yanks who insisted on 100% agreement).

    You read: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=iron-lady-took-strong-stance-on-climate-change

  22. Will
    April 9th, 2013 at 07:39 | #22

    rog :
    The passing of Margaret Thatcher represents another milestone in mythology

    Oh dear. I never read in any of these hagiographies about the slash and burn implementation of deregulation that led to the current financial predicament. Maybe they will issue a correction at a later date.

    @ Megan

    I don’t gloat that someone is dead. The evil has already been done and there’s no way to correct it. I wish that she didn’t actively enable police states and arm and train secret police that tortured and murdered millions of people, and it’s very hard to wish good things on those who knowingly perform such acts.

  23. Julie Thomas
    April 9th, 2013 at 08:05 | #23

    @Gab

    Jimmy Rose doesn’t rile me; he is a wonderful example of the deficient thinking that goes on among the greedy and selfish individual type people.

    Your type did rile me 10 years ago but it’s obvious now that the tide is turning and your ideology is clearly outdated and just plain stupid, and lazy really, because you don’t seem to be able to wrap your heads around the science these days.

    Perhaps your genetic endowment hasn’t provided you with the ability to think more rationally, but the way I see it, Jimmy and his silliness – still fighting the cold war – is ok just once a day. He is all over the place in his arguments or have you not been able to see that – given your tendency to be irrational and oh so ‘cute’. 🙂

    If you actually read the responses to Jimmy, you would see that no-one is riled and that his contributions are not eloquent at all, but confused and indicative of someone who possibly needs care from a welfare agency.

    It is very nice and kind of you to support your fellow traveller Gab. You are one of those nurturing conservative womans who stand by their men walking a step behind perhaps?

  24. Fran Barlow
    April 9th, 2013 at 09:42 | #24

    Speaking as an atheist and opponent of plebeian metaphysics, I have no feelings at all about Thatcher’s death. Death claims everyone, sooner or later, whether they are worthy or repulsive, insightful or banal, nuanced or utterly one-dimensional or anything in between.

    Thatcher was an implacable enemy of working humanity. There was no human usage, no accomplishment of community no worthy human impulse that she would not be happy to see fall under the hooves of a police horse or see bundled into a paddy wagon in pursuit of the interests of the class she served. There was neither warmth, nor pity nor even acknowledgement that those who stood in her path deserved any consideration at all. This was someone who before she even came to power, was dubbed “Thatcher, milk snatcher” for removing the subsidy for milk in state schools. There’s little doubt in my mind that when J K Rowling created the “Dolores Umbridge” character in the Harry Potter series of books, she had Thatcher in mind.

    What is telling in her death is the tendency for people not merely on the official right, but even amongst others who imply some cultural distance from the official right, to engage in maudlin reminiscence about her legacy. It’s hard to say whether this is Stockholm Syndrome or reflexively submissive behaviour or quais-religious taboo. It does strike me though that the rush to laud her amongst capitalist politicians such as Julia Gillard does give the lie to impressionistic liberals and hard nosed reactionaries who imply that such folk are in some way ‘left-of-centre’. What these more timorous folk admire in Thatcher was her unambiguous service to the boss class and her willingness to take on openly the working population and do what was necessary to defeat it and entrench privilege.

    Dead or alive Thatcher will get no paean of praise from me. She has spent the last few years as an empty husk, an expended resource. The boss class moved on and installed first Major and then Blair. Both of them are now also squeezed lemons. That’s just how it goes.

    * Amusing note: There was a hashtag written in twitter #nowthatthatchersdead — which prompted some to worry about the health of Cher Bono

  25. Gab
    April 9th, 2013 at 09:52 | #25

    “Julie Thomas”, wow 204 words devoted to me. LOL. Save your bile for someone who gives a toss for your opinion. 😀

  26. Fran Barlow
    April 9th, 2013 at 10:57 | #26

    @Gab

    If you didn’t give a toss for her opinion, you’d not have responded.

  27. Fran Barlow
    April 9th, 2013 at 11:43 | #27

    oops … should be #nowthatchersdead

  28. Fran Barlow
    April 9th, 2013 at 11:49 | #28

    Hmmm … wondering what triggered the sp*m filter?

    Speaking as an @theist and opponent of plebeian metaphysics, I have no feelings at all about Thatcher’s death. Death claims everyone, sooner or later, whether they are worthy or repulsive, insightful or banal, nuanced or utterly one-dimensional or anything in between.

    Thatcher was an implacable enemy of working humanity. There was no human usage, no accomplishment of community no worthy human impulse that she would not be happy to see fall under the hooves of a police horse or see bundled into a paddy wagon in pursuit of the interests of the class she served. There was neither warmth, nor pity nor even acknowledgement that those who stood in her path deserved any consideration at all. This was someone who before she even came to power, was dubbed “Thatcher, milk [email protected]” for removing the subsidy for milk in state schools. There’s little doubt in my mind that when J K Rowling created the “Dol*res Umbr|dge” character in the Harry Potter series of books, she had Thatcher in mind.

    What is telling in her death is the tendency for people not merely on the official right, but even amongst others who imply some cultural distance from the official right, to engage in maudlin reminiscence about her legacy. It’s hard to say whether this is Stockholm Syndrome or reflexively submissive behaviour or quasi-religious tab0o. It does strike me though that the rush to laud her amongst capitalist politicians such as Julia Gillard does give the lie to impressionistic liberals and hard nosed re*ctionaries who imply that such folk are in some way ‘left-of-centre’. What these more timorous folk admire in Thatcher was her unambiguous service to the boss class and her willingness to take on openly the working population and do what was necessary to defeat it and entrench privilege.

    Dead or alive Thatcher will get no paean of praise from me. She has spent the last few years as an empty husk, an expended resource. The boss class moved on and installed first Major and then Blair. Both of them are now also squeezed lemons. That’s just how it goes.

    * Amusing note: There was a hashtag written in twitter #nowthatchersdead — which prompted some to worry about the health of Cher Bono …

    PrQ: delete duplicate if this posts ….

  29. Fran Barlow
    April 9th, 2013 at 11:50 | #29

    test: atheist

  30. paul walter
    April 9th, 2013 at 12:13 | #30

    Ikon was right in commenting on Jim Rose.
    On watching an SBS documentary on the Korean War, I was staggered at the level of genocide conducted by Syngman Rhee and the Americans as regards the Korean masses, hundreds of thousands; truly staggering.
    As with Fran Barlow, I don’t want to spend time dwelling on Margaret Thatcher, an individual as much created by her times as to do with the creating of them.
    After all, she and Murdoch were only the bouncer employed by the City of London to evict the proletariat, if it hadn’t been them someone else would have picked up cudgels.
    For those claiming “reform”, I’d say no. What happened wasn’t reform, just big capital realising that new technology could could help them shift capital offshore, enabling the avoidance of social responsibility.
    There had to be a pretext to side track from what was really beginning to happen and this occurred with the confected psychodrama of the Miners strike and Fortress Wapping, with demonisation of the working class as “unworthy”, to justifying the end of a Welfare state in favour of market forces and the flight of tax dodging capital into speculation in the West and sweat shop operations in the Third World,a part of a “new”economy.
    Finally, no one has mentioned misogyny, but it is true that Thatcher will be reviled as the “castrating mother” of the male industrial working class, the woman who would go where no man dared. But these things were a part of change and likely to happen sooner or later anyway, with mechanisation and automation.
    It’s just that it could have been done fairly, but the impatient upper classes were unwilling to allow this, for the reasons I offered above. By way of example we can see the descendent of this working its way throughthe USA at this very moment; as much about crushing resistance as genuine economics.

  31. Julie Thomas
    April 9th, 2013 at 13:01 | #31

    Oh dear Gabby there you go again demonstrating your emotive way of functioning and several other less than admirable aspects of your personality.

    What did you want here hon?

  32. Jim Rose
    April 9th, 2013 at 17:42 | #32

    see http://www.smh.com.au/world/ding-dong-margaret-thatchers-foes-celebrate-death-of-former-pm-20130409-2hhs7.html for a sign that suggets that the political language of the Left is not as yet gender empowering.

  33. Fran Barlow
    April 10th, 2013 at 11:54 | #33

    @Jim Rose

    Celebrating the death of horrible public figures is a traditional rather than a left wing thing:

    Google “Ding Dong the witch is dead” …

  34. Jim Rose
    April 10th, 2013 at 12:05 | #34

    horrible public figures

    Thatcher saved the welfare state and made Labor electable again so maybe you are right?

    British Labor split in 1981, which was before the Falklands war in 1982.

    The Social Democratic Party was winning more votes than Labor in the opinion polls.

    By the end of 1982, the issue was whether Labor or the SDP-LP Alliance formed the next opposition

    The 1983 Labour election manifesto was strongly socialist, advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament, higher taxation and leaving the then EEC:

    the longest suicide note in history.

    The SDP–Liberal Alliance won 25% of the vote in the 1983 election, a little less than Labor’s 27%, the latter’s worse result since 1918. Labor loses by going Left.

  35. Will
    April 10th, 2013 at 13:45 | #35

    Jim Rose :
    see http://www.smh.com.au/world/ding-dong-margaret-thatchers-foes-celebrate-death-of-former-pm-20130409-2hhs7.html for a sign that suggets that the political language of the Left is not as yet gender empowering.

    You implied all that from a single sign carried by an individual woman? That’s a very big leap Jim.

  36. John H.
    April 11th, 2013 at 14:10 | #36

    @Gab

    Get real Gab, I remained banned from Catallaxy(to my knowledge, haven’t tried to post anything in 2 weeks). The only blog I have been banned from and one that the moderator has his little podcasts on freedom every Friday and promotes libertarian ideas. A striking hypocrisy. So by your standards Davidson should be shamed to Hell and back.

  37. Jim Rose
    April 11th, 2013 at 19:27 | #37

    many on the Left believe that life got worse under thatcher – from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/09/clearing-up-margaret-thatchers-mess

    The 70s was Britain’s most equal decade.

    The jobs that went during the 80s tended to be good, skilled jobs, delivering decent incomes and some security. She failed to replace those jobs with well-paid equivalents.

    Demonising unions and stripping the great mass of private-sector workers of a voice and power in the workplace is still the root of the great living standards crisis that saw the share of wealth going to wages slide long before Lehman Brothers failed

    the stagflation with 25% CPI inflation, the productivity slowdown of the 1970s, the three day week, the 1978 winter of discontent are but details that earned the moniker ‘the sick man of Europe’.

    If only Micheal Foot had won to save the post office from privatisation. Britions would have to apply for a mobile phone at the post office, open to friday, 9 to 5. much better.

    The first order of business of a true left wing UK government is to renationalise the council houses sold by Thatcher. show your convictions. a mistake is sometime you want to undo.

  38. Jim Rose
    April 11th, 2013 at 19:28 | #38

    last three paragraphs above are not part of the guardian quote. a typing error.

  39. kevin1
    April 11th, 2013 at 20:49 | #39

    For those of a certain age who feel disappointed in the “younger generation” (what are we up to now? Gen Z?) have a squiz at The Checkout 8 pm ABCTV 1. These guys really go for it on corporate deception. Does anyone seriously think the commercial stations would bite the hand that feeds them and investigate such issues?

    And just because their conclusions don’t necessarily align with leftist critics’ view of the world shouldn’t devalue the program’s worth. We all should be proud that there is a mainstream platform for occasional critical thinking of a high quality and independent character, and it is the govt funded network that provides it – it demonstrates what’s possible, and the empirical falsity of libertarian/public choice thinking.

  40. John H.
    April 11th, 2013 at 21:41 | #40

    @kevin1

    As I commented to a friend only a few days ago …

    There are those on the right who complain about the SBS and ABC but keep watching those channels because those are the only channels that provide high information programs and alternative programs of an unusual and creative nature. On the other hand, the 1st and 2nd tier commercial channels provide with an increasing number of reality TV shows and half hour commercials. Market forces are driving commercial stations to low quality cheap crap and they are still growing broke. What is the usual argument: “crowding out”. Sure, that explains why ABC and SBS are always the first to screen these programs.

    So I dread the prospect of privatising the ABC and SBS except for the fact that it only serve to keep me further away from the TV than now.

  41. Jim Rose
    April 13th, 2013 at 21:49 | #41

    The left has a double standard on thatcher and dictator.

    She fought a war against one to stop british subjects been left to his mercy. The left took that dictator’s side because of the sinking of a war ship and took the side of anyone fighting anyone attacking an liberal democracy

    They go on about pinochet. Thatcher was repaying intelligence and other help in the falklands war. Realpolitik.

  42. Fran Barlow
    April 14th, 2013 at 08:07 | #42

    As an atheist and someone who rejects metaphysics, I am never going to celebrate the death of another. Once someone is dead, they have no rights or claims upon the living, be they worthy or repulsive or anything in between.

    The only relevance of the dead to the living is their legacy, and that only as exemplar or cautionary tale (or more typically, a bit of both).

    Calling someone “a witch” or “a b|tch” in order to derogate them trades on, inter alia misogyny and consequently, nobody with a passion for inclusive society should do it, or wink at it.

    In relation to Thatcher of course, two things should be noted. Firstly, and most obviously — she’s dead, and therefore isn’t ‘somebody’. All that remains is her legacy – which is that of someone who disputed the existence of bonds between people most regard as integral to civilised life: “there is no society, only individuals” was her Randian assertion. To the best of my knowledge, this is not Gillard’s view and I suspect it’s not even Abbott’s view, (whatever his actions imply).

    The invocation of the 1930s song Ding Dong the Witch is Dead to summarise the sentiment of some people expresses their relief at the end of the Thatcher period, and their hope for the possibility of a new and more inclusive polity. The sentiment is at the moment, ill-founded of course, because, regrettably, Thatcher’s legacy was passed on to Major and then Blair and Brown and now Cameron-Clegg. Yet those singing this very traditionally framed song are expressively wishing for such an end. It is a feature of life that those blighted by exclusion, oppression and brutality often express their sentiments in forms shaped by their oppressors. Just as ‘an eye for an eye’ goes back to Hammurabai, so too those who choose brutopia as their standard for dealing with others can scarcely be surprised if a simulacrum of their paradigm passes the lips of their victims. If you mess people up, they are unlikely to respond to you as enlightened people. In the story of the Wizard of Oz, the ‘wicked witch’ imposes brutal austerity — her persona is pervasive, and her death permits happiness, fulfilment and the promise of plenty. There is an echo in Wizard of Oz of the traditional peasant response to the advent of spring after a long painful winter. Thatcher’s ‘conservatism’ struck at ancient notions of community — rather than merely those peculiar to leftists. She was seen as inflicting a long, painful and needless winter. Her very memory evoked primal pain.

    While I can understand the right pointing the finger at the left for offending traditional taboos attaching to death and for derogating one of their icons, they really ought to seek much closer to home for the resonance of that ditty.

    I would note too that the reluctance of the BBC to play the ditty underlines the hypocrisy of those who assert that an unfettered right to offensive speech ought to exist. Who would have thought, just a few weeks ago, that this children’s classic might not be deemed fit by the BBC for airing? Rightwing political correctness, it seems, is alive and well in Britain and being cheered on by those who for years have claimed to be chafing at those impinging on their right to offend the marginalised and powerless. Dead rightwing icons get protection while the marginalised living do not. Hmmm

  43. Fran Barlow
    April 14th, 2013 at 08:12 | #43

    sp*m filter test: witch; death; leftist

  44. steve
    April 16th, 2013 at 21:59 | #44

    The tardy world of Queensland local government finances:
    http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/TabledPapers/2013/5413T2373.pdf

  45. April 17th, 2013 at 12:50 | #45

    @ Neil

    In reply to a comment on the thread “There is a world market for maybe five computers …*”, comment page 4, #14.

    I’m interesting at the discussion of implicit attitudes but I also want to clarify something. Before I start, I should disclose that I’m by no means anywhere near an expert on psychology and most of my perception in this subject is based on my self-thinking and observation (A.K.A very unscientific).

    I agree and was aware about the existence of implicit attitudes in making judgements and choices. The thing is that implicit attitudes cannot be used as a reasonable argument to judgements made on the basis of technical reasoning (economic, technological, scientific etc.). For example, even IF one perceives climate science is a communist project, that by itself, cannot reasonably be used to claim that climate science is wrong without examining the scientific arguments and evidence and subsequently proving them wrong. Hence the same applies to technical evaluations despite the existence of implicit attitude induced bias.

    The second point is, how much weight can we give to implicit attitude when one is not aware of it. In my point of view, implicit attitude arise due to grouping certain subjects/objects together and apply expectations upon it without realising the process. Also one can not make a choose when he/she is not aware the existence of the choice being available; for example, it is hard if not impossible for someone to choose not to be a sexist/racist if he/she is not even aware of it. This makes it difficult, for example, to classify people who MAY have negative implicit attitude towards women being sexists.

    Third point is that, if one is aware of implicit attitude and attempts to achieve objectivity (even if it is not possible), it should reduce the impact of implicit attitude (if not significantly). Also, it is not possible to know the implicit bias of the author of the article unless the article, argument and evidence are examined technically.

    I have noticed you have agree to a degree of the above points I’ve made in your previous comments (unless I misunderstood you). The important point is that, despite the existence of implicit attiude, it by itself, should not have much weight (if any) over technical arguments.

  46. Neil
    April 17th, 2013 at 14:58 | #46

    @Tom
    Yes, I think agree with the main thrust of what you say, Tom. I don’t agree that *simply* being aware that one has implicit attitudes one doesn’t endorse helps. But there are lots of things one can do to change one’s implicit attitudes, if one is aware of them. This is all quite new and controversial: we don’t know how long the effects last. But we know that, for instance, exposing people to counter-attitudinal claims alters their implicit attitudes for at least 24 hours. So people with negative implicit attitudes toward women have these attitudes greatly reduced (on average: the way we measure this is at the group level) by exposure to stories about successful woman, pictures of women they admire, and so on. We know that women with negative implicit attitudes toward women alter their attitudes after attending a woman’s college in the US, and we know that that effect persists for (at least) months. So what you can do is to try to alter your implicit attitudes indirectly and continue to engage in what you call technical arguments. The other thing you can do is to engage in group reasoning. Under lots of conditions, people’s prejudices cancel each other out, so groups are better deliberators than individuals. I think that’s basically how science works: I really want my hypothesis to be true, so I’m blind to its faults, but other people don’t care whether or not its true and – damn it – they show me where its faults are. So lots of people engaged in technical argument at the same time on the same topic often leads to good reasoning.

  47. April 17th, 2013 at 15:35 | #47

    @Neil

    I wish to clarify a few points.

    “I don’t agree that *simply* being aware that one has implicit attitudes one doesn’t endorse helps.”

    I have not said that. When one is aware of the possibility of existence of implicit attitude in oneself, there arise a choice for the person if he/she is willing to re-think his/her choice and judgement on a “more objective” way, compared to a person who is unaware of the possibilityof the existence of implicit attitude in him/her (sorry my English is not that great).

    With regarding to technical reasoning (I’m unsure of the exact word if there is one), implicit attitude may exist to affect the person’s decision to choose and/or weight specific arguments and evidence more heavily than others. That however, can only be refuted by refuting the argument and the evidence presented (if it exists). This part is where I’m confused about your position because I don’t know how much you weight implicit attitude and it’s role when the argument/debate involve technical arguments.

  48. Neil
    April 17th, 2013 at 15:45 | #48

    @Tom

    On the first point; fair enough.

    I don’t think there is any simple way to incorporate the discovery that one has attitudes of which one disapproves into one’s deliberations. Psychologists call this ‘debiasing’. It works pretty well in some cases. For instance, there is a thinking bias called the confirmation bias: people think more readily of evidence that supports the view they favor then of evidence that disfavors it. Debiasing works pretty well here: you recall the confirmation bias and try to think of evidence against your view. It works, reasonably well. But with regard to other biases, it may actually make things worse, at least in the short term. There are studies both on biases against women and biases againsts blacks in which subjects were asked to make an effort to avoid bias. All that happened is that people’s confidence in their objectivity increased, while their bias remained the same. For most situations, I am afraid I don’t have helpful suggestions.

  49. April 17th, 2013 at 16:56 | #49

    @Neil

    I agree, re-thinking one’s position does not always result in “more objectivity”.

  50. Hincerooney
    April 18th, 2013 at 22:07 | #50

    @Fran Barlow
    Behold Geoff Bird’s other website: http://www.students.org.au/
    Part amusing, part terrorist manifesto. Totally batshit crazy.

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