Sex Redistribution and Disability

I am surprised that the subject of sex and disability has not arisen in the controversy surrounding Robin Hanson’s and Ross Douthat’s remarks on sex redistribution. The subject is one of active debate in the literature on medical ethics. Bioethicist Jacob Appel writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics in 2010 argued:

If sexual pleasure is a fundamental right, as this author believes, then jurisdictions that prohibit prostitution should carve out narrow exceptions for individuals whose physical or mental disabilities make sexual relationships with non compensated adults either impossible or high unlikely.

…A second area in which reform is desperately needed is the ‘no sex’ policies that exist in American nursing facilities, mental hospitals and group homes. Many such facilities require the doors of patients’ rooms to be open at all times, making intimacy all but impossible. The assumption underlying these restrictions is that anything short of clearly expressed wishes by a fully competent and rational individual does not fulfil a minimum standard to consent to sexual relations. The principle advanced by this approach is that institutionalised individuals require a higher degree of protection than those living outside of institutions. In many matters, this is certainly the case. However, in regard to sexual relations, this ‘higher’ standard often serves as an obstacle to meeting both the wishes and interests of individuals who cannot conform to ‘real world’ standards of consent.

More challenging than a ‘negative rights’ conception of sexual liberty is one that also embraces a ‘positive right’ to sexual pleasure for the disabled–either for those individuals who are too impaired to find mates and/or those who are so physically incapacitated that they are incapable of pleasuring themselves. Several European nations, including Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland, allow limited ‘touching’ services for the severely disabled through non-profit organisations.

In the UK charities exist to help match sex workers with the disabled. Similar services are available in Denmark and in the Netherlands and in those countries (limited) taxpayer funds can be used to pay for sexual disability services. The Green party has proposed such services elsewhere:

A German politician has sparked controversy by suggesting people with severe disabilities could receive “sexual assistance” paid for by the state.

The Green party’s spokeswoman for age and care policy, Elisabeth Scharfenberg, said the government could “provide grants” for sexual services to disabled people who cannot achieve satisfaction by any other means.

Such a system is currently operating in Denmark and the Netherlands, where certified “sexual assistants” with special training conduct visits to disabled people who cannot afford to pay themselves.

Regardless of the answers one gives, I think these are legitimate questions of profound and deep importance to the people involved. It’s unfortunate and wrong that someone who brings these issues to the public forum is denounced and called creepy. We can and should do better.


If sexual pleasure is a fundamental right, as this author believes,

He's employed as a psychiatrist at Mt. Sinai Hospital. One more item in the file marked "No More Insurance Company Money for Head-Shrinkers"

If sexual pleasure is a fundamental right, as this author believes": poppycock!

It is a superb illustration of how much rubbish is talked about rights.

P.S. How would I recognise a "fundamental right"? How does it differ from a "human right"? Fucked if I know.

Evidence that "positive" rights are indeed a slippery slope and the lack of reverence for asceticism among our morally bankrupt intelligentsia.

> It’s unfortunate and wrong that someone who brings these issues to the public forum is denounced and called creepy.

Well hey -- that Dem tribe you faithfully support believes that masculinity is toxic, and that the male sex drive is the root of all evil.

You're surprised that they call people creepy for demanding taxpayer-funded hand-relief?

You're gonna need some disabled women to lead this charge... of course at that point you won't need tax money, because volunteers will be lined up around the block.

That's funny, because all the really sexually creepy dues I can think of are conservatives.

Dudes, not dues

sheesh, ruined a perfectly good snark, need more coffee

It wasn’t that good of a snark. Isn’t the namesake of the current moral panic Harvey Weinstein?

Yeah, he's creepy too. But Roy Moore is creepier.

I was actually thinking of people I know personally.

Judge Smails: You know Ty, you should play with Dr. Beeper and myself. I mean, he's been club champion for three years running and I'm no slouch myself.
Ty Webb: Don't sell yourself short Judge, you're a tremendous slouch.

Strange how quickly we forgot the name of the Republican money man who paid for the abortion of his fling then got Trumps lawyer to buy her silence. What was his name? Oh yeah, and "return the money!" Hahahaaaaaahaha. Right.

Oh, Elliot Broidy, and he actually held a position at tge RNC!

It wasn't even remotely a good snark. It is not just Harvey Weinstein. MeToo is grossly disproportionately hitting Democrats and their supporters. It is not Republicans with secret buttons in their desk so they can lock their office doors. It is not Republicans holding meetings in hotel rooms so they can jack off into a pot plant.

A lot of people may not like Mike Pence but about one thing we can be pretty sure - tonight he will be at home, with his wife, and the ficus plants of the world will be safe from him.

oh yes it was

PS. Larry Craig

And as I said just above, there's no need to volley famous names back and forth. We could do that for a while to no effect.

I am referring to unfamous people I know personally.

Yes but I am not sure I believe you know any Conservatives. Whether or not they are creepy.

As for Larry Craig we would have to ask if such behavior is creepy in the Gay sub-culture or not. Perhaps dropping your pants and bending over is how people say hello in parts of California? Certainly no one ever came forward to say he was creepy.

Actually, a reporter for an Idaho paper named Dan Popkey wrote a column on all the dirt he'd collected on Craig. He listed five incidents over a period of more than 20 years. I don't think he listed the least plausible and compelling bits in his grab bag. Well, one person says Craig propositioned him in DC in 1986. He knows it was Craig because he recognizes the voice on TV - 20 years after the fact. Another met Craig coincident with some sort of political retreat held at a camping resort. Nothing happened, but he just knows Craig was propositioning him because wink-wink-nudge-nudge. Another is a politically-connected professional (and poof) who insists he ran into Craig in the Denver airport restroom where Craig propositioned him. Another is the hustler in Denver who had Ted Haggard on his client list. He says he met Craig once for business, when Craig left the airport during a layover and traveled to his abode for some fun-and-games for cash. You think he has a distinct memory for every one-off trick who comes in the door? Dan Popkey does.

The political culture of the Democratic Party in Idaho was such that Mr. Popkey's editor approved this column for publication.

True story. I first became aware of glory holes in a public restroom in New Orleans. when I was in my 20's. I learned the, um, hard way why there was a hole in the stall wall.

For the record, that's apex creepy.

"Yes but I am not sure I believe you know any Conservatives."

Good point. I know plenty of people who call themselves conservative. Rare are the ones who actually are.

"Whether or not they are creepy."

Exhibit A. The right wing fascination with cuckolds

PS. Larry Craig

Who was issued a citation by a cop who volunteered for duty trying to entrap people. And we know Craig propositioned him because ... said cop says Craig gave him secret hand signals. Liberals eat this stuff up, because they're kinda sicko.

I like that bit of jiu jitsu. The guy getting gargled by strangers in airport restrooms isn't the creepy one. It's the cop and the public that are the sick ones.

The guy getting gargled by strangers

No one ever contended he was. The cop in question contended Craig had propositioned him. The cop's not very credible.

'MeToo is grossly disproportionately hitting Democrats and their supporters. '

No, it is very proportionately hitting those who deserve punishment for their actions. Who cares about party? Removing such people from positions of authority is a great service, regardless of whatever party they may belong to.

Yes. When a partisan hack insists that partisan labels are not important it is usually a sign that the wrong doing is all on their side. The way that the mainstream media will always identify an arrested Republican but never, or virtually never, the affiliation of an arrested Democrat.

It is disproportionately hitting Democrats. Some of whom may be guilty.

One reasonably assumes that most of the accused are guilty when there are multiple accusations stretching over years.

And since I have never voted for either a Democrat or a Republican in my entire llife, that anyone should care about the party affiliation (or lack thereof, which you mean incapable of even grasping) of someone finally being brought to justice for their actions would seem to one way to recognize partisan hacks.

Does Bill Cosby have a party affiliation, by the way?

"MeToo is grossly disproportionately hitting Democrats and their supporters."

Perhaps because Republicans still have their heads in the sand:

That is a good example of the sort of pervasive political bias that makes the mainstream media so useless. They have buried the lede and insisted on interpreting that as if the Republicans have a problem. The key piece of data in that is this one:

Even among women, differences along party lines persist.

A December 2017 poll by Pew found that about half of Democratic women said that they experienced at least one form of gender discrimination at work. In comparison, a third of Republican women felt the same way.

So Democrat men are harassing Democrat women at work. Naturally lesser Beta Democrats think this is a problem. Republican men are not harassing women at work anywhere near as much. As a result Republicans tend to think that the problem is not that important. Support for more action of harassment is more or less in direct line with the levels of harassment that still exist.

So basically Democrats are creeps. Republicans are more respectful of women. But the media has to spin it as if the Republicans have a problem.

Or maybe republican women have lower standards and have been trained to accept abuse

If the true libertarian solution is to decriminalize all sex work, does this pseudo-problem then go away?

Probably not, since part of the problem with the type of man that celebrates the mass murder of women as a honorable act of resistance can probably be summed up using an adapted bit of baby boomer song lyrics -

Oh lord won't you buy me a TV star.
My friends all date models, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends.
So oh lord won't you buy me a TV star.

This week we saw Bill Ayers take to Twitter to defend his acts of mass murder as legitimate and honorable acts of resistance. Even though there is no evidence of Obama's best friend suffering from anything at any time.

It is odd how there always seems to be a double standard here.

I don't recall he committed any mass murders. Three members of the Weather Underground were killed during the Greenwich Village Townhouse explosion in 1970, but I don't believe Ayers was there that day. (The pattern of the explosion was quite odd - two people in the townhouse survived with minor injuries even though the whole structure collapsed and one person in townhouse was so obliterated that she was identified by the print on one surviving finger).

Mostly. Old people are allowed to leave their facilities and while they are expensive to move I guess someone could open a special hotel nearby.

Not sure what to do about insane people, it seems they need a policy change but it isn't clear if the state is causing bad policy or if they just have bad lawyers. So maybe the law could be improved in this respect as well.

"Transgender women" (men who have their gonads cut off) may have a tough time finding partners. Is the government supposed to both pay for "gender reassignment" and then pay for the "transgendered" to have sex partners?

In the trans community, there is a term for guys who fetishize trans men (they are called "chasers" though that term is moderately negative in connotation).

I don't believe Hanson was "denounced" (not in the article in Slate that I read), but he was described as "creepy". And, indeed, he is creepy (causing an unpleasant feeling of fear or unease). He isn't the only creepy person around. I can think of a few more, such as Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Peter Thiel. Birds of a feather, I suppose. One might even identify Ross Douthat as creepy, given his obsession with sex (anal sex, in particular). As for Hanson, he should not be "denounced" for approaching the subject of sex from the perspective of economics; he is an economist, I believe. Sex is an important subject, including especially for the ascetics who Cowen seems to admire. Indeed, considering all the unimportant subjects economists often focus on, Hanson should be given credit for focusing on an important subject. Even if he is creepy.

And why is it acceptable to call him creepy on twitter? I suspect people get banned for calling a twatterati "ugly".

given his obsession with sex

The only thing creepy here is you projecting on others.

When a man uses the term "creepy" non-ironically, you can be almost certain he's a mangina.

Dan Savage’s column on it did address the disabled perspective in addition to the “incels.”

Full points to Dan Savage for doing something other than offering understanding for those using an identity to at least implicitly threaten violence - 'Before I say anything else: I agree with Rachel Fagen. She tweeted the above in response to someone who asked why "incels" don't just go see sex workers. I have good friends who do sex work—women and men—and they're not human shields. Their lives are valuable and, like Fagen says, they're not here to soak up male rage. They deserve safe working conditions and they deserve our respect—not despite the work they do, but because of it.

And let me say this: I have no sympathy for "incels" lurking in dark corners of the Internet cheering on misogynist terrorists. I have no sympathy for anyone who picks up a gun or gets in a van to mow down women on their way to class or work. And anyone who attempts to pin the blame on women or feminism for George Sodini or Elliot Rodger or Alek Minassian is an asshole.'

However, it does seem as if Savage deals with a different group of people than the type that seem to concern Hanson and Douhat - 'Sexual deprivation can make a person miserable, even suicidal. I hear every day from men and women in their twenties, thirties, forties, and up who are virgins or haven’t had sex for decades; some have never received so much as a kiss. Most are deeply unhappy—and none who’ve contacted me identified themselves as “incels,” and no one who's written me was contemplating acts of violence.'

It is interesting to see Savage do what msgkings does as well - even when trying to express support for the Incel, he feels a need to attack them.

I assume that in both cases it comes down to a weak sense of masculinity. Savage is afraid that if he is sympathetic to the Incel someone might mistake him for one of them. So he has to kick down to make sure everyone understands he is swimming in Poontang and not like those horrible geeks in any way at all.

OK. Fine.

However it does mean he misses the point. Helping the pathetically shy have sex with prostitutes is not about exposing prostitutes to violence. It is about drawing the Incel out of their prison and into normal society. It is about heading them off before they become so desperate that they kill.

Instead Savage (and msgkings) has to stick the boot in once more. It is a strange lack of empathy.

I highly doubt that Dan Savage, an openly gay married man, is concerned that expressing sympathy for self-described "Incels" will threaten the public image of his masculinity or cause people to associate him with them.

Plainly, while Savage is generally sympathetic to people who lack sexual contact in their lives for prolonged periods, he is specifically not sympathetic to people who adopt the term "Incel," since the term implies that women collectively are "unfairly" withholding sex from the "victim" and this mindset tends to go hand-in-hand with misogynism.

There is nothing about the term Incel that implies any wrong doing on the part of women. It just means these men would like a sexual relationship and they are not getting it.

You are just reinforcing Savage's rationalization of why he loathes these Omega losers. Presumably because his sense of masculinity is weak. There does not seem to be any other reason.

However even if these men were blaming women, the solution is to get to them before they reach that stage and help them form an actual relationship with a real woman. A goal to which he is contributing nothing but more social pressure and shame.

'the solution is to get to them before they reach that stage and help them form an actual relationship with a real woman' that sounds so simple. please tell us how that works.

This whole debate does come down to a weak sense of masculinity. It does not, however, belong to Dan Savage.

Speaking as a mid-30s virgin who can technically qualify as an actual involuntary celibate, I can tell you that being stuck in that life does suck. Not being able to touch, to kiss, to love another human in a physical and romantic way makes me feel awful. But "incels", who ironically say their lack of sex is “involuntary” despite their making a choice to avoid women and sex, do not want love or affection. They want sex, raw and physical and meaningless. They want control over when, where, and with whom they have sex - and control of that person, if possible.

"Incels" have a skewed vision of masculinity that binds them to the most toxic belief about relationships: Sex is all about them. And if they cannot have sex, they will have their revenge - revenge on the women who scorned them, mocked them, refused to have sex with them under any circumstances. The sense of entitlement towards sex drives "incels" into a belief system that tells them "sex can be yours if you know how to 'play the game' and cheat it out of women". Leave them to their devices long enough and their entitlement turns violent; whether that means assault, rape, or murder likely depends on how aggrieved a specific "incel" feels about his life.

"Incels" deserve a minor amount of pity. Yes, not being able to get laid sucks - I speak from experience. But that must be where the pity ends. These misogynists wrapped in "but I'm a nice guy" clothing cannot be allowed to have their whims catered to. No one - not you, me, or them - is entitled to sex. If I die a virgin, so be it; at least I will have avoided becoming someone so enamored with a specific image of masculinity that they think being a virgin is worse than being a murderer.

If I die a virgin, so be it; at least I will have avoided becoming someone so enamored with a specific image of masculinity that they think being a virgin is worse than being a murderer.

It is interesting to see you buying into the narrative that the Incels deserve what they have got because they are evil. As opposed to being pathetically shy and introverted. You simply regurgitate this boiler plate feminist nonsense.

However what is more interesting is that you need to bring it back to yourself. Whether or not you are a virgin, that I do not know. But you do need to do what Savage and msgking do - make yourself look better by kicking the most pathetic group of men in the modern West while they are down.

Perhaps they are not the only ones with a problem?

An involuntary celibate is exactly what it sounds like: a person who has never had sex or has not had sex in a long while, most likely through no fault of their own. Be they disabled, "unattractive", poor, "weird"/"creepy", overly shy, or something else that turns women away, the ability of an involuntary celibate to have sex is, at best, limited. I have no issues with involuntary celibates, especially since I am one. These people need help getting laid, and decriminalizing prostitution could help them get that. It will not be a magic solution, though (and I will expand on this below).

An "incel", on the other hand, is an involuntary celibate who turns their personal grievances about sex into a sociopolitical world view where they believe they are entitled to sex. They think they deserve sex because they think everyone has a right to get laid once in their lives. But the irony of their "incel" label is that a majority of "incels" voluntarily choose to stay away from women because they think women are all...well, I could say a few gendered slurs here, but suffice it to say that "incels" do not like women at all.

In short: An "incel" is an involuntary celibate, but that does not make every involuntary celibate an "incel". After all, for as much as I loathe the fact that I have never had sex, I do not feel the need to blame - or harm - women over that. And giving "incels" access to sex-via-legal-prostitution will not be a "one size fits all" solution to solving the "incel problem". Sex is sex; it is neither a substitute for emotional maturity or a treatment for behavioral issues - both of which are what "incels" need more than sex.

Arguing about semantics over words which were made up on the internet a few years ago doesn't advance the conversation.

It's also odd that you claim to read other's minds.

> Arguing about semantics over words which were made up on the internet a few years ago doesn't advance the conversation.

"Islamist" is a recent word, but we sure as hell understand the difference between a Muslim and an Islamist. The set of attitudes that go with calling oneself an "incel" is not advancing the conversation, it *is* the conversation.

Now, you can justify the hateful attitudes of a self-proclaimed "incel" by illustrating how the "involuntarily celibate" are treated, just like you can justify the behaviour of the hate-mongering outliers of any put upon group.

But that's all it is - attempting to justify the appalling.

I don't think Hanson or Douthat's use of the word "incel" fits the definition you give it. I take their use of the word to simply mean people who can't get laid. Therefore, if you insist that the word means something else, something far more specific, you are attributing meaning to their words which they likely didn't intend.

I was under the impression the word "incel" originated as an insult in the PUA world, much like the word "cuck". Maybe I am wrong about that -- at any rate, if we are attributing different meanings to different words, better to use plain English.

should read "different meanings to the same words"

'I was under the impression the word "incel" originated as an insult in the PUA world'

And you would be wrong - see the link to Elle.

In short: An "incel" is an involuntary celibate, but that does not make every involuntary celibate an "incel". After all, for as much as I loathe the fact that I have never had sex, I do not feel the need to blame - or harm - women over that.

Nor do most Incels I am sure. You are just justifying Savage's lack of empathy. He needs to pretend that Incel refers to killers so he can smear the entire group - people who are more pathetic than evil. You really should not buy into that narrative.

And giving "incels" access to sex-via-legal-prostitution will not be a "one size fits all" solution to solving the "incel problem". Sex is sex; it is neither a substitute for emotional maturity or a treatment for behavioral issues - both of which are what "incels" need more than sex.

Indeed. But it is a thought. I assume that what people are getting at is not just sex, but a relationship. They are thinking of the social arrangements we used to have that meant these people could and did marry. Which is what they really need in the end. But sex with a prostitute would probably cheer them up too.

Well it doesn't necessary help even that much. For one thing, even if legal escorts can choose who their clients are. For another, many of them don't like their job that much and aren't all that sensitive. It isn't clear how that would change with broader decriminalization as the laws are only sporadically enforced as is and if they really wanted to they could go to Nye county or Mexico or whatever.

While of course it should be recognized as lawful, it doesn't make up for the abuse young people face in schools, much of which is unsolicited and perpetrated by women.

I view the incels pretty negatively, but Robin Hanson had a point about the historical mold of their movement. One can be sure of this, the men in the stone age who had the POV that "I am not entitled to sex" were the ones whose seed expired on the floor of the cave. You seem to take it for granted that you are an incel because of unstated reasons not your fault, while most other incels "choose" their fate, presumably by their political views, if only theirs were closer to yours, they'd get laid. Have you ever considered the contrary evidence?

'even when trying to express support for the Incel,'

You really don't read links, do you? 'There are sexually deprived people out there who do identify as incels, as many learned over the last 24 hours. Instead of feeling depressed or blaming themselves (like the sexually deprived people who reach out to me), these involuntary celibates are filled with rage and blame others. No, wait: they blame women. The incel “community” is entirely male and, so far as I can tell, entirely straight. And when an incel with social or mental health issues—issues that contributed to his being an “involuntarily celibate” in the first place—violently attacks women (men are often killed too), the online incel breaks into cheers.

I hear from involuntarily celibate women frequently. They send me long, sad letters. But here are no examples of women gunning down good-looking men in aerobics classes (Sodini) or shooting young men outside frat houses (Rodgers) or running down random men on a sidewalk (Minassian). It's the toxic combination of male entitlement (men feeling entitled to women's bodies, attention, and adoration), the misogyny that grows like a black mold all over the Internet (maybe “ending the Internet as we know it” wouldn't be such a bad thing), and the male propensity toward violence that creates the kind of carnage we saw yesterday in Toronto.'

'to the Incel someone might mistake him for one of them'

Not in a million years. Really.

'to make sure everyone understands he is swimming in Poontang'

Um, no. Really.

"I hear from involuntarily celibate women frequently. They send me long, sad letters. "


So, here is an introduction to why Dan Savage receives such letters - "Savage Love is a syndicated sex-advice column by Dan Savage. The column appears weekly in several dozen newspapers, mainly free newspapers in the US and Canada, but also newspapers in Europe and Asia. It started in 1991 with the first issue of the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger.

Since October 2006, Savage has also recorded the Savage Lovecast, a weekly podcast version of the column, featuring telephone advice sessions. Podcasts are released every Tuesday.'

People in general who contact an advice columnist are rarely ragemonsters.

But of the women out there who don't have sex, despite wanting to (of which there are many, many fewer than among men), there are certainly female ragemonsters who are willing to construct the most ludicrous ideas of why men are wrong in not finding them attractive.

"Socially constructed patriarchal ideas of beauty" and such rubbish, and accompanying bile.

The difference is partly here that our culture is deeply corrupted in a fashion that gives feminist thought credence.

Women of course rarely get involved in violence. They tend to be both more scared and less capable at it, even when they're just as hostile to society. Occasionally they'll shoot up Youtube, but, on the whole...

What the hell is an "incel"? I had to Google it. Who makes this stuff up? And who takes the time to keep up with it? Jeezz

'It’s unfortunate and wrong that someone who brings these issues to the public forum is denounced and called creepy.'

Well, that certainly explains what happened the last time someone brought up this subject after a mass murder of women. As mentioned by Douhat, this 2014 essay discussed the subject -

Hanson, of course, seems to only have talked about men wanting to have sex, without including anyone apart from that group - 'One might plausibly argue that those with much less access to sex suffer to a similar degree as those with low income, and might similarly hope to gain from organizing around this identity, to lobby for redistribution along this axis and to at least implicitly threaten violence if their demands are not met.' Strangely, neither female incels nor handicapped incels are seemingly actively engaging in mass murder, or merely implicitly threatening violence, to force redistribution.

Men are much more prone to violence than women. Did you just notice that? There are women who lack money, but they are much less likely to riot than men. There are women who have been treated unjustly at work, but they are much less likely to "go postal." That is human nature.

'Men are much more prone to violence than women.'

Certainly seems that way.

'Did you just notice that?'

Well, I wonder why people think incel is about men, at least until a certain group started murdering women - '"I was trying to create a movement that was open to anybody and everybody," says Alana, now a 43-year-old management consultant and artist from Toronto. In 1993, she was finishing an undergraduate degree in statistics at Carleton University in Ottawa, and she'd never had sex or anything close to a boyfriend. Sometimes she blamed her appearance: short, slightly overweight, eczema splotches. Often she felt like she'd passed through adolescence without learning the unspoken rules of a complex game that everyone else understood intuitively.'

Prof. Tabarrok is trying to broaden the discussion, but Hanson was notably unconcerned about anything but those with an identity and who were at least implicitly threatening violence to get what they wanted. See the point above about Savage - the problem is not that men are more violent than women, the problem is a certain group of people who consider themselves incel celebrate mass murders as heroes, and the attention they are provided.

There are very few female incels. There are women who consider all men except the imaginary night in shining armor unworthy of them, but that's not the same thing. And the few real female incels wouldn't have the stamina to go on killing spree.

There are about the same number of females as males who are involuntarily celibate. The number of female 'incels' is about zero, which is true. Pretty much in the same fashion that there are not many black Catholic members of the KKK.

You don't need much stamina to drive a truck or set of a bomb, and you could probably hire someone to build one for you.

We have no proof that sex is fundamental. A complete theory of our metabolism might find a fundamental contradiction, a good part of our biology finding sex to be risky, needing containment.

The author deals with personal repression, in his technical terms. Repression also seems to be a natural human trait, in contradiction to sexual rights. Author has no basis.

Intended or otherwise, there's a slipperiness in claiming "It’s unfortunate and wrong that someone who brings these issues to the public forum is denounced and called creepy" when Hanson made no mention of disability (which is in the title of this post) and has subsequently denied having any policy suggestions he wishes to share.

Hanson, of all people, should realize that how one frames the issues one raises may be taken to provide evidence of hidden motives. The "just asking questions" stance is admittedly good at eliciting responses that demonstrate how irrational many on the left can be, but that doesn't mean some of them don't have a point when noting that Hanson has consistently brought up such issues in manner flush with implications.

Undoubtedly, there are more academic, less "creepy" ways of raising such issues--for example: don't sell short the worthwhile points.

"If sexual pleasure is a fundamental right..."

If you don't accept this premise, this whole conversation seems silly.

Also, mere sexual pleasure isn't really enough. Good porn and good vibrators have been around for a while.

The level of naivety about sex on display is shocking. Sex isn’t about sex. I hooker is a barely better substitute for what is actually desired than is pornography.

Although I had not heard the term incel until just recently. I have always assumed that the whole thing isn't about sex per se, it's about loneliness and connection and feeling valued.

I would put incels in the same category as goths, and really outspoken angry dykes. People striking out at/rejecting a system that they believe marginalizes them over things they can't control (i.e. the cultural perfection standard and the idealized sexual roles)

All the lonely people, where do they all come from....

When goths and lesbians start mowing down people out of anger at "a system that [...] marginalizes them", I might have a bit more sympathy for "incels" - well, so long as they refuse to celebrate another "incel" killing people.

Seriously, this whole thing created by one sick person, has fallen right into the media/public outrage pattern.

And talk about your Political Correctness. No one is allowed to mention that maybe there's something going on with loneliness. Everyone must genuflect to the appropriate caveats disavowing violence before they are allowed to express any view besides outrage and a call for the electric chair. Involuntarily celibate people are marginalized, mocked, and treated with scorn. And the slightest expression of acknowledging there's a problem is met with furious denouncements.

Classic right wing PC culture. I see little difference from trying to talk about US foreign policy after 9/11.

Yes, a problem exists: "incels" think their sexual needs are not being met. As a virgin, I understand their mentality - up to that point. That said, "incels" are not worthy anything but scorn and derision because of the rhetoric that comes their social (media) circles. Referring to Elliot Rodger as "a saint" and calling for an "incel revolution" is not the same thing as expressing a sense of loneliness.

I get lonely. I wonder if I will ever have sex. I do not, however, believe that I am entitled to sex because I exist or that the "solution" to my issue is finding a way to make women have sex with me - which includes government intervention.

People who are involutarily celibate deserve neither scorn nor sex - they deserve help in the form of therapy, both emotional and social. If legalized sex work can take the place of that, all well and good. But "incels" do not want that; they want control and power and the feeling that they are the kind of "Chad" about whom "incels" often rant and rave. "Incels" want to feel manly and powerful, regardless of how they might make their proposed sexual partners feel. "Incels" are "nice guys" up until someone rejects them - at that point, they show why "nice guys" is in quotation marks.

My heart breaks for involuntary celibates. It does not bleed for "incels". If they want to earn my sympathy, they can stop acting like taking what they want or killing women are actual damned "solutions" to their lack of sex.

Good comments, agree that there's a difference between someone who is lonely and has trouble finding a sexual relationship and someone who takes that status and turns it to anger and lashing out at others (either with guns, or just online vitriol like SMFS, I hadn't realized he was an incel until now).

My take has been a sort of 'realism'. In the sexual marketplace, there are attractive and unattractive people of both genders. FOr short hand we use a number system (10s and 5s and 1s). My suggestion is simply to be realistic. If you are truly an involuntary celibate who has been trying to make a connection all your adult life, have you considered that you may need to lower your standards? Surely there is a woman or three out there on your level wanting the same thing you do...

It is interesting to see the famed self-regard of the Left break down when it comes to pathetic Omega men. Msgking would condemn anyone who used "retarded" as an insult but he is fine using Incel. Because he hates those people. They may be pathetic but that is just asking for extra kicking.

Sure, these men can lower their standards. But the problem is that the sexual marketplace is asymmetric. If a man is a 2 that does not mean he is going to be able to marry a 2. The female 2 can get a male 5 to sleep with her in college after the consumption of a lot of alcohol. And then she can keep the memory of that relationship burning for the next couple of decades.

It doesn't matter how much they lower their standards. Under the old Christian rules that may have worked and they would have married. Under the new rules it does not. There are going to be men at the bottom of the pile who will never have voluntary non-paid sex with a woman.

I think my favorite aspect of your posts is how much mind reading you claim to do.

That female 2 may always remember that night fondly, but she like most females will eventually want a husband, and she will settle for a 2.

And yes there are always men who can never ever get laid, even by a 2. I suspect there aren't that many of those, and in any case there always were and always will be. They deserve pity, not sure what else is to be done there.

That just goes to show there are oceans of unrealized potential in my posts that will dawn on you over time as you come to improve you intellectual skills and so can comprehend them.

Of course a female 2 will want a husband. As a male 2 will probably want a wife. By and large. But if she has fond memories of that 5 and is holding out for her White Knight, a lot of male 2s are not getting married until she gives up that dream. So a lot of single men in their twenties who have never had sex. When a simple route to stardom and the front cover of Rolling Stone beckons, this is not good for anyone.

They are not getting pity are they? You and your friends are smearing them as mass murderers. Because the only way you can gain status is by kicking them when they are down. Even though it is not even clear that Incels pose any risk at all. Elliot Roger was mentally ill. Presumably he could have had a girlfriend if he wasn't so anti-social so he wasn't really a 2.

What else is to be done? Well some people have suggested some things. And been called creepy as a reward. Whatever is done, shaming them more, openly vilifying them on the internet, calling them misogynists, is probably not the way to go. We need to draw them out of their basements and into mainstream society. We need to make sure they have a place in normal society. Paying them them to have sex is not really a solution but it is on the way to a solution.

Ideally these people would have been going to Church socials and other functions since they were little where they would have mixed with people of the other sex in a safe and supervised environment. Now that world is gone and never really existed in the suburbs. But we need something like it.

Like I said, ratings obsession etc. creepy as hell. Cuckhold fetish surely not far behind

"When goths and lesbians start mowing down people"

It's pretty funny because after Columbine everyone at my high school thought the Goth kids were gonna kill us all. There wasn't much truth to it then as now, but that didn't stop the media from polluting the airwaves with their nonsense. Tell you one thing though, Columbine, or rather the inaccurate perception of Columbine, sure did reduce bullying at my high school, nothing motivates people better than the fear of getting shot.

"If sexual pleasure is a fundamental right..."

People keep suggesting we make changes to the way Western society is ordered and the basic assumption seems to be that we can make a small change and it won't matter. The consequences will not be great and if things don't work out, we can put the genie back in the bottle.

Time and time again neither of those is shown to be true. So if we decide that sex is a fundamental right, what else is society might have to change?

One thing is that sex between husband and wife is still based on a Christian assumption about sex being a sin. Which is why we insist on consent so much. If the wife is being asked to do something that may send her to Hell, the husband had better consider her feelings.

But if sex was less sinful and more like, say, mowing the lawn, then the position of women to refuse sex they may not like is weakened. That is even worse if it is a right - if sex is a right, on what grounds can a wife refuse to have sex with her husband? If she does refuse, on what grounds can she object to him sleeping with a co-worker or a prostitute? He has a right to sex. She does not have a right not to be cheated on.

The person making the argument is a bizarro professional student who appears to have been in school continuously since 1991. His Wiki biography insists he's employed at Mt. Sinai Hospital, which is puzzling right there since it's difficult to discern when he'd ever have the time to practice medicine.

But if sex was less sinful

A case could be made that religion is primarily a mechanism to regulate sexual activity and that its other features are simply additions to the curriculum, particularly in the case of the Protestant/Puritan mindset that has permeated American thinking for over 400 years. In fact, much of the impetus for the Puritan invasion of the New World was to escape their revulsion at the sexual habits of 17th century London. The idea that the state can regulate the sexual relations of supposedly free people is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.

In the sexually obsessed US, an off-duty cop can beat a stranger into mental oblivion and get a token punishment but a sicko doctor touches the genitalia of some girls and goes to prison forever, apparently because his perversion produces permanent mental disability in what must then be assumed to be a "weaker" sex.

The Puritans were actually markedly sex positive. Puritan wives could, and did, bring their husbands in front of church courts if their husbands failed to provide enough sex. We have records of at least one man excommunicated for refusing to have sex with his wife often enough. Likewise, Puritan New England had one of the highest birth rates in human history and, by the Revolutionary Era, one of the highest illegitimacy rates ever seen in American history (not surpassed until the 70s, iirc). Going back to the Reformation, well Luther specifically endorsed sex as a Godly desire and had multiple witnesses at the consummation of his marriage.

Sex as something dirty or wrong was a much more Victorian thing and basically was only a thing for about 100 years. Its hold in the US was weaker than in other places (e.g. Great Britain) and has not been much of presence in US religious communities for a generation or two.

Arguably Catholicism did have some of this ethos going on, but that is long dead post-Vatican II and was not really a Protestant thing.

I think like many things the definition gets confused. I don't think the author was suggesting someone could go up to someone else at random and demand sex.

However, the state in many cases interferes with our fundamental right to contract for commercial sex, and recognizing this may benefit from something more than a subtle analysis of substantive due process and our privileges and immunities that have been gutted by the courts. There is also a practical concern as mentioned for those in old age homes and other institutions that are almost entirely paid for by medicaid and are de facto state controlled with respect to policy. But perhaps he should have said the right to pursue sex not be interfered with.

Threadwinner, creepy or not: a Fundamental Right! - to... the Most Traumatic Thing in the World!

Good comment, SMFS. It seems we agree there is no 'fundamental right to sex'. Sex is an important part of life but not literally required to live, the way food and shelter and clothing and water are (health care is a tougher middle case). In addition unlike food, shelter, etc. satisfying a need for sex (with another) involves the consent of another human. No one has a right to compel another human to do something with their bodies they do not want to do (whether it's work (slavery) or have sex or even to be your friend).

You are correct that turning sex into a fundamental right like liberty would create way too many problems.

Prostitution should probably be legal and heavily regulated, which solves the incel problem. It doesn't solve the loneliness problem, and no government solution can do so.

I am not rejecting the idea that there is a fundamental right to sex. I am merely pointing out that such a concept will have consequences. Welfare spending has moved far beyond the minimum basics of life into "relative poverty" on the grounds that not having what other people have is a psychological burden that will cripple the poor. I am sure that a lot of Incels would prefer sex to a big screen TV. Well, some of them anyway. So if we insist on an acceptable standard of comfortable life, we probably cannot reject a healthy sex life too.

However welfare also requires the consent of another party. Or it doesn't as it is enforced by large men with guns. So I can see why the Left here is assuming everyone is talking about rape. Their default position is that redistribution is done by large men with guns so it is natural they would assume so in this case too. And also they are hysterical bed wetters who think everything is about rape. Even though the Right here seems to be taking a libertarian position is favor of legal prostitution.

No one has a right to compel another human to do something with their bodies they do not want to do (whether it's work (slavery) or have sex or even to be your friend).

So no more Child Support? That will upset both sides.

The government created the loneliness problem by devaluing marriage and making divorce so easy. By making casual relationships so easy, cost-free (at least in the short term) and by pushing them in schools and in the media. They could stop doing that. After all, it takes a huge government effort to make life comfortable for sluts. You only have to look at India to see a society where the government does the minimum. Sensible women in India do not dress like prostitutes and then get drunk.

Child support and welfare are not about compelling you to do something with your body. It's about money. Please do not tire us with the 'but if I don't pay my body goes to jail' childishness.

The fact that you are sneering at it as "childishness" proves that you know you have no argument over what is a basic fact. On divorce a lot of men, who have been working hard all their lives to support their families, would like to take a break and work less. The Courts force them to continue working as hard as before through calculating "imputed income" - not what men actually earn but what they should be earning. If men fall short of what the Courts think they should be earning they can and do go to jail.

This has included men called up for service in the Gulf.

I think people should not pass laws that end up with people getting shot unless they really think it is worth shooting people. But that is just one of my little quirks:

But yes, all taxation is enforced through violence or the threat of violence. Which is presumably why so many on the Left here think of sexual redistribution as rape. The parallels are obvious.

Do you think child support shouldn't exist? Or just that the more egregious abuses of it should be handled better? If the latter I agree.

Okay shoot me, but here goes.

1. Yes, prostitution should be legal.
2. Going to a sex worker should be thought of as going to a therapist or doctor, and better than resorting to alcohol and drugs.
3. In the case of alienated or troubled young men, they should be outright encouraged to utilize the services of sex workers, and given a pat on the back for doing so.

There was the incredibly sad story of the youth who went to UC Santa Barbara , never had a girlfriend and then shot some girls. His parents had been sending him to therapists for years and years. What if they has sent him instead to sex workers for years and years, and there had been no stigma attached?

I wish for everyone to have fulfilling relationships with members of the opposite sex (for heterosexuals). But it does not always happen, and even more, you may find your good spouse is a dud, sexually speaking.

The legalization of sex workers is a good idea, on many levels.

What rights, then, would those sex workers have in regards to consent? A person may want to pay for sex, but that should not give them absolute control over the person who is being paid. A sex worker's body is still their body; what is done to it, and by whom, should be their absolute and irrefutable decision to make.

I am sorry but what planet are you mailing this in from?

Where does that poster even suggest for a second that a sex worker would not have control over her body? Given his general libertarian stance it takes some particularly bizarre logical contortions to come up with your conclusion.

Maybe you would like to try again?

Sure, that's what markets are for. Surprised I have to mention this on an economics blog.

Yep, the best prostitutes will be unavailable to the most repulsive customers, but there is always a market clearing price.

The father claimed after the fact that he offered to take Rodger to Las Vegas, and Rodger would have had the money to go himself had he wanted. Having read the manifesto,(like the Unabomber manifesto, I think one can read it without endorsing the ideology) my conclusion was that his rage was less about sex than about his lack of acceptance by the Cool Kids of Cali Beach, a group which would never accept him no matter what he did.

I didn't follow the details closely, how did that nutjob get a gun?

Barf. Enough clickbait. I like Ross' argument better when it was made by Rush Limbaugh. The uglo Americans. Another day another vacuous conservative in the Times. But hey it gets people riled up when conservatives dream of mandatory rape and then claim it was someone else's fault. How cute. And I bet this post get 100+ comments too!

But hey it gets people riled up when conservatives dream of mandatory rape and then claim it was someone else's fault.

I'm sure you fancied this bit of bile made minimal sense when you typed it out.

Conservatives want mandatory rape, libs want mandatory slavery, nothing new under the sun.

Bottom tier men are evolutionary dead ends. I'm not surprised that puts them in a rage.

I doubt prostitution is really the solution. What these men need is to feel like they aren't evolutionary leftovers. The other side of the bell curve that's necessary to produce those that do create the next generation. You aren't going to solve that with a quickie with a disinterested whore.

There is nothing "toxic" about their masculinity except they recognize that in the current state of affairs they are on the bottom and so they need to take radical action to change that state of affairs. Men have been committing acts of violence to climb status ladders basically forever. Like a lot of natural evolutionary impulses society needs to find ways to channel them so they don't boil over in ways detrimental to society. I doubt shaming people who are already acting out because they are ashamed is the solution.

Men have been committing acts of violence to climb status ladders basically forever. Like a lot of natural evolutionary impulses society needs to find ways to channel them so they don't boil over in ways detrimental to society. I doubt shaming people who are already acting out because they are ashamed is the solution.

Absolutely spot on. And modern America makes this so much worse. When Rolling Stone puts a Boston Bomber on the front page and let's its fanbois lose on penning love letters to the man inside, what is an Incel contemplating violence supposed to think?

What we reward, we get more of.


What I'd tell the incels is simple: yes, you aren't getting laid. It sucks, and it's perfectly natural to be angry about it. But sex isn't the be all and end all of life. When I was reading Elliot Rodger's manifesto, what struck me as most tragic was the fact that he had substantial potential as a writer. Had he walked back from the precipice, changed a few details, and marketed the manifesto as fiction, there's a substantial chance it could have been the start of a successful writing career. But he didn't seem to notice this, spending all his time in rage at the fact that the cool kids didn't invite him to their parties.

"But sex isn't the be all and end all of life."

Try telling that to your genes.

Exactly. The problem is that they feel (with good reason) like losers. Problems of this nature are probably inevitable so long as people are able to see how others are living their lives and notice that the state of their own lives fall short.

when conservatives dream of mandatory rape

Oops, failed the ideological Turing test there.

Nobody said that human evolution into eusocial species would be easy.

We should treat incel terrorists the same as we do muslim terrorists. Explain there are a few bad apples but in general they're just a people who are misunderstood and are human like the rest of us. We should listen to them, empathize with them and together we can create a solution.

I don't see much of this, especially from the left. Why not? What is the distinction between the two groups?

Thread winner. The answer is because lonely guys like msgkings can't cosplay as alphas by attacking muslims.

Mandatory Robin Hanson link to answer that, politics isn't about policy but about status and signaling:

My initial reaction to such a proposal was revulsion because creepiness means something very different to a female. Intimidation and loss of control. My secondary reaction was to enter the rabbit hole and question why this would be directly for male benefit. Women are the scarce resource and this should afford them greater access to the male gene pool. (Think of all the new charts that a beaming Lyman could produce showing a rising birth rate.) So, how would this work? Would we establish a registry or a lottery with willing participants? How do we prevent discrimination and gaming within the system? Food for thought. My final reaction is the toll that such a system would wreak on the female psyche. Many women require more than sex and many men are unwilling or afraid to display tenderness. I worry about the unconventional woman who is rejected on sight by a peacock who thinks he can do better. Because in the end no matter what system we create, we are ultimately driven by cultural myths and our biology.

Feminism and Masculism can be instructive or destructive. The firestorm around Robin’s comments, taken out of context, was irrational. His latest blog post displayed a recognition of male insensitivity while noting the importance of radical and dissenting opinions in the pursuance of enlightenment. Ross was correct that the sexes are struggling to communicate but it is because too often we fail to see the other perspective. For me the sexual revolution was about the ownership of my body, not indiscriminate sex. Men need to dispense with paternalistic attitudes and women must hone their rage into an instructive force.

Interesting where the 'rights' focus leads to.

How about focusing on the hard reality that the universe intends to break you up into molecules and spread you randomly. That is going to happen, the best we can do is delay it a few decades.

I have personally walked a young man away from suicide because of his inability to have relationships, and had discussions with others who didn't go that far. This is not uncommon. Throw in chemical treatments with rare effects and you get murderous rampages.

I have also talked with women who have feelings of despair and loneliness because of not having a relationship with a man.

To even bring the idea of 'rights' in this context is ridiculous, and worse, profoundly counterproductive. The only right you have is to stop acting like an ass, to adopt personal habits that stabilize your emotions, to learn skills of healthy living. You will benefit personally, and you may actually attract other people to you.

Even to think that you deserve anything is to place the responsibility upon others.

And sure, life isn't fair. Get used to it.


Could not agree more. Now apply this logic to its natural end point.

Redistribution schemes to address “inequality” are by their very nature insane and creepy.

I have a solution: let’s not redistribute money or anything else.

The best of the New Deal policies were schemes where people contributed into funds which paid out benefits later. The numbers didn't make sense, but it wasn't a right, it was a responsibility when filled gave a benefit. Unemployment insurance is like that, WCB coverage, etc. These arrangements last through good times and bad.

The government restructuring that happened in Canada was interesting because it highlighted what people were willing to spend money on. No borrowing, it was paid out of taxation by a rather obstreperous citizenry who had been sold a bill of goods and weren't about to let themselves be fooled again. Things like unemployment insurance, not as a free time off but some help to tide you over. But welfare, free housing and many of those things fell by the wayside. People who were struggling to have a place to live weren't willing to pay for someone else to have a better house for free. Lots of examples like that.

It wasn't rights, it was about reasonable arrangements to deal with the realities of life. High taxes meant you couldn't fix your teeth, not some utopian gravy train where everyone can be an artist, a la Pelosi.

It was a rare moment of sanity in the political economy that lasted about 15 years. Now we have rights to demand someone else call us what we want. Which will work out as good as Venezuela did for the rights of workers.

"The only right you have is to stop acting like an ass, to adopt personal habits that stabilize your emotions, to learn skills of healthy living. You will benefit personally, and you may actually attract other people to you."

This is not how it works though. You can "not be ass" (not be rude or aggressive or unnecessarily competitive towards other men), you can be calm (emotionally stable), you can adopt "habits of healthy living" (don't smoke, don't drink, eat a healthy diet, save your money, go to sleep and get up at a reasonable time).

Absolutely nothing will happen for you, because none of that is really that valued by women. It's all "dull".

That is not to say that women are "evil"; they just do not respond to anything like the above. That's not how it works. Women just do not pick polite, healthy, calm men out of the crowd and approach them; it's ridiculous to tell young men that this is how it will go. The most likely outcome of following anything like this advice is to be perceived as "lame" or "boring", and it certainly will not help them get over the problem of approaching women and dealing with rejection.

There are certainly ways that men *can* change their personality and attract women better.

But they are not so simple as learning to be a better, more conscientious person who lives more cleanly and has more self control. They often involve being specifically a worse person; less responsible and more spontaneous and willing to spend money, less polite and more confrontational, more competitive, more attention seeking, more interested in conventional culture (sports, mainstream movies, conventional political opinions, money), more conformist, hypocritical and dishonest (in the sense of being willing to give lip service to obviously false political ideas like feminism, communism), more out for personal success and wealth, less altruistic and easygoing about money and status.

It's up to young men whether they want to do that, or if they'd rather live a more authentic life true to themselves, but the whole thing here is that the point is it's not as simple as being "nice" or good. The false meme that it is enough to be "nice" is what's driving the problem with "nice guys" in the first place!

Good post derek. SMFS will now accuse you of shaming incels to shore up your deficient masculinity. As always he is safely ignored.

@Derek, I mostly agree, but I think the society would also do well to emphasize that one doesn't become a loser by not having a relationship. There do exist evolutionary factors that attract someone to a member of the opposite sex, and those do not correspond well to the notion of human value in a modern society.

A most welcome little bit of common sense, Derek.

Mr Hanson: “Redistribution” literally means “changing the distribution.”

That's not the common meaning. Rather it almost always means "using the coercive power of the state to rob Peter to pay Paul". Is Mr Hanson so unworldly as not to know this?

Mr Douthat: " All kinds of phenomena, starting as far back as the Iraq War ... have made more sense in the light of analysis by reactionaries and radicals than as portrayed in the organs of establishment opinion."

Golly, as far back as the Iraq War, eh? Positively antediluvian.

In the Slate interview, Hansen won't unequivocally say he's against forced redistribution of sex. I interpret this as Robin clearly wanting to have a conversation about sex inequality that retains the most controversial interpretation of his argument as an actual possibility.

Fine. But then we need to devote equal intellectual space to another highly controversial---yet undoubtedly effective---means of "reducing sex inequality" and "changing its distribution": forced male castration.

The real problem here and elsewhere is the notion of a "positive" right. There is no such thing. Positive rights are actually entitllements.

Uptightist Americanus strikes again.. Some prudes in the US want to deny an essential part of humanity but god forbid if you have access to these same prudes' browsing history.

Regarding the discussion on what constitutes a "right", I see a lot of smug libertarian comments above distinguishing rights from entitlements: libertarians have a retarded understanding of rights because both of them think of rights as intrinsic. As a friend observes, in nature there are no rights, only forces.

For instance, consider "free speech", which according to libertarians is a "right" and not an "entitlement". Your free speech can impose economic costs on the society, not the least because it may cost to have the police take care of the fall out. Of course, this cost is low in high trust economically advanced societies and high in low trust third world shit-holes, but you miss accounting for this if you think of free speech as just an intrinsic value. Free speech would have been costlier in the US if the media regularly taunted disadvantaged communities. That they collectively exercise restraint, strengthens free speech in the US.

Thus, a more correct way to think of a human right is as a societal infrastructure we (mostly) collectively decide to pay for, because we believe that the resulting improvement in our life is worth the cost. By instead treating these ideas as intrinsic values, liberals and libertarians damage third world shit-holes like my own country, by (most f the time) adamantly refusing to account for and compare with the opportunity cost that could improve lives in other ways, e.g., Chinese-style poverty reduction.

But this theory applies as much to welfare payments and even redistribution of sex as to libertarian axioms like free speech. The problem is of course the huge variation across people as regards the costs and benefits, as well as concerning the perception about them.

Thus, free speech (or other "basic/universal human rights") does have the advantage of a far better and more uniform cost-benefit distribution than welfare sex, but nevertheless these two should be viewed as points on a continuous spectrum, however distant from each other. By all means draw the cut-off so as to include one and exclude the other, but no "first principles" or "purely theoretical" argument please!

Well you can trace it back to thermodynamics. If you try and regulate speech, not only will you make an enemy of all libertarians, but you will fail to control the information you want to because you likely won't be able to harness enough energy. This is why almost every organization that tries to control the dissemination of information completely fails.

China and many other countries seem to do just fine suppressing speech successfully (and I admire them for that, China would've fed fewer of its people if it allowed protests). The point is that the phenomenon you mention applies to varying degrees in different countries.

There are costs, there are benefits, and these vary from country to country and also according to the specific speech issue. It is legitimate (and often true) to think that, in a particular society, the cost-benefit analysis supports free speech but not other forms of welfare. My claim is just that this doesn't follow from universal theoretical arguments, but rather cost-benefit considerations specific to the case at hand.

Of course it takes Alex not Tyler to actually come to the defense of someone in their tribe. Kudos for the semblance of a backbone. Liberalism is a tribe too - albeit it a small and deracinated one - and we should defend each other.

It’s unfortunate and wrong that someone who brings these issues to the public forum is denounced and called creepy. We can and should do better.

But Hanson didn't, in fact, bring these issues into a public forum. At least not very clearly. Instead he sort of wondered why people concerned about income inequality aren't also worried about inequality of sexual opportunity and more or less mocked those who are concerned about the income issue.

Nothing he said in his post refers to the disabled, or those in nursing homes, etc. Instead it seems mostly to sympathize with some angry young men. Apparently even Hanson realizes this because he found it useful to update the post to clarify his views.

Perhaps some of the fault is his?

Everyone deserves to be loved but sex alone is not love...

For me, the reaction to and discussion of Robin Hanson's post has indeed been interesting, and as a whole constitutes potential useful content, but as to the contention that the post was an intellectually innocent observation from an unusual thinker who was then unfairly attacked...


Mr Hanson framed the post as an example of left hyprocrisy:

"I’ve long puzzled over the fact that most of the concern I hear expressed on inequality is about the smallest of (at least) seven kinds..."

Sex/Incel was simply a provocative example and not the subject of the post. That it initiated the discussion it did was a seeming unintended consequence.

I expect Robin Hanson can and should do better.

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