Thursday assorted links

Comments

4: Wow! So the wildly opinionated, fanatically anti-Trump and anti-GOP narrative that permeates the "news" section will also be replicated in a brand-spanking-new "opinion" section?

This is incredible! Thanks!

It's almost like they read our minds.

This is my first time go to see at here and i am genuinely pleassant to read all at
one place.

There was already a columnists page. How is this different?

Agreed. Now I don't need to wade through the tiresome "facts" to find out what I should be thinking. Thanks Bloomberg!

The main difference is the consolidation of Bloomberg View (columnists, unsigned editorials, occasionally op-eds) with Bloomberg Gadfly (rapid commentary on business news).

Funding sources have always used different types of investment interests with varying degrees of risk. Thus, some investors prefer common equity interests because they are certain the venture will succeed (owners of common equity interests, such as common stock, gain the most in such cases). At the other extreme are investors who prefer debt instruments, which puts them ahead of owners of equity in getting their money back if the venture fails. And there are many types of debt instruments, secured and unsecured, convertible (into equity instruments) or non-convertible, secured but subordinate to the claims of other creditors. In between are preferred equity interests, which can have about as many features as one can imagine, some preferred instruments looking more like equity and some looking more like debt. What Tabarrok proposes (Tabarrok being the one who came up with "dominant assurance contracts") sounds like something new but, alas, it's not. When the shit hits the fan, an "assurance" is about as worthless as Trump's word. As I understand Trump's credit worthiness, he has none (worthiness, that is), and no assurances from his underbosses and capos will improve his creditworthiness. Of course, there's always the fool with money who will accept a "dominant assurance contract" to part with his money. Tabarrok may know a few.

You and I haven't grown up by age 60. We don't have to.

I know, I just don't understand that blockchain avoids fraudsters and hucksters. Sure.

#2: One of my points against the focus on income / wealth redistribution is the fact that life is *a lot* more than just money. So to think that it is fair to redistribute money from a short, overweight geek to a tall, healthy beach bum always sounded to me as ludicrous. Well, it looks like I am right but the debate will go the way I was hoping it would not. This idea that we can redistribute things to make it "fair" is incredibly dangerous in my opinion. The more we try to actually make it accurate, the more it will get destructive.

Well do you want a tax on wealth or attacks on wealth?

Sounds like a threat.

Do you want redistribution of sex or incels killing people?

See how that sounds...not so good?

So are you saying that it sounds mean, therefore it won't happen?

Apparently you've never read any history. You don't think men kill and wage war to redistribute wealth and sex? History and common sense clearly demonstrate that other men will violently redistribute wealth and power and sex with any means necessary.

That is not the point. The point is that when people try to disguise violence with morality - i.e., you need to "share the wealth because it's fair" - we need to call it BS. If they still want war, so be it.

I don't see why something that's fair can't also be backed by violence or threats of violence. All of our laws which we regard as implementing fairness are backed by state violence.

Ok, so we go back to my first point: wealth redistribution is NOT fair because life is much more than just money. Unless you think it is fair to redistribute all aspects of life in order to make people equal, I thought your point was that fair or not, people want it and will resort to violence to get it. To that I say, let's call things what they are and see if violence is really worth it.

If wealth is unimportant, then its redistribution shouldn't be a problem.

Wrong. Wealth is one of the important things in life, like sex, health and many others. We should not try to redistribute one based on fairness unless we are willing to redistribute all others as well.

If wealth is important, why shouldn't it be redistributed? Wealth is associated with sex and health.

You are just trolling. I already explained my position.

I think the argument (which I am explaining, not endorsing) goes that if you are redistributing wealth from someone who has a lot of wealth, but no sex or good health (i.e. the short, fat, but hard working, nerd), to someone with little wealth, and lots of sex and good health (i.e. the tall beach bum), you may be increasing, rather than decreasing unfairness.

But the wealthy nerd will still get laid plenty. The problem is the unattractive but also poor men. But even they can get laid, they just need to set their sights on someone equally unattractive. The murderous incels don't want sex, they want sex with hot women, and the status that comes from that.

I'd say there are plenty of nerds "wealthy" enough to be on the wrong end of wealth redistribution, but not "wealthy" enough to get much interest from the opposite sex...

Again, it's all about realistic goals. They could get plenty of interest from the opposite sex if they shoot for the 3s and 4s and stop feeling entitled to the 9s and 10s. That's what masturbation is for.

So the tall beach bums get all the babes AND a free share of the nerd's income?

Only in our silly little world of snarky thought experiments. In the real world, we redistribute income some, and not sex, and that's the right way to go.

The nerd might say that the right way is to redistribute affection/sex, but not income :)

I’ve heard people say that these men could just lower their standards, but is that even true? In general, do less sexually desirable women want to be with less sexually desirable men? Or would they prefer no men at all?

msgkings - May 3, 2018 at 6:19 pm 22

Again, it's all about realistic goals. They could get plenty of interest from the opposite sex if they shoot for the 3s and 4s and stop feeling entitled to the 9s and 10s.

Well I will defer to your superior knowledge of men who deserve 3s and 4s. But what is the evidence of this? The evidence seems to me that a female 3 can get what she wants, or at least enough of it, more easily than a male 3 can.

But what do I know? I do not move in your social circles.

Agreed. Female reproductive success is MUCH lower variance than male, for obvious reasons.

3 or 4 point females can usually find a reasonable beta (perhaps second hand) or go part-ownership on an alpha. 3 or 4 males are stuffed.

Especially AFTER you redistribute the wealth they do have! Haha.

incels killing people

I have never been hurt by an incel.

Ive never been hurt by a terrorist either.

The thread formatting on this site needs to be fixed. Ugly.

2. Excellent as always from Douthat.

On this extract -
"There is an alternative, conservative response, of course — namely, that our widespread isolation and unhappiness and sterility might be dealt with by reviving or adapting older ideas about the virtues of monogamy and chastity and permanence and the special respect owed to the celibate"

Yes, and this is just not going to happen in a society like US for instance that worships sex, and where celibates are viewed as "losers". A hollywood film that describes this social mindset is "40 year old virgin" that came out a decade or so ago.

India makes an interesting contrast. Though the life of the "married householder" is an ideal in India, celibates are viewed with respect and admired for their self-restraint. This is actually one important contributor to the charm and charisma of Narendra Modi - a celibate man, a teetotaller among other things. He is viewed as someone who has "conquered his senses" and is incorruptible.

This streak of anti-sensuality, very much a part of Indian culture, is not to be found in US.

More westernized Indians on the cultural Left, back in India, mock at the public's fascination with Modi's celibacy and his puritanism. There are jokes in this group that Modi is probably gay or asexual. No wonder he can stay single.

Again this highlights the large chasm between the attitudes of the modern western mind which does not choose to view sensual restraint as a virtue, versus more traditional societies where self denial and austerity command a certain awe.

"versus more traditional societies where self denial and austerity command a certain awe."
I would be more impressed if those traditional un-Western cultures used "self-denial" and "austerity" to not explore their fellows. Yet, what we have, just to quote an example, is Japanese Shintoists spending centuries murdering their countrymen and their Asian neighbors for the Empire. How many millions Tojo tortured or killed? How many Christians the Empire hunted down under the Shoguns? Or Modi austerely hunting down Christians and Muslims. Or the austere Wahhabists America kindly supports funding terrorist attacks. The solutions for the West are necessarily from Western roots because the Western Civilization is better because it is based in umiveraal values, not make-believe ("this village worships this devil, that village worships another devil, etc."). We must go back to the Stoics' ideals of civic duty, fraternity and austerity.

Have you seen 'The 40 Year Old Virgin'?
It's message is ultimately actually pretty conservative. The protagonist is a pretty decent guy, not a loser at all, and he ends up in a committed happy, monogamous relationship, with a lot of tantric sex.

Hazel - Yes I have seen it.

Sure, it ends on a conservative note. But the society it depicts for the most part, is one that is obsessed with sex. Here's a society that looks askance at a single, straight man, who can't or doesn't wish to hit the sack with someone.

If you are single and not having heterosexual sex, it either means you are gay or you are "repressed". That's Western society for you.

"Repression" is viewed entirely negatively. Other more traditional societies may not choose to use the word. And instead prefer positive words like "austere", "restrained", "strong willed", "a man who has conquered his senses" ...you get the drift.

Well, the film is critical of that attitude, and that film is also a product of Western society, so what does that say?

Side note, you might also check out 'Don Jon' - which is about a guy who is obsessed with porn, and has some similar underlying criticisms of sex-obsessed culture in it.

Hazel, the film is critical of promiscuity, but it is undeniable that Steve carrell’s virginity is treated as a symptom of emotional immaturity and cowardice.

I don't think most people would say that the movie ends on a conservative note. The protagonist ends up marrying a woman who has aged beyond her fertile years and has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship.

People of the same age group have similar experiences so they make better romantic partners. Also, it's not 100% clear that she can't still have children either. It's possible to have children separated by teenage years.

A virgin in his 40s and a woman with a teenage daughter typically don't have similar experiences, and the movie even highlights this. That's like the whole point of the movie. The protagonist is the running joke of the movie and the joke is that his experience differs from that of other people like an older woman with a teenage daughter.

It's possible that she might still be able to have children, but she's much less fertile at her age and at much greater risk for a difficult pregnancy, miscarriage, birth defects, down syndrome, etc.

So you're suggesting he would have made a better match with a 20 year old female, purely because both are less sexually experienced, despite being separated by a generation. It's possible that level of having the same level of sexual experience is an important determinant of relationship quality, but I don't know if it would be enough to overcome the generation gap.

Also, the film also shows what they have in common - he's a collector of nerdy collectibles, and she runs an eBay store that sells them. Which makes a profitable team.

Yes, because humans are a sexual species, and sexual relationships are based on sexual reproduction. A relationship based on a shared interest in collectibles is not a sexual relationship, which is why two men can have such a relationship and why such relationships are more common among men.

The part you are missing is that a sexual relationship is usually much more than just about sex. Especially in a long term pairing or especially marriage, sex is only one part of the reason for the relationship. The 40 year old virgin is shown to be somewhat arrested in his maturation because he hasn't crossed that line into adulthood. But once he does, he finds a perfect partner, his age, to marry and share a life with. Sex is part of that but not the only part. And she has 3 kids already actually, so maybe he can enjoy being their stepdad.

Humans are a sexual species, but marriage/pairings are about far more than sex.

"The 40 year old virgin is shown to be somewhat arrested in his maturation because he hasn't crossed that line into adulthood"

That's just a misreading in my view. And it is indicative of the oversexed society we live in. The 40 year old virgin in that movie is the sanest and most intelligent of all characters. He is THE most mature character in the movie. Who can think with his head while everyone else is thinking with a different part of the body.

The fact that he is ridiculed in the movie shows how important sex has become to our society as an end in itself, which it never really was, for most of human history.

That's a good point. What's more, he's ridiculed for failing to pursue sterile liaisons, and the film culminates in him being in a sterile relationship.

The film culminates in him having mind-blowing sex with his wife that's so good he literally breaks into a song and gets everyone else in the movie to sing with him. What 'sterile relationship' are you talking about?

The woman he marries at the end has 3 kids from a previous relationship and has aged beyond her fertile years.

I see, you are saying sterile = no new kids. So what's the problem? Are the only valid couplings ones that produce children? Should couples divorce after they become 'sterile'? Should widows never remarry?

The point is that it's not a sexual relationship. There are all sorts of asexual relationships. These include friendships between men, a man and his dog, a man marrying another man, a post-menopausal woman getting married, etc.

OK I must have seen a different version of the movie than you, in the one I saw it ended with mind-blowing, glorious, song-inducing sex.

I think you are hung up on the word 'sexual' to mean 'fertile', and still haven't learned that sex is a separate thing from procreation.

msgkings : Sex in essence is about procreation and has to be about procreation.

The idea that sex is great in itself is a modernist idea. It is not supported by any religious tradition. What makes marriages different from other forms of relationships is that it begets children.

This is at the crux of the conservative position against gay marriage too.

Yes I know it's the crux, doesn't make it a good argument. How do gays getting married in any way impact heterosexuals doing the same? And do conservatives who believe marriage = children also disapprove of sterile people getting married? What about marriage after menopause? Or marriage between two people who do not wish to procreate?

Sure. A man and a woman who don't wish to procreate can marry. There is no law that can prevent them from marrying. But marriage is an institution that has evolved keeping in mind the fact that it begets children. Fact.

To give an analogy, you can play badminton on a tennis court by changing the height of the net. Nobody can stop you from playing baddie on a tennis lawn.

But the tennis lawn is not meant for playing badminton. It is meant for playing tennis.

Conservatives tend to regard marriage as a natalist sacrament of sorts that culminates in the begetting and raising of children. In Catholicism, it's even a formal sacrament. Historically, and even still today it seems, most people don't find out that they or their partner is infertile until after they get married and try to have kids.

True. And that's how it should be. Because marriage is NOT a secular contract. It is a religious vow.

And you don't plan for things in a religious contract. You accept what you get. You may get a kid when you didn't wish for it. But you don't kill it. You may not have a kid because your partner is sterile ,which you discover later. But you don't divorce him / her. You stick with her.

That's commitment. That's marriage. That's virtue.

Part of the essence of marriage that distinguishes it from other relationships is how difficult it is to dissolve and that this is by design. People make a sacred vow in front of witnesses from each other’s families that they will not end the relationship even if it’s “for worse”. People today tend to break that vow, but nevertheless it’s in there. It seems fairly obvious that this relationship is treated this way because of its tendency to create children with all the needs that go along with being children. Why would such a relationship exist for non-reproductive pairing? It doesn’t make sense. It only makes sense if we drop the for worse part which essential to the nature of marriage. Of course this was happening well before anybody thought of gay marriage as something other than an oxymoron. Gay marriage is more a symptom than a cause of the destruction of marriage in the west.

Humans are still a sexual species. Perhaps they won't be in the future and will reproduce asexually via cloning, artificial wombs and the like, but as yet they're still sexual. Sexual species procreate via sex.

OK then our positions are clear. Good day to you both!

We were talking about whether or not the film ends on a conservative note, not whether or not people can have asexual relationships. Sex is somewhere between 800 million and over 1 billion years old. A sexual relationship is a lot older and more conservative than a relationship based on selling collectibles on eBay.

OK but then that's not what the movie is about. It's about him having a sexual relationship that is also about compatibility and friendship and trust. A good marriage. You have a weird hangup here.

Ok so you agree with me that the film does not end on a conservative note. A virgin in his 40s ends up marrying an older woman beyond her fertile years with 3 kids. He does not end up in a fully sexual relationship, but rather a relationship based on compatibility, trust, friendship, etc. In other words, he could have had the same relationship with a man or a dog.

He is in a fully sexual relationship. He has sex so good it makes a Broadway show tune break out around him. You may think he could have the same kind of fun sex with a man or dog, but that's your hangup.

So you're suggesting that there can be a fundamentally different kind of relationship between a man and a woman, that can't be had between a man and a dog or between men? I would agree. This is called sex, and a fully sexual relationship culminates in reproduction.

the modern western mind which does not choose to view sensual restraint as a virtue

Yup. I know lots of thin people who are in awe of the sensual liberty of fat people. And non-smokers are all the time wishing they could be smokers too.

Or asexual, a term probably not bandied about too often among the sort of North American men feeling that they are not getting the sex they are entitled to.

I don’t understand this tenedency to mock the lonely. What’s worse than feeling lonely and unloved?

He ends up marrying a woman who has aged beyond her fertile years and has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship.

No, it's drivel.

"First, because like other forms of neoliberal deregulation the sexual revolution created new winners and losers, new hierarchies to replace the old ones, privileging the beautiful and rich and socially adept in new ways and relegating others to new forms of loneliness and frustration."

I'm old enough to remember life before the changes he decries. Things were worse for many more then. It's just they suffered in silence.

The ones who rage today were raging back when. But they have more legal and acceptable options today. The "incel" today looks back like Douthat does and imagines he would be happier, but the evidence is to the contrary.

It's the far greater winners and fewer losers that creates the focus on the small number of losers.

Trump voters are described as losers to non-white winners, but they are in any objective measure winners, not losers. What angers them is the number of losers who are now winners, but objectively, still not as well off as the winners who vote angrily for Trump.

E.g., women are winners in gaining the means to chose single life, but they are still not getting the same freedom men had, and still have in greater degree. More women have college degrees, so they earn much more, but still less than men with similar degrees. But these women have the economic means to chose whether and who she partners with.

And we know "incel" anger led to killing from the documented lynchings recently memorialized. Angry white men lynched black men using the excuse that these blacks got more sexual favor than upstanding white men.

You are coherent today.
It's not like back in the 1950s women routinely dated science nerds and ignored the high school quarterback. Life was, if anything, much much worse for men who were socially awkward or unattractive. You have to go back all the way to arranged marriages to find a time when unattractive men could readily find a wife. Today, an ugly guy at least can watch porn and has an easier time hiring a prostitute.

'to find a time when unattractive men could readily find a wife'

Um, finding a wife has never been a problem for those with sufficient money, as noted in this classic opening line - “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice (1813)

OK, poor unattractive men.
Due note that Elizabeth rejects the "Mr. Collins" character in that book.

"You have to go back all the way to arranged marriages to find a time when unattractive men could readily find a wife"

What's wrong with arranged marriages?

If you do regard marriage is a sacred passage of life, and not merely a secular choice, then you should support arranged marriage - as it ensures every man can lead a respectable family life, however ignoble he may be. Every man has a right to propagate his genes, even if he is a moron.

Marriage, in the traditional sense, is a rite of passage. Not contingent on finding someone "cool" or "hot". Marriage even transcends and should transcend love. Because love is transient. But religious obligation has a certain permanence to it. You take a vow to be with a person for better or worse. And you HAVE to honor it. Even if you fall out of love.

Suppose I marry today. And my wife turns into an invalid tomorrow. I still need to honor my religious commitment by staying with her for the rest of my life. That's marriage for dummies.

"If you do regard marriage is a sacred passage of life, and not merely a secular choice, then you should support arranged marriage - as it ensures every man can lead a respectable family life, however ignoble he may be."
Thank you, but I prefer treating people like responsible adults instead of selling children to acquaintance for sake of social capital. I orwfer civilization to barbarism. Voodoo doesn't make barbarism any better.

Well. Arranged marriage seldom means selling children to acquaintances. It can even mean two responsible adults meeting at Starbucks, discussing themselves, their families, their careers briefly, maybe have 2-3 more dates, and then fixing the marriage date if things look good. That's how most arranged marriages work in Urban India today.

It is not based on love or romance. It is cold, it is based on rational assessment of the other person on N different parameters. And it is quick. You reach a Yes or a No decision after 2-3 dates.

But I don't wish to argue on here.

"The idea that marriage has something to do with 'love' or mutual attraction or 'romance', is a very western notion that is about 500 years old. It starts with that play - Romeo and Juliet, I suppose."
Tell that to Jacob and Rachael, who are older than Jesus and even Moses. Their story is retold in one of the most famous Portuguese language love poems of all time, whose author, by the way, predates Shakespeare.
Western civilization is based on responsibility, individuality and reason, not on despotism and superstistion.

I am not saying people haven't fallen in love in history. That's age old. But to make marriage contingent on mutual attraction is a very modern thing. Even a 20th century thing. It didn't come about suddenly. It starts from about 400 years ago - Romeo and Juliet in a way set the stage for where we find ourselves today.

It is not jus attraction, it is compatibility, which is based on the responsibility and freedom of the individual, which is the basis of Western civilization and opposed to Asian Despotism. That is the reason the Western Christian world basically invented civilization as we know it: science, rulof Law, democracy, freedom of thought, industry.

You have very little understanding of traditional western culture which you claim to be a spokesperson for.

The deleterious ideas of the Sexual revolution do not represent Western civilization which is about 3 millennia old. Western civilization honors the sacred bond between man and wife, which by definition transcends everything. Including Love and sex.

Honoring the marital vow is far more important than worrying about compatibility.

"Honoring the marital vow is far more important than worrying about compatibility."
Tell to Jews and Romans with their divorce laws. CHRISTIANITY introduced the marriage as an indissoluble bond. Yet, it never actually despised the role of compatibility in the choice of a mate as the story of Jacob and Rachael and European literature going back to the Middle Ages if not to Greece and Rome clearly prove. Again, Western civilization is based on reason, responsibility and individual freedom, not on voodoo, superstistion and submission to the tribe.

Most marriages in Ancient Greece were arranged. Not based on love.

In fact some Greek writers who traveled to India in the aftermath of Alexander's invasion, remarked that Indians are likelier to have love marriages than Greeks.

You are contradicting yourself. If marriage is indissoluble, clearly it is paramount and transcends compatibility.

Exactly because marriage is, ideally at least (practical adherence to the idea has been variable, as Henry VIII could tell you), indissoluble, compatibility and personal responsibility are important. One can not just dismiss a wife as Muslims and Jews can. There is no reason to saddle people with incompatible mates and soon-to-be-failed relationships. Classical Antiquity, both Greece and Rome, had a much laxer (more lax?) view of mrriage and divorce: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Divortium.html
It was Christianity among all religions the one thTat elevated woman to the same moral status of man and elevated marriage above all social institutions.
Evidently, there were occasions that demanded arranged marriages.the Empire of Brazil's demanded that the Princes and Emperor married people from the Nobility, not commoners. There was no ease of travel and communication as we have nowadays. It meant that they had to marry nobles brought from Europe they never have seen before. It is differentit was for the well-being odf the Nation. Even after the fall of the Empire, one of the heirs of the Throne had to give up his succession rights to be able to marry a commoner. Dura lex sed lex.

Compatibility is a transient thing.

I may be very compatible with a women today. May discover serious incompatibilities 5 years later. That is no reason to dissolve a marriage.

Compatibilities are never eternal. It is the human will that makes marriages last against all odds.

I am not talking about dissolving a marriage, I am talking about starting one. And compatibility is surely a much better initial basis for a relationship than petty interest, which is what, most of the times, arranged marriages are expressions of.

"It is the human will that makes marriages last against all odds."
Evidently. And, for that, you need "arranging" nothing. You just have to throw a stone and marry the woman it hits (after offering first aid, of course). I, myself, favor personal responsibility over dumb luck.

In ancient Rome, the pater familias, the father and head of the household, had the right to kill his wife and children, including adult children in his household. Adult children in the household also had to have the pater familias's consent to marry, and any property they held was owned by the pater familias.

Sounds like paradise.

This is one of those things that gets thrown out a lot, like "prima nocta," as if it were a fact of history. There was no legal privilege of Roman men to murder their families. It would actually indicate a society in near-total breakdown, as opposed to an organized, world-conquering imperium.

Weak, Bob!

The idea that marriage has something to do with "love" or mutual attraction or "romance", is a very western notion that is about 500 years old. It starts with that play - Romeo and Juliet, I suppose.

Sure, marriages can be very romantic. And thrilling. But those things cannot and should not define marriage as an institution. It is first and foremost an inviolable commitment to a person that is beyond human likes and dislikes. It is a religious duty. Not a secular choice.

No, romantic love is an import from medieval Islam. See the book The Ring of the Dove, by ibn Hazm (994-1064). Romantic love spread to Provence and from there to the rest of Europe, via the troubadors and trouveres, who tied the concept to chivalry.

I have nothing against romance. It is as old as human civilization.

But the idea that marriage is defined by romance and romance alone is a western thing. Not Islamic. Not Hindu. Not Chinese.

What about the wives of Arjuna (say Ulupi), Vikramaditya etc.? Gaandharva-vivaaha?

Sure. As I said romance is as old as human civilization. But romance was never viewed as central to marriage, until the 20th century. And even this western glorification of romance probably started at around the 17th century as I stated, till it reached its logical conclusion in the 20th century - an era where romance is viewed as a pre-requisite for two people to get married.

Ofcourse there are numerous instances of romance in India. But romance was never viewed as necessary for Vivaaha. In most marriages, romance builds after the Vivaaha. People learn to love each other.

Ah, so you are saying romance might have been treated as a sufficient condition but not a necessary condition?

Definitely not a necessary condition. Probably not even viewed as a "nice to have" condition.

Making marriages contingent on "romance" is a 20th century thing. And no wonder divorces also have shot through the roof in this very century.

When you start glorifying romance, then you are questioning the sacred nature of marriage which HAS to transcend romance. Read my comments earlier in the thread, where I gave an example of the wife turning invalid a day after marriage...

That's certainly an interesting view, but I have difficulty thinking of Gaandharva-Vivaaha as transcending romance.

Your view also seems to run against the hypothesis that people ultimately follow their incentives, unless you are arguing that threat of societal ostracization binds people into an otherwise possibly incentive-less (and certainly incentive-disregarding) commitment; the threat itself being executed for the survival and well-being of the society.

I was talking of Vivaaha, not Gandharva vivaaha per se.

Vivaaha in general was never contigent on romance, as is the case in modern western societies.

No I do get that, I get the "not necessary condition" point: my question is how does Gaandharva Vivaaha *transcend* romance, as you also say that any marriage should transcend romance.

It should by definition. Because love wears out. Invariably.

Yet the commitment should not wear out.

"India makes an interesting contrast"

Cherry picking one or two examples from a country where gender-based violence is deeply entwined with the social fabric does not make your argument particularly strong.

My comments were not about gender based violence. As an aside US ranks worse than India on any parameter to judge gender based violence

At any rate that's not what the comments were about. They were about the society's attitude towards celibacy.

2. The outrage mob on Twitter is going after Douthat over that article, yet I can't figure out what specifically offends them. It seems to have to do with the use of the word "incel". Is that the leftwing version of "cuck"?

If i had to guess, id say they dont want to confront the question that Douthat/Hansen has brought up. The outrage mob's standard response is to be outraged at things they dont like, and thinking too hard about tough questions is one of them.

I disagree with Douthat on this line though:

"The left’s increasing zeal to transform prostitution into legalized and regulated “sex work” will have this end implicitly in mind,"

Maybe im looking in the wrong spots, but i dont see much zeal from the left for prostitution, rather the usual complaints from lefty feminists.

>i dont see much zeal from the left for prostitution

I've always thought the left and prostitution were a perfect match.

But at the moment, the left is very busy conflating all forms of prostitution with underage sex trafficking -- undeniably the world's most awful thing -- so that it can hold all internet sites criminally liable for whatever a third party might post there (regardless of subject).

But that hurdle has been cleared, and the government can now raid any website for any reason. So you might see the left warming up to hookers some time soon, using the same "let's raise money for the state, and to hell with the consequences" attitude that gave us legalized drugs.

There's literally no good argument against legal cannabis that doesn't also apply to legal alcohol (which is also a legalized drug, but not one brought to us by 'the left')

Alchohol is legal not because of the arguments against, shared by cannabis or otherwise, but because of one very good argument for it. Namely, almost the entire population partakes. The lesson learned from the Prohibition and the wars on smoking and drugs is that keeping a substance legal but heavily shamed and propagandized against is more effective than making it outright banned.

Russ followed up with a 'clarifying' tweestorm on the subject today, and he's being pilloried all over again. Robin Hanson continues to take flak and reel from this too.

Far be it for me to stick my neck out on behalf of the omegas, who are pretty much universally despised. Most pathetic groups enjoy support from some segment of society, but not these guys.

Because they are pathetic.

Sex, like money, is to be earned not given freely. Get that through your socialist skull.

Have not followed the incel debate, though I did see the kook that killed people over it (rather not uncommon, the same thing happened about 10 -15 years ago in Pennsylvania) but the whole debate is comical to me. If you want to get laid in the USA and are uncommitted and past your college years, just move to a Third World country like I did. You have to give up your job, but if you're independently wealthy like I am, it's not a big deal, after all, money has diminishing returns at some point and after that it's just a way to keep score.

Don't you mean to get laid OUTSIDE the USA?

I wonder what the real life consequences are, if any. I read the criticisms and I shrug and think "meh". Of course not everyone is going to agree with you.

5. Is it considered progress to blame religion rather than ideology or politics for (in this case economic) failure? The author of the linked essay (and the authors of the studies referenced in the essay) contrast Orthodox Christianity with Catholic and protestant Christianity, but they could have substituted Islam for Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox Christianity developed in Eastern Europe just as Islam developed in the Middle East. Is it the religion or the ethnic background? I have lived most of my adult life in an area with a large Greek population, which is faithful to the Greek Orthodox Church. I have come across many very successful Greeks notwithstanding their faith. It's not a faith for me (way too patriarchal), but some of my best friends are Greek Orthodox.

"it's not a faith for me (way too patriarchal)"

In what way is Catholicism / protestant Christianity less patriarchal? The whole world was / is patriarchal for most of human history, excepting some very tribal societies.

Most of the world used slaves/serfs. Yet, slavery is retreating, as it should.

Example: Catholic priests don't have wives, while Greek Orthodox priests have arranged marriages.

Poles and Czechs are slavs, like most Orthodox, a point made in the article.

However, I felt that the article was a bit weak. Most ex-Communists, pace maybe the Polish (and even them) are atheists, and not really religious. They use religion as a proxy for nationalism.

"Western Christianity placed emphasis on rationalism, logical exploration"

This is quite a joke. Considering that for about a thousand years,, Western Christianity practically disavowed classical culture, and it was not until 12th/13th century that Europe rediscovered Plato / Aristotle through Arabs.

For much of the first millennium after Christ, the fairest and most civilized part of Europe was Byzantine and other Hellenic lands where Greek culture survived and Eastern Orthodoxy flourished.

Where would you have rather lived in 600AD? Rome? London? Or Constantinople? Ofcourse Constantinople!

The conceit of western civilization (by which I mean Western Europe) can sometimes be nauseating, were it not so amusing.

Yet, it was the West that has brought to the world advances such as democracy, real rule of the Law, education (to the point that Nehru called himself the last Brith to rule India), universal suffrage, stock exchanges, International Law, anticolonialism, freedom of thought, Philosophy, mometary police, antibiotics, industry, the Golden Rule, charity, science. Even the famous Mao Suit was actually based on Western uniforms. The hutterites had communes way before the Maoist communes and Soviet sovkhozy were a thing.

Well. You need to first learn to read and write properly.

I was discussing "Western Christianity" which is what the author of the piece is also talking about. Not all things "Western"

All brought to you by Western Christians, not Muslims, not devil-worshippers, not Ruasians andheir pogroms, not Eastern Christians. Because Western Christianity is morally superior.

Wrong. People like Adam Smith, David Hume, Thomas Jefferson, JS Mill, Edward Gibbon - among others, were ALL either deists or atheists. Hardly any of them was a practicing Christian.

Who is talking bout Gibbons? Jefferson even edited the Holy Bible. Newton was a devoted Christian. Adam Smith was clearly as much a Christian as an Hindu who believes in atoms is. The founder of the Empire of Brazil was a devoted Christian and a 33th Degree Mason. Christins basically invented instituions of charitynas we know them nowadays. Anglican England basically invented industry as we know it. Unitarians, Quakers and Wilberforce opposed Slavery before it was cool. Brazil, a Christian country, invented the airplane. Before Protestanta used thempress to launch their Reformation, printing presses were Asian toys with little to no utility. One can not comoare the Christian Golden Rule with Japanese samurais murdering civilians for loot and fun. Musci as we know it nowadays is basically a Christian invention. Musical nites are named after a famous Christian anthem.

Eh, the modern democratic, scientific, and industrial/commercial revolutions originated in Western Europe. So praising those Western Europeans doesn't seem to me conceited, although I think that claiming those things for Western Christianity is a bit of historical revisionism for a period of time in which there was a lot of debate and dispute and conflict about the proper role of religion. However, I would argue that it is conceited for contemporary Westerners to think that they are equal of their forebears and traditions. Just because some dead Westerners did some really awesome stuff doesn't mean the contemporary Westerners are awesome. The dead Westerners are awesome because of their accomplishments. It doesn't seem at all clear to me that contemporary Westerners have achieved nearly as much as their predecessors.

"It doesn't seem at all clear to me that contemporary Westerners have achieved nearly as much as their predecessors."
Or that living idol-worshippers (or Muslims or Jews) have accomplished as much as our forefather or as much as we have. Let be blunt, the non-Wester world is a disgusting mess of corruption, tyranny and superstition. There is no possible comparison between Civilization and African/Asia Barbarism. I am proud to be a Westerner, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died fighting Asian despotism who gave that right to me.

I see a lot of people are touchy here.

I never denied the achievements of western civilization. I am just amused at the conflation of western civilization with Western Christianity.

Bacause it is morally and intellectually superior.

The Orthodox had Aristotle's books. And under the influence of their theologians, they ignored him. Thus the relatively wealthy Byzantine world remained mired in ignorance and superstition.

The Muslims acquired Aristotle when the conquered many of the Byzantines. Then there was a brief flowering of thought, which ended when the greatest Muslim theologian (Al-Ghazali, "the Proof of Islam") declared it contrary to Islam. They abandoned Aristotle, and thus the relatively wealthy Muslim world remained mired in ignorance and superstition.

Then, Western Christians, poor and barbarous, got Aristotle. And under the influence of their theologians, most notably Thomas Aquinas, they made him the centerpiece of their thought, and dedicated their places of learning to his methods. And thus the people who had nothing to match the splendor of either Orthodox-era or Muslim-era Constantinople achieved things that surpassed that city as that city surpassed mud huts.

Aristotle was the seed. But the seed could not take root just anywhere; the only soil it germinated in was Western Christianity. To deny the value of the soil is as foolish as to deny the necessity of the seed.

The Catholic church can hardly be accused of going overboard on reason and enquiry at any time, but its core theology was not anti-rational, and did preserve and propagate knowledge to an extent. So yes, have to give them have a mark.

Catholicism (and certainly later Protestantism) were both clearly better at fostering rational enquiry and natural philosophy than their local competitors, especially after the 12th century when the door of interpretation slams shut in Islam.

2 - But the problem (from "incels" compalin) is unequal distribution of sex, or unequal distribution of love?

Perhaps a compared study with countries with legal prostitution could be useful to understand what are really the complaints of "incels".

"But the problem (from "incels" compalin) is unequal distribution of sex, or unequal distribution of love?"
Are you talking seriously?

'Perhaps a compared study with countries with legal prostitution'

Who needs that? Look at the number of mass murderers explicitly killing women because they cannot convince a woman to have sex with them in the Netherlands or Germany.

Or try to find the sort of alpha male idiocy being common among those young men who are currently not having sex in either country. But then, as an old joke goes, German media is full of ordinary looking people. And of course, any male who wants to look at real naked women is more than welcome to visit a public mixed sauna - or a nude beach/lake in the summer time. Of course, very few of those women will look like the sort of women that a certain group of men seem to find attractive. Especially as make up is rare among female sauna visitors,

Do Germany and the Netherlands have large or small numbers of mass murderers of women? Should we consider Muslims in those countries as a separate population for the comparison?

Ah, the Journal of Unsurprising Results (focusing on economics). I thought that was what we get out of most econ journals most of the time. I do not know what justifies the bragging this journal's founders are engaging in, frankly.

As it is, I will probably still prefer the venerable Journal of Irreproducible Results.

Oh, and Shrikanth, most of the lit on this difference between eastern and western Christianity focuses on their different experiences with the Renaissance. By the time that came along over half a millennium ago, all that nice stuff about how wonderful the Byzantine Empire was in 600 was already, well, ancient history and not particularly relevant.

"Oh, and Shrikanth, most of the lit on this difference between eastern and western Christianity focuses on their different experiences with the Renaissance"

True. But I don't like to regard either Renaissance or the Enlightenment that followed 200 years later as emblematic of Western Christianity. There was nothing Christian about them. Their inspiration was for the most part classical. And a lot of it was totally novel (Eg: Hobbes and Locke with their embrace of a discourse that totally ignored the soul - rather atheistic).

Even the Protestant Reformation - I like to view it as a revolt against traditional Western Christianity. While it retained the rhetoric about Bible being great, its basic essence was to oppose tradition. These were radical movements. Which owed little to traditional Western Christianity.

If I really want to compare Western and Eastern Christianity, I would have to go back to their respective heydays. (the period between 600 and 1200 CE). Clearly Eastern Christianity comes out as a winner here, in terms of its scholarship, commitment to knowledge / virtue among other things.

"Even the Protestant Reformation - I like to view it as a revolt against traditional Western Christianity. While it retained the rhetoric about Bible being great, its basic essence was to oppose tradition. These were radical movements. Which owed little to traditional Western Christianity."
Quite the opposite, it went back to Chriatian tradition before Roman Emperors imposed their view of the religion. Lutheranism and Calvinism went back to the Bible (not fake tradition) as the sole arbiter of Faith. Unitarians denounced the Roman Politheism implied by Trinitarism and went back to the Christian tradition of monotheism. Hutterites brought back the Christian tradition of common property of wealth. And so far and so on.

A true traditionalist will value historical wisdom, traditional institutions, norms among other things. Not merely swear by a single book as the be-all and end-all.

Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in my view are a LOT broader than merely bible study. They represent ways of life. It is the so called Reformation, which chose to get rid of all the externalities of religion and reduce it merely to "Belief" in a book - the result is the ugly forms of fundamentalism we see in US today, which are unheard of in Europe where the historical influence of Catholicism is stronger.

"Not merely swear by a single book as the be-all and end-all."
God wrote that book, it contains more truth than the speculations of the superstitious and old wives' fairy tales about ghosts and gods.
"They represent ways of life."
As delineated by the Bible. If one just wanted old habits instead of the Truth, an early Christian would just have avoided pork and kept at circumsizing one's children. Abraham could just have kept worshiping idols as his neighbors did. But that is not what the real God really wants.

The Reformation was fundmentally reactionary, as seen in the writings of Luther. The whole point was seeking a type of community and religion that existed before Roman control and influence. It was so reactionary its founders were obessed with bring back concepts in the old testament. As such, it was also a reaction against the Renaissance, classical learning and new art, all of which it attempted to destory as an iconoclastic movement. Luther called such art and classical paganism literature part of satan's plan. It was the reason Erasmus could never bring himself to embrace the movement.

Moreover, it was not on the outset an attempt at segregate of religious from broader life. The anabaptists and Calvinists attempted to merge state and church power and create bizarre theocracies. Knox asserted the power of the church over the king and the parliament. Calvin ran his own theoarchy. The ultimate effect was secularism but that was the result of the incessant wars and the rhetoric on individual conscious that resulted from the warfare. It wasn't a liberal revolt against tradition, it was a deeply reactionary movement to purge the very open and jovial but corrupt Renaissance church.

Which is what I said: "Quite the opposite, it went back to Chriatian tradition before Roman Emperors imposed their view of the religion. Lutheranism and Calvinism went back to the Bible (not fake tradition) as the sole arbiter of Faith."

Certainly the Rinascimento drew on classical sources, but it began in Florence in the 1420s, properly speaking with some warmup there ahead of time, and it was totally soaked in Roman Catholic Christianity well into the next century. After all, the Medicis did the main financing of it upfront, several of them later becoming popes.

#4, So Bloomberg.com is now a paid site? I guess I'm not reading it anymore...

Sometimes, you really have to wonder about Douhat, when he is capable of writing 'privileging the beautiful and rich and socially adept in new ways ' when a single apparent shimmer of awareness of how stupid that observation is when talking about sex.

There is absolutely nothing new about how the beautiful and rich and socially adept can enjoy more sex, and Tinder et al does not count as a new way. And there is nothing unusual about the fact that some experience the same forms of loneliness and frustration that have always marked the human condition, without anything being new about it.

(Yes, true, Douhat handwaves about Hugh Hefner - he might as well point out that it took decades after Hefner started publishing his magazine for women to have the legal right to not be refused a credit card based on sex - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Credit_Opportunity_Act )

#2. Hanson and Dothan are quite good on this subject. That the internet mob barks is not the least surprising and should not even be noticed.

I am more surprised that on this blog, no one has noticed that the idea expressed by Hanson and developed Douthat was presented in very similar terms by Houellebecq in his first novel "Extension du domaine de la lutte" (1994, translated as "whatever" in English; the title means "enlargement of the domain of struggle"). This idea informs all Houellebecq's novels, but is discussed at length in the theoretical passages of that first novel. The capitalism had introduced the struggle of all against all in almost all domains of life, except love and sex. The institution of marriage, in a world where most people are heterosexual, and half are of each of two sex, more or less guarantees that every man will find a woman to marry (and have sex with), and every woman a man. Then came 1968, which Houellebecq does not see as a revolution against capitalism, but as the last step of the capitalist revolution : marriage and the "bourgeois family" were ridiculed and in practice destroyed, and the struggle of all against all was also introduced in the competition for love and sex, which generated, like in all other domains, huge inequalities, some people finding easily 10 willing sexual partners per night while some other being left all their life without one. Hence the title of the novel. And if that sounds like Douthat, I am not sure it is purely by chance.

Even earlier, but in a very different context, the idea of sexual redistribution is also in Sade's "La philosophie dans le boudoir" ("philosophy in the bedroom", 1795). Sade proposes that everyone, male and female, be forced to spend one month a year in a state's facility to serve as a sexual slave to anyone willing to use their service. It is not clear if Sade was really in favor of that or just making fun of the egalitarian ideals of the French revolution.

I kind of doubt there was ever a time when sex was equally distributed, regardless of how sacrosanct people supposedly held the institution of marriage. Henry VIII certainly got more than his fair share of the women.

I kind of doubt there was ever a time when sex was equally distributed, regardless of how sacrosanct people supposedly held the institution of marriage.

It's not so hard to look at identify insular religious groups in America and to notice that an overwhelming percentage is married by before, say, age 30. Moreover, in these communities a stable person with a job and family is generally regarded as a better partner than some edgy slacker.

"Moreover, in these communities a stable person with a job and family is generally regarded as a better partner than some edgy slacker."
"I hold a job, why aren't women falling over me. It must be feminists or slackers or whatever. I better shoot some women".

"It's not so hard to look at identify insular religious groups in America and to notice that an overwhelming percentage is married by before, say, age 30. Moreover, in these communities a stable person with a job and family is generally regarded as a better partner than some edgy slacker."

And this is relevant to the point because...?

Perfectly equally distributed, no, of course. But still in the Christian world at least, there was a taboo on polygamy, and the approximate equality of number of men and women who can marry (remove priests, monks, nuns) made that mostly everyone had a chance to marry.

And don't get me wrong : I certainly don't support the ancient system, on the contrary. I am happy with the salvage sexual capitalism in which we live (since a few decades, and probably not for long anymore), based on the principle that sex (any kind, or almost) is allowed between any two adults providing they both consent to it. Exactly like the State allows many kinds of private contracts and even enforce them. Douthat (and Houellebecq, but as a novelist, doubt is permitted) are reactionary to the caricature.

What does "probably not for long anymore" mean? It seems to be proceeding unidirectionally irrespective of any narrative?

Also, Joël, Hanson's point is far more than purely legalistic; see, e.g., http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/11/accepted-inequality.html

I think it is a mistake to think of the issue as purely a policy one, and not about societal attitudes and status and signalling.

Hansonially, I would suspect that a lot of the incel rebellions have something to do with a lack of respect, being treated as losers or rejects of the society for lack of sexual success.

Consider wealth redistribution analogy: for a society to have a better chance of remaining capitalist, it would help if the rich people don't rub it in to the poor people. For instance, in India when Ambani constructed his current rich home it led to a huge amount of Ambani-bashing, presumably because people found such overt display of wealth to be distasteful.

Perhaps rich white men allow themselves to be stereotyped and shamed in part as a strategy to keep others happy (okay I am being too speculative here)?

I routinely see - though now-a-days far less so than in the 90's and early 2000's when India started growing economically - westerners (and sorry, the French were overrepresented among them) express disgust at how India could have very overtly rich buildings side by side of grinding poverty. They saw the display of inequality as inherently distasteful.

In contrast, popular culture rubs sexual inequality quite hard. Men are routinely branded as losers for women not being interested in them. Often this is not done directly - e.g., it could take the form of a sitcom where the "comedy" is mostly a guy being a loser, the point being that the incel or even ordinary man who watches it will internalize the idea that for a woman to not be interested in you means that you are a loser.

Nothing of the sort happens with wealth-redistribution, the society never gives you a hint of any form that you are a loser if you're poor; if anything you are less likely to be shamed than rich white men.

So forget any Government policy - we could at least stigmatize (direct and indirect) shaming of sexual losers?

The sexual losers just need to get it into their thick skulls that for every unattractive man there is an unattractive woman. She won't reject him.

Sir, my point is a bit different. I am not worrying about the existence of sexual losers - let us agree that they can lower their standards as you say or choose to live alone or up their game - I am only concerned about the society stigmatizing them in a way that is not acceptable for other groups. So many sitcoms which can be summarized as "This male is a low status loser", and implicitly correlate the lowness of the status with lack of sexual success

I understand what you mean. And I agree there's no good to come from stigmatizing any groups in pop culture, like incels. Then again, the real world is harsh and not a safe space. You can't be expected to see your life situation celebrated. It's a problem, unless you choose to accept it as not a problem. The mean ol' TV shouldn't be a factor.

The stigma is perhaps what motivates the incel to do one of the things you said (choose singlehood, up their game, settle), just as cutting off welfare is theoretically what motivates the lazy to work.

Then again, the real world is harsh and not a safe space.

The problem is not the harshness per se, it is the differential standards. Similar loser-labelling and making fun of poor people or female sexual losers is not considered acceptable. It is this discrimination and the acceptance or even endorsement of discrimination that is problematic. Ignore it at your own peril.

As an aside - The idea that unattractive men should just lower their standards misses the point.

Who defines "attractiveness". It is defined by mainstream culture and its conceptions of what constitutes the same. Human biology and secular culture overstates certain virtues -

Physical beauty, Wealth, Agreeableness, Social adeptness.

But is life just about these things? What about a man who is physically unattractive, not very suave, but has many other virtues? He may have great fortitude, he may be a very loyal person, he may have a very fine mind, he may be extremely kind and forgiving. These virtues are ofcourse less evident in dates. And are undervalued in the marriage market.

In the old world of arranged marriages, these guys did get married. Often to women who weren't like them at all - resulting in them complementing each other (a union of opposites of sorts). In India, the caste and gotra system ensured that we have many pairings of ugly women and handsome men and vice-versa (even among our own relatives, blah - if you choose to spot them).

That's unheard of today. Because in the absence of caste / sub-caste constraints, people place a greater premium on attributes like beauty / agreeableness than ever before.

Blah, that's a very good point and I completely agree.

"She won't reject him."

I don't think this is true. If you were an unattractive woman with even the lowest shred of self-consciousness, why would you want to sleep with, let alone marry and spend years raising kids with, an unattractive, uncool, unfunny, bad-in-bed man with low career or income prospects? It would make you feel desperate to either not be alone or to have kids, and low-status yourself if you're at all self-conscious, so I can't blame women like that for choosing to just stay by themselves, in much the same way 26 year-old reject men don't simply turn to prostitutes or 50 year-old divorcees.

And this lifelong singlehood has been common in the Western or Christian world for many centuries, compared to Muslim, Hindu, or East Asian cultures and traditions. The rate of lifelong unmarried adults in the Europe or the Christian world was notably higher than elsewhere prior to even secularisation, Industrial Revolution, and modernity in part because arranged marriages were significantly less common except amongst the nobility.

So this has been going on for centuries, why exactly is it a problem now? I suppose it's like so much else in the modern era, because we have so much more information now about how people live, because of the internet we hear their voices and stories, we now have to say 'oh my god these men who can't get married!'. Well, maybe the best thing is to just leave well enough alone, if it's always been this way. Conservative sentiment but perhaps the correct one here.

Msgkings, you seem to have misunderstood the whole point of Hanson/Douthat/Houellebcq/whatever's argument. It is a simple mathematical point :

If, as we can assume, the number of men and women is about the same, if most of them wants to marry (or at least to have sex) with a person or people of the other gender, and **if** everyone has one sexual partner (monogamy), then it is mathematically clear that every man or woman will find someone of the opposite sex to marry/have sex with, and that as you say "for every unattractive man there is an unattractive woman, who won't reject him."

But the point is just that the last "if", which was approximately (only approximately) true in the last few centuries of the western world, is not at all certain in the world of sexual liberation. Mathematically, all kinds of configurations become possible, for example a world where certain very attractive men, with a ferocious sexual appetite and not too regardant about their partners (whom they would have forgotten the day after anyway) would have hundreds of partners, a new one almost every night, some very attractive, some less so (I have known such men. Haven't you?). Now if you imagine that women, in average, are not looking for as many partners as these males are (this seems to me a reasonable hypothesis in practice), then there will remain on the "market" much less free women than free men, and the less attractive of the free men could very well find no one, even among the most unattractive women, willing to mate with them.

This is the argument. You may criticize it, but please stop just repeating like an axiom that "every man can find a woman" -- that's just dumb.

But I thought we were worried about the angry incel men not finding a partner/love/marriage? If it's just getting laid, sure the top guys will get laid a lot more. Is that so different than the past? Why is this a problem?

The bottom guys will still eventually find someone to settle down with, even if that person got laid a few more times than they did.

I guess I'm not willing to bend over backwards for the sad men who feel entitled to sex with hotties. Life is hard, deal with it.

We are certainly not worried about Incels. We are worried about understanding correctly a simple argument made by Douthat.

5. That's absurd. During the interwar period, Greece, Bulgaria, Roumania, and Serbia had periods wherein competitive electoral politics was practiced. The Communist Party and allied elements was inconsequentially small in three of these countries and good for about 13% of the vote in the fourth (Bulgaria). At the time, Finland, Bulgaria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and France all had Communist Parties with roughly similar popular appeal.

Now we turn to the post-war period. Where do you see the big Communist Parties whose position isn't a function of Soviet bayonets?: France, Italy, Portugal, and (in Latin America) Chile. The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom isn't common in any of these loci.

As for Russia itself, the Bolsheviks didn't do any better in the 1917 constituent assembly elections than the French Communists did in elections held there in 1945. About 1/4 of the vote each time.

"As for Russia itself, the Bolsheviks didn't do any better in the 1917 constituent assembly elections than the French Communists did in elections held there in 1945. About 1/4 of the vote each time."
Maybe, but the Left Social Revolutionaries was another ultra-leftist politcal party which had a superb performance. The only reason the Bolsheviks would not be able to form a cabient in a parliamentary system was unwillingness to cooperate with non-Marxists and aversion to peasants'- demands of land distribution instead of wholesale land nationalization. But a pro-Capitalist party would not be able tomform a government either. The Right was crushed.

Good comment.

Rather than redistribute sex, we probably should redistribute leisure time.

If you've decided to not have kids (hurts society) then you should pay a small additional tax on the extra leisure you consume. Don't be greedy. Society created your leisure time, so its time to pay your fair share.

We'll assign you to do menial chores to those who have less leisure because they have several children.

Not having children does not harm society. Most people (therefore children) are not worth being had and are burdens to society. I would rather tax children-bearing (not childre rearing as in adoption for example) and make people go through hoops to be able to have children. Theorical and practical tests, health examinations, osychological examinations, credit inquiries, parenting training. It is time to force people to be responsible. I am tired of being sucked dry by irresponsible people. I don't care if one's children like loud music, I do not like it. And if you can not control your children, maybe you should not take them to the restaurant, I am tiredmof children running in the hall and skating and riding bicicles at the sidewalk. It is not a park! No, you can't touch the dog, he does not like you, either!

You didn't have children because of your altruism and concern for society, you just obeyed the prime directive.

Sounds like you're describing the public education system, with property taxes instead of menial chores.

5. You know what else makes countries susceptible to communism? 200 soviet divisions on your soil.

Yet Finland resisted the communist aggressor. Vietnam expelled the American invader and the Maoist invader. Brazil defeated Albanese-sponsored communist terrorism. India fought the Chinese aggressor and the American-sponsored Pakistanese aggressor.

In Trump's US legal system "fine women" like Ivanka Trump cannot be investigated, charged, convicted of a crime - regardless of any evidence. Hillary Clinton needs to be locked up. The justice department clearly needs to develop the Guiliani Viagra Index to determine if a woman is "fine" or not.

Trump promised to lock Clinton up in 2016. Nothing ever came from it! President Temer promised nothing, yet popular former president Lula is already behind bars and ALL former Brazilian presidents are under federal investigation. Who is really draining the swamp?

At least you are finally aware Brazil is a swamp that needs draining.

Al countries have swamps, but the swampmdo not define country what a country does with the swamp defines the country

>ALL former Brazilian presidents are under federal investigation.

That's great, Thiago! Really something to be proud of.

Have you all considered making this the national motto? Perhaps emblazoning it on the currency, or perhaps the flag?

1) The point is, Brazil, unlike America, is actually draining the swamp. All former Brazilian presidents and one-third of Congress are under federal investigation. Rio de Janeiro State is under federal intervention and troops and tanks have been moved there to re-establish law and order. Dozens of former Senators, former governors, top businessmen and former president Lula are before bars.
2) Actually, Brazil is one of the few countries in the world that put the national motto, "Order and Progress" in the national flag. It came from the teachings of famous and influential French philosopher Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte. Brazilian money bills come with the motto "God be blessed" since the 1980's. In the early Brazilian republic, the motto "Savings are the basis of progress" was engraved in coins.

It's not that Ivanka can't be locked up, but that she's done nothing to deserve it. Hillary has commited multiple felonies. The head of the FBI went on national television and detailed these felonies, then said they won't prosecute? Who should be locked up? Hillary? yes. Comey? probably. Ivanka? not til she actually commits a crime.

2. For all the women in thankless marriages who are tired of being taken for granted. The women who are victims of violence and are afraid. The women deemed smart, feminist, or butch that intimidate lesser men. Women considered fatties or unconventional body types who are ridiculed. Women who are told they are not pretty or need “X” to become a Hefnerian beauty. To all the Incel women who wish their counterparts would evolve mentally and emotionally. I call bullshit.

The redistribution of food and shelter are required for the survival of an individual. The redistribution of sex would only be necessary for the continuance of the species. Females as the scarce resource are in search of male generosity, figuratively and literally. My sisters and I will discuss your redistribution offer and get back to you. I believe Ross and Robin will not be in high demand. Sorry guys.

The redistribution of food and shelter are required for the survival of an individual.

You have comprehension issues. Hanson and Douthat are not talking about redistributing wealth to address poverty/destitution, but redistributing to address inequality, e.g., aspects of welfare that have to do with well-being and not survival.

Please learn the difference between destitution and inequality. Thank you.

You want to redistribute males to ensure your survival? Sounds suspiciously like arranged marriages.

(but with only the entitlements, none of the obligations)

2. Aristophanes thought up the idea a long time ago in the Assembly of Women, which is a reductio ad absurdum of the principle of human equality:

BLEPYRUS: It's very well conceived for you women, for every wench's hole will be filled; but what about the men? The women will run away from the ugly ones and chase the good-looking.

PRAXAGORA: The ugly will follow the handsomest into the public places after supper and see to it that the law, which forbids the women to sleep with the big, handsome men before having satisfied the ugly shrimps, is complied with.

Good comment. By the way, both Robin Hanson and Ross Douthat are closer (in terms of empathy, in terms of concern for others, in terms of basic human decency) to our old friend Aristophanes than the average person in that weird twitter crowd that has recently formed a mob seeking to say moronically repetitive and uninformedly hurtful things about them.

The grammar in the previous sentence makes sense if you read it twice. TLDR? - MPAI ...

and although I was disappointed in Hanson's failure, last month, to join Alphie's Army, I think it is fair to say that both Douthat and Hanson are better people, with more concern for the men and women of this world, than almost every one in the twitter mob that exulted in that weird specious mob righteousness, a new phenomenon of the ways in which human failure takes shape, in the wake of the column in question.

In 1977, had I read this comment (perhaps in a footnote of a science fiction novel), I certainly would not understand most of it - definitely not TLDR, but I would have figured out MPAI.

But, as we all know, this is not 1977.

almost all of us anyway

here in 2018 there are a few hundred million of us English-speakers and if you are one of the five or six of them .... (my pals at the top levels of Silicon Valley would tell me that there are always at least five or six reading everything someone like me - with all humility, not exactly an Important Person in the Contemporary World, but still someone who can write understandable prose - word! - contributes in the downstream areas of nice blogs like this one ) ... anyway, if you are one of the five or six of them who read that comment I just posted about how like this is not 1977 (whether I was right about that or not) and thought hey maybe there is something to what that individual was speaking about, please read the Howitzer Daniel post on the Lion of the Blogosphere Blog, May 3, discussing why we and the incels (or, if you are an incel, why we and the non-incels) have an equal opportunity for happiness in this world that God created and which, from time to time, God still considers to be amusing and spectacularly worthwhile

It is not easy to say these things that are more true than anything poor little Jung or his pals said

no it is not

yes it is

Feel free to plagiarize, not just if you are a bot, even if you are a person.

I keep my promises.

Camino Brazos chebere amigos amigas Chebere !!!

Nobody here interested in Argentina's latest meltdown? Yes, already.

It's the anti-austerity doctrine in action. Don't crush the economy trying to aggressively attack a 7% public deficit. Argentina can print pesos what's the problem? Much better to have a plan to gradually trim the deficit over several years. So much better.

I love how Douthat keeps dancing around his true passion: "I WANT A SEXBOT, FOR FUCK'S SAKE -- WHERE ARE THE SEXBOTS NOWWWW!"

Where's Krugman to explain it all away?

Evita: Couldn't stay all my life down at heel...The truth is, I [and my free spending ways] never left you!

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