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September 17, 2013

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Rafi

"Regardless of whether or not scientists are wrong on global warming, the European Union is pursuing the correct energy policies even if they lead to higher prices, Europe's climate commissioner has said."

http://timworstall.com/2013/09/17/facepalm-6/

David

Regardless of whether or not scientists are wrong on global warming, the European Union is pursuing the correct energy policies even if they lead to higher prices, Europe’s climate commissioner has said.

The commissioner’s definition of efficient seems a little odd, given that the favoured ‘green’ energy-generating methods haven’t been terribly efficient to date, given that so many favoured ‘green’ companies have failed, and especially given her eagerness to see fuel bills rise. You’d think an increase in efficiency would be more likely to bring bills down. And it isn’t clear to me how poor people overseas will “get out of poverty and enter the consuming middle classes,” which presumably the commissioner favours, if energy is made much more expensive - say, by people like herself.

As for Ms Hedegaard’s claims of pragmatism, I’m reminded of this letter to the Telegraph by Mike Edwards of the aid agency CAFOD, who said, “The longer I work on climate change, the less important I think it is whether or not the warmists or the sceptics are right.” The reason Dr Edwards isn’t overly concerned with reality - and is willing to thank climate change lobbyists even if they’re dramatically wrong - is that acting as if they’re right – even when they aren’t – will, somehow, “address the inequities of the global economic system.” Yes, an enormous and stunting misallocation of resources would, somehow, produce a “brighter and fairer world.”

R. Sherman

It never ceases to amaze me that there are people who believe that the value of something is anything other than what I'm willing to pay for it. Value is simply a measurement. Screaming that the value of something is unfair is like screaming that the speed of light is unfair.

David

It was not clear which of Kant’s ideas may have triggered the violence.

Fistfights and gunfire. That’s hardcore philosophy.

Henry

Racial preferences are not just ill advised, they are positively sadistic

Well that's one reason why Affirmative Action is wrong. The main reason being that one wants to shout at its advocates: "so you're discriminating against whites - ie: possibly against me and my family - for being white. That's racism, you are so f***ing stupid!"

The old phrase "positive discrimination" captures the mindset a little better. The bad news is that it's discrimination, but hey! It's discrimination against whites or males, so all is fine and fluffy and good!

svh

this assumes that... there is something compassionate about reducing their chances of getting a job

Maths is hard. Feelings are easy.

David

I know it’s off-topic, but still

I’m not sure what would count as off-topic in an ‘Elsewhere’ thread. Sharing links is kind of the point.

I tried some Kopi Luwak a while ago. Quite chocolatey, I remember, though I didn’t rush out and buy more. I prefer Taylor’s Hot Lava Java.

dicentra

Preference practitioners are willing to set their “beneficiaries” up to fail and to subject them to possible emotional distress

No, no, NO! It is inconceivable that a bunch of fancy white folks would prop up their diversity creds on the backs of bewildered black students. Those kids will catch up eventually! Just because they've never strapped on skis doesn't mean we can't send them down the ski jump on day one.

watcher

Methinks hacks queueing up to get a job in Washington is more to do with the fact that nobody has to buy papers or watch TV (and therefore jobs are at risk) but you have to have government. In fact, in our brave new world you have to have a lot of government these days, so job security is pretty much assured.

Hal

From the discussion of Kant: "The discussion deteriorated into a fistfight and one participant pulled out a small nonlethal pistol and fired repeatedly.

The victim was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening."

I'm rather reminded of the general axiom, generally stating; "Never shoot at someone with a .22/.25 caliber pistol. If your target notices (s)he might get irritated."

WTP

Given for your consideration:

Thus, those that argue against taxes by contending that they have a right to what they have earned must extend the same principle to the wages of workers. They, too, would be just as entitled to what they have earned. So, if taxation is theft, so is underpaying workers. As such, the minimum wage should be the value of what the worker creates. Anything less that allows the employer to steal from the worker would be theft.

http://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/minimum-wage-v-taxes-wages/

From the author in response to the statement of another commenter, re I am going to go out on a limb and say that in general it is impossible to quantify the value a particular employee adds we are given:

While a precise and objectively accurate dollar amount might be challenging to calculate, surely we can do a reasonable estimate on this. For example the value added raw materials by the worker.

http://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/minimum-wage-v-taxes-wages/#comment-30427

Hal

I know it’s off-topic, but still

I’m not sure what would count as off-topic in an ‘Elsewhere’ thread. Sharing links is kind of the point.

Actually, for the both of you, this is completely and entirely on topic, 'cause it loops directly back to the previously noted topics of shit being shown on stage as well as someone actually having one on stage . . .

Again from http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/sep/13/civet-coffee-cut-the-crap . . .

As all these bewildering developments seem to have sprung from my original humble purchase, I feel as if long ago I must have inadvertently put my finger on the pulse of some monstrous zeitgeist, a grotesque cancer that constantly mutates into yet more vile and virulent forms. I'm fully expecting celebrity-digested designer crap coffee to be next down the line. One way for former stars to revitalise a flagging film career, I suppose, or perhaps for a Turner prizewinning artist to comment on the vacuity of our consume-at-all-costs age.

The only difference is that this time the coffee will be brewed up and served during the show instead of merely at the interval . . . .

David

the vacuity of our consume-at-all-costs age.

This kind of line is a Guardian staple. Some variation of it is wheeled out every week or so, each time a little more amplified, as “hyper-frantic consumerism” or the “blackened waste of consumer frenzy.” Though I can’t say it describes the experience of anyone I know. Except, maybe occasionally, one of my teenage nieces armed with birthday money. Am I missing out on all this feverish excitement or are Guardian columnists basing their worldviews on the retail dramas of teenage girls?

Chris S.

"blacked waste of consumer frenzy" It's as if you can only say you've had a good day at the shops when your packages drip red with the blood of lesser shoppers.

sackcloth and ashes

'I tried some Kopi Luwak a while ago. Quite chocolatey, I remember, though I didn’t rush out and buy more'.

I'm just staggered that the prick who wrote that article was absolutely, totally, surprised that the Indonesian farmers who made civet shit coffee would respond to the sudden growth in demand (growth which he had helped encourage) by increasing supply. In this case, deciding that rather than search the rain-forest floor for crapped-out grounds, they'd decide to do some factory farming instead.

AC1

> So, if taxation is theft, so is underpaying workers.

Paying workers below what's written in their mutually agreed contract is viewed as theft!

Also you can see income taxation as a form of %age slavery/theft (boils down to the same thing, namely non-reciprocal use of your time), without viewing taxation of Land values say (The Capitalist tax) in the same way.

WTP

No, no, no AC. Contracts are irrelevant. After all, for most minimum wage workers there is no contract. All that matters is what's "fair". Fair as defined by philosophers. As for income taxes being theft, that was addressed in my post here

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2013/09/clinging-to-the-teats.html?cid=6a00d83451675669e2019aff6939b1970b#comment-6a00d83451675669e2019aff6939b1970b

You are moidering da King's English...

http://youtu.be/IHimeLPEm9k?t=8m40s

AC1

I prefer the word "extort" to describe most of current government funding. When the government allows itself to do things that would get you arrested I think it's a good sign it's morally dubious.

Sam

or are Guardian columnists basing their worldviews on the retail dramas of teenage girls?

I think you've answered that question quite well over the years, David. ;-)

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

These people who shriek about "consumerism" never ask for the government to consume less.

David

I think you’ve answered that question quite well over the years, David.

But it’s remarkable, at least to me, just how often left-leaning commentators want their readers to believe they have no real mental autonomy, that they’re basically children in need of correction. Usually by the state, or by companies coerced by the state. There’s an air of cultivated neoteny. Here’s Memphis Barker in Monday’s Independent, grumbling about the temptations to be found in Tesco:

The moment a shopper enters the store, it begins; the barrage of silent marketing techniques, designed to work on a shopper’s instincts, rather than their rational mind. The smell of baking bread wafts up their nostrils, stimulating appetite; bright signs in yellow and red attract their attention, as if they were so many magpies with shopping baskets. At the checkout – when wills have already been drained by labyrinthine passage through the store – sit a range of treats (packs of Walkers, Crunchie bars, cans of Pepsi) designed to take the edge off another tough shop. And we give in. Time and again we give in.

In Mr Barker’s imaginings, his readers fill their trolleys “unthinkingly” and are helpless before the mind-warping onslaught of cheap biscuits. Apparently, supermarkets will be deemed “responsible” only when these terrible temptations have been moved away from the checkouts. And presumably relocated to some dark and forbidding corner, or perhaps behind a curtain, where shoppers won’t have to see them accidentally. Another suggestion he airs is “putting mirrors in stores, so customers could catch their reflection mid cake-grab.” And then presumably feel ashamed and pick up a bag of spinach instead.

And these are adults he’s talking about. Or down to.

Adam d

In Mr Barker’s imaginings

The lefts greatest skill is projection, the louder they are the greater the shortcomings. Mr baker obviously can't help himself in a supermarket so naturally assumes that the wider population share his shortcomings leading to the lefts logical conclusion that this is then someone else's fault in this case the supermarket itself. Think of the paternalistic language and actions leveled by the left at minorities and the exact inverse vitriol spewed at racist right-wingers or whatever they call people who view quotas as inherently racist, which by definition they are.

WTP

They complain about consumerism, i.e. people having disposable income and thus not being poor. Then they turn around and complain that other people are poor. The ultra rich vs. poor thing, ignorant as it is, at least has some semblance of rationality. Especially to the uninformed mind. But this finding fault with the simple every-day purchases of the vast swath of the lower-middle and middle classes is absurd. Where's the outrage at what pop stars and movie stars do? How the marketing of redundant rock music and lame movies? The marketing of hipster culture in general?

sk60

it's remarkable, at least to me, just how often left-leaning commentators want their readers to believe they have no real mental autonomy,

Another one from Deborah Orr: "The fact is that however much alcohol abuse is painted as a failure of personal choice, it's mainly a consequence of aggressive selling in a highly profitable economic sector."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/18/drunk-tanks-police-responsible-public-safety

In Guardianland no-one should ever be held responsible for their own behaviour.

David

Another one from Deborah Orr

Heh. I was just reading that. What struck me was her use of the phrase “the fact is.” It’s a bold wording, given that she offers no facts at all to support her own claim.

dicentra

cultivated neoteny

Stolen.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

But it’s remarkable, at least to me, just how often left-leaning commentators want their readers to believe they have no real mental autonomy, that they’re basically children in need of correction.

The commentators don't want their readers to believe they have no real mental autonomy; they want the readers to believe that the rest of society has no mental autonomy and needs to be corrected by the commentators and the people bright enough to read the correct commentators.

Over the weekend, I heard this report on Radio Prague, in which a travel columnist takes the radio presenter around a certain part of Prague:

Skochová next takes me to Holešovická tržnice, which is one tram stop from Vltavská metro station. The complex, built in the late 1900s as the city’s main abattoir, has for many decades been home to one of its biggest markets. Today the place is a riot of colour, with the mainly Vietnamese stallholders peddling a mindboggling array of often garish cheap goods.

“I’ve got a love-hate relationship with this place. On one hand, I think it is the most wasted piece of land in the centre or the outside centre of Prague. Because it’s this huge market of cheap stuff.

“I always wonder, who even buys this stuff? Or, why is there so much of it? And I just think that this place has such great atmosphere, or could have a great atmosphere, so I walk around here and I kind of daydream about what it could be.”

No, you stupid bint. Just because the people are using the area for something you don't like doesn't mean the area is being wasted.

Do a search of the page for the word "wasted" and read down. There's some remarkable bigotry toward the Wrong Type of Person.

sackcloth and ashes

"The fact is that however much alcohol abuse is painted as a failure of personal choice, it's mainly a consequence of aggressive selling in a highly profitable economic sector."

Every time I read a column by Deborah Orr, I want to have a drink.

Alcoholism is your fault, you bitch.

'Skochová next takes me to Holešovická tržnice, which is one tram stop from Vltavská metro station. The complex, built in the late 1900s as the city’s main abattoir, has for many decades been home to one of its biggest markets. Today the place is a riot of colour, with the mainly Vietnamese stallholders peddling a mindboggling array of often garish cheap goods.

“I’ve got a love-hate relationship with this place. On one hand, I think it is the most wasted piece of land in the centre or the outside centre of Prague. Because it’s this huge market of cheap stuff.

“I always wonder, who even buys this stuff? Or, why is there so much of it? And I just think that this place has such great atmosphere, or could have a great atmosphere, so I walk around here and I kind of daydream about what it could be.”'

OMG. Vietnamese traders selling stuff in Prague! This must be an insult to Ho Chi Minh! Or General Giap! Or Gustav Husak! Outrage! Outrage! Outrage!

David

they want the readers to believe that the rest of society has no mental autonomy and needs to be corrected by the commentators and the people bright enough to read the correct commentators.

Yes, for some – quite a few - self-flattery will be a big part of it. That’s pretty much the basis of half the paper’s commentary. But it also serves as a tempting explanation for a range of personal shortcomings and convoluted hang-ups, even among our intellectual betters. (See Tanya Gold, Madeleine Bunting, Dianne Abbott, Oliver James, VJD Smith, Jill Filipovic, et al.) If a Guardian reader (or contributor) drinks too much, eats too much, buys too many shoes… well, obviously, they’re the victim because capitalism made them do it. The premise is generally “capitalism made me fat,” followed by “capitalism made me anxious about being fat,” followed by “tax such-and-such to buggery.” Yes, flattery is important but so is displacement. Even they, the anointed, can be made a little covetous and flabby by its siren song. Just less so than the proles, who, because of capitalism, are basically robots.

Bad capitalism.

ajf

Have you considered the possibility that they are arguing in bad faith? That they don't really believe what they're saying but they know that that's what the readers like to read? That it's essentially a quick and easy exercise to churn out one of these capitalism is evil/false consciousness is all around us pieces, and as they're being paid by the column (presumably) then why go to the effort to come up with something thoughtful?

David

Have you considered the possibility that they are arguing in bad faith?

Heh. Often. Isn’t bad faith a cornerstone of modern leftism – pretending to feel a certain way for reasons that aren’t true? Which is to say, malice and social positioning masquerading as virtue. And professed egalitarians who say everyone is equal, it’s just that in order to fix us they have to be in charge?

AC1

Some good news about the extortion funded sector in Oz.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/18/climateer-tim-flannery-sacked-in-oz/

ajf

Ha. I'm loath to perform a psychological diagnosis given my absence of expertise, but Wikipedia's article on narcissistic personality disorder seems to aptly describe quite a few of the people in those links!

David

I’m loath to perform a psychological diagnosis…

Well, I don’t think it’s necessarily the first tool one should reach for. As a courtesy it’s best to take on whatever argument is presented by such people and see if it stands scrutiny. You never know. So shake the thing about, see what bits fall off. But if someone’s behaviour is radically at odds with their professed moral imperatives, and if someone ignores factual corrections and carries on as if nothing had been said, over and over again, then it’s worth entertaining other, non-rational motives.

Jonathan

I think I'd class this as arguing in bad faith: member of a fake tribe, plus assorted leftist morons destroy 9/11 memorial on fake Indian burial ground:

http://www.genuinewitty.com/2013/09/14/peterborough-asshat-desecrates-vermont-911-memorial-feat-amanda-lickers/

David

*** There seems to be a resurgence of spam and the filter is more twitchy than usual. If anyone has trouble posting comments, email me and I’ll free them. ***

Steve

Jonathon,

I like the sound of a "socialist obedience cult".

Any idea how I can get to join one?

Jonathan

@Steve: "Any idea how I can get to join one?"
Sign up for a Humanities/ Liberal Arts Degree at almost any UK/US University.

Dr Cromarty

I'm guessing bad faith. Why else would a paper which has extensive glossy features on vacuous hipster consumer goods and filled with ads for other luxury items witter on in this Neo-Puritan manner?

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

I don't think I've seen this one posted, David:

People order something at a fast food joint that a Guardian writer doesn't like; projection and outrage follow

The first response to the news that Nick Chipman from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, ordered every item on his local McDonald's menu to create a 20,000-calorie McEverything Burger is: they sure are starved of fun things to do in Wauwatosa.

No, Jay; pissing people like you off is loads of fun.

Loads of anti-American bigotry follows. I'd comment there if I didn't have to go through the rigmarole of creating an account. I'd probably get banned, anyway.

David

Dr Cromarty,

I think I’d class this as arguing in bad faith

It’s odd how often these theatrical displays of virtue border on a mental health issue. See also this. I doubt you could change their minds with mere argument.


Ted,

I’d probably get banned, anyway.

It does happen there quite a lot. Dozens of civil and articulate commenters have been banned for no reason I could see. Other than making the Guardianistas’ arguments look foolish and rather mean. One commenter I used to look out for and enjoy reading, MoveAnyMountain, would parse the paper’s climate hyperbole, amusingly and in detail. He was of course banned and airbrushed from the site.

dicentra

From Ted's link:

In Britain we are rather more refined about these things. Witness teenagers Cameron Ford and Adam Welland who, a few days ago, turned up at their local McDonald's in Kingston wearing collar and tie, spread the table with linen, candle-style lights, wine glasses and gold plates to eat off with real metal cutlery so they could enjoy their hamburger experience.

Please.

Here in Backwater, U.S.A., going faux formal at a fast-food restaurant is pretty common. Back in the Dark Ages (1981), my boyfriend and his buddy dressed up a table at a Burger King for prom. They were both flat broke, so a fancy restaurant was out of the question.

They were hardly the first or last fellows to do so. Mr. Jay "epistemic closure" Rayner needs to get out more.

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