David Thompson
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September 03, 2016

Comments

sk60

We Live In Strange Times

We live in dumb times.

rjmadden

I denounce the cultural appropriation.

rjmadden

I’ve been a social justice activist for years. It’s really that simple.

Actually these days that's a good explanation for anything really stupid.

Joan

Rachel Dolezal, the white lady who got busted pretending to be a black lady,

She's transitioning.

David

Actually these days that’s a good explanation for anything really stupid.

“Social justice” woo does seem to attract a high concentration of, shall we say, colourful characters.

dearieme

Self-diagnosing madwomen.

Alice

It’s really that simple.

I'm very confused.

David

I’m very confused.

Don’t be. It’s perfectly simple. It’s a gathering for people with big hair who imagine they’re being oppressed. And they’re asserting their, as it were, negro authenticity by standing in solidarity with a demented white woman who furthered her pseudo-academic and activist career by faking racial hate mail, darkening her skin, erasing her own parents and spending several years pretending to be black.

Just another day in the world of “social justice.”

Burnsie

It’s a justice issue and I’ve been a social justice activist for years. It’s really that simple.

"It's a money issue and I've been on the social justice gravy train for years. It's really that simple. Now where's my appearance fee?"

FIFH.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

But of course there’s a rally for natural black hair. And of course the star turn is a blackface enthusiast who, being white, doesn’t have any.

One of the things left out of the story is that after losing her sinecures after being outed, this slackwit did braiding and weaves, because of her dedication to natural hair, or something.

R. Sherman

From the "Naturally Isis" website, I note that Ms. Brantley led a legal fight against hair braiding "licenses" in the state of Texas. Given that vocational licensing is normally a means for rent-seekers trying to limit competition, I can sympathize with her struggle. I also note, learning to self-manage "natural hair," necessitates an investment of $650 U.S. for classes. Wouldn't being "natural" require substantially less up-front cash?

jabrwok

cultural identity for African Americans

Which, per Thomas Sowell's _Black Rednecks and White Liberals_ is nothing more than appropriated Scots/Irish cultural identity as filtered through the antebellum American South.

jabrwok

Dangit, I could've sworn I put an end tag in there originally. Guess I'll see if putting one or two at the beginning of this comment fixes the problem.

David

Fixed.

David

Preview is your friend. :-)

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

Given that vocational licensing is normally a means for rent-seekers trying to limit competition, I can sympathize with her struggle.

The difficulty lies in the legitimacy of the licensing procedure. "Gimme 650 clams or take a hike", is far different than $650 ensuring a minimum set of training and standards are met. One of the fallacies regarding braiding is that it is inherently a benign procedure that anyone can do, for example, improper braiding can lead to simple traction alopecia, or in extreme cases braiding induced scalp necrosis. Hygienic practices, or lack thereof, of course can lead to a plethora of other issues.

Weaves, which are human hair sewn into a net and braided hair, are yet another problem as they are left in for months (up to a year in some cases) and often associated with various bacterial and fungal infections.

If the intent of the licensing is to prevent that sort of thing, it is fundamentally no different than licensing a plastic surgeon to ensure your Brazilian butt lift isn't done by just some clown with a couple of tubes of silicone bathroom caulk.

Runcie Balspune

I find it stranger the company hasn't changed its name by now.

David

improper braiding can lead to simple traction alopecia,

You’re awfully knowledgeable on the subject of ethnic hair enhancements. Is there something you want to share with us?

Kevin Armistead Lafayette

People who line up to give reasons why the government, or extra-governmental agencies, are needed to intrude upon our lives in ever expanding ways, are the majority in this world. Basically the hair weave licensing argument boils down to simple logical fallacy; "we need to give up more freed9m to the government, because someone needs to think of the children".

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

Is there something you want to share with us?

Yes, my real name is Rasheed Dolezal, and I am here to tell you about the Simple Traction Alopecia Sufferers Incorporated, or STASI. You see, I am not just a head of the STASI, I am a sufferer too.

Franklin

Do you know who backed Isis Brantley's lawsuit? The Institute for Justice. Do you know whose contributions enabled the founding of the IJ and have supported it since? The Koch brothers.

Worlds collide.

Darleen

it is fundamentally no different than licensing a plastic surgeon to ensure your Brazilian butt lift isn't done by just some clown with a couple of tubes of silicone bathroom caulk.

Licensing hasn't stopped the silicone bathroom caulk stuff.

There is really no reason for Government to be in charge of licensing anyway. e.g. Underwriters Laboratories.

Paul Carlton

I'm confused. If man can become a woman (and vice versa) because they decide that's what they really are then why can't a white person become a black person (and vice versa) because that's what they really are?

They used to answer the question with asylums in my day.

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

Licensing hasn't stopped the silicone bathroom caulk stuff.

I am not sure what you point is, there are unlicensed drivers, electricians, carpenters, engineers, whatever, doing whatever they do. The point is if you go to a licensed plastic surgeon to get your butt lift versus some guy in a basement, the chances that you are going to get a tube of bathroom caulk approaches zero. If you hire a licensed electrician over Bubba The Handyman to rewire your house, there is much less of a chance you are going to wind up with 220 in in the 110 outlets.

Why there is a fear of a legitimate licensing board (vice one that really just collects a business fee), all of which are a proper state (US state) function, escapes me. I have to be licensed, it is no intrusion on my freedom other than the initial testing, the 10 minutes it takes to fill out the renewal form, and the fee that comes off the taxes. The horror, the horror.

Regarding Miss Isis and her case of the ass with Texas, I'd agree that having her get a cosmetology license doesn't make much sense, but if you look at the pictures of what she does (BTW, I am not sure how dyed blond hair is "natural African-American cultural identity") she sure as hell is a hair stylist, and if Texas has a board that licenses them, she would fall under their purview. My impression is that she is just making a federal case over $650 which is probably what she charges for one clients hat hair.

Thomas Fuller

They're baldists. Why don't they check their privilege before making statements that trigger the hirsutely challenged?

Apropos the bathroom caulk, do I detect a possible explanation of the grotesque nates sported by Kim Karkrashian?

Hopp Singg

If I were just learning English, I would conclude that using "social" as an adjective effectively negates the noun.

A social butt-lift, for example, would consist of a box of corn starch and a bag of doritos.

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

Meanwhile, speaking of pasty white frizzy haired race baiting rabble rousers, The Pride of Mizzou, the alluring Miss Melissa Click, has been hired by Gonzaga.

The good Jesuits at Gonzaga haven't completely lost their minds, as her hiring is a, "one-year, non-tenure track position as lecturer in the department of communication studies."

After the national search and the screens took place, she emerged as the top candidate based on her record of teaching, scholarship. The committee was unanimous in deciding that she would be one of the two people to whom we offered the job.

I am betting there were only two applicants, and unless the other was a corpse, if she was the best, the other must have been more screwed up than a soup sandwich hit by a football bat.

The Napoleons

"They used to answer the question with asylums in my day."

That's when we were much more popular.

R. Sherman

Farnsworth,

I'm not opposed to all professional licensing, but the fact remains, a license is not guarantee of competence in any field. Further, once you begin going further afield from the those professions which truly deal with life and death issues, like medicine, the more the licensing boards functions as gatekeepers to preserve their own monopolies and prevent people from making a living.

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

Sr. Sherman,

I suspect we are more in agreement than not. Out of curiosity I looked to see what professions in my corner of South Flyoverlandia required licensing, and the only ones didn't have any potential to cause some bodily (or mental in the case of psychologists) harm (however minimal) were interior decorators, landscape architects, auctioneers, and billiard hall operators. There were a couple others one could argue either way, for example, soil classifiers, foresters, and geologists whose bad calls could screw things up to a fare thee well, but I suspect people aren't exactly beating the doors down to get into those fields. But again, this is a civilized state, and it would not surprise me if some barbaric state like California or New York required licensing of lawn mowers, house painters, pool cleaners, and cat sitters.

Granted, a license does not guarantee competence, but is a tool by which utter incompetents can be identified or weeded out. As a case in point, prior to the mid 1980's physicians in the US military were not required to be licensed. The reason this changed was due to some high profile cases of marginally competent physicians screwing up royally, and finding a couple of docs who weren't. As a result, now they all are required to have and maintain at least one state license and whereas that hasn't eliminated medical errors, it has eliminated the utterly incompetent and the not even docs. If you want, you can expand that to US medicine in general and go back to the Flexner Report of 1910 that overhauled and standardized medical education, lead to elimination of the diploma mill schools and rise of state medical boards which were then able to start weeding out "MDs" with degrees granted by schools who would give a degree to anyone who hung out long enough and whose checks didn't bounce, or which were pimping various quack theories (radium for all my friends) over conventional medicine.

Regarding preservation of monopolies, I can buy that for things like interior decorators and auctioneers and, in some states, things like barbers and cosmetologists through the absurd hoops and wickets through which one must jump. However, here, using barbers and cosmetologists for example, all one has to do to get into either profession is either go to a barber or cosmetology school, or apprentice to a barber or cosmetologist, neither of which strike me as particularly onerous or an insurmountable obstacle if one really wants to do either, and take a test.

The issue of licensing is like the issue of government itself - there is a happy middle ground between none and way the hell too much. I suspect in the case of licensing the static of the absurd cases drowns out the reasonable ones.

Vince N

There's nothing wrong with a white person acting for a black organization, or supporting a black "cause", if there is such a thing. Rachel Dolezal has taken some unjustified flak in my opinion.

The real issue is PC and SJW "identity politics", and the standard progressive practice of hypocrisy as modus operandi.

Fay

"There's nothing wrong with a white person acting for a black organization, or supporting a black "cause", if there is such a thing. Rachel Dolezal has taken some unjustified flak in my opinion."

If she had, as a white woman, acted or supported a black cause then there would, of course, be NO issue.

However, that is not what happened.

She pretended to be BLACK, it afforded her privileges she would not have been entitled to if she had not been accepted as BLACK.

There is no "unjustified flak" toward Rachel Dolezal, she is a cheat, a liar, and a thief. She stole educational opportunities and employment from people who you know, are actually BLACK.

Darleen

Rachel Dolezal has taken some unjustified flak in my opinion

IMHO she didn't get half the beatings she deserved.

Brooks

Ms. Dolezal taught African American Studies at Eastern Washington University. She is that institution's most celebrated faculty member. EWU's best academic program is the Eagles, its football team.

David

There’s nothing wrong with a white person acting for a black organization, or supporting a black “cause”, if there is such a thing.

I think the point is that if you’re staging an event premised on some dubious racial authenticity - “natural” blackness, as it were - then it’s a little odd, or odder still, to champion a woman whose claim to fame is racial impersonation and years of deception. There’s also the fact that if you’re trafficking in notions of racial victimhood and disadvantage, it’s a tad dissonant to celebrate a woman whose pretence of being black was done, at least in part, precisely because of the advantages it offered in terms of hiring, career progression and academic status. The optics, as they say, are a little peculiar.

Hal

I think the point is that . . .

Siiiggghhhh. David. Are you attempting to be logical?!?!?!?

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Farnsworth:

One of the cases that really opened my ideas to the issue of licensing about was Louisiana's licensing of... florists. And the case didn't involve things like making certain the exotic imported flowers didn't come with exotic imported insects or other hygiene issues (I'd think those would be handled in customs, anyway); it was things like exams in flower arranging.

John Stossel, back when he was still doing 20/20 on ABC -- so you can figure how long ago this was -- did a piece on funeral home licensing, with the undertakers having the chuzpah to claim of the horrors if you bought an unlicensed coffin and other such things.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Siiiggghhhh. David. Are you attempting to be logical?!?!?!?

Watch what you say, or they'll be calling you a radical.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Ted,

Again, I believe we would find ourselves more in agreement than not. It would be hard to to find real harm in rubbish flower arrangements in Louisiana, poorly made watches in Minnesota and Wisconsin, or sketchy taxidermy in Michigan (which has 200[!] occupations requiring license), made by unlicensed people and who would likely soon go out of business anyway. The other end of the spectrum is the health related occupations where people would scream bloody murder if there weren't some sort state boards to set standards and to police up those who fail to maintain them.

The problem is the gray areas, your example of funeral homes being one, given that there is a reasonable expectation that the deceased will not be among the 334 "...stacked in vaults, tossed in buildings, thrown in holes and cast into woods. Some were still inside their coffins; some had been lying out in the open for nearly five years."

Granted that is a rather extreme case, and in general a dodgy job of embalming isn't going to be noticed unless the late lamented Aunt Max is dug up for forensic reasons. What remains, though, is that on the spectrum between all and none there is some number that is right. I expect my dentist to be licensed by a state board to ensure he is not a graduate of the Che Guevara Red Banner Friendship School of Dentistry and Tractor Repair Number 3 in Pyongyang and actually knows what a tooth drill looks like, OTOH, it would be rather silly for the guy who mounts and balances my tires to have to submit to a state board, though it would not surprise me if California or Massachusetts has that requirement.

Lancastrian Oik

Sort of on-topic:

Hygienic practices, or lack thereof, of course can lead to a plethora of other issues.

One thing I learned from reading "A Brief History Of Seven Killings" was that, in the 1970s, one of the many and varied reasons ordinary Jamaicans hated the Rasta culture was because of the head lice its adherents carried in their dreadlocks.

bgates

I expect my dentist to be licensed by a state board to ensure

And such quality assurance can only be provided by the government, as it is the sole institution capable of ignoring the temptations of filthy lucre and focusing only on competence, as anyone with a Hillary for President bumper sticker can explain.

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

And such quality assurance can only be provided by the government, as it is the sole institution capable of ignoring the temptations of filthy lucre...

State board = US state as opposed to a federal board, because in the US, in general, states individually get to set standards. Where I am, the state dental board, because we already brought them up, is 6 practicing dentists and one hygienist, elected by the state dental association members, who meet in an open meeting once a month and its only link to the state government is that the state issues a license after an individual has been certified as qualified and competent to practice by the board. The same pattern is true for the barbers and cosmetologists, doctors, and everyone else, mirabile dictu, so yeah, they are focussed on competence because they are part timers, elected by their peers, and the boards are funded by the members of their organizations (state Dental Association, Medical Association, whatever), not the state. In the dental board's own words:

The Board of Dental Examiners was established to ensure that every dentist and dental hygienist practicing in this state meets minimum requirements for safe practice. The practice of these professions is a privilege granted by the State. The Board of Dental Examiners is responsible for licensure, monitoring and ensuring the safe practice of dentists and dental hygienists...

To sum it up, non-governmental boards, composed of members of their own professions, set the standards on behalf of a state. If a state exercised this function through generally elected officials, you might have had a point, now explain why there would be any difference if the Acme Dental Board were collecting the fee instead of a given state, and how ADB would be any less tempted by money.

Darleen

how ADB would be any less tempted by money

They wouldn't. But at least, they could be held accountable/audited/sued/replaced.

Who gets to investigate and replace a State agency?

UL seems to have gotten along for decades without being a government agency.

Darleen

BTW - compare how the disaster of the BP oil spill was handled in 2010 v the EPA King Gold mine 2015.

private entity = massive investigations launched two days after incident v government agency who not only did NOT notify affected people in the first 24 hours (despite their river turning a bright orange) but stonewalled releasing any detailed information for days.

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

They wouldn't.

Why not ? The various medical specialty boards, which have no connection to any government, have strayed from their charters and become as much about generating revenue as maintaining standards.

Do you really believe that if the Acme Dental Board were in suddenly in competition with the Amalgamated Dental Board no one on either would be ever be tempted maybe to take a bribe, or tweak something at Amalgamated to get the fees from Dr. Lunchbox, DDS, who got decertified by Acme ?

Who gets to investigate and replace a State agency?

The various boards as I mentioned are not state agencies. The only connection to a given state is the state name so as to differentiate, for example, the West Virgina Board from the Idaho Board, and the fact that the license fee goes to the state, not the board, which, incidentally, rather reduces any incentive the board has for financial tomfoolery.

The boards are accountable, replaceable, auditable, suable, and, if the membership (or state, for that matter) so chooses, dissolvable.

UL seems to have gotten along for decades without being a government agency.

Of course there is that whole approval to perform safety testing by OSHA without which their seal of approval would be missing from any number of items, so they are not really a government agency, just acting as an OSHA surrogate. Of course, now that they are a for-profit entity, they are totally free from any financial influence.

BTW - compare how the disaster of the BP oil spill was handled in 2010 v the EPA King Gold mine 2015.

Again, I fail to see your point. As has been pointed out, licensing boards, with the possible exception of some socialist hellhole like California, are not government agencies. If you are trying to draw a comparison between what would happen with Acme Dental Board and Ohio Dental Board, you are comparing apples to lead ingots.

Darleen

how ADB would be any less tempted by money

They wouldn't

I believe you misunderstand. They would not be less tempted. I only trust humans to act as humans, not as angels just because they are part of a gov agency.

I work for the government, so I know that checks & balances are vital, even if not foolproof.

I want as much a separation between The State and Business as there is between The State and Church. Stop making licensing boards a source of revenue for the State, the temptation is way too great.

If I want to hire a talented neighbor to help decorate my living room, why should my neighbor have to have six years of education & apprenticeship to be able to do so?

Nemo

Farnsworth, you rather undermine your own argument regarding independence from the state by quoting "The practice of these professions is a privilege granted by the State." Frankly, you're justifying the 'closed shop' as it's known in Britain; 'regulatory capture' is the nearest general expression I can think of. But whether it's butt-caulking or flower-arranging, the entire point is people who choose badly expecting superior beings to protect them from the consequences of their decisions; not absolutely evil, but depriving those of us willing to accept responsibility for our own lives of the freedom to do so.

Hal

Hmmm. Anyone up for a party, or something?

Chester Draws

But whether it's butt-caulking or flower-arranging, the entire point is people who choose badly expecting superior beings to protect them from the consequences of their decisions; not absolutely evil, but depriving those of us willing to accept responsibility for our own lives of the freedom to do so.

Except that's not the whole story. I want the State to ensure doctors and dentists are licensed because it is far cheaper and more efficient for me that way.

State licensing does add a cost to going to the doctor. But that cost is cheaper than the alternatives -- which are either to spend a long time checking each one out in detail and lost money going to ones I later find out are no good. Potentially I lose my life if I get it wrong.

So even inefficient government licensing saves me money.

My bet is that if doctors were not licensed, then a business would spring up that did checks on them -- which you would have to pay for -- or that acted to effectively keep a register of suitable candidates, which they would have to pay to be on (and then pass the cost on to the customer). And it would be more expensive than the current system.

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

If I want to hire a talented neighbor to help decorate my living room, why should my neighbor have to have six years of education & apprenticeship to be able to do so?

No one here has said, or even implied, that all licensed professions make sense or are justifiable, in your hypothetical, the worst that would happen is a weird looking room. However, at the other end of the spectrum, you have the wholesale malpractice, for instance, this guy, that took place because of dubious medical schools and no real regulation which led to the Flexner Report and subsequent reforms to include real boards - which is why you can have you appendix removed by someone who actually went to a real school, and not by you talented neighbor who, like Dr. Brinkley above, bought his degree.

Farnsworth, you rather undermine your own argument regarding independence from the state...

Not really, the state has no say over what standards the boards set, who is on the boards, or how they make their decisions.

...the entire point is people who choose badly expecting superior beings to protect them from the consequences of their decisions; not absolutely evil, but depriving those of us willing to accept responsibility for our own lives of the freedom to do so.

That is great in theory, unfortunately for many things it doesn't work in reality. If you tell me you are willing to accept all the risks, (to include dying), of having some schmuck squirt bathroom caulk in your butt, and that you will accept all costs of any bad outcomes even if it means you wind up living in a refrigerator carton and will never take a dime of government money, go for it. That is not what happens though. In the UK, all the medical costs are borne by the NHS, i.e., everyone who pays taxes. If the individual is disabled, it is my understanding that there is a myriad of benefits they can suck up for the rest of their lives - more taxpayer support. In the US it is probably not coming out of an individual's pocket but given who is likely to get bathroom caulk in the butt, some apublic hospital will eat the costs or wind up getting 20 cents on the dollar through Medicaid, a private hospital will pass off the costs to paying customers and/or insurers. In the event of disability, again there are a myriad of forms of public assistance.

Then there are the opportunity costs. For example, there is the very real issue that hospital beds and OR time are a finite resource, and if your gangrenous butt is in a bed or taking up OR time and resources, someone else's non-gangrenous butt isn't. Unfortunately, the days when one's absolute freedom isn't going to impinge on someone else's absolute freedom are long gone, unless, of course, one lives by one's self in a mud hut somewhere in back of beyond.

Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of limited government, of anarchy, not so much.

Chester,

My bet is that if doctors were not licensed, then a business would spring up that did checks on them -- which you would have to pay for -- or that acted to effectively keep a register of suitable candidates, which they would have to pay to be on (and then pass the cost on to the customer).

You are correct, and they are called medical specialty boards.

Hopp Singg

My, how this thread has been hijacked.

To the "please regulate us, we love it" faction: if instead of licensing, the regulator simply gave a recommendation, one solely based on the reputation and trust earned by the regulator, wouldn't that be just as good?

Why or why not?

Chester Draws

Because how do you establish trust when you first qualify?

How do you punish offenders?

Remember, there is often a strong market for the crooked. Bent lawyers are much sought after by clients, but impede efficient justice. Dodgy alternative doctors will still get work, but at least we can decertify them so only the morons go to them. Bent engineers and auditors will still find people who want them to sign off their plans and accounts. Without risk of decertification there is little to hold them back.

That a business thrives does not mean it is straight and true. Markets don't work to weed out some things.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

To the "please regulate us, we love it" faction:

It is unclear to whom you are speaking, because there in no one here that I am aware of who fits that bill. Regardless of whether one likes it, the fact is that if we chose to live in a civilized society, there is going to be regulation in one form or another, whether it is a drivers licence, a speed limit, a prohibition on building your own nuclear reactor in your garage, my having to provide credentials to a panel of peers every couple of years, or my not being allowed to build a 150 meter rifle range in my back yard.

The argument is what types and/or level of regulation is actually beneficial, and what is not.

Rob

I used to have black hair, but it is grey now. No doubt these haters would exclude me just for that.

BackwardsBoy

I'm left to assume there's such a thing as an "unnatural hair stylist?"

writeby

If this were the 80s or even the 90s, comedians would have a field day with this. Today, silence. Which reminds me of a song...with a few minor updates:

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a cellphone light
That split the night

And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the social justice god they made
And the phone flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the phone said “The words of the prophets
Are written on campus walls
And dormitory halls

And whispered in the sounds of silence”

Daniel Ream

Having known several people who have had to go through the hell of professional engineering, plumbing, teaching and daycare licensing in this jurisdiction, I come down pretty firmly on the "licensing is a way to keep people out of the profession to the benefit of those already in it". It's guild behaviour, plain and simple.

Chester Draws

Having known several people who have had to go through the hell of ... teaching ... licensing

What jurisdiction makes it "hell" to license a teacher?

The usual rule of thumb, at least for the Anglo-sphere, is that it is extremely difficult to unlicense one. Certainly in NZ once you have a teaching qualification you automatically get a provisional licence, and after a couple of years of teaching you get a full one, with some tiresome but not particularly onerous hoops to jump through. After than being struck off usually means you've had sex with a student.

In a lot of the anglo-sphere it isn't unusual for classrooms to be taught by people who aren't licenced.

In teaching at least the guild behaviour is at the union level, not the licencing one.

I'm struggling to think of daycare as a closed shop too, to be honest.

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