I treat feminist legal scholars, mainstream advocacy organizations like RAINN, and existing/proposed legislation as authoritative.
Q) What is affirmative consent?
A: A legal or ethical standard that makes sex opt-in rather than opt-out.
Q) Is affirmative consent the same as verbal consent?
A: No. Affirmative consent means using best judgement based on words and actions.
Jobs David Graeber thinks are bullsh*t:
- Washing dogs.
- Delivering pizza at night.
- Corporate law.
- Academic and health administration.
- Human resources.
- Public relations.
- Professional work.
- Managerial work.
- Clerical work.
- Sales work.
- Service work.
- Frying fish.
- Whatever the verb is for what bailiffs do.
Jobs David Graeber thinks aren’t bullsh*t:
- Factory work.
- Making cabinets.
- Composing unsuccessful poetry and music.
- Dock work.
- Writing science fiction or playing ska music (presented as edge cases.)
- Being an anthropology professor (implied.)
I’m almost certain that some of his opinions are defensible.
The political theory of pluralism holds that power in liberal democracies is distributed among many different groups, whose interests conflict or align in ways that shift over time. It’s partially a descriptive theory, meant to explain how liberal democracies actually work, but also a prescriptive theory, in that most people who believe that pluralism is how things work also believe that pluralism is a good way for things to work.
Pluralists are often accused of ignoring the fact that some groups are consistently more powerful than others – in particular, Marxists believe that Capital is significantly more powerful than all other groups, and that Labor is the only other group powerful enough to challenge it. While not all Leftists are Marxists, most nevertheless believe in some similar “bipolar” model of power (in some specific cases called a “Power Elite” model): Corporations versus the People, the Kyriarchy versus the Oppressed, and so on. Far-right theorists don’t participate much in mainstream political science, but if they did, they would probably criticize pluralism using similar models – Secular Humanism versus Christianity, Jews versus Aryans, the Cathedral versus whoever neoreactionaries think the good guys are, the West versus the Caliphate, the Caliphate versus the West, and so on.
Epistemological Status: A little out of my depth.
Kevin Mitchell’s blog came to my attention because of his skeptical posts on epigenetic inheritance in humans. Even more interesting is his recent post on race and IQ, and the likely lack of genetic differences between races.
I think this is an extremely important argument. The strongest arguments for innate racial IQ differences generally run like so:
- We observe large differences in IQ between racial groups in the human population.
- No known environmental factor could explain such large differences.
- Genetic differences between races are large enough to explain the differences.
- Therefore, we should assume that most racial IQ differences are due to genetics.
In my posts on the Flynn Effect, I showed that Flynn and Sowell have disproved premise (2) – it’s true that no family-level environmental factors can explain such large differences, but that environmental factors at the level of culture and subculture have demonstrably explained large differences in the past.
There’s a fundamental absurdity lurking behind all affirmative action debates in the United States: The official justification for affirmative action is “diversity”, but the more reasonable moral justification is giving a leg up to disadvantaged groups. These two goals kind of mean the same thing for blacks and Hispanics, but not necessarily for any other groups.
Hence the Harvard admissions case.
The “text” of the case is that a court is trying to figure out whether Harvard discriminates against Asian Americans. Harvard says it doesn’t; the plaintiff says it does. The subtext is that everyone knows Harvard discriminates like hell against Asian Americans, but political coalitions make it inconvenient to address the issue.
There are limits to how interesting I can be if I simply review the same Steven Pinker books that every similar blog reviews, so I’m making an effort to cover different ground. I recently read Martha Nussbaum’s essay Objectification, from a 1995 issue of Philosophy and Public Affairs. I chose this piece for the very simple reason that it’s the main source cited in the the Wikipedia article on objectification.
Several weeks ago, Ozy of Things of Things posted about three different ways of thinking about psychological gender differences:
- There may be no psychological differences between men and women.
- There may be population-level differences between men and women, but overlapping ranges.
- The may be differences between men and women that are so large that the ranges do not overlap.
The problem I see is that two of these three ways are trivially wrong and I think hardly anyone believes them. There are quite a few measurable psychological differences between men and women, but most of them are small, and the ranges overlap even for the large ones. I suspect that few conservative Christians or radical feminists would dispute that, and that their disagreements lie elsewhere.