Teabaggers’ ignorance, gullibility is amazing

•October 6, 2009 • 1 Comment

“It was needless hugging”

•May 30, 2009 • 3 Comments

Interesting article about teenagers and hugging — with predictable anti-freedom adult reactions:

“Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” said Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., who banned hugging two years ago. “It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn’t a greeting. It was happening all day.”

What a fucking tool. Oh my god people like her make me angry. Brings up old feelings of resistance from high school — but I can’t flout these rules, since I’m not at their schools. And no-one, absolutely no-one in the school system — not parents, PTA, teachers, administrators, school board — wants to hear what I think about it. They’d tell me to butt out of something which isn’t my business. But isn’t an injustice anywhere a threat to justice everywhere? Just like there is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy regarding police officers and non-authoritarians — i.e. non-authoritarians are not drawn to or made to feel welcome to become police officers — just so there is a similar problem with school administrators. Too much, school systems attract small minds apparently incapable of respecting basic human decency and freedom.

I have been searching for a word which succinctly describes similar attitudes. Not “evil,” right? Not “well-meaning but misguided” because we’re talking about their unimaginative, uncommitted small-mindedness actively causing problems. Self-serving, yes, but it’s not necessarily conscious. Like, the Republicans are evil, and a few of the Democrats, but mostly the Democrats are just ______ (small-minded? uncourageous?). I feel sometimes like I’m awash in a sea of mediocrity, which is more infuriating than the tide of evil we also fight: enemies are enemies and have a locus to target or avoid, but the diffuse nature of mediocre power de-fuses our prime energies. They soak it up, frustrate it, demoralize … I don’t even want to be the principal of a school — what, merely to avoid being an asshat? (As opposed to: I’d definitely love to be senator.)

International adoption

•May 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

International adoption is more complex than I thought!

Each of the positions put forth in the NYT’s Room For Debate blog is articulate, well-considered, and is internally / logically consistent. This is rarely the case in the public debates I am familiar with. So often (read: virtually always) the “controversies” we discuss are not nearly so nuanced: it is usually pretty easy to tell who is wrong, especially with even a small amount of actual knowledge of the subject. An extreme example is gay rights, which has only one valid position. Less extreme is global warming, where there can and should be legitimate debates about what exactly to do, but where too often the debate is between truth on the one hand and lies and misrepresentations on the other. Continue reading ‘International adoption’

National Review favors marijuana legalization

•May 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Wow. It’s amazing that they’re coming out in favor of this. Although they still manage to be assholes while doing it.

And, as is their wont, they use a a large number of big words to say really very little. This behavior they would no doubt describe as “erudite” or “learned” or “reasoned and measured.” I think they’re compensating for lack of imagination and inability to structure their rhetoric in sync with their arguments, but that’s just, like, my opinion, man. Even in this case, which is pretty simple, they manage to make it almost sound like they’re not supporting it:

“We ought not pretend that there is no downside to legalization, much less allow ourselves to be seduced by the arguments of the marijuana-is-good-for-you camp[.]”

The War on Drugs is over!

•May 14, 2009 • 3 Comments

Pres. Obama’s new Drug Czar, former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, wants to shift the focus of our drug control policies to emphasize treatment over incarceration. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said,

“Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he said. “We’re not at war with people in this country.”

Continue reading ‘The War on Drugs is over!’

What is abuse? or, Why define abuse at all?

•May 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A question for future discussion and elaboration: What is drug abuse? And why should we care?

This is not so obvious as it may seem. A particular drug may be prescribed by a doctor, in which case it is assumed that, taken as directed, it is not abuse to use it. And the assumption is that any drug use — even of prescription drugs — outside of the prescription system is automatically abusive. This is transparently false, and is easily refuted by daily experience. These beliefs about abuse are totally beholden to a medico-political regime which is seen as objective, scientific, disinterested when in fact the complex network of institutions and practices which form it are inherently saturated with power, ideology, and interest. Continue reading ‘What is abuse? or, Why define abuse at all?’

Pro-life feminists?

•April 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

Kathleen Parker’s column in the Post today got me thinking about conservatives who attempt to wear the mantle of feminism. Whatever her virtues, Ms. Parker gets it wrong. Certainly it is possible to be a conservative feminist — I can’t claim feminism as the sole purview of radicals or the Left generally. But conservatives frequently get it wrong, as Parker does. When conservatives speak of feminism it too often sounds hollow, and generally I have little confidence they really have the autonomy and health of women at heart.

Parker takes a nuanced conservative view of abortion, where she uneasily allows it to be legal. This is the correct position for those opposed to abortion to take, and Parker deserves credit for not fully supporting the government’s interference with the intimate details of women’s bodies. So I don’t want to pile on her too heavily, but she gets it so wrong I have to comment. Continue reading ‘Pro-life feminists?’