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Life at № 42

The Threshold of Injury to Demand for Action Ratio as Based on Genetic Determinism/Identity

Projective invariance of cross-ratio: (a, b : c, d) = (a 1 , b 1 ...

Consider this example: For the past few years a sector of the American population has been proposing the legal denial of service to customers based on the customer’s sexual orientation. In its most extreme form this was represented by Kim Davis, the clerk who refused to fulfil her clerking duties but this trickled down to the utterly annoying cake wars.

Interestingly if we look at this type of situation in the context of group membership and what the threshold is for “injury” in that group, we end up with a rather fascinating picture of how society works. In the Davis case her (perceived or imagined) injury was being obliged to sign/stamp a certificate if that certificate related to a same-sex couple. She believed this injury to be grievous. In her world outlook map, the injuries suffered by people from a different group by being denied the particular “service” she provided were insignificant relative to her burden.

We’ve seen this play out many times before, notably with Anita Bryant’s 1977 campaign. To refresh your memory, It’s January 18th, 1977. There’s a crowd holding signs outside the Metro Commission in Miami, Dade. Inside it’s packed. On one side there’s a group of people asking for a prohibition on discrimination based on sexual orientation regarding employment, housing, and public services. On the other side, led by Miss America runner-up Anita Bryant, are those opposed to any legislation that gives sexual minorities the same protections as their fellow citizens. In fact, Bryant pioneers the religious freedom wars with “… if this ordinance amendment is allowed to become law, you will in fact be infringing upon my right or rather DISCRIMINATING against me as a citizen and mother to teach my children and set examples or point to others as examples of God’s moral code as stated in the Holy Scriptures.”

In the Bryant organogram the importance of the burden of non-discrimination on her sociocultural group far outweighs the importance of the burden of discrimination suffered by a different group.

There are a number of interesting examples in recent debates:

-The  rights of women not to be sexually harassed as compared to the rights of men not to be accused of sexual harassment. This is a particularly fascinating ratio to be examined because there are proponents of “zero tolerance” policies (almost always a bad idea) on both sides.

-What measures are reasonable to protect the lives of law enforcement officers as balanced against the rights of ordinary citizens to go about their business and more importantly be alive.

-I was going to include the J.K. Rowling/Transgender case, but decided against it as there’s no evidence trans people pose any risk to anyone so there’s nothing to be balanced out. An imaginary injury shouldn’t be debate-worthy. But the discussion that followed is interesting which is the alleged “Cancel Culture” phenomena. One that Charles Blow of the NYT says doesn’t exist.

I mostly agree with him except this ignores the historical context of cancellation because one could argue that discrimination, especially in its legalised form is the ultimate form of genuine cancel culture. If you can’t use a bathroom because of your skin colour, you can’t get a teacher’s position because you’re gay or you can’t vote because you are part of a minority — that’s being cancelled.

44 comments on “The Threshold of Injury to Demand for Action Ratio as Based on Genetic Determinism/Identity

  1. Steve Ruis
    July 18, 2020

    In Ms. Davis’s case, the problem was different from what it was portrayed as by various interest groups (I include the news media as one of these). Ms. Davis’s job was to certify that all applicable laws were conformed with regarding those applications. She was not being asked to endorse or approve anything personally, but she chose to inject herself into the process, including all of her personal biases and prejudices. She was, in fact, not performing her job as described, and after a warning or two, should have been fired had she persisted, which she did.

    The same is true for those not wanting to bake wedding cakes for “nontraditional” weddings. What do their personal biases and prejudices have to do with providing a service to the general public. If the accommodate clients choices (we want a pink cake, not white and cartoon characters, because they create such things … etc.) then they should do this without bias. Of course, community standards are employed, a weeding cake with a phallus and vagina displayed, fully engaged, might be refused for being in bad taste but these would be community standards, not individual ones. Using the standards of commissioned art works in this case was more than a bit of a stretch, because it wasn’t the cake bakers artistic sensibilities being affected.

    We are seeing more and more of this, the injection of personal biases, prejudices, beliefs, into public interactions. And, as a rule I suggest it is unwise to place ones balls on an anvil and then pass out hammers.

    Personal stances are fine. I no longer shop at Walmart because of how they treat their employees, same for Target and a number of other stores. I am struggling with an Amazon habit right now, for ethical reasons. All that is fine. But I am not in a secular business, offering secular services to my community, and then inserting my religion into each transaction. That is a violation of our cultural standards and I hope we wake up soon and recognize that fact (If you are going to be in a secular business, you must treat your customers in a secular way.

    And, btw, your final paragraph is absolutely spot on. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 18, 2020

      The twists and turns are particularly interesting. Did you notice that certain groups who argued for the denial of service to gay people are now arguing against the right of business owners to deny service to people not wearing masks?

      Liked by 4 people

      • acflory
        July 18, 2020

        And they’re blissfully unaware that there’s any double standard going on. 😦 When did schools stop teaching at least the basics of logical thinking?

        Liked by 2 people

      • agrudzinsky
        July 26, 2020

        I always marvel at those double standards. They say that the women must be free to make their healthcare choices in the context of abortion, but women may not refuse to inject their child with vaccines. They prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people, but approve of the multi-thousand BLM protests while frowning at the conservative protests against lock-downs. The governor of Oregon called upon the federal agents when a federal wildlife refuge was occupied by conservative protesters who did *not* destroy any federal property. But she condemns the federal agents for protecting a federal building in Portland that has been burned and attacked for 56 days in a row with a complacent endorsement of the state and city government.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 26, 2020

        Indeed. That’s the backbone of my point. What we’re looking at isn’t the judgement of actions based on the actions themselves, but on the identity of the actor. Consider the action of theft where many white collar crimes are brushed aside if you pay a fine but petty theft of is almost always punished more severely.

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        July 27, 2020

        Excellent point. I know it’s Fox, but it only emphasizes the point: to most people it’s more important who says something rather than what is being said https://youtu.be/-G28XN6u3g4

        Liked by 1 person

      • lisamagnuson
        October 17, 2020

        ad hominem! thanks for illustrating this for me.

        Liked by 1 person

    • agrudzinsky
      July 26, 2020

      I completely agree with what you say with respect to a public employee whose job is to register marriages. Employees have to do their job or be fired. If they don’t like the job, they are free to find another one. Same for the *employees* of the bakery shops. But with private bakery shop owners, the case is not so clear.

      The shop did *not* deny service to gays. The lesbian couple who sued one of the shops was their customer for many years. The shop refused to bake a certain kind of cake for them, not serve them in general because they are homosexuals. I do not approve their decision. But I question, how far the government can go forcing private individuals to do things against their will.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 26, 2020

        The cake wars were highly problematic. The vast majority of the ones I looked into were initiated by people who seemed to be looking to create some form of media/legal storm.

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        July 27, 2020

        I’m glad you admit this. In many cases, it’s also about money rather than the social justice issue at hand. I don’t dismiss racism or homophobia, but I don’t think that Jonathan Smolett’s story helped helped anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 27, 2020

        Interestingly, the ADF (the group that backed Kim Davis) actually initiated the Duka/Koski case where no gay couples had asked them for any service whatsoever or filed any complaints against them. Based on a pattern of periodic anti-gay lawsuits the AFD pulls in over 50 million in donations per year.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. inspiredbythedivine1
    July 18, 2020

    “If you can’t use a bathroom because of your skin colour, you can’t get a teacher’s position because you’re gay or you can’t vote because you are part of a minority — that’s being cancelled.” Absolutely!

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 18, 2020

      And yet now being cancelled is when incredibly wealthy and successful media personalities get criticised online.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Kris
    July 18, 2020

    Well said.

    A bit of a tangent… but just finished Amateur by Thomas Page McBee. A fantastic look at masculinity particularly in the context of culture. Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 18, 2020

      Sounds interesting! I’ve read an article about him. The boxer, right?

      Like

      • Kris
        July 18, 2020

        Yes. Wanted to understand how facing fears would make him more masculine. Not to be confused with Fallon Fox.

        My takeaway: In the US, the opposite of masculine is feminine. In Norway, to be a man is not to be a boy.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 19, 2020

        That’s very interesting. The more we experience other cultures, the more we learn how much of life is simply construct. The idea of male (or female) behaviour is so different from country to country, it’s almost absurd people are still tied so firmly to the stereotypes and prejudices.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. acflory
    July 18, 2020

    I honestly didn’t know what ‘cancel culture’ meant until quite recently. I’m with Mr Blow – You [as in the general ‘you’] can say anything you want, but I don’t have to listen. End of story. I’m truly baffled at the spin put on freedom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 18, 2020

      These are recently invented terms to suit a fictional victimisation narrative.

      Liked by 2 people

      • acflory
        July 19, 2020

        -sigh- I suppose it’s no different to the old Puritan thing of sending people to ‘coventry’. How the human race loves to enforce social stigma. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 19, 2020

        Have you ever read about the language surrounding the Rwandan Genocide?
        “The radio station RTLM, allied with leaders of the government, had been inciting Hutus against the Tutsi minority, repeatedly describing the latter as inyenzi, or “cockroaches,” and as inzoka, or “snakes.” The station, unfortunately, had many listeners.

        The promoters of genocide used other metaphors to turn people against their neighbors. Hutus, by reputation, are shorter than Tutsis; radio broadcasters also urged Hutus to “cut down the tall trees.”

        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/rwanda-shows-how-hateful-speech-leads-violence/587041/

        Liked by 1 person

      • acflory
        July 20, 2020

        No, I hadn’t read about that propaganda, but I’m not surprised. Othering propaganda is not new. It’s been used to scapegoat Jews and the Romany for centuries, including the attempted genocide of the Holocaust. Closer to home and my era, I also know that the Howard govt demonized Refugees arriving by boat. They were said to ‘throw their kids overboard’ to force the Australian navy to rescue them. Totally false, but even after it was retracted, a huge chunk of xenophobic Australians believed the story. Then there was the way the same govt described boat people as ‘queue jumpers’ while completely ignoring the same ‘queue jumpers’ who arrived by plane. More money makes them more acceptable?
        So I do know how powerful words can be, especially when they’re sanctioned by the state. And I believe that any language used to ‘incite violence’ or hatred is illegal, at least it is here. We’re working on less violent abuse as well, but at the individual level, people who consider it their ‘right’ to spew hatred and lies have to learn that other individuals have the right to not hear them or pay any attention to their drivel.

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        July 26, 2020

        I completely agree to cancel things that you mention. But, unfortunately, the “cancel” culture calls for more than that. They call to completely abandon the whole justice system as an institution (among other things) without any ideas of how to replace it. That sounds scary to me. Sounds much like the ideas of the Bolsheviks in 1917 Russia. I grew up in the Soviet Union, so I know what followed the 1917 revolution. But I don’t think many people in the U.S. have read Solzhenitsyn. There are variety of opinions about what “cancel culture” really means. But the *leaders* of the movement are quite radical. The interview with the *leaders* of the CHOP zone in Seattle starts around 3:00 in this video. They are very direct with their agenda. https://youtu.be/ZpW_QLWrubE

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 26, 2020

        But is that actually “cancel culture” or adjacent to it? In an extreme example, the French revolution and The Terror aren’t one and the same. They were connected, but we can say one part was based on fairly decent principles and the other was a descent into a form of psycho-social paranoia.

        Like

      • agrudzinsky
        July 27, 2020

        Any ideology that divides people into “oppressors” and “oppressed” and designates a group to blame for social problems of the “oppressed” is flawed by design. It inevitably leads to dehumanizing language and hate speech towards that group and, ultimately, to violence or even genocide. I already see graffiti “all cops are bastards”, “kill cops” and “oink oink” directed at police on the building walls in Portland. These slogans are just a hair from being turned into action. People think that this is done by a small group of angry kids. No. This is a part of the organizational agenda of BLM and Antifa. All countries that attempted to build society on Marxism have a history of repressions and atrocities. Those are not “adjacent” to Marxism. “Red terror” was spelled out as an official doctrine in Lenin’s works. If the founders of the “cancel” movements claim Marxism to be the ideological foundation of their movement, I’m not supporting it. When the Soviet Union was alive and openly threatened to destroy capitalism all over the world, western countries were resisting this ideology. Now, 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there is a whole generation of young adults who does not have the immunity to these ideas, and they start spreading again.

        Like

      • agrudzinsky
        July 26, 2020

        Also, check out how BLM founder responds to the criticism that BLM movement lacks ideological foundation. She openly admits to be “trained Marxist”. My analogy with Bolsheviks is not far-fetched by any means. https://youtu.be/kCghDx5qN4s?t=400

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sirius Bizinus
    July 18, 2020

    Rowling might be a useful addition as an example, as it fits with imaginary injuries being used to justify extreme discrimination. Colloquial fears of dead police are often cited to justify lethal force. Imagined upticks of false harassment reporting are used to “defend” helpless men from unscrupulous women. Davis and Bryant are both the fruits of the poisonous tree of religious propaganda against gay people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 18, 2020

      Rowling, even in unknowingly, is also fruit of the same poisonous propaganda tree you mention. People far and wide are indoctrinated into religious thought patterns and equations. That’s enough for mere recognition of a formula to click something in the mind and make it “look right” or seem true.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymole
    July 18, 2020

    The establishment of equality is some how a burden? Boy, those are some insecure people. “My beliefs are so tenuous that if *you* get to vote/marry/work I’m sure I’ll lose my way.” Pathetic.

    It’s either that or a power play. Just like vote-by-mail threatens the righteous conservatives, they will lose power when this comes to be. Such folks ply their lies in order to retain the little control that remains to them. Once again, pathetic.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 18, 2020

      I’m firmly for your power play theory. Even though often people don’t even realise that what they’re doing is for power, it’s the underlying impulse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • agrudzinsky
      July 26, 2020

      I do not fear the establishment of equal opportunity and non-discrimination. I believe that the government must provide equal opportunity to everyone.

      But the government cannot force anyone to use these opportunities and people will not use them equally or achieve equal results. The government should guarantee that everyone could…, but it cannot guarantee that everyone would… (fill in the blanks). I do not believe that a person who chose to drop out of high school and live in the street is entitled to the same standard of living as a person who spent years in college and earns a 6-digit salary. I do not believe that a person who cannot manage his income of $1000 spending it on drugs is entitled to the same standard of living as a CEO who manages a multi-billion corporation. Marxist “equality” is based on coercion and violence by definition. I do fear this kind of “equality” because I know very well what it leads to. If you don’t, read Solzhenitsyn.

      I think providing advantages to people based on their race, sex, or sexual orientation is as bad as denying them opportunities. It’s also back-handed since it implies that women or blacks cannot compete with men or whites without a leg up.

      Yes, you can “go too far” with equality. It has more to do with personal freedom than with power. I think, when people advocate for equal outcomes rather than equal opportunities, that has more to do with power than social justice.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 26, 2020

        That’s very interesting. I think I agree in principle; but then the issue becomes how do we level the playing field to make equal opportunity a reality? Or is the implication that equal opportunity cannot be a reality because some animals will always be more equal than others? 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        July 27, 2020

        Making discrimination illegal is sufficient to provide equal opportunity, in my opinion. To motivate people use these opportunities equally, cultural stereotypes need to change. I’m having interesting chats about racism and current events with a black guy. He said his math teacher at school didn’t want to answer his questions because she considered him incapable of comprehending math. How many girls are discouraged from pursuing careers in engineering with this kind of attitude? Not that anyone explicitly discriminates against anyone, but it’s hard to become a CEO if your family expects you to be a mom and a home maker. And often it’s not the society, it’s your own circle who drags you down. Are inner city boys likely to pursue college education? Is that because of racism and discrimination in colleges or for other reasons?

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 27, 2020

        I don’t know, it all depends on so many variables. The few years I spent in the North East of Brazil did show me that social norms/customs can have very bad effects. The word black was used as an insult — and unsurprisingly last year a Brazilian minister was caught on tape saying dark people had “bad character”. All that must weigh very heavily on people.
        I think things are further complicated in America because protestant cultures have a very important “for show” aspect. It’s almost like Muslim/Asian honour culture where social value is linked to acting out a role (rather than being genuinely interested in the motivation or outcome of situations).

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        July 27, 2020

        I think that economic inequality has more to do with internal culture if the “disadvantaged” groups than with systemic discrimination against them. The times of redlining or legal segregation are long gone. Why immigrants who come to this country become successful, and people who are born here complain that they are deprived of opportunities by the system? It doesn’t make much sense. But the narrative of “systemic racism” is still deliberately perpetuated for political and financial gain. I know this opinion can be considered racist, but I don’t imply that certain races are intrinsically worse than others. Any community can have a culture that would keep it’s members in poverty regardless of race.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 27, 2020

        But isn’t that only specific to the American model?

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        July 27, 2020

        You may be right. US has this two party system where you can only choose between right and left. I see that the left are using racism, LGBT rights, inequality, and other issues to push their agenda without actually doing anything to address these issues or propose something egregious like having quotas for people of color on corporate shareholders boards. They are also interested to perpetuate and exacerbate these issues and tensions around them. In other countries, there are more parties with more nuanced agendas.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 27, 2020

        You think the American right hasn’t used these same issues for generations to push a particular agenda?

        Like

      • agrudzinsky
        July 27, 2020

        They have, for sure. I just see more aggression from the left at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Carl D'Agostino
    July 18, 2020

    Claiming religious beliefs for not serving a customer because of their identity when you have a business in the public sector does not stand in a society that opposes and codifies non discrimination. Once discrimination is outlawed despite a finite reference in general it is infinitely applicable to any and all subgroups.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 18, 2020

      Indeed. Imagine a world where Catholics don’t serve Protestants and Jews don’t deal with Gentiles… And Hindu cab drivers only pick up other Hindus. Ridiculous!

      Liked by 3 people

  8. João-Maria
    July 20, 2020

    Just today, I read a comment on an Conservative e-publication concerning systemic racism. I wasn’t surprised to encounter a conservative reactionary view on the term systemic racism, but I was surprised that the author of the article said this in reply to a reader:

    “I avoid using the acronym “LGBT”. If the advocates of this acronym can’t find a word in the lexicon for what they stand for it’s because they are advocating something completely alien to the Logos and the entirety of human experience derived from it (Him).. When these people advocate “Pride” they are being absolutely precise. Pride is “the absence of humility” and making ourselves into the gods of our own self-identified cosmos.”

    We’re arriving at a point where intellectual discourse of these political issues is becoming so diluted that neologisms themselves are acts that offend the integrity of “godliness” (I dare not to use the term “god”). And to consider a celebration of emotional expression, harmless at that, an act of hybris, is a symptom of the fount of these religious discourses. They create their own moral architectures to erode those of others, they weaponise morality, they stain the true and benign purpose of spirituality, which is proximity to ones own inner creator of symbolical systems by which to exist, interpret, and spawn in this world. I grew up as a queer creative in a rural Portugal plagued by religious conservatism and I still can’t quite recount some of the experiences I had.

    I just wish these people would leave us alone. I’ve done nothing to them, why must they harm me? For whom? To what purpose?

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 21, 2020

      “I just wish these people would leave us alone.” That was the recurring line in my head during most of my youth and even some of my adulthood. That and “Quantas guerras terei que vencer por um pouco de paz.”

      Liked by 3 people

      • João-Maria
        July 21, 2020

        Acho que serão menos e menos. Ou espero ser esse o caso. Toda esta resistência mais violenta que tem florescido ultimamente preocupa-me, mas ainda estou confiante que é só uma veleidade, um sintoma dum salto muito grande.
        Mas elas têm de diminuir. É imperativo.

        Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on July 18, 2020 by in activism, gay, thinking aloud and tagged , , , , , .
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