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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 12,151

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The "broccoli argument?" That's a really poor analogy.

- Everyone doesn't need broccoli (or guns) in order to live, in every single case.

- We don't feel compelled to give people who don't have broccoli (or guns) super expensive Emergency Room broccoli (or guns) to prevent them from dying in the streets

- People's lives are not being destroyed because they need broccoli (or guns) in order to live, or save the lives of their children, parents, and spouses, where even small amounts of broccoli (or guns) cost more than everything they have.

- The broccoli (and gun) industry isn't relying on the life-or-death nature of the need for their products to force people into complicated, opaque schemes whereby they pay for broccoli (or guns) but often don't actually get the broccoli (or guns) when and how they need them, because the profit motive compels a constant increase in profits, which in turn requires constantly lowering the level or quantity of "broccoli." Or "guns." While increasing the price 10 or 20 or 30% per year.

- People aren't being denied life-giving broccoli / guns because they forgot to mention they had asthma for two weeks in the eighth grade. People aren't denied live-giving broccoli or guns because they already needed broccoli or guns at some point before they lost their previous job. Bureacrats aren't being paid huge salaries to devise new ways to cheat dying people out of the guns and broccoli they need to live.

- People aren't forced to keep jobs they may hate, or forgo other opportunities, in order to ensure that they don't lose the ability to obtain broccoli or guns.

- The current, modest reform effort we are all discussing would require people who irrationally, dishonestly, do not believe they will ever need "broccoli or guns" to, IF they are not impoverished, to pay a fee of some $600. There is no coercion, nor threat of imprisonment. A whopping 2% of the population is expected to fall into this category.

Really, this is ridiculous. We live in a civilization, the basis of which is shared use of resources and cooperation for the common good. That's what civilization is. That's how it works. All the other countries not currently impoverished or in utter chaos know this. As Bill Maher so eloquently put it recently, "All the other 'big-boy' nations on Earth have universal health care (in which people are -- gasp -- technically 'forced' to participate).

Regarding health care, which is nothing like broccoli, or guns, our options are limited.

1) We can figure out the most effective way for everyone to have it, which will be expensive, and which will by its nature require both "rationing" of resources on some level, and the subsidization by the younger and healthier of the older and sicker. Kind of like the older, sicker people subsidized all the younger, healthier people by producing and raising them. We already have rationing and subsidies just like this in the "free market" system, which does the same thing, just with pools much smaller than the entire population.

2) We can rely on the bizarre, accidental employer-subsidized system that everyone hates, or something similar, in which some people have some healthcare options, some of the time, and the rest are dealt with through the spectacularly inefficient and expensive method of trying to treat them all in the emergency room, or

3) We can let anyone who hasn't stumbled into the right job at the right time, or joined the military, or gone to prison, die the streets. Which would in fact "free" people from cooperating in the society we all depend on and benefit from, but the reality of which might be less desirable than charging people a small fee for failing to support the system we know they will eventually have to rely upon anyway.

Broccoli and guns my ass.

This is what you reap when you adopt Republican policy propositions

The individual mandate IS the Republican healthcare reform proposal -- from a few years ago. Obama's people apparently thought Republicans would be boxed in when confronted with their own approach, completely underestimating their willingness to perform (and the public's willingness to accept) a complete reversal with zero explanation. It was their idea, but now it's the Worst Thing Ever, plus ... COMMUNISM!

Could the mandate work? Sure, and we'd be far better off with the whole package than without it, but the individual mandate is a patented Republican gift to private insurance, which is the core of the entire healthcare problem. Profit motive and life-and-death human services just don't work. We can regulate them as much as we want, but at the end of the day, they'll still be trying to give the least care for the most money.

It's a classic triangulation fail. Instead of rope-a-doping Republican rhetoric while still currying favor with rich corporations as the administration planned, now we might lose absolutely necessary and beneficial healthcare reform because we freed Republicans to decry their own tacky plan to guarantee insurance company profit in perpetuity.

Maybe at some point here, we'll learn to stop picking up Republican turds and trying to convince ourselves they taste good.

I don't think the dehumanization argument is that mysterious.

Full disclosure: Straight, have seen enough porn to know what it is, and that it doesn't appeal to me.

I scan this issue when it pops up from time to time, and it seems like people are continually talking past each other.

Most of the objection (to the objections to porn) seems to come from a free speech / you can't ban that point of view. That's deliberately obtuse. It's not a puritanical argument suggesting sex is inherently bad or demeaning. It's critical argument suggesting that bad, demeaning porn is bad and demeaning.

It's a cultural issue, and it's largely to do with male / female power dynamics. Respectfully, I think it's a little glib for a gay man to say he doesn't see what they're talking about vis a vis gay porn. You wouldn't. That's not the issue. Men are equals in our society in a way that men and women are not. Whether they prefer men or women, men outside of prison don't worry about being perceived as a piece of sexual toilet paper to be used and discarded. But what I think they're talking about is that a huge proportion of (hetero) porn not only comes from exactly that place, but celebrates the fact. No humanity. No emotion. Porn itself makes an argument that sex is an empty, meaningless itch to be scratched, violently and mindlessly.

I say what "they" are talking about, because I don't propose to have the answer to all of this either -- it's complicated. Certainly puritanical bans on sexual content of any kind won't fly in any kind of open society.

But that doesn't mean there's not a huge point to be made about the crass, juvenile, soulless depictions of sex, and women in particular, that make up the bulk of "porn." Is that somehow not true? Or, are people not supposed to point it out, because even shitty, animalistic depictions of sex must get a pass from everyone, lest we become too repressive?

Bullshit. There's a lot of bad, ugly porn in the world, a lot of it insulting and demeaning to women in particular, and people who care about free speech and open discussions of sexuality ought to be helping point that out, not standing on some detached notion that we have to tread lightly so as not to cramp anyone's style.

We can make qualitative distinctions about things -- that's what progressives are supposed to be good at. It's not "porn: yes or no?" It's about bad art informed by bad ideas. Art tells stories, and if those stories rely on debasing stereotypes or a celebration of human cruelty or depredation, we ought to talk about that.

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