A Philosopher's Blog

Equal Pay & Freedom

Posted in Business, Ethics, Law, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on October 12, 2012
Pictures from Equal Pay Day actions in Leuven.

Pictures from Equal Pay Day actions in Leuven. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While there have been considerable improvements in the gender gap, women still lag behind men in regards to pay even in Western countries such as the United States. In the United States, the median income for women workers is 80% of that of the median for men. This is an improvement from the 75% figure of 1989, but is still a matter of concern. At the CEO level the disparity, oddly enough, increases: women CEOs make about 72% of what their male colleagues earn.

While there have been repeated failed efforts to get an equal rights amendment, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 has provided women with legal grounds in regards to addressing the matter of unequal pay.

On the face of it, it would seem that women are morally entitled to the same pay as men, provided that the relevant factors are the same. This is, of course, based on the principle of relevant difference: a difference in treatment is only morally justified when it is grounded by a relevant difference. For example, if Mike is paid more than Sally because Mike is a full professor and Sally is an assistant professor, then that difference would be relevant and the pay disparity could be thus justified. However, if Mike and Sally were both full professors and Sally was paid less solely because she was a woman, then that would certainly not be a relevant difference and hence would be unfair.

This view can, of course, be countered. One option is to argue that a person’s biological sex is a relevant difference such that even if all other factors were identical, a woman could be justly paid less solely because she is a woman. This seems rather difficult to justify. To use an analogy, it would be somewhat like saying that if a man and a woman raced and they ran identical times (that is, crossed the finish line at the same moment), then the woman would lose because she was a woman, even though everything else was the same. This seems rather absurd as does the idea that a woman would justly deserve less just because she is a woman.

Another option is to argue that women have properties as women that actually are relevant to being paid less. Roughly put, the idea is that women will generally perform at a level that is inferior to men because of the qualities they have because they are women. To go with another sports analogy, on average men are considerably faster than women in running. For example, the world record for men in the marathon is 2:03 and for women 2:15 (my best is 2:45). This is not due to any injustice but to the physical differences between the sexes.

This line of reasoning does have considerable appeal. After all, if the work performance of women is inferior to that of men, then they would justly be paid less and this disparity would show up in the overall statistics. If it is countered that some women are superior to some men, the obvious reply is that this is still consistent with the general disparity. After all, Paula Radcliffe’s best marathon time crushes mine by 30 minutes, but she is still about 12 minutes behind Patrick Makau Musyoki and the average women’s time in the marathon is slower than that of the men.  Likewise, while Sally might be superior to Sam, male workers might be superior to female workers, thus justifying the disparity.

This line of reasoning can, of course, be countered by showing that the actual performance of women is at least comparable to that of men and thus the pay disparity is unjust. Also, if it can be shown that individual men and women have comparable performances, then individual salary disparities that are gender based would be unjust. That is, if Sally and Sam have the same work performance and so on, then they should have roughly the same pay.

As might be imagined, I think that men and women do have comparable job performances and that a person’s biological sex does not warrant pay disparities. That is, being a woman does not entail that the person is an inferior worker. This is, of course, an empirical matter and subject to proper investigation. Naturally, if an objective and adequate assessment shows that one sex is inferior to another in relevant ways, then the disparity would be warranted.

Another approach, argued for by Representative Todd Akin (the same person who claimed that the female reproductive system has defense mechanisms against being impregnated by legitimate rape) is that employers should have the right to pay women less than men. Akin said, “I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom.  If somebody wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.”

On the one hand, this does have some appeal. After all, for the state to impose salary rules on employers would certainly seem to interfere with their freedom to create employment contracts specifying pay. People do, of course, argue that in a free market people can always decide to not accept a salary and go elsewhere to earn a more desirable salary. As such, if an employer wants to pay women less than men, then women can go work for an employer that pays women better. A woman could even start her own business and pay women as well as (or better than) men. Naturally, the same freedom would seem to apply broadly so that an employer should not be forced to pay a minimum wage or provide any benefits that could be considered part of the compensation.

On the other hand, there are some serious points of concern. First, the typical employee operates from a position of weakness relative to the employer, thus the market is not free but operating in favor of the employer. This fact can be used to argue that employees can justly turn to unions or the state to help ensure that the wage market is actually free and that one side does not have an unjust advantage. Part of ensuring the free market could thus involve minimum wage and equal pay for equal work laws. History show quite clearly what happens when employers are able to set their pay with complete freedom. Second, the idea that women workers can always go elsewhere and receive better pay or start their own business is rather unrealistic. After all, if most employers pay women less than men, this would leave women with few options. Also, the odds of a new business succeeding tend to be rather low so this option is hardly one that most women can use. Third, there is also the matter of ethics. While some might hold that employers should have the freedom (or right) to pay workers as they please without the interference of the state, this same logic would seem to grant individuals the freedom to steal from employers (or anyone). After all, if an employer should have the freedom to pay workers less than the value of their work, then they are stealing for the workers. If this theft is morally acceptable, then so too would be theft from the employers. After all, if the employer has the freedom to engage in unjust acts, then it would seem to follow that the same freedom could be claimed by everyone, thus allowing people the freedom to rob employers.

It might be countered that the workers agree to the pay and hence they are not being robbed. This would be true if the workers freely entered into the agreement and there were no elements of coercion. However, if the workers are coerced into these agreements (as can occur when there is a disparity in power) then this is theft. After all, if a person “agrees” to hand me some of his property because he knows I have a gun, then I am still stealing. Likewise, if people have to work to survive and face a coercive economic system, then they can be robbed even when they “agree” to accept what they are offered.

Interestingly, an analogy can also be drawn to rape. If a woman “agrees” to have sex with a man because he has the power to push her into that “agreement”, then it might not be “forcible rape” but it would certainly seem to be rape. To argue that the man should have the freedom to use his superior power in this manner would certainly be morally horrific.

In light of the above discussion it seems reasonable to conclude that employers should not have the “freedom” to pay women less for equal work.

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141 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Mike, can you explain why an employer would hire any men at all if he could just hire women and pay them less? Why would those greedy capitalists do such a thing?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

      One possible motivation could be sexism-there are still some folks who are rather hostile to women, especially in regards to employment. So, they might not wish to hire women at all and if they must, they would try to pay them less.

      Another possible motivation is that some employers note that women can get distracted by motherhood and thus prefer to hire men who are generally not distracted by fatherhood.

      A third possibility is that there is still the perception that men are better at certain things than women, so paying a man more would be seen as worth the cost.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

        “men who are generally not distracted by fatherhood”

        Generalizing like this about men is on par with the types of things Aikin has said.

        • biomass2 said, on October 12, 2012 at 10:08 am

          Seriously, TJ?

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 10:29 am

            Absolutely. Men respond to fatherhood in different ways. Many men will start working harder and focus more on their careers in order to be a better provider for their families.

            • biomass2 said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

              I understood Mike’s statement to mean women are “distracted by motherhood” in the sense of things like , you know, giving birth, and intensive care-giving, things which are major distractions from the workplace. Such distractions can actually prevent a woman from working for an undetermined length of time, wouldn’t you agree? Note: Not all women can work from home, via computer. . . . It’s easy to see why an employer would like to avoid such potential ‘disruptions’ in his workforce.

              And yes, of course “men will start working harder and focus more on their careers.” Employers , I assume, would love that. More work for, likely, the same money. (We can’t give everyone a raise in a tight economy, now, can we? Even if they’re working harder to provide for a new family.)

              What’s not to like about having a man instead of a woman in the workplace?

              Comparing Mike’s statement to Akin’s? 🙂

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

              They do. That is why I said they were generally (and not universally) less distracted.

            • magus71 said, on October 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm

              That’s me. I, myself could live in a van down by the river, but couldn’t bear to see my children do so.

              “yer usin’ yer paper, not fer writen’ but for rollin’ doobies!!!!”

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

              What about cats in the van?

            • magus71 said, on October 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm


          • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

            “That is why I said they were generally (and not universally) less distracted.”

            You didn’t say “less distracted” but “not distracted.”

            The Truth-o-meter says “not distracted” gives the impression that men don’t care about fatherhood, which is clearly a sexist statement.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

              Fair enough. The original text was, as you said “generally not distracted” rather than “generally less distracted.” One downside to using my iPod Touch for replying is that I can’t see the original text while typing. However, I am sure that this will be taken as me attempting to weasel in some manner. 🙂

              However, it still appears true that men are generally not distracted by fatherhood in terms of their careers. After all, there is a clear mommy track in the business world, but few men get on a comparable daddy track.

              You are right to note that I should have been more detailed in my presentation. I should have expanded on what I meant by “distraction” in more detail and laid out the differences between the general experiences of men versus those of women.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:25 am

          No. Saying that men are less distracted from work by parenting seems to be true-look at the mommy track data versus the daddy track data. Akin’s remark about rape is a clear factual error.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

            “Akin’s remark about rape is a clear factual error.”

            Do you really believe the furor over Aikin’s remarks was because he got a few biological facts wrong?

            And–if you think about it for a second–is it really so crazy to suggest that a woman who does not want to be pregnant may have a higher chance of miscarriage than one who is looking forward to having a baby? Mind-body link and so forth.

            • biomass2 said, on October 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

              Crazy?No There’s faulty research; there’s cooked research; there’s good, but debatable research; there’s guessing; there’s wishful guessing, and one or two steps beyond that there’s “Crazy”.

              Put it this way. I’d have to think about your scenario for more than a second. . . If I had that much time to spend on such a proposition. As you can see, I got work on here to do, and it can be very time-consuming. 🙂

              You, think then, that it’s possible the abortion rate could be lowered significantly —a logical extension of your concept—if women could simply wish away the unwanted zygote, blastocyst, embryo, etc.?
              TJ: You could write a book and save this country from at least one variation of the rightfully-feared single-issue voter.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

              Chew on this, biomass:

              June 5, 2003 — Stress has long been suspected as a possible cause of miscarriage, with several studies indicating an increased risk among women reporting high levels of emotional or physical turmoil in their early months of pregnancy or just before conception. But while a relationship has been noted, researchers didn’t know exactly how a woman’s stress could cause miscarriage.

              In what may prove to be a breakthrough finding, a team of scientists from Tufts University and Greece have identified a suspected chain reaction detailing exactly how stress hormones and other chemicals wreak havoc on the uterus and fetus. Their report, in the June issue of Endocrinology, may help explain why women miscarry for no obvious medical reasons and why some women have repeated miscarriages. And it could lead to measures to prevent miscarriage — medically known as “spontaneous abortion.”


            • biomass2 said, on October 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm

              Like chewing Jello, TJ. 2003.That’s it? Get us something current. Where’s the progress on this?
              I classified several types of research above. Since this Tufts stuff appears to have withered on the vine, or you didn’t feel like looking further into the future/past for corroboration or new developments—like the years between 2003 and 2012?— or you’ve got more to add and you’re just holding back you little devil you—, it seems there are enough “may”s “could”s and “don’t know”s to lodge the bit that you’ve offered up somewhere between wishful-thinking and a TV commercial for making a 75-year-old look 40 again.

              Some (many) women are still carrying around unwanted embryos and fetuses (I like the variation feti*, which I just coined). Are those women going to have to wait until Stardate 2650 or beyond for a payoff on this research? Perhaps they should start wishing upon a star. Meanwhile, the Akins wagon keeps on rollin’ along.

              *Absent further information from researchers like yourelf, I’ll go out on a limb and say my term will enter the medical lexicon before anything useful arises from the Tufts study.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm

              I didn’t say that the furor was caused merely by being in error about the facts. After all if he had said that water consisted of three hydrogen and two oxygen molecules, there would be no furor.

              Rather, the furor was based on the implications of his factual errors and his general position on the matter.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm

              As far as worry causing miscarriage, it is established that stress does impact the body. However, it seems rather a stretch to infer from this that a woman has a defense mechanism against “legitimate rape” in the sense that her body can just reject an unwanted pregnancy.

              Also, if stress reliably caused miscarriage then the miscarriage rate would be rather high.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

        I still think that if a greedy capitalist could reduce his labor cost by 20% by just hiring women and paying them less he would be all over it. It is not like he would be sued by men for discrimination.

        Do you really think someone would deliberately lose money just to satisfy his sexist urges?

        I think your argument falls apart on its face. If women really do perform the same as men but are willing to work for less money then firms that hire those women would bury their competition.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

          I think people will do very stupid things from sexism and racism. History shows that rather clearly.

          That is an interesting point and one that can be checked empirically.

          • WTP said, on October 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm

            Don’t know how I missed this. Like there aren’t any women running businesses? They can’t hire women and beat the competition? Or are all the women running businesses lesbians? More lame thinking.

      • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm

        Some folks are hostile to women? Women are responsible for the hiring process in business, too. Are they in on this conspiracy?

        Ah yes, Mike: You’ve found the only thing which invigorates a capitalist more than the love of money. The hatred of women!

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

          I don’t claim that being a capitalist entails a hatred of women. One can be a capitalist without hating anyone. However, capitalists are not immune to sexism.

    • magus71 said, on October 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Interestingly, I work in a profession where women are paid exactly the same as men of equal rank but are undeniably less capable. The Army places an almost insane level of importance on physical fitness, and yet women are obviously less physically capable. Additionally, they get treated better on a personal level.

      • biomass2 said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:29 pm

        “undeniably less capable”
        Is that true in the intelligence arm of the military??

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm

        This is circa 1984. I was stationed on San Clemente Island. A woman joined our unit that had once filed a sexual harassment claim against her former supervisor. She was treated like a queen and never had to do a bit of work.

        • magus71 said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:22 pm

          The better treatment of women in the Army started for me in Basic Training. It affected the morale of many of the young men in my class. You sometimes see writing on bathroom walls about it. Another thing, is how insane the males will begin to act when a female comes into the ranks. Fighting, NCOs smashing windshields of lower enlisted soldiers, showing off, jealousy and favoritism Sergeant Majors (the highest enlisted rank) sneaking around with much lower female rank against regulation, I’ve seen it all in a short amount of time. Militant egalitarianism at its best.

          • biomass2 said, on October 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

            “. . .undeniably less capable”
            Is that true in the intelligence arm of the military??
            Put another way, are the women in intelligence, assuming there are women in intelligence, undeniably less capable?

            • biomass2 said, on October 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

              Magus: As I understand it, you work in military intelligence, so you should be able to at least provide some honest anecdotal evidence in answer to this question. “Are the women who work in intelligence [a few of them, many of them, or all of them] , assuming there are women in intelligence, undeniably less capable?”

              Are any of them more intelligent than men? But perhaps that’s not a relevant question. Is intelligence a requirement? What kind of intelligence? How is it measured? You could help us along by providing the specific standards you might use when measuring capability in your field. How do you think you measure up?

            • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm

              Less capable in analyzing intelligence? Probably not. Less capable as soldiers? Absolutely. Of course, it is possible that someone’s ability as an analyst could be so great that it outweighs the fact that they don’t soldier well. However, the Army places a small value on individuals’ abilities in their specific vocation and high value on soldiering ie physical fitness, rifle marksmanship, appearance, ability to march log distances.

            • biomass2 said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm

              magus71: You know I”m not a sucker for absolutes. You still hedging on the “undeniably” claim in regard to women in intelligence. “Probably not” is, a kind-of-sort-of answer. If you can say women in intelligence are “probably not” “less capable” you should be able to alter your “undeniably” as applied to women in general in the military able to say they’re ” probably less as capable”. Better still, why can’t you say that women in ihe intelligence are as capable as men? What level of evidence do you have to back up the word “undeniably” ?

              Outside the discussion here: You may not like commercial TV ( I know you tolerate Frontline), but the second segment of this week’s ’60 Minutes’ very interesting. Check it out if you can. Perhaps you already know the status of 25% of vets who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, but at least you’ll see that commercial TV can provide some worthwhile knowledge to the general public.

            • biomass2 said, on October 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm

              I apologize for spelling and typos in 10:43 above.

            • magus71 said, on October 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm

              “why can’t you say that women in ihe intelligence are as capable as men?”

              And yet why is it that for every minutiae you and Mike require a scientific study, and something that seems would take a scientific study to prove, you do not? I do not know if women are as capable as analysts. I hedge my answer because I wonder why there has only been one female in the top one hundred chess players in the world, ever, to my knowledge.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm

              I don’t.

          • Anonymous said, on October 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm

            Ok now I have a question .. How do women match up in marksmandhip?

            • Anonymous said, on October 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm

              Ahhh WTP again

            • magus71 said, on October 15, 2012 at 8:54 am

              Some say that women are better marksman. But this has many caveats. When people say marksman, they mean, prone, and steady position. A steady position is a necessity for consistently accurate shooting. The prone position helps achieve a steady position. But in combat, it is very difficult sometimes to achieve a steady position, thus a man’s strength helps him when he is not prone, whereas women struggle. This is very evident when it comes to shooting pistols. When I was in law enforcement, I witnessed women struggle qualifying with pistols. Their hand strength was not adequate. If memory serves me, while at the academy, every woman failed the first pistol qualification and required remedial training.

              That being said, there are historical examples of female snipers that were very good. But the sniper job, almost by definition, assumes a steady position (prone, bipod etc).

              This answer on Yahoo! answers, is quite good:

              At the 2009 NRA National Matches at Camp Perry the winners were mostly men.

              HIGH POWER RIFLE
              1) Norman Houle (Man)
              2) Carl Bernosky (Man)
              3) David Tubb (Man)

              SMALL BORE 3 POSITION
              1) Joseph Hein (Man)
              2) Tarl Kempley (Man)
              3) Matt Rawlings (Man)

              SMALL BORE PRONE
              1) Joseph Hein (Man)
              2) Richard Fowke (Man)
              3) Reya Kempley (Woman)

              1) Sherri Gallagher (Woman)
              2) John Whidden (Man)
              3) Lance Dement (Man)

              The best distance shot is held by Ohio native Tom Sarver, who shot a perfect 50 with a pistol designed to fire .300 Hulk Rounds.

              However, Todd Jarret shot 1000 Rounds in ten minutes and fourty four seconds.

              Bob Munden is the man with the fastest draw and accurate shot, with .21 seconds, and his sister Becky is the fastest woman, at .27 seconds.

              Ed McGivern is also known as the world’s best pistol shooter, with multiple guinness records, and was well known for his feats, such as
              * He could break six simultaneously hand thrown clay pigeons (standard trap targets) in the air before they hit the ground.
              * He could hit a tin can hand thrown 20 ft. in the air six times before it hit the ground.
              * He could shoot-drive a tack or nail into wood.
              * He could shoot the spots out of playing cards, or even split a playing card edge on.
              * He could shoot a dime on the fly.

              Jerry Miculek has broken many of McGivern’s records, however.

              I teach handgun safety. I think a lot of women are easier to teach than men. I think in the beginning women are better shots than men because they have no misconceptions that they should be able to shoot well. A lot of men think that they should shoot better than a woman just because they’re a man. As time goes on however almost always the men surpass the women in shooting.

              I take the wife shooting with me as much as possible. Occasionally she out shoots me.
              It actually makes me happy.

              The reality is that practice makes perfect. If a woman shoots as much as a man and makes the commitment to be the best, there’s no reason that a woman can’t be as good or even better than a man.
              NRA Life Member
              Certified handgun Instructor


              There is evidence that higher testosterone levels equal better hand-coordination and spacial relation. Consider billiards. The best players in the world are men, as are bowlers. Both sports that require little strength. Female pilots are four times as likely to crash–Google it.

              I’m all for women doing whatever they want, as long as they can meet a standard that applies to everyone.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

              The Russians had some impressive female snipers in WWII.

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 9:26 am

              consider billiards Actually, that kind of was the genesis of my question. I’m a league player for about a dozen years now, and played casually since my early teens. My observations are much the same. There are women who can destroy most men in a match (myself included). But they’ve also spent years more in practice time and were generally raised and/or mentored at an early age by people who were experts in the game. It’s quite the level playing field in most regards. While there are some advantages men have in power shots, due to their generally smaller stature the best women seem more comfortable in use of the bridge. You’ll also notice a preponderance of lesbians at the top of the women’s game. IIRC, Calamity Jane and a few other women sharpshooters of that day were rather butch. Do you find a gay factor in women’s sharpshooting?

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm

              The Russians had some impressive female snipers in WWII.

              So the Russians say. Notice that for a fact to be established on the conservative side of the balance sheet the Mike-o-masses require studies and if we have studies, well they need to be “recent” studies. Verified by three nuns and a priest…or better yet, Noam Chomsky. But hey, if the Russians say they had good female snipers, well they must have had impressive female snipers. It’s not like the Russians were prone to lying.

            • magus71 said, on October 16, 2012 at 8:53 am

              The lesbian question is a good one. The “butch factor” can be seen in many female sports. Perhaps it’s cultural, and if it is, we must ask if the whole homosexual meme is cultural, which I believe it is. I would definitely say that most women I know of that were good at things that men are classically good at possessed some physical masculine traits, even if it were something as small as prominent cheek bones. But here I would agree with Mike. A study of some sort is needed to verify the truth. What I don;t need a study for is to prove that Islamists are more dangerous than Coptic Christians in Egypt.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm

          That is an interesting anecdote, but do you have a set of significant and objective data that shows that this injustice is a general occurrence rather than a single incident?

          • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm


            Must every observation be backed by a scientific study in order to hold validity? Do you subject all of your beliefs to the scientific method?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm

              No. There are various methods of reasoning that can provide strong support for a claim without a scientific study: Mill’s methods, argument by analogy, and so on. Also, claims about what lies within a person’s perceptual range/range of experience can be plausible to the degree the person is credible. For example, if I report that I knew a woman who was an excellent soldier, then that claim would be plausible to the degree that I am credible. However, if I say, “I knew a woman who was an excellent soldier, therefore most women are excellent soldiers”, then I would be committing a hasty generalization fallacy. To make claims about a population requires adequate methodology, otherwise one is just engaging in fallacious reasoning (usually anecdotal evidence, hasty generalization or biased generalization).

              So, if you tell an anecdote, your claim rests on your credibility. If you generalize from this, you are making an inductive generalization and that requires meeting the conditions of a good generalization (sample size that is adequate, a sample that is representative and so on).

              I do, as much as possible, assess my important beliefs. I know that I have many false believes-I just do not know which ones are false until I test them.

            • WTP said, on October 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm

              Inductive generalizations, hasty generalizations, yadda-yadda-yadda. Were this a truly philosophical blog and not political hackery, there might be a point here. But in the Mike-o-mass world, when criticizing conservative/classical liberal/libertarian ideas it’s Jackson Pollock and details be damned, but come time to defend leftist ideology and suddenly they’re Georges Seurat.

          • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm

            Please show me the study that proves 2004 Ford Crown Victorias kill humans when they collide with them at 40mph or higher. But you know this is true, right?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm

              Actually, the impact of objects on humans has been studied extensively. As such, I can rationally use physics, biology, and such to infer rationally that humans struck by objects of that size at that speed would likely do X amount of damage.

            • magus71 said, on October 15, 2012 at 6:25 am

              But Mike, I can almost guarantee you have never read any of these studies. They do exist, but you don’t reference them and never have. Yet you know not to walk in front of a car.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

              Actually, I did see some of them. A student did a paper on the ethics of using cadavers in research and cited various studies.

              In the case of cars hitting people, the diversity of the population is rather small. After all, humans are roughly comparable in their ability to withstand being hit by a car at X miles per hour. Naturally, there are variables involved. However, getting hit by a car going 40 MPH will tend to hurt almost any human and this is supported by a smaller sample than claims that have far more population diversity. So, for example, being a Swede or an American does not effect ones ability to withstand being hit by a car, but the different social conditions can impact such matters as divorce rates and so on.

              My main point is that the sampling needed to support claims does vary. So, knowing what a car does when it hits people has one type of sampling that is needed while making claims about the impact of housework on divorce or statistics about women requires a different sort of sampling. For example, the sample needs to be diverse and large enough to adequately represent the population.

            • magus71 said, on October 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm

              Ok. So that’s how you learned and knew getting hit buy cars was bad? How’d you make it long enough to read that report?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm

              I didn’t claim that I learned getting hit by cars is bad from reading the reports. Rather, I claimed that establishing the claim “getting hit by cars is bad” requires a relatively small sample given the relative uniformity of cars and people in this regard. That is, while car impact damage does vary (based on size and speed) and people vary in their ability to take damage (hit points), the diversity is small enough to allow a smaller sample when making the inference. In fact, some would claim that a person could sort out the damage done just with good models of physics and anatomy.

              In my own case, I learned to avoid getting hit by cars by analogy (getting hit by other things and seeing people get hit) and generalization (from observed cases to unobserved cases). Plus causal reasoning regarding how objects work.

              I’m still trying to sort out what you are trying to prove. Are you trying to show that general causal claims can be supported by small samples? Or something else?

  2. T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Evil capitalist at work:

    According to an analysis by the Times Data Desk, part of the Los Angeles Times, the Obama campaign had 901 people on its payroll last month, and paid them a median salary of $3,074 a month, or $36,886 a year.

    The Romney campaign, in contrast, had 403 people on its payroll, and paid them a median salary of $6,437 in August, which would mean $77,250 a year.

    A Romney campaign official said the median staff salary is actually $51,500 a year. The August payroll may have been inflated by back pay owed to new employees, the official said.


    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Beware of making comparisons involving averages. Is it that Obama is paying less per hour? Is it that Obama has more part time employees? Is Romney paying overtime? Does Romney pay a few people a great deal and the other less?

      Now, if Obama is ripping off his employees, then he is doing wrong.

  3. T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    How is it possible to hold these two ideas in one’s brain simultaneously?

    1) there are lots of jobs Americans simply refuse to do

    2) the market is not free but operating in favor of the employer, so women are “forced” to work at jobs paying unfair wages

    Why not simply refuse to do those jobs paying unfair wages?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Those two claims are not contradictory. They are not even inconsistent with each other.

      After all, a person could easily refuse to take a job picking fruit, yet be willing to take a job that pays her less than a man (but more than picking fruit).

      Worker are not, in general, powerless. However, they typically have less power than the employers.

  4. T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Women consistently work fewer hours than men (for excellent reasons such as caring for children). If you control for marriage and children, as former Congressional Budget Office director June O’Neill has demonstrated, the pay gap between men and women disappears.


    So, Mike, do I take it that you believe that women should be paid the same as men even though men work more hours?

    • magus71 said, on October 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      The pay gap is a myth. Women and men make on average the same per hour. The myth is convenient for liberals for election purposes, though.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Working more hours is a relevant difference. So I would obviously not be for women being paid the same for working less hours.

      However, the pay gap still remains.

      Some interesting points worth noting is that the pay gap in specific locations has started to favor women and women are now the majority at the 2 year and 4 year degree levels. As such, we can probably expect a shift in pay that favors women. In my first book I include an essay on possible discrimination against men in education. I mention this to show that my commitment is against discrimination rather than being committed to some sort of “liberal agenda” favoring women.

      • WTP said, on October 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

        and women are now the majority at the 2 year and 4 year degree levels.

        The coming lefty set-up. Women’s majorities in degrees tend toward the impractical in so far as wages are concerned. While more women are working in engineering, even in that field they gravitate toward the lower paying areas of quality assurance, technical writing, etc. Not that there aren’t some real fine women engineers, and in my experience finding one is a gold mine for a development organization, but they are few. As degrees go, women gravitate to areas such as art history, french poetry, etc. where there are far more graduates than for which a society has a use. But watch as this fact is ignored and the cry will go out that women have more education than men yet still don’t make as much money.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm

        Consider the below, Mike. Men do more dangerous work than women. Shouldn’t this increased danger be compensated?

        The majority of occupational deaths occur among men. In one U.S. study, 93% of deaths on the job involved men, with a death rate approximately 11 times higher than women. The industries with the highest death rates are mining, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and construction, all of which employ more men than women.


        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

          It should. As I argued in the post, if there is a relevant difference, then a difference in pay can be justified. Since, as you note, women are less likely to be employed in such fields or in the dangerous parts of the fields, they would not get that compensation.

          But what do you take this as proving? When statistical data is gathered regarding the pay gap, the comparison is not between different types of jobs but within specific sets of jobs. That is, the claim about a pay gap is not “men who work dangerous jobs get paid more than women in otherwise similar jobs that are less dangerous.” Rather, the claim is that there is a pay gap between men and women in jobs that are properly comparable.

          Naturally, the difference does help account for men as a group earning more than women as a group. However, my concern is with any unfair wage gaps not with fair ones.

          Also, it is interesting to note that the danger of a job often has little impact on the compensation. After all, a soldier in a war zone faces far more danger than a corporate CEO, yet his pay is vastly lower. Same for the other professions you mention. In fact, the highest paying jobs usually involve little risk of death or injury on the job.

          As a final point, I would prefer to be wrong about the wage gap. After all, I consider living in a just society a good thing and would be very pleased if everyone was getting paid fairly. Likewise, I would prefer to be wrong about the education gap-but the evidence seems rather clear. You might find my essays on the education gap interesting in that I make a point of taking the feminists to task for being silent in the face of this growing disparity between men and women. I also note the impact of “feminist” programs and policies on the gap (for example, hostile education environments, disparities in admissions, disparities in available support and so on). My overall view is that discrimination is morally wrong, whether this discrimination be against women or men.

          I think that one problem that is not getting enough attention is the male decline in higher education. This has the potential of having rather serious consequences.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 16, 2012 at 8:02 am

            Here is a description of the statistics you are relying on.

            Let’s begin by unpacking that 75-cent statistic, which actually varies from 75 to about 81, depending on the year and the study. The figure is based on the average earnings of full-time, year-round (FTYR) workers, usually defined as those who work 35 hours a week or more.

            But consider the mischief contained in that “or more.” It makes the full-time category embrace everyone from a clerk who arrives at her desk at 9 am and leaves promptly at 4 pm to a trial lawyer who eats dinner four nights a week—and lunch on weekends—at his desk. I assume, in this case, that the clerk is a woman and the lawyer a man for the simple reason that—and here is an average that proofers rarely mention—full-time men work more hours than full-time women do. In 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 27 percent of male full-time workers had workweeks of 41 or more hours, compared with 15 percent of female full-time workers; meanwhile, just 4 percent of full-time men worked 35 to 39 hours a week, while 12 percent of women did. Since FTYR men work more than FTYR women do, it shouldn’t be surprising that the men, on average, earn more.

            The way proofers finesse “full-time” can be a wonder to behold. Take a recent article in the Washington Post by Mariko Chang, author of a forthcoming book on the wealth gap between women and men. Chang cites a wage difference between “full-time” male and female pharmacists to show how “even when they work in the same occupation, men earn more.” A moment’s Googling led me to a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association concluding that male pharmacists worked 44.1 hours a week, on average, while females worked 37.2 hours. That study is a bit dated, but it’s a good guess that things haven’t changed much in the last decade. According to a 2009 article in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, female pharmacists’ preference for reduced work hours is enough to lead to an industry labor shortage.

            The other arena of mischief contained in the 75-cent statistic lies in the seemingly harmless term “occupation.” Everyone knows that a CEO makes more than a secretary and that a computer scientist makes more than a nurse. And most people wouldn’t be shocked to hear that secretaries and nurses are likely to be women, while CEOs and computer scientists are likely to be men. That obviously explains much of the wage gap.

            But proofers often make the claim that women earn less than men doing the exact same job. They can’t possibly know that. The Labor Department’s occupational categories can be so large that a woman could drive a truck through them. Among “physicians and surgeons,” for example, women make only 64.2 percent of what men make. Outrageous, right? Not if you consider that there are dozens of specialties in medicine: some, like cardiac surgery, require years of extra training, grueling hours, and life-and-death procedures; others, like pediatrics, are less demanding and consequently less highly rewarded. Only 16 percent of surgeons, but a full 50 percent of pediatricians, are women. So the statement that female doctors make only 64.2 percent of what men make is really on the order of a tautology, much like saying that a surgeon working 50 hours a week makes significantly more than a pediatrician working 37.


            • T. J. Babson said, on October 16, 2012 at 8:04 am

              This is the correct link: http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_3_gender-gap.html

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm

              Just to be clear, are you claiming that there is no actual pay discrimination? Or are you claiming that there is no way to know if discrimination is or is not occurring? After all, you say “But proofers often make the claim that women earn less than men doing the exact same job. They can’t possibly know that.” That would seem to present a pay disparity skepticism, namely that we can never know whether there is disparity in pay for the exact same job.

              Or do you claim something else?

              Also, what is your view of the original issue, namely whether or not businesses should have a moral right to discriminate based on gender when it comes to pay?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

              My claim is that the pay gap is quite small, on the order of 5% and not the 20% claimed. More research is needed to determine if this 5% is due to discrimination or some other cause.

              No, businesses do not have a moral right to discriminate.

              I also think that If we attempt to fix this through heavy handed regulation, we are likely to do more harm than good.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm

              The 5% or so “mystery” gap does seem reasonably well supported by analysis.

              Discrimination is a plausible contributory cause but it is worth considering alternatives.

              I do think that the “20% Gap” that can be “analyzed away” is still worth considering. After all, while this gap might have little or nothing to do with the employers, it seems to be connected to the role of women in society. If this is fair and just, then it would be an acceptable gap. However, if women (in general) are unfairly bearing more of the burden of family, then that is worth considering and perhaps would justify taking action to rectify the imbalance. Or perhaps not.

              I generally prefer that people do right without coercion. However, my faith in people freely choosing to do right has weakened with every passing year (which is one reason I gave up anarchism some years back).

            • WTP said, on October 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm

              There’s no way an outside organization can gather data across the professional spectrum where we can be sure that two people are doing “the exact same job”. No two people in my office would fit that description. They may have the same title and do similar work. But within each pay grade there are those who gravitate to the more difficult work and those who gravitate to the lower end of expectations. Sometimes there is movement, but in general it is apparent to those who work there who is doing better than others.

          • WTP said, on October 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

            But proofers often make the claim that women earn less than men doing the exact same job. They can’t possibly know that.


            But, “This is ignorance of a disgraceful sort- the conceit that a man knows what he does not know.”(Socrates)

  5. T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    June O’Neill, an economist at Baruch College and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, has uncovered something that debunks the discrimination thesis. Take out the effects of marriage and childrearing, and the difference between the genders suddenly vanishes. “For men and women who never marry and never have children, there is no earnings gap,” she said in an interview.

    That’s a fact you won’t hear from AAUW or the Democratic presidential candidates. The prevailing impulse on Equal Pay Day was to lament how far we are from the goal. The true revelation, though, is how close.


    • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Facts. We don’t need no stinkin’ facts.

    • biomass2 said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      TJ: Can you simply “take…the effects of marriage and childrearing” out of the minds of employers when they’re hiring ,considering promotion, and granting salary increases?

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm

        Point is that it is women’s choices and not discrimination that produces the wage gap. No discrimination means there is no problem.

        • biomass2 said, on October 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

          Your point is that women can simply choose not to become mothers or choose not to take the jobs? Even though women are as intelligent and, probably, given the opportunity, would be as capable of taking the roles of men in many areas of the working world .#* Point is, that in modern society the father must then go out and earn enough to provide for his family, so he damn well damn best be educated or highly skilled. And that would certainly be a fine reason for society to concentrate on educating and training its young men and discouraging its young women from seeking higher education or higher level employment. It’s an evil cycle.

          #*Of course, the woman could marry a rich guy who has inherited his millions. She could likely get the employment she wants, have skads of kids, hire a nanny or five and still have plenty of quality parenting time on the lake with the brood. The plutocracy never has ridden the evil cycle.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

          Unless women have pressures in regards to their choices that men do not face. For example, women generally still get stuck with most domestic chores and child raising.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

            Once again, facts prove the liberal myths false.

            Women who complain that husbands shy away from the washing up and never put the bins out should think again.

            Men actually contribute more than their fair share to the household, research has found.

            Wives who moan they have to juggle a ‘double-shift’ with duties at work and then at home have in fact got it wrong, according to a study by the London School of Economics.

            The experts, who took into account paid and unpaid work, as well as voluntary work and care, found that men make much more of a contribution than they are given credit for.

            While women tend to cut down on office time or leave work after having children, many men compensate for the lost earnings by working extra hours and overtime, the study found.

            Researchers said both men and women work an average of eight hours a day in paid jobs or unpaid duties.

            Dr Catherine Hakim, a sociologist at the LSE, said: ‘This data overturns the well-entrenched theory that women work disproportional long hours in jobs and at home in juggling family and work.

            ‘Feminists constantly complain that men are not doing their fair share of domestic work. The reality is that most men already do more than their fair share.’


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

              Interestingly, the source you cite to show that couples who share the chores also includes the following:

              “But when it comes to housework, women in Norway still account for most of it in seven out of 10 couples. The study emphasised women who did most of the chores did so of their own volition and were found to be as “happy” those in “modern” couples.”

              Given the conflict between the sources you cite, it would seem that at least one source has to be in error. But which one? Or both?

              Studies, especially those that are cited without any information regarding the sample size and methodology, should be considered with due caution and appropriate skepticism. This goes for those I cite as well.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm

              The idea that men do the same or more domestic work than women is consistent with my own personal experience. When I was married, I did most of the chores-in part because I had a lower tolerance for shower mold.

              I also know (and have dated) women who are lax when it comes to splitting the chores. However, my anecdotal evidence is just that and hence reliable and objective statistical data is needed.

            • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 7:59 am


              Well, it says that even when women do more chores than the men, they were just as happy as the women who shared more chores. Isn’t that a refutation on modern dogma about what it takes to make a happy marriage?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:15 am

              Only if you consider one study in one country as adequate refutation. Also, this source is inconsistent with the other source TJ cited in terms of who does more domestic chores. Which source (if any) is more credible?

            • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

              Housework is the reason women are unhappy? Give me a break. I have never entered a relationship in hopes of getting someone to do my housework. I barely even consider it work: I can do it when I want, if I want, and how I want. It’s less than one complete hour a day of real work. With modern conveniences, I do not consider house work to be work. It’s called: “staying home from work.”

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

              Well, I don’t really like housework. I wouldn’t get married just to do less work, though. Of course, I tend to end up involved with women who are “liberated” from the willingness to help out. 🙂

            • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 11:41 am

              How convenient to be so liberated. I liberate myself from those kind of women.

            • biomass2 said, on October 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm

              Caution: Low blows ahead with no apologies offered.

              “How convenient to be so liberated. I liberate myself from those kind of women.”

              I assume you also liberate yourself from the “undeniably less capable women”. Or are they your focus group when you are looking for a woman: those not capable enough to liberate themselves from the willingness to help around the house. Those likely not capable enough to do equal work for equal pay and therefore have no real options but to stay home, or to do jobs that only women can do. . . The women who, once they get married, produce babies in unspecified numbers (with no particular concern for sexual satisfaction), cook, and clean house? Or are you looking for Ann Romney clones?

              Note: The following is not an apology. If you’re married, and I see no indication in the brief bio on your site that you are, I’d like to know how your wife feels about your attitude toward the women you work with in the army (assuming you work with women in the army—a question I’ve raised here recently and you have not answered).

          • magus71 said, on October 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm


            Stop pandering. Haven’t you learned that it won’t get you more chicks?

            • WTP said, on October 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

              From what I’ve seen, such pandering does get one more chicks. Stupid chicks, but hey…never mind.

            • magus71 said, on October 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm

              But you will also repulse a good number, so in the end, you won’t get more. And as you say, their quality will be much lower.

            • WTP said, on October 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm

              Seriously, dude, I have no idea what you’re talking about…

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

            Couples who share the housework are more likely to divorce, study finds

            Divorce rates are far higher among “modern” couples who share the housework than in those where the woman does the lion’s share of the chores, a Norwegian study has found. In what appears to be a slap in the face for gender equality, the report found the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.

            “What we’ve seen is that sharing equal responsibility for work in the home doesn’t necessarily contribute to contentment,” said Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled “Equality in the Home”.

            The lack of correlation between equality at home and quality of life was surprising, the researcher said.

            “One would think that break-ups would occur more often in families with less equality at home, but our statistics show the opposite,” he said.

            The figures clearly show that “the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” he went on.


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm

              The article did not seem to present the methodology of the study, so I cannot properly judge whether the conclusion is well supported. It is also worth noting that the study was conducted in one country with its own distinct history and social conditions. As such, generalizing these results to couples around the world or even in the US would require an argument from analogy to show that the relevant conditions hold and that there are not any relevant dissimilarities that break the analogy.

              Also, what implications do see here?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

              Just pointing out where you want to take us, Mike.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2012 at 6:21 am

              Where is that? Maine?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 16, 2012 at 7:36 am

              Au contraire. France:

              François Hollande has a bold new plan to tackle social injustice and inequality in France: ban homework. Introducing his proposals for education reform last week at the Sorbonne, the French president declared that work “must be done in the [school] facility rather than in the home if we want to support the children and re-establish equality.”

              Banning out-of-school assignments would put France on the cutting edge of pedagogical fashion, though it wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented. An elementary school in Maryland recently replaced homework with a standing order for 30 minutes a day of after-school reading. A German high school is also test-running a new homework ban, after an earlier reform lengthened the school day and crowded out time for extra-curriculars such as sports or music.

              These small-scale experiments aim to give students more freedom to excel on their own initiative. Mr. Hollande wants just the opposite. As Education Minister Vincent Peillon told Le Monde, the state needs to “support all students in their personal work, rather than abandon them to their private resources, including financial, as is too often the case today.” The problem, in other words, isn’t with homework per se. It’s that some homes are more conducive to homework than others.


  6. magus71 said, on October 13, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I would analyze the differences between men and women and employ them in appropriate arenas. Schopenhauer said that women are better at dealing with bad situations immediately after they happen, thus their historical role as nurse’s etc.

    On the other hand, he points out that women’s short-sighted advantage manifests as a myopia when it comes to spending money. This is exactly my, and many other men’s experience. And that they are child-like, and not deep thinkers. Science shows that women’s IQs tend to be near the middle of the bell-curve, whereas men’s tends to be further from its center. Almost all of history’s great works of science, art, philosophy and religion have originated in men, not women. Why? if we say that it is because men are dominant, then again, we must ask: Why? The liberal will say because of the historical value of physical strength. I will say in retort, that elephants are much stronger then men, but have little influence in the world. And all of us would probably agree that intelligence is much more important in the modern world than physical ability. If women are men’s equals in the intellectual realm, why don’t they use their intelligence to become the downtime instead of the dominated (if they are in fact dominated, which I do not believe they are, since even in utterly misogynistic societies, the men are expected to die before and for the women). Feminism has in fact promoted a myth, repeated as mantra even in 1st Grade: “Anything boys can do, girls can do better.”

    Nothing has done more to unravel our ability to function as a society than feminism. It is the coda of Nietzsche’s Slave Morality.

    On Women.

    Arthur Schopenhauer

    These few words of Jouy, Sans les femmes le commencement de notre vie seroit privé de secours, le milieu de plaisirs et la fin de consolation, more exactly express, in my opinion, the true praise of woman than Schiller’s poem, Würde der Frauen, which is the fruit of much careful thought and impressive because of its antithesis and use of contrast. The same thing is more pathetically expressed by Byron in Sardanapalus, Act i, Sc. 2:—

    “The very first
    Of human life must spring from woman’s breast,
    Your first small words are taught you from her lips,
    Your first tears quench’d by her, and your last sighs
    Too often breathed out in a woman’s hearing,
    When men have shrunk from the ignoble care
    Of watching the last hour of him who led them.”

    Both passages show the right point of view for the appreciation of women.

    One need only look at a woman’s shape to discover that she is not intended for either too much mental or too much physical work. She pays the debt of life not by what she does but by what she suffers—by the pains of child-bearing, care for the child, and by subjection to man, to whom she should be a patient and cheerful companion. The greatest sorrows and joys or great exhibition of strength are not assigned to her; her life should flow more quietly, more gently, and less obtrusively than man’s, without her being essentially happier or unhappier.

    Women are directly adapted to act as the nurses and educators of our early childhood, for the simple reason that they themselves are childish, foolish, and short-sighted—in a word, are big children all their lives, something intermediate between the child and the man, who is a man in the strict sense of the word. Consider how a young girl will toy day after day with a child, dance with it and sing to it; and then consider what a man, with the very best intentions in the world, could do in her place.

    With girls, Nature has had in view what is called in a dramatic sense a “striking effect,” for she endows them for a few years with a richness of beauty and a, fulness of charm at the expense of the rest of their lives; so that they may during these years ensnare the fantasy of a man to such a degree as to make him rush into taking the honourable care of them, in some kind of form, for a lifetime—a step which would not seem sufficiently justified if he only considered the matter. Accordingly, Nature has furnished woman, as she has the rest of her creatures, with the weapons and implements necessary for the protection of her existence and for just the length of time that they will be of service to her; so that Nature has proceeded here with her usual economy. Just as the female ant after coition loses her wings, which then become superfluous, nay, dangerous for breeding purposes, so for the most part does a woman lose her beauty after giving birth to one or two children; and probably for the same reasons.

    Then again we find that young girls in their hearts regard their domestic or other affairs as secondary things, if not as a mere jest. Love, conquests, and all that these include, such as dressing, dancing, and so on, they give their serious attention.

    The nobler and more perfect a thing is, the later and slower is it in reaching maturity. Man reaches the maturity of his reasoning and mental faculties scarcely before he is eight-and-twenty; woman when she is eighteen; but hers is reason of very narrow limitations. This is why women remain children all their lives, for they always see only what is near at hand, cling to the present, take the appearance of a thing for reality, and prefer trifling matters to the most important. It is by virtue of man’s reasoning powers that he does not live in the present only, like the brute, but observes and ponders over the past and future; and from this spring discretion, care, and that anxiety which we so frequently notice in people. The advantages, as well as the disadvantages, that this entails, make woman, in consequence of her weaker reasoning powers, less of a partaker in them. Moreover, she is intellectually short-sighted, for although her intuitive understanding quickly perceives what is near to her, on the other hand her circle of vision is limited and does not embrace anything that is remote; hence everything that is absent or past, or in the future, affects women in a less degree than men. This is why they have greater inclination for extravagance, which sometimes borders on madness. Women in their hearts think that men are intended to earn money so that they may spend it, if possible during their husband’s lifetime, but at any rate after his death.

    As soon as he has given them his earnings on which to keep house they are strengthened in this belief. Although all this entails many disadvantages, yet it has this advantage—that a woman lives more in the present than a man, and that she enjoys it more keenly if it is at all bearable. This is the origin of that cheerfulness which is peculiar to woman and makes her fit to divert man, and in case of need, to console him when he is weighed down by cares. To consult women in matters of difficulty, as the Germans used to do in old times, is by no means a matter to be overlooked; for their way of grasping a thing is quite different from ours, chiefly because they like the shortest way to the point, and usually keep their attention fixed upon what lies nearest; while we, as a rule, see beyond it, for the simple reason that it lies under our nose; it then becomes necessary for us to be brought back to the thing in order to obtain a near and simple view. This is why women are more sober in their judgment than we, and why they see nothing more in things than is really there; while we, if our passions are roused, slightly exaggerate or add to our imagination.

    It is because women’s reasoning powers are weaker that they show more sympathy for the unfortunate than men, and consequently take a kindlier interest in them. On the other hand, women are inferior to men in matters of justice, honesty, and conscientiousness. Again, because their reasoning faculty is weak, things clearly visible and real, and belonging to the present, exercise a power over them which is rarely counteracted by abstract thoughts, fixed maxims, or firm resolutions, in general, by regard for the past and future or by consideration for what is absent and remote. Accordingly they have the first and principal qualities of virtue, but they lack the secondary qualities which are often a necessary instrument in developing it. Women may be compared in this respect to an organism that has a liver but no gall-bladder.9 So that it will be found that the fundamental fault in the character of women is that they have no “sense of justice.” This arises from their deficiency in the power of reasoning already referred to, and reflection, but is also partly due to the fact that Nature has not destined them, as the weaker sex, to be dependent on strength but on cunning; this is why they are instinctively crafty, and have an ineradicable tendency to lie. For as lions are furnished with claws and teeth, elephants with tusks, boars with fangs, bulls with horns, and the cuttlefish with its dark, inky fluid, so Nature has provided woman for her protection and defence with the faculty of dissimulation, and all the power which Nature has given to man in the form of bodily strength and reason has been conferred on woman in this form. Hence, dissimulation is innate in woman and almost as characteristic of the very stupid as of the clever. Accordingly, it is as natural for women to dissemble at every opportunity as it is for those animals to turn to their weapons when they are attacked; and they feel in doing so that in a certain measure they are only making use of their rights. Therefore a woman who is perfectly truthful and does not dissemble is perhaps an impossibility. This is why they see through dissimulation in others so easily; therefore it is not advisable to attempt it with them. From the fundamental defect that has been stated, and all that it involves, spring falseness, faithlessness, treachery, ungratefulness, and so on. In a court of justice women are more often found guilty of perjury than men. It is indeed to be generally questioned whether they should be allowed to take an oath at all. From time to time there are repeated cases everywhere of ladies, who want for nothing, secretly pocketing and taking away things from shop counters.

    Nature has made it the calling of the young, strong, and handsome men to look after the propagation of the human race; so that the species may not degenerate. This is the firm will of Nature, and it finds its expression in the passions of women. This law surpasses all others in both age and power. Woe then to the man who sets up rights and interests in such a way as to make them stand in the way of it; for whatever he may do or say, they will, at the first significant onset, be unmercifully annihilated. For the secret, unformulated, nay, unconscious but innate moral of woman is: We are justified in deceiving those who, because they care a little for us,—that is to say for the individual,—imagine they have obtained rights over the species. The constitution, and consequently the welfare of the species, have been put into our hands and entrusted to our care through the medium of the next generation which proceeds from us; let us fulfil our duties conscientiously.

    But women are by no means conscious of this leading principle in abstracto, they are only conscious of it in concreto, and have no other way of expressing it than in the manner in which they act when the opportunity arrives. So that their conscience does not trouble them so much as we imagine, for in the darkest depths of their hearts they are conscious that in violating their duty towards the individual they have all the better fulfilled it towards the species, whose claim upon them is infinitely greater. (A fuller explanation of this matter may be found in vol. ii., ch. 44, in my chief work, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung.)

    Because women in truth exist entirely for the propagation of the race, and their destiny ends here, they live more for the species than for the individual, and in their hearts take the affairs of the species more seriously than those of the individual. This gives to their whole being and character a certain frivolousness, and altogether a certain tendency which is fundamentally different from that of man; and this it is which develops that discord in married life which is so prevalent and almost the normal state.

    It is natural for a feeling of mere indifference to exist between men, but between women it is actual enmity. This is due perhaps to the fact that odium figulinum in the case of men, is limited to their everyday affairs, but with women embraces the whole sex; since they have only one kind of business. Even when they meet in the street, they look at each other like Guelphs and Ghibellines. And it is quite evident when two women first make each other’s acquaintance that they exhibit more constraint and dissimulation than two men placed in similar circumstances. This is why an exchange of compliments between two women is much more ridiculous than between two men. Further, while a man will, as a rule, address others, even those inferior to himself, with a certain feeling of consideration and humanity, it is unbearable to see how proudly and disdainfully a lady of rank will, for the most part, behave towards one who is in a lower rank (not employed in her service) when she speaks to her. This may be because differences of rank are much more precarious with women than with us, and consequently more quickly change their line of conduct and elevate them, or because while a hundred things must be weighed in our case, there is only one to be weighed in theirs, namely, with which man they have found favour; and again, because of the one-sided nature of their vocation they stand in closer relationship to each other than men do; and so it is they try to render prominent the differences of rank.

    It is only the man whose intellect is clouded by his sexual instinct that could give that stunted, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped, and short-legged race the name of the fair sex; for the entire beauty of the sex is based on this instinct. One would be more justified in calling them the unaesthetic sex than the beautiful. Neither for music, nor for poetry, nor for fine art have they any real or true sense and susceptibility, and it is mere mockery on their part, in their desire to please, if they affect any such thing.

    This makes them incapable of taking a purely objective interest in anything, and the reason for it is, I fancy, as follows. A man strives to get direct mastery over things either by understanding them or by compulsion. But a woman is always and everywhere driven to indirect mastery, namely through a man; all her direct mastery being limited to him alone. Therefore it lies in woman’s nature to look upon everything only as a means for winning man, and her interest in anything else is always a simulated one, a mere roundabout way to gain her ends, consisting of coquetry and pretence. Hence Rousseau said, Les femmes, en général, n’aiment aucun art, ne se connoissent à aucun et n’ont aucun génie (Lettre à d’Alembert, note xx.). Every one who can see through a sham must have found this to be the case. One need only watch the way they behave at a concert, the opera, or the play; the childish simplicity, for instance, with which they keep on chattering during the finest passages in the greatest masterpieces. If it is true that the Greeks forbade women to go to the play, they acted in a right way; for they would at any rate be able to hear something. In our day it would be more appropriate to substitute taceat mulier in theatro for taceat mulier in ecclesia; and this might perhaps be put up in big letters on the curtain.

    Nothing different can be expected of women if it is borne in mind that the most eminent of the whole sex have never accomplished anything in the fine arts that is really great, genuine, and original, or given to the world any kind of work of permanent value. This is most striking in regard to painting, the technique of which is as much within their reach as within ours; this is why they pursue it so industriously. Still, they have not a single great painting to show, for the simple reason that they lack that objectivity of mind which is precisely what is so directly necessary in painting. They always stick to what is subjective. For this reason, ordinary women have no susceptibility for painting at all: for natura non facet saltum. And Huarte, in his book which has been famous for three hundred years, Examen de ingenios para las scienzias, contends that women do not possess the higher capacities. Individual and partial exceptions do not alter the matter; women are and remain, taken altogether, the most thorough and incurable philistines; and because of the extremely absurd arrangement which allows them to share the position and title of their husbands they are a constant stimulus to his ignoble ambitions. And further, it is because they are philistines that modern society, to which they give the tone and where they have sway, has become corrupted. As regards their position, one should be guided by Napoleon’s maxim, Les femmes n’ont pas de rang; and regarding them in other things, Chamfort says very truly: Elles sont faites pour commercer avec nos faiblesses avec notre folie, mais non avec notre raison. Il existe entre elles et les hommes des sympathies d’épiderme et très-peu de sympathies d’esprit d’âme et de caractère. They are the sexus sequior, the second sex in every respect, therefore their weaknesses should be spared, but to treat women with extreme reverence is ridiculous, and lowers us in their own eyes. When nature divided the human race into two parts, she did not cut it exactly through the middle! The difference between the positive and negative poles, according to polarity, is not merely qualitative but also quantitative. And it was in this light that the ancients and people of the East regarded woman; they recognised her true position better than we, with our old French ideas of gallantry and absurd veneration, that highest product of Christian–Teutonic stupidity. These ideas have only served to make them arrogant and imperious, to such an extent as to remind one at times of the holy apes in Benares, who, in the consciousness of their holiness and inviolability, think they can do anything and everything they please.

    In the West, the woman, that is to say the “lady,” finds herself in a fausse position; for woman, rightly named by the ancients sexus sequior, is by no means fit to be the object of our honour and veneration, or to hold her head higher than man and to have the same rights as he. The consequences of this fausse position are sufficiently clear. Accordingly, it would be a very desirable thing if this Number Two of the human race in Europe were assigned her natural position, and the lady-grievance got rid of, which is not only ridiculed by the whole of Asia, but would have been equally ridiculed by Greece and Rome. The result of this would be that the condition of our social, civil, and political affairs would be incalculably improved. The Salic law would be unnecessary; it would be a superfluous truism. The European lady, strictly speaking, is a creature who should not exist at all; but there ought to be housekeepers, and young girls who hope to become such; and they should be brought up not to be arrogant, but to be domesticated and submissive. It is exactly because there are ladies in Europe that women of a lower standing, that is to say, the greater majority of the sex, are much more unhappy than they are in the East. Even Lord Byron says (Letters and Papers, by Thomas Moore, vol. ii. p. 399), Thought of the state of women under the ancient Greeks—convenient enough. Present state, a remnant of the barbarism of the chivalric and feudal ages—artificial and unnatural. They ought to mind home—and be well fed and clothed—but not mixed in society. Well educated, too, in religion—but to read neither poetry nor politics—nothing but books of piety and cookery. Music—drawing—dancing—also a little gardening and ploughing now and then. I have seen them mending the roads in Epirus with good success. Why not, as well as hay-making and milking?

    In our part of the world, where monogamy is in force, to marry means to halve one’s rights and to double one’s duties. When the laws granted woman the same rights as man, they should also have given her a masculine power of reason. On the contrary, just as the privileges and honours which the laws decree to women surpass what Nature has meted out to them, so is there a proportional decrease in the number of women who really share these privileges; therefore the remainder are deprived of their natural rights in so far as the others have been given more than Nature accords.

    For the unnatural position of privilege which the institution of monogamy, and the laws of marriage which accompany it, assign to the woman, whereby she is regarded throughout as a full equivalent of the man, which she is not by any means, cause intelligent and prudent men to reflect a great deal before they make so great a sacrifice and consent to so unfair an arrangement. Therefore, whilst among polygamous nations every woman finds maintenance, where monogamy exists the number of married women is limited, and a countless number of women who are without support remain over; those in the upper classes vegetate as useless old maids, those in the lower are reduced to very hard work of a distasteful nature, or become prostitutes, and lead a life which is as joyless as it is void of honour. But under such circumstances they become a necessity to the masculine sex; so that their position is openly recognised as a special means for protecting from seduction those other women favoured by fate either to have found husbands, or who hope to find them. In London alone there are 80,000 prostitutes. Then what are these women who have come too quickly to this most terrible end but human sacrifices on the altar of monogamy? The women here referred to and who are placed in this wretched position are the inevitable counterbalance to the European lady, with her pretensions and arrogance. Hence polygamy is a real benefit to the female sex, taking it as a whole. And, on the other hand, there is no reason why a man whose wife suffers from chronic illness, or remains barren, or has gradually become too old for him, should not take a second. Many people become converts to Mormonism for the precise reasons that they condemn the unnatural institution of monogamy. The conferring of unnatural rights upon women has imposed unnatural duties upon them, the violation of which, however, makes them unhappy. For example, many a man thinks marriage unadvisable as far as his social standing and monetary position are concerned, unless he contracts a brilliant match. He will then wish to win a woman of his own choice under different conditions, namely, under those which will render safe her future and that of her children. Be the conditions ever so just, reasonable, and adequate, and she consents by giving up those undue privileges which marriage, as the basis of civil society, alone can bestow, she must to a certain extent lose her honour and lead a life of loneliness; since human nature makes us dependent on the opinion of others in a way that is completely out of proportion to its value. While, if the woman does not consent, she runs the risk of being compelled to marry a man she dislikes, or of shrivelling up into an old maid; for the time allotted to her to find a home is very short. In view of this side of the institution of monogamy, Thomasius’s profoundly learned treatise, de Concubinatu, is well worth reading, for it shows that, among all nations, and in all ages, down to the Lutheran Reformation, concubinage was allowed, nay, that it was an institution, in a certain measure even recognised by law and associated with no dishonour. And it held this position until the Lutheran Reformation, when it was recognised as another means for justifying the marriage of the clergy; whereupon the Catholic party did not dare to remain behindhand in the matter.

    It is useless to argue about polygamy, it must be taken as a fact existing everywhere, the mere regulation of which is the problem to be solved. Where are there, then, any real monogamists? We all live, at any rate for a time, and the majority of us always, in polygamy. Consequently, as each man needs many women, nothing is more just than to let him, nay, make it incumbent upon him to provide for many women. By this means woman will be brought back to her proper and natural place as a subordinate being, and the lady, that monster of European civilisation and Christian–Teutonic stupidity, with her ridiculous claim to respect and veneration, will no longer exist; there will still be women, but no unhappy women, of whom Europe is at present full. The Mormons’ standpoint is right.

    In India no woman is ever independent, but each one stands under the control of her father or her husband, or brother or son, in accordance with the law of Manu.

    It is certainly a revolting idea that widows should sacrifice themselves on their husband’s dead body; but it is also revolting that the money which the husband has earned by working diligently for all his life, in the hope that he was working for his children, should be wasted on her paramours. Medium tenuere beati. The first love of a mother, as that of animals and men, is purely instinctive, and consequently ceases when the child is no longer physically helpless. After that, the first love should be reinstated by a love based on habit and reason; but this often does not appear, especially where the mother has not loved the father. The love of a father for his children is of a different nature and more sincere; it is founded on a recognition of his own inner self in the child, and is therefore metaphysical in its origin.

    In almost every nation, both of the new and old world, and even among the Hottentots, property is inherited by the male descendants alone; it is only in Europe that one has departed from this. That the property which men have with difficulty acquired by long-continued struggling and hard work should afterwards come into the hands of women, who, in their want of reason, either squander it within a short time or otherwise waste it, is an injustice as great as it is common, and it should be prevented by limiting the right of women to inherit. It seems to me that it would be a better arrangement if women, be they widows or daughters, only inherited the money for life secured by mortgage, but not the property itself or the capital, unless there lacked male descendants. It is men who make the money, and not women; therefore women are neither justified in having unconditional possession of it nor capable of administrating it. Women should never have the free disposition of wealth, strictly so-called, which they may inherit, such as capital, houses, and estates. They need a guardian always; therefore they should not have the guardianship of their children under any circumstances whatever. The vanity of women, even if it should not be greater than that of men, has this evil in it, that it is directed on material things—that is to say, on their personal beauty and then on tinsel, pomp, and show. This is why they are in their right element in society. This it is which makes them inclined to be extravagant, especially since they possess little reasoning power. Accordingly, an ancient writer says, [Greek: Gunae to synolon esti dapanaeron physei].10 Men’s vanity, on the other hand, is often directed on non-material advantages, such as intellect, learning, courage, and the like. Aristotle explains in the Politics11 the great disadvantages which the Spartans brought upon themselves by granting too much to their women, by allowing them the right of inheritance and dowry, and a great amount of freedom; and how this contributed greatly to the fall of Sparta. May it not be that the influence of women in France, which has been increasing since Louis XIII.‘s time, was to blame for that gradual corruption of the court and government which led to the first Revolution, of which all subsequent disturbances have been the result? In any case, the false position of the female sex, so conspicuously exposed by the existence of the “lady,” is a fundamental defect in our social condition, and this defect, proceeding from the very heart of it, must extend its harmful influence in every direction. That woman is by nature intended to obey is shown by the fact that every woman who is placed in the unnatural position of absolute independence at once attaches herself to some kind of man, by whom she is controlled and governed; this is because she requires a master. If she, is young, the man is a lover; if she is old, a priest.

    9 Let me refer to what I have said in my treatise on The Foundation of Morals, §71.

    10 Brunck’s Gnomici poetae graeci v. 115.

    11 Bk. I., ch. 9.

    • WTP said, on October 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      oooh…you’re gonna get in trouble…

      If women are men’s equals in the intellectual realm, why don’t they use their intelligence to become the downtime instead of the dominated (if they are in fact dominated, which I do not believe they are, since even in utterly misogynistic societies, the men are expected to die before and for the women).

      Not the ones where they’re used as human shields…ok, now I’m in trouble…

      • magus71 said, on October 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

        But in those societies, anyone can be a human shield. But still, in general, the men to the fighting and early dying.

    • biomass2 said, on October 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      “And all of us would probably agree that intelligence is much more important in the modern world than physical ability. . .”
      Brings me back to that question I asked you about the intelligence of women in the intelligence community (10/13 8:20 pm). Did I miss your response? Or was one never offered?

      • biomass2 said, on October 14, 2012 at 11:31 am


        Damn, man. I’ve asked you the following question three times in one form or another:

        “Are the women who work in intelligence [a few of them, many of them, or all of them] , assuming there are women in intelligence, ‘undeniably less capable’?”

        It’s a legitimate question based on the lines from your replies that I have quoted in my 10/13 11:06pm and 10/12 9:29 pm above, and I’m having a difficult time figuring out why you’re avoiding giving a response.

  7. Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I have two questions at this point:

    “I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If somebody wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.”

    Why are some politicians so scared of some socialistic policies as opposed to the possible horrors of lasseiz-faire style of government?

    Secondly (and I want to take this out of the context of finding a job for a moment) do you think that it is possible that thinking about someone’s character or physical traits intellectually encourages discrimination to some form? Men look at women and think ‘we are stronger than they are, and so we are superior to them in that sense.’ Such thoughts then encourages a hierarchy of some sort to be established between the two sexes. The general idea it seems these days is to accept that some people are better than others at certain things, but treat them as best as we can regardless of one’s shortcomings.

    • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 8:07 am

      Who has a lasseiz-faire style of government? Certainly not the US. It is commonly held that when there is a question, err on the side of less government, not more.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:17 am

        Really? But if that is commonly held and this is a democracy…

        • magus71 said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

          With that definition Mike, Socialism would be lasseiz-faire and Democracy and lasseiz-faire would have the same definition.

      • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

        my point isn’t that the U.S. has a lasseiz-faire government its just that they seem to lean to it, which means that people lack the advantages of having something like a National Health Service like the UK, or Canada.

        • WTP said, on October 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm

          OTOH, the taxpayers have the advantages of not paying for something like NHS.

          • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

            True, but I would personally say that the benefits of having as many people as possible on some health service better than being selective about people who can afford it. The privatisation of a health care service is an awful idea.

        • biomass2 said, on October 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm

          Nicholas Kristof, NYT op-ed writer, and one of those bleeding heart leeches hanging on society’s backside, provides an interesting anecdote.
          One anecdote does not an argument make, but here it is .


          • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm

            WTP- yes,some canadians like the idea of avoiding waits. The people dying in the USA from lack of health insurance don’t, because they are dead. somewhere between 18-45,000 apparently so the number seems quite big.

            Of course, the private sector can do it better…if you have the money to afford it. and this is just assuming that the private sector has decent morals.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm

              Sorry, I meant ‘the people dead in the USA…’

            • WTP said, on October 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm

              18-45000? Really? Socialism is socialism regardless of the application. Mrs. Thatcher said it much better than I…

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm

            The state does seem to have a legitimate role in protecting us from some bad choices. After all, if someone decides to go into a high crime area and gets attacked, the police do not respond to a call by saying “sorry fellow, you made a bad choice and must pay in full. Enjoy that beating and or death.” Also, insurance also protects us from the impact of some bad choices. For example, getting on the roof to work on my skylight was a bad idea-fortunately, the insurance still covered my surgery.

            There is, of course, a question of how far the responsibility extends, which would be an excellent subject for a rational discussion.

            • WTP said, on October 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

              Yes, such would be an interesting discussion. No healthy society leaves the poor to die for lack of basic medical attention. But resources are limited in the more advanced areas of health care. No rational system can survive if the hobo living under a bridge is entitled to the exact same level of health care as Warren Buffet. At some point people have to be responsible for themselves and their own health care. Otherwise we end up with government running our lives in deciding what we can eat and what we do with our free time.

              However, I object to the comparison to police responding to a high crime area. There are significant difference in maintaining law and order vs. fighting diseases. The state does NOT have a legitimate role in protecting us from ourselves. It does have a legitimate role in setting standards and enabling the population to make informed decisions.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm

              Yes, WTP. http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-usa-healthcare-deaths-idUSTRE58G6W520090917
              As a comparison: Deaths from 9/11 were about 3000. An absolutely staggering figure.
              I am also sorry, because also struggle to understand your intentions with the Thatcher video. Is it not a good thing that whilst the gap between rich and poor are getting bigger, the poor are benefiting at the same time? Of course, this is assuming that Thatcher was being truthful in that video.

            • WTP said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

              If there was a philosopher around here, he or she might be inclined to point out that comparing 9/11 (and by this I presume you mean 9/11/2001) deaths to deaths presumed to be attributed to lack of health care coverage is a fallacy. But putting that aside, again No rational system can survive if the hobo living under a bridge is entitled to the exact same level of health care as Warren Buffet.. And yet, even Warren Buffet lacks coverage for Stage IV Carcinoma.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm

              My intention in comparing the death figures was an attempted reference at people who are horrified by the number of deaths at 9/11 but simply shrug at the notion that up to 45,000 people die a year from lack of coverage. This is an attempt to tug at the strings of your heart rather than appeal to straight reasoning. So I am not sure what fallacy is there. I am not saying that everyone should have an equal level of health coverage. But surely there is some reasonable standard to be made here? Set by the likes of Canada, Germany, the UK… I am sure all these systems have their own problems, but the UK apparently:


            • WTP said, on October 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm

              OK, so define what level of coverage. Where is your study as to how many people die in the UK and Canada due to “lack of coverage”? Surely it is not zero. And much like Canada’s piggybacking their national defense on the backs of the US, does not the free market system in the US generate the very technologies that enable more lives to be saved elsewhere? Do you understand the Thatcher video context yet, or must I go into further detail?

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 11:14 pm

              I’m not sure I can define the level of coverage. My understanding of practical healthcare I can admit is TERRIBLE.
              But I think that it is worth pointing out that I am not a socialist in a complete sense (you bringing up the free market suggests that you think I am) – I am only socialist as so far as I think it is useful, so I would say that I am a syncretist (I’m sure most of us are) not just politically but generally. So I am not against a free market in general terms, but leaving the lives of people to a free market where attempts are made to balance profits and save lives seems a little crazy, especially seeing how the US insurance system turned out.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 11:14 pm

              sorry, I forgot to leave this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_system#International_comparisons

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 8:23 am

              Monopolies are bad. Granting government a monopoly on healthcare, a significant percentage of the total economy, is a bad idea. When government encounters a problem, it sees two solutions. It demands more power or more money, often both. See public education as an example of how out of control this can get. And government doesn’t even hold a monopoly in that arena. Two of the more promenent things that keep quality up and costs down in a market are information and choice. Provide the end consumer with sufficient information and the free market will supply the choices. To a lesser degree, this is the problem with the US insurance system. Choices are limited for most people due to the large market footprint of the employers, who are the ones making the choices. The four ways to spend money:

              With socialism you will never find enough angels to run it. And this is especially true the more diverse the society in question is.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 15, 2012 at 10:34 am

              But what about the situation in a free-market where a lot of the companies are greedy, such as the US health care system? Your criticism of monopolistic holdings by some entity can be equally applied to US insurance companies- They are greedy, and they exist to make money. I am sure that people running the show are confronted with profits and life saving and the better people try to combine both… but perhaps this is what leads us to the death toll from lack of insurance. Is there any middle-ground to be found here? The Dutch and French I think have private healthcare running in parallel.
              I agree that there is a lot of waste in the UK’s NHS (some of the careless money spending has been embarrassing), but so are a waste of lives. All institutions require angels to function properly in a positive way, but I still think that there is a distinct and powerful advantage in the way that some countries have state-run healthcare.

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm

              in a free-market where a lot of the companies are greedy But of course government workers are not greedy (or in a similar vein, lazy). Greedy is in the eye of the beholder. In a competitive free market, providing the best product at the best price is the path to success and wealth. Arguing that insurers are “greedy” would apply to any other enterprise. If “greed”, as you seem to see it, bothers you, you can’t fundamentally approve of free markets. The problem is that US insurance companies are not complete monopolies, but they are damn close per my earlier post.

              As you note, there are significant excesses in the UK’s NHS. No system is perfect, but in a free society people should be allowed to choose their own imperfect system. The government should not impose it on them. Again, some basic level of healthcare should be available (and is in the US) for emergency situations. Beyond that, your health is your primary responsibility in life. Surrendering that to the government is a very dangerous path to take.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm

              My worry with greed is with respect to the context of private healthcare, where as I said before a large number of people die from lack of cover. So my worry about greed does not extent to all the free market.
              ‘ in a free society people should be allowed to choose their own imperfect system. The government should not impose it on them’ – I’m really confused by this. There is private healthcare available in the UK, but I don’t know about level of quality. (Companies like bupa, axapp, aviva etc).

              ‘ In a competitive free market, providing the best product at the best price is the path to success and wealth’- In broad terms I agree, but with respect to the issue of healthcare, the US demonstrates otherwise..
              I’m not really sure I understand why ‘surrending my health’ as you put it is bad. I would prefer my healthcare to be regulated by the likes of France or the UK than throw my cash in a chaotic market.

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm

              ‘ in a free society people should be allowed to choose their own imperfect system. The government should not impose it on them’ – I’m really confused by this.
              Sorry, can’t help you there.

              I would prefer my healthcare to be regulated by the likes of France or the UK than throw my cash in a chaotic market.

              OK, so if enough people feel more comfortable buying their healthcare from the government, a system such as the Veterans Administration could be set up for individual citizens to purchase healthcare. You can have your healthcare regulated and I can take my chances (as you might say) in a chaotic market. Why must your preference be imposed upon me?

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm

              Forgot one important part of that…such a government system would have to be financed by those who wish to participate in it. Unlike the VA, the rest of us don’t owe it to you. Though I have serious doubts about the ability of the government to keep its mitts out of the healthcare pool, as it has not been able to do with Social Security.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

              ‘Sorry, can’t help you there.’ My confusion is over why you seem insistent on attacking a position I don’t hold. I am not a socialist in a strict sense- I DO support free market economies but the US has gone too far and decided to do that with healthcare, with obvious defects. Governments such as the UK do not impose NHS on everybody and I tried pointing that out by listing a few private companies.

              ‘Why must your preference be imposed upon me?’
              It doesn’t. My point throughout this discussion is that the US should be a lot more willing to expand state-run health programmes to providing healthcare for those who don’t have any cover to try to reduce this horrific farce over insurance.

              ‘such a government system would have to be financed by those who wish to participate in it’. Why? I would have no complaints if the taxes I paid went into saving lives (assuming of course, I could afford it but that seems an issue of taxation). Generally speaking, I have no qualms about the government using my money to better the community, whether I take part in certain institutions or use whatever facilities the state provides. Of course, the state sometimes does otherwise but that is an issue with all the major nations.

              ‘Unlike the VA, the rest of us don’t owe it to you’. What happened to solidarity? What happened to empowering your fellow citizens or in better terms, your fellow humans? ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ has been a slogan I have heard many times while living in the U.S, and If there was one thing I loved about it, it was American solidarity. Lowering the death toll from lack of insurance and helping out in such efforts is a good thing, surely!

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

              So you don’t expect me to use or pay for the healthcare you desire. Then we have no problem…

              And yet I see I am not a socialist in a strict sense and this worries me. You see, from my observation in the post-WWII historical time frame, the socialist idea gets introduced as some little thing, but then it fails. The solution then is not that socialism has failed, but we need more socialism.

              Why? I would have no complaints if the taxes I paid went into saving lives (assuming of course, I could afford it but that seems an issue of taxation). Well, I have complaints if my tax dollars are wasted in the name of “saving lives”. I give to charitable organizations of my own choosing to save lives. Why must my giving flow through some government, with the various costs etc. there, to some organization that I feel is poorly run? Why do you take away my choice?

              What happened to solidarity? What happened to empowering your fellow citizens or in better terms, your fellow humans? I gave at the office. I did. Literally. Until I found out the company I worked for was skimming 4% off the top to give to some other entity to “run things”. I stopped giving via that means and give directly to the charities of my choice. My decision making influences the efficiency of the various charities competing for my dollars. You see, in America we have a long tradition of charitable work and contribution. I understand it’s not so much the case in other countries. But you won’t see me arguing with some sorry Brit about why the NHS should be abolished. Not my dog, not my fight.

              All that said…I do want to thank you for a rational discussion. I’m not sure I didn’t stumble into the wrong web site.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm

              ahhh well! I’m very glad I had this discussion with you as well. I guess there are just things that we won’t get around to agreeing on. Do you have a blog by any chance?

              One last thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_governments_by_development_aid#Official_Development_Assistance_by_country_as_a_percentage_of_Gross_National_Income_in_2009_.28April_2010.29

              while it is true the U.S. gives the most in absolute terms, there are countries that give more in terms of proportion of GNI. The U.S. are not alone in their charity culture, not by a long shot.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm


              In general, WTP will probably not agree with you. 🙂 His blog is here.

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 6:15 pm

              I think Jimmy and I can decide what we agree on and what we can’t. One thing we seem to agree on is how to have a rational discussion without getting all hissy at the first sign of disagreement. We also seem to have the same respect for the meaning of words and the English language in general (though I suspect my grammar leaves much to be desired…I am, after all, an engineer.

              And yet Mike is right about something (angels sing, clouds part, golden rays come shining through)
              Per your wiki link, note that the reference is to ODA’s which, if you follow that link you’ll find defined as follows:

              “Comprise contributions of donor government agencies
              “ Thus, by definition, ODA does not include private donations”

              I could not find any info on how much private charitable giving from the US goes directly to foreign countries, however the US citizens do give on average around $300 billion to charities in general.

              My blog has been somewhat abandoned for a year or more. I mostly keep it for instances where blog proprietors feel the need to squelch what people have to say, usually under the guise of their own, often one-sided interpretations of civility.

              Feel free to browse through. Unless there’s some ongoing discussion, I only check in on it once a week or even less, though.

            • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm

              That’s $300 billon per year on average. I know Jimmy understood, but he’s new here and likely not hip to the local nit-picking standards.

            • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

              oh yes WTP, I do not think there is a real disagreement between us, but I think I left my message a bit unclear. Strictly speaking I think that the insurance costs do not necessarily have to be added as extra on to your taxes directly, but rather taken out from somewhere else. If the US were to somehow spend/give more efficiently…


  8. biomass2 said, on October 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    “Why are some politicians so scared of some socialistic policies as opposed to the possible horrors of lasseiz-faire style of government?”

    Perhaps because they’re politicians. Politicians, as we know all too well, go where the votes are. Lots of people are terrified by the slippery slope.

    Another possibility? The slippery-slope fallacy. George Will once said “All politics takes place on a slippery slope. The most important four words in politics are ‘up to a point’.” For some, it’s politically beneficial to assert that the only logical end point of any action they oppose will be the bottom of the slope.

    • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      I guess you might have a point there. Even though countries like Germany France, and Canada seem to do OK with some of their socialistic policies. Fear of attempting to integrate some useful notions in the US such as a national health care service seems to go against their ‘all capitalist or nothing’ notion.

  9. WTP said, on October 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    You’ll notice the Mike-o-masses are for freedom always with the qualification of what is “fair”. Of course when things are “fair” but not to their liking, they feel such a situation is “unfair” and attempt to regulate the system to make it more “fair”. Which results in nonsense like this:

    On Tuesday, the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent. It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities, reported the Palm Beach Post.

    The plan has infuriated many community activists in Palm Beach County and across the state.

    “To expect less from one demographic and more from another is just a little off-base,” Juan Lopez, magnet coordinator at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Riviera Beach, told the Palm Beach Post.

    JFK Middle has a black student population of about 88 percent.


    • Jimmy Macintosh said, on October 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      I’m not sure just how nonsensical such an idea it is- assuming that the Florida Board of Ed. are not racists, I think they are just trying to take into account the social contexts of people. I recall seeing a documentary (can’t give a name sorry) that suggests that asians tend to do better as their parents tend to push them harder. Black kids tend to live in somewhat poorer conditions and rougher areas and even if their parents do push them they are more likely to get caught up in crimes due to peer pressure. Black people’s average IQ apparently gets higher and higher every year in the US due to generally improving conditions and so the researchers suspected that there wasn’t that much of a disparity in intrinsic terms (i’m not sure how much things are improving in this case, one hopes that the Florida state are trying something).

      • WTP said, on October 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

        Black people’s average IQ apparently gets higher and higher every year in the US Interesting. Of course if a conservative/classical liberal/libertarian were to make such a statement, it would be time to break out the tar and feather. Of course my choice of the word tar…never mind.

  10. magus71 said, on October 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    If you think feminists are viscious today, let’s look back at them in the 80s:

    Ayn Rand telling the truth.

  11. […] Equal Pay & Freedom (aphilosopher.wordpress.com) […]

  12. WTP said, on March 20, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    At the CEO level the disparity, oddly enough, increases: women CEOs make about 72% of what their male colleagues earn.

    Interesting. In the Texas Senate, women chiefs of staff for Democrat politicians make about 74% of what men chiefs of staff for Democrat politicians make. Meanwhile Republicans lead Democrats in closing the wage gap, hiring a greater number of females to run their office, and compensating them at a higher level than their Democrat counterparts.


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