A Philosopher's Blog

Protests & Violence

Posted in Ethics, Philosophy, Politics, Race by Michael LaBossiere on April 29, 2015

On April 12, 2015 Freddie Gray died in police custody. From the viewpoint of some Americans, this was the continuation of a pattern police causing the deaths of young black men. From the viewpoint of some other Americans, this was just another isolated incident.

The initial protests to this death were peaceful and it was hoped by many that Baltimore would avoid the violence that has marked other protests (including riots in Baltimore’s own past). This hope was shattered in an outbreak of violence and destruction.

One obvious concern is the identity and the nature of those engaged in violence. According to some narratives, the rioters are thugs or even outsiders who are simply taking advantage of the situation to engage in destruction, theft and violence. That is, they are opportunists and not protestors.

The United States has a well-established history of costly and pointless riots that are not protests. These are, of course, sports riots. One outstanding example is the 1992 riot in the aftermath of the Chicago Bulls vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. The damage was estimated at $10 million. There have been many other lesser riots, such as that following the 1999 Michigan State vs. Duke game that resulted in about $250,000 in damage (and whose iconic photo is a shirtless white bro “flashing the horns” atop a burned out car). My adopted state of Florida also sees substantial violence and property damage during Spring Break, although California does seem interested in getting into the spring break riot game.

Given that Americans are willing to riot over sports and spring breaks, it is certainly reasonable to consider that the rioters in Baltimore are not protesting the death but are motivated by other reasons—perhaps as simple as wanting to break and burn things.

There are, of course, some narratives that cast at least some of the rioters as being engaged in protest. That is, their motivation is not just to steal, break and burn but to express their anger about the situation in Baltimore. One way to explore possible motivations for such violence is to consider the situation in Baltimore. That is, to see if there are legitimate grounds for anger and whether or not these factors might provoke people to violence and destruction.

Baltimore is, in many ways, a paradigm of the brutal race and class divisions in the United States. It has the historical distinction of being the first city to pass a citywide segregation law (segregating each residential block by race) and the legacy of this law persists to this day in terms of Baltimore being a highly segregated city. In the center of the city, 60% of the population is black. The suburbs are, not surprisingly, predominantly white. Despite there being laws against forced segregation, the United States is still highly segregated. This does seem to provide some grounds for anger—unless, of course, it is assumed that most people are living were they wish and there are no unfair factors impeding people.

Baltimore also exemplifies the stark class divisions in the United States. 150,000 of the city’s 620,000 are classified as poor (the average income for a family of four being $23,492). The unemployment rate is close to 10%. As the American Revolution showed, people do get angry and violent in response to perceived economic injustice. Given the massive disparity between economic classes in the United States and their support by the structures of law and authority, what is shocking is not that there is a riot now and then but that there are not daily riots. As such, there seem to be sufficient grounds for anger. Naturally, some people claim that this poverty is because the poor are lazy—if they would only work hard for the job creators, they would not be poor. This view seems to fail to consider the reality of poverty in America—but it is a beloved narrative of those who are doing well.

Not surprisingly, Baltimore also has serious issues with crime. Drug addiction is a serious problem and the city was 5th in the number of murders per year in 2014. It is, however, 15th in the number of violent crimes per year. Crime is, of course, a complex matter. Some claim that this sort of crime arises from poverty, oppression and lack of opportunity (as opposed to the ‘crimes’ of the financial classes, such as melting down the world economy). There is, of course, a correlation between crime and these factors. Some claim that people turn to crime because of moral defects rather than these factors. This does have some merit—after all, a look at the financial sector and halls of power show evil behavior that is clearly not caused by poverty (except a poverty of the soul) and lack of opportunity.

Like other US cities, there is also an issue with how the police deal with the citizens. In 2011 the city paid $6.3 million settling police misconduct claims. Between 2011 and 2012 there were 156 such lawsuits. The number has declined to 156 from 2013 to 2014. While it is reasonable to consider that not all of these suits had merit, what happened to Gray does provide reason to suspect that there are grounds for being concerned about policing in the city.

When people think they are being oppressed and subject to brutality, they tend to respond with anger. For example, one can see the rage the fine folks on Fox express when they speak of the War on Christmas and how Christians are being mistreated and persecuted in America. One can only imagine the anger that arises when people really are subject to mistreatment. As such, there seem to be legitimate grounds for anger.

While the anger of those engaged in violence might be justified, there is still the obvious concerns about whether or not such behavior is morally acceptable and whether or not such behavior is effective in achieving goals.

On the face of it, much of the violence and destruction would seem to be difficult to justify morally. The main reason is that most of the destruction seems to involve community infrastructure and the property of people who are not responsible for what has provoked the protests. While the anger against the police is certainly understandable, the attacks on reporters and firefighters are clearly unjustified. The reporters have presumably done nothing meriting being attacked and the firefighters are trying to keep the city from burning down, which is certainly a laudable goal. Crudely put, if the violent (alleged) protestors are striking against injustice, they are (mostly) hitting the wrong targets. To use an obviously analogy, if Bob has wronged Sam and Sam goes and smashes Sally’s windows because he lives near her and cannot get at Bob, then Sam certainly seems to have acted wrongly—no matter how badly Bob wronged him.

It might be countered that the destruction is morally acceptable because the (alleged) protestors are striking out against an unjust social order. The obvious reply is that while this might have some abstract appeal, the real damage is being done mainly to the innocent rather than the guilty. As such, the violence and destruction seem to be immoral.

A second issue, which can connect to the moral issue, is the effectiveness of violence as a means of protest and social change. Obviously enough, violence can be very effective in achieving goals—Americans can point to our own Revolutionary War and the wars won against everyone from the Apache to the Japanese. However, violence is generally only effective when one has enough power to achieve one’s goals. Since the rioters are up against not only the police but also the National Guard, it is rather clear they will not be able to achieve a victory through force of arms.

However, a case can be made that the violence gets attention and that it cannot be ignored. Peaceful protests, one might argue, sound nice but can be easy to ignore. After all, “change things or we will peacefully protest again” seems to have less power than “change things or there will be cop cars burning in the streets and the authorities will have to explain why they are losing control of the city.” Interestingly, many of the pundits who praise the property destruction that occurred during the Boston Tea Party are quick to condemn contemporary protests they do not like. These pundits also praise other violence they approve of, but do not seem to have a consistent principle regarding violence as a means of achieving goals.

Obviously, a strong case can be made against violence, such as that famously made by Dr. King. When there is the possibility of redress and justice through peaceful means, then non-violence seems to have an obvious advantage over violence: people are not hurt or killed and property is not destroyed. However, the fact that a major American city is now patrolled by the National Guard indicates that there are deep and profound problems in civil society. These problems must be addressed or the obvious consequence will be more violence.

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151 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Mike, exactly the sort of policies that you favor have been at play in Baltimore for decades. Your prescription is more of the same.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 29, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Which policies?

      • T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 5:57 pm

        The policies common to states and cities run by Democrats.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:16 am

          What are those? And which correspond to what I have explicitly argued for?

          • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2015 at 7:19 am

            Two main ones:

            1) A vast expansion of the social safety net. This has torn at the social fabric of black communities. Whole generations no longer understand that men are supposed to spend most of their waking hours working. It is what we as men do.

            2) Strong support for public sector unions. These unions are more interested in serving themselves than the public.

            You are record as being in favor of both.

            • nailheadtom said, on May 3, 2015 at 1:38 am

              “Whole generations no longer understand that men are supposed to spend most of their waking hours working.”

              That’s the Puritan legacy in American culture. Show up at the salt mine every morning so the boss can make a profit while you get tired. There’s no reason anybody should work any harder than he must to survive but the neo-puritans want everybody busy at the workbench so they can make or, better yet, borrow enough money to keep the kleptocratic fascist capitalist/corporatist/consumer system humming along. If you don’t show up for work you won’t be able to borrow the money to make the payments on the 185 hp bass boat that you use seven times a year.

            • wtp said, on May 3, 2015 at 11:22 am

              Oh ferchristsake, stop whining. “Oh help, help, I’m being oppressed by a philosophy of four centuries ago”.

              Your mind, your ability to think clearly (in certain instances, though you seem to grasp a few others rather well) has been warped by a refrain of BS perpetuated through our schools and our media. Yes, there were Puritans. Yes, they influenced society, and some tiny fragments of that influence remain to this day. But nobody forces anyone to go into debt to buy a bass boat. In fact Puritans would be most appalled at such ostentatious and wasteful spending. Don’t like working 40 hours a week? Go into business for yourself. Now there’s an education. Most people in this country are employed by small business over big business, non-profit, and government. And it’s those small business owners who put in the long hours relative to their work force. They take responsibility, they make sure the job is done right, and most importantly that their employees get paid. Making payroll comes before the needs of the business owner. This is work. This is hard, stressful work. Many small business owners make less than many of their employees, especially early on in the life of the business. Now if you want to talk about slaving away in salt mines, read up on how life was in the “Workers’ Paradise” of the Soviet Union or Mao’s China or North Korea and other godfersaken hell on earth societies. Then come back and enlighten us about the mean, mean Puritans of 400 years ago and how bad they make you work.

              But perhaps those sustaining puritanical fragments were the good things. They persist because they work. Other Puritanical beliefs were dropped. Perhaps you could reflect on this the next time you pass (or enter?) a strip joint, bar, movie house, listen to music in church (feeling conflicted?) blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. But for God’s sake stop whining about the Puritans make me work.

              As for There’s no reason anybody should work any harder than he must to survive, go down to the local Home Depot or other location in your area where day laborers are selected. You’ll make enough to feed yourself and sleep in a tiny room. If such is your “ambition”, go forth and be happy. But don’t be telling the rest of us what our desires and priorities should be.

  2. T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Yes, Baltimore seems to have some police problems. But let us be clear about whose fecklessness and dishonesty we are talking about here: No Republican, and certainly no conservative, has left so much as a thumbprint on the public institutions of Baltimore in a generation. Baltimore’s police department is, like Detroit’s economy and Atlanta’s schools, the product of the progressive wing of the Democratic party enabled in no small part by black identity politics. This is entirely a left-wing project, and a Democratic-party project. When will the Left be held to account for the brutality in Baltimore — brutality for which it bears a measure of responsibility on both sides? There aren’t any Republicans out there cheering on the looters, and there aren’t any Republicans exercising real political power over the police or other municipal institutions in Baltimore. Community-organizer — a wretched term — Adam Jackson declared that in Baltimore “the Democrats and the Republicans have both failed.” Really? Which Republicans? Ulysses S. Grant? Unless I’m reading the charts wrong, the Baltimore city council is 100 percent Democratic.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417601/riot-plagued-baltimore-catastrophe-entirely-democratic-partys-own-making-kevin-d

    • T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 8:51 am

      But they mean well.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 29, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      The claim seems to be that Democrats are to blame because the Democrats are the “leadership” of the city. Sure, that is fair-those in charge of a city are accountable for what they do and fail to do. However, the leadership still operates within a broader context. For example, the mayor cannot (unlike in Sim City) control the economy of the city. The same applies to Republicans as well-they are accountable to the degree they control the situation. So, the Republican governor gets some blame-but it is mitigated by the fact that his control is clearly finite. Naturally, Congress and the President get blame,too. Baltimore is, after all, part of the US and falls under their control.

      • T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 6:01 pm

        Democrats have run the city and state for many years. They instituted the policies they wanted. The policies have clearly failed.

        It is not enough to mean well. You have to go with what works.

        • magus71 said, on April 29, 2015 at 8:38 pm

          And by the way TJ, I have insider info on how this administration is refusing to enforce laws, prohibiting agents from enforcing laws, shaping the nation by picking which laws it enforces. Specifically picking out agents it knows will enforce laws and keeping them out of the loop, ordering them off missions etc. This admin is evil.

          • WTP said, on April 29, 2015 at 9:11 pm

            So you’re saying they don’t “mean well”? Color me shocked.

            “Expect worse in the coming decades”, why? Why put up with it, I mean? Why not identify the root causes and address them before they hit critical mass? I’ll admit there’s not much time left, but there is still time.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2015 at 7:28 am

              Mike, would you rather have the guy in WTP’s video or Barack Obama watching your back if you were on patrol in Afghanistan?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:47 am

              I’d like Doug. I can count on him to kill all the right people.

            • magus71 said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:01 pm

              You know that’s my political slogan when I run for office, Mike.

            • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:18 pm

              Curious…Did Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson kill the right guy? Did George Zimmerman kill the right guy?

              Forgive me for asking uncomfortable questions but life doesn’t give a F*ck about what is comfortable nor who your friends are. Officer Wilson had friends, George Zimmerman, for better or worse, had friends. It’s easy to stand by your friends. It’s living up to the right values that matters. It’s looking at the world with as little jaundice as humanly possible that matters. Apologies, but reality beckons.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:17 am

          I agree that there are poor policies in all cities. But, it is worth considering why there is such widespread failure and what would work. After all, policies are implemented into a broader context and even the best policies cannot solve all problems.

          • magus71 said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:13 pm

            Does anyone here agree with this Burke quote:

            “What is liberty without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils…madness without restraint. Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.”

            Why do so many refuse to see all of this as indicative of civilizational decline? The “we’ve heard that before” argument is fallacious thinking. Mike refuses to see that this is the end-state of liberalism, despite all of the temporary niceties it provides.

            I also tend to agree with Aristotle: “Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society.” We are asked to be tolerant of everything, to the point that everything loses context and meaning.

            So I ask Mike: What does stealing malt liquor and dvd players have to do with social justice? Or does this activity actually show us why the thin blue line needs to exist and that “brutality” is a the state’s response to Burke’s “madness without restraint”?

            • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:22 pm

              You should know I agree. See my post crossing yours above.

              Mike equates stealing booze and shoes and DVD players with the Boston Tea Party. What would Burke, or even “lefty liberal” Aristotle, say to that.

            • magus71 said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:25 pm

              Funny thing is, when I read Aristotle, I see someone closer to a fascist that a liberal.

            • magus71 said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:28 pm

              Read Burke’s thoughts on the French Revolution. He supported the American Revolution, but not the French.

              Burke again: “Kings will be tyrants by policy when subjects are rebels from principle.”

            • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:34 pm

              Yes on Ari. I was quoting Mike at 9:44 this morning, below.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:20 am

              It depends on the person’s motivation and the context. If a person is simply stealing to steal, then that is immoral. If the person is stealing to protest, but is stealing from those who have done him no wrong, then that is immoral. If a person is stealing to protest and doing so from those who have done wrong, then that could be just.

              So, if Paul Patriot stole some tea from the Brits because he didn’t feel like paying, he has acted wrongly. If he steals tea from innocent colonist Sam’s store to protest against the East India Company and the British government, he has acted wrongly. If Paul steals tea from the East India Company because of the injustices inflicted by that company and the British state, then he could be acting justly.

              You are right to see the situation as a problem. However, the riots erupted in response to what also seem to be lawless acts. It is not just the citizens who should follow the laws, but also those charged with their enforcement.

            • WTP said, on May 5, 2015 at 3:13 pm

              Christ…just seeing this which got lost in the fury of posts (kinda the plan I suppose)…

              If a person is stealing to protest and doing so from those who have done wrong, then that could be just.

              So, if Paul Patriot stole some tea from the Brits because he didn’t feel like paying, he has acted wrongly. If he steals tea from innocent colonist Sam’s store to protest against the East India Company and the British government, he has acted wrongly. If Paul steals tea from the East India Company because of the injustices inflicted by that company and the British state, then he could be acting justly.,

              Paul Patriot did not drink any of the tea he dumped overboard. In fact, if you read the link I provided, Paul et al made explicit efforts to ensure none was stolen. This was a protest. Stealing and using such for one’s own consumption is blatantly wrong, protest is irrelevant. And while I’m not a big fan of the actions behind the original BTP, there are numerous factors that make that situation very, very different from what has been going on in Baltimore and elsewhere. Much could be said about the Tea Act and smuggling and monopolies and the refusal of the Governor to allow the ships to leave harbor without paying the tax, yadda-yadda-yadda. But what difference would any of this make? Mike takes absolutely no responsibility for his erroneous BS and cries that his feewings are hurt when I point this out.

              …and of course Mike is in no way implying that while the BTP was arguably the first move that lead to an overthrow of an unjust (and mad) monarchy resulting in the exceptional success that is America, that this would parallel the underlying Marxism in the riots and general unrest attempting to overthrow this very exceptional form of government. Not implying that at all. Make no mistake of what I infer.

    • magus71 said, on April 29, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Has anyone noticed that the Baltimore police chief is black, the mayor is black…Has anyone noticed that Freddie Gray received medical care within an hour of his arrest? I challenge anyone to call an ambulance in a huge city like Baltimore and have care that quickly, let alone after resisting arrest.

      What we are witnessing and have for the last 10 years or so, is the break down of rule of law. Expect worse in the coming decades.

      • ronster12012 said, on April 30, 2015 at 12:01 am

        Magus

        FWIW from an outsider’s POV(Oz)you lot are so guilt stricken about blacks and being called ‘waysiss’. WTF?

        That is at the core of everything else. Until you all repudiate this bogus collective guilt things will just keep getting worse, as there will always be something else to atone for.

        Unfortunately for blacks the new minority that has just overtaken them in numbers, hispanics, don’t have the white guilt neurosis and consequently are immune to emotional blackmail. Blacks will be remembering their ‘white oppression’ with fondness in the future…

        • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2015 at 7:24 am

          Asians don’t have white guilt, either, and their numbers are growing as well. It won’t be many years before whites are less than 50% of the population and will also be a minority.

          • ronster12012 said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:58 am

            TJ

            I forgot about asians and am not sure of the numbers, just remembered reading that hispanics now overtake blacks in the US.

            “It won’t be many years before whites are less than 50% of the population and will also be a minority.”

            Let’s see how the anti discrimination laws work then, lol,as they were designed to only ever be used against us, not by us. Dumb whiteys(especially highly educated ones) forget that demographics matter. They perhaps think that La Raza is social club ffs.

          • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:31 pm

            Asians in the U.S. (The term “Asian” in the UK tends to refer to Muslims, don’t know about Oz) are already regarded as super-whites and thus discriminated against in the wonderful world of academia. The beautiful thing about US Asians is they, like Jews, tend not to give a f*ck. Like Harrison Bergeron, it just makes them stronger.

            • ronster12012 said, on April 30, 2015 at 10:25 pm

              WTP

              In Oz asian refers to east and south east asian, for some reason we make a distinction for Indonesians, Malaysians and Filipinos. Perhaps they don’t look chinesey enough though technically they are asian.

              They may be discriminated against in the US but so what? Asians, jews, blacks etc are all highly racist and do not accept the premise that we are all the same. That is only a tactic to be used against gullible whites to get stuff. In their own countries there is no way race would ever be disregarded(broadly speaking). We must look like absolute idiots to them treating strangers like family and family like strangers………..all because of some bogus social theories.

              So where did this rot start?

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:43 am

        The rule of law seems to have already been broken down by the officers who broke the laws. Those who enforce the laws must respect and obey the laws themselves if they expect citizens to do the same.

        Sure, the mayor and police chief are black. But what does that really mean?

        • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2015 at 5:54 pm

          It probably means they aren’t racist.

          • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 6:49 pm

            You are joking, yes?

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2015 at 7:18 pm

              Well, the basic charge is that there is *institutional* racism in the Baltimore Police Department. I don’t see how this charge sticks when the mayor and police chief are black.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2015 at 10:53 am

              Interesting point. The fact that there are black leaders in Baltimore is evidence against racism. However, it would be too quick to infer that racism has been eliminated because there are some black leaders. It is also worth considering that racism is not confined to whites.

              I would say a larger factor is class-being poor and powerless makes people extremely vulnerable. How often do well off white folks get roughed up or killed when they are being arrested?

            • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:37 pm

              In the sense that blacks can’t be racist? Perhaps.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:00 am

              Some fraction of individuals will always be racist.

              *Institutional* racism means the chain of command tacitly endorses racist behavior. It seems unlikely that Baltimore’s chain of command supports racism. It is much more likely that they support revenue enhancement.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:23 am

              True-it is more a matter of class than race. It just so happens that more of the poor are black.

        • magus71 said, on April 30, 2015 at 7:59 pm

          Wait, so you know the officers arresting Freddie Gray broke the law?

      • ronster12012 said, on May 1, 2015 at 8:10 am

        Magus

        Since you are mentioning the pigmentation issue, here’s an article pointing in the same general direction and expanding it a bit.

        http://www.vdare.com/posts/john-perazzo-in-frontpagemag-baltimores-problem-is-democrats

        Asks some interesting questions and points out the bleedin’ obvious…

  3. T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Sow the wind…

    In 2012, after four years of his own failed policies, President Obama won a whopping 87.4% of the Baltimore City vote. Democrats run the city of Baltimore, the unions, the schools, and, yes, the police force. Since 1969, there have only been only been two Republican governors of the State of Maryland.

    Elijah Cummings has represented Baltimore in the U.S. Congress for more than thirty years. As I write this, despite his objectively disastrous reign, the Democrat-infested mainstream media is treating the Democrat like a local folk hero, not the obvious and glaring failure he really is.

    Every single member of the Baltimore city council is a Democrat.

    Liberalism and all the toxic government dependence and cronyism and union corruption and failed schools that comes along with it, has run amok in Baltimore for a half-century, and that is Baltimore’s problem. It is the free people of Baltimore who elect and then re-elect those who institute policies that have so spectacularly failed that once-great city. It is the free people of Baltimore who elected Mayor Room-To-Destroy.

    You can call the arson and looting and violence we are seeing on our television screens, rioting. That’s one way to describe the chaos. Another way to describe it is Democrat infighting. This is blue-on-blue violence. The thugs using the suspicious death of Freddie Gray (at the hands of a Democrat-led police department) to justify the looting that updates their home entertainment systems, are Democrats protesting Democrat leaders and Democrat policies in a Democrat-run city.

    Poverty has nothing to do with it. This madness and chaos and anarchy is a Democrat-driven culture that starts at the top with a racially-divisive White House heartbreakingly effective at ginning up hate and violence.

    Where I currently reside here in Watauga County, North Carolina, the poverty level is 31.3%. Median income is only $34,293. In both of those areas we are much worse off than Baltimore, that has a poverty rate of only 23.8% and a median income of $41,385.

    Despite all that, we don’t riot here in Watauga County.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/28/baltimore-is-a-democrat-problem-not-americas-problem/

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Well, good to know that the Democrats are the cause of all the woes. Presumably having Republicans in charge would fix things. If only the state had a Republican governor-he’d set things right. If only congress was controlled by the Republicans, they’d set things straight.

      • T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 6:02 pm

        Republicans are bad, Democrats are worse.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:18 am

          Since we have only two viable political parties, it looks like our only options are bad and worse.

          • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm

            Unfortunately, that is the case. Which is why you want to go with the lesser of two evils. Which party will do less damage?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2015 at 10:45 am

              Time for a third option.

            • nailheadtom said, on May 3, 2015 at 1:49 am

              Police departments aren’t political animals except in the sense that one of their basic functions is to gather enough negative information on politicians of either party to insure that their perks are retained no matter who is in power. The cops are simply subsidized gangs endorsed by the local government and composed of individuals that have a sadistic streak and aversion to any kind of manual labor.

  4. ajmacdonaldjr said, on April 29, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    #BlackLivesMatters is controlled opposition. That’s who’s behind these “police brutality” protests and the violence. Well meaning — albeit naive — peoples are protesting too, but the movement itself is controlled opposition. Local residents were the ones looting. “A controlled opposition is a protest movement that is actually being led by government agents. Nearly all governments in history have employed this technique to trick and subdue their adversaries. Notably Vladimir Lenin who said ””The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” (Urban Dictionary). So far, #BlackLivesMatters has done a good job. They have managed to anger the majority of the population, due to their unpopular tactics (e.g., blocking highways and occupying stores) and they have united the majority of the population in support of the police and police militarization, due to their violence and rioting. #BlackLivesMatters making martyrs of black male criminals has totally alienated the majority white and hispanic population from their cause. “A breakdown of persons arrested for murder was 93 percent male, seven percent female, five percent juvenile, 85 percent Black and 15 percent White…” Source: 2012 Crime In Maryland – http://tinyurl.com/m3ngfm9 . We can tell from its fruits that #BlackLivesMatters is counter-productive to justice and peace for the black community. Just another means our government is using to keep poor blacks in their place on their urban reservations. Is it any wonder the USG was behind the murder of MLK in 1968?

    • ronster12012 said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:03 am

      AJ

      Didn’t Lenin say that the best way to control an opposition is to lead it? Combine that with Problem Reaction Solution and what have you got?

  5. T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Facts are stubborn things.

    Blue America has failed at social justice. It has failed at equality. It has failed at accountability. Its competing constituencies are engaged in street battles, and any exploration of “root causes” must necessarily include decades of failed policies — all imposed by steadfastly Democratic mayors and city leaders. Are the riots caused by the Baltimore Police Department’s “documented history” of abuse? Which party has run Baltimore and allowed its police officers to allegedly run amok? Going deeper, which American political movement lionizes public-employee unions, fiercely protecting them from even the most basic reform? Public-employee unions render employee discipline difficult and often impossible. Jobs are functionally guaranteed for life, and rogue officers can count on the best representation money can buy — courtesy of Blue America.

    Are the riots caused by inequality? Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos’s son, John, made waves on the left with his “tweetstorm” stating that his “greater source of personal concern, outrage, and sympathy” was not with “one night’s property damage” but with a litany of economic outrages that he claims have “plunged tens of millions of hard-working Americans into economic devastation.” Mother Jones summed up his message by declaring, “At the end of the day, it comes down to social and economic inequality.”

    So let’s examine inequality. It turns out that the more “blue” a city is, the greater its level of income inequality — inequality compounded by a lack of affordable housing.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417599/lefts-burning-cities-david-french

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Is it that the Democrats cause poverty or that the poor vote for Democrats? Or something else?

      • TJB said, on April 30, 2015 at 12:53 pm

        Democratic policies favor government dependence and family dissolution and make it harder for the poor to escape poverty.

        • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 1:07 pm

          It’s quite the mystery for Mike. I mean, he can draw parallels between the original Boston Tea Party and the current unrest with statements such as:

          Interestingly, many of the pundits who praise the property destruction that occurred during the Boston Tea Party are quick to condemn contemporary protests they do not like.

          Meanwhile back in 1773:

          340 chests of British East India Company tea, weighing over 92,000 pounds (roughly 46 tons), onboard the Beaver, Dartmouth, and Eleanor were smashed open with axes and dumped into Boston Harbor the night of December 16, 1773. The damage the Sons of Liberty caused by destroying 340 chests of tea, in today’s money, was worth more than $1,700,000 dollars. The British East India Company reported £9,659 worth of damage caused by the Boston Tea Party. According to some modern estimates, the destroyed tea could have brewed 18,523,000 cups of tea! The destruction of the tea was a very costly blow to the British. Besides the destruction of the tea, historical accounts record no damage was done to any of the three ships, the crew or any other items onboard the ships except for one broken padlock. The padlock was the personal property of one of the ships’ captains and was promptly replaced the next day by the Patriots. Great care was taken by the Sons of Liberty to avoid the destruction of personal property – save for the cargo of British East India Company tea. Nothing was stolen or looted from the ships, not even the tea. One participant tried to steal some tea but was reprimanded and stopped. The Sons of Liberty were very careful about how the action was carried out and made sure nothing besides the tea was damaged. After the destruction of the tea, the participants swept the decks of the ships clean, and anything that was moved was put back in its proper place. The crews of the ships attested to the fact there had been no damage to any of the ships except for the destruction of their cargoes of tea.

          http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/boston-tea-party-facts

          Yes. I see how this was exactly like our contemporary protests of the last few years. But such is how “teachers” think in the 21st century. How I know this is a mystery.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 2:19 pm

          Which policies are those? Things like Pell Grants, funding for K-12 schools, and food stamps?

          • WTP said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:12 am

            A friend of mine works with a charity called “Matthew’s Hope”. They help transition the homeless and marginally homeless into jobs and in become self supporting. Early on they helped people on disability. But they found that once people got on disability assistance, it was an endless cycle of their getting on/off/on/off without becoming permanently self sufficient. They have since instituted a rule that the people they help cannot get on public assistance. The charity provides its own funding for financial support/assistance. The people are only given assistance if they stay with the program and stay committed to doing the things that have proven to ultimately get people back on their feet. They have found that those they are helping are far more successful now and more likely to stay with the program than in the past when disability and such were an option.

          • T. J. Babson said, on May 3, 2015 at 10:21 am

            Wow. So you really think that “funding for K-12 schools” is specifically a Democratic policy?

            This is equivalent to saying that believing people should have a job is specifically a Republican policy.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 3, 2015 at 10:33 am

              If you want to learn about Dem policies that hurt poor kids, start with policies that deny them any sort of school choice (all courtesy of the teacher’s union).

            • WTP said, on May 3, 2015 at 10:39 am

              If I may quote a post from a drive-by commenter by the handle of Scheme:

              Scheme said, on April 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm
              2 0 Rate This
              See p. 57 of LaBossiere, M. (2010) 42 Fallacies [E-Book]. Specifically the “Straw Man” section.

            • WTP said, on May 3, 2015 at 10:42 am

              Not to mention the damage that irrational minimum wage policies, along with significant interference in the hiring and firing decisions of businesses, do to those struggling to rise out of poverty.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 3, 2015 at 11:23 am

              Agree completely. Inner city kids need entry level jobs so that they can start acquiring the skills that will boost their earning power. Let employers hire these kids and pay them whatever they want.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 4, 2015 at 11:07 am

              What if they want to pay them nothing but some food and maybe a little cabin on the plantation?

            • wtp said, on May 3, 2015 at 12:57 pm

              Just for the record, I am not opposed to some degree of minimum wage laws. Especially for teenagers and such who could be more easily exploited. Especially for those under the age of consent (which really should be 21 and not 18). But such is a dream when you have the academics and such making ridiculous demands and pretending to know how things really work in the real world, and for many of them pretending to care more about the young rather than about their own social status via moral preening.

              After all, the government is the organization educating these kids (for the most part, for the poor ones anyway…outside of vouchers) so the government SHOULD be able to guarantee, to some degree, a level of qualification. But again, idealism.

            • TJB said, on May 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm

              I find it amusing that the Clinton foundation doesn’t pay its interns.

              The charity spent $30 million on salaries last year but not one cent on interns, unlike the Ford or Gates Foundations. What gives?

              Hillary Clinton may be running for president as a champion for the middle class, but the Clinton Foundation’s interns do not get paid.

              “Businesses have taken advantage of unpaid internships to an extent that it is blocking the opportunities for young people to move on into paid employment,” Clinton said at UCLA in 2013. “More businesses need to move their so-called interns to employees.”

              That doesn’t happen at her own business, the Clinton Foundation that Bill started in 2001.

              http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/30/hillary-doesn-t-like-unpaid-internships-but-clinton-foundation-sure-does.html

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 4, 2015 at 11:08 am

              That should not surprise you. The way to make money is not hard work, but to get others to work hard for you in return for little. Or, ideally, nothing.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 4, 2015 at 11:05 am

              Well, what are some specific Democrat policies?

            • WTP said, on May 4, 2015 at 11:30 am

              What if they want to pay them nothing but some food and maybe a little cabin on the plantation?

              And again, See p. 57 of LaBossiere, M. (2010) 42 Fallacies [E-Book]. Specifically the “Straw Man” section.

              But to answer your question, why would they take the job? Slavery is not voluntary. You have no freaking idea about these things. Nor any fealty to reason nor rational discussion. But such is the philosopher’s view of the World…assuming it exists

            • WTP said, on May 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

              The way to make money is not hard work, but to get others to work hard for you in return for little. Or, ideally, nothing.

              Bullshit…well, unless you’re talking about government or those who suck its teats. Again, as I’ve pointed out many times before, you have no idea the amount of work involved in creating nor in maintaining wealth. Which in itself is quite ironic for a “philosopher”. I mean, wtf have you done to “earn” your salary? You get paid, ostensibly, to tell other people how work should be done in the future. Where are the goods that you produce? They are far more ethereal than anything a CEO gets paid to do. At least the CEO is held to accountability (eventually, though crony capitalists, not so much) by the balance sheet he must produce. As a clown-quarter academic, others do real, hard work to provide for you and in return get nothing. Or worse, IMNSHO, net negative wealth.

              Again in regard to wealth, you do not know what it is. You refuse to partake in discussions on the subject because you’re afraid to think these things out. You’re afraid of facing a truth that would make you appear uncool in the faculty lounge. Intellectual cowardice.

            • TJB said, on May 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm

              “What if they want to pay them nothing but some food and maybe a little cabin on the plantation?”

              And so you have just endorsed the status quo of high youth employment.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 6, 2015 at 11:53 am

              How so?

            • TJB said, on May 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm

              That should read “high youth unemployment,” of course, as that is the status quo.

            • magus71 said, on May 6, 2015 at 6:48 am

              Then maybe they can find someplace else to work.

            • WTP said, on May 6, 2015 at 1:03 pm

              How so?

              TJ, you need to explain these things to Mike. He can make it from the Boston Tea Party being just like riots in Ferguson and Baltimore. That logical leap he’s just fine with. But if you point out that pricing youth out of the labor market results in their not being able to get jobs, thus never acquiring the job skills to move up in the world, thus perpetuation of poverty, you really need to connect the dots. He’s confused, befuddled. This in no way implies a bias nor a refusal to think things through for oneself. Nor is it stupidity. It just is what it is. Befuddlement.

  6. T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    This is what happens when Dems go to college.

    But lately I’ve noticed a marked, very loud silence from these professors and instructors, the ones who dated students. See, there’s a big kerfuffle going on about a female Northwestern professor, Laura Kipnis, who made the mistake of speaking honestly on the internet. She said that blanket bans on teacher-student relationships were dumb and infantilizing. In response, students and colleagues have called for her to be formally censured. And out of the several female professors I’ve known to have engaged in relationships with students, not a one has lent Kipnis a single word of support.

    This isn’t an issue of hypocrisy. This is a matter of real, palpable fear. Saying anything that goes against liberal orthodoxy is now grounds for a firin’. Even if you make a reasonable and respectful case, if you so much as cause your liberal students a second of complication or doubt you face the risk of demonstrations, public call-outs, and severe professional consequences. My friends and colleagues might well agree that the student-teacher relationship ban is misguided, but they’re not allowed to say as much in public.

    C-can you guys see the problem, here?

    Personally, liberal students scare the shit out of me. I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back. I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.

    The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.

    Is this paranoid? Yes, of course. But paranoia isn’t uncalled for within the current academic job climate. Jobs are really, really, really, really hard to get. And since no reasonable person wants to put their livelihood in danger, we reasonably do not take any risks vis-a-vis momentarily upsetting liberal students. And so we leave upsetting truths unspoken, uncomfortable texts unread.

    http://whitehotharlots.tumblr.com/post/114067452180/a-personal-account-of-how-call-out-culture-has

    • WTP said, on April 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      And thus even more money must be taken from working people to spend on “education”. You do realize the point you relate above about Dem ownership of the Baltimore situation applies just as well to the mess academia is in? And Mike simultaneously complains about administration budgets absorbing more and more of the money, all the while defending academia and leftist ideology (but I repeat myself) from criticisms. And then he goes looking for conservative people to point at and call out their hypocrisy.

      But he’s not alone. There are thousands just like him and they are reproducing their failed ideologies day after day after day to hundreds of students each per year. And they do it with our money. Don’t let it upset you, though.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:44 am

        You really have no idea what I teach, do you? Or is, for example, Aristotle a leftist liberal?

        • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 12:58 pm

          You really have no idea about a great number of things, but you don’t let that stop you. That I do know. I know you are a leftist, and a significantly hard one at that. If you’ve noticed, I refuse to use the word “liberal” to describe those like yourself, because it doesn’t apply. I also know that you are considerably blind to your own biases. I know that you pay lip service to certain ideas in the abstract, but when it comes down to it, you have no respect for many of the perspectives you lay claim to. In case that’s not clear, fiscal conservatism is one. I also know that you lack the intellectual curiosity to question much of what you believe. I’ve seen it demonstrated here time and time again.

          And you really have no idea what I know about what you teach.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 2:21 pm

            Your negativity is very impressive. I certainly respect your consistency in attacking my character and personal qualities.

            • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm

              And I acknowledge your consistency in hiding behind your hurt feelings when I call you on your sophistry and polemics.

    • ronster12012 said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:06 am

      TJ

      If you are going to have a Cultural Revolution then you need a whole lot of Red Guards….and that’s what your article reminds me of.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:32 am

      This is obviously not true of all Democrats. Most faculty I know are Democrats and they are consistently in favor of academic freedom. In fact, this matter just made the rounds in the faculty union email. The concern is about faculty being mistreated and restricted because of their views.

      When I was a grad student, the PC thing was at its height. The faculty were supposed to repent and express a mea culpa for assumed sins. The faculty in my department, who were mostly liberal Democrats, refused to engage in this process. Being philosophers, they argued that it was fundamentally unethical to force people to confess to sins they had not committed.

      So, while there is the narrative that academics is a hotbed of insane liberal moonbats, this is not true. The moonbats get the attention because the rest of us are rather busy quietly doing our jobs. And, of course, “professors are teaching classes and freely expressing views” does not make for great press. The majority of faculty are against the moonbattery and favor real academic freedom. I’m certainly for it and oppose threats to it from the left and the right. I’ve written about this before.

  7. T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    The truth can be painful.

    We free-marketeers believe, not in trickle-down, but in trickle-up. Capitalism, uniquely, rewards people who sell to the mass market. I am typing these words on a program that I bought from Bill Gates. My purchase enriched him, adding fractionally to his net wealth; and it also enriched me, making my life more convenient. Like most successful people, Bill Gates became rich by persuading lots of poorer people to buy something from him; in consequence, we are all better off.

    Try running that argument past your liberal friends, though. The chances are that even the most open-minded among them will give you a slightly glazed look. Even if they grasp the idea, they will soon forget it and go back to telling you that “everyone knows” that conservatism is all about the defense of privilege and oligarchy. This is because, to a greater degree than most of us care to admit, our political leanings are expressions of our character traits, and are not dependent on empirical data.

    If you start from the conviction that you’re standing up for the underdog, you will naturally assume that your political opponents are for the powerful. You will subliminally screen out evidence that challenges that view. As Danusha Goska put it in American Thinker not long ago, “Never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist.”

    Do rightists also caricature their opponents? Yes, but not to anything like the same extent. A 2012 study by Jesse Graham, Brian A. Nosek and Jonathan Haidt asked conservatives and liberals to answer a series of questions as themselves, and then to answer them in the imagined personae of a typical conservative and a typical liberal. It found that the liberals were the least able to accurately to guess their opponents’ views, seeing conservatism as a kind of moral failure.

    They’re not playing to the gallery. They’re not sloganizing. They genuinely believe that we conservatives went into politics because we hate the poor. Their conviction is so solid that facts crash against it as waves against a rock. Again and again, leftists will line up behind policies that hurt the general population in order to reward vested interests: the bailouts and the TARP boondoggle, the alternative energy scams, the trade barriers that favor privileged industries, the regulations that drive up prices. The practical consequences of these policies matter far less to their advocates than the opportunity to signal their good intentions. And if their intentions are good, ours must be bad. Psychologists call it “self-serving bias”.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/why-conservatives-have-more-empathy-than-liberals/article/2563558

    • T. J. Babson said, on April 29, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Mike, do you not see that public employee unions inexorably lead to unaccountable public employees?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Which truth? Sure, there are free market folks who really believe in true competition, equal opportunity to succeed (or fail) and so on. However, the political system does operate in favor of those in power and those who bankroll them (which makes it a very unfree market). Since Democrats do this as well as Republicans, it is not just a conservative thing. However, conservatives seem to favor the wealthy more than the Democrats do (although both are generally happy to accept fat stacks of cash).

      Part of the problem, as others who have argued, is that political financing is what amounts to those with the money being able to buy massive influence.

      I’m actually a free-market sort of person. My view is that the main role of the state is to prevent harm and protect citizens. To hand certain parties special advantages and impose special barriers on others is clearly unfair and also harmful to social advancement. Naturally, I also favor strong support for public education-that is essential for fair competition.

      • TJB said, on April 30, 2015 at 12:47 pm

        This one:

        Again and again, leftists will line up behind policies that hurt the general population in order to reward vested interests: the bailouts and the TARP boondoggle, the alternative energy scams, the trade barriers that favor privileged industries, the regulations that drive up prices. The practical consequences of these policies matter far less to their advocates than the opportunity to signal their good intentions. And if their intentions are good, ours must be bad. Psychologists call it “self-serving bias”.

      • TJB said, on April 30, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        I believe most Democrats mean well. But when you look at what happens when their policies are implemented with no Republican push-back, you get Detroit and Baltimore.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on April 30, 2015 at 2:18 pm

          Could you list some cities run by Democrats that are doing well? Are there none? Are there cities run by Republicans doing poorly? Are there none?

          Is it the policies of the Democrats that cause ruin-that is, do the policies that match the professed ideology of the party cause the ruin? Or is it that Democrats happened to be in charge when Detroit fell into ruin?

          Shouldn’t Austin, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, and San Antonio have fallen into ruin as well? Or is it just a matter of time?

          • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2015 at 5:51 pm

            “Austin, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, and San Antonio”

            Poor examples. These cities are in red states with plenty of Republican push-back.

            Chicago is a good example of a blue city in a blue state. It will be bankrupt soon.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2015 at 7:27 pm

              Two of Chicago’s four city pension funds will be bankrupt within a few years, according to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. You’d think that’s a scenario unions – the supposed champions for public-employee retirements – would want to avoid.

              But not in Chicago. Unions are fighting to block any kind of pension reform, effectively locking in bankruptcy for city-employee pension systems.

              A group of Chicago unions, including AFSCME Council 31 and the Chicago Teachers Union, have sued the city over a recent attempt to reform two of the city’s four pension funds. The reform plan, focused on the city’s municipal and laborer pension funds, scaled back cost-of-living adjustments and increased employee and employer contributions. The lawsuit, filed Dec. 16, argues these reforms violate the state constitution.

              The plan actually doesn’t achieve much in terms of bringing stability to the city’s pension systems. And it completely ignores the Chicago police officers’ fund, which has just $0.25 for every dollar required to pay out future benefits. The firefighter fund has just $0.31.

              Yet the unions suing over the bill are fighting to maintain the status quo and preserve pension plans that are slated to go bust in a few years.

              Chicago’s official pension shortfall is now $29 billion. Detroit, by comparison, had just a $3.5 billion shortfall when it filed for bankruptcy last year.

              Not surprisingly, the rating agencies have caught on. Moody’s Investors Service slashed Chicago’s credit rating in March, leaving it just three notches above junk status. Of the nation’s largest cities, only Detroit has a worse rating.

              https://www.illinoispolicy.org/unions-to-bankrupt-chicago-pension-funds/

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:13 am

              Why are the pensions going bankrupt? Does the city have an obligation to honor its contracts? Will the reform plans solve the problem?

              On the one hand, it could be argued that just as a corporation should do whatever it can to maximize profits for shareholders, unions should maximize the benefits for their members. If unions are obligated to consider how this impacts the public good, then the same should apply to corporations. On the other hand, perhaps it could be argued that public employee unions have special moral obligations to consider the general good and not just the benefits of their members.

              One factor that impacted pensions is the financial meltdown-when the financial classes took down the economy, this also deflated the pensions. Yet, these folks are generally doing great now, while the pensioners are not. State and local governments also have less income-some due to the economy some due to the tax cuts. Should the pensions be cut to keep existing tax cuts or even allow more tax cuts?

              But, it is certainly reasonable to consider if the pension plans are fair-that is, did the workers truly earn these pensions or are they a disproportionate benefit?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2015 at 10:45 am

              Chicago is certainly awash in violence and buried in poverty. You are not unreasonable in thinking that it might follow Detroit.

              But Baltimore is in Maryland, which has a Republican governor.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:02 am

              Mike, Maryland has had Democratic governors for 50 out of the last 56 years. The current Republican governor has been on the job for 3 months now.

          • WTP said, on April 30, 2015 at 6:48 pm

            Or is it that Democrats happened to be in charge when Detroit fell into ruin?

            “Happened to be in charge”? Like it was some game of musical chairs twixt GOP and Dems but the Dems just happened to be holding the bag when it all finally collapsed? Have you looked at what party has held power in Detriot since before you were born? You cannot be serious.

            • T. J. Babson said, on April 30, 2015 at 7:20 pm

              Mike, you do tend to be blind to the negative effects of the policies you endorse, like support of public employee unions.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:03 am

              Not at all. Unions do have negative aspects. Problems with labor unions are well documented (such as criminal ties). Public employee unions also have problems. That said, these unions do serve an important good, namely providing public employees with an organization to push back against their employers. To use one example, many universities are pushing hard to replace full-time faculty with adjuncts, since they can pay adjuncts far less than full-time employees and do not need to offer any benefits. So, you could end up with a person with a PhD in something like math or engineering working for $23,000 a year, while administrators are enjoying large salaries and plenty of benefits. As another example, police unions can provide push back against political correctness and negotiate better contracts for officers when their employer might want to slash pay and benefits.

              I’m also fine with corporations. My issue is not with collectives, but with what they might do wrong.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:50 am

              Mike, let’s say you gave your Department Head $1,000 and in return he gave you a $5,000 raise.

              Don’t you see this is wrong?

              Don’t you see this is exactly how public employee unions work?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 4, 2015 at 10:49 am

              Let’s suppose you gave your congressman $1 million in campaign contributions and in return he just so happened to pass laws benefiting your company. Wouldn’t that be wrong?

              What you are describing seems to be straight up bribery, which is rather different from how a union is supposed to work. I belong to UFF, a faculty union. We don’t pay administrators, although we do have union dues. The union engages in collective bargaining trying to get, for example cost of living increases for faculty.

              Yeah, I agree that straight up corruption is wrong. But it is not inherent to a union (or a corporation) to be corrupt. To steal from Aristotle, it is not all collectives that are to be condemned, just the corrupt ones.

            • T. J. Babson said, on May 1, 2015 at 11:59 am

              Mike, why doesn’t this sort of thing turn your stomach? Why do people talk about “public service” as if it is something noble? The Clintons have made well over $100 M from their “public service.”

              Just after announcing his resignation as U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder has accepted a top job with Wall Street finance giant JPMorgan Chase.

              Starting in early November, Holder will serve as JPMorgan Chase’s chief compliance officer, where his responsibilities will include lobbying Congress on the company’s behalf and ensuring it “gets the best deal possible” from any new proposed financial regulations. Holder will also fetch morning coffee and breakfast orders for CEO Jamie Dimon and board members.

              For his efforts, Holder will earn an annual salary of $77 million plus bonuses for a job well done.

              http://dailycurrant.com/2014/09/26/eric-holder-takes-77-million-job-with-jpmorgan-chase/

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 4, 2015 at 10:53 am

              The revolving door between the government and the industries that they are supposed to regulate is a point of considerable moral concern. The impact of this is well know, but since the watchmen are the ones walking through that door, nothing to little is done.

              Public service can be something noble-there are people who do a great deal of good each day, yet will see little financial return. For example, school teachers I know in Maine and Florida routinely buy their own classroom supplies and even buy food for the kids from poor families. They will never slide into big money, but they certainly do a lot of good for those kids. As has often been argued, we often reward the wrong people.

            • ronster12012 said, on May 2, 2015 at 4:28 am

              TJ

              I support the principle of unionism but not what I consider to be the extremes of it, ie. general thuggishness, OTT greed etc(though Wall st does that way better without unions) and in general a winner take all attitude.

              As for these cops now charged in relation to the Freddie Gray death, would you want to be a cop that may be hung out to dry for political purposes…………without something solid to back you up? If all sides were nice and fair then there’d be no need for unions but things aren’t like that. Would anyone start work in a risky job if one mistake(or a mistake that could be blamed on you) could get you sued into oblivion or worse?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 4, 2015 at 11:03 am

              Good point. The police unions do a lot to back up officers. While some do complain that this is another evil of unions, the police do need to be protected in cases where the politicians want to score political points without due consideration of justice.

          • magus71 said, on April 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm

            Mike makes the same argument about America’s decline under Obama. He “just happens” to be in charge at the time of the decline.

            • ronster12012 said, on May 1, 2015 at 8:26 am

              Magus

              Or it could be the reverse, a country in decline(terminal or temporary or maybe just in some sort of cultural crisis) elects an Obama. What was so appealing about him that 1/ enough money flowed his way to run a campaign 2/ enough voters elected him?

            • magus71 said, on May 2, 2015 at 9:15 pm

              I’ll buy that agument, ronster.

  8. magus71 said, on April 30, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Insurgency: When guerrilla fighters take the state’s monopoly on legitimate violence. Baltimore, for example.

    http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/04/30/sheriff-michael-lewis-on-the-stand-down-orders-given-to-city-officers/

  9. ronster12012 said, on May 2, 2015 at 4:10 am

    I’ve just seen this http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3065009/Booked-six-Baltimore-officers-facing-30-years-prison-murder-Freddie-Gray-police-van-cops-union-attacks-prosecutor-rush-judgement.html

    The one facing the 30 years and three of the six were of the pigmented persuasion……….so can we expect to see any talk of ebil waycists dropped? Not in a million years IMO

    • WTP said, on May 2, 2015 at 9:21 am

      I knew that at least one or two had to be black because the media was making no mention of their skin color at all. Even though their names had been published and it would not have taken much effort to determine such. This is typical of the politization of so many situations. And douchebags in the academia are all over it when they see it in others but dummy up when such obvious bias by silence works their way. Then they claim neutrality of “just because I don’t mention it doesn’t prove my bias”. And then they get upset and butthurt when you point out what is an obvious insult to the intelligence of any honorable, thinking man.

      • ronster12012 said, on May 2, 2015 at 9:54 am

        WTP

        To be honest I didn’t have a picture of any race(of the cops) in mind when I first read about the story. I mostly (not always though)don’t jump into stories straight away as I’d rather wait till the facts emerge.

        I do agree with you though about the politicization of narratives.It is endemic though and not confined to academia. A very rare combination is someone disinterested enough to tell the whole story without being uninterested enough to not bother telling it lol….true!

        • WTP said, on May 2, 2015 at 12:40 pm

          No, it’s not confined to acadamia, but it is acadamia that gives it life and gives it legitimacy. In the absence of religion, people look to some other authority either to validate their prejudices or to explain the unexplainable. Academia has filled that void for them. They are as resistant to challenge as any phony authority. And thus they wrap themselves in the mantle of science to pretend objectivity. Yet as Jacob Bronowski said, “No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power”.

      • T. J. Babson said, on May 2, 2015 at 11:19 am

        I think what we are starting to witness is the left eating itself. Reminds me of Animal Farm.

        • ronster12012 said, on May 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

          TJ

          One example that comes to mind here in Oz is the support that the left gives moslem immigrants and islam in general. We have leftoid antifa women screaming their tits off against ‘islamophobia’ yet…..what is the status of women in islam?? Yet these ‘edgy'(in their own minds ffs) call anyone who questions the wisdom of mass moslem immigration ‘bigots’, ‘rednecks’ and ‘xenophobes’. Can it get any more stupid? Why yes it can…..because these same types who support 1/feminism 2/ gay rights 3/ a secular society 4/ non discrimination support a creed that treats women as third class beings, wants to kill gays, supports a theocratic outlook and discriminates against infidels. How they get their head around that without it exploding I’ll never know….

          Have we reached ‘peak’ political correctness? We must be close lol

        • WTP said, on May 2, 2015 at 12:49 pm

          I’d like to believe that, TJ. But I don’t think we’re even close. See, ultimately they don’t eat their own. They just devour attention and change tactics, seeking out more funding from the rest of us to keep up their facade of lies. It will not end until we refuse to grant it legitimacy.

  10. ajmacdonaldjr said, on May 2, 2015 at 11:32 pm

  11. WTP said, on May 4, 2015 at 9:18 am

    As for the social aspects of this problem, no worries. The philosophers are on it:

    One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.

    You see, because having a loving family that cares about you might be an unfair advantage. Let us all become wards of the state and thus equally happy.

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/new-family-values/6437058

    • ronster12012 said, on May 4, 2015 at 10:01 am

      WTP

      I would offer an abject apology for that link you posted (as it was to the Australian ABC), if I could be sure that it either wasn’t a pisstake or a joint psychotic episode(or simply an episode with joints). I know that it isn’t April the first so it must be one of the preceding.

      What those two clowns are proposing is insane. Firstly they deny any genetic inheritance as that can’t be dealt with(or maybe they do have a plan???), then they propose to somehow micromanage people’s lives so that no child gets any perceived advantage. How could this be achieved? Only though the most totalitarian state imaginable.

      I suggest that they have way too much time on their hands and should go out and get a real job, if they can. Unfortunately in our somewhat insane world there will be people out there that this merde will resonate with and in ten years time there will be organizations formed to push this garbage.

      This is the legacy of the slogan of French revolution, Liberty Fraternity,Equality. Give a stupid person a slogan and they may actually believe it to be true rather than simply another way to manipulate them. Equality…no two people are ‘equal’, ‘liberty’ ffs is the most overused word in the English language…..and brotherhood….nice sentiment but what does it actually mean in practice??

      These idiots have taken the idea of equality and just run with it to absurd lengths (for a laugh maybe)

    • magus71 said, on May 6, 2015 at 6:57 am

      “One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field. ”

      Ah, more Communism.

      • WTP said, on May 6, 2015 at 8:55 am

        Now Magus, you know you’re not supposed to use the word Communism. Makes you sound like a dumb hick. And even to refer to it as “socialism” is bad form these days.

        If you read the whole article, there was something about it that nagged at my subconscious…like there was a deception beyond the obvious sophistry. Then a commenter on another blog pointed it out, The rhetorical trick “in which a nakedly totalitarian idea is pitched then shied away from, in the hope of making a less scandalous idea, but one that’s still reprehensible, seem almost reasonable.” Socialists and other fellow travelers like to play this game a lot. Something to keep an eye out for. IYKWIM.

        • ronster12012 said, on May 6, 2015 at 9:23 am

          Actually Peter Singer the founder of Animal Liberation many years ago argued in favour of infanticide (or at least that it wasn’t such a biggie). The idea has then been introduced and someone else will push it another inch, then someone else will do the same and sooner or later we arrive at the desired destination.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 6, 2015 at 12:09 pm

            Utilitarianism is a hell of a thing.

          • WTP said, on May 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm

            Ah, but that’s a slippery slope argument. And Mike and his phellow philosophers have determined that slippery slope arguments are phallacious. Now if you were to argue that by denying to bake a cake for a gay wedding this could lead to no gay people ever being able to get their gay cakes baked for them at all, that would not be a slippery slope argument. Because philosophers get to choose their frame of reference. It’s why they chose to be philosophers in the first place. It’s a perk.

            • ronster12012 said, on May 7, 2015 at 11:51 am

              WTP

              I can understand in some ways the logic behind the slippery slope being called a fallacy. Toss a coin and each toss is exactly the same probability of heads. Take a step to the left and the next one could be a step to the right …..50/50 chance, random.Also, trees don’t keep growing up to the sky.

              However, what is ignored is human nature. What is normalized is the new normal. Add a vector line to the two positions, prior and current, and according to Newton that is the direction that the next step will probably be in.

              One great example of slippery slopes, despite them being a fallacy and therefore non existant lol, is the Dutch euthanasia experience. Initially it was for terminal patients in great pain with no possibility of recovery and only after a medical review panel signed it off. A decade or so later and it was being proposed as a solution to teenage depression ffs. If that ain’t a slippery slope I don’t know what is…..

            • WTP said, on May 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm

              Agree completely. But what we generally get is a subjective observation as to whether the tree is full grown or a sapling. Which really isn’t a subjective observation to anyone who is familiar with the kind of tree under observation. It’s quite tiresome, really. An escape clause from the argument. Or at other times a distraction.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 6, 2015 at 11:52 am

        That is certainly not a common view among philosophers. I have a family and no interest in abolishing it.

        • WTP said, on May 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm

          Denial is one of the signs, you know. A man with a PhD told me that once. The Ph part stands for Philosopher, no?

  12. T. J. Babson said, on May 5, 2015 at 6:56 am

    You can’t make this stuff up. No matter how incompetent you believe that government is, the reality is that it is worse.

    • WTP said, on May 5, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Faux News! Faux News! Only seeing this on Faux News!!11!!! so it must not be true. Otherwise someone else would discuss it.

      I mean I’m Mike might even write a post questioning the charges brought against those officers and offer this as evidence of the general incompetence (which of course would be a fallacy, but it wouldn’t count because, you know, Mike’s fallacies are special).

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 6, 2015 at 11:54 am

      One can always find awful examples. But if government is really that incompetent across the board, how does civilization even function?

  13. magus71 said, on May 6, 2015 at 7:00 am

    “No credible evidence that police officers use inordinate force against blacks.” that from a black sheriff. that from the statistics. That for my experience. But it can’t be true because Fox reported it. And, how about the assassinations of police officers? Riots anyone?

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4219309237001/where-is-the-outrage-for-slain-nypd-cop-brian-moore/?#sp=show-clips

  14. magus71 said, on May 6, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Well shit, half of the cops involved in Gray’s arrest are black. Crickets on that. Blacks= most racist, most violent, most selfish race in the world. There, I said it.

    • WTP said, on May 6, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Yes, see my post on May 2 @9:21 AM

      https://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/protests-violence/#comment-116916

    • ronster12012 said, on May 6, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Now that you have said it, Magus, don’t you feel a whole lot better? I did when I decided to stop paying lip service to bullshit. It has the additional benefit of severely annoying people who thoroughly deserve to be severely annoyed.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 6, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      How do you calculate that? Do wars count in calculating violence? How is selfishness assessed and defined? What about racism?

      • magus71 said, on May 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm

        Well I do suppose conventional wars require cooperation and organizational skills. So no. How do blacks calculate racism by the way?

        • ronster12012 said, on May 7, 2015 at 9:02 am

          Magus

          “How do blacks calculate racism by the way?” Racism is just a fancy word used by people who hate whites to describe tribalism of which there is no shortage in Africa.

        • WTP said, on May 7, 2015 at 9:09 am

          How do blacks calculate racism? Here, I’ll show you some racism:

          LOUISVILLE — Jordan and Tommy Gray’s 3-year-old daughter was watching SpongeBob Squarepants when two armed men broke into their home near Buechel on March 21, 2013, and robbed them at gunpoint.

          Two years later, when one of the offenders was about to be sentenced, Jordan wrote in a victim impact statement that her daughter was still “in constant fear of black men.” Both robbers were African-American.

          “Whenever we are running errands, if we come across a black male, she holds me tight and begs me to leave,” the mother said. “It has affected her friendships at school and our relationships with African-American friends.”

          Tommy Gray also wrote that since the crime, his daughter had been terrified of black males and that probation was not sufficient punishment for Gregory Wallace, 27, who had pleaded guilty to robbery.

          But when Wallace was brought up for sentencing Feb. 4 in Jefferson Circuit Court, it was the parents, not Wallace, who suffered Judge Olu Stevens’ wrath.

          “I am offended. … I am deeply offended that they would be victimized by an individual and express some kind of fear of all black men,” he said.

          “This little girl certainly has been victimized, and she can’t help the way she feels,” he said. “My exception is more with her parents and their accepting that kind of mentality and fostering those type of stereotypes.”

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/10/judge-slams-victims-for-tots-black-men-fear/25604929/

          • ronster12012 said, on May 7, 2015 at 12:07 pm

            WTP

            Unbelievable….except i believe it. How would that work if the colours were reversed? Not so much???

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 7, 2015 at 10:20 am

          I suspect they do it by such factors as segregation, discrimination, and poverty. Plus clear incidents like lynchings.

          • WTP said, on May 28, 2015 at 2:03 pm

            Heh…another “just seeing it now”…

            “Plus clear incidents like lynchings”…The last lynching in the US was in 1981. Do you suppose they could remove lynchings from the formula or do you think they possibly are still holding out hope? How many cops have been executed in just the past year?

  15. WTP said, on May 27, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Blue flu. OK, not flu. Blue Apathy, perhaps:

    BALTIMORE(WJZ)–It’s the deadliest month Baltimore has seen in more than 15 years. More than two dozen shootings over the holiday weekend alone have city police working around the clock.
    Now, leaders hope community members come forward to help stop the violence.
    Meghan McCorkell has more on this spike in violence.

    From West Baltimore, to the East Side, Govans, to Reservoir Hill–a spike in weekend violence is plaguing all parts of the city. Over the Memorial Day Weekend alone– city police report 28 shootings and 9 homicides.

    Baltimore Police say they responded to 6 shootings on Friday night, 7 on Saturday, 5 on Sunday and 11 by night fall on Monday.

    One of those include a double shooting in which a 9-year-old boy was found shot in the leg and a man who suffered a grazed wound to his head.

    Neighbors who spoke to WJZ didn’t want to be identified for fear of retaliation.
    “If you say something to these young people they’re ready to take your head off,” one person said.
    You need to download the latest version of flash player to use this player

    WJZ has learned that the mayor held an emergency meeting with the police commissioner and his command staff to address the uptick in violence.
    “My hope is the police will the support they need from the community to be able to get some answers and bring some of these individual to justice,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

    There have been 108 homicides in the city this year. City police are now putting together mini task forces to hit hot spots throughout the city.

    http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/05/25/baltimore-bloodshed-continues-28-shot-9-dead-over-holiday-weekend/

    Heard a radio interview with a cop, voice disguised, who said police are ignoring their shift commanders’ briefing orders to continue proactive, interventionist policing (forget the buzzword term) and instead only respond to calls and backing each other up.

    Mike, I ask you as someone who has written volumes (over 800 articles just on this blog) on “ethics”…Is such a response by the Baltimore police ethical?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 28, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      In general, I would say that a police officer has a moral obligation to perform her job. This job, like being a firefighter, soldier or teacher, involves an obligation to the public good which would seem to require performing the duties of that job. Of course, society (that is, everyone else) has an obligation to do their part, so there are circumstances in which refusal to do the job would be morally justified. For example, if a city decided to cut all benefits for the police and slash their wages in violation of a contract, then the police would have the `moral right to refuse to work. One is not obligated to stick to an obligation when the other party breaks the agreement.

      • WTP said, on May 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

        Aaaannnnd nowhere in these 123 words/684 characters do you answer the question asked. Cute how you want to work labor issues (” cut all benefits for the police and slash their wages in violation of a contract”…where exactly has this happened?) into the argument So the question…AGAIN…is:

        In this actual situation, is such a response by the Baltimore police ethical?

        ….thought you were worried about my blood pressure?

        • WTP said, on May 28, 2015 at 6:15 pm

          Antoinette Perrine has barricaded her front door since her brother was killed three weeks ago on a basketball court near her home in the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore. She already has iron bars outside her windows and added metal slabs on the inside to deflect the gunfire.

          “I’m afraid to go outside,” said Perrine, 47. “It’s so bad, people are afraid to let their kids outside. People wake up with shots through their windows. Police used to sit on every corner, on the top of the block. These days? They’re nowhere.”

          Perrine’s brother is one of those killed this month. Gray’s death sparked protests against the police and some rioting, and led to the indictment of six officers.

          Now West Baltimore residents worry they’ve been abandoned by the officers they once accused of harassing them. In recent weeks, some neighborhoods have become like the Wild West without a lawman around, residents said.

          http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/05/28/baltimore-residents-fearful-amid-rash-homicides/

      • magus71 said, on May 28, 2015 at 1:56 pm

        How about some backing from the spineless, race baiting degenerate public officials that hired the cops to do their job? When the cops start feeling like it’s immoral to do their job, then where does your argument go? They’ve been told by the left and right that what they do is wrong.

    • magus71 said, on May 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      I told everyone this is what it would come to.

      • WTP said, on May 28, 2015 at 4:17 pm

        My world and welcome to it. Said the same about the dot-com crash and the recent real estate crash. No one listens. It’s a new economy. Things will be different this time. etc. I’ve been saying the same about the education bubble since the realization of the web. Just a matter of time.

        Apropos of nothing, what would you say is the best private security firm out there? Hopefully it’s one whose stock is publicly owned.


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