Tag Archives: politics

I hate “one bad apple” politics


I should probably elaborate on what this means:

This is a term I’ve devised for the mentality, mostly found in right-wing politics, in which the existence of one person abusing a thing in ways that cause very little harm is proof that that thing should be banned.

You see it in the assertion that boat people are the biggest threat to Australian security, even though the 15,800 refugees to arrive in the past year are outnumbered approximately 2000 to 1 and 85% of them are legitimate refugees anyway according to the UN.

You see it in the idea that the (fictitious) existence of “welfare scroungers” in the US means that the entire welfare system should be shut down and screw the people who are dependent on it to scratch a precarious living.

Oddly enough, usually the main field you don’t see it in is gun rights, in which the people who misuse them – usually in ways that cost multiple lives – are brushed under the carpet and dismissed as fringe nutjobs so that the people speaking can keep their firearms. Weird. You’d think that consistency would at least obligate them to apply this to everything – people text while driving? Ban both cars and mobile phones! That kind of thing.

All I will say is that “it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent be punished”.

– OSM out

 

(Worse than WBTC will come eventually! I just think I’ve been trapped in the Valve-Time Continuum.)

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Why I don’t like the American right


This is building up to a “Why I Don’t Like The Australian Right” in a day or two. Be warned.

A fair bit of this comes from one twitter, which, as part of my non-idiot-shaming philosophy, will not be linked.

 

#10: “Government is untrustworthy, except when it comes to military force”

Government is untrustworthy. But you know what? The most untrustworthy bit is the military, because that is what totalitarian states use to maintain control.

And yet somehow American right-wingers are hugely in favour of the military. Which is kind of hilarious given their opposition to food stamp welfare, which feeds no less than 5000 soldiers on active service.

 

#9: “Poor people are just lazy.”

In a country with full employment and sufficient minimum wage, yes, lacking a job would be a sign that you don’t want one.

Your country has neither of those things. You do not have full employment. Your minimum wage is one third what it needs to be to produce a living wage. The politicians you are voting for are fighting against fixing those things. Try some empathy.

 

#8: “America is a Christian nation.”

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…” – the Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11.

Usually the people who spout this somehow miss that “sell all you have, and give it to the poor” is in theory a Christian teaching. See #9 and #7. (I say “in theory” because large Christian organizations never seem interested in actually practicing it to that degree, and large right-wing Christian organizations are more along the lines of “sell all you have and give it to ME”.)

 

#7: “Government aid creates a dependent class, unlike private charities.”

How? Faezress radiation? Why does one create that effect and not the other? People who need food are getting fed either way. Does the government’s involvement have some magical effect that turns otherwise decent human beings into leeches?

If I was starving, my response to being given food by the government would not be “sweet, I can now develop into a dependent class”. It would be “hell yes, now I don’t need to starve.”

Usually the people who say this are operating on a resentment that their taxes are being used to pay for this, which is why I don’t view it as honest – you’ve expressed a desire to pay less, you tend to assume everyone else will also pay less, exactly which programs do you expect private charities to cut to pay for the starving people you’ve dropped on them? Since you want to keep your money, why would you give it to charity rather than government when the sole difference is a thing that you made up?

(This one, incidentally, is complete bullshit. The vast majority of American welfare recipients are on welfare for less than two years. Hooray for zombie lies and inadequate fact checking I guess.)

 

#6: “Guns don’t kill people, people do.”

With guns.

Which are tools that make killing easier.

Especially when it comes to killing multiple people, which is very easy with an assault rifle and very hard with a butter knife.

Hey, here’s an idea. How about legalising the possession and sale of nuclear weapons? After all, nukes don’t kill people – people do.

 

#5: “We need guns to protect ourselves from the government.”

The government that has more guns and bombs than you do.

And which you in fact vote against when they propose reducing the number of guns and bombs they possess.

Consistency isn’t your strong suit, is it?

 

#4: “Firing a soldier who commits racist harassment of his co-workers threatens free speech.”

No it doesn’t. He is perfectly free to continue being racist in the unemployment line.

Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. Nor does it entitle you to harass your co-workers, which is grounds for sacking in literally any other career in existence. Why should the military have to keep on douchenozzles when any other industry is entitled to give them the boot?

 

#3: “There are able-bodied people on food stamps!”

You do realise that 100% employment does not exist, right? So occasionally people who are not disabled will not be able to find employment? Would you seriously prefer them to turn to crime rather than seek out welfare? Because for reasons we’ve already discussed, it’s pretty clear that under your strategy they won’t be able to get help from the now overworked and under-financed private charities. You don’t like the tiny tax expenditure they cause you? How much will you like your increased insurance premiums when someone steals your TV to buy food?

Jokes aside, this is a symptom of a larger problem I see infecting right-wing politics today: “it is better for ten innocents to suffer than one guilty person go unpunished.” You see it in Abbott’s and Rudd’s boat people plans, in which dealing with people smugglers at the cost of their passengers is A-OK. (That their plans are worthless for this purpose is a thing I will get to later this week.) You see it in the idea that one welfare abuser automatically invalidates the whole system. I would rather have my tax occasionally go to help people who don’t deserve it than that it never go to people who do.

(Well, okay, I don’t pay tax at the moment because I can’t find a job that pays enough to get taxed, but you get the idea.)

This is not justice. It’s the exact opposite of justice. People complain when a few jerks ruin it for the rest of them because that should not happen; it’s so much worse when what’s at stake is starvation.

 

#2: Opposition to gay marriage.

I absolutely despise the idea that my gay sibling should not be permitted to marry whoever they like because of some idiot with his head up his backside. Case closed.

 

#1: “Champions of small government”

Did you perhaps nap through the entire Bush administration? You know, the guy who overrode as many checks and balances as possible? Nice going dudes. I’ve never been so glad to not live in your country as I was between 2001 and 2008.

 

Yeah, the next few weeks are probably not going to be fun for you guys, because:

a) With the election coming up, I’m thinking about politics more;

b) Thinking about politics usually makes me angry, because of how atrocious it gets sometimes;

c) When I’m angry, I usually vent it, and my parents are deeply bored of me venting to them.

On a brighter note, I would like to remind you that echidnas are the most adorable creatures ever. That waddling gait of theirs is surprisingly cute.

– OSM out

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Dear Christian parenting groups, kindly go away


WARNING: RANTY. OKAY TO SKIP.

(This is going to be an angry one. You may want to stand back. Maybe move pot plants away from the computer.)

Another push toward gay marriage, another group of smug Christian parenting groups claiming that it contradicts federal legislation and therefore will be shot down. Even assuming this is true, why are you happy about this? Nobody’s going to force you to marry another person of the same sex at gunpoint. Same-sex marriage is not going to affect you in any way. Meaning that you are happy about the failure of something that will have no relevance to your life simply because…what? Do you consider other people

In fact, a *lot* of anti-same-sex-marriage arguments are dumb. My favourite has to be the slippery slope one that asks whether the next plan is to legalise marrying dogs. I mean, wow. I’m not even gay and I find that offensive. No, seriously. If you’re using that argument, you are comparing gay people to nonsapient animals. Do you not see how this could be taken as hugely rude and stupid? Are you so devoid of empathy that you don’t see how obnoxious that is?

“If you let people worship God, next they’ll be worshipping pixies!” Did you find that rude? Good! That’s exactly how your argument is structured! I don’t regret giving you a taste of your own medicine at all. A little bit of empathy might even make you less of a dick!

This is the key problem Christianity has picked up. After more than a millennium as the dominant religion in the Western world, Christian groups have started to feel entitled to control. They don’t seem willing to accept equal status; they want greater. It’s not enough to keep your religion’s rules yourself; you need to legislate them, force them on other people. Even the loopy rules. After all, other people’s religions are just hokey superstitions or mockery of your own true religion.

Stop it. Your religion is not entitled to special privileges just because it is yours. You will have equal status and you will like it.

If you believe your religion requires you to be a homophobic tool, I want you to do two things. First, I want you to look deep inside yourself, to the darkest place you can see, and ask why you consider this religion to be a good thing.

Then I want you to go looking for a different religion, because you’ve just proved that the one you have now is not good for you.

– OSM out

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Politics Corner: Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel


Australian politics has finally reached rock bottom. As far as I’m concerned, politics has now come down to Greens vs. Idiots.

What has produced this breakdown, you ask? Labor’s new asylum seeker policy. Yeah, here’s a thing, Labor: that you are shoving people to a different location does not mean your policy is substantially different from the Coalition. In fact, a lot of your policies are not substantially different from the Coalition’s, except that they tend to involve throwing money away rather than pouring it into a giant Scrooge McDuck money vault and refusing to let anyone look at it. (Except John Howard, who would revert to his true form, curl up on it and sleep, at least until a party of dwarves and one wizard recruited Bob Brown as their burglar and set off on a quest to liberate it.)

And this is what we call a problem.

Why do we even have multiple parties if the three biggest are all the Liberal Party in different hats? How is it good for democracy that the primary choices are three batches of clone troopers?

I know it’s not going to happen, but I can’t help but want the Greens to win the next election. If nothing else, it’ll indicate to Labor that they can’t get away with just photocopying the Liberal policy documents and sticking on different colour covers.

– OSM out

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Tumblr social justice II: tumblr feminism


WARNING: This post is probably going to offend some people. Don’t care. That’s their problem.

“Why do people think a belief in women equals a hatred of men?” – Wonder Woman

Feminism is a political and philosophical movement dedicated to establishing and defending equal rights for women. It has a rich intellectual heritage and has achieved great things during its history. It deserves support from everyone with a conscience or sense of perspective. I just want to make this clear at the beginning: I’m not anti-feminism. I’m pro-feminism. I think all people should have the chance to live and work and chase their dreams regardless of sex, gender, colour, creed or sexual orientation.

Large chunks of tumblr quote-unquote “feminism” is not feminism. It more closely resembles the ludicrous straw feminism you see in Frank Miller comics. Its “intellectual heritage” largely consists of “feminazi” characters from bad 80s TV shows, and its primary achievement is to be posted on tumblr, an all-devouring maw of stupid exaggerations. It is concrete proof that he, or she, who fights sexist douchebags, should be careful to not in turn become a sexist douchebag.

I want to quote you something. I’m not going to identify the source; unless it’s Ayn Rand, I don’t believe in idiot shaming. (The second thing mentioned, I have to admit, is actually relevant, coherent and sane…which makes the first thing mentioned just that much more disappointing.)

“The myth that the vagina is tighter when you’re a virgin is caused by 2 things

1) cis men love the idea of “ruining” a woman’s body  (as shown by porn) and they get some sort of sick pleasure from thinking that after having sex with a woman, she will never be the same again.”

Speaking as a cisgendered* male: I’m so grateful you decided to make a group attack against my entire gender in the middle of something that could otherwise have been entirely useful and informative. I really needed you to declare me to be a sociopathic monster on the foolproof grounds that I was born with external genitalia. That massively improved my day. It’s not hypocritical at all that you’re decreeing an entire gender to be inferior.

That’s the thing: feminism, real feminism, is about equality. It’s about preventing discrimination against women. It’s not about establishing discrimination against men. It’s about fighting sexism, not about being sexist in the opposite direction. Equal means equal.

– OSM out

*”Cisgendered”, or “cis” for short, means “not transgendered”. Outside of tumblr, it is a value-neutral statement; in the hands of idiots, as seen above, it is a foolproof barometer of moral inferiority.

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Today’s challenge: punch a Youtube commenter


First things first: I’m not going to name names. I’m going to mention a Youtube video and you can track it down and figure out the name yourself.

Second things second: I’m sorry this is nearly two days late, but I forgot. Then I found this moron and decided it merited a reply.

So I watched a Youtube video depicting President Bartlett from The West Wing chewing out a homophobe by quoting the more bizarre, disproportionate, almost insane laws found within the books of Exodus and Leviticus. And then I read the comments.

Yes, you’d think I’d have learned by now not to do that. No, I haven’t. Hopefully with some therapy I will recover.

As you would expect, given that this clip involves the idea that LGBTQ people might actually be human and deserve consideration*, there was one loud, ethically myopic, arrogant, stupid bigot who, by his** very existence, makes the human race slightly less worthy of survival. He made a lot of bad points and I think a few of them need to be addressed.

Point 1: “Opposition to Gay Marriage Isn’t Hate”

Yes it is.

I mean, let’s think about this. You’re denying someone the right to equality under the law. That’s hate. That is categorically a hateful act. There is no way to formulate “[group] should not be considered equal under the law” that does not boil down to “the law should hate [group]”.

Okay, it’s theoretically possible you’re not motivated by hate***. That actually makes it worse. That means you don’t even have the excuse that you were blinded by strong emotion. That means you are calmly engaging in a premeditated betrayal of all that is good in humanity. You are, without the slightest qualm of conscience, discarding empathy for a group simply because you do not belong to it****. That’s a terrible thing to do and a terrible person to be.

So you might not be a bigot. You might just be a sociopath. I don’t consider that a point in your favour.

Point 2: “Why don’t you tolerate my intolerance?*****”

There’s an old saying. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Since you are agitating for a policy of uncloaked spite towards a certain subset of the population, I think it would be fair if “we”, that is to say the left, showed you what that felt like.

Except that wait. We’re not. We haven’t driven your family to shun you; we haven’t fired you from your job; we haven’t demanded bans on straight marriage, oaths of atheism, or posting the Laws of Thermodynamics in public places. The degree of intolerance you are shown largely consists of a) people disagreeing with you, b) people calling you on your prejudice, and c) people not permitting you to wield unchecked legislative power in the name of that prejudice.

As a result, I suppose it makes sense that you have no sense of proportion. It makes sense that you have such a loose definition of disenfranchisement and prejudice, since you’ve never been on the receiving end. It makes sense that you’re afraid of the Other, because you’ve never associated with it.

It makes sense that you are all of these terrible terrible things. It just doesn’t make sense that you seem to think this is a good state to be in.

Point 3: “Most LBGTQ people are hateful bigots!”

Um, no, that’s not even slightly true. You are in fact thinking of the voices in your head. Most LBGTQ people are like most other people – they’re calm, sensible, reasonable people. This is true of virtually every group except “extremist wingnuts”.

Frankly, I’m amazed more LBGTQ people aren’t outspoken heterophobes. Given the quantity of crap they have to deal with, mainly thanks to people who agree with your nonsensical, bigoted, incoherent rants, it’s astonishing how few gays and lesbians succumb to “he who fights monsters”.

Of course there are a few outspoken loons. There are outspoken loons in every ideology. In fact, your own form of religiously annotated homophobia has produced rather a lot of them******. I’m pretty sure that makes you a hypocrite – “the more out-there of your side discredit the whole thing! …Please ignore the more out-there of my side.”

Point 4: “Marriage is not a right.”

Actually, it kind of is.

Have you perhaps heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from the UN? Article 16 states that “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” It does not specify that the men and women have to marry each other.

Plus, Article 7 states that all are equal before the law.

Meaning that yes, marriage actually is a right. More to the point, gay marriage is also a right, since if you can only legally marry the one you love if that person happens to be the other sex, that’s inequality under the law.

 

Anyway, I apologise for trying to address actual significant issues rather than ranting about cheese or theodicy for 800 words. Normal service should be resumed on Monday.

– OSM out

 

* That this is in any way a contentious stance makes me despair just a little bit.

** I’m assuming this person is male because their username contains a male first name.

*** Although given that the comments in question are heavy on capitals and short on logical argument, I doubt it somehow.

**** Or, in some cases, because you are a member of that group and have no idea how to constructively deal with it, leading to a tragic spiral of self-loathing that culminates in you being caught in flagrante delicto with a male prostitute and yet somehow remaining in denial.

***** Phrased rather more clumsily and stupidly in the fantastically dumb posts I’m reading, but honestly, this is the most well-known formulation so let’s go with this.

****** Insert a cough, then your preferred right-wing loudmouth, then another cough here.

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Laser clowns have kung-fu fight with werewolves


And other great headlines you will never see in a reliable newspaper.

“Man burns toast.”

“Karkat Vantas declared Pope.”

“The hunt is on – NRA members legally declared ‘gamebirds’.”

“Kerry Packer rises from grave as lich – adventurers sought.”

“Space alien weds two-headed Elvis clone.”

“President abducted by Wookiees – George Lucas blamed.”

“Shocking twist! Wookiees abducted by ninjas! President bewildered.”

And of course:

“Australian politician tells truth – Opposition flabbergasted.”

– OSM out

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