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Richard

There is definitely a tension between social conservatives and libertarian conservatives in the Republican party. I'm of the libertarian version myself, but I more often than not find the liberal version of social engineering just as bad as the social conservative version. What we basically have in this country is a whole bunch of folks, right and left, who think they know best for the rest of us, and are willing to force us into line if need be. Thank our lucky stars for the U.S. Bill of Rights, something those collectivist Europeans don't have, as they slip further and further into the abyss of government controlled public mores.

wolfa

Yeah, forcing people into acting non-biased, even if they don't feel that way. Damn those lefty states!

h sofia

The whole problem I have with accusations of social engineering - and even "political correctness" is that often the folks pointing the finger are refusing to acknowledge that the society as we know it - WAS socially engineered.

I keep being amazed, every time someone suggests that women, people of color, non heterosexuals, non Christians and the working class have an "agenda." I keep hearing euphemisms like "special interests" and "pc police" used to refer to historically marginalized people as if they have no right to petition the government in order to have their needs. As if white male Christian heterosexuals who owned (or desired) property have NEVER had an agenda! Have never used the system and government in order to get their needs met? The power structure and plain old history of our country tells us all otherwise.

I wonder. Are people in denial, disagreement or are they just ignorant? If they disagree, how do they explain the way things currently are?

It makes me angry just thinking about it.

Stentor

h sofia makes a great point -- society is already socially engineered. There wouldn't *be* society without social engineering in some form, and the particular society that we have has been engineered in a particularly brutal way. So I think the question is not whether we should engage in social engineering, but how we do it. For example, top-down social engineering -- of the type used (to different degrees) by the Soviets and by FMA proponents -- is more morally and practically problematic than the more bottom-up social engineering favored by modern progressives.

TangoMan

I really meant to say that I don't like the government telling me what I can and can't do unless my actions have a direct impact on others. Thus, in my world, drug laws bad, anti-discrimination laws good, to give just one example.

Hmm (scratchin my head) so ad-hocry is the basis of your world view. Drug use affects the drug user and those in his life. Same with drunk driving. The drunk driver may kill himself, but also may kill others. The drug user certainly harms herself, but also harms her loved ones. Anti-discrimination harms the competent who are discriminated against, and directly tarnishes the hyper competent of the the group that is targeted for preferential treatment.

So I don't really see the rhyme or reason to your choice of philosophies.

As for market forces, do you recall how life was in the dating world. Whenever you turned down a guy who didn't appeal to your personal bias, then you purposely inflicted a little bit of harm to his ego. Market forces are everywhere.

The Happy Feminist

I disagree that drug use per se harms others. My real position on drug laws is a little more nuanced than what I outlined. If one can establish that certain drugs inevitably lead to criminally victimizing others, then I would support outlawing those drugs. I would want to see very high or even absolute correlations between those behaviors and the use of the drug, though. Perhaps that correlation has been shown for certain drugs -- I have never gotten around to looking into the matter. But someone's recreational use of marijuana from time to time does not necessarily lead to harming others, and therefore it should be legal.

As for my dating discrimination (which for the record was not based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or any other protected category), the potential for harm was minor. I did not have the power to ruin anyone's life or prevent someone from fully participating in the public life of our society. Even back when interracial dating was considered socially taboo (as I believe it still is in certain circles), people always had a sufficient pool of people of their own race to choose from.
You don't need thousands of prospects in order to have a happy dating life or eventually marry.

In business, however, wholesale rejection of a person based on skin color had the power to ruin that person's life and transform that person into a second class citizen, a second class citizen less able than others to participate in the public life of this country. Women, for example, were second class citizens in large part due the lack of opportunities in fields outside the pink collar ghettos of teaching and nursing.

TangoMan

As for my dating discrimination (which for the record was not based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or any other protected category), the potential for harm was minor. I did not have the power to ruin anyone's life or prevent someone from fully participating in the public life of our society.

Tell that to the chronically ugly or morbidly obese. Ever little rejection builds up, every little rejection cuts a bit deeper into their wounds, just like every rejection from a job interview hurts a little. The chronically ugly person can move onto the next person they find attractive, just like the "protected class" job interviewer can move onto the next employer. Just as the potential for harm is minor when single people discriminate against the chronically ugly, so too is the potential for harm when a person discriminates by favoring their own bias.

If you want to diminish the freedom of association then why do it arbitrarily? Why inflict loss of freedom and inefficiency only upon one group within society and not upon all groups?

wholesale rejection of a person based on skin color had the power to ruin that person's life and transform that person into a second class citizen

No it doesn't. I was once the top candidate for a job but was subsequently informed that higher-ups had designated that position to be restricted to women candidates, and was informed by one very pissed-off HR person, who felt that her authority had been circumvented, that the #6 candidate got the job. That rejection didn't ruin my life and it's lucky that none of the top 5 candidates sued the organization though I'm not sure whether they were privy to the deliberations that revolved around that position. The way I look at it, the organization deserved the candidate they got.

I simply moved on to another organization that judged people on merit and that option is available to all members of the "protected classes."

The Happy Feminist

I simply moved on to another organization that judged people on merit and that option is available to all members of the "protected classes."

Except in 1965 that option wasn't available. That option became available only because of anti-discrimination laws.

And yeah, you had every right to sue the company who rejected your candidacy. Don't forget that males are protected class too!

Morbid obesity actually might be a protected category if it constitutes a disability. "Chronically ugly" wouldn't work as a category because it is impossible to define. (Personally and very subjectively, I don't believe in inherent ugliness. I think almost anyone can look attractive with proper grooming.)

TangoMan

Don't forget that males are protected class too!

Aw shucks, you only say that because you're a reasonable person. To see that this isn't a universally held position just pop over to Rachel Sullivan's blog and see her advocated that there should be reduced standards for all groups except whites, by which she means white males.

The Happy Feminist

I think I have to sign off for the night. Off to watch "Anatomy of a Murder" and eat pizza. May try to bang out a post later or maybe tomorrow morning.

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