Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Science Fiction & Prediction

Let's take a breath and look longer term.  I am inspired after we watched the (mostly) very good "Bladerunner 2049" flick, last night.  More on that, below.

== Probing the territory in front of us ==

How does Science Fiction do at prediction? From Star Trek to 2001 and The Matrix, this article from The Guardian takes a look at how well -- or poorly -- science fiction films predicted and portrayed the next generation of computers, robots and technological innovation. 

In this essay - Why Science-Fiction Writers Couldn’t Imagine the Internet, Lawrence Krauss (author of the recently released The Greatest Story Ever Told -- So Far: Why Are We Here?) presents game-changing real world technologies that defied prediction -- and contemplates what science fiction is good at, and how it seldom actually forecasts the truly unexpected. Well, sure. Though it’s also important to be aware of anomalies...

Like E. E. Hale's The Brick Moon, published in 1866 which foretold navigation and communication satellites as well as humans living in orbit, or Bernal’s “The World, The Flesh and the Devil” in the 1920s scanning ahead at rotating cylinder space colonies, or Aldous Huxley’s genetic augmentation of humans, or H.G. Wells predicting nuclear weapons and war. 

American short story writer Edward Page Mitchell in the 1880s foresaw instant news transmission, pneumatic tube transport and equal rights for women, along with a steady decline of racism, till a Chinese-American is a major presidential candidate in the 1960s. 

San Francisco author Robert Duncan Milne had a run of fantastic tales from 1877-1899 about radio communications, image-based surveillance, photographic forensics, and surviving solar flares.  (More Brin news about Milne, in the course of time, I promise.)

Krauss kindly credits me with predicting some aspects of the World Wide Web, in my 1989 novel EARTH, along with William Gibson’s cyberpunk versions of the Internet, earlier. But he stops there, claiming that SF missed the super-linked world, for the most part. And, for the most part, he’s right! Still, other exceptions stand out. Take Frederik  Pohl's The Age of the Pussyfoot, which in 1967 or so portrayed not only a vast world-array of linked computers, but citizens carrying personal assistants in their pockets (“Joymakers”) that advised, got information, took pictures and – oh yes – made calls. 

John Brunner’s 1960s novels Stand on Zanzibar and The Shockwave Rider anticipated not just the internet but computer worms and viruses, as did Gregory Benford’s even-earlier story "The Scarred Man."  Even before that, Murray Leinster’s “A Logic Named Joe” had fun with what could go wrong, if we all got semi-intelligent personal AI helpers.

While we are on brilliant prescience, have another look at a Fred Pohl book that I have touted for 20 years, urging members of our intelligence, law and military communities to read, and be scared! Pohl’s The Cool War is mentioned in this article that openly adopts his terminology for a struggle between powers that has warmed up to a desperately dangerous kind of bitter peace. In that novel, nations wage a cryptic campaign of tit-for-tat sabotage, undermining each others’ infrastructure, banking systems and power, a ‘war’ that is never declared and never goes nuclear, but leaves us all spiraling ever downward into failure and poverty.

Cool War... The term has been updated and promulgated by David Rothkopf, editor at large at Foreign Affairs and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and I am glad it is getting wider play, since a Cool War is clearly what we’re in. (A little credit then, for my having pushed Pohl’s book -especially to the Protector Caste- for two decades? ;-)

The new anti-democratic axis that has been forged by Vladimir Putin -- now stretching from Ankara all the way to Manila and supported by another rising power – discusses openly its motive and intent to bring down the “decadent west” with its “fictitious” notions of freedom of citizen-rule.  The sabotage of our political processes has come far and probing feints have measured vulnerabilities in every area that Fred predicted, from the power grid to transport. 

And did you really think that North Korea’s nukes have no part in the overall plan? They allow for a possible EMP strike on North America aimed at knocking us down a bunch, while the larger powers retain “It wasn’t us!” plausible deniability. Read that again. And again while actually thinking about who really controls things, in North Korea.)

I’ve railed about this in both fiction and nonfiction (e.g. The Transparent Society) as well as many talks and consultations. 

Though it can be important to grasp the justifications of the other side! Let’s remember that Putin feels vexed that Obama and Hillary Clinton oversaw (he claims instigated) the revolution that removed the Ukraine from Russia’s orbit, sending that people racing toward union with the West. Putin did not want the masterminds of this setback to remain in power, and he brought out every gun to ensure they’d be replaced by his own favored man.

Yes, we live in a world that seems almost written as a science fiction tale!  Who on Earth would have imagined that Americans might be prodded and propagandized into turning away from our genius at pragmatic negotiation? That we’d let ourselves be talked into abandoning the high art of politics? That a third of our citizens could be distracted into waging all-out war on … science? On every single profession of fact-users who know stuff? And now the “deep state” officers of the FBI and intel agencies and military?

No, no. Let this be a cheap novel.

== The future is better than the past ==

Few of my postings have elicited as much fervent argument – and even hate-mail – as my recent blog about Robert A. Heinlein, an author log categorized as a right-winger by oversimplifying fools. That post reprinted directly from Heinlein’s afterword to Revolt in 2100, in which he expressed desperate worry about a merging of the American right with racism and the nastier tendencies in fundamentalism.

Yes, RAH was definitely a “libertarian” in the older sense that hearkens to Adam Smith and self-reliant individualism, though I doubt he’d find much in common with the version that has hijacked that movement, nowadays. On the other hand, he was vigorously pro-science and intellect and diversity/tolerance, and… well, read his own words, and see how chillingly close they came to predicting our awful, pre-theocracy politics, today. 

Here’s another passage, this time from the penultimate page of his finest time travel novel, The Door Into Summer:

"…the future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
     
“Most of these long-haired belittlers can't drive a nail nor use a slide rule, I'd like to invite them into Dr. Twitchell's cage and ship them back to the twelfth century--then let them enjoy it.”

Yeah, sure. There are lefty flakes who qualify as “romantics” and “long hairs!” But look around at who is screaming hatred of science and every other fact profession. (Name one exception.) Look at the revival of fascism and confederatism, two of the most romantic movements ever seen. And… aw, heck.  Let me paste back in here the pivotal paragraphs of Heinlein’s afterword to Revolt in 2100:

“Could it be otherwise here? Could any one sect obtain a working majority at the polls and take over the country? Perhaps not – but a combination of a dynamic evangelist, television, enough money, and modern techniques of advertising and propaganda might make Billy Sunday’s efforts look like a corner store compared to Sears Roebuck. 

"Throw in a Depression for good measure, promise a material heaven here on earth, add a dash of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Negrosim, and a good large dose of anti-“furriners” in general and anti-intellectuals here at home, and the result might be something quite frightening – particularly when one recalls that our voting system is such that a minority distributed as pluralities in enough states can constitute a working majority in Washington."


Oh, yes. Science fiction authors can be off target.  But there can also be prescient.

== Bladrunner 2049 ==

Forgot to do this so I'll be brief.  It's a great flick. Very enjoyable. Grade A for Ambiance, music and acting. A bit lower for plot logic, but I'll get to that another time. Seriously, the fact that I'm not used as a plot consultant more often than I am is ... well... a tragedy for you film lovers!  ;-)

77 comments:

LarryHart said...

Caveat emptor, I haven't read the linked article yet.

But I'm the minority voice here who doesn't think Star Trek (TOS) really did try to predict future science so much as imagine a time in which humans sailed between stars and then included future-y technology for verisimilitude. The original (1950s) Foundation trilogy operates in much the same way. They imagine a future and then fill in details more than they predict a future.

I think 2001 did more of an attempt at predicting future technology, although even there I would caution against taking the date too seriously. In 1968, 2001 was "the future". Clarke could extrapolate advances from the then-present such as TWA space shuttles without being dinged for the fact that TWA is no longer a thing, or for things not being quite so advanced in the real year 2001. George Orwell also used a future date (1984) for his imagined dystopia, but IIRC, he picked the year by reversing the digits in 1948, not because he meticulously determined that 1984 was exactly the right time for that society to come into being.

Jon S. said...

The major problem with a lot of sci-fi predictions of future tech is that they wind up being far too conservative. Pournelle and Niven's The Mote In God's Eye, for instance, had characters carrying around "pocket computers" that were in every significant way similar to, say, a Samsung Note 8 - except that in addition to interfacing with a computer network, and using handwriting recognition, a Note 8 can also make and receive phone calls.

They were only off on delivery of this technology by about a thousand years...

Catfish N. Cod said...

We must not ignore the chicken-and-egg problem here.

Flip-phones were designed based on the Star Trek TOS communicators. Home voice activation is so clearly patterned after the TNG-era voice-responsive computers (remember, Scotty didn't recognize a mouse at first and described keyboards as 'quaint'), and Samantha from Her came out as Alexa-style units were being prototyped.

The greatest hope I hold is based on the fact that we have not had a single person with all the traits of Nemehiah Scudder. Huckabee worried me for a while -- a Baptist preacher with good affect who was also a Governor of Arkansas. Cruz worried me as well, but he's just not telegenic enough. Pence bothers me still -- but he's too quiet and also a screwup; he was about to lose his Governorship when the national machine plucked him as the perfect foil.

Everyone who recognizes the name knows that the elements of the necessary propaganda machine are ready and available -- though Fox News has started to show signs of actual thought in the last year, Breitbart and Sinclair stand ready to take up the slack; the talk-radio system is well honed; and the system of think-tanks and PACs has assembled the raw advertising skill required. Cambridge Analytica was built for the express purpose of directing that advertising in a pinpoint manner, something that may have been aided by the Russian Intelligence troll-farm. The Klan and its like-minded brethen, of course, have already been activated, though their numbers are small.

And of course, the platform has already congealed almost identically to Heinlein's prediction, with the sole exception that American Catholics have now been included; having become "more Catholic than the Pope" their fanatic elements are now compatible with the general fundamentalist spectrum. This development makes an actual Established Church less likely -- though the Theocracy could always stage a purge after seizing power, they would find matters difficult these days with Catholics distributed nationwide and throughout the government.

But until the Xer and Millennial generations fully grasp the levers of power, we are all still in grave danger.

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:

But until the Xer and Millennial generations fully grasp the levers of power, we are all still in grave danger.


My daughter is working on it. :)

Tim H. said...

I believe Dr. Pournelle was delighted to see the iPhone in his lifetime.

Twominds said...

Someone on Slate has heard Dr. Brin:

Of course Democrats tire of dealing with the superficial whims of a president perpetually in need of fabricated, self-glorying narratives. But if there’s any business to be done, such temporary self-abasement may be the cost.

On dealing with Trump in the case of saving something of the ACA.

David Harrington said...

I would add Norman Spinrad's Riding the Torch for predicting a super-Internet with multi-sensory capability, the "tap." Admittedly, it connected the people on a flotilla of star ships after the demise of Earth, but it allowed shared experiences, entertainment, researching old memories, and the like.

David Brin said...


LarryHart… it was PanAm in 2001, not TWA… and see my essay about how we’re actually doing better than that world!
http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/2001.html

Yes, Catfish… we boomer should just die, die, die! ;-)

NoOne said...

@Catfish

I've sometimes wondered if the virulent fundamentalism we saw post 9-11 has been replaced by a virulent nationalism (and alt-right racism) now. In 2004, Karl Rove asked "where are the 4 million missing evangelicals" and went after their votes using red meat like gay marriage. In 2016 in contrast, Bannon and Trump pulled out every dog whistle they had to get rural whites to vote. Perhaps this is actually encouraging since the messages are getting more and more overt rather than cloaked. And with Russian oligarchs in the news every day, there's no place for the moneybags to hide either.

As a non-white immigrant, I first became very familiar with loud, opinionated boomers but am now very familiar with depressed Gen Xers who don't mind the system blowing up as they are furious with institutional rot. They could actually be more dangerous than idealistic boomers since they don't seem to think they have anything to lose by blowing things up.

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Catfish N. Cod said...

@NoOne: I have seen nihilist Xers yes -- but there is a difference between actively tearing down the temple for being imperfect, and wanting the rubble to fall over already because it obstructs building anything else.

You see, for many GenXers, they aren't completely wrong. They've been so screwed that they *don't* have much more to lose than anyone in the system; they don't get most of its benefits. Yes, living as a bum or menial wage slave is better in the US, but when you are grading out levels of hopeless misery you are missing the point of life.

But even Xers won't object to building something better. Boomers would, because if it is not their preferred ideological shape, they'll blow it right back to smithereens. Whereas Xers and Millies just want *things to work*, and are jointly appalled at how little that matters to Boomers.

@Dr. Brin: you know what I mean. ;-)

Tony Fisk said...

I enjoyed Bladerunner 2049. I certainly don't see why it's been getting such poor ratings, unless it's to continue the spin that the original Bladerunner was the best SF film ever.

Admittedly, there were no explicit 'tears in rain' moments (though have a deep think about that ending!) but the characters were interesting. Ford could do Deckard in his sleep (he doesn't). Gosling's Agent K is bland, for a reason. and... poor Joi.

I even (*gasp!*) liked Wallace, although that may be because I got the allusion to Argos Panoptes(or Blind Io??)

Someone had wicked fun with the billboards!

Zepp Jamieson said...

The Boomer's Lament:

Nobody loves me, everybody hates me,
Guess I'll go eat worms...

Tony Fisk said...

Never am sure if I'm last of the Boomers, or first of the Xers (probably the former)

locumranch said...


Murray Leinster is a personal fave, especially his always skeptical Med Ship series, although he tends to be overly optimist about the intelligence & rationality of human beings in general.

In reference to David's 'anti-intellectualism' accusations, and I've concluded that he means to suggest that society & the general population once valued intellectualism in some coherent fashion, yet experience shows that this has never been the case as the public has always despised intellectualism (in general) & intellectuals (in specific), even when the public offers grudging appreciation for the fruits of intellectualism.

Intellectuals tend to be freaks, geeks & statistical outliers and, despite all their good efforts, they are most often treated as outcasts while the live: Galileo Galilei was imprisoned as a heretic; Gregor Mendel died prior to any recognition; Nicholas Tesla died broke & unappreciated; and many of the West's greatest authors (Blake, Melville, Poe) died penniless.

Scientists & Intellectuals make up a vanishingly small percentage of the general population even though other scientists & intellectuals imagine themselves as legion. As of 2012, Scientists & Engineers accounted for 4.8% of total U.S. employment. That's LESS THAN 5%. The very smart (those with an IQ >137) make up LESS THAN 1% of the US population. And most of intellectuals fritter away their gifts in petty & inconsequential tasks.

These scientists & intellectuals often commit a category error by assuming that they represent 'The Norm' even though they are the rare exception. They assume rationality & intelligence where very little exists; they assume conspiratorial intent when incompetence suffices; they wrongly conclude that their concerns are the world; and they are the first placed up against the wall when the revolution comes.

Even Zepp knows that one worm feast follows another.


Best

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Guys
We finally have clarity on our new government (New Zealand)

The "Winston Party" - NZ First is going to support a Labour/Green coalition
or more accurately a Labour/NZ First coalition with Green support

This is the result of our proportional representation system with the biggest single party - National - becoming the opposition

Even if NZ First had ended up with National it would still have been an improvement on having a single party in power

Now we just have to wait and see what Winston has pushed Labour into doing

George Carty said...

@TwoMinds (from previous post)

Yes, I was well aware of Rod Adam's fine blog at Atomic Insights – in fact it was he that gave me the insight in the first place that the main thing holding back nuclear power is "regulatory capture in reverse" by fossil fuel interests. One of the most egregious examples was the Germany's nuclear phaseout policy instigated by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Almost a soon as he left office, he landed a plum job with Nordstream AG – a company majority-owned by Gazprom (and therefore by the Russian government) tasked with building a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany. The capacity of that pipeline is almost exactly what is required to replace the output of Germany's nuclear reactor fleet!

@NoOne,

It seems to me that the alt-right is essentially a hybrid of traditional neo-Nazism and the so-called "men's rights" movement. Their frequent use of "cuck" as an epithet (which alludes to an overweening sense of sexual entitlement) is a giveaway.

George Carty said...

Sorry, that should be Rod Adams not Rod Adam!

NoOne said...

@Tony Fisk

Loved Bladerunner 2049. Saw it in IMAX which is the best way to see it. It was like a visual Bach fugue and worth seeing especially after ingesting some good stuff :-). Will probably see it again to catch all the small details. Did think it was more homage than forward looking and there's certainly scope for Bladerunner 2079 (in 2045) since we'll have pseudo-sentient AIs by then. (There is a whiff of misogyny which has been picked up by reviewers like MaryAnn Johanson - the FlickFilosopher - but didn't let that bother me.)

@George Carty

Yes. The MRA (men's rights activists) and the alt-right have things in common (and there's evidence of this on the alt right website). Christopher Cantwell (who marched in Charlottesville) was MRA before alt right. Will have more info after Richard Spencer's talk today in Gainesville.

@Catfish

Have been quite influenced by some Gen Xer faculty (here in Gainesville) which puts me in a nihilistic frame of mind more often than I would like.

Darrell E said...

Jon S. said...

"The major problem with a lot of sci-fi predictions of future tech is that they wind up being far too conservative. Pournelle and Niven's The Mote In God's Eye, for instance, had characters carrying around "pocket computers" that were in every significant way similar to, say, a Samsung Note 8 - except that in addition to interfacing with a computer network, and using handwriting recognition, a Note 8 can also make and receive phone calls."

Not to mention, store .5 terabytes of data, pretty sophisticated cameras* that take stills and movies, a variety of sensors that in combination with data crunching enable things like inertial navigation and GPS navigation.

* The last time I had a check up at a dermatologist he found a spot on my shoulder that he wanted to sample. He was excited to try out a new gizmo he had recently gotten. An app for his phone along with a clip-on lens for the phone's camera. He took a picture of the spot, the app uploaded the image data to the local network and software on the desk top computer in the exam room analyzed the image data and gave a result (benign). All in literally 60 seconds or so. Since it was new technology, at least to him, he also removed the spot and sent it out to a lab for analysis to compare with the results from the new gizmo.

About Bladerunner 2049, I thought it was very good. Certainly not perfect but damn good. Nearly every movie that I become interested in seeing ends up being rather disappointing, though not necessarily to such a degree that I don't enjoy the movie. So many cliches. Bladerunner 2049 left me with very little disappointment. It is visually and aurally stunning. Most of the acting is pretty good. The story is not bad but may be the weakest aspect of the movie.

LarryHart said...

Catfish N Cod:

But even Xers won't object to building something better. Boomers would, because if it is not their preferred ideological shape, they'll blow it right back to smithereens. Whereas Xers and Millies just want *things to work*, and are jointly appalled at how little that matters to Boomers.


When I was growing up in the 60s and coming of age in the 70s, "Baby Boomers" was inextricably entwined with the concept of youth culture. "Never trust anyone over 30" was a Boomer motto. Thus, it is really unnerving to notice that "Boomer" has taken on the connotation of "crotchety old man." Talk about "a different thing, in fact the opposite thing"!

As a white suburban man in his late 50s, I am supposed to be in Trump's demographic, and yet he's surpassed W and Cheney in the level of disdain I hold for the man and his whole following. So while I don't think I'm one of *those* Boomers, I would condider ceding my standing in making decisions about society's future if the rest of my generation did likewise (just as Ann Coulter asserts that women shouldn't be allowed to vote). My daughter and her friends will fix everything if we don't make the task literally impossible.

Tony Fisk:

Never am sure if I'm last of the Boomers, or first of the Xers (probably the former)


Birthdates through 1960 seem to always been included as "Boomers". After that, it gets murky. I've heard dates as late as 1965 included in the clade, but I've also heard the subsequent "baby bust" beginning two or three years before that.

raito said...

LarryHart,

Regardless of your generation, being suburban puts you out of Trump's demographic. Where I am, the rurals were his targets, and he got them.

I'm in between, I suppose. I can't claim to be a boomer, as both my parents were too young during WWII. But I definitely don't have a Gen-X mindset.

On the street where I grew up, there was 1 father some years older than the rest who was a WWII vet. His mind definitely worked differently than the rest of the men on the street. In his case, that wasn't to the better.

As for Heinlein, I think I prefer Where To? to Revolt in 2100 for predictions. It is interesting to read his differences in opinion between the original, 1965, and 1980 versions.

As for predicting the internet, there was some old pulp story, probably the 30's, where the new invention was the electronic secretary. It was portrayed as a cylinder which rode on your shoulder. The idea was that you could turn your head and have it take notes for you, then recall them at will. Then someone got the idea to put radios in them, so your wife could send the grocery list to your secretary. Then those radios were used like phones, to leave each other messages. Eventually, people stopped talking to each other directly and just spoke to their secretaries. Then the secretary network got an agenda. Since no one spoke to each other and just took instruction from their messages, the agenda worked (for a while, can't have a depressing ending).

These days, it wouldn't be the machines with the agenda.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch, sailing once again well under the point, wrote: "Even Zepp knows that one worm feast follows another."

Actually, it's a child's nursury rhyme that mocks self-pity.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

Self-pity is where he's a viking!

raito:

Regardless of your generation, being suburban puts you out of Trump's demographic.


Yeah, I guess I was thinking more that I'm supposed to be a Republican. And yet, my disdain for that party is almost as great as for Trump.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Reading the Doctor's essay, I would point out that by and large, SF writers and futurists are generally crap at accurately predicting a future, but then, that's not what they are for. What they do is instill imagination, a sense of wonder, and a sense of purpose. If predicting the future was all to it, nobody would bother reading Verne, or Heinlein, or Dyson. It's nice when a nugget of accuracy does turn up (Shalmaneser, or Brin's searchbots) but to paraphrase Heinlein, "Science Fiction, like butterflies, needs no justification".

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

I think Dr Brin in particular characterizes himself as a "futurist", and he tends to notice the same aspect of other sci-fi writers. But while the two characteristics have much overlap, they are not identical.

In fact, when sci-fi becomes obsessed with filling in all of the blanks between reality and the imagined world (i.e., Foundation), it becomes bogged down and less enjoyable.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Larry: "Never trust anyone over 30" was a Boomer motto. Thus, it is really unnerving to notice that "Boomer" has taken on the connotation of "crotchety old man."

Only a subset of Boomers are actually crotchety. No, the defining trait of a Boomer is pugnacity. They know what they know, they know the righteousness of a life spent fighting for their ideals, and they will not accept less now. Even if unbending would achieve their goals better.

Especially unbending to that other Boomer across the way, the one they've fought for fifty years. Oh no. Your average loud Boomer would rather all the kids suffer all their lives and flush the nation down the toilet than let those people have a scintilla of influence over the future.

No doubt my kids will find me insufficiently doctrinaire. Too bad. I know what happened when Grandpa had too much dogma.

My daughter and her friends will fix everything if we don't make the task literally impossible.

And that's how you *are* similar to the GI and Silent Old Guard that the Boomers rebelled against. It was a monolithic Establishment you were rebelling against, though. We instead live in the no-man's-land between the two opposing establishments that Boomers built in response.

@raito: Well, some suburbanites. A lot voted Trump out of loyalty to Republican identity, and in hopes of Pence and Ryan. Many have learned. Witness Moore-Jones in Alabama: only the most rural are going Moore, while the Republican suburbs now lean Jones.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH wrote: I think Dr Brin in particular characterizes himself as a "futurist"

At the risk of sounding like a hopeless fanboy, he is one of the best in that group.
One way Futurists differ from SF writers is that they do need to construct a plausible bridge to whatever element of the future they envision. SF writers can just have a magic box and then build a world around it. Take the fusion drive: futurist speculate on what current technologies might get us there, SF writers discuss what we do once we're there.
Obviously there's considerable overlap. And I'm simplifying. But that's it in a nutshell.

locumranch said...



Blade Runner 2049 is a "misogynistic mess" according to a number of female film critics.

https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/evpwga/blade-runner-2049-sexist-misogynistic-mess

This ties into GeorgeC's comments that equate the Alt-right with 'neo-Nazism and the so-called "men's rights" movement"', the common factor between the three being "an overweening sense of sexual entitlement", as supported by a recent Pew Research article that connects misogyny to a certain undesirable conservative worldview.

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2017/10/18/wide-partisan-gaps-in-u-s-over-how-far-the-country-has-come-on-gender-equality/

Apparently, the term 'misogyny' now applies to any & all men who expect anything (especially icky sex) in return for their association with modern women, and I absolutely agree that this is how it should be.

Because 'entitlement' is immoral, men are NOT entitled to anything in return for their association with women, women are not entitled to anything in return for their association with men, and no one is entitled to anything from anybody in return for anything.

Not civility, sex, honour, security, food, housing, healthcare, financial support or ethnic preference: No one is entitled to anything from anybody in return for anything.

And, this, they call 'progress'.

Best
_____
Prior to its Disneyfication, the original nursery rhyme went "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, Guess I'll eat some worms AND DIE (it was a sarcastic rejection of verbal abuse rather than self-pity); hence my quip about one 'feast of worms' being followed by a 'feast for worms' as the Boomers are buried with their warped ideals. Myself included, followed by Larry-H, after he Ralph Wiggums his worm & is eaten by worms.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

We're not disagreeing on anything, including Dr Brin's place in the pantheon.

My only point was that other sci-fi should not be judged purely on the basis of futurism. There is overlap to be sure, but they are not trying to accomplish the same thing. When one tries to be the other, the quality becomes degraded.

Sci-fi (as different from fantasy) needs verisimilitude but that's not the same thing as a complete roadmap. The reader needs to find the imagined world plausible, but that does not require a detailed proof.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

No one is entitled to anything from anybody in return for anything.

And, this, they call 'progress'.


You're the one making a ridiculously opposite-to-true assertion and then bemoaning it.

Jeez, even Ayn Rand says that everybody is entitled to something in return for anything. If your best friend loans you the use of his car, you owe him a quarter.


hence my quip about one 'feast of worms' being followed by a 'feast for worms' as the Boomers are buried with their warped ideals.


You might have learned in medical school that everybody dies, irrespective of the value of their particular ideals.


Myself included, followed by Larry-H,


You go first.


after he Ralph Wiggums his worm & is eaten by worms.


I don't think kosher laws allow that. Either direction.

locumranch said...


So it appears that Larry_H is arguing that Harvey Weinstein's casting couch was kosher because "everybody is entitled to something in return for anything", as is Trump who only pets pussy cats after they have been bought & paid for. Larry_H is a MISOGYNIST, apparently.

LarryHart said...

@locumranch

"Everybody is entitled to something in return for anything" is NOT the same thing as "everybody can decide unilaterally exactly what they're entitled to." Why don't you try walking out of your grocery store with a few steaks and see if you can get away with "They're not entitled to anything in return for anything".

LarryHart said...

locumranch is a liar and a slanderer, apparently.

But then in other news, the sun rose this morning and water is wet.

Catfish N. Cod said...

He is also logically incoherent, as now apparently he only believes in maximalist options and denies any shades of gray. Exchanges of goods, services, power and dignity are now apparently either always mandatory or always forbidden -- whichever shows the most spite to the disputant.

Having thus rendered all other discussion incoherent, he then asserts that his personal interpretation of tradition -- which is to say, his personal opinions -- are the only coherent alternative.

I am feeling sorry for you, sir. You can't even debate anymore.

But you *can* appreciate Med Ship, so at least we can agree on something.

TomsRants said...

You might want to have a chat with my good friend and seasoned sci-fi writer, L. Neil Smith. From his very first book, "The Probability Broach" (1980), yes, he DID predict the internet in a bit of detail, not to mention the iPad, not to mention the iPad, in his second book "The Venus Belt", a year later.

A.F. Rey said...

FYI, I noticed another shout-out to Dr. Brin at Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, this time referring to The Transparent Society.

I think the columnist, Randall Hayes, may be a fan.

In fact, he may be lurking here right now...

http://www.intergalacticmedicineshow.com/cgi-bin/mag.cgi?do=columns&vol=randall_hayes&article=022

Tony Fisk said...

@NoOne, I could see the misogyny in B2049. It was present in the original. I suppose it underscores the brutality of the world: the commodification of Humanity.* One thing that might have offset the accusation would have been Wallace saying "Happy Birthday" to a male replicant. (Let that alternate scene play out. If you didn't see how nasty it was, how about now? What does that say about where the misogyny resides?)

*One thing those billboards said to me: this isn't us.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

I could see the misogyny in B2049. It was present in the original. I suppose it underscores the brutality of the world: the commodification of Humanity.*


That was also the case in Stephen King's "The Stand". And it wasn't accidental, but a deliberate point being made by the author. "Feminism is a luxury of technologically advanced civilization".

The point was also raised with more nuance in "The Postman" :)

David Brin said...

TomRants… alas the “Neils” of libertarian SF have hurt the cause by railing that only government can repress markets and freedom, when 6000 years of history show that owner-oligarch-lords oppressed and cheated, 99% of the time. By comparison, at least Ayn Rand admits this! That is why socialists are not evil in her book, but pathetic saps, doing the manipulated bidding of lazy owner-lords.

Her fave characters are BUSY owner lords. But note, then… never… have… kids! If they did, she knows she’d just repeat the old pattern.

David Brin said...

Locumranch’s first exegesis this round - about how “intellectuals” are naturally outsiders - was unusually cogent, as far as it goes. Alas, it is a strawman, since I’ve been talking about his cult’s open and outright war to the death against all expertise, all fact-using professions, and all notion that facts are things that should be heeded. That goes far beyond long-haired intellectual theoreticians.

Yes, Heinlein said “anti-intellectualism” was a major feature of the confederate wing of American life. And that spite toward mental accomplishment leverages upon the instinct that ALL Americans are trained to express: Suspicion of Authority (SoA).

But This has gone farther than anyone imagined possible. It isn’t just theoreticians but all pragmatic and grounded fact-people who are being attacked, and the very notion of verifiable fact or falsification, with one sole purpose.

To divert people from the blatant power grab by oligarch proto-feudal mogul lords.

His second begins correctly, that those calling Bladerunner 49 ‘misogynistic’ miss a core point of the film, that any secretive oligarchic system will abuse the female. It is ONLY this open and flat society that has treated women with rising respect.

The rest - alas - was another of his sad rants.

Twominds said...

@Duncan Caincross from last thread

Duncan Cairncross said...

And I was comparing Nuclear to Solar on area required
Wind requires much LESS area

Nuclear did take up a wee bit less space - but it was like 15% less!



I really like a link to the source of that number, I'd like to read more on where it comes from. I have a very hard time imagining that it could be so.

For instance, if a wind park will give you 1 GW, like a modern big nuclear power plant, it would need 200 MW turbines (NOT counting the intermittency here). Turbines with blades of 80 m. length need to be placed about 500 m from each other (5 to 6 times the blade length so they won't take each others' wind). A densely packed wind farm would be say 10 rows of 20 turbines, so 10x5 km. The ones not too far from here have the rows spaced out wider, about a km or more so my back-of-envelope guesstimate might be at the smallish side.

I don't know how it is in say the US or other places with a lot of space, but in Europe, nuclear power plants don't sit in a 50 km2 plain all to themselves! There are villages and farms around them, industrial estates, etc.
So where does that number of 15% less come from?


If we didn't have the hysteria about "radiation" and "waste" then it is possible (bloody certain) that the cost of Nuclear would drop down a long way and it would still be viable. But we don't live in that world - and in this one we have got to consider the actual costs with all of the hysteria

That hysteria is one of my big frustrations. It's partly manufactured and kept going by people and organisations that benefit from a hampered nuclear sector. The antinuclear movement got big just at the same time that the nuclear plants were starting to be a real competition for oil and coal fired plants. There are many indications that environmental organisations got large donations from them to direct their energy against nuclear power.

=Now I rue my laxness with bookmarks! Remarks like the one above need confirmation that I can't give right now...I haven't debated formally on this subject much yet.=


If we are looking at what we can do I wonder if SpaceX's reduced costs will make a Solar Power Satellite viable?

Maybe, but not in the coming decades, Nuclear power is here, available and still developing strongly enough to get rid of most of the dangers and strenghten it's specific advantage, it's incredible energy density.
So yes, let's look into Solar Power Sattelites, do build wind and solar farms where they're useful, and use nuclear power too. The more clean energy we have, the better!

Twominds said...

@George Carty
Yes, I was well aware of Rod Adam's fine blog at Atomic Insights – in fact it was he that gave me the insight in the first place that the main thing holding back nuclear power is "regulatory capture in reverse" by fossil fuel interests. One of the most egregious examples was the Germany's nuclear phaseout policy instigated by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Almost a soon as he left office, he landed a plum job with Nordstream AG – a company majority-owned by Gazprom (and therefore by the Russian government) tasked with building a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany. The capacity of that pipeline is almost exactly what is required to replace the output of Germany's nuclear reactor fleet!


Do you also comment at Adams'blog? I seem to remember your name but I might be mistaken, I haven't been there for a while. I commented there now and again, in fact chose my nym to reflect that I was, at that time, still very much in two minds about nuclear power.

Adams really despises Schroeder, to the point that he calls him a traitor. That pipeline is not just meant for Germany, also for the Benelux, there's not a one-to-one correlation.
I don't see a lot of gas used in Germany to replace the lost nuclear output, they mainly brought old coal and lignite plants back online, and eating their countryside again with huge open pit mines.
What I find horribly ironic, is that the gain in renewable energy in Germany is very close to the output of the closed nuclear plants. So, in reducing CO2 emissions, they haven't come very far yet. But then again, the Energiewende was primarily meant to get rid of nuclear, and only secundary to reduce CO2.

Twominds said...

@Duncan:

I left out a number in my reply to you, it should be of course:

For instance, if a wind park will give you 1 GW, like a modern big nuclear power plant, it would need 200 5MW turbines

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Twominds

I had a quick look - the Bruce power station in Canada is 6GW - and occupies 1000 Ha

Each Hectare gets 10Mw of power from the sun - so 1000Ha is 10 Gw

That is not totally fair as with a conversion rate of 20% and the equivalent of 4 hours sun we only get 1/30th of that
So a solar plant would take up more area - BUT the area used is not "Lost" - you can still use it for just about anything except farming

Wind power is the same - each turbine will have a footprint of 20m x 20m (WAG) - so 200 of those is only 8 Ha
The surrounding land is the opposite of a solar plant - now you can use it for agriculture but not much else
Again that is not fair - you need to allow for the availability factor so you would need not 200 turbines but 1000 turbines and 40 Ha

Most Nuclear power stations are big sprawling expensive units - and they need a LOT more upkeep and maintenance than modern wind and solar

Closing down existing power stations is just bloody silly - but in this world building new ones is also silly when we can get the same amount of power for less cost less area "wasted" and less hysterics

Wind and solar also lend themselves much more to distributed generation - a society with lots of electric cars and rooftop solar will not need as many large power stations

LarryHart said...

Catfish N Cod (previous thread) :

I'm impressed, the autospammers have learned to quote previous posters.


referring to the spam post:

obat ambeien
obat wasir ampuh
obat ambeien ampuh


Well, I'm impressed that every line there contains the letters in "batman". Can anyone else complete more of an anagram?

Tony Fisk said...

you can still use it for just about anything except farming

Actually, you may be able to. Depending on the type of panels used, enough light of the right frequency can pass through to allow plant growth.

Tony Fisk said...

...also, current construction cost of a solar farm: ~ 1AUD/watt, and falling.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Tony
The cheapest way for a country to get more power generation would be to add a small subsidy to home solar panels and storage

The country would only have to pay a fraction of the cost of the materials and nothing for the space and maintenance

NoOne said...

@Duncan Cairncross

Installed 32 solar panels on my roof in 2010 and get between 12-16kwH per day (roughly) here in Florida. City's net metering system allows me to distribute power back without wasting anything and get credit for it. The plan was severely curtailed (in terms of credits) later because of anti-solar Republicans.

@Tony Fisk

Didn't realize the misogyny was intended to show the brutality of the world in BR 2049. Since many critics were pointing this out, I too assumed that Villeneuve had a blind spot (though in hindsight it seems unlikely).

Tony Fisk said...

The cheapest way for a country to get more power generation would be to add a small subsidy to home solar panels and storage

But... that would mean the workers control the mean of energy production!!

A.F. Rey said...

Ah, but as anyone from Hollywood can tell you, the true power comes from controlling distribution! :)

(Of course, after the revelations about Harvey, there are other things they can tell you about, but that's another story...)

raito said...

LarryHart,

'supposed to be a Republican'. Sure, an Eisenhower Republican.

From back when the NRA was a sporting organization, and the GOP was a polical party.

Catfish N. Cod,

Well, if being certain is a Boomer thing, I might have to re-evaluate. Though I do try to concentrate on outcome. Sure, my preferred solution is to change the other guys' minds, but I'll take changing their actions.

As for suburban, I suppose I should have made it plain I'm speaking relatively locally. There's really only suburbs in 3 places in my state. And all voted Dem. last time aorund.

Dr. Brin,

I have had occasion to say to some, "At least my DNA will go on. Along with whatever I've taught".

As for being an outsider, that's pretty natural for me. Growing up, cops and robbers, cowboys and indians and army were the preferred modes of play. I preferred playing astronaut. They're watching Gunsmoke and Bonanza. I'm watching Lost In Space and Star Trek (and Twilight Zone and OUter Limits when I could manage to stay up that late). I was also the only guy both on the math team and football team.

It has repeatedly been beaten (sometimes literally) into be that I'm in the minority. Still, it's not all those other people I've had problems with.

Twominds,

Toxic Sludge Is Good For You.

Larry Hart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LarryHart said...

raito:

'supposed to be a Republican'. Sure, an Eisenhower Republican.4


Ok, this dates me for sure, but I'm reminded of the parody lyrics that Alan Sherman gave to the Jewish standard, "Hava Nagila". An early verse has the lyric:

She shopped at A&P.
He bought a used MG.
They sat and watched TV
On their RCA.

Borrowed from HFC,
Bought some AT&T,
And, on election day,
Worked for JFK.


A later (faster) verse contained the best laugh line:


They bought a house one day
Financed by FHA.
It had a swimming pool
Full of H2O.

Traded their used MG
For a new XKE.
Switched to the GOP--
That's the way things go!

locumranch said...

It's LOL when progressive idealists like Catfish accuse the more conservative of either denying "shades of grey" or being unable to compromise, since the average progressive is certifiably incapable of either compromising or perceiving shades of grey.

Pick any progressive topic from climate change to women's rights and watch the progressive dismiss even the possibility of compromise: How much global warming are YOU willing to accept as a matter of policy, 3, 6 or 12 degrees C? How about accepting a '3/5ths compromise' in terms of ethnic justice? Why not restrict a woman's access to birth control by 50% or accept SOME sexual harassment as the price women pay for interacting closely with men? And why demand that men pay taxes at TWICE the rate of female workers?

I guess it all comes down to the question of 'entitlement' for some but not others:

(1) Men have absolutely NO right to expect even common (non-occupational) courtesy from women -- if you believe otherwise just see the response when you ask any female to 'Give us a smile, Luv' -- yet women (even discourteous women) everywhere are entitled to permanent male-enabled protection, provisioning & (most ironically) 'empowerment';

(2) LEGAL citizens are considered to be criminal if they work, operate a motor vehicle or misrepresent themselves in the absence of valid identity documents, but undocumented ILLEGAL immigrants are free to do all-of-the-above because they're protected by discriminatory laws like DACA on the grounds that it's 'discriminatory' to expect these criminals to abide by the same laws as the citizen; and

(3) Minority entitlement is expected because 'fairness' in correction of historical 'injustice' but majority entitlement is dismissed as bad 'privilege', racism & injustice.

What Catfish dismisses as (irrational) "maximalist options" actually represents Equalism in Action, the expectation that the same social laws, rules & regulations apply to everyone in EQUAL fashion, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or country of origin.

Radical Equalism is all I suggest: (1) That female entitlement EQUALS male entitlement in regard to all aspects of protection, taxation, provisioning & empowerment; (2) That all labour (foreign & domestic) is asked to abide by the SAME standard of identification & the SAME laws if they desire to work, operate a motor vehicle or choose to misrepresent themselves to the appropriate authorities; and (3) That all selective religious, ethnic & racial preferences be either universally accepted as 'fairness & justice' or universally rejected as 'bad privilege'.


Best

locumranch said...


That said, alternative forms of energy production are NOT cost effective when compared to fossil fuels, nor are they any more 'climate friendly' than fossil fuel use, according to present technologies. Solar & wind power generators take more than 20 years to reach the cost & CO2 generation break-even point when compared to fossil fuels and, in best case scenario, they are only capable of generating power for less than 40% of the 24 hour day and often require replacement before the break-even point. And, nuclear -- don't make me laugh -- requires 1000x the initial investment of solar & wind AND it produces poisonous isotopes that last 10,000 years, well beyond the human ability to store or neutalise.

Nuclear Power discussions beg the following questions. What level of environmental polonium & plutonium contamination do you consider acceptable, 50, 100, 200 or 600 ppm? Now, remember that heavy metal poisoning is cumulative, building up over time, and that 700 PPM is an immediately lethal dose. What's that? You want ZERO environmental contamination with polonium & plutonium? Where is your appreciation for "shades of grey" & your contempt for the "maximalist option" now? Let's COMPROMISE !!! And FU for your exceptionalism, selective law enforcement preferences & your inability to compromise.

Best

LarryHart said...

@raito,

re: Three areas in Wisconsin with suburbs.

Milwaukee, Madison, and....?

Green Bay maybe?

Down here in the Chicago area, the NW suburbs I live in now used to be solid rock-ribbed Republican, but these days, it's probably more of a 50/50 split. Even some of the "collar counties" surrounding Cook County are going purple.

And it's always amusing to talk to someone for whom Chicago is "down".

David Brin said...

“Pick any progressive topic from climate change to women's rights and watch the progressive dismiss even the possibility of compromise”

Liar liar, utter-liar, total liar, pants-on-fire outright deliberate, knowing and total (and big-fat) liar.

The rest is unmanly and kindergarten-level whining. But that one sentence is an absolute lie that discredits anything ever out of his mouth.

His offering that followed isn’t so much a lie as utterly delusional and fact-free.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Locumranch spewed: " LEGAL citizens are considered to be criminal if they work, operate a motor vehicle or misrepresent themselves in the absence of valid identity documents, but undocumented ILLEGAL immigrants are free to do all-of-the-above because they're protected by discriminatory laws like DACA on the grounds that it's 'discriminatory' to expect these criminals to abide by the same laws as the citizen"

Utter crap. In California, undocumented aliens can get a drivers' licence, but must meet the same eligibility standards as residents. On paper, they are supposed to furnish evidence of a right-to-work as every other job-seeker, but there are a lot of corrupt ranchers, farmers, and other employers who are happy to hire people they can cheat and subjugate.

"majority entitlement is dismissed as bad 'privilege', racism & injustice."

Have some worms, locum. You'll feel better and get over that sense of entitled butt-hurt.


Zepp Jamieson said...

"alternative forms of energy production are NOT cost effective when compared to fossil fuels,"
Did you remember to factor in the $3 trillion plus world wide fossil industries get in the form of government subsidies? Including the $750 billion in the US?

matthew said...

Loco says progressives are contemptuous of compromise. Two words in rebuttal - "Hastert Rule."

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor, did you notice that most of the "compromises" he wants us to make involved giving up the rights of others, which is a compromise we have no right to make?

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Men have absolutely NO right to expect even common (non-occupational) courtesy from women -- if you believe otherwise just see the response when you ask any female to 'Give us a smile, Luv'


Oh, of course, if you exhibit false courtesy while harassing women, they're not going to take kindly to it. It's like "You can't say 'Merry Christmas' any more." Of course you can. I just did it. But the recipient of your greeting can usually discern if the greeting is sincere, or if it's a weaponized "I'm in the in-group and you're not, so neener neener neener!"

Try faking sincerity some time. If you can fake that, you've got it made.

Donald Trump has made it fashionable again to be a complete dick in public, so y'know, knock yourself out. You won't be arrested for it or anything. No one will like you, but in your case, you'd hardly notice that.

Just so you know, it was 80 degrees and sunny in Chicago today, which means the downtown area where I work is full of attractive women in delightful clothing. Two women were riding by on bikes--in my age range certainly not conventionally beautiful, but attractive in their own way--and as I've been practicing "eye contact" for job interviews, I gave the one in the lead a sustained gaze and a smile--not a drool or a leer, but just a "my, aren't you pleasant" smile. When she realized I was admiring her specifically, she returned the smile with what looked like gratitude and appreciation.

Point being, one can expect courtesy and civility from women. You're just not taking it personally enough.

Best

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

did you notice that most of the "compromises" he wants us to make involved giving up the rights of others, which is a compromise we have no right to make?


Worse, most of his proposed compromises are along the lines of "If you won't let me massacre six million Jews, how many can I do? Three million? Two million? "

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH wrote: "Worse, most of his proposed compromises are along the lines of "If you won't let me massacre six million Jews, how many can I do? Three million? Two million? "

Yeah, especially climate change. Is 12C increase ok? (No, it would probably end human life on Earth). 6C? (No, that might end human civilisation). Sigh, you liberals are just so intractable! Now about 3C. (No, because that will cause widespread famine and suffering).

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Wow. You actually have the gall to ask people to compromise on whether women deserve to be protected by the ‘equal protections’ clause in the Constitution?

Men have absolutely NO right to expect even common (non-occupational) courtesy from women

Heh. Maybe you live in the wrong State. If you want to get technical, though, we DON’T have a right to expect courtesy. Neither do they. It’s more of a custom than anything formal. What you are complaining about isn’t something that gets enforced in the Courts. It is a matter of the definition of ‘justice’. Violate it if you like, but there are always consequences in the court of public opinion.

As for climate change, I’m willing to accept 2C, but with a caveat. Those who cause it get to compensate those harmed by it, but at property values appropriate to the locations and properties damaged. I’m not willing to accept 6C as that would be far too lethal and damage the US beyond repair.

As for radical equalism, you won’t get too many complaints from my friends. Be prepared to compromise, though, and get there in incremental steps. Do that and you’ll find you have a lot of allies.

Jon S. said...

Sounds like loco has once again illustrated why I stopped reading his screeds a while back. It's a lot easier on the blood pressure to simply skim ahead to the next name when I see his, rather than get caught up writing paragraphs of refutation which he will simply refuse to acknowledge.

David Brin said...

Look, locumranch clearly has no ability to grasp concepts like positive-sum, strawmanning or objective reality... or the fact that anecdotes are not the same thing as generalities. And thus he illustrates the breadth of human types and what we have to deal with... the reason why the Confederacy refuses to negotiate or be reasoned with, and will ignite civil war even against their own self-interest. ESPECIALLY against their own self-interest. He serves us all well, guys, showing us the limits of logic, evidence or reason.

When it comes to women, he cannot grasp that the female half of our species has endured a wide range of treatment from their males, and the bottom half of us have been gruesomely awful to them for millennia. For hundreds of millennia. And even the upper half of males -- who loved and who never raised our hands -- nursed illusions that led to... well... preening and posturing and patronizing -- even when we were good and loving partners. Even when we were heroes or inventors and good dads. And yes, even today.

If we were alert, then Harvey Weinstein should have had the crap kicked out of him long ago. More women should have told. More men should have broken his arm. But we're entering an era when Emma Peel and Buffy and Xena are heroines who do their own arm busting. And lots of girls are growing up black belts. And science fiction is a driver!

What locum doesn't get is that the better half of males WANT this change! Our daughters, sisters and wives and co-workers deserve to walk down the street and through the workplace and school free of intimidation or fear. And if we are sometimes dullard-slow in our reflex to help this happen, then we want those daughters, sisters and wives and co-workers to jar us awake and call us to arms. And sorry, man. But that means our side has 3/4 of the people and all the smart ones.

Are there occasional nauseating PC-bully excesses? Sure. I wince over them and sometimes even raise my voice, because bullies can arise from any direction, and boy, I've known some female bullies. But I waste little time fretting over them - as poor, frightened locum does - because the DIRECTION they want is the direction we have to go. And hence, I will endure such "allies" so long as we share a goal. Hell, our mothers going back ages had to silently endure far more than I must endure, on my worst day of wincing from such beings. I console myself that their daughters will take for granted the victories that we are winning, and shrug off the worst shriekers as obsolete.

I would recommend that consolation to locumranch, if I thought he'd understand it. Nor do I care much about his dinosaur misogyny, so long as he keeps his hands to himself. We are building a civilization that stops... wasting... talent! And the waste of raw talent that humanity suffered from tribalism, classism, racism and sexism has kept us away from the stars. That, alone, is more than enough reason to end this phase of civil war decisively.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Pick any progressive topic from climate change to women's rights and watch the progressive dismiss even the possibility of compromise: How much global warming are YOU willing to accept as a matter of policy, 3, 6 or 12 degrees C?


Your argument would have merit if the right-wing side of the issue is "We like global warming and if anything want more of it!" Then you could seriously call for a compromise between the levels that Republicans and Democrats want. But the right-wing stance is that global warming is a hoax meant to enrich scientists, while the liberal stance is that global warming not only exists, but is an existential threat to our species, including (btw) the deniers themselves. I have a hard time understanding what a viable compromise between the two looks like.


And why demand that men pay taxes at TWICE the rate of female workers?


You're awfully coy about which state you live in, but I sincerely don't know what you're referring to here.

I guess it all comes down to the question of 'entitlement' for some but not others


You say that sarcastically, but really that's the right-wing White Nationalist Trumpian position. Thanks to President Snow, they're not even trying to hide it any more.


Radical Equalism is all I suggest: (1) That female entitlement EQUALS male entitlement in regard to all aspects of protection, taxation, provisioning & empowerment; (2) That all labour (foreign & domestic) is asked to abide by the SAME standard of identification & the SAME laws if they desire to work, operate a motor vehicle or choose to misrepresent themselves to the appropriate authorities; and (3) That all selective religious, ethnic & racial preferences be either universally accepted as 'fairness & justice' or universally rejected as 'bad privilege'.


What you say here sounds so reasonable, and I think most of those you argue with on this list agree with it as stated. You're channeling Dave Sim, though, in the characterization of your respective positions relative to the things you normally say while arguing. Dave too claims he is not anti-woman, only anti-Feminist, and that his detractors see something wrong with (say) female firefighters having to meet the same physical standards as male ones. And then, he'll say that women are emotional beings incapable of rational thought, or that "If you see any part of her other than fear and desperation, you are only seeing the parts of you she has already consumed." In the same essay, he'll assert both that most women just want to be good wives and mothers, and that the loud, shrill feminists are oppressing them; and that all women are feminists and all feminists are Marxist." So when he says he's only impugning feminists, not all women, he's just plain wrong about his own statements.

As I've said before, you often remind me of Dave, and this is one of those times.

locumranch said...


Zepp mentions that compromises that I suggest tend to be overwhelmingly negative as they focus on the elimination of the special unearned privileges of certain protected castes and, for his perspicacity & observational skills, I thank him. I have no wish to become a 'negative nelly', and I will strive to present my concerns in a more positive light.

The West has had exceptional success in the liberation of women, and the time has come to liberate men as well from unequal expectations in regard to labour, performance, self-sacrifice, military service, educational opportunities, imprisonment, work-related deaths, poverty, homelessness, taxation & a limited life expectancy.

The very existence of a Protector Caste is a masculine anachronism insomuch as the strong independent western wonder woman is fully capable of protecting her own interests against predation, and women are as fully capable of criminality as are men, and to argue otherwise is misogyny.

Ergo, female-specific social subsidies AND male-specific punishments must either be eliminated or applied to all in a gender neutral manner. Title 9 must be suspended in its entirety, until the under-represented male has the chance to 'catch up' in an educational system that awards 70% of all university degrees to females.

Similarly, the so-called White Man's Burden -- a race-specific responsibility to uplift, rescue & attend to the interests of others -- is an offensive anachronism of race supremacy theory, and it must be discarded -- along with Pax Americana & other reparative social policies -- in order to allow the other equally-capable population subgroups to 'grow into their own' and be 'at liberty' to succeed or fail on their own merits.

We must eschew the Karpman Drama Triangle of victim, persecutor & rescuer if we wish to construct the Positive Sum Civilisation of David's dreams. Humanity has moulded in Caves of Darkness for too long, imprisoned by the archaic roles of Victim (aka 'The Damsel in Da Dress'), the Perpetrator (aka 'The Mustachioed Villain') & the Rescuer (aka 'Dudley Do-Right, the heroic patsy'), as these roles are a MASSIVE Waste of Talent.

Condemn Harvey Weinstein if you must. He is a sexual predatory, but remember that predation is a two-way street as many of his so-called 'victims' exploited his sexual vulnerabilities for their own financial gain, just as they now exploit those would-be rescuers who rush to their aid 30 years after the fact. Perspective is everything.

Depending on circumstance, the Perpetrator can be seen as Victim, the Victim can be seen as Perpetrator, and the Rescuer can be seen as both Perpetrator & Victim. That's why Pax America is so insidious as it demands & manufacturers Victims and Villains in order to cast itself as Rescuer and, by doing so, it becomes a Perpetrator by victimizing others & a Victim of its own good intentions.


Best
_____
By the construction of a bigger & better über-bully, Larry_H & PaulSB think they can eliminate bullying, but this is same type of circular logic that perpetuates the vicious cycle of Victim, Perpetrator & Rescuer. The Victim (who professes helplessness) manipulates the Rescuer & Perpetrator; the Perpetrator (who preys on helplessness) enables the Victim & Rescuer; and the Rescuer (who offers help) enables the Victim, persecutes the Perpetrator & enslaves himself.

As a medical practitioner with almost 30 years experience, I can attest to the fact that many victims are bullies, many perpetrators are victims, and many rescuers are victimised, so take your 'Superior Virtue of the Victim and/or Rescuer' fallacy and shove it up your arse. Heal thyself because this rescuer is out of here in 18 months.

Old Rockin' Dave said...

I once did a powerpoint on how science fiction anticipated the Internet, whole or in part, and you and I have cited some of the same stories. Murray Leinster also had the basic architecture of client and server right.
Let's add Phillip K. Dick's "If There Was No Benny Cemoli", With its remote hack of The New York Times' database/server to confuse an occupying power.
I would add to the list Mark Twain's "From 'The London Times' of 1904" with something like Skype and publicly accessible webcams.
Then there is "The Machine Stops", E. M. Forster's 1909 dystopian idea of a worldwide Machine, which supplies everyone with every need, causing face to face contact to wither and eventually become both inconvenient and frightening.
Beyond the Net, H.G. Wells' "The War in the Air' has airships carrying planes, the demise of the battleship by air attack (a surprise aerial attack on the US Navy, no less), the impossibility of controlling surrendered territory with airpower only, and spasm warfare, all from 1908. In addition, the initial aggressor is Germany, launching a fleet of airships.

David Brin said...

Here's a real de Tocqueville quotation:

"From the moment when the exercise of intelligence had become a source of strength and wealth, each step in the development of science, each new area of knowledge, each fresh idea had to be viewed as a seed of power placed within people’s grasp. Poetry, eloquence, memory, the beauty of wit, the fires of imagination, the depth of thought, all these gifts which heaven shares out by chance turned to the advantage of democracy and, even when they belonged to the enemies of democracy, they still promoted its cause by highlighting the natural grandeur of man. Its victories spread, therefore, alongside those of civilization and education. Literature was an arsenal open to all, where the weak and the poor could always find arms."

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/11/09/what-are-we-doing-here/

David Brin said...

Locumranch expressed himself and his thoughts exceptionally well in: “Depending on circumstance, the Perpetrator can be seen as Victim, the Victim can be seen as Perpetrator, and the Rescuer can be seen as both Perpetrator & Victim. That's why Pax America is so insidious as it demands & manufacturers Victims and Villains in order to cast itself as Rescuer and, by doing so, it becomes a Perpetrator by victimizing others & a Victim of its own good intentions.”

There are times and places when it can be thus. The distilled purity of sanctimony exhibited by PC-bullies, for example, can tip into evil and oppression as inwardly evil as any that is rationalized by their enemies. Caught between radical screamers of all kinds, I might be tempted by locum-style despair, were I not convinced that -

(1) The PC bullies are but a nauseating foam top a wave whose bulk is wholesome, made up of reasonable men and women who just want to end a wretched wast of human talent and cruel oppressions that have gone on far too long.

(2) The DIRECTION of change demanded by those locum derides as “progressives” is the direction we need to go, and that we have benefited from traveling, for 250 years.

(3) When we succeed, the radicals will suffer payment for their sins and aggressions… the galling humiliation of being viewed as obsolete, has-beens obsessed with battles long already-won.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Ken Fabian said...

Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" was a favourite of mine when I was much younger - although I didn't recognise it as such, the libertarian theme seemed to resonate - freedom from laws and taxes but a society that still enforced, by a kind of vigilantism, basic standards of behaviour.

But reading it more recently, I found it so much less convincing as to be nonsensical, mostly because the premise, that the harsh conditions would work against the development of tyranny, exploitation and misogynist subjugation of women was unbelievable. As waw the implication that under such circumstances ethical good behaviours would rise to dominate looked like something beyond merely being overly simplistic and extremely optimistic. I expect that the very opposite would be true, that tyranny would flourish, that those without power - and mosty especially women - would be exploited ruthlessly. Like other idealised libertarian scenarios, it seemed premised on universally shared social values - ones that had both high ethical standards and widespread willingness of it's citizens to enforce it's unwritten laws, personally. In this case with the death penalty applied by vigilantes.

Now, I am Australian and have some convict as well as some Australian aboriginal ancestry - which can be celebrated as romantic nowadays rather than hidden and denied. Yet it was hidden and denied even in my own childhood - but I have learned enough to know just how brutal it truly was. Ships arriving with women were recorded as having the women - and adolescent girls - dragged off and gang raped; events that somehow never made it into the history books I was raised on. The aboriginal women were often held in sexual slavery; I can't assume my own such ancestry was the result of any kind of expression of love or respect. Oh, there was a strong motivation to appear law abiding and moral - to avoid the taint, with strong motive to show that by supporting brutally harsh treatment of criminals and their exploitation as slaves but the rule of law was not an emergent property of that convict society.

That book at least, deserves having the veil of contrived romanticism pulled aside and get subjected to some real criticism.

Ken Fabian said...

PS to previous comment - Rather, I should say, it's not the story that deserves the criticism so much as the suggestions that it can tell us much about governance within civil societies. As a story it works quite well - and plenty of stories have circumstances contrived in ways that make the values of it's lead characters (and perhaps it's author) look more reasonable, whether they are or not.

And, sorry, this probably belonged with the Heinlein specific article rather than here.