liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
So [personal profile] jack recently made a post listing taboos in our social circle. I don't think the things he's talking about are taboos (and indeed, this was the consensus after a long, wide-ranging discussion); I think they are opinions that are likely to get you shouted at, but it's perfectly possible to express those opinions and everybody can think of someone who does in fact hold any one of the listed positions. A real taboo is something you simply can't say, maybe can't even think.

One of the things I really appreciate about [personal profile] jack's crowd is that, however much they (we) love shouting at wrong-headed people, they genuinely are pretty accepting of people with a range of different opinions, even about contentious topics like religion, politics and operating systems. This may make the social context unwelcoming to a) people who are very one-true-way about their opinions and uncomfortable with diversity, and b) perhaps more seriously, people who aren't resilient to being shouted at when they express a minority view.

Actual taboos: I feel like we as a group are fairly bad at talking directly about race. We have a general consensus that racism is bad, fine, but I think there are some conversations around actual specifics that would be difficult to initiate. Conversely I think we're generally better at addressing homophobia and related prejudices against gender and sexual minorities than many other circles I move in. Which doesn't mean everybody agrees about everything, far from it, but it's actually possible to have the discussion about, for example, what sort of language is acceptable, what will be the implications of a particular policy or law on different groups within the Queer umbrella, issues of intra-group prejudice etc. I would also say that implicit homophobia is much more heavily frowned on that implicit racism, partly because the group contains a high proportion of people with GSM identities and a small proportion of people who aren't white.

I have other social circles as well as the one that overlaps with [personal profile] jack's; I think most people do, which definitely contributes to the generally broad-minded outlook. I did like the exercise of thinking of where my views differ from the consensus among people I spend time with, though. I've deliberately phrased these to be as controversial as possible, such as stating that something is the case rather than that I think or believe it, for example. I don't necessarily hold all these opinions very strongly, some of them are just the take on an issue that comes most naturally to me, I'm quite capable of seeing other viewpoints. And some would be mainstream in some groups I'm part of, generally in the same direction but perhaps more extreme than most in others, and at very least surprising if not completely outrageous in others. Of course, "people who regularly read my DW" is yet another social group; I deliberately try to connect to people from a range of backgrounds and with a range of opinions, but I expect there probably is some sort of group norm operating here too.

In no particular order:
  • Israel is a legitimate state, both politically and in the specific sense of existing as a constitutionally Jewish and Zionist state.
  • Islam is an excellent religion and one of the crowning achievements of human civilization.
  • There should be fewer abortions.
  • It's often better to vote Conservative than Labour.
  • Alternative medicine is a good thing if it makes people feel better, even if its claimed mechanism of action goes against the current scientific consensus.
  • We should actively encourage immigration into this country, and possibly remove immigration restrictions altogether.
  • It's sometimes acceptable for parents to smack their children as a punishment.
  • Religious groups can legitimately decide whether same-sex marriage, ministers who are not straight men and similar are theologically valid.
  • The UK should be more closely integrated with Europe, both politically and financially.
So there you go; I think at least some people may think I'm a monster for at least some of these views, but hopefully you know enough other good things about me to balance that. More likely people will just think I'm wrongity wrong wrong wrong; feel free to try to argue me towards your position or to just carry on not letting our differing views impinge on our lives very much, whichever is your preference.

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Date: 2013-07-16 02:22 pm (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
I'd be interested in your thinking on points 4 and 5. In the former case, perhaps I'm just too much of a leftie!

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Date: 2013-07-16 02:42 pm (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
I think you know roughly what I think about all of them, I'm not sure whether to try to lay it out again here.

There should be fewer abortions.

I think my viewpoint here has slowly shifted. I still don't want to deny people abortions, but I've been exposed to more reasons why legalising abortion isn't the end of the problem, but the problem also needs more available contraception, more education, less stigmatisation of sex and pregnancy and single parents, and less acceptance that having a family means winning the "can't have a career" lottery for at least one partner.

Religious groups can legitimately decide whether same-sex marriage, ministers who are not straight men and similar are theologically valid.

Hm. I don't think the state should impose all the currently fashionable values on all communities, if only because it's probably impossible. But conversely, I'm reluctant to accept discrimination just because it's traditional, especially if many of the congregation wouldn't agree, but don't want to spend 80 years becoming pope in order to change the official stance.

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jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
I generally agree, with the caveat you mentioned before that some things should be more localised. And also that I have a feeling that if "more financial integration" includes a common currency, it depends on northern europe being willing to invest a lot in southern europe, which it currently seems understandably but disastrously reluctant to do.

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Date: 2013-07-16 03:34 pm (UTC)
siderea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siderea
It's often better to vote Conservative than Labour.

Like when? (Just curious, and I understand this is a derail of your point -- I'll totally understand if you screen this comment to deter this line of discussion.)

ETA: Nevermind, saw your subsequent discussion of the point upstream.
Edited Date: 2013-07-16 06:07 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2013-07-16 03:42 pm (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
With respect to 7, I used to agree with you.

Then I was convinced by a friend to have a personal no-smacking rule. The only time I have hit my child was when I was utterly furious. Having a no-smacking rule has helped me stop and remove myself from the situation a lot more times when I really did want to hit the little sod(s). When I'm not furious, I find my other strategies adequate enough.

It makes me less of a hypocrite when attempting to enforce a no-hitting-your-peers rule on the children; at least I know I'm not modelling hitting people as a way to resolve disagreements.

From this experience, and given how much of parenthood involves being short of sleep, and the effect of sleep-deprivation on emotional control, I personally think that parents should be encouraged not to smack. I wouldn't ban smacking though; I'd encourage the provision of good information/courses on anger management and conflict resolution to all parents.

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Date: 2013-07-16 04:06 pm (UTC)
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
From: [personal profile] forestofglory
I don't know any who thinks the current number of abortions is exceptable. My pro-choice friends think that everyone should have access to good sex ed, contraception and social programs that support parents. Come to think of it most of my pro-life friends think that too. So think that your statement is not very controversial. I mean if you said person-hood begins at X. (X being any time before birth.) That would be controversial though not taboo most circles.

The thing about religious groups choosing how inclusive to be sounds like a religious conservative straw man to me. At least in the US no one is saying that people have to preform same-sex marriages. (Just like today were Rabbi's can chose not to preform inter-faith marriages, and Catholic priests can preform marriages only for people who say they are going to raise their children Catholic.) However in debates about same sex marriage or other rights, it a point that is sometimes made to oppose advances. (Having grown up in the US I'm strongly in favor of separation of church and state, and I see your option as basic tenet of that.)

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Date: 2013-07-16 05:00 pm (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
Religious groups can legitimately decide whether same-sex marriage, ministers who are not straight men and similar are theologically valid.

Theologically valid, I don't have a problem with as such.

But as long as the religious group can perform valid legal marriages, they should perform all legal marriages and if they have a problem marrying same-sex couples, they should stop performing legal marriages period (I don't have a problem with them continuing to perform religious-only marriages, as long as they are not legally binding, though).

Yes, I take a hard line on "separation of state and church", was it that obvious?

It's often better to vote Conservative than Labour.

Eh, Labour is an essentially-Conservative party, I fail to see how this statement is even borderline contentious

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Date: 2013-07-16 06:25 pm (UTC)
siderea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siderea
But as long as the religious group can perform valid legal marriages, they should perform all legal marriages and if they have a problem marrying same-sex couples, they should stop performing legal marriages period (I don't have a problem with them continuing to perform religious-only marriages, as long as they are not legally binding, though).

Yes, I take a hard line on "separation of state and church", was it that obvious?


No, it's not obvious at all. In fact, I think everything you just wrote is a flagrant violation of the separation of church and state.

I am, to position myself in this debate, an American and an atheist, and pretty militant about the separation of church and state. I think sexist, homophobic, hierarchical religions are disgusting and a threat to civil society.

If you want to argue that clergy should not have the right to conduct legally binding ceremonies on the basis of their being clergy, I am right there with you. But when you argue that the state should pick and choose which religious prohibitions clergy may submit to, OH HELL NO. That's a hop, a skip and a jump from Established Religion, where the state has a de facto approved version of religion (and it will always be a flavor of Protestant Christianity).

It's been tried. It's been tried right here where I live, and it was a terrible idea that proved a back door to establishing a state-approved Protestantism and we are not going back to that.

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Date: 2013-07-16 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] daharyn
Fascinating. No one seems to want to take on your first point, and it certainly is a perspective that many here in the NYC area share. I am pretty tired of hearing people endorse fascism and deny Palestinians human rights, so I'm just going to avoid that one.

Likewise, subjecting a child to physical violence denies them their human rights (as defined in the UN charter on the topic), and is not cool.

I will say that a lot of your list seems grounded in the idea that religion is good--that seems to be a genuine belief here. And that, to me, requires that you choose to ignore pretty much all of recorded history. Religion is a tool of power and oppression, of patriarchy, a means of grabbing land, making money, and starting wars, and probably the most consistent significant cause of bloodshed on this planet.

I do think that religion had purpose at one point as part of human evolution, but I don't think we should hang on to it now that it no longer serves any productive purpose on the collective level. I'm sure plenty of people personally get something from deluding themselves about the existence of a higher power, but I don't see why we should privilege their perspective or accord them special rights, such as self-segregated governments or (in the US) massive tax breaks. Have your church, but get it out of my society, please.
Edited Date: 2013-07-16 07:03 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2013-07-16 07:32 pm (UTC)
ptc24: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ptc24
Trying to disentangle my own views here, and to give my view of what I feel SGOish consensus the SGOish centre ground to be - this may not be representative of the readership here, of course.

1) I can sense this is an issue in tension. I *think* the centre point in our circles is "Israel is a fact on the ground and what's done is done" (and hardly unique in that regard) but I can't be sure. I suspect a lot of people, if pressed, would endorse this for most states currently in existence.
2) I thing the default is "no worse than any other religion". Furthermore I suspect there would be a long argument about what Islam is, or if the question is even meaningful, although that might just be me.
3) This is quite a mild statement; many people would nod sagely and say, "yes, this would be a welcome side effect of better contraception".
4) I think you'd be regarded as distinctly odd for that one, especially if the option of voting Lib Dem/Green/spoiled ballot is on the table.
5) I think you might have trouble with that one, especially if you said "homeopathy" by name. It's interesting that you say "alternative" rather than "complementary"; this makes it more contentious.
6) Actually I'm feeling that not only is there a lot of pro-immigration sentiment, there's a willingness to leap on anti-immigration sentiment, to the extent that trying to justify anti-immigration-positions-that-I-disagree-with as being valid opinions is close to taboo.
7) I can feel this as being controversial. Of course, it depends what you mean by "acceptable". (Personal thought: not smacking children is a good norm to have, even if some instances of smacking children might be better than not)
8) I suspect the default position is that religious groups can do what they like here, so long as they stay within their (rather small) legitimate sphere of influence.
9) Again, this is one where I feel the feeling is sufficiently pro-Europe to make Euroscepticism hard to express. However, I think that "things are OK as they are, aren't we glad we didn't join the Euro" might not get leapt on.

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Date: 2013-07-16 08:00 pm (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
I may or may not find time to write about the others, but as far as Europe is concerned I will make the flags so we can go marching round the streets shouting "JOIN EUROPE ALREADY".

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Date: 2013-07-16 08:29 pm (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
Although since no-one has bitten on the alternative medicine thing yet...

I used to think this. Certainly from the POV of an educated person with some random illness for whom conventional medicine isn't working, why not try whatever wacky thing you want? It's not hurting anyone else if you get some consolation out of a method that might not actually be doing you any good.

However, I believe alternative medicine does two major harms.

First, to individuals. You may be capable of making an informed decision on whether to try a drug, but many people are not. Whilst some of the people selling alternative medicines are fluffy do-gooders, many are just out to make money. They do so by targeting vulnerable people who are not at the top of their mental faculties, either through lack of education, or confusion of age, or stress of illness. As a society we ought to be protecting these people, not leaving them prey to mercenary individuals who will happily sell them unregulated, potentially dangerous pills, and are prepared to put a lot of effort into persuading them to avoid real medicines which might actually heal them.

Secondly to society in general. It is an uphill struggle to get people to understand health-related decisions, probability, risk, etc. etc. They are generally very bad at it! This is not just an "isn't this so frustrating" issue; muddying the waters with quack medicine has all kinds of knock-on effects, from whether effective drugs are available in some countries at all, to how much money is available for research and for national health systems, right down to what GPs recommend to their patients and whether it's possible to have a proper, informed conversation with a patient about what's best for them.

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Further Thoughts re: Alternative Medicine

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Date: 2013-07-16 08:22 pm (UTC)
merrythebard: (Default)
From: [personal profile] merrythebard
Oh, this is interesting!

I agree strongly with a lot of your points (2, 5 and 6 especially), and have qualified agreement with some (3 particularly).

7 is the one I disagree with most strongly, partly because I was (and, annoyingly, remain) genuinely traumatised from having been smacked as a child. I experienced it not merely as a physical and emotional trauma, but as a sexual trauma, and although CBT and prayer and meditation and other things have helped, I still get occasional flashbacks. A lot of this is context: clearly the effect on me was greatly worsened by the terrifying rages my Mum would enter into when smacking me, other elements of her behaviour towards me that were borderline sexual, the emotional abuse and alternating suffocation and neglect that I received from both parents. And I'm aware that many people are smacked as children and it doesn't cause them any trauma at all! Generally people whose parents did not smack them when angry, apologised if they were unreasonable, and were generally warm, supportive, nurturing and fair. So, it would not be quite true to say that I believe that smacking is always abusive. It clearly isn't. But I believe that it can and frequently *is* a form of abuse, and physical and even sexual abuse at that. And that one determining factor for that is the rest of the parent/guardian's behaviour towards the child, and another is the vulnerability/sensitivity of the child hirself, which may not always be clear to the parent or guardian at the time. So, I regard it as, at least, a very high risk behaviour to engage in. And I am always warmed and cheered and healed when I witness friends engaging in nonviolent parenting, especially when they do so under trying circumstances!

Having said all that: I totally don't think you're a monster for disagreeing with me! I'm not particularly trying to persuade you of my opinion, more speaking my truth, because it's important to me to say it. I shan't hate you for continuing to think as you do. :-)
Edited Date: 2013-07-16 08:22 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2013-07-16 08:51 pm (UTC)
mirrorshard: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorshard
This is interesting!

Israel is a legitimate state, both politically and in the specific sense of existing as a constitutionally Jewish and Zionist state.

I approve of Israel's existence, but not of some of its behaviour, and I think it should give equal rights to all citizens regardless of their Jewishness. I'm not sure to what extent this matches up to your view, though.

Islam is an excellent religion and one of the crowning achievements of human civilization.

This seems pretty uncontroversial to me, except amongst the sadly numerous people who know very little about Islam.

There should be fewer abortions.

I agree, if I'm permitted to rephrase it as "less need for abortions" - utopianly, nobody would become pregnant except with their and their partner's (if any) enthusiastic intention.

It's often better to vote Conservative than Labour.

Disagree strongly. The recent governments by both parties were appalling, but I see many more sensible and humane MPs on the Labour side than the Conservative one, and their demographic makeup is overall more demotic than the Conservatives. I would be much closer to agreeing if it were "no worse to vote Conservative than Labour". In addition, I would struggle to find any aspect of this current government that I would describe as more than minimally competent.

Alternative medicine is a good thing if it makes people feel better, even if its claimed mechanism of action goes against the current scientific consensus.

Agree. Alternative medicine is only bad if it's either a) actively harmful, b) expensive, or c) likely to encourage people not to consult a doctor or specialist.

We should actively encourage immigration into this country, and possibly remove immigration restrictions altogether.

Agree, always have done.

It's sometimes acceptable for parents to smack their children as a punishment.

Disagree. I'm not personally aware of any uses of violence in this context which worked even as well as I've seen nonviolent methods in similar contexts work, let alone better.

Religious groups can legitimately decide whether same-sex marriage, ministers who are not straight men and similar are theologically valid.

Agree, but only in the same sense that they can legitimately decide whether dancing on Sunday, Eastenders, and cheese are theologically valid.

The UK should be more closely integrated with Europe, both politically and financially.

Yes yes yes yes.

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Date: 2013-07-17 07:39 am (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
utopianly, nobody would become pregnant except with their and their partner's (if any) enthusiastic intention.

And what if after getting pregnant with mutual and enthusiastic intention, something changes?

This is not a theoretical question for me. I did not have an abortion, but I was very aware of all the ways in which I received support, the absence of which might have led me to a different decision.

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Date: 2013-07-16 09:29 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
1) I'm against states that have limitations on who they accept as citizens, and who value some citizens more than others. I mostly view states as bureaucratic methods for individuals to organise themselves. Therefore I'm against Israel being definitely Jewish, on the grounds that it lessens their non-Jewish citizens.

2) I'd love to know more about this. (I don't view Islam as definitely any better or worse than most religions, largely due to ignorance.)

3) Yes - but they don't particularly bother me. I'm in favour of more education and access to contraception, which causes less abortion in the long run.

4) I'd rather not vote either, and in an election where they were the only two choices I had would pick a sensible Conservative over a statist, controlling Labour type.

5) I'm against Doctors lying to their patients. If we can give people placebos without lying to them (including deliberately misleading them by hiding the truth) then I'm fine with it.

6) Yes, absolutely.

7) I'm torn on this one. I was never smacked, and I believe that it's possible to raise children perfectly well without doing so. On the other hand, I'm not militant about it.

8) Churches are totally allowed to decide what is theologically valid, and perform whatever religious ceremonies they so wish. It is up to their members to judge/change them.

9) Yes - with the caveat that the Euro is currently not a tenable currency - it needs either more integration or less. And I actually think that a mega-currency is bad for many parts of it. I'm fairly sure that Scotland having its own currency would be better for it.

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Date: 2013-07-16 10:13 pm (UTC)
onyxlynx: 6 pelicans at the local watering hole (Six Pelicans)
From: [personal profile] onyxlynx
I have no difficulty with religious groups making those decisions for themselves; what I resent is attempts to foist those decisions on non-members or even those members who disagree, and I would prefer that everyone have a chance to rethink these things every so often. (I'm an American, as if that doesn't show.) I also have no standing quarrel with Islam, but I think a lot of people are misinterpreting its tenets (I think that about socialism, too, so).

Unfortunately, conservatism of either the economic or social kind has pretty much rendered itself poisoned by its practitioners, and I understand that your parties do not map onto US political parties, which may be a blessing.

For example, our "conservatives" are opposed to abortions and the policies that would reduce the number thereof. I tend to think there's an underlying plan there, and that it is ugly. (Years ago, I knew an anti-abortion feminist who was totally adamant about better birth control and education. Dismantling the rape culture would also help.) Right now, though I don't like it--and I understand ethical and religious objections--it needs to be an option of last resort. And frankly the sooner the cultures get over the idea that overt birth prevention is unspontaneous or unsexy, the better.

I am...rather waffly on alternative medicine. Some of it works, and some of it is that Wakefield guy lying.

I'm in favor of comprehensive training for parenthood, which will never happen. Also immigration. Israel and the Euro Zone are complicated.

I've subscribed to you--finally.

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Date: 2013-07-16 10:39 pm (UTC)
gerald_duck: (combo)
From: [personal profile] gerald_duck
Hmm. Whereas on [personal profile] jack's posting, people appeared to operate depth-first, starting a cascade of comments about one particular issue, here things seem to be rather more breadth-first, people commenting across the board.

In that spirit… (-8

  • What is your stance on the territories Israel has seized since its creation?
  • Agreed, but
  • As Jack pointed out, "fewer people should need to have an abortion" might be a more acceptable phrasing. Something I feel strongly, which I don't often see said: if someone is going to have an abortion, better sooner rather than later. Nobody should be rushed into a difficult and important decision, of course, but equally it helps nobody to hide information away from those who need it or cause delay through undue discouragement.
  • I guess. I've never voted for either.
  • Placebo is arguably the most effective medical treatment available. This causes immense ethical problems, especially now so many people research their symptoms, diagnosis and treatment online, especially since expensive placebos are more effective than cheap ones (as are nasty-tasting ones, injected ones, brand-name ones, ones a suitable colour, ones given after a more detailed consultation…)
  • So you don't think we should restrict immigration only to Christians? This seems at odds with your first item!
  • What do you mean by "acceptable"? I'm not in favour of it happening, but I'm also not in favour of it being illegal. (Furthermore, I'm not in favour of my having children unless and until I have far clearer personal answers to a lot of questions surrounding the legitimacy of projecting one's own values onto them!)
  • Religious groups in general, yes. Provided religious marriage is completely decoupled from social and legal marriage. And provided the Church of England specifically behaves more reasonably and responsibly, in view of its Established status and privileges.
  • Well, I disagree completely. But what I find interesting is that in Jack's posting I listed my diametrically opposite view as likely to be contentious!

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Date: 2013-07-17 06:46 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I am pretty jolly well pissed off at some of the things I have heard, from sources I don't inherently distrust, that Israel the state is doing.

Of course, I also think that the UN ought to have election-monitoring troops in the US right about now.

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Date: 2013-07-17 10:22 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
*Israel clearly is currently a state, I guess that is better than many alternatives. I dislike theocracies in general, but I think it would be unfair to say "you can't have a Jewish state" when there are lots of explicitly Christian and Muslim states (with varying levels of enforcement of their religion on their citizenry), including of course the UK. I object strongly to the actions of the Israeli state in relation to the Palestinians, but I don't intend by that statement to object to the existence of the Israeli state. I think it's entirely unfair that the Palestinians don't get to have a proper state.

*Islam doesn't seem to me any better or any worse than the Catholicism I was brought up with.

*I think there should be fewer abortions due to less need for abortions. Alas I think it unlikely that we can thereby arrive at zero abortions because sometimes things go wrong during wanted pregnancies.

*I don't know about "often", but it sure can be. Personally I would prefer to vote for neither and have had the choice to meaningfully do so in most of the elections I have voted in.

*I think alt. med. people often *are* better at all the stuff like "listen" and "say calming things" than the NHS; and some alt. med. stuff is *nice* even if it doesn't *work* (like, say, aromatherapy - which I think is total bull as medicine but it smells nice so I buy smelly candles and stuff anyway). I think the main risk is to people who are so convinced by alt. med. stuff that they don't even consider what conventional medicine has to offer them; and more worryingly *has to offer their children* (I'm all for considering and rejecting conventional medicine because, say, the side effects are just too awful).

*woo, yay, immigration!

*I still don't. For that matter I don't think "hitting your dog" is an acceptable method of dog-training either. I've never tried to train either a child or a dog, the fact that I'd probably get really angry and hit them is one reason I should probably not try. Then again I do get confused when some people are saying "child is two, child can not be expected to behave like adult" and other people are saying "child of two should totally be allowed into pub because child is person"; I think one or the other really...

*I don't care what religious groups do so long as they don't tell non-members what to do, don't seriously harm anyone, and let members leave if they don't like it. My main issues with just giving groups free reign over all their doings is what happens to children brought up within the group.

*yay! the EU! I love the EU!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-28 11:54 am (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
I do get confused when some people are saying "child is two, child can not be expected to behave like adult" and other people are saying "child of two should totally be allowed into pub because child is person"

I totally agree that children are people, and do not have the same capacities as adults. I also prefer pubs that allow all people in and not just those over 18. But that doesn't mean I don't think 18+ only pubs shouldn't be allowed. I do prefer it when there is clear signage and/or policies to be found on websites.

For example, the policy on children on the Pembury website is clear and helpful, and ensures that we never make the mistake of taking the children there with their current (lack of) ability to be seen and not heard. Another example is that Wetherspoons have a blanket policy of "children allowed until 8pm" which effectively gives them two markets depending on time of day.

(late response is late, this tab has been sitting waiting for me to get to it for weeks, sorry)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-17 11:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the_alchemist.livejournal.com
None of those things seem very controversial to me. In particular, I would be shocked if one of my friends or acquaintances believed that the state of Israel shouldn't exist or that it wouldn't be a good idea to reduce to number of unwanted pregnancies.

As far as I'm concerned (and probably very predictably), the controversial things you've said are mostly contained within this entry about the Effective Altruist (EA) movement (liv.dreamwidth.org/373295.html). Specifically:

1) That effective altruism is "fashionable" among your friends. Firstly, that is a very belittling word to use for something that is so important to some of us, and has been over a long period of time. Secondly, it doesn't (alas) seem to me to be factually correct - either in the sense of lots of us liking it, or in the sense of it being passing fad - unless of course you have a lot of EA friends I don't know (in which case please introduce us!)

2) Secondly "cancer research is the Big Bad in the minds of the efficient giving people". I admit to having said some untactful things about cancer research, although I'm a bit more grown-up about it now, and I don't thing I ever said anything along the lines of it being a big bad - it's more like a medium-sized good! And I only know of one other EA person who uses it as an example of an over-valued cause - someone I'm pretty sure you don't know.

Indirectly, there are at least two ways in which the EA movement supports cancer research. One is lobbying animal rights groups to turn their interests away from animal testing to things the have [more] net positive impact (factory farming and wild animal suffering, mostly).

The other is fighting infections diseases such as AIDS and Schistosomiasis, which are significant causes of cancer in the developing world. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe about 30-40% of cancers in Africa are caused by the infectious diseases we are seeking to treat or prevent, including in researchy ways.

On the other hand, if we *do* have a big bad, it's probably Homeopaths Without Borders (http://homeopathswithoutborders-na.org/), which may go against your point 5; or Pizza for IDF (http://pizzaidf.org/), which may go against your point 1. I've seen these, or fictional charities based on them (Doughnuts for Policemen!) used to demonstrate that what a charity actually does is way more important than how much it spends on admin.

But by and large, we don't have a big bad, since it would be a waste of time to work out which charities are most ineffective.

The other parts of the entry are interesting. I mostly disagree with them, but not unambiguously so, and I plan to respond at some point after I've read more Thomas Pogge (who as I understand it is an effective altruist and explicitly non-utilitarian philosopher.)

I certainly don't disagree with your career choice though. It's a very understandable mistake to think we want everyone to earn to give in a "city finance job", because the media seems fascinated by the idea and repeatedly misrepresents us as saying that. In fact we think earning to give (in the city or elsewhere) is just one factor of many that should be considered when choosing a career.

(Um ... when responding to this, you may (or may not) wish to consider that I'm one of those people who isn't "resilient to being shouted at when they express a minority view", although I am good at feigning resiliance and responding in a calm and mature way so long as it's online, and don't express my minority views except when I'm prepared to be challenged, including in robust ways.)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-17 12:15 pm (UTC)
kerrypolka: Contemporary Lois Lane with cellphone (Default)
From: [personal profile] kerrypolka
I know quite a few of our friends who don't think Israel should exist as a Jewish state - mind you I'm not sure whether I do or not, but there's definitely many people who think it's racist etc.

I didn't know that about cancers in the developing world!

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] the_alchemist.livejournal.com - Date: 2013-07-17 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] kerrypolka - Date: 2013-07-17 02:06 pm (UTC) - Expand

Israel is a legitimate state

Date: 2013-07-17 11:30 am (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
Israel is a legitimate state, both politically and in the specific sense of existing as a constitutionally Jewish and Zionist state

You've pointed out to me how much some (often leftie) people have converted a legitimate outrage with what Israel has done in Gaza and Palestine into a really awful hatred of Israel as a whole, although I don't know how much that's entrenched in my social group.

I'm not even sure what "legitimate" means -- whether or not it was right to create Israel, I don't think we should or could erase it now.

I'm not sure what "jewish state" actually suggests. You've pointed out the bad things that come from enshrining a particular denomination of over-orthodox judaism in Israel, and I don't agree with that. I'm very happy with Israel enshrining the right-to-return. But I also don't like the idea that it means non-jews don't have rights. Or does it mean something less controversial?

What does "as a zionist state" mean, other than "israel should exist"?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-17 11:37 am (UTC)
shreena: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shreena
I'd be interested in hearing more on why you'd like more integration with the EU.

I feel, conversely, like it's considered to be reactionary/sign of poor education/ignorance to be Euro sceptic to any degree. I am, for various reasons, in favour of definitely no further integration but, ideally, a bit of rolling back. Could talk about it all day but my main reasons are:

that EU citizens - on the whole - do not feel a sense of unity/need to support each other, e.g. the German populace don't feel like they 'should' support the Greeks, etc, and forcing closer union when the people do not want it does not seem to me like a recipe for success;

that it is incredibly undemocratic and unaccountable - the Commission has failed completely to keep its financial house in order (how many years have they not been signed off for at this point? over a decade, I believe) but there appears to be nothing that individual countries or individual voters can do about that. Also, every time that people vote against further union in a referendum, there are just more referenda until the 'right' result is achieved - democracy in action.. or not.

that integration has been handled so badly so far that I see no advantages to getting further into it - e.g. the single currency should never have been extended so far into countries with such different practices, it should have been rolled out more gently with more strict criteria for joining (like the ones they had to start with and then ignored)

And, finally, I've never quite figured out what the actual advantages of further integration are supposed to be

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-18 09:57 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
The advantages of further integration are the usual economies of scale. Cheaper (for instance, not that it's current on the cards) to have a few European aircraft carriers than for ever country to have one each. Better labour-market efficiency if people, jobs, etc. can move around with fewer barriers.

On a more personal level I think it's good to expand our idea of "us". To stop thinking "we are BRITISH and will keep our British riches for British people" and start thinking "we are EUROPEAN, let us share our European riches amongst all European people" is progress towards "we are HUMAN let us share our riches with all other humans people".

The current situation all seems rather a mess to me, and I'm certainly in favour of *sorting the mess out*. For instance making the EU parliament be more meaningfully in charge of things rather than the Commission. I don't think that sorting the mess out needs to mean "having less EU"; indeed I think we could have a great deal more EU much more democratically if only we actually set ourselves (collectively) on such a goal.

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] shreena - Date: 2013-07-18 10:24 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-17 05:06 pm (UTC)
damerell: (brains)
From: [personal profile] damerell
In no particular order, then:
* clearly, but many of the things it does are terrible.
* well, it's no worse than the Catholic Church, I suppose, but that's faint praise.
* less need for same, anyway - but any objection to them before significant foetal brain activity is fundamentally religious and should be dismissed.
* a gentleman never votes Tory. More seriously, really, we don't need to wonder about this now, just as Bush showed us yes, there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans. They're worse; they've always been worse.
* what CEB wrote.
* certainly the current farce is far too restrictive.
* yes.
* yes, if (as above) unestablished, but don't blame me if they look silly.
* Yes, on balance.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-18 06:40 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-05 09:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elemy.livejournal.com
"Religious groups can legitimately decide whether same-sex marriage, ministers who are not straight men and similar are theologically valid"

By "can", do you mean "should be allowed to", or "are able to"?

Because I would agree in principle with the first, but sadly the CoE seems to have shown that the second is not always true.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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