Why #MeToo is a Waste of Time

October 20, 2017

Recently, the hashtag #MeToo has been cycling around social media.  The idea behind this hashtag is for women to come forward and discuss their stories of sexual harassment.

The problem is, sexual harassment is pretty vague.  According to The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is stated as,

“It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.”

Sounds clear right?  You can’t fire your secretary for turning down your advances, according to the law.

The problem is the package deal that is wrapped up in the sexual harassment.  To be found guilty of sexual harassment, the only proof is that someone else felt uncomfortable.

Obviously, rape, sexual assault, and so on are a violation of individual rights, and the perpetrators should be dealt with harshly by the law.   However, lumped into this same category is everything from rapists to a single catcalling construction worker.

Instead of recognizing that there is a long distance between an unwanted comment and rape, we are expected to swallow, as one package deal, that everyone who has received a catcall or an unwanted comment is a victim equal to a rapist victim.  And, that everyone who has laughed at a sexist joke, or went in for a kiss and got rejected, or whatever is now on par with a rapist.

The end result of this is to treat every man as though he was a rapist.  Furthermore, it is to teach every man that they are no better than a rapist, for every single (straight) man has glanced too long at a woman, or made a stray comment, and are now guilty of rape.

It’s the danger of a package deal.

 

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Facebook Anger

October 13, 2017

I have finally started cleaning up my Facebook feed.  I don’t defriend people, but I have started unfollowing people and blocking posts.  After this last shooting, I have become sick of all of the nonsense, and was realizing how much time I waste arguing with walls and reading garbage.

So many of my friends, so many people of my generation have been nursing the government teat for so long that they can’t imagine life without it.  Every problem requires a government solution.  If I dare say that the solution lies within the people, (who supposedly make up the government, in a free society), I get lots of flapping arms, yelling, and ad hominem attacks.

Side Note:  spell check wants to change “ad homiem” to “Eminem.”   That’s what’s wrong.

Another Note:  I posted the above statement on Facebook with an animated GIF.  Perhaps I’m what’s wrong.

Anyway, this week, I skipped out on all of my old friends calling NRA members “racists” and “terrorists” and read exactly no articles about “white privilege” or “male privilege” or any other nonsense.  It’s all gone from my feed.  No more articles from Vox, Upworthy, or Vice.  Good riddance.

For my trouble, I enjoyed a productive, less-stressed week.

Am I avoiding the problem?  Perhaps.  However, there is nothing to do about it on Facebook, so why increase my stress level and fight over stuff that isn’t going to be changed on Facebook anyway?

I’m not engaging any of these folks anymore.  They can treat Facebook as their echo chamber and recite their practiced lines against guns, Trump, God, whomever, if it makes them feel better.  They can beat their chests and declare themselves geniuses of social issues and politics, and the most they’ll get from the likes of me is an uninterested, “that’s nice.”  I just won’t be listening.

 

The NRA Disappoints Me Today

October 6, 2017

I am a lifetime member of the NRA.  I have been for a long time.  I have been a member in one form or another since I was about 12, and used to read Insights Magazine years ago.

Today, the NRA announced that they would support changing the legal status of “bump stocks” after the Las Vegas shooting.

I personally own no bump stocks. I haven’t the resources to feed a rifle with a bump stock, so I don’t have anything to lose by new legislation.

The problem I have is with the philosophy of the antigun crowd, as well as (apparently) the leadership in the NRA.

Guns are just devices.  They are metal, wood and plastic crafted into certain shapes with certain functionality.  They have no morality, they have no feelings or intentions.  They are neither good nor evil.  Because they are a physical item, they are property.

The governnment has no business telling folks what the shape of their property can be.  They have no business telling people that this pile of plastic is somehow allowed, as long as it is not like this other pile of plastic.  They have no business telling an existing business to stop creating, designing, and manufacturing a product.

Rather than stand up to the government, the NRA rushed to the government as fast as it could and begged, “Please sirs, take these away.  We won’t complain.  Just let us keep another hunk of metal and plastic instead.”

No, do not compromise my property rights because you think you are doing me a favor.  No, do not compromise because you are afraid of looking “too extreme.”

When a merchant and a consumer compromise, everyone wins.  The consumer gets the goods and the merchant gets the money, at the agreed rate of exchange.  When rights are compromised away, the individual loses.

So then, I’ve said that they handled it poorly.  How could they have handled it well?  They could have said nothing, for there is nothing to say.  Someone out there used guns to hurt people.  We, the average NRA member, did not.  There is nothing to say. I don’t expect a statement from Ford, UAW or NASCAR for every car accident.  Why would I expect it from the NRA after a shooting?

Thank you for reading my post.

Source:  https://www.nraila.org

 

 

 

NFL and the National Anthem

September 29, 2017

Currently, NFL players are protesting injustice by refusing to stand for the National Anthem at the beginning of the football games. The football players are claiming that the United States is unjust and that this protests the injustice. Therefore, kneeling at the National Anthem is part of their freedom of speech. Critics say that it is disrespectful to this country and its veterans, and that the football players should stand. President Trump has weighed in as well, stating that the NFL should fire such players.

This issue can (and will) be resolved by the free market and property rights.

First, the right to free speech extends only as far as your property. I may speak my mind, whatever I think, on my own property, using my own paper and my own broadcast equipment. I cannot force someone else to give me a platform from which to speak. I cannot demand a TV network use their property to spread my message. I cannot go to another person’s property and demand they listen to me. In fact, the only way an idea gets past my walls is if someone else allows me to speak in theirs.

Second, I certainly cannot expect my freedom of speech to include going to my place of employment (say my company owner’s property) and demand that he listen to and repeat my message.

The NFL players have signed contracts stating that they will stand for the National Anthem, with their hand over their hearts. If they refuse, their employer has every right to fire them, just like Walmart can fire the cart pusher for not pushing carts. It is not an issue of “freedom of speech” at all.

Personally, I think that a bunch of football players, making a small fortune are interesting folks to talk about “injustice” and “privilege.” They should stand in support of this country, its flag, and its veterans. They, of all people, should recognize the affluence afforded by this society that we can watch them play a game, and willingly throw money at them to do so. A less fortunate country would not have time for such unimportant activities as watching a sport.

Having said that, let’s let the free market decide. Yes, they have their freedom of speech to run their mouths, but the NFL can certainly request their dismissal, and the individual teams can fire the players.

From an informal examination of my Facebook friends, I think keeping these “protesting” players will do more harm than good for the NFL. My friends who have come out in support of the protest never watched football anyhow, and aren’t about to start, regardless of who is protesting. My friends who watch football are the ones who are angry and are boycotting football.

My bet is that the NFL will have a choice: continue to allow the protests, and watch their bottom line sink, or reprimand the players and salvage what will be a dreadful year for the organization. Perhaps baseball will be more popular next spring.

Thank you for reading my post.

Atlas Shrugged, Ch. 4

September 22, 2017

I finished reading Chapter 4 a few days ago.

In this chapter, we learn about the Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule, where Jim Taggart and his cronies have effectively killed off the Phoenix-Durango railroad, and prevent any newcomer from entering the market.  We see the end of Dan Conway, as he refuses to fight the Rule.

We also learn that Mexico has nationalized the railroad and San Sebastian Mines.  Taggart Transcontinental lost some old equipment and only one wood-burning locomotive, thanks to Dagny’s preparations.  James Taggart took credit for saving the railroad money to the Board of Directors.

Francisco D’Anconia lost 15 million dollars of his own money.  We don’t know much about him yet, but we know that he typically makes money, and this seems out of character.

We meet a wild character, Ellis Wyatt, who comes into Dagny’s office like a hurricane.  He storms in, curses Taggart Transcontinental for ruining the Phoenix-Durango line, then demands trains.  He says that if Wyatt Oil sinks because of the lack of trains, he was going to take Taggart Transcontinental with him.

Finally, we see that, in spite of it all, Dagny Taggart and Hank Reardon are still planning to go through with using Reardon metal for rail in Colorado.

Thank you for reading my post.

Atlas Shrugged, Chapters 2 and 3

September 15, 2017

I am a little behind on my posting, so I did not post Chapter 2 last week.

Chapter 2

In this chapter, we get to meet Hank Reardon’s family.  He hurries home with a braclet, made from the first heat of Reardon Metal, to give to his wife.  Considering the labor that he has invested in developing this new metal over the past ten years, a successful pour of the material is a cause for celebration.

When he arrives at his home, he is greeted by a whiny crowd of losers that consist of his mother, his brother, their family friend (Paul Larkin), and a mocking, condesending wife.  He presents her with the bracelet, and she mocks it.  His mother and brother scolded him for giving her such a gaudy, selfish present.  They could not see that this bracelet was the only one of its kind; they only saw it as being made from the same material as rails and bridges.

At one point, he finds out that his brother runs a charity, and needs $10,000 to start a new project.  Hank, who wants to see if he can make his brother happy, even for just a brief time, says he can donate the money.  The brother says that his organization cannot be affiliated with Reardon Steel, and asks for the money in cash, anonymously.

I was left with a bit of hopelessness and disgust at the end of this chapter.

 

Chapter 3

In Chapter 3, we get to sit in on a meeting held in a barroom between Paul Larkin, Orren Boyle, Wesley Mouch, and James Taggart.  Orren Boyle, who runs a steel mill that competes with Reardon Steel, complained that it was not fair that Reardon Steel owns its own supply lines. This means that he can change the costs and expenses across his organization to undercut competitors.    Meanwhile, James complains about the Phoenix-Durango line, whining that new companies are invading terrain that had formerly been covered by Taggart Transcontinental.

We also get to see some of Dagny’s thoughts.  In this chapter, she talked about the Nat Taggart statue, her relative who founded the company.  She admires him, but not because they are related.  She admires him because he formed the company with nothing but pennies on his houework.

Later, we see a conversation between James Taggart and Dagny Taggart.  Dagny has made a line in Mexico sparse, removing anything expensive or unncessary.  James rants about how the Mexican people need transit, and Dagny knows that a rail line there is a poor business decision.  Even so, Dagy does just that- removes things of value from the train cars and only runs crappy, worn out engines.

Thank you for reading my post.  Hopefully, you are reading,or at least considering reading Atlas Shrugged.

The Atlas Project

September 8, 2017

I started participating in the Atlas Project, or rather the Ayn Rand Institute Atlas Project. This project involves reading Atlas Shrugged, one chapter at a time.  In addition to reading the book, there is a series of discussion questions on Facebook each week, as well as a lecture by a few folks at the Ayn Rand Institute.

The first chapter of Atlas is where we first meet  Dagny Taggart, the vice president of Taggart Transcontinental, and our first hero of the book.  In this chapter, we see a crumbling New York City.  We get a glimpse of a disturbing trauma of his childhood- he loves a strong oak tree in the Taggart property, only to later learn that the tree has been dead inside for a long time.  We learn of the disintegrating Rio Norte Line of Taggart Transcontinental, and that no new steel rail can be found.  We learn that Dagny Taggart has instead ordered some experimental rail from a new material called “Reardon Metal”, which angers James Taggart.  There was also a curious bit about a musical score that was clearly written by Richard Halley, except he stopped writing music years earlier.

I’ll let you read the details.  It’s not too late to start.

More information can be found here:  Atlas Project Facebook Group

Sexist Commercial

August 25, 2017

I heard a commercial on the radio for Liberty Mutual Insurance, and it made me laugh.  I’m not one to point out sexism (as there are a million crybabies to do this), but this one was stupid.  However, I will use it to illustrate a point about the world.

This particular radio commercial has two men talking, presumably at the office water cooler.  One of them talks about how he would be freaking out and a nervous wreck if it was his teenage girl getting her license.  The other one calmly responds that, because he has Liberty Mutual Insurance, she has roadside assistance if she breaks down, and that now he can sleep easy.

First:  I (and probably most parents) are nervous about their kids driving because THEY CAN, AND OFTEN ARE, KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENTS.  Not because they might break down.

Second:  You know what sucks about breaking down?   Missing events (and work) because you are stuck on the side of the road.  You know what else sucks about breaking down?  Having to pay for it.  In a near last place, there is the off chance (very rare off chance) that you will be attacked while waiting for a tow truck.  Realistically, your daughter will miss school (I’m sure she’s broken-hearted), maybe work or a date with her friends or boyfriend (which you probably don’t approve of anyhow).  And, I’m more than willing to bet that she won’t pay for the car repairs, either.  So, the threat is that she could be attacked while stranded on the side of the road.

Let’s examine this threat a little more.  I don’t have exact numbers, but I bet the odds are pretty slim.  I bet she is more likely to be attacked at a frat house in college (which you’ll encourage her to attend), by a family member or friend (unfortunately), or some other scenario long before a random driver attacks her on the side of the road.

Also, what does it mean to be “stranded” on the side of the road in 2017?  I don’t know.  Where I live, there is miles of desert between small towns.  However, these roads are traveled by plenty of locals; more than likely if she broke down there, one of her classmates, a family friend or neighbor would see her and help.  Where is your daughter driving?  If you live in the city, she’ll be able to call for help from her cell phone and wait for a tow truck in a coffee shop nearby, no big deal.  If she is in the suburbs, the same applies.  Unless she’s driving across unfamiliar land on some cross-country road trip, alone, she’s probably in cell phone coverage and probably not far from a semi-safe public place.

Why do I bring this up?  Because this commercial tells us more about the way a lot of people think of the world.

For example, these authors have an unrealistic fear of the big, bad scary person that may attack while their daughters are waiting for a tow truck.  In reality, their daughters are much more likely to be killed in a car accident.

For example, I have heard about African American parents teaching their children that they could be shot by the police for no reason at all.  In reality, their children are also more likely to be killed in a car accident, commit suicide, or drown in a swimming pool than shot by the police.

For example, plenty of people are afraid of Muslims, as some of them attacked us.  Guess what?  We are more likely to die from a heart attack, car accident, suicide or cancer than killed in a Muslim terrorist attack.

Should these girls not be afraid of an attacker?  Should we not worry about being shot by the police for no reason?  Should we not worry about a terrorist attack?  Actually, it’s all about situational awareness.  Situational awareness, not worry.

The world is not a bad place.  There is no reason to suspect all people of being inherently evil.  A few are capable of evil things.  Let’s not let a few evil people change how we think of the world any longer.

Thank you for reading my post.

Charlottesville Incident

August 18, 2017

I am sick of hearing about it.  I really am.  I am sick of not knowing what actually happened, but there are only a few raw videos available.  At the very least, I know I cannot trust anything I see on the news or on the internet.

The bottom line is this:  as a defender of free speech, I wend up defending the vilest of folks.  Nazis, KKK, etc had a right to free speech, and the right to peaceful assembly.  So did the Black Lives Matter and Antifa folks.  I don’t know who started fighting first.  I’ve seen skirmishes in raw video started by both sides.

Unfortunately, all this incident has become is a catalyst for witch hunting anyone who does not support the mainstream conversations, be it a defender of a Confederate statue, or a Trump supporter or an actual Nazi.

In Objectivism, we would refer to this a package deal.  A package deal is when you get one thing, but then implicitly accept everything that is packaged with it, regardless of whether or not it belongs in this group.  Package deals are a form of character assassination; by lumping people together, perhaps inappropriately, we can misrepresent them.  Case in point; if we point out that Nazis and KKK members voted for Trump, we can discredit all Trump supporters as Nazis and KKK members.

Notice it happening right now.  This is not a philosophical discussion for academic purposes.  It is a real-life event.

Be wary of groups of people listed by the press.  Often, they will list groups of people they want grouped together to start building those associations in your mind.

Unfortunately, we will see much more of this in the near future.  The narrative is that if you did not support Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, you are a racist.  It was a pathetic cry from the left during the election, but thanks to the logical fallacy of the package deal, plenty of people are going to start to believe it.

What can we do?  Point it out.  Even if every Klansman voted for Trump, the inverse statement is not true; not every Trump voter is a Klansman.  Likely, every chemtrail conspiracy theorist voted for Bernie Sanders, but not every Bernie Sanders supporter thinks the corporations and government are brainwashing you from planes.

Also, don’t argue.  Point out this as a logical fallacy, politely.  If they get angry, or if they continue on, end the discussion.  Walk away.  You don’t have to defend yourself against someone whose premise is that you are a racist.  You don’t have to get in the last word.  Just leave.

Thank you for reading my post.  Next week, I will likely post about the Confederate Monuments, as I don’t think this discussion is going away.

Trump vs. the Media in the Shadow of Nuclear War

August 10, 2017

I think that North Korea is doing nothing more than trying to act tough, which is why I write this particular post instead of something concerning the upcoming nuclear war.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard that North Korea threatens to nuke Guam in a show of power and as a demonstration of their nuclear capabilities.

Several commentators have said that the threat, and a nuclear attack would be a “direct result” of Trump’s statements about North Korea.

Did you get that?  A nuclear attack, destroying several US Military installations and killing over 150,000 people by a dictator is the “direct result” of something Trump said?

No.  The phrase “direct result” implies a cause and effect relationship.  Therefore, this implies that a nuclear attack would be BECAUSE of Trump.

I’ve heard stories like this before.  I once had a friend in high school who told us that her bruises were a direct result of her actions; not her boyfriend’s fault.  After all, if she had called on time, she wouldn’t have been hit.

To blame Trump’s words for a nuclear attack is to remove any responsibility from a spoiled dictator, who just said he has no problem murdering 150,000+ people as a demonstration of power.  Furthermore, it is a denial of basic cause-and-effect relationships, and replacing them with the whims of a dictator as a fact of life:  mess with him, and get killed.  It is as if these commentators are saying, “Shouldn’t have messed with him, it’s your fault.”

One thing we have learned from feminism (and I agree, totally), is that it is wrong to blame the victim, be it rape, abuse, or in this case, mass murder.  If a woman drinks too much and is raped, one could say, “if she had not been drinking, this would not have happened,” which may or may not be true, but that does not place the blame on her.  “That’s what she gets for getting drunk,” would be victim blaming, as it implies a 1 to 1 cause and effect relationship:  If she gets drunk, she will get raped, cause and effect.  It implies that she is responsible, not the rapist.

While Trump may not be the direct victim of a nuclear attack, these reporters are placing the blame of a nuclear attack on someone who made some mouth noises versus the wee “man” dictator who launched the missles.

Thank you for reading my post.