28
Apr
10

A couple links re: human nature

I’m a bit too busy standing on the shoulders of giants to write up anything insightful.  Fortunately, not everyone’s submitting to the same conference as I am.

Alex Tabbarok riffs off a post by Robin Hanson:

Here’s Robin:

“Tolerance” is a feel-good buzzword in our society, but I fear people have forgotten what it means. Many folks are proud of their “tolerance” for gays, working women, Tibetan monks in cute orange outfits, or blacks sitting at the front of the bus. But what they really mean is that they consider such things to be completely appropriate parts of their society, and are not bothered by them in the slightest. That, however, isn’t “tolerance.”

“Tolerance” is where you tolerate things that actually bother you.

(I presume someone’ll be along presently to misconstrue that to mean that Robin is bothered by gays, working women, and &c.)

Then Alex:

As I suspect Robin would acknowledge, gay rights have not advanced because of more tolerance per se, i.e. they have not advanced because more people are willing to accept behavior that bothers them.  Advance has occurred because fewer people are bothered by the behavior.  Note, for example, that if the former were the case we would not see more gays and lesbians on television, as we do today.

One problem with bother-modification “tolerance” is that it permits vicious, petty, closed-minded, and vindictive prejudice under the smug sanctimonious cloak of righteousness.  Thus militantly “tolerant” leftists who would never in a million years argue that two consenting adult men who love each other should be forbidden from having a romantic relationship have argued tooth-and-nail with me that two consenting adult women and one consenting adult man just can’t possibly all love each other and should be prohibited from having a romantic relationship.  Bigamy is backwards and exploitative and, you know, Mormon and stuff, and any woman who gets it into her pretty little head that she wants to be part of a polyamorous relationship has been cruelly manipulated by some evil swingin’ dick.

This goes the other way around, too.  For example, if I should opine that smoking shouldn’t be so relentlessly crowded out of public and increasingly private life because it’s none of our fucking business what you burn and inhale, those “tolerant” folks immediately assume that if I’m willing to tolerate smoking, I must not be bothered by it.  Not goddamn true.  If you smoke in my home I will evict you at knifepoint.

Okay, that rant threatened to derail my evening.  Here’s another fine piece of writing, this time from LabRat on the subject of government:

She begins:

It strikes me that a core breakdown in political logic stems from seeing “the government” as a completely separate entity from “the people”. […] Problem is, no matter how you move the boxes on the org chart around, the government is always people. Smart people, dumb people, uninformed people, drunk people, blue-nosed people, amoral people, ideological people, apathetic people, people just like the people all around you in your neighborhood and at your job whose decisions you normally wouldn’t give any particular credit.

It gets better from there.  Go, read.

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2 Responses to “A couple links re: human nature”


  1. April 29, 2010 at 06:56

    I quit seeing myself as a liberal when it became clear to me that the left was doing their best to turn ‘tolerance’ into smug, self-righteous entitlement.

  2. 2 Not Sure
    April 29, 2010 at 18:25

    ” For example, if I should opine that smoking shouldn’t be so relentlessly crowded out of public and increasingly private life because it’s none of our fucking business what you burn and inhale, those “tolerant” folks immediately assume that if I’m willing to tolerate smoking, I must not be bothered by it.”

    In a similar vein, try telling people that you can understand why *somebody* did *something*, and watch how often you get accused of excusing the action, however abhorrent.


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