eighteen things tagged “reddit”

The Mess Britain Is In by Larry the Cat More Pasta

Saving this for a quick TL;DR of the shitshow

For those asking from around the world how Britain has gotten into this mess:

  • The Conservative Party has always been obsessed with Europe
  • This caused divides making the party hard to manage
  • Back in 2015 then Prime Minister David Cameron had an idea
  • He promised a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU if he won the election
  • He won the election
  • The referendum was held; 52% of people voted to leave the EU
  • David Cameron resigned
  • Theresa May became Prime Minister saying that “Brexit means Brexit”
  • It turned out that nobody actually knew what Brexit meant
  • She called an election and lost the majority
  • She couldn’t get the Conservative party to agree on a Brexit deal so she quit
  • Boris Johnson became Prime Minister promising to “Get Brexit done”
  • He called a general election and won a majority
  • The UK left the European Union in January 2020
  • Major Brexit issues remain unresolved and it has negatively impacted the UK economy
  • Boris Johnson was forced to resign in disgrace in July 2022 following a series of scandals
  • Liz Truss was selected to replace Boris Johnson by members of the Conservative Party
  • She announced a raft of unfunded tax cuts to “grow the economy”
  • The economy collapsed
  • She sacked her chancellor
  • She resigned


My Undecided Thirties

Indecision has been a pretty huge problem in my life and this comment by /u/tomwaste hit home.

I’m not sure if people have experienced the same but when I entered my 30s I became convinced I was rapidly running out of time. Rather than using that as motivation I let it paralyze me with indecision because I “couldn’t afford to make the wrong choice.” Consequently, I’m now 39 and, though I’ve had great things happen in my 30s, I regret spending so much time worrying and so little time committing to a course of action.

What’s the simplest way out of this mire of Analysis Paralysis?

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

Their comment also reminded me of this Sylvia Plath poem illustrated by Gavin Aung Than of Zen Pencils.

The Fig Tree, a poem by Sylvia Plath illustrated by Gavin Aung Than of Zen Pencils

The Valeriepieris Circle

This is from a while ago but I didn’t get the memo. It’s a little crazy:

A map of the The Valeriepieris Circle

It’s named after Reddit user /u/vaieriepieris, an ESL teacher from Texas, who made it for a map subreddit in 2013.

  • There are more Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Communists inside the circle than outside it.
  • It “pulls all of this off while being mostly water and including the most sparsely populated country on earth (Mongolia).” (Source).
  • It also contains the highest mountain and deepest trench.

The State of American Healthcare by ThatsWhatXiSaid More Pasta

With some minor formatting. They add:

The average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2020 are $7,470 for single coverage and $21,342 for family coverage. Most covered workers make a contribution toward the cost of the premium for their coverage. On average, covered workers contribute 17% of the premium for single coverage ($1,270) and 27% of the premium for family coverage ($5,762).

It’s worth noting every penny of premiums is part of your total compensation, just as much as your salary. If you’re curious you can find out your specific amount on your W2 in box 12 with code DD.

Americans are paying a quarter million dollars more for healthcare over a lifetime compared to the most expensive socialized system on earth. Half a million dollars more than countries like Canada and the UK.

One in three American families had to forgo needed healthcare due to the cost last year. Almost three in ten had to skip prescribed medication due to cost. One in four had trouble paying a medical bill. Of those with insurance one in five had trouble paying a medical bill, and even for those with income above $100,000 14% had trouble. One in six Americans has unpaid medical debt on their credit report. 50% of all Americans fear bankruptcy due to a major health event.

So there’s a good chance you wouldn’t be able to pay for it, especially if you get sick enough to lose the job you depend on for insurance.

mediocre healthcare for free.

Except it’s US healthcare that’s mediocre vs. it’s peers.

The US has the worst rate of death by medically preventable causes among peer countries. A 31% higher disease adjusted life years average. Higher rates of medical and lab errors. A lower rate of being able to make a same or next day appointment with their doctor than average.

Comparing Health Outcomes of Privileged US Citizens With Those of Average Residents of Other Developed Countries

These findings imply that even if all US citizens experienced the same health outcomes enjoyed by privileged White US citizens, US health indicators would still lag behind those in many other countries.

When asked about their healthcare system as a whole the US system ranked dead last of 11 countries, with only 19.5% of people saying the system works relatively well and only needs minor changes. The average in the other countries is 46.9% saying the same. Canada ranked 9th with 34.5% saying the system works relatively well. The UK ranks fifth, with 44.5%. Australia ranked 6th at 44.4%. The best was Germany at 59.8%.

On rating the overall quality of care in the US, Americans again ranked dead last, with only 25.6% ranking it excellent or very good. The average was 50.8%. Canada ranked 9th with 45.1%. The UK ranked 2nd, at 63.4%. Australia was 3rd at 59.4%. The best was Switzerland at 65.5%.

OECD Countries Health Care Spending and Rankings (Source)

Country Govt. / Mandatory (PPP) Voluntary (PPP) Total (PPP) GDP Lancet HAQ Ranking WHO Ranking Prosperity Ranking CEO World Ranking Commonwealth Fund Ranking
United States $7,274 $3,798 $11,072 16.90% 29 37 59 30 11
Switzerland $4,988 $2,744 $7,732 12.20% 7 20 3 18 2
Norway $5,673 $974 $6,647 10.20% 2 11 5 15 7
Germany $5,648 $998 $6,646 11.20% 18 25 12 17 5
Austria $4,402 $1,449 $5,851 10.30% 13 9 10 4
Sweden $4,928 $854 $5,782 11.00% 8 23 15 28 3
Netherlands $4,767 $998 $5,765 9.90% 3 17 8 11 5
Denmark $4,663 $905 $5,568 10.50% 17 34 8 5
Luxembourg $4,697 $861 $5,558 5.40% 4 16 19
Belgium $4,125 $1,303 $5,428 10.40% 15 21 24 9
Canada $3,815 $1,603 $5,418 10.70% 14 30 25 23 10
France $4,501 $875 $5,376 11.20% 20 1 16 8 9
Ireland $3,919 $1,357 $5,276 7.10% 11 19 20 80
Australia $3,919 $1,268 $5,187 9.30% 5 32 18 10 4
Japan $4,064 $759 $4,823 10.90% 12 10 2 3
Iceland $3,988 $823 $4,811 8.30% 1 15 7 41
United Kingdom $3,620 $1,033 $4,653 9.80% 23 18 23 13 1
Finland $3,536 $1,042 $4,578 9.10% 6 31 26 12
Malta $2,789 $1,540 $4,329 9.30% 27 5 14
OECD Average $4,224 8.80%
New Zealand $3,343 $861 $4,204 9.30% 16 41 22 16 7
Italy $2,706 $943 $3,649 8.80% 9 2 17 37
Spain $2,560 $1,056 $3,616 8.90% 19 7 13 7
Czech Republic $2,854 $572 $3,426 7.50% 28 48 28 14
South Korea $2,057 $1,327 $3,384 8.10% 25 58 4 2
Portugal $2,069 $1,310 $3,379 9.10% 32 29 30 22
Slovenia $2,314 $910 $3,224 7.90% 21 38 24 47
Israel $1,898 $1,034 $2,932 7.50% 35 28 11 21

On Nicholas Cage

Yeah, Nic Cage brings the same intensity to almost every role he does. If it’s not a very good role, it’s gonna stand out as being bad.

To put it another way, imagine a boxer that is very good at knocking people out. That’s impressive. Now imagine he accepts fights against children as well, and he is still good at knocking those people out. Now it’s less impressive and more horrifying. He could be an amazing boxer, but he keeps accepting fights against children and knocking them out.

That’s Nic Cage’s acting.

Aarekk on /r/NoStupidQuestions

You either get Nic Cage or you don’t. Via CM.

On ‘Deliberate’ Genocide in the Americas by CommodoreCoCo More Pasta

Responding to this chilling comment:

You are failing to understand genocide itself. INTENT, is the word, DELIBERATION. Deliberation to destroy an ethnic group. There was NEVER a deliberate attempt to destroy native culture in the Americas. In fact, you have laws since the 1512 protecting their rights and equalising them to Iberian Crown subjects, “Las Leyes de Burgos”.

Because, you see, unintentional genocide is A-OK.

I see I’ve been summoned. Your comments in this thread make it clear that nothing will change your position. It’s a difficult position to combat, because it’s in such a defiance of literally anything written on the topic in at least the last 50 years. You are not operating off the same foundations of evidence that others are, and for that reason I suspect they, like me, are not terribly interested in arguing. Because it’s unlikely your drivel will be removed, I’m posting some quotes and links for those who see this thread later and think you might have even begun to approach a point supported by any specialist on the topic. I do not intend these to be comprehensive; there are myriad examples of “deliberate attempts to destroy native culture in the Americas” in, well, literally any single book or article you can pick up about the era. Rather, because you’ve instead there never was any such thing, I’ve provided some obvious examples.

A primary goal of the Spanish colonial regime was to completely extirpate indigenous ways of life. While this was nominally about conversion to Catholicism, those in charge made it quite explicit that “conversion” not only should be but needed to be a violent process. Everything potentially conceivable as an indigenous practice, be it burial rituals, ways to build houses, or farming technologies, was targeted, To quote historian Peter Gose:

only by rebuilding Indian life from the ground up, educating, and preventing (with force if necessary) the return to idolatry could the missionary arrest these hereditary inclinations and modify them over time.

Francisco de Toledo, Viceroy of Peru, made clear in a 1570 decree that failure to comply with Catholicism was an offense punishable by death and within secular jurisdiction:

And should it occur that an infidel dogmatizer be found who disrupts the preaching of the gospel and manages to pervert the newly converted, in this case secular judges can proceed against such infidel dogmatizers, punishing them with death or other punishments that seem appropriate to them, since it is declared by congresses of theologians and jurists that His Majesty has convened in the Kingdoms of Spain that not only is this just cause for condemning such people to death, but even for waging war against a whole kingdom or province with all the death and damage to property that results

The same Toledo decreed in 1580 that Catholic priests and secular judges and magistrates should work together to destroy indigenous burial sites:

I order and command that each magistrate ensure that in his district all the tower tombs be knocked down, and that a large pit be dug into which all of the bones of those who died as pagans be mixed together, and that special care be taken henceforth to gather the intelligence necessary to discover whether any of the baptized are buried outside of the church, with the priest and the judge helping each other in such an important matter

Not only was the destruction of native culture a top-down decree, resistance was explicitly a death sentence.

The contemporary diversity of Latin America is not the result of natural “intermixing,” but the failure of the Spanish to assert themselves and the continuous resistance of the indigenous population. As early as 1588, we see letters from local priests airing grievances about the failure of the reduccion towns they were supposed to relocate native families to:

‘the corregidores are obliged, and the governors, to reduce the towns and order them reduced, and to build churches, take care to find out if the people come diligently for religious instruction and mass, to make them come and help the priest, and punish the careless, lazy, and bad Indians in the works of Christianity, as the ordinances of don Francisco de Toledo require, [but] they do not comply. Rather, many of the towns have yet to be reduced, and many churches are yet to be built, and a large part of the Indians are fled to many places where they neither see a priest nor receive religious instruction.

Reduccion was not a voluntary process, nor was it a question of simply “moving away.” Not only did it involve the destruction of native religious sites, it frequently involved the destruction of entire towns to repurpose building material and ensure people could not return. In fact, where we do see more voluntary participation in Spanish colonial structures, usually because of the political legibility and opportunities it provided, the resulting syncretism becomes an ever greater source of anxiety for the Spanish. Indigenous elites could selectively participate in Catholicism and game the system to their benefit- not something the state wanted to admit could happen.

These quotes come from Gose’s chapter on reducciones uploaded here.

I will also provide this section from the conclusion of Nicholas Robins’ book Mercury, Mining, and Empire; the entirety is uploaded here. The quoted chunk below is a summary of the various historical events presented in that chapter.

The white legend held much historiographical sway throughout the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, and in no small part reflected a selective focus on legal structures rather than their application, subsumed in a denigratory view of native peoples, their cultures, and their heritage. As later twentieth-century historians began to examine the actual operation of the colony, the black legend again gained ascendance. As Benjamin Keen wrote, the black legend is “no legend at all.

Twentieth-century concepts of genocide have superseded this debate, and the genocidal nature of the conquest is, ironically, evident in the very Spanish laws that the advocates of the white legend used in their efforts to justify their position. Such policies in Latin America had a defining influence on Rafael Lemkin, the scholar who first developed the term genocide in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. As developed by Lemkin, “Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor,” which often included the establishment of settler colonies. Because of the intimate links between culture and national identity, Lemkin equated intentional cultural destruction with genocide. It was in no small part a result of his tireless efforts that in 1948 the United Nations adopted the defintion of genocide which, despite its shortcomings, serves today as international law. The fact that genocide is a modern concept and that colonists operated within the “spirit of the times” in no way lessens the genocidal nature of their actions. It was, in fact, historical genocides, including those in Latin America, that informed Lemkin’s thinking and gave rise to the term.

Dehumanization of the victim is the handmaiden of genocide, and that which occurred in Spanish America is no exception. Although there were those who recognized the humanity of the natives and sought to defend them, they were in the end a small minority. The image of the Indian as a lazy, thieving, ignorant, prevaricating drunkard who only responded to force was, perversely, a step up from the ranks of nonhumans in which they were initially cast. The official recognition that the Indians were in fact human had little effect in their daily lives, as they were still treated like animals and viewed as natural servants by non-Indians. It is remarkable that the white legend could ever emerge from this genocidogenic milieu. With the path to genocide thus opened by the machete of dehumanization, Spanish policies to culturally destroy and otherwise subject the Amerindians as a people were multifaceted, consistent, and enduring. Those developed and implemented by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo in Peru in the 1570s have elevated him to the status of genocidier extraordinaire.

Once an Indian group had refused to submit to the Spanish crown, they could be legally enslaved, and calls for submission were usually made in a language the Indians did not understand and were often out of earshot. In some cases, the goal was the outright physical extermination or enslavement of specific ethnic groups whom the authorities could not control, such as the Chiriguano and Araucanian Indians. Another benefit from the crown’s perspective was that restive Spaniards and Creoles could be dispatched in such campaigns, thus relieving cities and towns of troublemakers while bringing new lands and labor into the kingdom. Ironically, de Toledo’s campaign to wipe out the Chiriguano contributed to his own ill health. Overall, however, genocidal policies in the Andes and the Americas centered on systematic cultural, religious, and linguistic destruction, forced labor, and forced relocation, much of which affected reproduction and the ability of individuals and communities to sustain themselves.

The forced relocation of Indians from usually spread-out settlements into reducciones, or Spanish-style communities, had among its primary objectives the abolition of indigenous religious and cultural practices and their replacement with those associated with Catholicism. As native lands and the surrounding geographical environment had tremendous spiritual significance, their physical removal also undermined indigenous spiritual relationships. Complementing the natives’ spiritual and cultural control was the physical control, and thus access to labor, offered by the new communities. The concentration of people also inadvertently fostered the spread of disease, giving added impetus to the demographic implosion. Finally, forced relocation was a direct attack on traditional means of sustenance, as many kin groups settled in and utilized the diverse microclimates of the region to provide a variety of foodstuffs and products for the group.

Integrated into this cultural onslaught were extirpation campaigns designed to seek out and destroy all indigenous religious shrines and icons and to either convert or kill native religious leaders. The damage matched the zeal and went to the heart of indigenous spiritual identity. For example, in 1559, an extirpation drive led by Augustinian friars resulted in the destruction of about 5,000 religious icons in the region of Huaylas, Peru, alone. Cultural destruction, or ethnocide, also occurred on a daily basis in Indian villages, where the natives were subject to forced baptism as well as physical and financial participation in a host of Catholic rites. As linchpins in the colonial apparatus, the clergy not only focused on spiritual conformity but also wielded formidable political and economic power in the community. Challenges to their authority were quickly met with the lash, imprisonment, exile, or the confiscation of property.

Miscegenation, often though not always through rape, also had profound personal, cultural, and genetic impacts on indigenous people. Part of the reason was the relative paucity of Spanish women in the colony, while power, opportunity, and impunity also played important roles. Genetic effacement was, in the 1770s, complemented by efforts to illegalize and eliminate native languages. A component in the wider effort to deculturate the indigenes, such policies were implemented with renewed vigor following the Great Rebellion of 1780–1782. Such laws contained provisions making it illegal to communicate with servants in anything but Spanish, and any servant who did not promptly learn the language was to be fired. The fact that there are still Indians in the Andes does not diminish the fact that they were victims of genocide, for few genocides are total.

Lastly, I would direct readers to the following article: Levene, Mark. 1999. “The Chittagong Hill Tracts: A Case Study in the Political Economy of ‘Creeping’ Genocide.” Third World Quarterly 20 (2): 339–69.

Though it talks about events a world away, it’s discussion of genocide is pertinent here. From the abstract:

The destruction of indigenous, tribal peoples in remote and/or frontier regions of the developing world is often assumed to be the outcome of inexorable, even inevitable forces of progress. People are not so much killed, they become extinct. Terms such as ethnocide, cultural genocide or developmental genocide suggest a distinct form of ‘off the map’ elimination which implicitly discourages comparison with other acknowledged examples of genocide. By concentrating on a little-known case study, that of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh, this article argues that this sort of categorisation is misplaced. Not only is the destruction or attempted destruction of fourth world peoples central to the pattern of contemporary genocide but, by examining such specific examples, we can more clearly delineate the phenomenon’s more general wellsprings and processes. The example of the CHT does have its own peculiar features; not least what has been termed here its ‘creeping’ nature. In other respects, however, the efforts of a new nation-state to overcome its structural weaknesses by attempting a forced-pace consolidation and settlement of its one, allegedly, unoccupied resource-rich frontier region closely mirrors other state-building, developmental agendas which have been confronted with communal resistance. The ensuing crisis of state–communal relations, however, cannot be viewed in national isolation. Bangladesh’s drive to develop the CHT has not only been funded by Western finance and aid but is closely linked to its efforts to integrate itself rapidly into a Western dominated and regulated international system. It is in these efforts ‘to realise what is actually unrealisable’ that the relationship between a flawed state power and genocide can be located.

Genocide need not be a state program uniquely articulated to eliminate a people or their culture. Rather, it is often disguised in the name “progress” or “development.” This connects to the Spanish colonial economic system, based on what Robins (above) calls the “ultra-violence” of forced labor in mines.

On the Big Lie and the Dangerous Normalization of Fascism by kor_hookmaster More Pasta

I think because the normalization of Trump and his erosion of political norms over the last 5 years, many people don’t seem to see just how unfathomably dangerous and downright fascist this entire situation has become.

Donald Trump lost. He lost. That is irrefutable and indisputable. He has refused to concede. Not only has he refused to concede, he’s actively telling his millions of supporters that he actually won and that the opposition STOLE the election from him. He’s not saying there was some counting error or computer malfunction. He claims that a crime was committed. It’s absolutely inexcusable and outright seditious, as many in this subbreddit already know.

The founding fathers, for all their faults as men, were not stupid. Far from it. They understood how critically important it was that the absolute powers of a monarch (or a despot/dictator) needed to be diffused among many, and that those many separate entities would need to act as checks on one another. That’s why there’s essentially three branches of government in every iteration of democracies around the world; they each hold a fraction of the power that was once reserved for a sole monarch. This division is a check against corruption and the inherent nature of power to corrupt those who wield it. The only reason that democracy - any democracy, not just the American version - can survive is through a peaceful transfer of power. Without it, there is chaos. Several thousand years of recorded history taught the founding fathers that when absolute power is concentrated in one individual, when that individual dies or are overthrown, countless people suffer. Endless wars of succession and conflicts over who has the rightful claim to power plagued us for generations. Without a peaceful and legally delineated method to hand diffuse power from one individual to the next, there’s nothing to stop someone from raising an army, crossing the proverbial Rubicon, and grabbing the reins of power by force. That’s the real magic of a democratic system: that we all collectively agree that the power of the state is peacefully and legally passed down without bloodshed or recrimination. It’s something that only works because we all believe it does, much like the inherent value of money. It’s something we take for granted, but it’s really astonishing given most of human history.

There is a method baked right into the constitution for someone who thinks they lost an election if they believe it was unfair, or corrupt, or stolen: You take it to the courts - to the separate branch - for it to be ruled on. It’s the reason why the president-elect doesn’t just assume power the day after the election. If there’s a legitimate claim to malfeasance or miscounting, it goes to the courts, each side presents its case, and the judicial branch has the time to weigh the evidence and make a ruling.

This isn’t just hypothetical - it’s already happened. In 2000 the electoral college came down to one state: Florida. Gore lost to Bush by less than a thousand votes. The night of the election Gore conceded, and then in the following days as the picture became more clear, he retracted his concession and took the matter to the courts. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, and he lost. They made their ruling and gave the election to Bush. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen, it’s how the founding fathers designed it. No civil war. No bloodshed.

Did Gore claim that the Bush stole the election? Did he sulk away to his mansion and call himself the “real” president? Did he whip his supporters into a frenzy, tell them to “stop the steal” and unleash them on the capital building when the votes were going to be certified? No. He conceded. Not only did he concede, he thanked his supporters for their hard work, congratulated Bush, and told his people to throw their support behind the President-elect. Because that’s what you do in a democracy. It’s not because he’s some decent guy, it’s your responsibility as a participant in the electoral process.

You throw your hat into the ring. You run your campaign and try to sway the voters. If you lose, you concede. It’s not just a formality, it’s critically important to the health of the country as a whole. Every candidate knows this. Kerry conceded in 2004. McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012. Nixon conceded when he lost to Kennedy in 1960, and Nixon was an irredeemable piece of shit. (Skip to 5:50 to hear Nixon describe the importance of concession and uniting around the victor)

Each speech is essentially the same: thanking supporters, officially conceding, and throwing your support behind the new president-elect and urging your supporters to do the same. Candidates, even the irredeemably shitty ones, know that elections are vicious and divisive, so effort needs to be made to try and unite afterwards. No one man is bigger or more important than the whole.

People need to have faith in the process, that elections are fair and free, and that the candidate with the most votes (or electoral votes) wins. If they doubt that very foundational premise some of them will resort to violence. They’ll resort to violence because they’ll believe that the legal channels for peaceful resolution aren’t relevant. That’s why the insurrectionists on January 6th thought they were being “patriots”. It’s a mass self-delusion that was perpetuated and allowed to fester and grow because Trump spent five years gaslighting the country and refusing to concede an election he lost. They might be ignorant authoritarians, but they wouldn’t be storming the capital without Trump and his big lie.

Trump had every legal right to contest the results of the 2020 election in the courts. He did. Over 60 lawsuits filed in multiple states. It went to the Supreme Court. He lost every single one. Those lawsuits failed or were tossed out because there was legitimately zero proof of the massive fraud and theft Trump was claiming.

The recent Vanity Fair interview with Trump is probably one of the scariest things I’ve read in a long while. Among the never-ending predictable lies and bullshit we come to expect from Trump came the fact that he was disappointed in the federal and state judges he appointed that decided against him or tossed out his lawsuits. He was upset with Brett Kavanagh and the conservative judges on the Supreme Court for their disloyalty. THEIR DISLOYALTY.

This is surreal. It’s beyond the pale. The President of the United States is upset that a separate branch of the federal government didn’t show him sufficient loyalty. What the everlasting fuck is this fascist nonsense? The federal government is not a mafia family. Federal judges don’t owe anyone loyalty - regardless of whether they’re from the same party or if they’ve been appointed by someone. Your merit is not judged on your loyalty, especially when your very role is to remain impartial and interpret the law. Judges are loyal to the constitution, not the President! It’s in their very oath of office!

This is why Trump is such a threat. It’s not just his ignorance, his incompetence, his vanity, his vindictiveness, his narcissism. Those are all horrible qualities to have. He’s a threat because he’s willing to completely disregard and tear down the very bedrock principles of democracy (the separation of authority and the peaceful transfer of power) to serve his needs. His ego can’t handle a loss, so the constitution and everything that makes democracy a functional alternative to despotism and authoritarianism can burn.

Trump isn’t just the worst president in history, he’s a threat to the very fabric of the country. Because of the slow crawl of his erosion of norms, the frenetic pace of 24 hour news, the short attention span of our modern society, and a media obsessed with ratings over information, Trump has been allowed to get away with this behaviour. The fact that Republicans are lining up and falling over each other to supplicate themselves before this man should be a stain that should never wash off and should be their legacy. If there is any justice in the world, history will not be kind to these enabling sycophants who actively helped this cancerous growth.

I wish I was being hyperbolic, I really do. But there’s no other way to see that one political party and millions of Americans are not only fine with authoritarianism, but will actively cheer it on and promote its rise.

Sure, a case can be made that this was inevitable given the course of the Republican party for the last 30 years. Trump is a mutated strain of their brand of “conservatism” which doesn’t really seem to stand for anything at this point beyond the acquisition and protection of power. But Trump is still far more dangerous than the original pathogen: he’s a force that wants to ensure that facts don’t mean anything and that loyalty is the only currency that matters.

Sometimes I feel like I’m screaming into the void about some of this, but I feel like Trump’s antics and firehose of bullshit is causing millions of people to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Hell, they’re losing sight of the galaxy for the pebbles of sand on the beach.

The only way I see out of this is if he faces legal ramifications for what he’s done. If he’s permitted to get away with it, and run in 2024, and win? That’s the absolute nightmare scenario.

Ayn Rand the Philosopher by samiiRedditBot More Pasta

“Two novels can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other involves orcs.” – Kung Fu Monkey

Ayn Rand is to philosophy what Twilight is to horror fiction - being that the only people who like it have absolutely no experience of what the subject is really about and as a result have nothing to compare it to. Her influence only extends to the general public and she is pretty much ignored by academia, and even then she is more or less unknown outside of North America. I suppose that if you’re a fan you might think this is due to her ideas being so radical that they threaten the liberal elite of University Academia, who plot to turn the USA into a communist country, or whatever. However the reality is that it’s just really bad to the point of being actually quite painful to read if you know anything at all about real philosophy. Reading the woman is to philosophiers like watching CSI if you know anything about computers - just painful.

What Ayn Rand supposed is that there exists a absolute reality of the A=A. Essentially in her mind existence exists and everything that man does is merely the reordering of existence. She goes on to argue that things like art enable man to create metaphors in reality enabling their wildest metaphysical dreams to take flight. She’ll argue that things such as visual illusions, do not prove that that man can not trust their perceptions but rather their perceptions are always correct and any mistakes are mistakes of interpretation, rather than perception of reality. She argues that since you are able to draw absolute logical conclusions and concepts from reality, that the only valid form of logic is Aristotelian logic because it is the one most grounded in reality.

She argues that the ideal world is one where all men are following their own “rational self interest” that they have drawn from reality, which in her mind is represented via a perfect capitalist society, and that there exists a “conspiracy” to suppress men by making them “unsure” of reality. She’ll redefine terms like selfishness and altruistic towards this end. For example a moral individual is one who follows their own “selfish” interest to build houses or whatever but that this is always undermined by “altruistic parasites” who will loot the efforts these selfish individuals rather than going out and doing things for themselves, mainly because they envy the selfish.

Now, as far as philosophical views go this is a pretty loony view of the world. Here are some objections

Her views are over simplistic solutions to complex problems, for example even if you suppose that there exists an absolute reality then you’re still left with the problem of how you, as a subjective individual, reconcile your abstract ideas to it - these are the sort of problems that real philosophers attempts to address. Basically in saying “existence exists” you haven’t actually “solved” anything but merely misdirected attention away from the problem. It is like saying that to end war people should just stop fighting, yeah sure, that people would stop fighting might be a consequence but then how would people otherwise solve disputes? It is childish logic, essentially.

Her views are dogmatic, that is they are true because you believe them to be true rather than being able to prove it to be true. There is this attitude that no one shall enter the kingdom but through me, this is not the way philosohpy works - because philosophy is dialectical - but rather the way religion works. What she is doing in saying that reality objectively exists is to make her personal subjective views appear to be more concrete than they actually are. Which is what her true intent is: to turn her specific definition of what capitalism is into some weird religion for the gullible, and nothing more.

She simply makes stuff up, for example she supposes that the whole of 19th century Idealism is merely a conspiracy to make people unsure of their own existence so that they are easier to control by 'altruistic ’ dictators. She spends the vast majority of her time in her books simply constructing and then knocking down various strawmen, who are represented by her characters. For example Dr. Floyd Ferris.

Her work is just derivative of other better philosophiers such as Nietzsche, that she has simply rewrittern a bad interpretation of in order to sell her rubbish moral opinions. As a consequence you’re much better off just going to the source and cutting out the middle hag, espically since she seems to have a rather limited grasp of genuine philosophy, and much of anything in general. This is very apparent if you even have a basic working knowledge of philosophy.

She’ll just ignore her own arguments when they turn out to be inconvient. For example she’ll celebrate the triumph of the Apollo project which being a government funded collective effort is the very antithesis of everything she is about. Brushing it off with broad statments like: “It would have been done” etc. And everything about who she was, how she became who she was and how she lived her life point towards a high level of cognitive dissonance. In fact there are convenient loopholes in her philosophy that state that her arguments can be ignored based a emergency situation, such as being on a life boat etc.

But the greatest failing is that even if you subscribe to her “philosophy” and ignore the above, even then it still falls down by its own argument. For example suppose I give you $5 for a hotdog, now as a objectivist to suppose that some benefit has occured between both parties then you have to presume that money is actually worth something outside of a social context, otherwise nothing has been created in the transaction since at the end of the day all money is, is a abstract concept. To put this another way, if I gave you $5 for a hot dog then there would be absolutely no benefit to you if you are unable to spend it due to it not being legal tender. To quote Adam Smith: “All money is a matter of belief”, currency is only currency because of social and economic forces and not because it is instrinically worth anything. It is not linked to reality in anyway, at all, but is only symbolically representative of reality. Do you see how it defeats itself? if objectivism is followed to it’s logical conclusion then money is worthless, in a supposed capitalist utopia

In conclusion: Rand just wrote a very bad interpretation of Nietzsche for young adults. Where Nietzsche argued that the problem with society was that it was based in ideals, E.G., Christianity, that were essentially founded in nihilism and were therefore self-destructive because they were effectively internalizing resentment and suppressing human passions, and went on to argue that the cure to this was to be found in the “free spirits” being those able to break free from this endless pattern of idealized self-destruction by getting back in touch with their own human drives, who love fate, who are (or do not resent) the strong and who reject notions of absolute ideal truth. What Rand does is take this view literary and argue that rather than rejecting it you should buy into a ideal - that further that it is objectively the only ideal, there being only one reality - that is ultimately for the benefit of those at the top of the pyramid, that represent the ideal man - her interpretation of the free spirits - and that society should be constructed only for the benefit of these people. That all the problems of society come about due to rejecting this and suppressing the elite - who would magically solve all the world’s problems if they were given free reign to pursue their own selfish goals. Really, it’s like the difference between devil worship and atheism, the latter rejects religion itself while the former gives up and decides to join the comic relief.

–edit, Wow if I known that I would have made best of Reddit I would have actually spent more time editting the post for clarity rather than giving up half way through and deciding to go to bed. It’s a jumble to be sure.

We Are Mark Wood

Reddit user and evident Mark Wood fan @kanyay-west put together this list of England’s All-Time Cricketing Best when asked “What’s your country’s all time ODI XI?” I’ve reproduced it here and formatted it for clarity. I laughed a lot to this and am a rather silly person 🙏♥️

  1. Mark Wood
  2. Mark Wood
  3. Mark Wood
  4. Mark Wood (Captain)
  5. Mark Wood
  6. Mark Wood
  7. Mark Wood (Wicket-Keeper)
  8. Mark Wood
  9. Mark Wood
  10. Mark Wood
  11. Mark Wood

Role Assignee
12th Man Mark Wood
On field umpires Mark Wood and Mark Wood
3rd umpire Mark Wood
Pitch Curator Mark Wood
Team Sponsor Mark Wood
Director of ECB Mark Wood
Head Coach of Men’s ODI team Mark Wood
Fielding Coach Mark Wood
Bowling Coach Mark Wood
Batting Coach Mark Wood
Spin bowling Coach Mark Wood
Physio Mark Wood
Team Analyst Mark Wood
Team Fitness Coach Mark Wood
Team Massuse Mark Wood
Team Bus Driver Mark Wood
Team Manager Mark Wood
Team Babysitter Mark Wood
Team Bat Crafter Mark Wood
Stadium Supporters Mark Wood x100,000
Stumps and Nails Material Marked Wood
Team Mark Wood Mark Wood

A Most Horrifying Description of Rabies by ZeriMasterpeace More Pasta

Rabies. It’s exceptionally common, but people just don’t run into the animals that carry it often. Skunks especially, and bats.

Let me paint you a picture.

You go camping, and at midday you decide to take a nap in a nice little hammock. While sleeping, a tiny brown bat, in the “rage” stages of infection is fidgeting in broad daylight, uncomfortable, and thirsty (due to the hydrophobia) and you snort, startling him. He goes into attack mode.

Except you’re asleep, and he’s a little brown bat, so weighs around 6 grams. You don’t even feel him land on your bare knee, and he starts to bite. His teeth are tiny. Hardly enough to even break the skin, but he does manage to give you the equivalent of a tiny scrape that goes completely unnoticed.

Rabies does not travel in your blood. In fact, a blood test won’t even tell you if you’ve got it. (Antibody tests may be done, but are useless if you’ve ever been vaccinated.)

You wake up, none the wiser. If you notice anything at the bite site at all, you assume you just lightly scraped it on something.

The bomb has been lit, and your nervous system is the wick. The rabies will multiply along your nervous system, doing virtually no damage, and completely undetectable. You literally have NO symptoms.

It may be four days, it may be a year, but the camping trip is most likely long forgotten. Then one day your back starts to ache… Or maybe you get a slight headache?

At this point, you’re already dead. There is no cure.

(The sole caveat to this is the Milwaukee Protocol, which leaves most patients dead anyway, and the survivors mentally disabled, and is seldom done - see below).

There’s no treatment. It has a 100% kill rate.

Absorb that. Not a single other virus on the planet has a 100% kill rate. Only rabies. And once you’re symptomatic, it’s over. You’re dead.

So what does that look like?

Your headache turns into a fever, and a general feeling of being unwell. You’re fidgety. Uncomfortable. And scared. As the virus that has taken its time getting into your brain finds a vast network of nerve endings, it begins to rapidly reproduce, starting at the base of your brain… Where your “pons” is located. This is the part of the brain that controls communication between the rest of the brain and body, as well as sleep cycles.

Next you become anxious. You still think you have only a mild fever, but suddenly you find yourself becoming scared, even horrified, and it doesn’t occur to you that you don’t know why. This is because the rabies is chewing up your amygdala.

As your cerebellum becomes hot with the virus, you begin to lose muscle coordination, and balance. You think maybe it’s a good idea to go to the doctor now, but assuming a doctor is smart enough to even run the tests necessary in the few days you have left on the planet, odds are they’ll only be able to tell your loved ones what you died of later.

You’re twitchy, shaking, and scared. You have the normal fear of not knowing what’s going on, but with the virus really fucking the amygdala this is amplified a hundred fold. It’s around this time the hydrophobia starts.

You’re horribly thirsty, you just want water. But you can’t drink. Every time you do, your throat clamps shut and you vomit. This has become a legitimate, active fear of water. You’re thirsty, but looking at a glass of water begins to make you gag, and shy back in fear. The contradiction is hard for your hot brain to see at this point. By now, the doctors will have to put you on IVs to keep you hydrated, but even that’s futile. You were dead the second you had a headache.

You begin hearing things, or not hearing at all as your thalamus goes. You taste sounds, you see smells, everything starts feeling like the most horrifying acid trip anyone has ever been on. With your hippocampus long under attack, you’re having trouble remembering things, especially family.

You’re alone, hallucinating, thirsty, confused, and absolutely, undeniably terrified. Everything scares the literal shit out of you at this point. These strange people in lab coats. These strange people standing around your bed crying, who keep trying to get you “drink something” and crying. And it’s only been about a week since that little headache that you’ve completely forgotten. Time means nothing to you anymore. Funny enough, you now know how the bat felt when he bit you.

Eventually, you slip into the “dumb rabies” phase. Your brain has started the process of shutting down. Too much of it has been turned to liquid virus. Your face droops. You drool. You’re all but unaware of what’s around you. A sudden noise or light might startle you, but for the most part, it’s all you can do to just stare at the ground. You haven’t really slept for about 72 hours.

Then you die. Always, you die.

And there’s not one… fucking… thing… anyone can do for you.

Then there’s the question of what to do with your corpse. I mean, sure, burying it is the right thing to do. But the fucking virus can survive in a corpse for years. You could kill every rabid animal on the planet today, and if two years from now, some moist, preserved, rotten hunk of used-to-be brain gets eaten by an animal, it starts all over.

So yeah, rabies scares the shit out of me. And it’s fucking EVERYWHERE. (Source: Spent a lot of time working with rabies. Would still get my vaccinations if I could afford them.)

Each time this gets reposted, there is a TON of misinformation that follows by people who simply don’t know, or have heard “information” from others who were ill informed:

Only x number of people have died in the U.S. in the past x years. Rabies is really rare.

Yes, deaths from rabies are rare in the United States, in the neighborhood of 2-3 per year. This does not mean rabies is rare. The reason that mortality is so rare in the U.S. is due to a very aggressive treatment protocol of all bite cases in the United States: If you are bitten, and you cannot identify the animal that bit you, or the animal were to die shortly after biting you, you will get post exposure treatment. That is the protocol.

Post exposure is very effective (almost 100%) if done before you become symptomatic. It involves a series of immunoglobulin shots - many of which are at the site of the bite - as well as the vaccine given over the span of a month. (Fun fact - if you’re vaccinated for rabies, you may be able to be an immunoglobulin donor!)

It’s not nearly as bad as was rumored when I was a kid. Something about getting shots in the stomach. Nothing like that.

In countries without good treatment protocols rabies is rampant. India alone sees 20,000 deaths from rabies PER YEAR.

The “why did nobody die of rabies in the past if it’s so dangerous?” argument.

There were entire epidemics of rabies in the past, so much so that suicide or murder of those suspected to have rabies were common.

In North America, the first case of human death by rabies wasn’t reported until 1768. This is because Rabies does not appear to be native to North America, and it spread very slowly. So slowly, in fact, that until the mid 1990’s, it was assumed that Canada and Northern New York didn’t have rabies at all. This changed when I was personally one of the first to send in a positive rabies specimen - a raccoon - which helped spawn a cooperative U.S. / Canada rabies bait drop some time between 1995 and 1997 (my memory’s shot).

Unfortunately, it was too late. Rabies had already crossed into Canada.

There are still however some countries (notably, Australia, where everything ELSE is trying to kill you) that still does not have Rabies.

Lots of people have survived rabies using the Milwaukee Protocol.

False. ONE woman did, and she is still recovering to this day (some 16+ years later). There’s also the possibility that she only survived due to either a genetic immunity, or possibly even was inadvertently “vaccinated” some other way. All other treatments ultimately failed, even the others that were reported as successes eventually succumbed to the virus. Almost all of the attributed “survivors” actually received post-exposure treatment before becoming symptomatic and many of THEM died anyway.

Bats don’t have rabies all that often. This is just a scare tactic.

False. To date, 6% of bats that have been “captured” or come into contact with humans were rabid.. This number is a lot higher when you consider that it equates to one in seventeen bats. If the bat is allowing you to catch/touch it, the odds that there’s a problem are simply too high to ignore.

You have to get the treatment within 72 hours, or it won’t work anyway.

False. The rabies virus travels via nervous system, and can take several years to reach the brain depending on the path it takes. If you’ve been exposed, it’s NEVER too late to get the treatment, and just because you didn’t die in a week does not mean you’re safe. A case of a guy incubating the virus for 8 years.

At least I live in Australia!


Please, please, PLEASE stop posting bad information every time this comes up. Rabies is not something to be shrugged off. And sadly, this kind of misinformation killed a 6 year old just this Sunday. Stop it.

Obi-Wan by @SneakyNinja4872 on Reddit More Pasta

I’ve started reading the RotS novelisation and it’s already so good. Full credit to Matthew Stover:

"This is Obi-Wan Kenobi:

A phenomenal pilot who doesn’t like to fly. A devastating warrior who’d rather not fight. A negotiator without peer whofrankly prefers to sit alone in a quiet cave and meditate. Jedi Master. General in the Grand Army of the Republic. Member of the Jedi Council. And yet, inside, he feels like he’s none of these things.

Inside, he still feels like a Padawan.

It is a truism of the Jedi Order that a Jedi Knight’s education truly begins only when he becomes a Master: that everything important about being a Master is learned from one’s student.

Obi-Wan feels the truth of this every day.

He sometimes dreams of when he was a Padawan in fact as well as feeling; he dreams that his own Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, did not die at the plasma-fueled generator core in Theed. He dreams that his Master’s wise guiding hand is still with him. But Qui-Gon’s death is an old pain, one with which he long ago came to terms.

A Jedi does not cling to the past.

And Obi-Wan Kenobi knows, too, that to have lived his life without being Master to Anakin Skywalker would have left him a different man. A lesser man.

Anakin has taught him so much.

Obi-Wan sees so much of Qui-Gon in Anakin that sometimes it hurts his heart; at the very least, Anakin mirrors Qui-Gon’s flair for the dramatic, and his casual disregard for rules. Training Anakin—and fighting beside him, all these years—has unlocked something inside Obi-Wan. It’s as though Anakin has rubbed off on him a bit, and has loosened that clenched-jaw insistence on absolute correctness that Qui-Gon always said was his greatest flaw. Obi-Wan Kenobi has learned to relax. He smiles now, and sometimes even jokes, and has become known for the wisdom gentle humor can provide. Though he does not know it, his relationship with Anakin has molded him into the great Jedi Qui-Gon always said he might someday be. It is characteristic of Obi-Wan that he is entirely unaware of this.

Being named to the Council came as a complete surprise; even now, he is sometimes astonished by the faith the Jedi Council has in his abilities, and the credit they give to his wisdom. Greatness was never his ambition. He wants only to perform whatever task he is given to the best of his ability. He is respected throughout the Jedi Order for his insight as well as his warrior skill. He has become the hero of the next generation of Padawans; he is the Jedi their Masters hold up as a model. He is the being that the Council assigns to their most important missions. He is modest, centered, and always kind.

He is the ultimate Jedi.

And he is proud to be Anakin Skywalker’s best friend."

What’s the most common mistake people make when choosing their spouse? by LaTuFu on Reddit More Pasta

Child of divorce, professional who dealt with divorcing couples for many years, Adult who went through a divorce, remarried and volunteer counseling/mentoring for couples today.

Here are the most common mistakes I’ve seen (my own as well as collectively) in the failed and struggling marriages I’ve seen:

  • One or both spouses have unresolved childhood baggage issues that will rear its head in their adult relationships. Examples of these include (but not limited to) physical or emotional abuse/neglect in the home; sexual abuse; one or both parents had substance abuse/addiction issues; one or both partners came from a divorced or single parent household. Among the many reasons why this is such a significant factor is if you grow up in a dysfunctional environment, you have no idea how dysfunctional and unhealthy it really is. To you, its normal, it is all you’ve ever known. So if Mom and Dad resolved conflict by getting drunk, yelling at each other and then not speaking for days, guess what you have a chance of modeling as an adult in your own relationships?

  • Understanding what “marriage as a priority” really means. When you get married, your marriage has to be the main priority in your life. Not your career, not your spouse (i.e. don’t put them on a pedestal), not your kids, not your hobbies or your personal fitness. The fact is, when you get married, you no longer get to call all of the shots. Gotten used to staying up all night playing XBOX with your boys on weekends? Not going to work in a marriage for an extended period of time. You’re going to have to accept the fact that if you want to have a healthy marriage, compromise is your new word of the day. In some cases you may have to give things up entirely, or learn to say “no for now.” While this often tends to be more of a struggle for men, women can also struggle with this issue. I’m not saying that getting married means giving up you completely, or kiss all of your favorite activities goodbye. What I am saying is, if you want your marriage to be healthy, you now have someone else in your life who gets an equal (not dominant–equal) say in how you spend your free time.

  • Poor communication skills. A shockingly high number of adults lack basic healthy communication skills and conflict resolution skills. Its heart breaking to have conversations with struggling couples who won’t speak to each other with a kind word for any reason. Both spouses should feel that their marriage is the one safe place in the world for each other. Unfortunately, in many instances, it is the last place a spouse can go for emotional safety. If you don’t feel your partner is your first friend, your best friend, your most trusted friend, then something is broken in your communications with each other.

  • Vastly different backgrounds. Don’t get me wrong. Anyone can be successfully married to someone else if both people are committed to it and willing to work on it. But most of the time, that’s just not the case. Societal/familial pressures are real, and it is important to assess them if you find yourself in a relationship that is impacted by them. Are you dating a trust fund baby/very wealthy child and you are the Jack Dawson? Tread carefully. It makes a great movie, but statistically, Rose winds up marrying Cal far more often than running off with Jack, because she doesn’t want to deal with the family pressure or get cut off financially. Sorry, that’s reality, not the movies.

  • Similar to different backgrounds, different motivations in life. Do you know what your partner wants out of life? Do they aspire to be an artist who welds clown sculptures out of mufflers? That’s great, but will it support the two of you, and if it won’t, will you be okay supporting them while they’re making Pennywise the Dual Exhaust Killer? Do they want to be a stay at home parent? Are you okay being the sole breadwinner? What if it is the reverse?

  • One. Union. Combined. Together. This notion is one that I see a lot of guys–especially high wage earners who are the sole income for the family–stumble over. Whether you are religious or not, the fact is when you get married you are no longer two individuals. You’re one. The law sees you that way, the tax code (at least in the US) sees you that way, and society sees you that way. There is no such thing as “mine and yours” in a marriage. There is only “ours.” The faster you get that concept nailed down, the better off you’ll be. I’ve seen many marriages collapse just over this issue alone.

  • Marriage is not an event, its a journey. So many couples stop trying to pursue each other after the wedding day. Guys and girls do this. Stereotypically/historically, men tend to focus on their careers/making money; women tend to focus on raising the children and/or managing the household. (I realize not in every situation) Both spouses stop taking time to compliment each other, appreciate each other, go out on dates, weekend getaways, or generally just spending time chasing after each other. They take each other for granted and begin to drift apart. “We just fell out of love” is one of the most common phrases I hear in couples struggling, and the sad thing is, its one of the easiest traps to avoid.

  • Friends and family around the marriage. This is especially hard for people who come from dysfunctional families. When you get married, your new spouse automatically gets moved to the front of the line. In front of your parents, siblings, lifelong besties, etc. They’re great to have in your life, but all of them have to take a distant back seat to your new spouse. If you’re a guy who has had a doting mother all your life and she’s told you what to do, who to marry, where to go to college, etc, you have a tough job ahead of you. The Monster-In-Law stereotype exists for a reason. If your new wife turns pale when your Mom’s number pops up on your cellphone, you need to talk to your wife and find out what boundaries she’d like to have installed. If you are Daddy’s little girl and nobody has ever been good enough in your Dad’s eyes, its time for you to tell Dad that you’re so grateful for his love and support, but Jim is more than good enough in your eyes, so you need him to be in his eyes, too. And sadly, if you have friends or family members who are toxic to you or your marriage, you may be forced to make a very difficult decision in your life. Anyone who sits around bitching about how much they hate their life, their spouse, their kids or how you’re going to eventually feel the same way about yours–put distance between you as fast as you possibly can. We tend to adopt the attitudes of the company we keep. So if you spend all your time with negative people…guess where you’re going to be mentally?

  • Date to establish trust. Time is actually your friend, not your enemy. Do not ignore ANY red flag you see in a relationship. Examine it for what it is, then determine if it is something you can work through with the other person, or is it something they refuse to acknowledge or deal with? If you’re dating someone who is selfish and they refuse to see it, they will not magically become unselfish because you were kind enough to marry them. Red Flags ignored in dating will become the rocks upon which your marriage boat smashes in the coming storms. If there are multiple red flags and they won’t talk to you about any of them, walk away. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already moved in, share the bank account, the dog, and a car. Get out now. If they’re not willing to work on things that impact the security of a relationship today, you can count on them not working on them after you get married.

Marriage is not easy. It requires a lot of work sometimes, even when you are both on the same page, have great communication, great sex (which will happen very easily if the rest of the relationship is healthy by the way) and great chemistry. People get sick, they get laid off, their family members die, children get sick, get hurt in accidents, friends have affairs, get divorced…life is challenging and it impacts our relationships, sometimes in ways we’re not expecting or prepared for. If you’re not willing to value your marriage above everything else in your life, its going to be really hard for it to survive the day in and day out challenges of living.

What are Left and Right critiques of Liberalism? by TychoCelchuuu on Reddit More Pasta

Well, we could go on forever listing various critiques from both the Left and the Right, so I’ll just cover a few and maybe other people will stop by and list more.

The Left


There are lots of criticisms of liberalism from the Marxist and socialist corners. We could be here all day listing them, so I’ll just mention one that hits at the heart of liberalism, which is freedom. The charge is that the kind of freedom valued by liberalism is a very limited kind of freedom, mainly a sort of freedom to be an actor in capitalism. Think of this part from the Communist Manifesto:

And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at. By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying. But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other “brave words” of our bourgeois about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.

So what liberalism conceives of as restrictions on freedom, like for instance the sorts of measures that might be in place in a communist society, are in fact only restrictions on a warped notion of freedom that depends on the conditions of capitalism for its attractiveness.


Again, there are lots of criticisms that fall under this broad umbrella, and I’ll just mention one. Liberalism is very concerned with autonomy and autonomous choices, but many feminist understandings of autonomy move away from the traditional liberal conception of the isolated individual to a notion of autonomy that sees it as an inherently relational property which arises out of people being situated in certain ways in society. If this is our understanding of autonomy, much of classical liberalism makes no sense: for instance, the social contract model of the state, according to which consent from each person is what legitimizes the state, breaks down, because we can’t coherently speak of consent or any other function of an individual’s autonomy until we already have on the table the structure of society. If that structure includes the state, and presumably it does, then the state is somehow prior to the people consenting to it, which is bad news for liberals. We could draw links here to Hegel and communitarianism, which will come up later when we look at the Right.


In The Racial Contract Mills argues that social contract theory is predicated on white supremacy and that all the ostensibly color-blind theories of liberalism built around it are in fact just reifications of racism. Mills actually thinks liberalism can be saved in the form of what he calls “black radical liberalism” (this is a somewhat recent development - see here for instance) but one might disagree with him, and even if we agreed, I think this still counts as a critique of liberalism, right?


By this I don’t mean actual philosophical pragmatism but rather the view that sometimes, liberalism isn’t tenable simply because respect for individual rights will lead to consequences too dire to accept. So, this is just a straightforward consequentialist argument: the ends justify the means, and sometimes the ends will require adopting means other than liberalism. So for instance Arneson has advocated for an instrumentalist defense of democracy (see here) according to which there is a right to democratic participation only insofar as democracy is going to generate good results in that society, and if this isn’t the case, then there’s no such right (see also his article “On the Supposed Right to a Democratic Say”). We might call these people fair-weather liberals. They have something in common with the communitarians, insofar as the character of the society in question helps decide whether various facets of liberalism are appropriate.

The Right


This is what has its roots in Hegel, and we can see it in people like Taylor and Sandel, cited here. The broadest possible way of describing what’s going on here is that there are different principles fit for different societies, depending on the character of those societies. So if a society has illiberal traditions, it typically doesn’t make sense to come in with a liberal steamroller and tell them that they’re doing everything wrong and that they have to change. We might think morality simply doesn’t work this way, either because there’s no such universal morality in the first place, or because the way morality works requires it getting a certain foothold in the individual’s life in a way that makes sense to that individual and not all people in all societies will be amenable to liberalism, or whatever. Another facet of this critique (especially from Sandel) echoes the feminist point above: the idea is that it makes no sense to conceive of the individual outside the context of their society, and to talk about the rights and choices of that individual in any meaningful sense.

If you want any more detail on any of these answers, let me know. I’m not sure how much you know about liberalism: I’ve assumed a fair amount of knowledge on your part, and thus left out much of the details in terms of what parts of liberalism these critiques are attacking and how they hurt, insofar as they succeed. I’d be happy to fill that out, or anything else that needs filling out.

How many people were really being sacrificed every year in the Aztec Empire before the Spanish arrived? I’ve heard claims it was in the tens of thousands or much lower. by 400-rabbits on Reddit More Pasta

I’ll try and cover a few of your specific points, starting with the fact Apocalypto did not intend to portray the Aztecs, but the Maya. The film does (poorly) mash in some aspects of Aztec sacrifice, if only to further its goal of being colonialist apologia and torture porn. Fortunately, the sheer awfulness of the movie makes it a good jumping off point to talk about actual practices of sacrifice.

To start with, there were slaves in the Aztec world and a portion of them did come from slave raids. The whole notion of actual warriors going out to get slaves for sacrifices, however, is a bit ridiculous. While slaves would sometimes be used for sacrifices in particular circumstances, the majority of sacrifices stemmed from war captives. Taking a captive was considered a rite of passage for a young warrior and a requirement for military and social advancement. Note, however, that simply snatching up some schmuck from a podunk village was not a standard practice; the expectation was taking a captive in battle. Also, later in the Imperial phase of the Aztecs, certain opponents became so little regarded that even taking several of them in battle earned little more than a shrug, as this passage from Sahagun illustrates:

And if six, or seven, or ten Huaxtecs, or barbarians, were taken, he gained thereby no renown.

Conversely, taking captive from more formidable opponents, such as those from Atlixco and Huexotzinco (which were coincidentally in the hard-fought borderland with Tlaxcala), earned great acclaim. So the notion of Aztec warriors raiding villages too small to apparently even have maize fields does not make sense.

Once captives were taken there are some scant mentions of using cages. From the same book of Sahagun:

And there in battle was when captives were taken. When it had come to pass that they went against and conquered the city, then the captives were counted, there, in wooden cages: how many had been taken by Tenochtitlan, how many by Tlatilulco…

So using cages was a real thing, but there’s no indication they were anything but temporary measures. For instance, they were also used during the sale of slaves, or when holding prisoners during trials. Captives were not simply rounded up and kept indefinitely like cattle in pens. Instead, captives were treated, well, like slaves, to be housed by their captors until the time of their sacrifice.

Were those sarifices a public spectacle? Well, yes and no. Many of the sacrifices were public events, and some specifically so in a way that demonstrated the power of the Aztec state. Rulers and dignitaries of foreign, even enemy, nations would be invited to witness these displays as a form a intimidation.Apocalypto portrays these sorts of events as a wild bacchanal of primitives gyrating in a wild, unhinged frenzy. In fact, if we turn to sources like Duran or Sahagun, we see that even the most public and bloody ceremonies were highly regimented rituals of specific songs, dances, offerings, and adornments, each with its own meaning. There was an aspect of spectacle, but ultimately these were religious rites.

We can see the combination of somber and spectacle in accounts of the “gladiatorial” sacrifice which took place during Tlacaxipehualiztli. After weeks of preliminary rituals, captors would bring their captives to a particular calmecac, Yopico, in the Sacred Precinct. There the captor would lead his captive up to a raised platform upon which lay a large heavy stone. Tied to the stone and armed with a macuahuitl whose blades were feathers, the captive would face up to four elite warriors (and a fifth left-handed one if he managed to “defeat” the four), but would ultimately be sacrificed on that stone once he faltered.

So there’s certainly some spectacle there and the whole notion of “gladiatorial” combat evokes the Colosseum, but there’s some substantial differences. For one, there’s some dispute as to the “public-ness” of this event. Sahagun mentions no one but the priests and the warriors, which does not preclude the presence of others. Duran, meanwhile, says the “entire city was present,” although the location of the particular calmecac where the combat took place was a smaller building off in one corner of the Sacred Precinct, which present problems for mass viewing.

More importantly though, the intentions were different. Even this particular sacrifice, which was among the largest (dozens are mentioned as sacrificed over the course of a day) and the combat making it among the most dramatic, the core aim was not to provide tititallation, but serve both as a sort of graduation ceremony for warriors who had taken a captive and also a way of providing “sustenance” to the gods. On that latter part, just as important as the actual combat was the captor taking the blood of his sacrifice, collected by the priests in a bowl, and going from idol to idol having them take a “drink” from the bowl. Considering the symbolic impetus of Aztec warfare was to engage in battle in order to “feed” the gods, this act not only completed that divine onus, but the entire gladiatorial spectacle re-created the process of warfare/capture/sacrifice. This was not just bread and circuses, in other words.

Speaking of bread, Tlacaxipehualiztli accounts have direct references to the consumption of human flesh, with the captive being divided up for the home and neighborhood of his captor. Famously, the captor would decline to feast on his own captive, saying:

“Shall I perchance eat my very self?” For when he took the captive, he had said: “He is as my beloved son.” And the captive had said: “He is my beloved father.”

This passage from Sahagun does end, however, by noting that the captor might partake of someone else’s captive.

As we’ve already seen with the feeding of the gods, the notion of captives as divine sustenance was an important symbolic concept, so we can’t simply see the act of consuming a captive in nutritional (or even culinary!) terms. This was the mistake Harner made in his 1977 article, “The Ecological Basis of Aztec Sacrifice,” which Marvin Harris would proclaim as having “solv[ed] the riddle of Aztec Sacrifice” in his book published the same year, Cannibals and Kings: Origins of Cultures. Actually, Harner made a number of mistakes, but the strict cultural materialist approach they used is notable for excluding any cultural explanations of societal behaviors in favor of ecological causes. So already we have to understand that Harner and Harris were using a flawed approach to Aztec sacrifice.

The other thing we have to understand is that Harner was not a Mesoamericanist and did not have a thorough understanding of the society he was proclaiming to explain. If he did have a deeper understanding he might not have made so many glaring errors in his hypothesis. To briefly sum up his position, Harner believed Aztec society was uniquely protein deficient, seeing as how it lacked the large domesticated animals of Afro-Eurasia, which was made up of empires “based on economies with domesticated herbivores providing meat or milk.” In response to this, the Aztecs turned to preying on their neighbors to meet this dietary need. Harris expands on this view and tries to blunt criticism of how many sacrifices would have been needed to feed the vast population of the Aztecs, by positing that even if only the elites were engaging in cannibalism, that would be enough to sustain this “cannibal empire.”

Unfortunately for Harner and Harris, the foundation of their argument was flawed, because they were ultimately viewing the Aztecs through an ethnocentric lens. They focus, almost exclusively, on dogs and turkeys as sources of protein, with lesser mentions of waterfowl, fish, and wild game like deer and rabbits. Both disparage the use of tecuitlatl, the spirulina algae that was collected form the lake and pressed into cake, which is like disparaging McDonalds – it may be a food of subsistence for some, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t eaten by peasant and presidents alike. Indeed, their approach basically glosses over the innumerable foodstuffs eaten in Mesoamerica that are strange to the Western palate. Even as Harner quotes Cook and Borah saying “just about everything edible was eaten,” he refocuses on dogs, turkeys, and men.

Ortiz de Montellano, in his 1978 article, “Aztec Cannibalism: An Ecological Necessity?” to Harner to task by listing all of the various other protein sources in the Aztec diet which are attested to in the literature, which included iguanas, snakes, frogs, and salamanders, as well as various insects and insect larva. He further notes that Harner ignores the traditional Aztec staples like amaranth and chia, the former of which is a grain high in protein and the latter a seed with good protein and fat content. The fat content is key, as Harner and Harris see this as an important key to understanding Aztec cannibalism: it wasn’t just protein deficiency, but also fat deficiency. This ignores not only chia, but also crops like avocados. Ortiz de Montellano further notes that Harner does not address the fact that the core Aztec cities were the recipient of tribute bringing innumerable bushels of maize, amaranth, and chia to the populace, before noting that humans are actually a very inefficient source of protein and that the number of sacrifices required simply do not add up.

Increasing the number of sacrifices per annum is thus vital to Harner and Harris. Unfortunately, they rely on some dodgy numbers regarding Aztec sacrifice. Harner starts by taking an estimate from Cook of 15K sacrifices per year throughout the Aztec empire, on the basis of a population of 2M. He then revises this number upward, citing personal communication with Cook. The end result is Harner posits 250K sacrifices a year in a population of 25M. The problem is that we have no reason to think that an increase in population would lead to a proportional increase in sacrifices, yet this is essential to Harner’s idea of sacrifice as ecologically driven. Under his cultural materialist model where sacrifice is intrinsically tied to the dietary needs of the population, they must be proportional, but he is essentially pulling numbers from nowhere.

The problem is that our actual reports of captives taken do not support those numbers, though they are scanty and far between. Adding up the numbers of sacrifices mention by Sahagun in his book on ceremonies likewise does not add up to the numbers Harner needs, but we can likewise not rule out additional sacrifices going unmentioned. The truth is we do not have good numbers for how many people were sacrificed. We do not, however, have any reason to believe that the numbers of sacrifices in Tenochtitlan, which was the center of an unprecedented religious focus on sacrifice, would be replicated throughout other regions of Mesoamerica, even those areas subject to the Aztecs. As Brumfiel points out in her chapter “Figurines and the Aztec State: Testing the Effectiveness of Ideological Domination,” outside of the central Aztec cities, we see a markedly different archaeological profile of religious figures, which she suggests points towards a highly militaristic and sacrifice-driven state cult of war gods, which gave way to a more traditional model of agricultural deities and less sacrifice-focused practices in the countryside.

The end result is that we have no reason to accept Harner’s proposition that 1% of the total population of Mesoamerica was sacrificed every year, particularly since the late Postclassic is marked by a substantial increase in population as the same time he and Harris are proposing a life of cannibalistic subsistence. The Aztecs certainly focused on and increased the rate and importance of human sacrifice beyond what had been previously seen in Mesoamerica. None of the actual ecological or dietary data suggest their society needed to rely on cannibalism, and the focus on that aspect of their society tends to overlook other ways in which the Aztecs were a highly organized and functional pre-modern agricultural society, whose population boomed and whose marketplaces were stocked with non-people foodstuffs.

Aztec sacrifice was a complicated and, to the modern Western view, bizarre practice, but it was not the sole aspect of Aztec society. It was, however, neither as alien to practices found in Afro-Eurasia, nor a perfect analogy to them. It wasn’t sadists fattening up captives in cages; the practice had a logic to it. Aztec sacrificed evolved from a general pattern of sacrifice in Mesoamerica going back millennia, and the religious and social aspects of Aztec sacrifice were adapted to the realities of their time.

The Joke

Trump has been saying the pandemic has been totally under control since January, and said it would just “go away” in February.

He reiterated this in March as the virus surged, and insisted we had “perfect” tests that anyone could get after reports of faulty tests. He said he wanted pandemic-related shutdowns to end by Easter so churches could be “packed” while claiming Hydroxychloroquine would be a miracle cure for COVID-19.

In April he continued to promote Hydroxychloroquine without evidence and suggested we could inject disinfectants or use UVC light inside the body to kill the virus, and right up through May Trump was discouraging the use of masks and refused to require them anywhere, with him and Pence famously flouting requirements at hospitals and factories. Trump also claimed he was taking Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against the disease. At this point they were even planning to dismantle their own COVID-19 task force.

In June they were still insisting it was under control while fighting the FDA’s revocation of authorizations for Hydroxychloroquine, and denying that there was a second surge happening. They instead blamed the high infection statistics on there being more testing, and Trump suggested slowing down testing to improve the stats, noting he does not joke.

Rolling into July he still insisted he had things under control, claiming they had done an incredible job, as the White House nuked a trove of data previously available through the CDC while Trump was still hyping Hydroxychloroquine and his son was temporarily suspended from Twitter for continuing to spread disinformation about it.

Even in August, Trump claimed COVID-19 was totally under control, and the ~150k dead with a simple “it is what it is,”, and reiterated that the virus would go away all on its own. He finally encouraged the wearing of masks, but ignored all guidelines during his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican Convention.

In September Trump was saying that COVID-19 hurt “virtually nobody”, and openly disputed the CDC’s own claims about the effectiveness of masks.

In October Trump got COVID-19, and while still undergoing treatment, went on a quick spin around the hospital to wave to his supporters outside. He was discharged to the White House after only three days, posing for photo-ops without a mask. At this point White House officials finally concede that “we’re not going to control the pandemic.”. This would be the last time the COVID-19 task force would formally meet.

Since then Trump has pretty much avoided any and all public appearances except to complain about the election. November marked the point where a quarter of a million Americans had died of COVID-19. There are now more people dying each day of COVID-19 than died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 or in the Invasion of Normandy.

That’s the joke.

/u/kichigai (month highlights mine)

Iowa Is Awesome by @CockroachED on Reddit More Pasta

I am so proud to be an Iowan. Iowa is fucking awesome, and here is why:

  1. In 1838, before we were even a state, our Supreme Court upheld the law that in Iowa escaped slaves couldn’t be forced to return to a slave state. The same year it became law an unmarried women could own property. In most of the rest of the US either category having any rights was laughable and were considered property themselves.

  2. We were involved in a war with Missouri. The Honey War! was a border dispute that we Iowans may not have started but we sure as hell won.

  3. We were the second state in the union to allow interracial marriage (1851) almost a century before it became legal in the rest of the US.

  4. In 1851 Iowa legislated that, “the property of married women did not vest in her husband, nor did the husband control his wife’s property”.

  5. In 1857 University of Iowa, my alma mater (Go Hawkeyes!!), was the first state university to have a degree program open for women.

  6. For the American Civil War, Iowa contributed more men than any other state per capita. This despite the fact not a single major battle occurred on Iowan soil.

  7. Iowa outlawed segregated schools in 1868. We were the second state in the union to do it and we did it close to a century before the rest of America.

  8. Iowa elected the first women to public office in the united states, in 1869. That same year we were the first state to allow women to join the bar and we had the first female US attorney. This paved the way for Iowa to have the first female practice law before a federal court.

  9. Iowa was passing civil rights act, prohibiting discrimination in public, all the way back in 1884.

  10. Iowa was the third state (tip of the hat to Wyoming and Colorado for beating us to the punch)to give women the right to vote in 1894.

  11. Iowa has the first mosque in the US and the only exclusively Muslim cemetery.

  12. In 1953, amongst all the states of the union, only Iowa defeated a McCarthyistic legislative measure to impose a teacher’s loyalty oath.

  13. Iowa was the first to have an openly gay man run for a seat in Congress. And the guy was a Republican!

  14. In 2007, Iowa was the second state to allow full marriage to gays and lesbians.

  15. In Iowa we protect our children from from bullying due to sexual orientation AND gender identity.

tl;dr: And for the two part cherry on the cake…

16) 2008 Democrat Caucuses, Iowa became the first in the nation to select Barack Obama as their choice for president. This when almost all political pundits thought he wasn’t a viable candidate. For some perspective on the Iowa is 95% white. You have to go to the North Pole to find a whiter place.

17) Norman Borlaug is an Iowa native son, born and bred. Who is Norman Borlaug you ask yourself? Look him up! He was the greatest man who ever lived, a man who saved a billion lives (No hyperbole).

QED Bitches.