Thursday, April 30, 2015

Social Jujitsu

The ancient Greeks were right: nemesis always follows hubris. Are we finally witnessing nemesis coming to punish the Social Justice Warriors for their hubris?

For years now, the SJW's have been able to dictate a wildly disproportionate amount of public discourse and corporate marketing techniques through their unquenchable, hair trigger outrage. But a handful of companies have demonstrated that SJW's are a tiny fraction of the overall population, and that most people can't stand their whining and outrageous bullying tactics.

The most recent example is Protein World, a British company specializing in health foods. They started a campaign called #BeachBodyReady to promote their products, and the SJW's went nuts. They declared the campaign sexist and misogynistic because it was "body shaming" women who don't have fashion model looks.

Instead of folding, though, Protein World punched back, baiting the SJW trolls and refusing to back down one inch. The trolls went to Defcon 1: getting 40,000 signatures on a petition, threatening to tear the company's headquarters to the ground, etc. Protein World's customers leaped to its defense online. And tens of thousands of people who had never heard of the company became customers -- many of whom explicitly said they bought Protein World products in appreciation for the company not giving in to SJW bullying tactics.

Protein World made over £1 million in four days off of a £250,000 marketing campaign. When a critical mass of companies recognize that there's gold in shrugging off SJW bullying tactics, the script will flip and the power of those trolls will disappear. Protein world (and other companies, as the linked article above notes) has certainly hastened the arrival of that day.

UPDATE: The SJW's have flexed their muscles in the body they love and control most -- the bureaucracy. Britain's Advertising Standards Agency has banned Protein World's "Beach Body Ready" campaign because it's sexist. Unlike ads for Victoria's Secret, or Budweiser, or 50 other products that feature women in bikinis. Because Shut up. That's why.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Explaining the Tax System Using Beer

An oldie but goodie from Dan Mitchell's blog:

The Tax System Explained with Beer

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

  • The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing
  • The fifth would pay $1
  • The sixth would pay $3
  • The seventh would pay $7
  • The eighth would pay $12
  • The ninth would pay $18
  • The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59

So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20″. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

The bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

  • And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
  • The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
  • The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
  • The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
  • The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
  • The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth man and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

What happens when you mess with work incentives

So there's a new study out that adds to the massive weight of common sense regarding so-called anti-poverty programs: they perpetuate the thing they purport to fight by incentivizing people not to work.

This isn't news to anyone who's ever had to really motivate people to do something.  If you've done that, you realize that motives are key and incentives make all the difference.  As this wickedly funny cartoon shows, removing people's incentives to work eventually eliminates people's motives to work.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

GOP Money Men to Tea Party: We're getting amnesty whether you like it or not!

There's a more-than-mildly-terrifying nugget buried near the end of this BuzzFeed piece about Marco Rubio's apparent recovery from his push for amnesty in the Gang of Eight bill:
Even if Tea Partiers aren’t willing to get on board [with amnesty], Zwick [Romney's 2012 Finance Director] said the GOP money men have learned their lesson: “I really believe that the donor community… now finally recognizes, and I see them only wanting to get behind a candidate that is willing to take leadership on his issue.”
In other words, despite the fact that polls repeatedly show that Americans clearly don't want to keep bringing in waves of foreign migrants, the only choices our political class will offer them are a lot of new immigrants (the GOP's position) or a shit ton of new immigrants (the Democrats' position).

It's like American voters just walked into that bar with Jake and Elwood Blues, with a bartender representing the Republicrats (to use Ralph Nader's term, which is actually accurate in this case).

This will not end well.

Transitioning to Darth Vader

Apropos to my previous post, here is a satirical post about people who abuse their children by claiming to affirm them in "transitioning" to another gender: My Child is Transition to Darth Vader.
For the past two mornings ... all I have seen [on the news] is a repetitive story about a two year-old kid transitioning from female to male ... I think this is simply fantastic, and it has opened my eyes to realizing something about my own precious child.  When my daughter was two, she told me she was Darth Vader.  In my ignorance, I thought she was talking about her desired Halloween Costume that year (in April, of course… because, you know, a two year-old’s concept of time and all).  However, what I realize now is that she was actually trying to tell me who she felt she really was on the inside.  So, even though she’s 15 now, I am beginning the process of transDarthification (and my computer did not underline that word!).  After a long search, I have finally found a doctor from Cambodia who is going to surgically remove her limbs and induce third and fourth-degree burns on the majority of her remaining body segment.  I have also found an expert in the field of automobile customization who is going to help with the external, mechanical components and respirator.  The last step, and most difficult, will be securing for my daughter/Sith Lord new or slightly-used Death Star.  If anyone knows someone who can help with that, please let me know.
Read the whole thing.

Is the mutilation and chemical disfigurement required to "Darthify" one's child really all that different from that required to "transition" one's child to a different gender?

No. Not really. It's child abuse, plain and simple.

Transgenderism is a form of mental illness.

There is a new class of people in society today. Well, it's an old class, but in years past (by which I mean "up until 5 years ago") this group of people was viewed as oddballs at best, as mentally unstable at worst. That class of transgendered people.

Transgendered people are characterized by two firm beliefs:
  1. That a person's physical sex and their gender identity are two separate things
  2. That their particular physical sex and gender identity do not match
The levels of dysfunction and misunderstanding necessary to affirm these two beliefs are immense. Identifying with them oneself is a sign of mental illness, no different than that of many of the clients of the organization I work for. One of them has claimed to be Jesus Christ reincarnated. Pretty much anyone reading this likely has no trouble seeing that claim as ridiculous. 

If that same client said he was really a woman, however, there would be many people who might read this who would take that claim seriously, in spite of it being as patently false and ridiculous as his claim of being Jesus Christ reincarnated is.

We shouldn't enable this kind of mental illness by pretending that it represents legitimate thinking. We should identify it as delusional, not pretend that it is true. That doesn't mean we should mock them or attack them at all. People who consider themselves transgendered are sick and need our help. Affirming them in their illness doesn't represent help. At all.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Subverting Rainbow Fascism

Well, it's been a long time since I've posted, but I'm back to it now.

Here is a trenchant meditation on how traditionalists in the wedding trades can defend themselves from the Rainbow Fascists who insist that everyone must celebrate! gay marriage.

The author's advice comes down to branding your business in as flamboyantly Christian and traditionalist a manner as possible. As in Adam and Eve Photography (byline: "Specializing in traditional biblical weddings") or Hetero Harmonies (for a wedding DJ).

He's being funny, of course, but not necessarily satirical. Life has leaped ahead of art to the point that real-life events like the Memories Pizza witch hunt resemble an Onion article attempting to parody a Tim Lahaye/Jerry Jenkins dystopian fantasy.

So the author of this article (who is writing under a pseudonym, presumably so that the Rainbow Fascists don't don't attack him for his articles) suggests these branding techniques with a minimum of irony.
Would any gay couple really want to sully their special occasion by inviting such evil, bigoted, politically polarizing meanies (maddeningly engaged in the completely lawful expression of their views, by the way) to their event?

I don’t think so, but then the point was never to have you provide a service for them in the first place—it was to humiliate and marginalize you, scare others of your kind into silence, and deliver a side dish of state-sanctioned duress to help everyone start thinking correctly.

Confound these expectations, and refuse to read the script you’ve been handed. “Let your light so shine” as a business built on both biblical principles and personal freedom, and make the public and regulatory confrontation gay-marriage activists want end in peaceful acquiescence on your terms, not theirs.

Can activists or bureaucrats prevent you and your staff from showing up at a wedding you’ve been contracted to work with a t-shirt that says, “We donate to the National Organization for Marriage, supporters of religious liberty—”? Perhaps not yet, but if you have positioned your business honestly and sincerely in the marketplace, it will probably never come to that, anyway.

So you’re not political, or don’t want to market your business in a politically provocative way? For now, at least, you don’t have a choice to bow out of the controversy if you’re a wedding service provider with an objection to gay marriage, or a libertarian who believes in the right to decide who you want to work for. As Pericles said long ago (a truism small wedding-related businesses are increasingly realizing): “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”
Alas, Pericles was right. We can fight against that reality or we can accept it and act accordingly.