The Chief Advantage Of Democracy Is Peaceful Transition Of Power

I really do not understand why people think that democracy is so great. Its chief advantage is that it provides for peaceful transitions of power. I continue to believe that markets, imperfect as they often are, produce better outcomes than voting.

I come to appreciate this view more and more. Democracy, even Republic, is not necessarily so good for decision-making. There’s a lesson here for managing projects and organizations as well.

via My Election Take | askblog.

“This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” — And There Is Something Seriously Wrong With That

In Nigeria and Iraq, Muslim armies are selling women as slaves. Iran hanged a woman for fighting off a rapist. ISIS was more direct about it and beheaded a woman who resisted one of its fighters.

But we don’t have to travel to the Middle East to see real horrors. The sex grooming scandal in the UK involved the rape of thousands of girls. The rapists were Muslim men so instead of talking about it, the UK’s feminists bought $75 shirts reading, “This is what a feminist looks like” which were actually being made by Third World women living sixteen to a room. This was what a feminist looked like and it wasn’t a pretty picture.

The same willful unseriousness saw Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a survivor of genital mutilation and an informed critic of Muslim misogyny, booted from Brandeis by self-proclaimed feminists. Meanwhile the major feminist cause at the moment is Gamergate, a controversy over video games which can be traced back to a female game developer who slept with a video game reviewer. Professional feminists have spent more time and energy denouncing video games than the sale and rape of girls in Nigeria and Iraq.

That is what feminism looks like and there is something seriously wrong with that.

(Emphasis mine.)

Feminism as currently constructed is not about “treating women as people” or even “equality” — it is about privileged Western women gaining power over privileged Western men. Via Sultan Knish: The Unbearable Lightness of Feminism.

The “Hollaback” Video: Facts Are Meaningless Without A Theory

The Hollaback video also shows why “data” without theory can be so misleading—and how the same data can fit multiple theories. Since all data collection involves some form of data selection (even the biggest dataset has selection going into what gets included, from what source), and since data selection is always a research method, there is always a need for understanding methods.

The important methodological point is that the video, without further reflection, can support all three wildly incompatible propositions. In other words, if you just look at the video, you can believe any three, and you will likely choose whichever fits your existing conclusions and prejudices.

This is a point that Drucker made decades ago: Events by themselves are not facts. … Opinions come first. “Facts” mean nothing without a lens through which to view them. All the data in the world is meaningless without a world-view to interpret them. You have to recognize that your opinion, your hypothesis, your world-view, comes first, and *then* you can do something with data.

Via That Catcalling Video and Why “Research Methods” is such an Exciting Topic (Really!) — The Message — Medium.

Grandpa With A Gun Defends 19-Year-Old From Gang Rape

Two of the suspects reportedly knocked on the grandfather’s door at around 10 p.m. Monday and then stormed in and demanded money when he answered. All three of the men were armed and wearing black cloths, ski masks and gloves, according to police.

The 67-year-old grandfather and his wife were reportedly taken to the back of the house and ordered to open a safe. But the trio of thugs crossed the line when they attempted to gang rape the man’s granddaughter, officials said.

It wasn’t clear if the grandpa kept a gun in the safe or how exactly he got his hands on his firearm — but he did. He reportedly shot all three of the suspects, though he was also shot while rescuing his granddaughter.

The suspects eventually fled and drove away in the grandfather’s Cadillac.

The world needs more dangerous old men. Via Police Say Three Armed Men Invaded Home and Attempted to Gang Rape 19-Year-Old — but They Didn’t Come Prepared for Grandpa |

How Ayn Rand Captured The Magic Of American Life

Rand expressed the glory of human achievement. She tapped into the delight a human being ought to feel at watching another member of our species doing things superbly well. The scenes in “The Fountainhead” in which the hero, Howard Roark, realizes his visions of architectural truth are brilliant evocations of human creativity at work. But I also loved scenes like the one in “Atlas Shrugged” when protagonist Dagny Taggart is in the cab of the locomotive on the first run on the John Galt line, going at record speed, and glances at the engineer:

He sat slumped forward a little, relaxed, one hand resting lightly on the throttle as if by chance; but his eyes were fixed on the track ahead. He had the ease of an expert, so confident that it seemed casual, but it was the ease of a tremendous concentration, the concentration on one’s task that has the ruthlessness of an absolute.

That’s a heroic vision of a blue-collar worker doing his job. There are many others. Critics often accuse Rand of portraying a few geniuses as the only people worth valuing. That’s not what I took away from her. I saw her celebrating people who did their work well and condemning people who settled for less, in great endeavors or small; celebrating those who took responsibility for their lives, and condemning those who did not. That sounded right to me in 1960 and still sounds right in 2010.

Second, Ayn Rand portrayed a world I wanted to live in, not because I would be rich or powerful in it, but because it consisted of people I wanted to be around. As conditions deteriorate in “Atlas Shrugged,” the first person to quit in disgust at Hank Rearden’s steel mill is Tom Colby, head of the company union:

For ten years, he had heard himself denounced throughout the country, because his was a ‘company union’ and because he had never engaged in a violent conflict with the management. This was true; no conflict had ever been necessary; Rearden paid a higher wage scale than any union scale in the country, for which he demanded—and got—the best labor force to be found anywhere.

That’s not a world of selfishness or greed. It’s a world of cooperation and mutual benefit through the pursuit of self-interest, enabling satisfying lives not only for the Hank Reardens of the world but for factory workers. I still want to live there.

via How Ayn Rand Captured The Magic Of American Life.

In 5/7 Categories, Men Harassed Online More Than Women

Just in case you’ve forgotten how the media works: a new study by Pew comes out showing that although all genders suffer online harassment, in five of seven categories on average men get harassed more than women.

The media reports the study as Pew: Women Suffering Online Harassment Worse Than Men and this is no doubt the lesson every casual reader takes away from it (“Can you believe there are neckbeards who still don’t acknowledge the SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN truth that women always have it worse than men??!”).

When challenged on it, the article says that by their definition, only “sexual harassment” and “stalking” count as ‘serious” online harassment, since those are the two categories in which women have it worse.

Meanwhile, the five categories in which men have it worse include things like “threats of physical violence”, but all of a sudden this is “not serious” because caring about it doesn’t fit the prevailing narrative.

Remember that this same process produces a lot of the other “facts” that drive political debate.

Via Links For November 2014 | Slate Star Codex.