I envy the religious because they get to outsource this critical thinking

I just submitted a 2,000-word piece about Trump and trade to FEE’s editors. I wrote it and re-wrote it about five times, which is unheard of for me (pretend like you’re surprised). I learned a lot about trade, automation, and manufacturing. I forgot whether I shared my last FEE piece with you all, so if not, here it is: Afraid of Technology? Here’s the One Rule to Follow.

The thesis of my Trump story began as something along the lines of, “Not everyone values prosperity.” I was reading an Economist article about how everyone agrees trade is great for the US. But it’s like, no. All credible economists agree that trade is good for net prosperity. There are plenty of people in the US fucked over by trade. And there are plenty of people in the US who do not value net prosperity more than full employment, for example.

This gets to my larger struggle, which is fully understanding what people value and why. Because I value liberalism, which I’ve yet to define concretely but by which I mean broadly something along the lines of

  • economic growth
  • innovation
  • personal freedom
  • tolerance
  • secularism

I’m not even sure why I value liberalism. I think it mostly comes down to freedom. I value freedom. The greatest oppressor humanity faces is scarcity.  I believe we will innovate our way out of dying for lack. A combination of slowing birthrates and cheaper food and shelter mean soon it will be trivial to distribute what we need to sustain life.

A man I used to work with commented on one of my Facebook posts saying he wanted to end hunger before he wanted self-driving cars, or something to that effect. And yes, all else equal I agree. Why value freedom more than care? It’s just that I do not believe there’s a way to end hunger today that doesn’t delay ending hunger permanently.  The fastest and least oppressive way to free ourselves from want is to innovate. But why sacrifice the people in need now for the people who won’t need later? I have no justification for this. I do believe in God but I don’t think he gives a shit about my politics (fingers crossed). My value system is just a set of preferences. I envy the religious because they get to outsource this critical thinking. I was handed a set of values and preferences which I rejected and now I have to build my own and it’s hard.

Anyway, not everyone shares my values. And I want to understand why.

Onto the links.

Via @JamilSmith: Rape victims at Baylor were told that if they reported, their parents would be informed about their use of alcohol. No rape culture here folks. Move along. Everything is fine.

“Even if we can avoid the calamity of a Trump presidency, the G.O.P. still has a lot of soul-searching to do.” I’m so fascinated by anti-intellectualism.

Via @CorieWStephens Zoning laws often increase racial segregation & income inequality. Other cities could learn from Houston.

I have mixed feelings on Lena Dunham. I think her show is funny, though I don’t watch it because I don’t want to figure out HBO. I think she’s brave for willing to be unattractive and unlikable as a woman on television. I think she’s brave for being a political activist and a woman and entertainer, though I also think her opinions are ill-informed and her ideas pernicious. But this profile made me like her a lot more. Or at least empathize with her.

Derek Mead is correct. This is unintentionally one of the greatest First Amendment jokes in history.

Okay let’s talk about free speech for a sec. I cannot wait to see anti-PC “cultural libertarians” who claim to be principled defenders of free speech denounce Trump for signing a porn ban pledge. How anti-PC ppl gonna call disinviting someone to speak at a college an infringement on speech but support a government ban on porn? And by can’t wait I mean I’ll be waiting a long time because this was never about speech as an ideal it was always about being openly racist. Which is, you know, what it is. I’ll fight to the death for your right to be openly racist. But it would be cool if you’d either support my right to distribute porn, or admit you don’t gaf about speech you’re just a racist. Because that’s the difference between someone who’s defending speech as an idea and someone who’s defending speech they like not because it’s speech but because they agree with the speaker. You don’t get to defend people who are openly racist on speech grounds until you’re also defending speech you actually don’t like.

Speaking of unprincipled conservatives: “I find it amusing that fundamentalist libertarians are the first to whine ‘There’s no such thing as gay rights, just individual rights,’ yet they are quick to say that there is such a thing as ‘religious freedom’ as opposed to just individual freedom.” -James Peron

Exactly. Your belief in things unseen should not entitle you to extra freedoms that others don’t get to enjoy. If you’re free to do it, we should all be free to do it, regardless of *why* we might want to do it.

Moving on to a sick burn: “Is Jill Stein what happens when a woman has the confidence of a mediocre white man? Because I might want to revise my mantra.” -@hels

And another:


Have a great afternoon folks. You make my world.

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