Reading George Fox

Kevin Drum Bets Hard On Genetics

A few days back, Kevin Drum wrote a post about the future influence of genetic engineering on social policy. I’m going to leave aside the moral argument that everyone deserves a decent standard of living and focus on two of his assumptions. How much does parental upbringing affect any of this? I’m going to put my money on “not much,” but it’s hardly worth making guesses anymore. In a decade or two we’ll know. How much effect does the entire environment outside the womb have starting with the day a baby is delivered? I’m going to put my money on “some,” but that’s as far as I’ll go. I strongly question his assertation that genetics and epigentics will be found to be overwhelming determinative of talent and skill.1 How will that square with studies that show children of wealthier and/or highly educated parents do better academically? Or that teachers grade girls’ math tests more harshly than boys’ when names are included, but the opposite when names are redacted?2 For a specific example3, Ta-Nehisi Coates attributes much of his success as a writer to his family having a ton of books around and his father’s philosophy that he should learn about…

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Dan Swings and Whiffs—Savage Lovecast #610

Dan may have not played the entire call and I’m personally biased, so it’s possible that I’m misinterpreting the details. Dan has a truly terrible response to his final caller in episode 610. A woman asks about her boyfriend: he can fly off the handle at himself for days because of simple mistakes. While she describes him as genuinely kind to others, he also has significant self-hatred1: thinking that he is a worthless person and being uncomfortable when he is happy because he doesn’t believe he deserves it. Dan’s verdict is the boyfriend is a manipulative asshole who just needs to grow the fuck up. It’s far more likely that this man suffers from severe mental illness and desperately needs treatment. For one, it sounds like the behavior precedes the relationship, that he’s tortured himself while single as well. The caller never mentions him getting angry at her or that his explosions have anything to do with her behavior (or reality in general). He doesn’t blow up when she goes out with friends, when she picks up the wrong food, when she’s not paying attention to him. Rather, he’s triggered by his own silly mistakes. While his behavior clearly affects…

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That’s Harsh

Over at Macdrifter, Gabe just posted about his failures. While I don’t know him personally, many of them read more as overly harsh self-criticism than failings. » I spend too much on coffee This is possible, but coffee is not that expensive and I’d conjecture that Gabe likes coffee. Is it really a failure to spend money on something that brings you pleasure? » I don’t dress well Compared to what? Is he comfortable in the clothing he wears? My initial reaction is Gabe is projecting the world’s judgment onto himself, especially as this implies the way he dresses every day is a problem. » I don’t work hard enough Gabe does note that some items are conflicting, but this one especially stands out. If he is going to criticize himself for not spending enough time with his kids, doing things for his wife, volunteering enough, etc; it feels unrealistic to expect himself to work more as well. He certainly blogs a lot. I guess he could be a lazy sloth that contributes nothing to the world, but, given his writing, I truly doubt that. » I’m not happy enough each day Red Alert! Red Alert! I’ve done a ton…

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Only the Conservative Viewpoint

And the only opinions the NYTimes solicits are from people who are lukewarm to hostile about regulation. Including the Koch brother affiliated Mercatus Center, which seems to have a pretty dubious way of judging regulatory burden. The article even notes that they are counting restrictions on regulators as more regulation.

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Food Safety?!

“If it isn’t pest poisons and pesticides, then it is food safety.” A farmer complains in an NYTimes article about “excessive” regulation. We’re susposed to be upset that the government is enforcing food safety laws? Has the Times decided to become a libertarian rag?

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