Haven’t We Been Here Before?

The Federalist’s David Harsanyi, on a possible Elizabeth Warren presidential run:

Still, it seems to me that a lot of people are overestimating the appeal, uniqueness, and popularity of Warren. What’s most enticing about Warren right now is the perception of her, not the reality.

Right-o.  And the American public has never, ever been bamboozled by an accomplishment-free nobody who deliberately bills him/herself as a blank slate upon which everyone can project their hopes and dreams….

indexI swear, it’s not Our Betters anymore.  Now everybody seems to think history began this morning.  For the record, I was saying the same kinds of things about Obama in 2007 that Harsanyi is saying about Warren now.  The difference is, I’ve been paying attention for the last seven years.  Sheesh.

Three Ways Corporate Personhood Benefits Progressives

Here at Rotten Chestnuts, our goal is to educate as well as entertain.  Now, Our Betters, the liberals, are confused on many, many (many many many many many) points.  But in the wake of the Hobby Lobby thing — which, we must note, is causing them conniptions on a lot of fronts — they seem most confused about the notion of “corporate personhood.”  Heck, even progressive darling and 2016 presidential candidate Elizabeth “Dances with Socialism” Warren has gotten in on the act:  Point eleven of her little manifesto (that’s a safe link to Vox Day) declares that

[We] believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies.

See what I mean?  Leaving aside for a moment the fact that Warren was an academic specializing in corporate law — where, one assumes, the legal definition of “personhood” is a top-of-the-syllabus affair at freshman orientation — the rest of the left seems to have a problem with this, too.  So I thought I’d explain it to them.  And, special little snowflakes that they are, what better way to get the point across than by appealing to their narcissism?  So, without further ado, here’s three ways corporate personhood benefits progressives.

1) It enables nonprofits.  I hate to break it to you, Moonbeam, but when you sign on for that internship with Save the Termites, you’re actually working for The Man.  From every leftist’s favorite objective information source, Wikipedia:

In the United States, nonprofit organizations are formed by filing bylaws and/or articles of incorporation in the state in which they expect to operate. The act of incorporating creates a legal entity enabling the organization to be treated as a corporation by law and to enter into business dealings, form contracts, and own property as any other individual or for-profit corporation may do.

But don’t worry!  The two key things here are “form contracts” and “own property.”

2) Let’s take the second one first.  The termites you’ve saved need somewhere to go, right?  So the corpor organization buys a nice farm in the country for them.  Now, if it were just you and a couple of buddies who bought this nice farm, and some kid who’s allergic to termites wanders in and gets bitten, you and your friends would be the ones footing the kid’s medical bills until the end of time.  Because, you know, it’s your land, as you’ll discover when you get hit with the lawsuit.  And when you have to pay your taxes.  What, you think the government doesn’t want a bite of your assets in perpetuity?  Welcome to the world beyond the EZ form, kiddo.

3) And speaking of medical bills, let’s look at the first part: “form contracts.”  We’ll go ahead and assume that Save the Termites isn’t your typical soulless corporation, dumping all its employees onto the Obamacare exchanges to save a buck.  We’ll also assume that you are the typical hypocritical liberal, who’s shocked at the exorbitant prices and shitty care available on the public tit, and so instead of doing the noble proletarian thing you’ll take the evil evil corporate insurance bennies Save the Termites offers.

Well guess what?  If it wasn’t Save the Termites LLC, you couldn’t get that insurance.  The evil evil insurance company would have to contract with each of you individually — since, you know, it’s just you and a couple hundred buddies, saving termites.  And you know what, Moonbeam?  You’re a shitty risk, actuarially speaking.  Do you know how many exotic diseases termites carry?  On your own, you’re uninsurable, and like most Americans you can’t afford even the most basic Obamacare-mandated coverage.  But since Evil Insurance Corp can contract with Save the Termites as a corporation, it can spread out the risk pool.  And now you get your “free” aromatherapy to deal with the trauma of knowing you work for a — gag! — company.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, Moonbeam!  Once you start to understand how this “corporation” thing works, you notice it everywhere.  For instance, you socialists love the notion of group rights.  In the old, bad, racist sexist imperialistic homophobic America, it was one person, one vote, and “rights” worked the same way.  But — obviously — that’s just not socially just.  I mean, look at Native American female senator Elizabeth Warren:

220px-Elizabeth_Warren--Official_113th_Congressional_Portrait--Back in the bad old days, she couldn’t hardly walk down the street without somebody calling her all kinds of awful racist, sexist names.  Surely she never could’ve gotten into Harvard on her merits.  So, for social justice purposes, we* decided that Indian-ness and female-ness trumped things like grades and accomplishments and all that other stuff from the bad old days.  We* decided, in other words, that chicks and Indians — as a class — got special breaks that whites and dudes — again, as a class — didn’t.  And what’s another word for a class of people?  That’s right:  A corporation.  Look it up.  It’s right there under number three:

any group of persons united or regarded as united in one body.

Isn’t that great?  And now she’s a senator.  And maybe president, come 2016.  And she owes it all to…. corporate personhood!!!
*By “we” I guess we* mean “straight white guys.”  I’m not really sure how that works, because according to you all, straight white guys used to have all the power, and in fact still do.  But somehow they gave up enough of it in this instance so that an Indian chick could beat out the straightest, whitest guy imaginable in a senate race.  The racist, homophobic Patriarchy really is quite stupid about things like that.  Have you noticed?  But that’s a discussion for another day, I suppose.

“I Don’t Understand That”

Read this.  Then read this.  The latter is a stream of Twitter reactions to the former.  And it’s bizarre.

Consider the following sentence:

The New York Yankees are the best team in baseball.

Now, I disagree with that statement.  I think it’s objectively false, and can marshal what I consider unbeatable arguments to prove it.  Moreover, I find that statement distasteful, as all good people hate the Yankees.  But I understand it.  It’s basic English, maybe second grade reading level.  It asserts your belief that the Yankees are the best team in baseball.

Simple, right?  But Our Betters, the liberals, have a flabbergasting capacity to misunderstand simple sentences when they feel like it.  Some are worse than others — we-don’t-understand-that is the jab in the Cuttlefishes’ combo punch of idiotic internet arguments — but check out that Twitter feed. Some choice cuts:


@scalzi So, a load of pseudo-intellectual twaddle to defend his insecure need for manhood only to be defined as “can lift moar than women.”

Exactly none of which appeared in either Morgan’s piece, or mine.  The former might just be some very odd sarcasm — because Twitter — but think about that last one for a sec.  Not only did neither of us say that, but that statement actually contradicts the entire point of both pieces.

The average man is stronger than the average woman.  This is incandescently obvious to anyone who has ever spent any time in the real world.  Anyone who claims to believe otherwise is either lying, or has put in a truly brain-boggling amount of effort to deny the evidence of his own lying eyes.  That was the point, expressed in clear, grammatical, idiomatic English.  And as such, “can lift moar than women” is actually the dumbest imaginable definition of masculinity.  Since most women can’t hardly bench press a Diet Pepsi, claiming to be stronger than the average girl is like claiming to be better than the average third grader at algebra — technically true, but what’s the point?  The comparison demeans us both, but Our Betters keep insisting we’re making it.

Or consider this gem of logic:

@scalzi: Isn’t it fascinating how they translate your “she can lift more than me” into “I can’t lift as much as her”?

Well, yeah, that’s how I translate it, because those statements mean exactly the same thing.  There’s a boulder over there.  You can lift it, and I can’t.  Which means — follow closely now — that you can lift more than me, and I can’t lift as much as you.  The proof is the boulder over your head, and my bulging hernia.

But always remember: Conservatives are the dumb ones.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a liberal “argument” without

@scalzi how do you know what that site contains? I tried, but after a couple paragraphs I could NOT continue reading. It’s just..a mess

So you don’t know what we actually said, but you’re metaphysically certain we’re wrong.

Not that it matters – given the level of reading comprehension on display — but I’ll spell out my point here in itty bitty words:

Missing the point like this — and then boasting about it — makes you look retarded.

You’re embarrassing yourselves, and John Scalzi, and the cause of whatever it is you think you’re advancing by claiming that a guy bragging about being outlifted by his daughter is some kind of grrrl power manifesto.

If I’d written what I wrote on Twitter, and some dude Tweeted back at me

@severian haha ur right Redshirts sucked

I’d ban him on the spot, because he’s obviously not smart enough to understand the basic English of a 300-word blog post, and I don’t want my name associated with that kind of idiocy.  I’d be ashamed to admit my writing attracts that kind of audience.

You all, on the other hand, brag about it.  You advertise your ignorance.  You revel in it.  You act as if typing “I don’t understand that” is the same as refuting the argument you claim not to understand.  To bring us back where we started:  The Yankees either are, or aren’t, the best team in baseball, but claiming not to understand the sentence “the Yankees are the best team in baseball” doesn’t affect their record either way.  It just makes every single baseball fan on the planet think you’re an idiot.

Which y’all are apparently cool with.

And I don’t understand that.

Misplaced Effort

Morgan quotes me, John Scalzi quotes Morgan, hilarity ensues.

Skimming through that thread is a clinic in point-missing.  Or a classic illustration of Larry Correia’s first rule of internet arguing: Skim until offended.  Since Morgan mentioned “pulling his man card” in the third sentence….

For the record, the following are NOT the point of that post, or my original post, or the Vox Popoli post which inspired it all.

  • Ha ha, Scalzi is a weak weakling that’s weak.
  • Masculinity comes in card form.
  • Manhood is defined by one’s bench press.

All of that is just projection.  The point is larger and simpler: It takes a tremendous amount of effort to maintain a worldview like Scalzi’s.

He claims his daughter out-lifts him.  Which means one of two things must be true:

  1. He’s actually been in the gym recently, such that he can make an accurate head-to-head comparison with his daughter; or
  2. He hasn’t, in which case he’s just making that comparison up.

If it’s the former, he could hardly fail to notice that the average man is stronger than the average woman, and it’s not even particularly close.  Even assuming Miss Scalzi is in the top 1%, female strength-wise, and trains like a demon; and that Mr. Scalzi is in the bottom 1% of male physique (or has a degenerative musculoskeletal condition or something) and has never lifted a weight in his life, he can’t have failed to notice that most of the girls are over by the little plastic jazzercise weights while the guys are throwing plates around.  Maybe his girl out-lifts him, but the average girl is nowhere near the average guy, and five minutes in the gym is all it takes to see it.

If it’s the latter (which is my bet), it’s even worse.  The information-avoidance quotient is even higher.  The point, let me stress again, is not that Scalzi can’t lift a particular poundage; it’s that he’s advertising weakness.  The logical implication of this is that a teenage girl carries all the groceries in the Scalzi household.

Physical strength has always been radical feminism’s most obvious stumbling block.  As our friends the alwarmists have shown, you can use “statistics” to prove anything when you refuse to show your work.  But the differences between men and women show up around the house every day.  All it takes is a trip to the grocery store.  Somebody‘s got to hoist that 50-lb bag of kitty litter into the cart.  Is it the radical feminist herself, or does she have to call the stockboy over?


There’s another interesting dimension to this little dust-up.  Morgan proudly proclaims his site to be “The Blog Nobody Reads.”  Rotten Chestnuts is a flea on its hide.  Even if his daily readership isn’t quuiiiiiite what he claims it to be, Scalzi’s got to have both sites combined beat by several orders of magnitude.  He’s got a gazillon Twitter followers, not to mention a Hugo Award, some kind of tv or movie development deal in the works, a passive income that probably triples my yearly take, a hefty rep among his professional peers and the reading public…..

In other words, the proper response to a little light mockery from us is: Nothing.  Morgan and I (and the rest of the RC crew) could spend every hour of every day making fun of Scalzi online and he’d lose not one thin dime.  Hell, he’d probably make a buck or two — free advertising is free advertising, as he of all people knows.

And yet he had a tweet up about Morgan’s post within the day, and as of recently it had 30-some retweets and 50-some favorites.

Think on that for a sec.  Is this not the definition of chick behavior?  Oooh, somebody said something mean about me!  Quick, follow me to my fainting couch, and fan me with your adulation!  Reassure me!

Here again, think of the effort this must take.  Even as self-promotion, it’s got to take a toll, broadcasting criticism of yourself far and wide.

If he put 1/10th of that effort into hitting the gym, he might learn something.  Or, at least, be able to open a pickle jar.

The Five A’s

Stacy McCain raises an excellent point:  Reducing Miami’s carbon footprint to the level demanded by the eco-fascists would, in effect, reduce Miami to nonexistence.  The eco-fascists are, of course, ok with that, because Miami is full of rich people and the wrong kind of brown people (the ones that vote Republican).  But the rest of us ought to think it over.

Here’s my personal criterion for taking an eco-weenie seriously:  Have you, yourself, personally, sworn off the Five A’s?

  • Aspirin
  • Antiperspirant
  • Air conditioning
  • Antibiotics
  • Automobiles

If not, it’s time to STFU.  All of those things come directly out of the industrial revolution, and would not exist without it.  That’s the world you’re trying to send us back to.  No, really — you do realize aspirin comes from factories, right?  Nasty, Gaia-wounding, globe-heating factories.  As does everything else on that list.

And I do mean sworn off.  It’s not enough to ride your bike down to the co-op, because that stuff, too, comes from… automobiles.  What, you think Seventh Generation — headquartered in Burlington, Vermont — has a bunch of little elves right down the road cranking out their products?  It’s big ol’ honkin’, pollutin’ Jimmy Petes what bring that stuff to your local hippy-dip store.  So unless you get your food from a local farmer, transported by a horse-drawn wagon, you need to STFU.

Again, this is the world you want us to live in.  You first, buckaroo.  Try it for six months, and then get back to me with your grandiose plan to save the world from weather, mmmkay?

Settled Science Update

SAGE – a bigtime academic publisher — had to pull sixty (!!) articles from one of its journals.  The reason?

A “peer review and citation ring” was apparently rigging the review process to get articles published.

But don’t worry:  When it comes to Global Warming, the Science is Settled ™.  Because — all together now — it’s in peer reviewed journals.

Squirty himself had four peer-reviewed articles published last year.

Squirty himself had four peer-reviewed articles published last year.


John Derbyshire writes a throwaway line worth pondering:

The whole show [Breaking Bad] plays cleverly into our ambivalence about the War on Drugs. Is it really worth all this cruelty and corruption just to prevent the underclass from staggering around stoned? What use is the underclass, anyway, in an age of self-checkout stores, robot factories, and (soon) self-driving vehicles? Perhaps it would be kinder to let them stay narcotized, legally.

Emphasis mine.

I’m often accused of being all doom’n'gloom, but trust me, y’all, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  When folks like, well, me go on about our descent into Fascism, we’re really only scratching the surface.

The nice thing, though, is that you can check my work.  If the Powers That Be are really concerned about mass underclass violence, the easiest solution would be to tranq ‘em out.  I doubt they’d be so brazen as to outright legalize stuff like heroin, but they don’t really have to.  I’m sure the gang at Pfizer can come up with something just as good.  Get the APA to shoehorn something into the DSM-VI — Inner City Disaffective Disorder or something — and you can hand it out at streetcorner clinics.  Repeat as often as necessary, as high up the social scale as you need to go to keep the trains running on time.  The Brownshirts, Strength Through Joy, and what have you will provide such diversion as is wanted for those who don’t want to stumble around in chemical bliss.

I’m putting the over/under on this one at fifteen years.

A New Word: The Veeck Effect

I saw this over at Vox Popoli, and it’s great.  The Veeck Effect:

There’s an invidious rhetorical strategy that we’ve all seen — and I’m afraid that most of us have inflicted it on others as well. I call it the Veeck effect (of the first kind) — it occurs whenever someone adjusts the standards of evidence in order to favor a preferred outcome.

I especially like that it emphasizes agency.  Unlike confirmation bias, which is unconscious, the Veeck Effect is deliberate.  In the case of leftist “science,” the “thought” process works like this:

I don’t like that fact.


That fact is wrong.


I will ban all mention of that fact.


That fact no longer exists.


The Science is Settled ™.


I was right all along!


Liberal Tough Guys

Always remember: These are the people who are going to lead the Revolution.  The ones who are willing — nay, eager — for political violence to break out, so the Patriarchy may finally be toppled.

John Scalzi @scalzi Jun 30
Let it be known that my daughter can lift more than I do. Because she’s on her school’s weightlifting team, and also because she’s awesome.

Please do take the time to read the comments.  But unless you want to buy a new monitor, be sure to put down your coffee first.

If I may be serious for a sec — just a sec, I promise — this is one of the best illustrations you’ll ever find of the liberal cocoon.  I’m not always the strongest guy at the gym, but I can promise you, I’m always the strongest girl.  Or, as awesomely named commenter “Darth Toolpodicus” puts it:

My wife and I are both competitive powerlifters, she benches a lot for a female (180lbs). Her biggest complaint: After lifting for years, the only guys she outbenches are the one who are new to the gym…virtually all the guys who are there regularly pass her up within a couple months.

For the record, 185 (a 45lb. plate and a 25lb. plate on each side, plus the standard 45lb. bar) is considered warm-up weight for any moderately serious male lifter.  (Which is why, back in grad school, I used to offer to disprove “equalist” feminism in under fifteen minutes.  A quick bus ride down to the campus gym, I’d say, and you’ll need to rethink your whole paradigm).

It takes a lot of effort not to notice things like this.  It takes a huge, hermetically-sealed bubble, maintained with the zealotry of an industrial clean room, not to notice some very basic problems with the liberal worldview.  And yet, guys like Scalzi and his umpteen zillion blog readers / Twitter followers manage it.

As Always, It’s the Dishonesty

[UPDATE: Ace has some similar thoughts about the dishonesty of the.... whatever they call themselves].

You’ve no doubt heard about the Hobby Lobby decision.  Here’s a good rundown of the left’s stupidest arguments, and the obvious rebuttals.

My main gripe about the whole thing isn’t the legal reasoning, or the lack thereof.  “Constitution, schmonstitution” is the default philosophy of both parties and at least 7 of 9 Supremes.  My beef with the left is, as always, the brazen, brass-balled dishonesty of it all.

I’ve said it before:  One can make solid, reasonable, logical, even Constitutional arguments for ObamaCare.  It’s not even all that tough.  The Constitution itself pledges us to “promote the general welfare,” does it not?  And as for the morals and ethics of the thing, the Social Gospellers of the later 19th century could’ve knocked it out of the park, had socialized medicine been technically feasible back then.  Are we not commanded to do on earth as is done in heaven?  Hell, this is even a winner tactically — for the low low price of a 20% tax increase, we can guarantee basic medical care to all Americans, and it’s only those greedy fatcats who control the Republican Party that….

&c &c &c.  And yeah, they trotted out a few of those, but not often, and not in any sustained way.  For the simple reason that those arguments, for all their obvious merits, are arguments.  By their nature, they contain tradeoffs.  Yes, the promotion of the general welfare via socialized medicine will entail a limitation of consumer choice.  A 20% tax hike will cause economic activity to slump, and since employers will dump employees on the public system if given the option, expect prices to rise and standards to fall.  And yes, Virginia, there will be death panels — excuse me, “end of life counseling” — because government-provided stuff is rationed by definition.  But these are the prices we must pay for a more socially just system….

And that simply won’t do.  The enabling fantasy of modern American liberalism is that everyone can have everything, all the time.  So they were forced to make these bizarro-world arguments that nobody in his right mind could ever possibly believe, and to make them in all apparent sincerity.  Raise costs?  Pshaw!  ObamaCare will lower them.  Limited consumer choices?  If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  Death panels?  Right-wing scaremongering from an  ignorant snowbilly.  And certainly no carpetbagging cum dumpster like Sandra Fluke is going to try to force religious institutions to violate their constitutional freedom of conscience via lawsuit.  That’s just crazy talk!

And now we have to go through it all again.  I think this is my favorite so far:

Can’t believe we live in a world where we’d even consider letting big corps deny women access to basic care based on vague moral objections.

Any day now, decides whether corporations can deny women access to contraception. http://dccc.org/fluke

Those are Tweets from Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sandra Fluke, respectively, arguing that — all together now — “employers shouldn’t be allowed to make health care decisions for their employees!!eleventy!!”  And yet, both of these idiots made their names arguing that the US government — i.e. the World’s Largest Employer — should be making health care decisions for all Americans.

The truth, of course, is that liberals believe in forcing employers to pay for The Pill.  Which — you know what? — is a perfectly ok position to hold.  No, really; I mean it.  Their conception of religious freedom under the First Amendment falls far short of Hobby Lobby’s view of same.

That’s an argument we should be having.  This is an issue we should discuss.  We live in a world where lots of loud, angry, frequently explode-y people want to impose their religious views on us.  How far does freedom of conscience extend?

But if you put it that way, you have to discuss the tradeoff.  Liberals don’t, won’t, can’t talk about that kind of stuff, because their master narrative is that there is no tradeoff.  All things to all people, all the time.  So they have to pretend to be all upset that employers — but only private employers — “get” to make “health care choices” for their employees.

Personally, I think a woman’s birth control decision should be between her and her doctor.  But hey, I’m a conservative.