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.

The “Corporations are People” Kerfuffle

Talk about Serendipity.  I will swear on a stack of Bibles that I had no idea Severian’s latest post was on the same topic I’ve been kicking around since I got in a bit of a discussion over on facebook last week.  I had literally typed this post up in notepad and came over here to paste it in and post when I saw his latest post.  So … consider this is an unintentional but extremely timely follow-up to his post

On the left and increasingly on the far right, I constantly hear complaints, usually expressed with righteously indignant sarcasm, “well, Corporations have rights, Corporations are People just ask the Supreme Court!”

Just yesterday a letter to the editor of our local paper asked in what seat in what pew in what Church does Hobby Lobby sit?

People seem to have this idea of a Corporation as a Big Crime Syndicate Cartel Machine that somehow wills itself into existence and manipulates our lives in some sterile, unfeeling manner.

I think the problem boils down to one of understanding what a Corporation really is. Corporations have been demonized, Alinsky style into the perception way too many people have of them today.

Let’s take a look first at what a corporation is according to Webster’s:

Corporation:

    1. a group of merchants or traders united in a trade guild
    2. the municipal authorities of a town or city
  1. a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties including the capacity of succession
  2. an association of employers and employees in a basic industry or  members of a profession organized as an organ of political representation in a corporative state

It’s that second definition we’ll focus on as it is the most general and actually covers the other two.

It’s a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person.

Either a corporation is owned by everyone, or it is owned by the government, or it is owned by … a person or group of persons.

The first case is communism. That’s not what we have. The second case is basically fascism or some other form of socialism. The third is what we have here in America.

In the case of a business, a corporation is joined voluntarily. By people. It can be sued. Just like people. And it consists of … people. Whether democratically run or top-down dictatorially run, a corporation is a group of people exercising their liberty to act as a part of a whole toward a certain goal or goals … making brass bolts, building strip malls, serving food, selling craft supplies. There are for profit corporations, and non-profit corporations.

One of the goals of a for-profit corporation is obviously to make a profit. But it has other goals, too, and those goals are decided upon and guided along their way by … people.

In the end, it’s not the corporation itself whose rights are being protected, it’s the rights of the people who own it that are being protected — and in the case of a corporation itself being sued … it’s profits from the people who own it being taken. In the end, it IS people — they just decide by a set of internal rules how to pool their will collectively. And since ownership in (and employment by) a corporation is voluntary, there is no problem here.

The Supreme Court got it right. Corporations are people, and people have rights.

If a corporation wants one of the goals to be to build affordable housing for low-income people, that’s fine. If a corporation wants one of the goals to be to build luxury cars for the 1%, that’s fine, too. If a corporation wants one of its goals to be to promote reading, or gardening, or a clean environment … that’s fine, too.

And if a corporation wants to make it one of its goals to produce a documentary about a political candidate — or even to help get a political candidate elected — that’s fine as well.

People complain that a corporation has way more money than the average person and so the corporate “person” can has more to contribute and therefore has a louder voice … but … the same is true of a middle-class person over a poor person. And again, a corporation is typically a collective of people anyway. But since it acts as one entity, it is treated as one entity. The rights and responsibilities projected into it are the collective rights and responsibilities of its owners. Who are people.

I hope that clears things up.

As far as political influence goes, they are not the big bad wolves they are made out to be. (They CAN be, but so can any individual person.)

The Court had given corporations the power to “overwhelm elections,” fumed the New York Times corporation. A commentator from another corporation (MSNBC) declared the case the worst ruling since Dred Scott, which upheld slavery. President Obama said Citizens United “strikes at democracy itself.” Others called the ruling a “constitutional Frankenstein moment,” a “corporate takeover,” “radical,” “absurd” and “terrifying.” Some progressives launched a campaign to rewrite the First Amendment. Really.

How did the predicted hostile takeover of democracy by corporate America turn out? In the aftermath of the 2012 elections, the Times reported: “American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove, spent $104 million in the general election, but none of its candidates won. The United States Chamber of Commerce spent $24 million backing Republicans in 15 Senate races; only two of them won. Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul, spent $53 million on nine Republican candidates, eight of whom lost.” It was, as the paper noted, “A Landslide Loss for Big Money.”

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 BUT DUDE SHE COULD DEFEAT YOU IN ~*single combat*~ YOU ARE AT GREAT FEMALE RISK SIR

@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.

Dope

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.

Therefore,

That fact is wrong.

Therefore,

I will ban all mention of that fact.

Therefore,

That fact no longer exists.

Therefore,

The Science is Settled ™.

Therefore,

I was right all along!

QED.

What’s Wrong With Socialism?

There are two kinds of socialists — the ones who want to be in charge, and the ones who want to be taken care of.

You can bet the ones who want to be in charge, even if they started out all altruistic and sh*t, eventually feel entitled to more because of their important positions and they are handily enough in the best positions to get it since they’re in charge of the siphoning and re-distributing. And of course there are those who are already full of themselves and are kidding themselves that they actually had any altruistic designs in the first place.

And the second, of course, are the people who want to be on the receiving end of redistribution. I was thinking about this earlier this morning — about when a co-worker asked me “well, what’s wrong with Socialism?” (This is a born and raised American, by the way… the people I work with that came from socialist countries know exactly what’s wrong with it).

What it is is not so much a phobia against it, but a sense of entitlement for the mere fact of existing. They think a certain level of happiness should pursue *them*, a kind of “good enough” – beer, flat screen TV, rubbers and morning after pills, and no real threat of losing any of it if one doesn’t, let’s say, fully participate in society by pulling his own weight.

It encourages mediocrity, and discourages excellence. Everybody gets the mediocrity, and nobody wants to put in the extra effort for excellence because the reward dividend for it is negligible when spread out over the population.

Pursuit of Happiness is just that – pursuit. You don’t have an inalienable right to be happy, just an inalienable right to try to make yourself happy.