Transforming Common Sense

The same analysts who invariably describe waves of unarmed revolt as spontaneous and uncontrolled spend endless hours speculating on which candidates might enter into elections that are still years away. They closely track developments in Congress, in the courts, and in the White House. They carefully study the arts of electioneering, lobbying, and legislative deal making — processes that dominate public understanding of US politics and that are shaped by elite values and practices. In doing so, they appeal to realism. This is how the system works, they tell us. This is how the sausage gets made. But is this really how change happens?

– Mark and Paul Engler, This is an Uprising (2016)

One of the chief aims of revolutionary activity is to transform political common sense.

David Graeber (2014)

This week’s featured post is “Change Can Happen Faster Than You Think.” It reviews what I think is a very important book: This is an Uprising by Mark and Paul Engler, which walks you through half a century or more of the theory and practice of nonviolent organizing.

This week everybody was talking about Korea

The leaders of North and South Korea met at the border Friday and signed a joint declaration agreeing to a number of laudable goals, like negotiating a peace treaty to finally put an official end to the Korean War (since 1953 there has been an armistice, but the countries are still officially at war), denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and reunification of families divided between the two nations. The details are to be worked out later.

But the details are the hard part, which is why it’s too soon to get really excited about this agreement. It’s a little like when an estranged married couple meets for lunch and decides they want to get back together. That’s hopeful, but they’re still going to have to resolve the issues — kids, careers, money, blame and forgiveness for past events — that split them up to begin with.

Anna Fifield writes in The Washington Post:

We were here in 1992, when North Korea signed a denuclearization agreement with South Korea. Again in 1994, when North Korea signed a denuclearization agreement with the United States. And in 2005, when North Korea signed a denuclearization agreement with its four neighbors and the United States. And then there was 2012, when North Korea signed another agreement with the United States.

But she also is mildly hopeful: The way North Korean media covered the meeting between North Korean President Kim and South Korean President Moon “sends a powerful message to the people of North Korea: This is a process Kim is personally invested in.”

Realizing the promise of this agreement will involve some concessions from the United States, like ending economic sanctions against North Korea and pulling our troops out of South Korea. We’re unlikely to make those concessions unless we’re confident we can verify that North Korea has gotten rid of its nukes (and maybe its ballistic missiles as well). Whether North Korea will submit to the kind of intrusive inspections we will want is probably going to be the sticking point. And what if they demand that we abandon our nuclear weapons as well?

Here’s what’s particularly ironic: In terms of inspections, about the best we can hope for is to duplicate the Iran denuclearization agreement that Trump is on the verge of scuttling.

As for why the Korea negotiations are happening now, James Fallows recommends this analysis by Patrick Chovanec. The Guardian suggests another reason for Kim’s willingness to halt nuclear tests: His testing site may be out of commission anyway.

and Trump administration scandals

Michael Cohen pleaded the Fifth Amendment in the civil case that Stormy Daniels has brought against him and President Trump. The judge granted Cohen’s motion to delay the trial for 90 days to see if Cohen is indicted. Presumably, his legal liability (and hence the scope of his Fifth Amendment claims) will be easier to assess then.

To no one’s surprise, the House Intelligence Committee’s Republican majority released a report that found no evidence of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. It’s easy to not find evidence when you don’t really look.

Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic committee member, summarized many of the committee’s interviews.

My colleagues had a habit of asking three questions: Did you conspire, did you collude, did you coordinate with Russians? And if the answer was “no,” they were pretty much done.

Schiff’s assessment is backed up by the report itself.

Finding #25: When asked directly, none of the interviewed witnesses provided evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

So: We asked them and they said they didn’t do it. What more could the American people expect from us?

Some key witnesses, like Paul Manafort, were never questioned at all. Donald Trump Jr. was allowed not to answer questions (about his father’s role in crafting the false statement responding to the initial report of Junior’s Trump Tower meeting with Russians) by claiming a plainly bogus “attorney-client privilege”. (Neither of the Trumps are lawyers, but there was a lawyer in the room somewhere. When mob bosses try this trick, courts don’t let them get away with it.) Several Trump-administration witnesses refused to answer questions, and the committee did not press them.

The report’s clever phrasing papers over these huge gaps.

We reviewed every piece of relevant evidence provided to us and interviewed every witness we assessed would substantively contribute to the agreed-upon bipartisan scope of the investigation.

If evidence wasn’t provided or witnesses refused to tell them anything, the committee simply accepted that limitation and moved on. The “agreed-upon bipartisan scope of the investigation” apparently did not include actually figuring out what happened.

Scott Pruitt testified before Congress about his conflicts of interest and his misspending EPA funds on first-class travel, round-the-clock personal security, and remodeling his office. He acknowledged nothing, blamed his staff, and attributed criticism to those who disagree with his policies. (If you think that the Environmental Protection Agency should protect the environment, there’s a lot to disagree with.)

I finally got around to reading the NYT article from last week about Pruitt’s pre-EPA career in Oklahoma. Pruitt virtually defines “the swamp” that Trump keeps saying he wants to drain. No smoking gun stands out above the general run, but the article is one long story of friends helping friends, business deals that always come out well for Pruitt, and a pro-business politician doing things that save businesses huge amounts of money. Corners are cut along the way, but it’s all much more gentlemanly than simple bribery. And of course, Pruitt spends large amounts of taxpayer money on himself, just as he has been doing at EPA.

In the same way that Scott Pruitt sees his job at the EPA as protecting businesses from environmental regulation, Mike Mulvaney at the Consumer Financial Protection Board works to protect banks and payday lenders from consumer-protection laws. Addressing his primary constituents at an American Bankers Association conference on Tuesday, Mulvaney told the ABA that “what you do here [i.e., give money to legislators who support bank-friendly laws] matters.” He explained why by pointing to his own practices when he was in Congress.

We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you were a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you were a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.

I can’t claim I’m shocked to hear that some politicians’ attention is for sale. But it is stunning to find one so jaded that he doesn’t even see the point of pretending otherwise. For Mulvaney corruption is not an evil to be deplored or rooted out; it’s just life.

I’m not sure whether this counts as scandalous or just unhinged, but Trump called in to Fox & Friends Thursday morning and spoke almost nonstop for half an hour. The hosts frequently looked uncomfortable and frozen, tried (and often failed) to interrupt him, and finally pushed to end the conversation before Trump did himself any more damage. This was yet another scene no one could have imagined in any previous administration: TV news personalities trying to get the President of the United States to shut up.

As a result, we all got to see for ourselves the conversational style that James Comey described in his book: “The barrage of words was almost designed to prevent a genuine two-way dialogue from ever happening.”

You can watch the whole interview, read WaPo’s annotated transcript, or save time and watch Trevor Noah’s summary:

Seth Meyers’ summary is also entertaining.

Trump’s ramble did huge damage to his position in the Stormy Daniels case. Trump and Michael Cohen have contended that Daniels’ non-disclosure agreement is with Cohen, who paid the $130K hush money himself without Trump’s knowledge. But Trump admitted that Cohen “represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me.”

Trump and Cohen also want to keep both Robert Mueller and the US attorney for the Southern District of New York from examining the material the FBI took when it raided Cohen’s office, claiming that it is protected by attorney-client privilege. SDNY prosecutors, on the other hand, have argued in court that Cohen actually did very little legal work for Trump or anyone else. Trump backed up the SDNY claim:

Michael is a businessman. He’s got a business. He also practices law. I would say probably the big thing is his business … I have many attorneys … He has a percentage of my overall legal work — a tiny, tiny little fraction.

Within hours, SDNY had amended its court filing to include quotes from Trump’s interview.

Finally, two tidbits underline how bizarre the whole thing was: Trump started by saying it was Melania’s birthday. Then he admitted that he hadn’t gotten her anything yet beyond a card and flowers, because “you know, I’m very busy”. Then he rambled until the hosts cut him off, as very busy men often do on their wives’ birthdays.

And this exchange about CNN is either priceless or symptomatic:

KILMEADE: I’m not your doctor, Mr. President, but I would — I would recommend you watch less of them.

TRUMP: I don’t watch them at all. I watched last night.

White House doctor Ronny Jackson dropped out of consideration to lead the Veterans Administration Thursday morning.

Trump is claiming that Jackson has been wronged by his critics, but he’s also apparently not getting his old job back as White House physician.

By now we know that Trump does not care about the qualifications of the people he appoints, and frequently picks people just because he likes them or they look the part. (HUD ought to be led by a black, so why not Ben Carson? He knows nothing about public housing or urban planning, but so what?) Well, he likes Jackson, who looks impressive and is both a doctor and a rear admiral in the Navy. So what if he had never managed a large organization, and the VA has almost 400k employees and an annual budget just under $200 billion?

That by itself should have been enough to make the Senate think twice about confirming this nomination, but it soon became clear that Trump’s people had not done the most basic kind of vetting. Senators found many accusations against Jackson, which The Washington Post breaks into three categories:

  • Being sloppy about giving out and accounting for prescription drugs, including prescribing to himself.
  • Turning the White House Medical Office into a terrible place to work.
  • Being drunk on duty.

As WaPo emphasizes, these are merely accusations at this stage rather than proven facts. (However, the accusers are not random partisans coming out of the woodwork. Most are career Navy.) But a competent White House would at least have known that such issues would arise, and would have been prepared to address them. The Trump White House wasn’t.

Also worth noting: During the campaign, fixing the VA was a central part of Trump’s message. (In a speech to the VFW, he pledged to “take care of our veterans like they’ve never been taken care of before.”) If he cared about any cabinet position, he should have cared about this one.

and Macron’s visit

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House early in the week and gave a well-reviewed speech to Congress. But he failed to convince Trump to change his positions on Iran or the Paris Climate agreement.

New and better trade deals were a key promise of Trump’s 2016 campaign. But the deadline for imposing his tariffs on steel and aluminum is approaching, and other countries are not caving in to his demands.

and the new memorial to victims of lynching

From the moment that terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people on 9-11, it was obvious that there would someday be a memorial to them. And there is — how could there not be?

Now think about the more than 4,000 African-Americans who were lynched. They didn’t die all at once or all in one place, but they also were victims of terrorism. As Brent Staples puts it:

The carnivals of death where African-American men, women and children were hanged, burned and dismembered as cheering crowds of whites looked on were the cornerstone of white supremacist rule in the Jim Crow-era South. These bloody spectacles terrified black communities into submission and showed whites that there would be no price to pay for murdering black people who asserted the right to vote, competed with whites in business — or so much as brushed against a white person on the sidewalk.

Now, finally, they also get their memorial: The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. It opened Thursday.

The memorial houses 800 steel blocks, each 6 feet tall, suspended from above, and arranged in a square surrounding a grassy courtyard. There’s a monument for each county where racial killings occurred, including one from Carroll County, Miss., “where nearly two dozen people were lynched,” [Bryan] Stevenson [of the organization that created the memorial] says. They resemble elongated gravestones, etched with the names of victims.

Thinking of them as gravestones must be particularly eerie, since the visitor sees them from below.

The “lynching memorial”, as it is being called, is particularly timely given the controversies over the thousands of Confederate monuments scattered throughout the country, and especially the South. “Preserving history” is the excuse frequently given for forcing majority-black cities to give places of honor to men who fought to keep their citizens’ ancestors enslaved, or for punishing cities that remove such monuments. But until recently, what has been preserved is a very distorted view of history.

This was not an accident, but rather was an organized campaign by Southern state and local governments to whitewash the history of slavery and the Civil War. Virginia textbooks commissioned during the 1950s and still in use into the 1970s, taught school children lessons like:

Enslaved people were happy to be in Virginia and were better off than they would have been in Africa. Abolitionists lied about slavery in the South. … After the Civil War, carpetbaggers and scalawags came down to Virginia to oppress white Virginians. However, some ‘broad-minded’ Northerners came to understand and appreciate true Virginia and came to agree that Negroes were not ready to govern themselves.

Several Southern states celebrate an official Confederate Memorial Day: Today in Mississippi, last Monday in Alabama and Georgia. As far as I know, no state specifically honors the Southerners who have the best claim to Civil War heroism: slaves who escaped, joined the Union Army, and returned to liberate their people. They are the real heroes; Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson aren’t in the same league.

and you also might be interested in …

James Fallows thinks that on a local level, America is revitalizing itself.

The Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Individually, the Tillerson-to-Pompeo  switch probably doesn’t mean much. But with Bolton replacing McMaster as National Security Adviser, it’s ominous. I worry that at some key moment, no one in the room will regard war with Iran as a bad thing.

As if there weren’t enough crazies to worry about already, the man who used his van to kill 10 people in Toronto last Monday drew attention to yet another toxic worldview: Incels.

Incel, a contraction of “involuntarily celebate”, is a specific type of misogyny: Heterosexual guys who can’t find willing sexual partners blame women in general. They also aren’t wild about the guys who do manage to find partners.

Incels are a small spin-off group from the “pick-up artist” community, which [journalist David] Futrelle defines as men “obsessed with mastering what they see as the ultimate set of techniques and attitudes — known as ‘Game’ — that will enable them to quickly seduce almost any woman they want.”

Incels are men who researched pick-up artistry and found that the techniques did not work as advertised. So they have become embittered and have organized a deeply misogynistic and strange online community who believe, as Futrelle explains, “that women who turn down incel men for dates or sex are somehow oppressing them.”

Incels differentiate themselves from “Chads and Stacys,” their contemptuous term for men and women who have heterosexual sex on a regular basis.

Shortly before his attack, the Toronto guy characterized himself on Facebook as a “recruit” in “the Incel Rebellion” and hailed Incel hero Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in 2014 in an attack that centered on a sorority house, and then committed suicide. Rodger’s 137-page manifesto (which I’m intentionally not linking to) is supposedly a primary text in the Incel movement.

I wrote about Rodger at the time, not realizing he would symbolize a movement. I think that post holds up well. (It leans on Arthur Chu’s “Your Princess is in Another Castle“, which rambles, but also holds up well.) As long as men think of women’s bodies as prizes — and feel cheated if we don’t get the rewards we think we’ve earned — rape and other forms of misogynistic violence are never going to go away.

A Palestinian father living in Gaza explains why he risks his life to participate in the Great Return March, a protest on Gaza’s border with Israel.

Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, after nearly half a century of accusations. The New York Times Editorial Board draws what I think is the right conclusion: Convicting a rich and famous man of sexual assaults that happen behind closed doors is possible now, but it’s still really, really hard.

[S]ince it happened only after scores of women suffered in silence for decades, and only in the midst of a global reckoning with sexual violence, even a “victory” like this verdict suggests that the abused still face a desperately uphill battle.

Paul Ryan’s firing of the House chaplain (apparently for a prayer encouraging Congress to seek “benefits balanced and shared by all Americans” just before the vote on the tax bill), looks like another place where his political philosophy is incompatible with his Catholicism. That was a theme I explored years before he became Speaker in “Jesus Shrugged: Why Christianity and Ayn Rand Don’t Mix“.

This event is particularly strange given all the complaints from the religious right that liberals are trying to “silence” them.

Lots of people have noticed Trump’s silence about the Waffle House shooting and wondered: Would he have had more to say if all the races were reversed? What if a black guy (or a Muslim or Hispanic immigrant) had walked into a restaurant, killed four white people, and then gotten stopped and chased away by an unarmed white hero? You think that might have drawn Trump’s attention?

My own guess is that Trump just couldn’t see the Waffle House story. Heroes and victims are white Christians; villains are some other kind of people. Nothing else registers.

In WestWorld, when the robots are confronted with something that ought to make them question their programmed worldview, they just can’t process it. “It doesn’t look like anything to me,” they say. That’s how I imagine Trump responding to the Waffle House story.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson wants to raise the rent on poor families in government-assisted housing, especially the poorest ones.

Under current law, most tenants who get federal housing assistance pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent, and the government kicks in the rest up to a certain amount. According to the HUD plan unveiled Wednesday, the amount many renters would pay jumps to 35 percent of gross income. In some cases, rental payments for some of the neediest families would triple, rising from a minimum of $50 per month to a minimum of $150, according to HUD officials. Some 712,000 households would see their rents jump to $150 per month under the proposal, the officials said.

This is why taxpayers shouldn’t concern themselves about Carson spending $31K on a dining-room set for his office, or the conflicts of interest involving his son’s business. He’s more than making it up by grinding money out of poor people.

Carson also proposes to allow states more options to impose work requirements on people who otherwise qualify for subsidized housing. This might sound sensible if you have a certain view of poor people: that they would rather sponge off the government than work. (I have no numbers on this; I suspect it’s true for some, but probably a lot fewer than Carson thinks.) From my point of view, the big thing HUD needs to be careful about is setting up a poverty trap: If you get thrown out of your apartment because you’re not working, how are you ever going to fix that? Once you’re homeless, it gets a lot harder to find a job.

The next time you pass homeless people on the street, try to picture them walking into a McDonalds and applying for a job. What manager would hire them? How much prep would be necessary to become presentable in a business context? Where would a homeless person do that prep?

Telling the poor to “shape up or else” is an appealing fantasy for some people. The problem is with the “or else”, because often it’s a state from which there is no recovering.

and let’s close with another road trip

So where can you get the best cup of coffee in every state? Food & Wine magazine has got it covered.

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  • Larry Benjamin  On April 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I grew up with one of the leaders of the so-called “seduction” movement, a gentleman who teaches techniques of “neuro-linguistic programming” that supposedly will allow any man to seduce any woman he’s interested in. The Tom Cruise character in “Magnolia” was based on him. I’ve always thought this movement’s appeal was in telling a man that the reason he couldn’t find a partner was because he hadn’t mastered the necessary techniques yet.

    However, this is the first I’ve heard of “incels.” It has always seemed contradictory to me for a man to think of women as objects in a game he’s trying to “score” in, while at the same time insisting that he will settle for nothing less than true love. If these guys are so hard up, they should hire an escort and just get it over with.

    • weeklysift  On May 3, 2018 at 10:02 am

      The more common contradiction is that the beautiful girl should love a guy for his true heart and other inner qualities, when clearly he has picked her because she’s beautiful. (See many sentimental songs like “Boys of Summer”.) If the guy accepted his own advice and appreciated the inner qualities of the less attractive women he knows, he’d probably have a lot less trouble finding a partner.

      • PJ  On May 4, 2018 at 10:39 pm


  • D Moses  On April 30, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    “This event is particularly strange given all the complaints from the religious right that liberals are trying to “silence” them.”

    The range of the things you imagine your enemies to do tends to include the range of things you’re willing to do or are doing.

  • Marty  On May 1, 2018 at 3:43 am

    We should note, incels aren’t particularly distinct from the broader alt right. In fact, they are simply one of the more central factions of the alt right.

  • Daniel.  On May 1, 2018 at 9:19 am

    I think your posts about “Incels” (and Arthur Chu’s) are missing a big piece of the puzzle, though mostly correct as far as they go. I think dehumanization of women, and inappropriately conceiving of sex as a competition, are symptoms, not the root of the problem. Sex is a basic human/animal drive. It’s not strictly needed for life, like food or oxygen, but most of us want sex (and a whole package of emotional and interpersonal stuff associated with it). Having to go without for years can do bad things to one’s emotional health.

    (“Rodger’s virginity wasn’t just a lack of experience, comparable to someone who has never seen the ocean or been to Paris or tasted champagne.” Well, yeah. Do those three things and sex really strike you as comparably dispensable experiences? If most of us felt that way we would never have had an overpopulation problem and I’m not sure we would have survived long enough to develop writing.)

    Me, I met my first girlfriend at 19, having experienced much loneliness and rage and frustration in the five years previous. She was emotionally abusive and manipulative and exploitative, and she bent me into a pretzel, and despite that I still think being in that relationship getting some relationship experience was better for me in the long run than if I’d had to spend another five years alone. (It lasted most of a year, and then I got a much nicer girlfriend the next year, and a still better one the year after that, who I’m still with–I’m 40 now, poly, I have five lovely partners and a variety of awesome occasional lovers.)

    For a whole variety of reasons (which would be a longer rant than this one), our society is really bad at teaching people how to find partners in a functional and ethical way. Women, and men with at least marginally functioning social skills, mostly manage to find somebody somehow, with much unnecessary drama and messiness. Some men use predatory methods, because they didn’t manage to make nonpredatory ones work and/or because they’re predatory by inclination. And then there are some guys who didn’t find anything they were willing/able to do that worked. I think I can extrapolate some vague approximation of what they must be feeling from my own experience as a teenager. They’re horribly lonely and frustrated, and often furious, and it doesn’t get better. They feel like they’re starving, and they see the rest of us happily eating our Thai food, and it would take some pretty strong rationality and clear thinking for them not to resent us and eventually blame us.

    And yes, they’d blame and resent women most of all and end up as misogynists. Because women could give them what they need, and choose not to, even after they’ve done whatever they could bring themselves to do or whatever the culture told them they were supposed to do in order to deserve sex from women. Their own need for a woman is going to be a louder voice in their own head than women’s right to freely choose whom to associate with; that’s just garden-variety human perceptual bias: one’s own needs and problems and perspective are easier to notice than other people’s, and the more so the bigger those needs are.

    So I don’t think it’s exactly true that “None of [these] nerdy frustrated guys need to get laid” (Arthur Chu), and that they just need to have a better attitude about being virgins for life. I think they need to have sexual relationships, AND they need to have a better attitude and a less distorted view of women, AND they need to develop better social skills than they have…any of these would help with the others, and it’s probably a gradual bootstrapping process to get to a more functional place.

    @Larry Benjamin, “they should hire an escort”–yeah, in severe cases they might need to start there. But that’s so stigmatized that I bet a lot of them would see it as just cementing their failure rather than as a stepping stone. As a liberal I’d even support specially-trained lavishly-tax-funded sex workers to help these guys get to a better place before they shoot someone. But ultimately the whole culture’s entire view of sex needs to change. As has been mentioned, these guys are one extreme corner of a much bigger complex of problems.

    • Larry Benjamin  On May 1, 2018 at 10:23 am

      You make many good points that I would agree with. Sex education that focuses on building relationships, promoting mutual respect, and even techniques to give more pleasure to your partner would go a long way toward making sex less like competition and more like a healthy way for people to get to know each other better.

      However, I don’t see how hiring an escort is any worse than the pity sex some of these guys seem to want. Many of them may have painted themselves into a corner. I also wonder how many of them think they deserve women who are out of their league and are ignoring less desirable women who may be interested in them. There may not be any women in the incel community, but I’m fairly certain that many younger women are feeling the same frustration. Like “Eleanor Rigby,” it’s too bad these people can’t get together.

      • Daniel.  On May 2, 2018 at 5:47 am

        I don’t think it actually would be worse, but I’d guess some of them might think so because they’re using a scale where emotionally motivated sex ranges in value from “true love” based sex, which is the best, down through lust-based sex to pity sex…but purely mercenary sex is another notch or three worse and more stigmatized even than pity sex, and additionally is illegal in most states and stereotypically comes with enhanced risk of STDs or being robbed or whatever. So there are probably guys who would take pity sex if they can’t get anything better but through some mix of fear and pride would draw the line at hiring a professional.

        I agree that they’ve painted themselves into a corner, or tied themselves in knots, with a combination of broken cultural ideas and a big dose of their own craziness. I would guess self-defeating fear of women is a big part of the problem for many or most “Incels”. I’d bet very few guys at this desperation level actually think “here’s a woman who would like me and have sex with me, but she’s not as hot as I deserve, so no thank you”; I think they’re convinced that it wouldn’t work anyway and will just end in more rejection. And yeah, it is too bad.

      • Larry Benjamin  On May 2, 2018 at 7:02 am

        Maybe not an escort, but a sexual surrogate would help. It sounds like these guys need more than just to get laid – they need guidance in achieving the level of intimacy required even for a one-night stand with someone they meet in a bar, let alone a serious relationship. Although admitting that they have what amounts to a psychological problem might be even worse than hiring a prostitute.

        The Internet has definitely allowed these men to meet each other and reinforce their dysfunction, but I’m sure this sentiment is far more widespread than just the self-identified incel group. I think it is one of the lingering vestiges of the patriarchy to demean and ridicule men who are not successful at “scoring” with the opposite sex, and absent that ridicule and shaming, I think many of these men would feel better about themselves and be less hostile.

    • PJ  On May 3, 2018 at 9:35 am

      “I’d even support specially-trained lavishly-tax-funded sex workers to help these guys”

      Maybe after we get universal single-payer health care, and free college, and a few other things, but it’s not very high on my list of priorities for my tax money. I agree that we don’t do a very good job of teaching relationship skills, but there are lots of ways to get better at that which involve way less tax money.

      • Daniel.  On May 3, 2018 at 3:25 pm

        Well, yeah. And the same cultural changes which would make such a program politically possible would probably also make it unnecessary, or nearly so.

  • Daniel.  On May 3, 2018 at 3:58 am

    I agree with all of that. The first part especially, but also the second; even if I’m right that these guys are more unhappy about the actual loneliness and sexual frustration (as I was) than about feeling like losers, the shame can’t be helping matters any, and would also make it harder for them to talk about it to anyone who’s not in the same boat, to get help or sympathy. And those who ARE in the same boat are less likely to be helpful. :/

    • Daniel.  On May 3, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      (Sorry, this was meant as a reply to Larry Benjamin’s comments from May 2.)

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