I interact with quite a few libertarians of all types on the internet and one of the claims I hear frequently made by some of them is that; “only the federal government can use the force that is intrinsic to Statism. The states are incapable of being a “State” because the federal government is the ultimate power in the United States that has a monopoly on all the force in America.
I’ve taken to calling this; Simplistic libertarianism” because it doesn’t take into consideration the complexity of how a society works, especially one as large as American society. It doesn’t take into account the social contract that exists between the people and the body of law that is the expression of that social contract.
The simplistic libertarian claims to focus on who has the greatest monopoly on force but even in this his view is two dimensional and they’re incredibly selective in how they pick who in fact has that monopoly. If you look at the United States government versus it’s citizenry in terms of who would wipe the other out if the two engaged in all out warfare clearly the United States would be the victor in that contest.
When I was at a Mosque at Ground Zero protest a few years ago the Republicans bused in some kids from the Bronx so they could stand around looking all young and innocent for emotional impact while they talked about how a Mosque at ground zero was frightening to children.
Outside of mentioning it in comments and on blogtv shows I didn’t focus too much on the matter. This was politics and these sorts of tactics are fairly common.
One speaker from; “Focus on the Family” used the children by giving subtle looks and gestures at key moments during his speech. He was clearly trying to imply that children in the neighborhood were frightened by this potential Mosque and these were them standing right here.
I found it peculiar they’d have to bus children from schools to a Park 3-5 blocks away (a 3-5 minute walk) so I sidled on over to the bus driver to ask him where they were from.
He responded that they had come from up in the Bronx somewhere (it may have been Westchester but my knowledge of north of Manhattan geography is a bit vague).
I’ve watched the argument over sexual harassment evolve over the past week or two and while I can’t really comment on the atmosphere of the skeptic conventions (they’re cost prohibitive so I don’t attend them) I have attended other conventions in the past so I’m familiar with the overall atmosphere.
And before anyone dismisses the convention scene as unimportant I’ll point out that networking in person can be incredibly useful, especially to people whose skills are suited to in-person communication. Convention networking is like any skill set (you know how to do it properly and it’s very useful; you don’t know how and the value of attending a convention is decreased).
So resolving the issue of sexual harassment at conventions and whether it is problematic is necessary.
Aside from anything else? From a strict, marketing perspective; if there is a perceived problem in some area and it impacts on sales then you’ve got a legitimate problem.
I’m told that there is a 22% drop in the number of female attendees at TAM this year and there is no arguing with that number; yes. You’ve got a problem.
If you’re getting similar numbers at other conventions then sexual harassment has become an issue at these conventions-not just at TAM because generally these kinds of drops in attendance are an indicator there’s something wrong with what you’re selling. Continue reading →