Poorly written music commentary, "that's life," and why education is good
"...life just is the way it is and has the meaning (or lack thereof) that it has. So there’s nothing to be sad about."
“it’s good for human beings to exist and flourish.”
I suspect your real position is that the goodness of human flourishing is a basic source of value and meaning for human lives: human life is not meaningless, but instead meaningful in itself, not in virtue of depending on some larger (eg theological) structure of meaning.
Meaning is like value in this respect: when we say that human flourishing is valuable in itself, not because it contributes to the socialist revolution or the GDP, we are saying that it really is valuable, even though it does not depend for that value on some larger structure of value. It's non-derivatively valuable, and non-derivatively meaningful.
This might sadden people who wanted human value to be grounded in a grander story about our central place in divine creation (eg) or our leadership in the future intergalactic federation. To them you say: no need to look for a meaning external to human flourishing, when that itself is the source of meaning. No reason to be sad about the lack of an external grounding: it's meaningful in itself.
There is still plenty to be sad about on other grounds, mostly the gap between how few human lives go well and how many human lives could go well if we did all of this stuff (govt, economy, society, etc) a bit better. But responding to that gap with hope and motivation is better than responding to it with (mere) sadness.
So carried interest was put in just so Sinema could reject and counter it with stock buy back tax? Dems finally not bottling something for once?
(Unpopular) opinion of a native Texan who lived in the DMV for a little over 3 years: The summers there would not be considered that bad if the residents would just dress for the heat. You see all these people walking around in mid-90s weather wearing suits and ties, talking about the terrible humidity. If all of DC would just agree that in July and August the dress code becomes "Miami business casual", they would be able to recognize just how good they've got it.
The DCCC shenanigans have made me feel extra secure about my choice to never give them donations.
“But in truth, my tweets are probably more influential than the columns. “
That makes me sad because Twitter is bad in so many levels.
I have two experiences which have soured me on what was probably the well-intentioned ADA. The first is that I live in a town which used to be rural/exurban but has seen a significant increase in population the last twenty years. It's more urban and walkable now but unfortunately the streets were built without sidewalks. The town wanted to add sidewalks and got partway through the planning process but the ADA (or perhaps it was a state law similar to the ADA, I'm not 100% sure) said that any new sidewalks had to be wide enough for two wheelchair users to pass each other on the sidewalk, which if you think about means that the sidewalks have to be incredibly wide compared to ones installed earlier. Unfortunately, this meant the town would have to eminent-domain too much land from the abutting property owners and make it too expensive so the idea was canceled. Which means that wheelchair users are actually worse off as now they have to ride up the side of the street.
My second negative experience with this law is that my brother-in-law owned an animal-feed store in the central valley in California that wasn't wheelchair accessible. He got sued by a lawyer in a wheelchair who lived two counties away, didn't own any animals, and passed two other feed stores to get to his. The cost of the judgement against him and the required improvements to the building in order to be compliant were more than he could afford so he instead closed down the business. So wheelchair users who need animal feed are no better off than they were beforehand.
As a Brit who grew up in the eighties, I have to admit that "enthusiastically back the IRA" stopped me in my tracks for a moment until I realised the context.
The funny thing about Matt's "that's life" habit is that this reflects the totally banal, psychologically healthy recognition that life is not always as we would wish it to be, so rather than rage against reality we ought to find ways to advance our objectives working within those constraints. But it seems like that's part of what makes Matt such a distinctive and polarizing voice on Twitter, because there raging about and bemoaning how terrible things are and how they ought to be different is practically a recreational activity, and it seems to infuriate people when someone doesn't participate in it.
The responses to the education part make me wonder if I’m the only person on Earth who genuinely liked school.
I skimmed that ecomodernism manifesto, and it seemed to me that it could fit in as a subset of the agenda that I'm thinking more and more is the correct one for any society of the world: an agenda of abundance. I can think of ways to craft that in either a left wing or right wing valence, but every day I get deeper into thinking that that's the way forward.
Well, Matt didn't answer my question about expounding on how the legal system is bullshit, but one of my guesses as to why was related to "the whole American culture of adversarial legalism is bad" (and I can certainly agree with much of that), so I still found that informative.
To be specific, only a subset of mosquito species spread malaria. Those could be killed with genetic engineering while allowing the ones that do not carry it to remain in ecosystems where they may be an important part of the food chain.
Feels like there's a decent argument that Mexican cultural output has an outsized impact on US cultural output (proximity + migrant population) and US cultural output has an outsized impact on the rest of the world.
There's a weaker version of this where Canadian cultural output (and tropes) seeps into the US and from there to the rest of the world in a way that it just wouldn't absent the US as a vector. Would the rest of the world care that Canadian's are (allegedly) very polite if not for American's commenting on it?
"Amtrak ought to care about accessibility and invest in level boarding. But ADA can’t make Amtrak care; all it can do is make Amtrak comply"
I would say, that's life -- laws and regulations can't make people and organizations care, only comply, and beyond requiring literal compliance at best instruct on what society expects. It seems like there's some tension between the above answer and your answer on "that's life", where you wisely accept that there are certain generalizable, predictable aspects of human behavior - such as that people will generally behave in a self-interested, selfish way - and public policy should be designed to accept and work with that, rather than always kicking against it. I remember a core premise of the Cold Warrior critique of communism was that it failed to understand human nature and accept the basic selfishness of people and work with that, and as a result designed a system that required people to act like angels -- to truly care -- for it to function, and that's why it was so dysfunctional (and why some historians liken the USSR to a theocracy, with a priestly nomenklatura class to monitor people's hearts and minds). I still think that's one of the most powerful critiques of technocracy (of which communism was a marquee example), whether it be public health technocrats or others -- highly designed systems that requires constant top-down management tend to run up on the shoals of human behavior.
I'd say that Mexico only punches above its weight from an American perspective, because it's right next door so you pay a lot of attention to it. From Europe, most European countries are more culturally relevant, and I think a lot of people would list several South American countries ahead of Mexico as well, though I'm not sure.
I'm very excited to have a new Metric album, they have also always been one of my favourite bands, though I haven't paid much attention over the years. As some reviewer said about another of my favourites, Garbage – they weren't really missed, but I'm glad they're back.
"I think Freddie deBoer’s obsession with the positional aspects of education is bizarre. I imagine some 18th-century version of FDB explaining that there’s no point in investing in mass literacy education because the kids of the elite will just come up with some new arbitrary signal that they belong on the top of the heap."
This seems to miss the point. FDB is not arguing that education is bullshit, and that it's not possible to teach people stuff. He's arguing there's no evidence to suggest that the relative attainment of smarts and knowledge is movable by the education system of the last 100 years. Smart kids do well; less smart kids do less well. Throwing tons and tons of money at this has not helped. And since the American economy gives vast rewards to people with top-end educational credentials, this seems like a germane topic of discussion. It's orthogonal to the inherent moral benefits of education.