A moron courting other morons

1 May, 2016 at 09:59 | Posted in Politics & Society | 2 Comments

 

Living in the U.S. you soon find out that it’s a country with exceptionally many gifted and bright people. But, unfortunately, it is also a country where a moron with lots of money may run for president — and where, sadly enough, a lot of other morons obviously will vote for him …

Kulturrelativism? Nej tack!

5 March, 2016 at 10:32 | Posted in Politics & Society | 2 Comments

En del badhus har separata badtider för kvinnor – bland annat Rosengårdsbadet i Malmö, som marknadsför ”enbart kvinnlig personal på plats och fönstren skyddas för insyn” …

Skilda badtider. Skilda träningstider. Skilda lokaler.

Valbart och frivilligt? Liberalt, alltså?

Nej, faktiskt inte …

Om hela badet stängs för alla av det ena könet när det andra badar så drabbas alla. Inte bara av att inte kunna bada just där och då, utan av att synen på det motsatta könet blir sned och jämställdhet tar ett steg bakåt i hela samhället. Den jämställdhet som gör vardagen bättre …

quote-we-hold-these-truths-to-be-sacred-and-undeniable-that-all-men-are-created-equal-and-independent-thomas-jefferson-345108

Den jämställdheten är inte bara vår. Den ska vara lika självklar för dem som flyttar till Sverige, från patriarkala kulturer, från religiöst förtryck. Den ska inte bara predikas, den måste levas varje dag …

Det går att ställa krav. Folk kan anpassa sig …

Viktigare är att också kvinnor från patriarkala kulturer blir bekräftade som individer, inte representanter för en medeltida könssyn …

Siktet framåt. Inte ett kulturrelativistiskt tuppfjät tillbaka.

Heidi Avellan/Sydsvenskan

I Sverige har vi länge okritiskt omhuldat en ospecificerad och odefinierad mångkulturalism.

Om vi med mångkulturalism menar att det i vårt samhälle finns flera olika kulturer ställer detta inte till med problem. Då är vi alla mångkulturalister.

Men om vi med mångkulturalism menar att det med kulturell tillhörighet och identitet också kommer specifika moraliska, etiska och politiska rättigheter och skyldigheter, talar vi om något helt annat. Då talar vi om normativ mångkulturalism. Att acceptera normativ mångkulturalism, innebär också att tolerera att specifika kulturella gruppers rättigheter kan komma att ges högre dignitet än samhällsmedborgarens allmänmänskliga rättigheter – och därigenom indirekt blir till försvar för dessa gruppers intolerans.

I ett modernt demokratiskt samhälle måste rule of law gälla – och gälla alla! Mot dem som i vårt samhälle vill tvinga andra att leva efter deras egna religiösa, kulturella eller ideologiska trosföreställningar och tabun, ska samhället vara intolerant. Mot dem som vill tvinga samhället att anpassa lagar och regler till den egna religionens, kulturens eller gruppens tolkningar, ska samhället vara intolerant. Mot dem som i handling är intoleranta ska vi inte vara toleranta.

‘Siktet framåt. Inte ett kulturrelativistiskt tuppfjät tillbaka.’

Woman is the nigger of the world

2 March, 2016 at 18:18 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

För en tid sedan skrev Sara Mohammad — grundare av Glöm aldrig Pela och Fadime — i en debattartikel på SVT Opinion att hon idag med oro ser hur religiösa krafter flyttar fram sina positioner här i Sverige:

Häromveckan gick Storsjöbadet i Österstund ut med att de börjar sälja burkinis, och flera badhus har börjat med skilda badtider för kvinnor och män.

Vi är många som flytt från ett kulturellt och religiöst förtryck med krav på kontroll av kvinnors sexualitet och förnekande av jämställdhet mellan kvinnor och män.

Vi kom hit till Sverige med högt ställda förväntningar på ett fritt samhälle. Vi ville bli en del av ett fritt land och det som den svenska kvinnofrigörelsen hade uppnått. Vi ville också stödja kvinnofrigörelsen i de länder vi kom ifrån …

Religiösa normer och värderingar har alltid hjärntvättat oss att uppfatta dem som något naturligt och eftersträvansvärt. I själva verket är de ofta kvinnofientliga idéer som förtrycker.

Sümeyya Gencoglu (MP) tycktes dock inte vara överens om denna verklighetsbeskrivning:

Är det verkligen frihet för alla som du talar om?

Frihet innebär inte ett alternativ för alla. Frihet innebär rätten att få välja, vilket man får när badplatser har skilda badtider.

Som kvinna har du fortfarande valmöjlighet till att inte bada separat. Och som den kvinnorättskämpe som du är, hade jag önskat att du verkar för alla kvinnors rättigheter i vårt samhälle, utan att göra skillnad på dess religion eller tro … Genom att ge kvinnorna möjligheten att välja separata badtider skapar vi utrymme och möjlighet för hälsa och träning för de kvinnor som önskar och vill detta … Skilda badtider kallas inte islamism … Det kallas friheten att välja, vilket vi har i ett fritt Sverige.

Vi har religionsfrihet, vilket är en av det finaste vi har här i Sverige. Så enkelt är det.

Hmmm …

För mig påminner denna ‘logik’ om folk som när jag var ung försvarade apartheid i USA och Sydafrika med att det minsann inte alls var ett uttryck för förtryck och förnedring. Tvärtom. Friheten ökade ju om man inte behövde tvingas umgås med med ‘fel’ slags människor …

Och den 8 mars är det internationella kvinnodagen.

davidlandesThe best clue to a nation’s growth and development potential is the status and role of women.

Olof Palme In Memoriam

24 February, 2016 at 15:27 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment


Olof Palme.

Born in January 1927.

Murdered in February 1986.

30 years and a loss my country — Sweden — is still suffering from.

Krugman owes Friedman an apology!

22 February, 2016 at 19:19 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment

 

February 20, 2016

Dear Paul,
Your suggestion that “personal ambition” in any way influenced my analysis of the Sanders economic plan is as insulting as it is wrong and you owe me an apology.

You don’t know me. We did not quite overlap in graduate school and our paths have diverged since. We have never met or spoken. The closest we came was when my department attempted to bring you to Amherst to give a guest lecture. Never happened because we could not afford your rate.

While you don’t know me, you seem to feel free to speculate about my values and interests. You assume that an outsider economist like myself must be considered not particularly “insightful or even technically competent.” And, elaborating this theory, you conclude that envy would lead me to jump on an opportunity for self-advancement by shilling for an outsider politician. Now this theory might be tested empirically. You could easily have tested your theory by investigating my motives empirically. You could have called me and asked. Or you could have read any of the news stories where I explained how I stumbled on this research project, and where I explained my (lack of) connection to the Sanders Campaign …

Since you did not bother to do the empirical work: let me do it for you. I undertook this study from simple scholarly curiosity; I did it without any connection to the Sanders campaign; and I have no expectation of reward. I have no desire to be involved in a Sanders Administration. I am completely happy teaching at UMass-Amherst and have no wish for anything more in the world than to do my work where I am.

Finally, if I may point out another flaw in your envy-ambition model: why would the Sanders camp ever appoint someone who has publicly acknowledged that he donates to the Hillary Clinton campaign and is undecided about for whom to vote in the upcoming Massachusetts primary?

In its lack of empirical grounding, your column is like the CEA-chairs’ letter: substituting attack language and ad hominem argument for reasoned discourse … Rather than jumping on my conclusion, a more constructive discussion would focus on identifying possible errors in my method that may have led to conclusions that may seem implausible. Certainly, we can agree that it is illogical to reject conclusions without finding fault with method …

Best wishes,
Gerald Friedman
Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

[Naked Capitalism]

 

Playing the blame game

12 February, 2016 at 17:52 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

 

David Silvester, who resigned from the Conservative Party over David Cameron’s same-sex marriage policy, has said gay marriage is to blame for Britain’s recent spell of bad weather in a letter to The Henley Standard.

He wrote: “Since the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, the nation has been beset by serious storms and floods.”

Huffington Post

Thank God for all these intelligent and unprejudiced conservative politicians …

Thatcher and the neoliberal counterrevolution

11 February, 2016 at 15:35 | Posted in Economics, Politics & Society | 3 Comments

The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes … I believe that there is social and psychological justification for significant inequalities of income and wealth, but not for such large disparities as exist to-day.

John Maynard Keynes wrote this in General Theory (1936).

Four decades later the Iron Lady appeared in the Parliament with this gobsmacking attempt at explaining away the problem:

It’s hardly surprising that Pinochet-lovers like Margaret Thatcher and other neoliberals of the same ilk had this rather debonair attitude on rising inequality. But how about economists?

Economists are not rewarded for studying the economy. That is why almost everyone in the profession missed the $8 trillion housing bubble, the collapse of which stands to cost the country more than $7 trillion in lost output according to the Congressional Budget Office (that comes to around $60,000 per household).

Few if any economists lost their 6-figure paychecks for this disastrous mistake. But most economists are not paid for knowing about the economy. They are paid for telling stories that justify giving more money to rich people. Hence we can look forward to many more people telling us that all the money going to the rich was just the natural workings of the economy. When it comes to all the government rules and regulations that shifted income upward, they just don’t know what you’re talking about.

Dean Baker

In case you’re in doubt, you might better have a look at e. g. what Harvard economist and George Bush advisor Greg Mankiw writes on the rising inequality we have seen for the last 30 years in both the US and elsewhere in Western societies:

Even if the income gains are in the top 1 percent, why does that imply that the right story is not about education? …

It may be better to think of the return to education as stochastic. Education not only increases the average income a person will earn, but it also changes the entire distribution of possible life outcomes. It does not guarantee that a person will end up in the top 1 percent, but it increases the likelihood. I have not seen any data on this, but I am willing to bet that the top 1 percent are more educated than the average American …

The rising inequality that has been going on in our societies since the Reagan-Thatcher era is outrageous. Income and wealth has increasingly been concentrated in the hands of a very small and privileged elite. And a society where we allow the inequality of incomes and wealth to increase without bounds, sooner or later implodes. The cement that keeps us together erodes and in the end we are only left with people dipped in Reagan-Thatcher libertarian egoism and greed.

Now, more than ever, is it high time to reawaken Keynes’s dream of a more egalitarian society and once and for all put an end to the neoliberal counterrevolution!

Prayer (personal)

3 February, 2016 at 13:27 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

This one is for you — all you brothers and sisters, struggling to survive in civil wars, or forced to flee your homes, risking your lives on your way to my country — Sweden — or other countries in Europe.

May God be with you.

Krugman — a Vichy Left coward?

27 January, 2016 at 23:53 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

cowardly-lionPaul Krugman’s recent posts have been most peculiar. Several have looked uncomfortably like special pleading for political figures he likes, notably Hillary Clinton. He has, in my judgement, stooped rather far down in attacking people well below him in the public relations food chain …

Perhaps the most egregious and clearest cut case is his refusal to address the substance of a completely legitimate, well-documented article by David Dayen outing Krugman, and to a lesser degree, his fellow traveler Mike Konczal, in abjectly misrepresenting Sanders’ financial reform proposals …

The Krugman that was early to stand up to the Iraq War, who was incisive before and during the crisis has been very much in absence since Obama took office. It’s hard to understand the loss of intellectual independence. That may not make Krugman any worse than other Democratic party apparatchiks, but he continues to believe he is other than that, and the lashing out at Dayen looks like a wounded denial of his current role. Krugman and Konczal need to be seen as what they are: part of the Vichy Left brand cover for the Democratic party messaging apparatus. Krugman, sadly, has chosen to diminish himself for a not very worthy cause.

Yves Smith/Naked Capitalism

Thatcher policies for dummies

27 January, 2016 at 15:47 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

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