06 Oct 2020

BMS ep 152: The Coming Darkness and Renaissance

Bob Murphy Show 59 Comments

Audio here.

59 Responses to “BMS ep 152: The Coming Darkness and Renaissance”

  1. Harold says:

    You say there could be problems if Trump won and Dems say he cheated. It is far, far more likely to be the other way around. Trump is already saying exactly that, if he loses. As president, he has many more levers to apply. He is also way behind in the polls. I find it odd that use the overwhelmingly less likely scenario as your example.

    I don’t recall anyone saying Trump cheated last time. He lost the popular vote, to be sure, but that is not cheating, that is the system. He did accuse the other side of cheating to win the popular vote, even though he won the election. He has a track record of saying the other side cheated without any evidence at all. Imagine how bad that will be if he actually loses!

    People did say Russia interfered in the election. People like the FBI, CIA, Special Investigator and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee in 2020, which concluded the Russian government had engaged in an “extensive campaign” to sabotage the election in favor of Trump. This is what you are calling “fake news.” Nobody knows if it was successful, but every credible source acknowledges that Russia did interfere in the election for Trump. How has Trump got otherwise reasonable people parroting his slogans like this?

    You say the leftists are “nominally” not in power. They are simply not in power. You cite Parents Magazine as evidence that there will be chaos. I really don’t see what you find so threatening in including the origin of the HeLa cells, the first immortal cell line, in science class. It seems a very good way to engage students and take science out of the silo. Scientists have to realize that they are not simply lenses focusing truth in an objective way. Everybody is affected by their environment, which is why evidence and reproducibility are so essential. A very valuable science lesson. Why is this so threatening?

    The references to medical apartheid in the article are about historical abuses. In the Henrietta Lacks case there was only one hospital she was allowed to attend. Hospitals were segregated, which is at least effectively apartheid. Should this be hidden from students?

    There were abuses against soldiers, children (particularly orphans), the insane, prisoners and other powerless groups also. They should all be in the open so we don’t repeat them.

    You may respond that this is not what they really mean, they really mean something else. You said the same to me when I asked about Adrian’s view that police treat black people worse than white people. I asked if you agreed and you responded “what you really mean is are black people earning less on average”. No, that was not what I really meant. I recently discussed Walter Block on here, saying it was important to address the actual view rather than a caricature of it. That leads to productive discussion.

    Then Twitter as justification. Some people on twitter said they wanted to punch someone in the face. Yeah, lots of people say they want to kill and rape people on the internet. This is cherry picking. You seem to be looking desperately for justifications.

    People demonstrate because they are desperate and see no other way. They are out there because Trump is President, not in spite of it.

    Cor blimey! They are coming after my kids! Parenting Magazine suggests slightly widening the curriculum and they are coming after your kids!

    “The left hates kids!” Where are you getting this stuff from? That is way out

    If there is aggressive gun control legislation – ATF kicking down doors! Is that anywhere near being likely, or even possible? The proposed policies are along the lines of ban new assault weapons, require registration of existing assault weapons or Govt will buy it back, restrict number of guns you can buy to 1 per month. There is no proposal to “come for your guns”

    Poor old Fabian Society. Marxists everywhere were calling for revolution. The Fabians rejected this and called for democratic methods to achieve their objectives (back in 1884). Now you see this as as underhand and subversive. It is almost as if you are desperately seeking threats to fight against. Wolf in sheep’s clothing, Iron fist in a velvet glove. All similar imagery. Is that the best you have?

    Some teacher on Twitter said something about how are we to go about doing our jobs and teaching these kids more than what they are getting in their patriarchal family structure. Given the over regard for creationism in the USA that seems a reasonable question. Science teaching is already significantly hampered because of this issue, and it may be that more parents will object, making it harder still.

    I found it somewhat ironic that you had to teach your son what reliable sources on the internet were. Twitter is certainly not one of them and saying several times “I am not making this up – someone on Twitter said…” is not a strong argument. Argument from anecdote seldom is, which is mostly what you were doing here.

    I fear that instead of applying reasonable criteria for distinguishing reliable sources to their children, for many there will simply be lists of good and bad. For some this will be CNN good, Fox bad or the opposite. For some it will be Breitbart good, peer reviewed journals bad.

    • random person says:

      Harold wrote,

      The references to medical apartheid in the article are about historical abuses. In the Henrietta Lacks case there was only one hospital she was allowed to attend. Hospitals were segregated, which is at least effectively apartheid. Should this be hidden from students?

      I remember, when I went to school, coverage of racial forced labor and other misdeeds in US history was rather shoddy (though I later discovered, not as shoddy as in some other schools), but for whatever reason, the Holocaust was covered in excruciating detail, and, because I took Latin as my foreign language, Roman forced labor was also covered in excruciating detail during my second year of Latin.

      When studying the Holocaust, I remember the diary of Anne Frank and Maus were both required reading. And I also remember that poem that starts, “First they came…” And there were documentaries of starving people (who looked rather like walking skeletons) in concentration camps. No consideration was given to the fact that such material might be disturbing for children.

      In my first year of Latin, the book we translated kept discussing a captive laborer being beaten with a stick, and in my second year of Latin, there was a significant amount of coverage of how brutally gladiators were treated. I remember something about how the Colosseum and the gladiatorial combat and other blood sports that took place in it were basically an advertisement to the world that said, “Here are a people who kill for fun!” At one point in my second year of Latin, a student randomly stood up and started reading a passage about how in the Roman Colosseum, if they were performing a play about a story in which a woman was raped by a bull, the Romans would actually have a bull raping a woman, in front of the audience, in contrast to the Greek tradition where they would let such things happen “off stage” (i.e. have a narrator say it happened, but not actually show the audience the scene). No one told the student to stop reading because such subject matter was too disturbing. Instead, a silence just sort of fell over the classroom, similar to how people might become respectfully silent at a funeral. And then for some reason, my third year of Latin was mostly about Hercules.

      The coverage of the Holocaust, and of Roman forced labor (with an emphasis on gladiators) may have been traumatic (in the sense of secondhand trauma), but I feel I was better off for it. It left me with a healthy, permanent suspicion of people who say we should just do things because, “It’s the law!”

      The Holocaust coverage in particular left me with a healthy suspicion of propaganda, especially of the sort of propaganda which is used to hide atrocities. And, since leaving school, I’ve done plenty of reading on my own, leading me to realize a) that they have been many atrocities, including genocide and forced labor, throughout history, and b) that the United States has been involved in many of these atrocities, something that was very much glossed over in US history class in school.

      I think I would have preferred if they just told us the history of the brutality of racial forced labor, the history of the genocide against American Indians, the history of how the US backed genocide in Guatemala, the history of how the US removed from power the Congo’s first and only properly democratically elected leader (at least since after colonialism started), allowing him to be assassinated by the Belgians, and then proceeded to assist a dictator in rising to power, etc etc etc.

      If they wanted to protect children’s minds from being disturbed by the history of atrocities, they would not have covered the Holocaust and Roman forced labor (and especially Roman gladiators) in such detail. What was censored was the history of atrocities committed or aided by Americans. What was being protected was not those sensibilities which are disturbed when learning about events such as mass murder, rape, and torture, but our American patriotism.

      I realize of course, that many students don’t even learn so much about the Holocaust or about Roman forced labor or about any atrocities. But I don’t think that my teachers were wrong to teach such things. If they hadn’t — and if I had somehow managed to avoid other exposure to the topics (which is dubious, since I have a tendency to seek such information out, but assuming at least that I had encountered nothing to tempt my curiosity) — I might have turned out to be the sort of person who believes mainstream media without question and could easily be convinced that US wars in the middle east and elsewhere were really about spreading democracy. And I’m glad I’m not that sort of person.

      So, Harold, I totally agree with you that the history of medical atrocities such as forced experimentation should be taught.

      • random person says:

        Sorry, I just noticed you didn’t explicitly mention forced experimentation (although it does fall under the category of abuses within the context of medicine).

        In any case, forced experimentation was explicitly mentioned in the first paragraph of the article Bob Murphy was replying to.

        “How to Teach the History of Racism in Science Class: In order to end the racial disparities that exist in our health care system, we need to teach children about our country’s history with medical apartheid. It can start in science class.”

        https://www.parents.com/kids/education/how-to-teach-the-history-of-racism-in-science-class/

        Currently, U.S. schools focus on bare minimum coverage of chattel s****ry in the classroom, and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, it stays mostly in history class. That needs to change. Considering our nation’s history with medical advancement through experimentation on ens****d Africans and their descendants, we need to start including lessons on s****ry and historical racism in the science classroom.

        Science does not exist in a separate realm from morality. If we don’t want to teach scientists to commit atrocities, then it makes sense to combine science with moral lessons like, “Don’t experiment on people without their consent.”

        • Harold says:

          Forced experimentation was what I had in mind.

          ” then it makes sense to combine science with moral lessons like, “Don’t experiment on people without their consent.””
          Exactly. I don’t know why people find this threatening to the extent they think “they” are coming for your kids.

          It is not just out and out abuses of science, but topics like bias and funding should be discussed. Individual scientists have bias, which is why double blind trials are required in medicine. Mostly we don’t think the scientists or researchers are deliberately fixing the results, but we cannot help our bias from showing through unless we take measures to counteract it.

          • random person says:

            Forced experimentation was what I had in mind.

            ” then it makes sense to combine science with moral lessons like, “Don’t experiment on people without their consent.””
            Exactly. I don’t know why people find this threatening to the extent they think “they” are coming for your kids.

            Yes. On this we agree.

            Mostly we don’t think the scientists or researchers are deliberately fixing the results, but we cannot help our bias from showing through unless we take measures to counteract it.

            Well, we hope scientists and researchers aren’t deliberately fixing the results, but there are clearly historical examples where certain scientists seemed determined to arrive at a result that matched their racial views, or a result that matched what the company paying them wanted to hear, etc.

            While double blind trials do provide a number of benefits, the over-reliance on them to the extent of ignoring traditional forms of medicine may cause us to ignore many advances small tribal societies have made in the field of medicine. Likewise, over-reliance on double blind trials may also cause us to ignore many anecdotal reports of adverse effects, which can still be quite true even if they are not common enough to appear in double-blind trials. Finally, we should remember that while double-blind trials provide some level of protection against accidental bias, deliberate bias (e.g. from a scientist with a financial or political motive to arrive at a particular finding) is much harder to protect against.

            Also, double blind trials are often used to rule out the placebo effect in order to focus on effects not related to the placebo effect, even though the placebo effect is interesting in and of itself.

            Perhaps the benefits of double blind trials can be emphasized, but not over-emphasized, by contextualizing them. They are very useful, but they are less important than informed consent.

            For example, from Congo: The Epic History of a People, by David van Raybrouck

            A new field of study, tropical medicine, was born; it was to become a powerful tool in the service of colonialism. Leopold II had already invited scientists from Liverpool to the Congo to study sleeping sickness. In 1906, on the model of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, he set up the École de Médicine Tropicale in Brussels, forerunner of the Antwerp Institute for Tropical Medicine.

            For the inhabitants of Congo, this medicalization had major consequences. Even during Leopold’s regime, field hospitals were set up here and there in the Free State, where the victims of sleeping sickness were attended to by nuns. These lazarettes were located on islands in the river or at remote spots in the jungle and closely resembled leper colonies. Hospitalization often took place under duress. The patients were subjected more to a sort of quarantine than any form of nursing. No family, friends, or relatives were allowed to visit. For many, therefore, referral to the lazarette felt like the death sentence. The patients served as guinea pigs for all sorts of new medicines, like atoxyl, a derivative of arsenic that produced blindness more frequently than recovery. It was not always clear what was actually being improved, the patient’s health or the experimental medicine. Because the aim was to isolate victims during the earliest stages of the sickness (when it is most contagious but also most treatable), those who were quarantined often felt perfectly healthy. Swollen lymph glands in the neck were often their only complaint. The characteristic symptoms arose only during their stay at the field hospital itself. The lazarettes therefore developed a bad reputation: people believed they were camps where colonial officials had one intentionally infected with the sickness. Riots broke out and guards cracked down, but many patients ran away and went back to their villages.

            The text of Reybrouck’s book doesn’t actually specify whether these experiments were double-blind trials or not, but my point is that that’s besides the point: these experiments were unethical because they were involuntary, regardless of whether they were double-blind trials or not.

            On the other hand, traditional African healers who offered traditional African remedies to patients who actually consented to such treatment would be on the right side of morality, at least, even if they failed to meet the double blind trial scientific standard.

            • Harold says:

              Double blind trials are only part of the story, and nearly all science is conducted without them. Most scientists know which was the control and which the experimental set. Replication is the more usual means to identify bias or mistakes.

              Double blind trials are good for looking for small effects among large variations. The studies you describe above were certainly not double blind, but as you say that is not the point. They would not have been ethical had they been. Current trials are overseen by ethics boards and do require consent, although the extent of how “informed” patients are is always open to question. The point is that people who are not conducting the trial at least look it over, and their bias is presumably less than the people doing the study. Not perfect, but generally pretty good.

              I wondered when double blind trials were first used, and apparently it was back in 1835 to test homeopathy.
              [www]https://www.jameslindlibrary.org/articles/inventing-the-randomized-double-blind-trial-the-nurnberg-salt-test-of-1835/#:~:text=Cite%20as%3A%20Stolberg%20M%20(2006,N%C3%BCrnberg%20salt%20test%20of%201835.&text=A%20very%20early%20example%20of,(Stolberg%201996%3B%201999).

              It did not catch on and 1943 seems to be the origin of widespread trials of this type.

              • random person says:

                So we more or less agree on the major points. Double blind trials are useful, but throughout history, most science has been done without them, so they aren’t strictly required for scientific progress. Furthermore, double blind trials are far less important than ethical considerations like consent.

                However, as we recently discussed in another post where we talked about Judge Jones and his failed campaign against illegal forced labor, all regulations run the risk of being ignored and/or misused by human beings who don’t want to follow them.

                For example, back in the 1990’s, Pfizer apparently forged a letter from an ethics board. So, rather than being overseen by a real ethics board, they were overseen by an imaginary one.

                From “Pfizer accused of testing new drug without ethical approval” by Jacqui Wise

                The letter granting ethical approval for the Pfizer trial was submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration in 1997 to support a licence application for trovafloxacin. However, Sadiq Wali, the medical director of the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, told the Washington Post that the letter was false and the hospital had no ethics committee at the time of the study. Abdulhamid Isa Dutse, the doctor who oversaw the trial at the hospital, told the newspaper that it was “possible” that the approval letter was drafted up to a year after the trial.

                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119465/

                Also from that article,

                Charles Medawar, director of Social Audit, the UK pressure group that monitors the pharmaceutical industry, said: “This particular case looks to be very bad, but I hardly think it is untypical.”

                So, in Charles Medawar’s opinion, such corruption wasn’t even untypical back in the 90’s.

              • Harold says:

                Most science today does not use double blind trials. In most science, double blind does not even make sense as the subject is not a living thing and cannot know whether they are control or treatment.

                However, there are some scientific questions that cannot be answered without them.

                We have to be discerning about the evidence. The question should be “is the evidence strong enough to draw a particular conclusion?”

                To illustrate how little blinded trials are used, there was a study in 1998 of experimental papers in leading journals over a two year period. In physical sciences there were no blinded experiments and biological science there were 1% blinded trials. In medical sciences it was 25% (but only 11% were double blind) and parapsychology 85% (of a small number).

                [www]https://www.sheldrake.org/research/experimenter-effects/how-widely-is-blind-assessment-used-in-scientific-research

                I think it is unquestionable that blinded trials would improve the results in physical and biological sciences, and there is now more blinding of data before processing than in 1998 in physics. Yet still the majority of papers will not be blinded. It is usual for the analyst to know the origin of samples before analysis, but it would not usually be that hard to blind them to this before they conduct the analysis or measurement. In research it is likely to be the same person doing the measurement as did the “treatment”, but it would often be possible to recruit a third party to mix and label the tests before analysis. This is seldom done.

                If we look at the recent Covid papers, many of them are retrospective or observational analyses – looking at what was done and seeing if a particular treatment offered better outcomes. These can provide good data but are unlikely to be definitive unless the effect is huge. Promising results can then be followed up with a trial.

                Often a blind trial is impossible – surgery suffers from this as it is not usually considered ethical to cut people up as a control and the surgeon would know whether he was control or treatment arm. Blinding is mostly not possible.

                Where blinding is not possible, such as with universal mask wearing, we have to use other means and evaluate the evidence accordingly.

                Ethics in science is a complex issue. Science (the journal) was criticized recently for considering the publication of a paper suggesting that herd immunity for Covid-19 may be reached at much lower infection rates than previously suggested. They did publish, but they considered it. One of the considerations was that the somewhat speculative paper commenting on what might be the case would be misquoted and abused by political entities.

                Unfortunately, this sort of ethical consideration is required these days. Many people are not interested in communicating knowledge but seizing upon anything that appears to back up their position and distributing that without any attempt to understand or explain the real findings of the research.

                Science does not exist in a vacuum and publications will have effects outside the realm of pure knowledge. Editors are ethically bound to consider this.

    • random person says:

      I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong, or if the blog is experiencing some sort of lag, but I was trying to post a comment about how certain children experience child abuse, and while children in non-abusive households (and parents who aren’t too busy) might indeed be receiving better education during the lockdown, I doubt the same can be said of children in abusive households.

      • random person says:

        It was in response to:

        Harold wrote,

        Some teacher on Twitter said something about how are we to go about doing our jobs and teaching these kids more than what they are getting in their patriarchal family structure.

      • random person says:

        See more below, as I tried to post again but forgot to make sure the comment was posted in the right place.

    • guest says:

      “There is no proposal to “come for your guns”

      Pfffhah-ha-HAAAA!

      HAAAA!

      Diane Feinstein on Gun ban in 1995 Mr and Mrs America, turn your guns in!
      [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjHwvyNa8co

      Eric Holder – We Must “Brainwash” People Against Guns! – (1995)
      [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXwo9lARAgg

      “Cor blimey! They are coming after my kids! Parenting Magazine suggests slightly widening the curriculum and they are coming after your kids!”

      Anti-Homeschooling Harvard Prof Doubles Down: ‘Right-Wing Christian Conservatives’ Became ‘Dominant’ and ‘Took Over’
      [www]https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/19/anti-homeschooling-harvard-prof-doubles-down-right-wing-christian-conservatives-became-dominant-took-over/

      “Bartholet created a firestorm in April when Harvard Magazine published an interview about her Arizona Law Review paper, titled “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection,” in which she lamented the freedom associated with homeschooling and the fact that “parents can now keep their children at home in the name of homeschooling free from any real scrutiny as to whether or how they are educating their children.””

      From the linked article by Bartholet:

      “As a result, parents can now keep their children at home in the name of homeschooling free from any real scrutiny as to whether or how they are educating their children. …”

      “… . This Article calls for a radical transformation in the homeschooling regime and a related rethinking of child rights. It recommends a presumptive ban on homeschooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to homeschool.”

      • Harold says:

        As you view children as property of the parents it is not surprising you find it difficult that others may wish to look out for the interests of child, where the child’s interests may differ from the parents.

        However, I do not think there is any concerted effort to ban homeschooling. It is generally considered the parent’s right to do so if that is what they want. There is currently very little oversight or intervention in that right.

        To justify the claim that “they are coming for your kids” you cite one law professor who thinks there should be more regulation. It is always going to be the case that there will be a variety of opinions on this topic. Citing one who thinks there should be more regulation is very weak.

        It is also undeniable that there are some who homeschool to hide abuse. You may think this is their right, but it is not surprising that some people think there should be some scrutiny to protect the children.

        There are two broad reasons given for homeschooling – more effective education and ideological. Home-schooled children do attain better results on average, but they are a self selected group with higher than median incomes, higher parental education, stable families and high levels of parent involvement. Factoring for these it is likely that these children would do as well in normal schools.

        Another reason is to indoctrinate children into the Parents’ ideological and religious views. Apparently, access to different information is quite threatening to the “truth” as seen by these parents, and such access should be prevented.

        One of the christian curricula was Advanced Training Institute. Back in the 1990’s, in their worksheet on Counselling Sexual Abuse it asks the victim of sexual abuse to identify why “God let it [the sexual abuse] happen” with only the following possible answers explaining the abuse: Result of defrauding [sexual abuse] by: (1) Immodest dress; (2) Indecent exposure; (3) Being out from protection of our parents; or (4) Being with evil friends. In all four of the possible answers, in the homeschooling curriculum, the victim of abuse/assault is confronted with the notion that the abuse/assault was a direct response to something the victim did to warrant the attack.”

        The largest advocacy group is Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a Christian organisation. Whilst the homeschool population is diverse, the most powerful advocacy group is decidedly Christian right.

        For creationists, the project is probably doomed to backfire. If you teach your children that the bible is a science book and inerrant, and belief in the biblical version is necessary for belief in God, they will believe you. But when they get to college they will be able to access the truth and see that the biblical account is certainly not literally true. The Earth is old, evolution is a fact and the Flood did not happen. If they have been convinced that belief in creationism is necessary for belief in God, they are more likely to reject God altogether.

        • random person says:

          In Child S****ry before and after Emancipation: An Argument for Child-Centered S****ry Studies, Anna Mae Duane, with the help of a number of other authors, argues that neither the family nor the state can be totally trusted to protect children from various forms of forced labor which we might consider the most extreme forms of child abuse, and that we must instead “embrace children’s dignity and agency” (which I take to mean actually asking children what the consent to, among other things),

          The previous three sections have looked at how adult conceptions of children – as members of a family shaped by property relations, as innocent victims of adult crimes, and as individuals unable to consent – have provided frameworks that allow acts of coercion, exploitation, and even ens****ment to persist in the face of legal prohibition. Every chapter, in its own way, has suggested that adult conceptions of children occlude our understanding of how oppressive systems have migrated from pre- to post- emancipation forms of ens****ment. This section, in many ways, responds to the questions raised in earlier chapters about how we might better listen to ens****d children, past and present. Our authors offer this response by asking children to relate their experiences and rights claims in their own voices. The first chapter in this section, by Kelli Lyon Johnson, and the second , coauthored by scholar-activists Jonathan Blagbrough and Gary Craig, both feature the testimony of children who identify as former s****s. This section’s third chapter, by philosopher John Wall, urges us to shift the paradigms that structure current human rights protocols to create new frameworks that would respect children’s ability to make choices and take political action.

          Kelli Lyon Johnson’s analysis of the testimony of formerly ens****d children illuminates how savvy these children are about navigating adult expectations. Even as they insist on being heard in the public sphere, they cannily engage the narratives that will allow a listening adult to recognize them as children. Thus these child narrators often claim a right to the very sort of innocent idealized childhood that many of our authors have critiqued, simply because it allows them to create common imaginative ground with the audience they seek. To take just one example, Johnson describes how “Kavita” alludes to childhood innocence, even as she describes her own oppression: “Kavita’s understanding of what childhood should be like allows her to connect to an audience that shares her belief and, thus, to highlight the vulnerability children experience merely by being children and to refute any perceived complicity in her exploitation.” Taking her cue from the words of the child-narrators she cites, Johnson insists – as do all the authors in this section – that we come to terms with the complex dynamics that render children both victims and agents.

          The second chapter in this section also features children’s testimony to draw an accurate picture of child domestic workers. In the first chapter in this volume, Karen Sánchez-Eppler asks how we might better listen to children who were ens****d in the nineteenth century. In this chapter in our final section, Craig and Blagbrough provide strategies for how we might engage the words of children ens****d in the twenty-first century, by asking them to both define their experiences of ens****ment and, perhaps most important of all, to articulate their vision of what freedom could mean.

          Child domestic workers, as Craig and Blagbrough report, constitute a large – but largely underreported — population of children subjected to coerced, exploitative, unremunerated labor. However, because these children are ensconced in private homes, with families, “helping out” with domestic chores, their experiences replicate an intense version of what many imagine the proper place for children, and thus often fails to excite the outrage – or the action – that child soldiering or sex work generates. Yet the twenty-first- century children who speak in these interviews confirm what our first section on pre-emancipation child s****s suggests: a private family home can be just as exploitative as a factory floor, a brothel, or a cocoa plantation. While coerced sexual work is often singled out as a uniquely horrifying form of child exploitation, the child domestic workers reveal that repeated sexual assaults are often a part of the domestic “work” that they are expected to endure.

          But if the family proves no bastion against the exploitation of children, other options are equally problematic. Intense state oversight of individual homes hardly seems an appropriate solution. Given the dangers of institutional reformers – described in the chapters by Erica Meiners, Jessica Pliley, and Micki McElya – simply handing over control of the family to either state or outside agencies would be unlikely to improve the situation of many children. As John Wall, the author of the third chapter in this section reminds us, even if somehow state oversight of the private family were either feasible or desirable, globalization continues to weaken individual state power to police abuses or address rights violations. Wall explains, “while international treaties and national and local laws have done much to keep child s****ry in check, they face the fact that global markets and technologies can find unique ways to exploit child labor and circumvent children’s rights instruments. In addition, globalization bends local cultural constructions of child labor toward global marketplace demands.” The pull of global capital, with its relentless demand for cheap labor, supersedes the legal power of local laws, and certainly of international treaties, about which individual states may well feel ambivalent. Thus, Wall goes on to argue, “the exploitation of child labor is the product of a vicious cycle in which it most benefits precisely those globally wealthy few who have the greatest power and resources to combat it.” One response to this vicious circle, Wall suggests, is to disrupt the assumptions that render children incapable of political response, and largely subject to the wishes of adults.

          We end this volume where we began, by suggesting that children’s unique role in the family and in our legal and cultural structures have allowed for structures of coercion, control, and even ownership to persist beyond the legal abolition of s****ry. Scholars skeptical of transhistorical work might suggest that comparing past and present forms of unfree labor collapses the distinction between widely different times, places, and practices in order to create a falsely coherent narrative. But, we believe, and we hope these chapters demonstrate, placing past and present iterations of trafficking, unfree labor, and ens****ment in conversation complicates our understanding both of current practices and of those that unfolded before s****ry was made illegal. As John Wall reminds us, “s****ry in the nineteenth century was not eradicated by opposing violence and victimization alone. It required in addition positively embracing s****s’ human dignity and agency.” Until we embrace children’s dignity and agency – as well as their vulnerability – we cannot begin to fully imagine their freedom.

          • Harold says:

            There is no one-size-fits -all solution for child protection. Let the parents decide is generally OK because generally the parents do have the interests of the child at heart. It is not always OK, because the parents may care more about themselves or be grossly mistaken. Beating witches or possession out of children, for example, should probably not be left to the parents to decide, even if the parent believes it is in the child’s interests.

            There will always be a fuzzy line and the discussion needs to be about where it is drawn. Reasonable people can disagree about that and there will always be examples where individuals are harmed because the line is is the wrong place for their particular situation. Hard cases make bad law.

            • random person says:

              Child marriage in the United States provides one case example of how neither the institutions of family, nor of the state, can be trusted to protect children from extreme abuse. (This is not to say that individual family members or individual government case workers can’t be trusted, but that we can’t automatically trust people just because they are family or government case workers.)

              For example, see, “Child brides call on U.S. states to end ‘legal rape'” by Ellen Wulfhorst of the Thomson Reuters Foundation

              U.S. laws permit the legal rape of thousands of teenage girls every year, survivors of child marriage say, but momentum is growing to end underage marriage in more than a dozen states.

              Child marriage, more commonly associated with developing countries, was permitted in every U.S. state until this year when the Atlantic coast states of New Jersey and Delaware enacted blanket prohibitions of marriage before age 18.

              “I don’t understand how other countries comprehend that it’s wrong, but in our country somehow it’s right,” former child bride Sonora Fairbanks told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “I think it’s literally sexual assault … It’s legal rape.”

              Child marriage survivors often say they were forced to marry against their will, particularly if they were pregnant to avoid the stigma of giving birth outside wedlock.

              Raised in a strict evangelical family, Fairbanks was groomed to marry young and at 16 wed a man 10 years her senior.

              “That was the only choice presented to me,” she said.

              “People saw it as consent because I wasn’t kicking and screaming. But if anyone asked me what I really wanted, I didn’t want that … I wanted to go to college. I wanted to get a job. I wanted to date people.”

              She gave birth to eight children as her efforts to leave were stumped by having no money and nowhere to go.

              “Your husband can report you as a runaway because you’re under 18. You’ll be brought back to his house,” said Fairbanks, now 40.

              Child brides typically cannot get divorced because they are underage, many women’s shelters will not take anyone under 18 and landlords will not rent to minors, she said.

              Molested as a girl, Evie Lane was pregnant at 13. Married at 14, she moved out of the home of her abusive stepfather into that of what proved to be an abusive husband.

              By age 15, she was the mother of two children.

              “You have no voice. You have to do what they tell you to do,” said Lane, now 47 and living in South Carolina.

              Another former child bride, Dawn Tyree, was pregnant by a family friend whom she was forced to marry at age 13. He was 32.

              “I feel like I was a throw-away child. I was tossed around from home to home and, at the quickest opportunity, married off,” said Tyree, now 46.

              Tyree and Fairbanks have lobbied to change the law in California, which allows marriage at any age with consent of a judge and parent.

              Some Americans have the mistaken impression that underage marriage typically involves high school sweethearts, said Tyree.

              “That’s what I believe keeps the laws intact,” she said. “What’s unfortunate is that’s not the case.”

              Unchained at Last said three-quarters of some 167,000 child marriage licenses it examined, dating back to 2000, involved underage girls – some as young as 10 – marrying adult men.

              • random person says:
              • random person says:

                It should be noted that not all child marriage is necessarily s****ry. However, in the United States at least, it seems like most cases of child marriage are indeed s****ry.

                In response to the question, “When is child marriage considered s****ry?” an anti-s****ry website responds,

                Child marriage can be referred to as slavery, if one or more of the following elements are present:

                *If the child has not genuinely given their free and informed consent to enter the marriage

                *If the child is subjected to control and a sense of “ownership” in the marriage itself, particularly through abuse and threats and is exploited by being forced to undertake domestic chores within the marital home or labour outside it, and/or engage in non-consensual sexual relations

                *If the child cannot realistically leave or end the marriage, leading potentially to a lifetime of s****ry.

                Elements of the US legal system (which vary state to state, but anyway) that make it likely that many cases of child marriage in the US are indeed s****ry include:

                * classifying children who attempt to physically escape from marriage or the threat of marriage as illegal runaway, who can be brought back to their husbands (or family threatening to marry them off) against their will

                * in many states, children may be considered old enough to marry, but not old enough to file for divorce

                * in some states, children may be considered old enough to marry, but not old enough to file domestic violence charges against their husbands

                * domestic violence charities and other charities that often help adult women escape domestic violence may refuse to help children attempting to leave abusive marriage due to laws against assisting runaways

                In short, although it is possible to imagine cases where two people around the age of sixteen fall in love and enter into consensual marriage, and it appears that this does actually happen from time to time, the US legal system is too incompetent to prevent the majority of marriages in the United States from being s****ry, rather than consensual.

              • random person says:

                Not all child marriage is necessarily s****ry. However, in the United States at least, it seems like most cases of child marriage are indeed s****ry.

                In response to the question, “When is child marriage considered s****ry?” an anti-s****ry website responds,

                Child marriage can be referred to as s****ry, if one or more of the following elements are present:

                *If the child has not genuinely given their free and informed consent to enter the marriage

                *If the child is subjected to control and a sense of “ownership” in the marriage itself, particularly through abuse and threats and is exploited by being forced to undertake domestic chores within the marital home or labour outside it, and/or engage in non-consensual sexual relations

                *If the child cannot realistically leave or end the marriage, leading potentially to a lifetime of s****ry.

                Elements of the US legal system (which vary state to state, but anyway) that make it likely that many cases of child marriage in the US are indeed s****ry include:

                * classifying children who attempt to physically escape from marriage or the threat of marriage as illegal runaway, who can be brought back to their husbands (or family threatening to marry them off) against their will

                * in many states, children may be considered old enough to marry, but not old enough to file for divorce

                * in some states, children may be considered old enough to marry, but not old enough to file domestic violence charges against their husbands

                * domestic violence charities and other charities that often help adult women escape domestic violence may refuse to help children attempting to leave abusive marriage due to laws against assisting runaways

                In short, although it is possible to imagine cases where two people around the age of sixteen fall in love and enter into consensual marriage, and it appears that this does actually happen from time to time, the US legal system is too incompetent to prevent the majority of marriages in the United States from being s****ry, rather than consensual.

        • guest says:

          “As you view children as property of the parents it is not surprising you find it difficult that others may wish to look out for the interests of child, where the child’s interests may differ from the parents.”

          As you view other people’s children as *your* property, it is not surprising you find it difficult that others may wish to protect their own children from ideas they feel their children are ill-equipped to process and, as a generally efficient rule of thumb, promote time-tested ideas, instead, until they are old enough to live on their own.

          And while it’s true that home-schooling can hide abuse, et al, it’s also true that the government can point a gun at many parents at once and force their children to learn social-justice nonsense or else they don’t get a piece of paper that tells employers they’re competent at doing the job they’re applying for.

          And since governments have deliberately slaughtered and starved their citizens in pursuit of these same social-justice ideas, it’s obvious that, even with the occasional abuses, et al, the homeschoolers / private-schoolers have much more credibility in education.

          “To justify the claim that “they are coming for your kids” you cite one law professor who thinks there should be more regulation. It is always going to be the case that there will be a variety of opinions on this topic. Citing one who thinks there should be more regulation is very weak.”

          I notice you do that a lot: Take a representative exmple and claim that it’s cherry-picking.

          Elizabeth Bartholet is a person of influence in education (same with Bill Ayers, alluding further to the representative nature of this example). I’m sure that Harvard Magaine and the Arizona Law Review didn’t consider her a one-off.

          “Another reason is to indoctrinate children into the Parents’ ideological and religious views. Apparently, access to different information is quite threatening to the “truth” as seen by these parents, and such access should be prevented.”

          Apparentlhy, parents’ ideological and religious views are so threatening as to justify pointing a gun at them and forcing their children to be indoctrinated by a different group of people.

          The whole point of forcing children into public schools or force home and private schools to meet federal education standards at gunpoint is to indoctrinate them.

          “Whilst the homeschool population is diverse, the most powerful advocacy group is decidedly Christian right.”

          Freedom, itself, tends to solve any problems associated with dogma.

          (Including the dogma of evolution: sorry, but the actual gaps in the fossil records where all the supposed transition species lived and died are not explained away by reference to the “God of the gaps” fallacy. Either those specific transition species moved somewhere all at once, those specific species were wiped out in a way that destroyed their bones, or a God is the only explanation left; Or I suppose aliens could have taken them.)

          Parents control their children’s education until they are ready to move out, at which time freedom would provide access to different views.

          Get the government out of education (both the left and right versions), and we’ll have plenty of markets for ideas.

          • random person says:

            Governments have “deliberately slaughtered and starved” citizens (or residents of whatever area they were conquering, raiding, or otherwise attacking), parents and other custodians have “deliberately slaughter and starved” children, and corporations and other companies have “deliberately slaughtered and starved” employees (or people they wanted as employees but who refused to work) throughout history. There is no fundamental difference between governments, companies/corporations, child custodians (whether or not they are actually parents) that that prevents one person or group of people from deliberately slaughtering and starving one or more other people.

            This is because government is an abstract concept. Company and corporation are abstract concepts. Child custody is an abstract concept. Parent is a bit less abstract, if by parent we mean “biological parent”, but in it’s most literal sense, a parent is just someone who contributed genetic material to the creation of someone else; a parent may or may not love the child they created. Many of the less literal things we associate with the ideal of parenthood – love, care, etc – are also abstract and not necessarily fulfilled by all biological parents, and are sometimes fulfilled by people who are not biological parents, leading to the term “parent” sometimes people applied to people who are not biological parents.

            Governments, companies and corporations, and child custodians are all capable of deliberately slaughtering and starving people because all these abstract concepts refer to people or collections of people, and people are capable of slaughtering and starving other people.

            • guest says:

              “There is no fundamental difference between governments, companies/corporations, child custodians (whether or not they are actually parents) that that prevents one person or group of people from deliberately slaughtering and starving one or more other people.”

              Which is why socialists went into hiding right after the Soviet Union collapsed – because obviously they’re fundamentally the same.

              /s

              Of course there’s a fundamental difference:

              I can leave my current employer under free markets and work for someone else, which is why you don’t see large-scale slaughter and starvation associated with companies/corporations like you do with governments.

              Children, under freer markets could escape abusive homes by running away and working for all the various sweat shops that would exist, or running a lemonade stand without unnecessary work permits that police constantly shut down.

              (Sweat shops are not a bad thing:

              ([5:12]
              (How Can Sweatshops Help The Poor Escape Poverty? – Learn Liberty
              ([www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxBzKkWo0mo

              ([23:03]
              (Stop Protesting Sweatshops
              ([www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mHQtvBsukE
              )

              • guest says:

                Supplemental:

                [Blood Diamonds]
                Are Diamonds Really Forever?
                [www]https://mises.org/library/are-diamonds-really-forever

                [Dust Bowl]
                Boom, Bust, Dust
                [www]https://mises.org/library/boom-bust-dust

              • Harold says:

                I am sure you are aware that among the sweatshops that exist would be child sexual exploitation facilities. Since the child has consented and demonstrated their capacity to do so by voluntarily vacating themselves from their guardian’s care this would be permissible.

                All ok and justifiable, but it should be recognised what the result of your system would look like.

              • random person says:

                There’s a lot to unpack here.

                Let’s start with this.

                Which is why socialists went into hiding right after the Soviet Union collapsed – because obviously they’re fundamentally the same.

                Socialists went into hiding while the Soviet Union was still in power because Lenin and Stalin considered socialists even more dangerous that the people they labelled as capitalists.The Soviet Union obviously isn’t “fundamentally the same” as socialism if Lenin and Stalin persecuted socialists even more than those they considered to be capitalists.

                If you want a more accurate view of the Soviet Union, you should read “Man is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag” by Janusz Bardach. Janusz Bardach lived in the Soviet Union, was sent to a Gulag, and survived to tell the tale, and he is quite clear that Lenin and Stalin persecuted socialists. That said, Janusz Bardach is just one person, with one person’s persective. His book is a valuable primary source, but he can’t tell you everything.

                Another good book to read is “The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin” by Adam Hochschild. In 1991, Hochschild spent nearly 6 months in Russia interviewing gulag survivors, retired concentration camp guards, etc.

                He’s a sample quote from Man is Wolf to Man. It’s from early in the book, before Bardach gets around to describing his gulag camp experiences.

                I thought about Julek. He lived here, but I hadn’t seen him for several months. Julek was prominent in the Polish Socialist Party; Lenin and Stalin considered socialists and social democrats more dangerous than capitalists and severely persecuted them. Julek had gone into hiding when a classmate of his, Rosia Rubenstein, denounced him at a Komsomol meeting. I froze in my seat as I heard, “Juliusz Bardach is a sellout socialist who must be found, arrested, and eliminated.” I was asked to leave the meeting as Julek’s case was discussed. Deeply frightened, I warned Julek, and he and his wife, Fruma, moved to Lvov to hide among the thousands of Jewish refugees. I visited him several times, staying for a day or two.

                At the same time, Bardach shows how, at the same time as the Soviet Union persecuted socialists, it also claimed to be a socialist state. Throughout the book, Bardach describes his attempts to come to terms with the propaganda and the reality in various ways. My own conclusion is that the Soviet Union was not remotely socialist, but wanted to appear socialist, and actual socialists were a threat to the propaganda because sometimes they could see through the lies.

                We can find an example of some who saw through the lies in “The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin” by Adam Hochschild. Apparently, a number of teenagers who lived in Stalinist Russia and studied Marx, concluded that Russia did not have a dictatorship of the proletariat, and instead had a Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator. That what this Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator called “collective farming” was really serfdom.

                To quote Hochschild’s book,

                In the long years when Stalin murdered, by the millions, members of alleged conspiracies against him, almost all of them imaginary, Pechuro’s group was a real conspiracy. And it was in the heart of the empire, in Moscow. Most extraordinary of all, its six members were all teenagers. At the time of their arrest, the youngest was sixteen, the oldest nineteen.

                Three were shot.

                Two died in labor camps or afterward.

                Susanna Pechuro is the only one left alive.

                One morning I knock on the door of an apartment more than an hour away from the center of Moscow by bus and subway. The woman who opens it is stocky, robust, about sixty years old. She walks with a slight limp. Her face is the picture of warmth, vitality, and luminous intelligence.

                Pechuro’s children are grown, she explains, but she likes to be around young people. So she rents out rooms in her apartment to students and young friends. In the living room Pechuro introduces one of her tenants, a woman named Lena. Her arm is in a sling—she hurt it yesterday in a karate class. She is lying on a couch, reading, covered with a blanket; Pechuro has obviously been taking care of her.

                Before we sit down, I ask Pechuro about some framed photographs on a bookshelf.

                She picks one up. “Here’s a picture of the boys, my friends, who were with me in this organization. And who were executed. These three boys.” We take seats at a table, and I ask her to start at the beginning.

                “Most of us were high school or college students—first year at [Moscow State] University or at one of the institutes. What had brought us together? When we’d been younger, we’d all belonged to the literary club at the House of Pioneers. There we’d become friends. There we’d begun to think for the first time, and to discuss with each other what we were thinking about. We trusted each other completely. And in that we were right.

                “We were forbidden to read our poems out loud unless they were checked by the director. We got indignant. There was a girl in our group who read aloud a mournful poem, about a girl who feels sad at a party because her boyfriend is dancing with another girl. She was told that this kind of mood wasn’t worthy of a Soviet youth. She wasn’t allowed to read this poem aloud. This was the last straw, and we announced that we weren’t going to go to the club any longer, we were going to study by ourselves.

                “In a civilized society, what we accomplished would be regarded as a trifle. What did we manage to do? Practically nothing. We issued two leaflets. We developed a program. The program said that in Russia we did not have a dictatorship of the proletariat—instead, we had a Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator. The program said that there were two imperialist systems that had divided the world into spheres of influence. That there was serfdom—although it was called collective farming. That all the officially proclaimed principles were being carried out in reverse. And that all this should be fought against.”

                Although their circumstances were incomparably more oppressive, the psychology of this little group sounds similar to that of the generation of the early 1960s in the United States, measuring the ideals of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as taught in school, against the reality that blacks in the South could not vote. “We took on trust what they’d taught us,” Pechuro continues. “When they talked to us about heroism, honor, and selflessness, etc., adults didn’t mean anything by it. But we believed it. If you see that the world around you isn’t fair, by all the rules you were taught at school, then you are honor-bound to fight to change it. This was straightforward, childlike logic. At my interrogation when they asked me who had taught us everything, the answer was, ‘Youhave.

                Did she and her companions know the risks they were facing? Yes, says Pechuro, “we knew what kind of country we lived in. We understood that any day we could be arrested. We knew that people had been arrested for less. If we were ten, by the time we were arrested, we would have let the truth be known to twenty. And they would spread it to another hundred. Our task was to get this process going, to start explaining the truth, not to be intimidated. Each of us realized very well what was in store for us.”

                The informal leader of the little group was a boy named Boris Slutsky, whose father had been killed in the war. “From the books left by his father, we figured out that probably he was a Trotskyist, who totally by chance had escaped being arrested. In one volume by Lenin, we found Lenin’s will.” The will warned Party members against Stalin. Although it had been distributed to some officials after Lenin died in 1924, Stalin had done his best to seize and destroy all copies of the will as he gained power over the next few years. The bookshelves of Slutsky’s dead father also contained poetry by various banned writers, and this work, too, influenced the group of teenagers.

                “This boy lived alone, because his mother had remarried and he refused to live with his stepfather. He had a room that no adult visited. There we gathered, there we talked, there we typed. We studied Marxism. Boris Slutsky was well read, bright and educated, in a way kids at his age usually are not. He explained that unless we had knowledge, we had no right to make judgments. We had assignments to read an article or a book, make a synopsis, and then we came together and talked, bringing our synopses.

                “We read memoirs of revolutionaries. We made a hectograph—a primitive printing machine. We found a description of this machine in the memoirs of Vera Figner [a nineteenth-century revolutionary]. It could print 250 copies of something. We had all read books about members of underground organizations. They were our heroes. So we imitated them.”

              • random person says:

                Actually, I think it’s better if I put my replies down here, because comments get terribly hard to read as they get pushed further and further to the right.

                https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2020/10/bms-ep-152-the-coming-darkness-and-renaissance.html#comment-1996469

          • random person says:

            For example,

            The exposure of infants, very often but by no means always resulting in death, was widespread in many parts of the Roman Empire. This treatment was inflicted on large numbers of children whose physical viability and legitimacy were not in doubt. It was much the commonest, though not the only, way in which infants were killed, and in many, perhaps most, regions it was a familiar phenomenon. While there was some disapproval of child-exposure, it was widely accepted as unavoidable. Some, especially Stoics, disagreed, as did contemporary Judaism, insisting that all infants, or at least all viable and legitimate infants, should be kept alive. Exposure served to limit the size of families, but also to transfer potential labour from freedom to s****ry (or at any rate to de facto s****ry). Disapproval of exposure seems slowly to have gained ground. Then, after the sale of infants was authorized by Constantine in A.D. 313, the need for child-exposure somewhat diminished, and at last — probably in 374 — it was subjected to legal prohibition. But of course it did not cease.

            https://doi.org/10.2307/300867

            • random person says:

              And for an arguably more disturbing example, see:

              “Carthaginians sacrificed own children, archaeologists say”
              by Maev Kennedy

              https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jan/21/carthaginians-sacrificed-own-children-study

            • random person says:

              And for a more modern example, see:

              “Filicide in the United States”
              by Phillip J. Resnick

              The United States has the highest rate of child murder among developed nations. The most common perpetrator of child homicide is a parent. In infancy, the US rate of homicide is 8/100,000, several times higher than Canada at 2.9 per 100,000 (Hatters-Friedman et al., 2012). About 2.5% of all homicide arrests in the United States are for parents who have killed their children (Mariano et al., 2014). This amounts to an average of about 500 filicide arrests each year. The rates of child homicide decrease with the child’s age. At a visceral level, the horror of filicide seems to grow as the victim’s age increases (Oberman, 1996).

              Ninety percent of filicide perpetrators are biological parents and 10% are stepparents. Stepparents are far more likely to kill children than biological parents. In the “child maltreatment” homicides, fatal child abuse in stepparents is up to 100 times higher (Daly and Wilson, 1994).

              The strongest predictive factors of maternal child homicide are maternal age of 19 years or younger, education of 12 years or less, single marital status, and late or absent prenatal care (Overpeck et al., 1998). Men, as opposed to women, who kill their children are more likely to kill older children, are more likely to be unemployed, are more likely to be facing separation from their spouse, and are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs (Marleau et al., 1999; West et al., 2009). Among 16–18-year-old victims, fathers committed 80% of the homicides (Kung and Barr, 1996). Fathers are more likely to kill when there is doubt about paternity and when the child is viewed as an impediment to their career (Resnick, 1969). Paramours rarely kill their own children; instead, they more often kill the sons of their predecessors (Kaplun and Reich, 1976).

          • random person says:

            An interesting case example is “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”, a Pakistani documentary about a young woman, Saba, who survives a murder attempt by her father and uncle after she marries the man she loves without the permission of her family.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDn5QcrwqdA

            Although she does not truly forgive her father and uncle, and does not want to forgive them, intense pressure from her community causes her to at least forgive them in the eyes of the law, which causes the government to stop prosecuting. Under Pakistani law, as of the time the documentary is made, the normal way for people to get away with so-called “honor killings” was to have a family member forgive them. Under Pakistani law, as of the time of the making of the film, once the family of the murder victim forgives the murderer, the prosecution is called off – even if the murderer was a family member.

            In this case, since Saba was still alive, the law asked for her forgiveness. She didn’t want to give it, but extreme pressure from her community (specifically, the neighborhood Elders) caused her to forgive, legally at least, not in her heart.

            Note that the law was changed afterwards because of the documentary.

            Also note that many people in the community interviewed in the film supported Saba, not the men who attempted murder. However, the Elders – who apparently supported the men who tried to commit murder – ultimately held more social power to pressure the victim to forgive (legally speaking, at least).

            One of the things the Elders apparently had the power to do was change Saba’s lawyer. Saba says, “The Elders have changed lawyers. They took away my old one. My old lawyer gave me good advice. But this new lawyer has not even spoken to me.”

            Near the end of the film, one of the men who attempted murder (Saba’s father, I think”, shows a lack of remorse, saying,

            After this incident, everyone says I am more respected. They say I am an honorable man. They say what I did was right. It was the proper thing to do. I have other daughters. Since the incident each daughter has received proposals because I am called an honorable man. I can proudly say that for generations to come none of my descendants will ever think of doing what Saba did. My daughters will have fear in their minds that one of their sisters did something like that and if we do the same, God knows what our fate will be.

            Since the documentary does include interviews with people who do not respect what this man did, do not think it was honorable, and do not think it was right or proper, the “everyone” in his quote should be understood as “everyone” whom he wished to associate himself with.

            Note that honor killings are against both Islamic law and Pakistani law. By allowing the family to forgive, even when a family member committed the murder, Islam and the Pakistani government have frequently neglected to punish honor killings as they might punish other murders, but technically speaking, they are against both Islamic and Pakistani law. (Also note that Pakistani law was changed because of this documentary.)

            So what he had that motivated the murder attempt was not the support of the government or Islamic law (although they didn’t do all that much to penalize him either), but the support of certain members of the community with whom he chose to associate.

            Also of interest is how he openly admits that part of the purpose of the attempted murder is to make sure that his other daughters only marry whom he says they can marry. Forced marriage is considered a form of s****ry, so, from this, we can see how when women are killed for marrying whom they want to marry rather than who their fathers tell them to marry, this serves to force women who are not murdered into marriages they don’t want, which is a form of ens****ment.

            So, when such killings occur, there is not only one victim. Although the murder victim is the most obvious victim, the other victims are those for whom the murder is intended as a threat, to force them to comply with the wishes of the murderer, and, indirectly the community of people who support the murderer, since by supporting the murderer, they are basically threatening that they might also be willing to commit murder under similar circumstances.

            Since such murders also serve as a mechanism of ens****ment against those who aren’t murdered, this itself is reason for abolishing the forgiveness loophole, since even if the murder victim genuinely forgave (obviously, a murder victim can’t do this, being a dead person, and even where the murder was only attempted, she only forgave in the eyes of the law, not in her heart) there would still be other victims — the people ens****ved by the threat of murder, and if not all of them gave forgiveness (and, considering the number of people potentially affected, it seems unlikely that *all* of them would forgive), then the murderer still wouldn’t be forgiven by *all* of his victims.

          • Harold says:

            “I notice you do that a lot: Take a representative example and claim that it’s cherry-picking.”

            Because it is, and you do it a lot.

            You can pick statements that support any conclusion and claim they are representative.

            ” the dogma of evolution”
            I suggest you actually read up on evolution and the evidence for it. You reference to missing “specific transition species” demonstrates your lack of awareness.

            A general way to look at it to ask “if evolution were true, what would we expect to find?” We do in fact find exactly what we would expect. Every fossil found fits in with what we would expect. Fossils we have not found do not prove an absence of the creatures that did not fossilize. Fossilization is rare. We would not expect to find most species. Your explanation “those specific species were wiped out in a way that destroyed their bones,” is exactly correct and exactly what we would expect. Or at least, we have not found any examples yet.

            Even if the fossil record did not exist, we have overwhelming evidence for evolution. You can ask the same question for diverse fields such as paleontology, genetics, biochemistry, anatomy etc etc. All of them show what we would expect to find. Some say the fossil record is the weakest strand, although on its own it is convincing.

            If you think this is not the case, propose an alternative and ask “what would we expect to find?” No hypothesis so far gets off the starting line.

            I don’t know if you have in mind any alternative explanation, such as creationism, or are just claiming that there is insufficient evidence to support evolution and want to leave it as an unknown.

            • random person says:

              I don’t think any education on evolution can be complete without also including information about how evil men used evolution to support evil acts.

              https://www.csustan.edu/history/was-hitler-influenced-darwinism

              This could be tempered by pointing out that evolution (or whatever alternative theory people choose to support) is a natural process, and that making a moral philosophy based on it is as ridiculous as making a moral philosophy based on hurricanes, Hurricanism, whereby people are encouraged to emulate hurricanes by breaking windows because hurricanes break windows.

              • random person says:

                Also see “‘The survival of the fittest’ debunked”
                by Prathik Sridhar

                https://www.newdelhitimes.com/the-survival-of-the-fittest-debunked/

                In spite of the title, the article technically discusses debunking popular interpretations of the phrase “survival of the fittest” in favor of an alternative interpretation.

                On contrary to Spencer, Peter Kropotkin in his book ‘Mutual Aid’ amasses a vast set of evidences to prove that it is cooperation and not competition which has allowed species to survive, flourish, develop and evolve throughout the times, mainly in flocks, herds and other groupings as it can be seen today. Kropotkin extends his views to say that this inherent ability to cooperate that can be seen in many animals are best suitable to resist predators in groupings. If Kropotkin’s radical view of cooperation is as sound as Spencer’s competitive view, why is it that we are still under the notion that Darwin’s theory almost definitely endorses the latter and not the former? It is because of social context again.

                The ‘survival of fittest’ or the competitive approach justified the dawn of a free market capitalist system which rejected socialist ideas of welfare and state intervention in the economy. It highly upheld the laissez faire idea of Victorian Britain. It legitimized harsh social policies of the times which labelled the peasants and poor as ‘unfit’ or ‘unworthy’ of any assistance from people with resources. The implication does not sadly limit itself to Victorian Britain. It further, allowed humans to be seen as superior and inferior- that is, empowered the dominant groups to lay human groups of the world in an evolutionary ladder designating Australian and Asian Aboriginals, African peoples at the bottom and the Victorian intellectual males at the top. It justified colonization of non-western people on grounds that British Empire would civilize the ‘primitive societies’. A more contemporary misuse of the same ideology can be seen in modern history during the Nazi Germany, which proclaimed that ‘Aryan race’ is the most superior one and the rest including the one who are mentally and physically disabled had no right to live in the societies. The Nazi propaganda went on to plan and execute numerous euthanasia programmes to murder physically disabled just shows how far Darwin’s theory was misused.

                A similar misuse of scientific theories can be constantly seen in today’s world too. The pseudo-science of such interpretation form the strongest resistive force to feminist, gender rights, tribal, gay rights movements all over the world today. Thus, a careful examination of the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ is needed. We should refrain from attaching the ideas of strength, competition, aggression, and struggle while using it. On the contrary, it should refer to the ability to adapt, cooperate, and co-exist as the species we are.

              • random person says:

                Another counter argument to popular interpretations of “survival of the fittest” is Daisyworld.

                Daisyworld is technically a mathematical model / computer model, deliberately intended to be more simple than a real world, but nevertheless it helps to illustrate a phenomena that we can find in the real world.

                It is clear that when the ground contains seeds for both species of daisy, i.e. when
                both species can potentially exist, the luminosity range over which each individual
                species survives is increased. In the one species model, black daisies sprouted at
                a luminoity of 0.72 and became extinct at a luminosity of 1.09, while in the two
                species model they existed in the luminosity range 0.72 to 1.38. Similarly, in the one
                species model, white daisies existed in the luminosity range 0.84 to 1.43, while in the
                two species model they existed from 0.76 to 1.43. This observation can be used to
                conjecture that greater biological diversity is better for the health of the ecosystem
                (i.e. its capacity to respond to perturbation).

                http://home.uchicago.edu/khanna7/DaisyWorldMain.pdf

              • random person says:

                For an example of a real world study which supports the Daisyworld hypothesis, see:
                “Biodiversity and Stability in Grasslands”
                by David Tilman and John A. Downing

                https://web.archive.org/web/20110927030649/http://www.eeescience.utoledo.edu/Faculty/Gottgens/Conservation%20Biology/Hans%20papers%202010/Tilman%20and%20Downing%201994%20Nature.pdf

              • Harold says:

                “I don’t think any education on evolution can be complete without also including information about how evil men used evolution to support evil acts.”

                I agree that the consequences an misuse of scientific principles for political justifications should be included. As with the medical examples above, the main purpose of science class is to teach science, but the ethical considerations should certainly be included. The Eugenics movement is a good way to get across what is meant by “survival of the fittest”. In a society that killed off physically strong individuals, the physically weak would be the fittest. It is important to distinguish between “fittest” in evolutionary terms and “fittest” in colloquial use as it is very easy to unconsciously equivocate between definitions here.

                Eugenics can be used to shape the population, but that is a political choice, using scientific principles as a tool.

                One of the main points that it is essential to get across is that evolution is not working towards a purpose. We often hear things like “humans are more evolved than apes” This is not true and assumes a goal driven arc for evolution. This is illustrated by the quote from the German Chancellor in your link (I don’t know if we are allowed to use the name without moderation)
                “”No more than Nature desires the mating of weaker with stronger individuals, even less does she desire the blending of a higher with a lower race, since, if she did, her whole work of higher breeding, over perhaps hundreds of thousands of years might be ruined with one blow.”

              • random person says:

                I think the Daisyworld simulation, along with real world studies which show the benefits of diversity to the whole ecosystem, help to illustrate why things like eugenics are likely to harm, not help, the survival of the species (in addition to being immoral).

                I think it’s important to drive this in. Otherwise, people might get to thinking, “But isn’t it worth it to cause great suffering now, if by doing so we help ensure the survival of the species in the long run?”

                Arguably, the phrase “survival of the fittest” should be changed to something else, since it doesn’t really seem to make it obvious how sensitive so-called “fitness” is to the ever-changing environmental and ecological context.

                “survival of the most adaptable ecosystem, under constantly changing environmental pressures”? I feel this doesn’t really summarize evolution either, but at least it seems an improvement over “survival of the fittest”.

              • Harold says:

                “Arguably, the phrase “survival of the fittest” should be changed to something else,”

                Biologists generally avoid the term, and use “natural selection” instead. This is also not quite correct because “unnatural selection” also works, such as for domesticated animals and plants.

                Whilst it can be seen as a useful “shorthand” for conveying the ideas behind evolution, the phrase is also responsible for conveying the wrong idea, and my personal opinion is that we would be better of to abandon it.

                My view is that in times of “ease” many traits will survive and diversity will increase. Nobody knows which of these preserved traits will end up being useful in uncertain future conditions. The more diversity, the greater the chance of survival of the species.

              • random person says:

                My view is that in times of “ease” many traits will survive and diversity will increase. Nobody knows which of these preserved traits will end up being useful in uncertain future conditions. The more diversity, the greater the chance of survival of the species.

                The Daisyworld simulation (and real world experiments which demonstrate more or less the same thing) expands on this by pointing out that diversity helps not just the species but the whole ecosystem survive better. Using the Daisyworld example, the black daisies improve the ability of white daisies to survive under conditions when the planet is receiving a relatively low level of light and benefits from the heat absorption capability of the black daisies, and the white daisies improve the ability of the black daisies to survive under conditions when the planet is receiving a high level of light and benefits from the cooling ability of the white daisies. The two combined offer thermal regulation over a broader range of light from the Daisyworld’s sun than either alone.

              • Harold says:

                Very good point. Daisyworld is a very useful illustration.

  2. Harold says:

    A bit of an aside, but Foley published a paper in 2019 pointing out the ambiguities in the law surrounding the election and pleading for Congress to clarify before the election. The scenario he describes is now much more likely given Covid and the vastly increased number of mail in votes. The scenario he describes is for Pennsylvania being the tipping State, where the Governor is Democrat and the Legislature is republican. Trump wins on the day but Biden is rapidly catching up in the mail in votes. That scenario in 2019 was unlikely and would have required a very close vote. Now it is more likely and would not require such a close vote.

    Trump could ask the State legislators to send their own electors to vote.  There is dispute over whether this is possible or legal, but Trump only needs a possibility to go ahead and do it, hoping to win ultimately.  Congress now has two certificates, one from the Governor and one from the Legislature.  

    https://lawecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2719&context=luclj

    On the day of the college count, with the two certificates before them. Some argue that Pence as President of the Senate has authority to do what he wants, the rest are merely observers. That is disputed and it could be that both houses are asked to vote in which to accept.  If enough Senate republicans could be persuaded to vote with the democrats to accept the one with the Governor’s signature, the argument would likely be over.  Pence could try to assert his authority as president of the senate to do what he wants, but against both houses it would be a step too far.  However, if Senate and House disagree over which to accept, it gets complicated.  The Electoral Count Act of 1887 has 2 interpretations.  One is that the certificate with the Governors signature should be counted, which is actually stated.  The other, weaker, argument is that neither be counted.  Pence could then announce Trump as winning the election from a smaller electoral college.  However, the Act says that each State shall be counted in alphabetical order, and no one will be counted until the previous has been resolved.  Therefore the count would stop part way through and no president will be appointed.  Therefore Pelosi should become acting President until it was resolved.  The republicans dispute this and simply carry on the count. Pelosi banishes the Senate from the House, therefore the count cannot continue as both houses are required to be present.    Republicans assemble elsewhere and carry on the count, declaring Trump the winner.  Both Trump and Pelosi say they will be inaugurated on 20 Jan.  Who gets to decide?  There is no mechanism to determine this.  It may be up to who the military decide who to follow.  The SC may issue a ruling on some basis, maybe accepting that there is no president Elect, so Pelosi would step in, but the Judiciary is specifically excluded from being involved in the count, so they would probably be reluctant to interfere after the electoral college met and the votes were counted (or not counted).  To step in before then would be to guess what might happen and they are reluctant to rule on hypotheticals (although they use them in their rulings and decision making).

    The SC is more likely to be called on during the State part of the count – similar to 2000.  There may be cases to State courts to stop the count which could end up at the SC.   Given our current situation  this can really only be to Trumps advantage, as they could prevent votes being counted and Biden is much more likely to have more of the mail in votes.

    It is thus imperative for Trump to cast as much doubt as possible on the mail in votes.  One pretext for the legislature to appoint electors is something like a cyber attack which prevents votes being reliably counted.  Then an emergency could be declared, lending credibility to the Legislature appointing electors directly.  If Trump can get enough support that an emergency can be declared without the roof falling in, he will be in a stronger position.  

    In summation, there is really only one candidate that can steal the election – Trump.  Biden has no means to do so, since a count of all the postal ballots will favor him.  Trump has several means available, all of which require distrust of postal votes.  The legality or constitutionality of many of the moves is moot because after they are done they cannot be undone, even if later ruled unconstitutional. Once the certificates are in front of Congress they must consider them. So it is not really about is this legal, but can Trump persuade people to do it.

  3. Craw says:

    We live in the Golden Age of Murphyism don’t we? Statues of Lincoln toppled, private enforcers in Denver, police abandoning neighborhoods, autonomous zones.

  4. random person says:

    For example, see “Opinion: Forgotten victims of the coronavirus: Kids who are facing neglect and sometimes abuse at home” by Beth Wechsler.

    Meanwhile, to pick just one example, between March 17th and April 13th, the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, has seen three children die of child abuse. Typically, the hospital sees one every two months, meaning it’s a 500% increase in child abuse deaths. In one month, as many children at one hospital died because of an increase in child abuse related to the lockdowns as have died nationally of the coronavirus.

    (Maybe my link to marketwatch is what stopped my comment from being posted?

    Now, if you’re against mandatory government schooling, you could argue that community oversight could theoretically do a better job of preventing child abuse than government teachers do. (I’m not entirely sure, would have to research the matter more, but at least, I’m sure someone could make the argument.) But that’s sort of beside the point. The lockdowns aren’t replacing one system of preventing child abuse with another system of preventing child abuse: rather, the lockdown are, in multiple ways, increasing child abuse.

    Most child abuse doesn’t result in death, but, if fatal child abuse has increased 500%, it’s likely non-fatal child abuse has increased 500% (or at any rate by some significant figure) as well.

    Now, children whose families have both the ability and the goodwill to provide a good homeschooling experience for them might indeed be receiving better education during lockdown / school closures. But I doubt the same can be said for those who have an abusive parent in charge of the household (or with sufficient power in the household to abuse them, at any rate). (Plus there are also parents who aren’t abusive, but probably too busy to homeschool, but that’s not the issue I was focusing on.)

    • random person says:

      This was supposed to be in reply to Harold.

    • random person says:

      The following is from an account by Paula M. Fitzgibbons on medium dot com, in which she describes verbal abuse,

      When I started my period, at 13, he mandated that I would have to get a job and start paying all my own expenses. He told me, though he hadn’t said this to my older sister, the one he doted on for her beauty, that girls “disgusting enough to have periods were obviously sluts,” and he refused to “pay the way of a slut.”

      Now, if some children’s fathers (and probably mothers too, sometimes) are teaching them such ridiculous things, it’s understandable that some teachers would want to teach such children “more than what they are getting in their patriarchal family structure”.

      And this is probably the problem with twitter. I’m guessing there was probably very little context about the teacher’s concerns with what children were learning in their patriarchal family structures.

      • Harold says:

        The context of the quote from Bob was that now parents have seen the curriculum since they have been teaching it at home, they will second guess teachers in the classroom. The teachers’ fear is that parents will interfere with the curriculum or remove their children to teach them at home.

        It is clear that abusive parents are likely to remove their children from any outside scrutiny if they fear their abuse would be detected. It is also the case I believe that most parents who home school do not do it for this reason. It is the case that many parents home school so their children are not exposed to ideas that the parents find threatening.

        • random person says:

          It is clear that abusive parents are likely to remove their children from any outside scrutiny if they fear their abuse would be detected. It is also the case I believe that most parents who home school do not do it for this reason.

          I would agree with that, but “most” only means “great than 50%”. Although I realize that it’s unlikely there’s any definitive answer on the subject, I was curious just how common it is for child abuse to overlap with child abuse.

          So I looked and found this.

          “‘House of Horrors’ child abuse cases reveal how offenders nationwide use homeschooling to hide their crimes”
          by Elizabeth Llorente of Fox News

          https://www.foxnews.com/us/house-of-horrors-child-abuse-cases-reveal-how-offenders-nationwide-use-homeschooling-to-hide-their-crimes

          Because of the lack of oversight in much of the country, experts say, the scope of abuse and neglect among children who are listed as homeschooled is unknown.

          After the 2017 death of an autistic teenager, Matthew Tirado, who suffered starvation, dehydration and injuries — weighing 84 pounds when he died at the age of 17 — the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate analyzed data of families that had records of child abuse and cross-checked them with homeschool data. The agency found that more than one-third of the children who were taken out of schools purportedly to be homeschooled were from homes that had been investigated by child protection officials.

          “There’s no actual accountability,” said Rachel Coleman, executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), which advocates for homeschool reform, in an interview with Fox News. “There’s no requirement to show evidence the child’s being educated.”

          “Most states allow you to homeschool even if you have a child abuse conviction, or repeated visits to the house because of calls” to authorities of suspected child abuse or neglect, Coleman said, “which should be red flags.”

          Now, of course, just because “The agency found that more than one-third of the children who were taken out of schools purportedly to be homeschooled were from homes that had been investigated by child protection officials” doesn’t mean that one third of homeschooled children are abused. For one thing, the fact that there was an investigation doesn’t mean that there was necessarily abuse; it just means someone suspected there may have been abuse and so performed an investigation to seek further clarification on the matter. For another thing, there could have been some cases of abuse that were sufficiently well-hidden (or ignored by indifferent communities) that there was no investigation. Also, Connecticut statistics may not apply nationally, and certainly are unlikely to apply worldwide.

          However, it is interesting. Overall, the Fox news article suggests that, while most children being home-schooled are not being abused, abuse in homeschooling is not rare, and a statistically significant minority are likely being abused.

          Also, verbal abuse likely wouldn’t be detected by more minimal oversight, such as having a doctor see the children once a year. However, verbally abusive homeschoolers could still significantly damage children’s education.

          This isn’t to say that mandatory public schooling is the only way to fight child abuse. However, it is cause for further investigation into how cultures which did not have public schools prevented child abuse, with a particular emphasis on cultures that achieved a high measure of success on doing so. Whatever methods worked for cultures that did not have public schools, could also be applied to home-schooled children. (Perhaps things like placing a greater emphasis on children’s consent, e.g. asking questions like, “Do you wish to be schooled here or elsewhere? Do you wish to live here or elsewhere?” Also probably greater community oversight and becoming suspicious if a child is observed to never leave the home,)

          • random person says:

            Sorry for typo.

            I was curious just how common it is for child abuse to overlap with child abuse.

            correction to:

            I was curious just how common it is for homeschooling to overlap with child abuse.

          • random person says:

            Also, those statistics, vague and inconclusive as they are, are applicable to pre-lockdown homeschooling, not to students only being homeschooled because of lockdowns.

  5. random person says:

    Replying to guest above.

    https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2020/10/bms-ep-152-the-coming-darkness-and-renaissance.html#comment-1996286

    There’s a lot to unpack here.

    Let’s start with this.

    Which is why socialists went into hiding right after the Soviet Union collapsed – because obviously they’re fundamentally the same.

    Socialists went into hiding while the Soviet Union was still in power because Lenin and Stalin considered socialists even more dangerous that the people they labelled as capitalists.The Soviet Union obviously isn’t “fundamentally the same” as socialism if Lenin and Stalin persecuted socialists even more than those they considered to be capitalists.

    If you want a more accurate view of the Soviet Union, you should read “Man is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag” by Janusz Bardach. Janusz Bardach lived in the Soviet Union, was sent to a Gulag, and survived to tell the tale, and he is quite clear that Lenin and Stalin persecuted socialists. That said, Janusz Bardach is just one person, with one person’s persective. His book is a valuable primary source, but he can’t tell you everything.

    Another good book to read is “The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin” by Adam Hochschild. In 1991, Hochschild spent nearly 6 months in Russia interviewing gulag survivors, retired concentration camp guards, etc.

    He’s a sample quote from Man is Wolf to Man. It’s from early in the book, before Bardach gets around to describing his gulag camp experiences.

    I thought about Julek. He lived here, but I hadn’t seen him for several months. Julek was prominent in the Polish Socialist Party; Lenin and Stalin considered socialists and social democrats more dangerous than capitalists and severely persecuted them. Julek had gone into hiding when a classmate of his, Rosia Rubenstein, denounced him at a Komsomol meeting. I froze in my seat as I heard, “Juliusz Bardach is a sellout socialist who must be found, arrested, and eliminated.” I was asked to leave the meeting as Julek’s case was discussed. Deeply frightened, I warned Julek, and he and his wife, Fruma, moved to Lvov to hide among the thousands of Jewish refugees. I visited him several times, staying for a day or two.

    At the same time, Bardach shows how, at the same time as the Soviet Union persecuted socialists, it also claimed to be a socialist state. Throughout the book, Bardach describes his attempts to come to terms with the propaganda and the reality in various ways. My own conclusion is that the Soviet Union was not remotely socialist, but wanted to appear socialist, and actual socialists were a threat to the propaganda because sometimes they could see through the lies.

    We can find an example of some who saw through the lies in “The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin” by Adam Hochschild. Apparently, a number of teenagers who lived in Stalinist Russia and studied Marx, concluded that Russia did not have a dictatorship of the proletariat, and instead had a Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator. That what this Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator called “collective farming” was really serfdom.

    To quote Hochschild’s book,

    In the long years when Stalin murdered, by the millions, members of alleged conspiracies against him, almost all of them imaginary, Pechuro’s group was a real conspiracy. And it was in the heart of the empire, in Moscow. Most extraordinary of all, its six members were all teenagers. At the time of their arrest, the youngest was sixteen, the oldest nineteen.

    Three were shot.

    Two died in labor camps or afterward.

    Susanna Pechuro is the only one left alive.

    One morning I knock on the door of an apartment more than an hour away from the center of Moscow by bus and subway. The woman who opens it is stocky, robust, about sixty years old. She walks with a slight limp. Her face is the picture of warmth, vitality, and luminous intelligence.

    Pechuro’s children are grown, she explains, but she likes to be around young people. So she rents out rooms in her apartment to students and young friends. In the living room Pechuro introduces one of her tenants, a woman named Lena. Her arm is in a sling—she hurt it yesterday in a karate class. She is lying on a couch, reading, covered with a blanket; Pechuro has obviously been taking care of her.

    Before we sit down, I ask Pechuro about some framed photographs on a bookshelf.

    She picks one up. “Here’s a picture of the boys, my friends, who were with me in this organization. And who were executed. These three boys.” We take seats at a table, and I ask her to start at the beginning.

    “Most of us were high school or college students—first year at [Moscow State] University or at one of the institutes. What had brought us together? When we’d been younger, we’d all belonged to the literary club at the House of Pioneers. There we’d become friends. There we’d begun to think for the first time, and to discuss with each other what we were thinking about. We trusted each other completely. And in that we were right.

    “We were forbidden to read our poems out loud unless they were checked by the director. We got indignant. There was a girl in our group who read aloud a mournful poem, about a girl who feels sad at a party because her boyfriend is dancing with another girl. She was told that this kind of mood wasn’t worthy of a Soviet youth. She wasn’t allowed to read this poem aloud. This was the last straw, and we announced that we weren’t going to go to the club any longer, we were going to study by ourselves.

    “In a civilized society, what we accomplished would be regarded as a trifle. What did we manage to do? Practically nothing. We issued two leaflets. We developed a program. The program said that in Russia we did not have a dictatorship of the proletariat—instead, we had a Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator. The program said that there were two imperialist systems that had divided the world into spheres of influence. That there was serfdom—although it was called collective farming. That all the officially proclaimed principles were being carried out in reverse. And that all this should be fought against.”

    Although their circumstances were incomparably more oppressive, the psychology of this little group sounds similar to that of the generation of the early 1960s in the United States, measuring the ideals of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as taught in school, against the reality that blacks in the South could not vote. “We took on trust what they’d taught us,” Pechuro continues. “When they talked to us about heroism, honor, and selflessness, etc., adults didn’t mean anything by it. But we believed it. If you see that the world around you isn’t fair, by all the rules you were taught at school, then you are honor-bound to fight to change it. This was straightforward, childlike logic. At my interrogation when they asked me who had taught us everything, the answer was, ‘Youhave.

    Did she and her companions know the risks they were facing? Yes, says Pechuro, “we knew what kind of country we lived in. We understood that any day we could be arrested. We knew that people had been arrested for less. If we were ten, by the time we were arrested, we would have let the truth be known to twenty. And they would spread it to another hundred. Our task was to get this process going, to start explaining the truth, not to be intimidated. Each of us realized very well what was in store for us.”

    The informal leader of the little group was a boy named Boris Slutsky, whose father had been killed in the war. “From the books left by his father, we figured out that probably he was a Trotskyist, who totally by chance had escaped being arrested. In one volume by Lenin, we found Lenin’s will.” The will warned Party members against Stalin. Although it had been distributed to some officials after Lenin died in 1924, Stalin had done his best to seize and destroy all copies of the will as he gained power over the next few years. The bookshelves of Slutsky’s dead father also contained poetry by various banned writers, and this work, too, influenced the group of teenagers.

    “This boy lived alone, because his mother had remarried and he refused to live with his stepfather. He had a room that no adult visited. There we gathered, there we talked, there we typed. We studied Marxism. Boris Slutsky was well read, bright and educated, in a way kids at his age usually are not. He explained that unless we had knowledge, we had no right to make judgments. We had assignments to read an article or a book, make a synopsis, and then we came together and talked, bringing our synopses.

    “We read memoirs of revolutionaries. We made a hectograph—a primitive printing machine. We found a description of this machine in the memoirs of Vera Figner [a nineteenth-century revolutionary]. It could print 250 copies of something. We had all read books about members of underground organizations. They were our heroes. So we imitated them.”

    • random person says:

      It’s easy to see what the Pechuro conspiracy teenagers meant when they said the Soviet Union wasn’t a dictatorship of the proletariat if we go and read Marx.

      This is from Chapter 27 of Capital, Volume I by Karl Marx.

      Communal property – always distinct from the State property just dealt with – was an old Teutonic institution which lived on under cover of feudalism. We have seen how the forcible usurpation of this, generally accompanied by the turning of arable into pasture land, begins at the end of the 15th and extends into the 16th century. But, at that time, the process was carried on by means of individual acts of violence against which legislation, for a hundred and fifty years, fought in vain. The advance made by the 18th century shows itself in this, that the law itself becomes now the instrument of the theft of the people’s land, although the large farmers make use of their little independent methods as well. The parliamentary form of the robbery is that of Acts for enclosures of Commons, in other words, decrees by which the landlords grant themselves the people’s land as private property, decrees of expropriation of the people. Sir F. M. Eden refutes his own crafty special pleading, in which he tries to represent communal property as the private property of the great landlords who have taken the place of the feudal lords, when he, himself, demands a “general Act of Parliament for the enclosure of Commons” (admitting thereby that a parliamentary coup d’état is necessary for its transformation into private property), and moreover calls on the legislature for the indemnification for the expropriated poor.

      https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Capital-Volume-I.pdf

      So, here, Marx describes how thieves can commit theft more efficiently if they organize to take control of the state apparatus to legalize their theft.

      If we study Roman history, we can see that the key element is to command the loyalty of the people with the weapons. Passing laws can be skipped as long as you have the loyalty of enough people with weapons, as well as an adequate general to command them. As Pompey is quoted as saying, “Do not quote laws at men with swords.” (In other words, what Pompey was doing was not moral, ethical, legal, socially acceptable, or even popular, but he nonetheless had the power to do it, because he had the loyalty of the men with the swords.) Incidentally, Pompey illegally raised his own private army at the age of 23. Passing laws is only necessary to the extent that the people with the weapons are loyal to the laws. And, as we can tell from studying not only Roman history, but history in general, the people with the weapons often aren’t loyal to the laws.

      Marx intended this as a critique of capitalism, and it’s basis in theft. However, it seems plain that Lenin and Stalin preferred to interpret it as an instruction manual on how to commit theft more efficiently. Since they acted the way Marx describes the capitalists who were more effective at committing robbery acting – using the laws as a tool to commit mass theft – we can conclude that Lenin and Stalin were capitalists who were exceptionally successful at committing theft.

  6. random person says:

    Continuing my reply to guest
    https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2020/10/bms-ep-152-the-coming-darkness-and-renaissance.html#comment-1996286

    Guest wrote,

    I can leave my current employer under free markets and work for someone else, which is why you don’t see large-scale slaughter and starvation associated with companies/corporations like you do with governments.

    When you aren’t allowed to leave your current employer and work for someone else instead, it is called s****ry or forced labor. Some people who wish to keep the term s****ry more narrowly defined may call some such cases, “other forms of unfree labor”, but if I understand international law correctly, now being allowed to leave your current employer and work for someone else instead is enough for the situation to count as s****ry under international law. (Some academics ignore international law insist that s****ry should be more narrowly defined.) Also, there are some cases, where a person may be allowed to leave his employer and work for another employer, but is still being forced to work, by means of violence, even if he is being given some limited choice on who he wishes to work for, and this can also be called s****ry or forced labor. (One example would be a certain type of vagrancy laws which made it against the law to be unable to prove at any given time that one is employed. Another example would be a head tax, where someone is required to earn enough money to pay the head tax, but not necessarily required to earn the money from a particular employer. Head taxes were used in a variety of colonies, perhaps most notably the Belgian Congo.)

    The international legal definition of s****ry, as established in 1926, is as follows,

    S****ry is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

    The Bellagio-Harvard guidelines attempt to clarify this by adding,

    In cases of s****ry, the exercise of “the powers attaching to the right of ownership” should be understood as constituting control over a person in such a way as to significantly deprive that person of his or her individual liberty, with the intent of exploitation through the use, management, profit, transfer or disposal of that person. Usually this exercise will be supported by and obtained through means such as violent force, deception and/or coercion.

    The term “control tantamount to possession” appears throughout the Bellagio-Harvard guidelines.

    Throughout history, people have been ens****d by governments, by corporations, by private individuals, and by people who don’t neatly fit into any single one of those categories. (For example, King Leopold II, who ens****d million of Africans under a brutal regime that killed about half of them, was arguably both a monarch and an entrepreneur. In addition to being King of Belgium, he also “served customers” by selling massive amounts of ivory and rubber – ivory and rubber obtained by means of forced labor of genocidal proportions.)

    For example, in the United States, prior to the U.S. Civil War, most ens****d black people were legally (but not morally) owned by people considered private individuals. After the Civil War, s****ry continued, but not by legal justification of ownership, but through various methods which still effectively placed people (usually black people) under the control of others. One such method was convict leasing, which involved passing ridiculous laws (e.g. making it illegal to use abusive language in the presence of a white woman), arresting people (usually black people) without any real evidence (many of the witnesses were paid), and then renting the people out to private individuals or corporations such as the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company, a subsidiary of the U.S. Steel Corporation.

    In “S****ry by Another Name”, Douglas Blackmon writes,

    On March 30, 1908, Green Cottenham was arrested by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, and charged with “vagrancy”.

    Cottenham had committed no true crime. Vagrancy the offense of a person not being able to prove at a given moment that he or she is employed, was a new and flimsy concoction dredged up from legal obscurity at the end of the nineteenth century by the state legislatures of Alabama and other southern states. It was capriciously enforced by local sheriffs and constables, adjudicated by mayors and notaries public, recorded haphazardly or not at all in court records, and, most tellingly in a time of massive unemployment among all southern men, was reserved almost exclusively for black men. Cottenham’s offense was blackness.

    After three days behind bars, twenty-two-year-old Cottenham was found guilty in a swift appearance before the county judge and immediately sentenced to a thirty-day term of hard labor. Unable to pay the array of fees assessed on every prisoner—fees to the sheriff, the deputy, the court clerk, the witnesses—Cottenham’s sentence was extended to nearly a year of hard labor.

    The next day, Cottenham, the youngest of nine children born to former s****s in an adjoining county, was sold. Under a standing arrangement between the county and a vast subsidiary of the industrial titan of the North—U.S. Steel Corporation—the sheriff turned the young man over to the company for the duration of his sentence. In return, the subsidiary, Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company, gave the county $12 a month to pay off Cottenham’s fine and fees. What the company’s managers did with Cottenham, and thousands of other black men they purchased from sheriffs across Alabama, was entirely up to them.

    A few hours later, the company plunged Cottenham into the darkness of a mine called Slope No. 12—one shaft in a vast subterranean labyrinth on the edge of Birmingham known as the Pratt Mines. There, he was chained inside a long wooden barrack at night and required to spend nearly every waking hour digging and loading coal. His required daily “task” was to remove eight tons of coal from the mine. Cottenham was subject to the whip for failure to dig the requisite amount, at risk of physical torture for disobedience, and vulnerable to the sexual predations of other miners— many of whom already had passed years or decades in their own chthonian confinement. The lightless catacombs of black rock, packed with hundreds of desperate men slick with sweat and coated in pulverized coal, must have exceeded any vision of hell a boy born in the countryside of Alabama—even a child of s****s—could have ever imagined.

    Waves of disease ripped through the population. In the month before Cottenham arrived at the prison mine, pneumonia and tuberculosis sickened dozens. Within his first four weeks, six died. Before the year was over, almost sixty men forced into Slope 12 were dead of disease, accidents, or homicide. Most of the broken bodies, along with hundreds of others before and after, were dumped into shallow graves scattered among the refuse of the mine. Others were incinerated in nearby ovens used to blast millions of tons of coal brought to the surface into coke—the carbon-rich fuel essential to U.S. Steel’s production of iron. Forty-five years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing American s****s, Green Cottenham and more than a thousand other black men toiled under the lash at Slope 12. Imprisoned in what was then the most advanced city of the South, guarded by whipping bosses employed by the most iconic example of the modern corporation emerging in the gilded North, they were s****s in all but name.

    Free markets should not be confused with capitalism. To study capitalism is to study the economy as it is, and has been for thousands of years, as we can tell from reading Marx’s Capital Volume I, Volume II, etc. Marx critiques historical developments in the history of capitalism. Since these historical developments often involve theft, forced labor, etc, he obviously isn’t critiquing a free market, unless “free market” is meant in ironic terms. (Irony being when you call something by it’s antonym, i.e. the opposite of what it actually is, and expect the audience to understand what you are doing.)

    Depending on context, “free market” might mean:
    a) a utopia, which has never existed on any large scale, although for all I know, it is possible it has existed on the village or tribal level
    b) some weird attempt to convince people that the world as it exists actually is this utopia (quite possibly by someone who really believes this)
    c) an unfree market, i.e. “a market in which those in power are free to do what they want, and everyone else isn’t”

  7. random person says:

    Ugh, sorry for bad formatting. Hopefully, this version is corrected.

    Continuing my reply to guest
    https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2020/10/bms-ep-152-the-coming-darkness-and-renaissance.html#comment-1996286

    Guest wrote,

    I can leave my current employer under free markets and work for someone else, which is why you don’t see large-scale slaughter and starvation associated with companies/corporations like you do with governments.

    When you aren’t allowed to leave your current employer and work for someone else instead, it is called s****ry or forced labor. Some people who wish to keep the term s****ry more narrowly defined may call some such cases, “other forms of unfree labor”, but if I understand international law correctly, now being allowed to leave your current employer and work for someone else instead is enough for the situation to count as s****ry under international law. (Some academics ignore international law insist that s****ry should be more narrowly defined.) Also, there are some cases, where a person may be allowed to leave his employer and work for another employer, but is still being forced to work, by means of violence, even if he is being given some limited choice on who he wishes to work for, and this can also be called s****ry or forced labor. (One example would be a certain type of vagrancy laws which made it against the law to be unable to prove at any given time that one is employed. Another example would be a head tax, where someone is required to earn enough money to pay the head tax, but not necessarily required to earn the money from a particular employer. Head taxes were used in a variety of colonies, perhaps most notably the Belgian Congo.)

    The international legal definition of s****ry, as established in 1926, is as follows,

    S****ry is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

    The Bellagio-Harvard guidelines attempt to clarify this by adding,

    In cases of s****ry, the exercise of “the powers attaching to the right of ownership” should be understood as constituting control over a person in such a way as to significantly deprive that person of his or her individual liberty, with the intent of exploitation through the use, management, profit, transfer or disposal of that person. Usually this exercise will be supported by and obtained through means such as violent force, deception and/or coercion.

    The term “control tantamount to possession” appears throughout the Bellagio-Harvard guidelines.

    Throughout history, people have been ens****d by governments, by corporations, by private individuals, and by people who don’t neatly fit into any single one of those categories. (For example, King Leopold II, who ens****d million of Africans under a brutal regime that killed about half of them, was arguably both a monarch and an entrepreneur. In addition to being King of Belgium, he also “served customers” by selling massive amounts of ivory and rubber – ivory and rubber obtained by means of forced labor of genocidal proportions.)

    For example, in the United States, prior to the U.S. Civil War, most ens****d black people were legally (but not morally) owned by people considered private individuals. After the Civil War, s****ry continued, but not by legal justification of ownership, but through various methods which still effectively placed people (usually black people) under the control of others. One such method was convict leasing, which involved passing ridiculous laws (e.g. making it illegal to use abusive language in the presence of a white woman), arresting people (usually black people) without any real evidence (many of the witnesses were paid), and then renting the people out to private individuals or corporations such as the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company, a subsidiary of the U.S. Steel Corporation.

    In “S****ry by Another Name”, Douglas Blackmon writes,

    On March 30, 1908, Green Cottenham was arrested by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, and charged with “vagrancy”.

    Cottenham had committed no true crime. Vagrancy the offense of a person not being able to prove at a given moment that he or she is employed, was a new and flimsy concoction dredged up from legal obscurity at the end of the nineteenth century by the state legislatures of Alabama and other southern states. It was capriciously enforced by local sheriffs and constables, adjudicated by mayors and notaries public, recorded haphazardly or not at all in court records, and, most tellingly in a time of massive unemployment among all southern men, was reserved almost exclusively for black men. Cottenham’s offense was blackness.

    After three days behind bars, twenty-two-year-old Cottenham was found guilty in a swift appearance before the county judge and immediately sentenced to a thirty-day term of hard labor. Unable to pay the array of fees assessed on every prisoner—fees to the sheriff, the deputy, the court clerk, the witnesses—Cottenham’s sentence was extended to nearly a year of hard labor.

    The next day, Cottenham, the youngest of nine children born to former s****s in an adjoining county, was sold. Under a standing arrangement between the county and a vast subsidiary of the industrial titan of the North—U.S. Steel Corporation—the sheriff turned the young man over to the company for the duration of his sentence. In return, the subsidiary, Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company, gave the county $12 a month to pay off Cottenham’s fine and fees. What the company’s managers did with Cottenham, and thousands of other black men they purchased from sheriffs across Alabama, was entirely up to them.

    A few hours later, the company plunged Cottenham into the darkness of a mine called Slope No. 12—one shaft in a vast subterranean labyrinth on the edge of Birmingham known as the Pratt Mines. There, he was chained inside a long wooden barrack at night and required to spend nearly every waking hour digging and loading coal. His required daily “task” was to remove eight tons of coal from the mine. Cottenham was subject to the whip for failure to dig the requisite amount, at risk of physical torture for disobedience, and vulnerable to the sexual predations of other miners— many of whom already had passed years or decades in their own chthonian confinement. The lightless catacombs of black rock, packed with hundreds of desperate men slick with sweat and coated in pulverized coal, must have exceeded any vision of hell a boy born in the countryside of Alabama—even a child of s****s—could have ever imagined.

    Waves of disease ripped through the population. In the month before Cottenham arrived at the prison mine, pneumonia and tuberculosis sickened dozens. Within his first four weeks, six died. Before the year was over, almost sixty men forced into Slope 12 were dead of disease, accidents, or homicide. Most of the broken bodies, along with hundreds of others before and after, were dumped into shallow graves scattered among the refuse of the mine. Others were incinerated in nearby ovens used to blast millions of tons of coal brought to the surface into coke—the carbon-rich fuel essential to U.S. Steel’s production of iron. Forty-five years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing American s****s, Green Cottenham and more than a thousand other black men toiled under the lash at Slope 12. Imprisoned in what was then the most advanced city of the South, guarded by whipping bosses employed by the most iconic example of the modern corporation emerging in the gilded North, they were s****s in all but name.

    Free markets should not be confused with capitalism. To study capitalism is to study the economy as it is, and has been for thousands of years, as we can tell from reading Marx’s Capital Volume I, Volume II, etc. Marx critiques historical developments in the history of capitalism. Since these historical developments often involve theft, forced labor, etc, he obviously isn’t critiquing a free market, unless “free market” is meant in ironic terms. (Irony being when you call something by it’s antonym, i.e. the opposite of what it actually is, and expect the audience to understand what you are doing.)

    Depending on context, “free market” might mean:
    a) a utopia, which has never existed on any large scale, although for all I know, it is possible it has existed on the village or tribal level
    b) some weird attempt to convince people that the world as it exists actually is this utopia (quite possibly by someone who really believes this)
    c) an unfree market, i.e. “a market in which those in power are free to do what they want, and everyone else isn’t”

  8. random person says:

    Guest wrote,

    [Blood Diamonds]
    Are Diamonds Really Forever?
    [www]https://mises.org/library/are-diamonds-really-forever

    The article you cite demonstrates the problem caused by assuming that only governments commit violence. With respect to Angolan diamond mining, Rothbard alleges, “Furthermore, the prospectors are being protected by a private army of demobilized but armed Angolan soldiers.”

    This strange notion has been thoroughly debunked. The armies of Angola – whether they are government armies, UNITA (rebel) armies, or private company armies, do not protect the civilians. There are multiple documents and documentary films attesting to this. UNITA slaughters and in some cases mutilates civilians. The government forces have also been documented to slaughter civilians. So have the private companies. It appears that there are some voluntary miners, but they are not being protected by UNITA or the government or the private companies, they are at risk of being slaughtered by UNITA and the government and the private companies. There are also cases of previously voluntary miners being captured and used as forced miners. And UNITA has been documented to recruit porters by force: it seems highly unlikely that UNITA is willing to used forced labor to recruit porters against their will, but is meticulous about only using voluntary labor at the mines they control.

    In “Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola”, by Rafael Marques de Morais, on pages 68 through 72, Morais details an incident in which the private security company Teleservice executed a diamond digger. The dispute was about whether the diamond digger, Kito Eduardo Antonia, should pay the guards up front front for access to the digging pit, or pay them after washing gravel. Kito didn’t have money, so he tried washing gravel with the intention to pay the guards later. They killed him for it. Other diggers told Kito’s mother what had happened. After Kito’s mother had spent three days searching for his body, the Teleservice guards admitted they had killed him, and claimed they were following orders.

    On page 62, Morais describes an incident in which several dozen Teleservice staff tortured 105 diggers. The diggers were tied together at the waist, and were each hit 50 times on the buttocks, 60 times on the palms of the hands, and 40 times on the soles of the feet. When Morais looked at them, at least one had a massive scar as the result of being hit with a shovel on that date. Others had machete wounds.

    Also, on pages 61-62, Morais describes an incident in which Teleservice staff and FAA (government) soldiers jointly tortured a victim. The National Police were also apparently present, and passive, refusing either to participate in the torture or do anything to stop it.

    Morais also includes accounts of forced labor. This one, from pages 50-51, stands out,

    In my second report, “Operation Kissonde: The Diamonds of Humiliation and Misery” from September 2006, I reported the murders of Zeferino Muassefo and Binoca Walikissa by a FAA corporal, on October 8, 2005. These two diggers were working on the banks of the Rio Lucola, Cafunfo, as forced laborers for Brigadier Simão Safa Cotripa, then commander of the Military Garrison in Cafunfo. He had seconded 12 soldiers from the Military Police to control the workforce in an area that had been “granted” to him by the local headman Kabundula, through Lieutenant-Colonel Cawanga. One of the soldiers, having confiscated a valuable diamond during the gravel washing of dug material, killed all of the diggers.

    On page 65, Morais writes,

    On December 5, 2009, an FAA patrol buried alive 45 alluvial diamond diggers who were working in a tunnel in the village of Cavuba, on the border between Luremo commune, 30 km north of Cafunfo, and Xá-Muteba municipality.

    Morais continues to describe and comment on the incident involving the murder of these 45 diggers by FAA (government) forces until page 68.

    • random person says:

      Also of interest is this document, dated 1994, from Human Rights watch.
      https://www.hrw.org/reports/ANGOLA94N.PDF

      From that document,

      We lived on the outskirts of Luena and UNITA found us in our homes on June 6, 1993. They then used us to carry weapons and food supplies. We became hungry and were not given any new clothing. All we had to eat was Nysima. At Rumbala we were told we would be given military training at Jamba so we could fight the MPLA. Brigadier Vicente of UNITA told us this. He is the UNITA commander for the region and has the reputation for organizing the war in the area. Local people warned us to try and escape because we would be killed at Jamba.

      We were marched with rope tied to each of our necks like a s**** yoke and were forced to walk long distances each day. At night the yoke was untied. One day when we woke up and went to collect firewood we decided to
      escape. We ran away.

      Also from that document, the testimony of Maria,

      UNITA forced us to carry weapons. If we refused we would be beaten or arrested. The UNITA police lived in a camp in center of town. They were well known. I was once kicked by them like a football when they thought I might try and escape.

      UNITA digs big holes in the bush and puts people in them who refuse to work for them. They kill people too. Soldiers take everything from us. Eventually I decided to run away to Mungu (Zambia) with my uncle after the elections, as things got bad. Commandante Nola is the senior UNITA commander in this area. But the real power is Vicente Viemba, No. 1. He obtains his orders direct from Savimbi. Anast·cio is No. 2 and Sangumba is No. 3. Vicente gives out orders, but never carries these out himself. In our area the chiefs and headmen have lost their power to the military. The military determine what happens. UNITA has its own witchcraft. Their healers live a privileged life compared with us and they give the soldiers powers through their potions.

      My family was ordered to build Vicente’s house for him [without pay]. It is in the middle of the camp surrounded by soldiers. They are located in different positions according to their rank and department. Vicente’s house had four rooms, made of wood, grass, and mud. UNITA has its politicians and party but the military is the power of Savimbi. They are the ones that live in comfort.

    • random person says:

      An excerpt from “Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola” by Rafael Marques de Morais is published here:

      https://www.sampsoniaway.org/blog/2015/06/15/excerpt-of-blood-diamonds-corruption-and-torture-in-angola/

  9. random person says:

    Even though I’m to tired to finish replying to you (Guest) for now, there’s probably one more thing I should add before going to bed.

    Guest wrote,

    Children, under freer markets could escape abusive homes by running away and working for all the various sweat shops that would exist, or running a lemonade stand without unnecessary work permits that police constantly shut down.

    Alright, I’m really sorry to have to say this. But, if you are you a child in an abusive home (or abusive school or whatever) who blames the government for your inability to be able to leave the situation… please tell someone you trust, alright? Like, don’t tell me (unless you trust me, which you probably shouldn’t because I’m just some random person on the internet to you),,, but try to think of someone you trust and tell them.

    I realize this is probably not the case, and you probably love your parents and don’t feel abused. And I don’t even know how old you are or whether you’re a child. And it’s not really any of my business.

    But about 15 years ago, a personal friend of mine, who was badly beaten as a child, and sexually molested to, went to an online forum and discussed children’s rights. She was viciously ganged up on my forum moderators who thought the idea that children “whose very nature is to be cared for” (according to them) had rights, ridiculed, lectured about the importance of disciplining children (which she interpreted as an endorsement of abuse, which, arguably, it was), and made to feel that she may as well be silent about the abuse she suffered, because she lived in a world full of people who endorsed it.

    It seems to me that she would have been less emotionally damaged by the incident if at least one of the forum moderators had had enough basic sense to realize there was at least a possibility that the reason she was so passionate about children’s rights, is that she was being abused herself, and at least had the courtesy and sensitivity to ask. None of them did.

    And so, out of respect for the memory of my friend, I feel I ought to at least consider the possibility that this is a very sensitive topic for you, and, if it is, let you know that I hope you open up to someone who is able to, at a bare minimum, at least offer a sympathetic ear.

    But at the same time, I want to assure you that I do not mean to insult your parents, if you love them and don’t feel abused by them, which I shall assume is at least probably the case unless you say otherwise. And considering your dislike of the government, even if you are being abused, perhaps it’s a teacher and not a parent anyway. And also, I do not mean to be so rude as to inquire about your age, and I realize I actually have no idea how old you are or if you are still a child.

    • random person says:

      had rights -> had rights was ridiculous

      Actually, the sentence was poorly written on my part. But the forum moderators thought it was ridiculous to think that children had rights.

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