Monday, February 08, 2016

NARAL is Foolish to Criticize the Doritos Ad


As a centrist, I object to extremism on either end of the spectrum.  As a cheerful person, I object to humorlessness, particularly about minor things.

Therefore, I was doubly sorry to see that NARAL Pro Choice took to the public tweet-waves to criticize a silly Doritos ad that played during the Super Bowl.

The ad showed a man casually eating Doritos during his wife's ultrasound examination.  They discover that the baby responds to the Doritos being waved near the mother's belly.  When the mom, in disgust, brushes the Dorito away, the baby leaps to being born in order to chase it.  As I said, silly.

NARAL, though, chose to make the silly, and very wrong-headed complaint that showing a baby reacting thus through ultrasound is "humanizing fetuses."

They have come in for richly deserved scorn, even from people, like me, who support the legal option of abortion.

Friday, February 05, 2016

A Better Measure of Authoritarians Supporting Trump


Jonathan Haidt and Emily Ekins report the results of a survey of the moral concerns of voters who support different presidential candidates. This survey draws on Haidt's Moral Foundations Theory, which I have written about several times

The whole article is rich on many candidates.  Here I want to lift up just one sentence: 

Voters who still score high on authority/loyalty/sanctity and low on care — even after accounting for all the demographic variables — are significantly more likely to vote for Donald Trump. These are the true authoritarians — they value obedience while scoring low on compassion.  

There was on another point that caught my eye on the Democratic side.  Bernie Sanders supporters scored highest on the classic liberal virtue of care for the vulnerable.  They were also surprisingly strong in supporting individual liberty - young libertarians went for Sanders more than any other candidate except Rand Paul.  "Meanwhile, Moral Foundations do not significantly predict a vote for Hillary Clinton; demographic variables seem to be all you need to predict her support (being female, nonwhite, and higher-income are all good predictors)." 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Trying to Figure Privilege and Hard Work


I teach about privilege in most of my classes.  In talking about privilege, students always want some credit for their own or their ancestors' hard work.  This is fair enough.

I am working on a table showing how to think about the relation of privilege and hard work.

This is my half-baked idea.  Comments welcome.



Hard Work
Privilege

+
-
+
Most Power
Low Status
-
High Status
Pity

Friday, January 29, 2016

Young Adult Dystopian Fiction is How Millennials Are Preparing for War


The forces who want the next big war get louder each day.

Young adults are preparing themselves by absorbing story after story about kids being called on to fight a great evil and save the remnant of civilization.  Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Divergent, The Fifth Wave, and many more show the huge market for this fantasy.

The good thing about these stories is that they prepare young people to fight heroically for the right.

The bad thing is that they build the presumption of a coming war for civilization into the taken-for-granted background of our lives.

Howe and Strauss' generation theory predicts a "Crisis of 2020" or thereabouts, when the generations align to produce a major crisis.  The initiative for the war would come from the aging Baby Boomers.  But the people who would do the brunt of the fighting would be Millennials.  And the Millennials seem to be mentally preparing themselves for war.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hilary Clinton's Reticence About Discussing Her Faith is Common to Mainliners


Hilary Clinton was asked at a town hall meeting to talk about her Christian faith.  She gave a solid answer, typical of mainline Protestants (she is a Methodist).

My study of the Bible, my many conversations with people of faith, has led me to believe the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do, and there is so much more in the Bible about taking care of the poor, visiting the prisoners, taking in the stranger, creating opportunities for others to be lifted up, to find faith themselves that I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith.

There is the Methodist Social Creed (1908) in a nutshell.  

Her last point, though, also shows why mainliners are reluctant to wear our faith on our sleeves, for fear of unjustly imposing it on others.  "My study of the Bible ... has led me to believe ... [in helping others]  to find faith themselves [such] that I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith."  For those without ears to hear, this seems as if mainliners do not act on their faith.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Millennials Trust CNN the Most for News; Rush Limbaugh the Least


A nifty Pew survey about where Millennials get their news found that their most trusted sources for news were CNN (the only one trusted by more than half), followed by ABC, NBC, CBS, and the New York Times.

The bottom of the list?  Sean Hannity, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, and, at the very bottom, Rush Limbaugh.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Ark Park Decision is Bad for Christian Honor


When Answers in Genesis, the Christian ministry behind the Creation Museum, proposed a Noah's Ark theme park, they promised that there would be no religious test to work there.  On the strength of that pledge, Gov. Beshear promised tourism tax credits.

Both the ministry and the government acknowledged that if employees had to proclaim AiG's specific brand of Christianity, the deal would be off.

Then the ministry broke its word, and quietly required a religious test for employment.

Governor Beshear, therefore, cancelled the tax credits.

Inconsistent with the honor one might expect of a Christian ministry, Answers in Genesis sued for the tax credits.

Surprisingly, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Ark Park.  I think this is a bad decision in law.

But even worse, I believe, is the Ark Park bringing the suit, and accepting money from all the taxpayers while excluding some from employment.