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Jordan Peterson can’t see any holes in his argument

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But I can!

The Bible is true in a very strange way. It’s true in that it provides the basis for truth itself. And so it’s like a metatruth, without it there couldn’t even be the possibility of truth. And so maybe that’s the most true thing, the most true thing isn’t some truth per se. It’s that which provides the precondition for all judgements of truth. I can’t see any holes in that argument. And I can’t see any holes in it from a scientific perspective either, because I think we do know well enough now as scientists that the problem of deriving ethical direction from the collection of facts is an intractable problem.

Oh, yeah, the familiar is/ought problem. I agree with the last sentence above, but what I don’t see is Peterson’s solution. So we should derive ethical direction from a collection of contradictory, incoherent myths in a specific holy book? Why should I accept the precondition of the Bible’s rules instead of some other holy book, or instead of a framework of empiricism? That’s all he’s saying, is that ethical action requires a standpoint and a goal, but he doesn’t even try to justify the mish-mash of primitive ideas in the Bible as that good perspective needed to drive ethical behavior.

Why should I consider the ravings of a Jungian weirdo with bizarre dietary beliefs to be representative of a “scientific perspective”?

In his tweet, he seems to be claiming that “the west” should have a different precondition for truth than the rest of the world. Is this relativism? Or maybe it’s post-modernism. I have no idea what philosophical mumbo-jumbo he’s drawing this claim from — I think it might just be what you get emerging from a drug-addled, overly-entitled brain.

Nice suit, though. It drapes well even when its contents are empty.

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diannemharris
1 day ago
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Flying Kites with Simone de Beauvoir

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diannemharris
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popular
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jepler
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Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
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sness
8 days ago
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less than 3
milky way
tante
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Flying Kites with Simone De Beauvoir
Berlin/Germany

A tortured reading of the evidence

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We’ve got a thing . . . going on:

Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday expressed dismay at the recent leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade, comparing it to “an infidelity” and saying it has changed the culture of the nation’s highest court.”

The institution that I’m a part of, if someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone, you’d say, ‘Oh, that’s impossible. No one would ever do that.’ There is such a belief in the rule of law, a belief in the court, a belief in what we were doing that that was verboten,” Thomas said. “It was beyond anyone’s understanding, or at least anyone’s imagination, that someone would do that.”

It sure is terrible when people act the Supreme Court is just another political institution!

The comments from the 73-year-old justice were delivered at an “Old Parkland Conference” event sponsored by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute in Dallas. The remarks echoed those he had made earlier this month in Atlanta, when he said government institutions shouldn’t be “bullied” into delivering what some see as the preferred outcome.

Oh.

If I were an extremely lazy and hungover screenwriter, the next thing I’d have spew from my laptop would be something very much like this:

Thomas was interviewed by former law clerk John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, during a dinner event at the three-day conference focused on challenges facing Black Americans.

A war criminal of the highest degree interviews somebody who has dedicated his career to destroying every civil rights advance of the last 150 years, and what they’re talking about is internal institutional etiquette, because of course they are.

A rational system of decision making would require SCOTUS draft opinions to be published ahead of time, for public comment, like draft legislation, instead of our current obscurantist rigamarole.

Also too, what really matters right now is whether Clarence Thomas’s working environment is collegial enough for his tastes:

Asked by a member of the audience how Americans and Congress could better foster friendships despite differing ideologies, like the friendship between the late Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thomas replied, “Well, I’m just worried about keeping it at the court now. This is not the court of that era.”

Thomas, who was appointed in 1991 and sat on the bench with 1993 appointee Ginsburg for nearly 30 years, said, “We actually trusted each other. We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family, and we loved it. I mean, you trusted each other, you laughed together, you went to lunch together every day, and I can only hope you can keep it.”

A country club, if you can keep it.

“I do think what happened at the court is tremendously bad,” Thomas said. “I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them, and then I wonder when they’re gone or they are destabilized, what we’ll have as a country — and I don’t think that the prospects are good if we continue to lose them.”

I have to say I do agree with every single word of this.

The leak of the draft opinion is itself of course a trivial issue and a distraction, which I more than suspect was half the reason for doing it, with the other half being locking in the votes in the majority. Here’s an aspect of this particular little soap opera that I haven’t seen discussed: The venue that got the leak.

If the leak came from a liberal clerk or from one of the three non-reactionary justices themselves, it would be quite strange that it ended up going to Politico, rather than the Times or the Post, which would be the obvious places to place something like that. But if it came from a right wing source, Politico makes all sorts of sense. Unlike the Times or the Post, it isn’t a fetish object of generations of right wing obsessional hatred — the Liberal Media!!1!! — but it isn’t an obviously right wing publication either, which, from the perspective of a right wing leaker, makes it just about perfect.

Amidst the prime purveyors of savvy centrism is just where you would want to place this thing, if you were a conniving little fascist weasel, and that’s who I would put my money on in regard to the identity of the leaker, although I doubt we’ll ever find out one way or another.

In any case this is a stupid side issue which continues to distract from the real story, and yes I realize continuing to discuss it at all just helps some people play their little games, so don’t bother to point that out.

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diannemharris
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She would know

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Margaret Atwood on making Gilead real:

The Alito opinion purports to be based on America’s Constitution. But it relies on English jurisprudence from the 17th century, a time when a belief in witchcraft caused the death of many innocent people. The Salem witchcraft trials were trials—they had judges and juries—but they accepted “spectral evidence,” in the belief that a witch could send her double, or specter, out into the world to do mischief. Thus, if you were sound asleep in bed, with many witnesses, but someone reported you supposedly doing sinister things to a cow several miles away, you were guilty of witchcraft. You had no way of proving otherwise.

Similarly, it will be very difficult to disprove a false accusation of abortion. The mere fact of a miscarriage, or a claim by a disgruntled former partner, will easily brand you a murderer. Revenge and spite charges will proliferate, as did arraignments for witchcraft 500 years ago.

If Justice Alito wants you to be governed by the laws of the 17th century, you should take a close look at that century. Is that when you want to live?

The glories of “originalism!”

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diannemharris
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Sore Winners

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Clarence Thomas’s colloquy with John Yoo contained so many juicy mangoes that Paul’s post could not capture them all. For example:

“You would never visit Supreme Court justices’ houses when things didn’t go our way,” he said. “We didn’t throw temper tantrums. It is incumbent on us to always act appropriately, and not to repay tit for tat.”

Sure, conservatives might engage in widespread, sometimes violent resistance of a Supreme Court opinion, and somebody might get hurt or killed at a medical clinic in response to the decision the Court is about to overrule, but they wouldn’t hold a peaceful protest in front of the house of the country’s specialest snowflakes, and that’s what counts!

This argument I can only stare at in sheer awe:

He added that conservatives have “never trashed a Supreme Court nominee.” He acknowledged that Merrick B. Garland, President Barack Obama’s third Supreme Court nominee, “did not get a hearing, but he was not trashed.”

Leaving aside the fact that Sonia Sotomayor was most certainly “trashed” by Republicans with racist nonsense, Ketanji Brown Jackson was repeatedly charged with being soft on child porn by some of the smuggest phonies on the planet, the idea that it’s better to be denied a hearing at all than to have a hearing that results in your confirmation but also exposes you to criticism is just astounding. These people have 6 seats on the Supreme Court despite winning the popular vote once since 1988 and they are consumed with bitterness of how unfair the system is to them.

It also strikes me that Democrats can’t really be blamed for not choosing Supreme Court nominees who can be credibly accused by third parties of sexual harassment or assault, but anyway! The intelligence insulting will continue until morale improves:

Taking sides on a contested point, Justice Thomas said the Senate Republicans who blockaded Mr. Garland’s nomination were following a rule that President Biden, then a senator, had proposed, “which is you get no hearing in the last year of an administration.”

If only there were intervening events that would indicate whether Mitch McConnell was actually committed to this “principle”! Sadly, we’ll never know.

Oh, and remember when he blatantly perjured himself at his confirmation hearings?

On Friday, he said opposition to his nomination in 1991 was “by those people who were trying to keep me off the court over abortion.”

At his confirmation hearings, however, he said, to the astonishment of many, that he had never discussed Roe, even though it was issued while he was a student at Yale Law School.

Those people who thought Thomas was a liar sure like bad now!

Anyway, this is our present and foreseeable future — neoconfederate reactionaries imposing their unaccountable will on the public while resenting people for not loving them for it.

…Murc is exactly right:

I know precisely why these guys are sore winners.

The jurists who handed down the opinions and built the legal edifices undergirding modern civil rights that Thomas and his ilk are currently busy demolishing are basically renowned as titans. Some of them achieved that status even during their lives; I challenge you to find someone who was as beloved as Thurgood Marshall was when he died. Sure, there exists a powerful minority faction dedicated to undoing all their good work, but its just that; a minority faction.

The Federalist Society largely exists as a haven for those kooks and weirdoes who bitterly resent that all their law school professors keep saying that what I personally refer to as the Magnificent Seven (Brown, Gideon, Reynolds, Miranda, Loving, Griswold, and Roe) were correctly decided and that the CRA and VRA are entirely Constitutional. Those courts and that era are hallowed ground and are regarded as such in both the broader culture and the ivory tower.

Thomas and Alito et al. are not going to get that.

They are going to be regarded as vile, lawless traitors who destroyed their institution in the process of destroying the country. The broader culture has not, does not, and will not regard them as legal titans; it will regard them as vandals. Sure, a small cult will revere them. Much like Nixon, they don’t care about the reverence of a small cult. They want the country as a whole to turn to them and go “You were right, and we celebrate you for being right.” They want cultural acclaim. They don’t want to be yelled at and protested.

They know this, deep down. And it angers them, because they think they are owed. They did everything right and paid their dues and now they expect to implement their ideology and get the same acceptance of it their forebears did, because in their minds that is how it works. They are baffled that legitimacy and approval must be earned, because in their minds the things they’re destroying gained their legitimacy not from being manifestly correct, but because they were handed down by black robes and that MAKES them legitimate.

And to deny that feels to them like they’re being cheated.

Thomas and the other neoconfderate justices think they should be as venerated in the broader culture for destroying the Voting Rights Act as its contemporaneous supporters were for creating it, and they also know deep down they never will be. History will treat them like it treats Roger Taney, and that they seem to have some awareness of this is pretty much the only consolation I can take from the immense wreckage they’re inflicting on the country.

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Other Rights the Supreme Court Will Get Rid of Because They Aren’t Deeply Rooted in History and Tradition

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“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions.” — Justice Samuel Alito.

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In keeping with the logic used to strike down Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is also doing away with the following, non-deeply rooted rights.

The right to contraception. Virtually unthinkable when the United States was founded, the right to copulate recreationally—and not specifically to bear children—shall be overturned, unless an influential Republican lawmaker’s mistress needs Plan B.

The right to indoor plumbing. James Madison shat in a pot and so will you.

The right to check your email. The bizarre technology we know as “electronic mail” would have been utterly foreign to the Founding Fathers. (Note: The same goes for the rights to watch Netflix, drive automobiles, eat Funyuns, play electric guitar, and consume any pornography that does not involve detailed etchings of goats.)

The right to buy a machine gun without a background check or anything. The historical jurisprudence around gun ownership shows broad, bipartisan support for meaningful gun control that deviates radically from the far right’s current—just kidding, the court’s not doing jack shit about this.

The right to attend desegregated schools. Okay, so the likeliest outcome here is that the court will continue to whittle away this right without straight-up overturning Brown v. Board of Education. It’s complicated, so let us explain. On the one hand, any constitutional scholar could tell you that Brown was very much not in keeping with the original intent of the Fourteenth Amendment’s framers, but rather an activist recognition of a previously denied right. On the other hand, none of the conservative justices want to be known as “that prick who overturned Brown.” Not even Gorsuch. Weird, we know.

The right to live in Wisconsin. Sorry, but nowhere in the Constitution does it say the word “Wisconsin,” nor does it reference the cheese hats they wear to signal that it is time to mate, so these rights are now void.

The right to go about wigless. You have to wear a wig now, understand? People were wearing them left and right in the 1700s, so you have to as well. Those are the rules. Do wigs itch? Probably. Do they look good? No. Are they expensive to maintain? Almost certainly. But John Adams wore one, so here we are. (You should probably also get smallpox or fleas or something, just to be safe.)

The right to same-sex marriage. You better believe they’re coming for this one—less because of a strict constructionist philosophy, and more because the conservative justices have always wanted to live in Saudi Arabia without the hassle of moving there, y’know?

The right to dance to “Hey Ya!” at your cousin’s wedding. Article IV of the Constitution clearly states that Outkast’s 2003 mega-hit is wholly inferior to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” while the landmark Supreme Court case Kevin’s Drunk Best Man v. The DJ Kevin Hired (2009) held, five to four, that it’s also worse than “Mr. Brightside,” depending on the night’s vibe.

The right to live a happy, dignified life in which you’re secure in your bodily autonomy, where you can make your own decisions about your health and well-being without interference from an unelected judicial body that quotes—literally quotes—a dude from the 1600s who sentenced women to death for, we shit you not, fucking witchcraft. Yep, gone.

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diannemharris
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hannahdraper
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Washington, DC
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