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2012 September 02 Sunday
Hate Crimes Charges Pursued Against Amish Splinter Sect

The Amish guys from a splinter sect who were forcibly cutting the beards of more mainstream Amish are on trial for assorted crimes involving assault and also hate crimes. The attackers are being prosecuted for hate crimes.

The 16 defendants could be tried for simple assault without going into the fine points of what those on both sides call the Amish way. But to prove the far more serious hate-crime charges brought here by the United States attorney, Steven M. Dettelbach, prosecutors must show that religious differences drove the attacks. Groups from Mr. Mullet’s 18-family settlement near Bergholz, Ohio, are accused of forcibly shearing the beards and hair of perceived enemies.

The Amish Amish population doubling rate is 14 years. They demonstrate a problem with the rosy scenarios about human population growth will eventually stop and reverse. No, we can't count on fertility to continue to drop. Any group that resists modern culture and maintains a high fertility rate will eventually swamp the secularists who delay reproduction and have few kids.

If splinter groups like Mr. Mullet's start popping out kids at a faster rate than the Amish as a whole then we could find ourselves faced with a quite hostile and intolerant Amish sect.

So prosecutors have stressed the religious aspects of Mr. Mullet’s bitter feuds with critics and those who dared flee his settlement, and whom he accused of doing the Devil’s work. They have heard Amish describe how profoundly their self-worth is tied to their uncut beards — Mr. Mullet’s is a foot long — and hair. One of the forcibly shorn men, his wife said, sat through dinners holding his napkin over his chin.

To counter the hate-crime charges, defense lawyers have tried to focus instead on the personal grudges and family disputes that affected the choice of victims.

I am bothered by the idea that a criminal who hates their victim is worse than a criminal who does not hate their victim. What if the criminal is entirely indifferent to their victim and just enjoys watching people suffer? Might not be any hate involved. Or suppose a group of criminals wants to scare people out of pursuing some behavior due to a deep and strong belief the behavior is wrong. So the criminals terrorizes anyone who engages in the behavior. The terrorizing criminals need not feel any hatred toward their victims.

The mania to feverishly prosecute hate crimes seems like another madness of the Left. Hate crime prosecutions end up being more heavily weighted against out-of-favor groups while supposedly oppressed groups get off lightly. Hate crime prosecutions can turn too easily into tools to enforce an orthodoxy of beliefs and values. I'd prefer we come up with a different framework for talking about group crimes and organized terrorizing crimes that distinguishes between different kinds of threats in ways that do not run the risk of oppressing dissent or prosecuting some kids who don't have deep and abiding hatred but who expressed some epithets in a fight.

By Randall Parker    2012 September 02 03:40 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (8)
2012 March 19 Monday
Jon Hamm Sees Reality Stars As Idiots

Kim Kardashian? Paris Hilton?

The Mad Men actor referred to the reality star when he recently hit out at the cult of celebrity in an interview with April's Elle UK magazine, saying that it made ' f***ing idiots' like Kim and Paris Hilton into millionaires.

Hamm probably doesn't want the competition. But is Mad Men less harmful to the development of adolescent minds than reality TV shows? It has been too many years since I saw any TV show episode for me to judge.

Reality TV as "a sort of car crash sensibility".

'It’s a part of our culture that I certainly don’t identify with, and I don’t really understand the appeal of it other than in a sort of car crash sensibility,' he said.

I've only ever seen short excerpts of Jersey Shore in online videos. Not owning a TV I've gotten pretty insulated from what comes across on TV channels nowadays. But Jersey Shore's sensibility strikes me as aimed at people who already have impulsive simple minds. It is an unfortunate side effect of having many media channels that some can specialize in producing content that glorifies simple minds living impulsive lives.

We used to have more cultural gatekeepers. We still have such gatekeepers for political correctness (and said gatekeepers cause great damage by suppressing the truth about IQ for example). But we have gatekeepers where they do damage and we lack them where they would help. We really need gatekeepers for the cultural fare the media companies deliver to the dumbest and most impulsive. But such gatekeepers would reduce profits. So that's not going to happen.

By Randall Parker    2012 March 19 07:51 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (1)
2011 November 06 Sunday
Tyler Cowen: Individual Responsibility And The Left

Tyler Cowen points to a difference between the Lefta and Right on where they place individual responsibility and hard work in their value pecking orders. This is an area where I think the Left are just plain empirically wrong. If all of society placed individual responsibility first the society be far healthier than one where the Left's value pecking order was held by all.

I agree with most of Matt’s recent post, but one sentence struck me as noteworthy.  Matt writes:

I suppose I agree with Will Wilkinson about the importance of “an ethos of initiative, hard work, and individual responsibility” though I have no real idea why he thinks most progressives are against such an ethos.

I could write that sentence without the “I suppose”!  The final clause of the sentence I see as showing just how broad the perceptual gulf between progressives and conservatives/libertarians can be.

I would not quite say that progressives are “against such an ethos,” but where does it stand in their pecking order?  Look at fiction, such as famous left-wing or progressive novels, or for that matter famous left-wing and progressive movies.  How many of them celebrate “an ethos of initiative, hard work, and individual responsibility”?  Is there one?

Click thru and read the whole thing. Tyler makes excellent points.

By Randall Parker    2011 November 06 07:53 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (12)
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