Discussion in 'Politics, Etc.' started by Waterd, Dec 18, 2014.
That video was succinct, and very easy to understand. Though I did watch it at 1.5 speed because he talks too slowly for my taste.
Here's my summary:
Young people have it very rough in the current economic climate.
Blacks, women, LBTG and so on can all (validly) blame their minority status for this. Does not solve the problem, but at least they don't feel shitty about themselves so much.
White males find it hard to blame anyone but themselves because everyone keeps telling them that they should be successful, which is very uncomfortable.
The real reason they are getting screwed is the establishment, the ultra-powerful lobbies, and capitalism in general: All of the people in power have no interest in improving the lives of the lower 80% of the population.
Everyone wants to find an identity, especially young people. That's how nationalism happens: People join a cause, because that's just appealing.
Side-note: You can find that behaviour anywhere, and the famous article by Ars Technica on fanboy-behaviour has a nice gaming-related take on it.
Gamergate was a bunch of white boys making up a reason to pretend to be oppressed, to deal with the stress above, and look for an identity. I don't assume they did it consciously. They fully believe they are oppressed, but belief does not make truth.
Trump capitalised on this by positioning himself as anti-establishment.
People believed him for lack of alternatives (this has been said in this very thread by Trump supporters), not because he's any good.
The abomination that is /r/the_donald is chock full of racism.
Racism is a big thing right now. The world has gotten very complicated, and very difficult in the last twenty years.
France: Le Penn is running on a platform of nationalism and racism, and she is doing so well she will probably win in a couple weeks.
Racism is a great easy explanation for all problems.
Are any of my points here contentious? I'd say the range from trivially obvious to at true for a majority of the people involved. If you think I make some claim that's not obviously true, please call it out, and I'll either explain or fix. I did keep it a bit simple for brevity's sake, so please don't nitpick needlessly.
I would question, on the "Blacks, women, LBTG and so on can all (validly) blame their minority status for this" claim, the actual validity.
The "real reason they are getting screwed" claim is not well supported.
Regardless, the overall point that European and American culture is terrible at handling personal identity seems pretty strong.
It's unclear just how big of a thing racism is right now. I don't know a lot about the France or England situations, but it's not at all obvious that Trump's win was primarily or even largely attributable to racism, and I doubt there was much of a link between GamerGate and Trump's win. I think it likely had more to do with people in the rust belt worrying about jobs. He told them he was going to fix things, and they believed him.
Disclaimer for Keith et al: I'm not denying that racism is a thing. I'm saying I don't know how prevalent it is.
I am skeptical of such easy answers. Things are usually not so simple. I'd point to this as the most obvious example of a thing that is neither "trivially obvious" nor "true for a majority of the people involved" nor anywhere in between. Perhaps you didn't really mean that racism easily explains all the problems though?
If you're feeling bad about your life, and you are part of a minority that still suffers from very broad and open discrimination , it's easy to use this as a scapegoat , or even to define your identity through it .
 Are they discriminated against? Of course. In any Muslim country you risk to be outright murdered, in Russia you're committing a crime, and even in the most modern countries you can barely get married (but often with a worse deal than the real marriages). Did you know that Alan Turing, the inventor of the computer, killed himself because he was forced to take hormone pills to stop him from being gay? That was in 1954, in the UK. We're not talking ancient past history here, at all. In the US, the prison population is predominantly black. Why? It looks like discrimination at the very least.
 Even if these claims to being oppressed were not true, they are so widely believed and so easily supported with evidence that it is easy to take refuge in the knowledge that you're the underdog. When people say dumb shit like "check your privilege", the core of the message is correct: I was born to a higher middle class family, as a white male, I got into a good uni without trying hard, and so on. That's an incredibly privilege compared to someone being born to a poor black family. I can't really say I'm the underdog, because it's just not true: I have to deal with the fact that everything is my fault when the shit hits the fan, of find a scapegoat.
 Do gay people take their sexual orientation as a point of identity? There are gay rallies. Gay parades. Gay colours. Clearly that's a thing. Anything can be turned into an important part of one's identity, and being gay or black is certainly a big one.
I think I was wide enough to be truthful. It's just too unlikely that the lower 80% of all people are lazy welfare leeches. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that all but a tiny tiny tiny minority of humans (let's say 0.1%) love to do something with their life, especially if they see it as meaningful and interesting. Even if only one of these is true, the vast majority of people are still fine with it. Maybe being a night-guard at a hospital is very boring. But you can bet your arm that when that guy helps to save somebody's life at the ER on a hectic day, he will (rightly so) think his job has meaning. On the opposite spectrum, making art (and game design) has zero to no practical value at all (sorry Keith ), and yet people do it with infinite passion. In the end, if your job is neither meaningful nor interesting, then of course you'll hate it. That's human nature. And here comes the kicker: These jobs are not necessary, because we just established that they completely meaningless! It only exists because the system requires everyone to have a job, therefore everyone makes damn sure they can have a job, no matter how stupid it ends up being.
In the end, if it weren't for capitalism, this would be completely different. I'm not even saying it would always be better! All I'm saying is "human nature + capitalism = unhappy 90%". I don't think this is very contentious at all. This problem is getting worse quickly, due to robots and globalisation.
What I meant to say: When you can explain stuff with racism, everything seems to make sense at first glance. Why are the black people in jail? - Because they are bad people! Solved! Next! - It's wrong, but it's EASY. This is also human nature: We're tribal by nature. We will always think in "us vs them". Humans will always be racists, unless educated.
I completely agree, as does the video. We both did the opposite: We argued why the gamergate dudes are behind Trump, even if their number isn't very significant.
Oh, this makes more sense. Sorry I misunderstood you.
If someone's using their race as a scapegoat, doesn't that by definition mean that they're putting more blame on it than is valid?
Why do people choose to take the characteristics they think are most likely to attract prejudice as the important parts of their identity if they have a choice? This seems especially counterproductive for the Bi and Trans crowd because their minority status wouldn't be obvious otherwise.
I don't understand how you get from "people want to do something interesting and meaningful" to "the real reason they are getting screwed is the establishment". I agree that some government policies are problematic for young people, but it's not clear those are the problem.
Imagine that Christians were suddenly oppressed, because for example the white house declared that being a Christian is a felony. Would you go and protest, or would you pretend to not be a Christian? Chances are high you'd take the former stance, and spend more time than now loudly declaring you're part of this group. Again: It's human nature to stand your ground. It's rational, but not normal, to give up and change who you think you are, to conform better. (Not that people don't do that if they have to, but read what I just wrote: Do you really want to give up a part of your own identity because some asshole made a law against it? Fuck no.)
There's really no other explanation. When you can't find a job that's meaningful, but you absolutely need a job, then the underlying economic system is preventing you from being happy, because it puts a burden on you that you cannot solve. There are two outs here:
1. You find a job that's meaningful and interesting. Good luck, the corporations have no incentive to offer these jobs to you, so they don't. In fact they profit if they keep you on a short leash.
1.b: You can become self-employed. That's even worse! Now you're in competition with every single other bastard on the planet.
2. You don't need a job for some reason. How is that supposed to work? Basic Income? Sure, but that's not a capitalist idea at all. Welfare? Nope, not capitalist either. Kill yourself? Technically that works, and we have high suicide rates in highly competitive market places. Go figure.
Solution  is non-capitalist. The only way we can say: "Capitalism is not a problem" is if we can find a way inside this system that makes  true for every person. Do you think this is possible?
Worded differently: The reason people are unhappy is because the have to make a big effort to get a job, and take any job, no matter how much they hate. Why do they need to get a job? Because that's how capitalism works. And now imagine you're an average 5/10 person, your parents never paid for your college or uni, and now you're looking for a job while unqualified, in a market where you have to compete with the whole planet. Of course you're going to end up poor and unhappy! So how much of a fringe case is that? I'd guess close to half of the US is in that spot, because by definition, half of the population is below average for any bell curve, and human skill, brain power and talent is certainly on a bell curve.
Minorities don't generally get to decide this. If you're with your same-sex partner or you don't "pass", then that's going to be the only important thing in a lot of situations whether you like it or not. Your suggestion is not 'don't emphasize it' like you probably think, it's completely denying that identity. Not only is it a shitty thing to ask people to do, it's literally harmful in lots of cases (trans people suffering dysphoria most obviously).
The self-emphasis of identity is usually part reaction to external emphasis of it and part attempt to normalise and/or reclaim it. Of course, lots of people do their best to minimise or hide their identity still. Presumably those that don't have a better idea than you or I as to whether it's worth any increased prejudice from visibility, I suggest you talk to them to find out.
I would probably go underground.
This isn't as hypothetical as you might think; Christianity has institutional memory of many cases where it has been declared illegal. In each case, it secretly survived in the area. It's currently officially illegal in North Korea and unofficially subject to ethnic cleansing in several Muslim countries.
On the other hand, in several cases outlawing Christianity has led to widespread revolts, so YMMV.
Oh, when you said 'the establishment' I thought you meant the government and other powerful institutions, not the underlying economic system.
The underlying capitalist system inherently accepts some amount of unemployment, roughly 3-4%, as the cost of carefully matching people to jobs. People are free to turn down or delay employment while they shop around for better offers. This rate could hypothetically be driven downwards by systematic changes.
Conversely, what I thought you were saying is that the government makes some jobs illegal or economically discouraged. This certainly happens in some cases - ask any registered sex offender with a teaching certificate. But it isn't necessarily the cause of specific unemployment.
Case 1 is common. Corporations mostly pay people for doing work that is meaningful; after all, if the work didn't mean anything to the corp, they wouldn't pay someone to do it. They also have an incentive to make the job interesting because it means they can get away with paying slightly less and need to spend less effort hiring and training replacements.
Case 1b is an excellent solution to establishment driven unemployment, though not structural or market unemployment, because it lets the worker bypass most of the establishment. A self-employed worker need not worry about being discriminated against by their employer, nor about most aspects of employment law. Worth only $8 an hour as a worker but living in a $10 minimum wage area? Work for yourself and book the income as profit rather than wages. The downside is usually lower individual productivity.
Case 2, withdrawing from the economy, is possible in a capitalist system provided the government allows it. It implies becoming subsistence farmers who make almost everything they need themselves and barter for the rest. In developed countries, it's generally a bad option compared to the global marketplace, but in badly mismanaged economies it can become an attractive option.
Somehow I missed this. Should be good!
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