Re: South-East Asian City-State X, Or, A Place That Does Not Resemble Trenton, At All, For Reasons Which You Will Discover Soon, Gentle Reader

1

Damn, will this post please make up its mind about whether or not it wants to exist?


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
2

Ah, there it is!


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
3

Yeah that's what I was thinking when I read the shorter post, that based on what I know of you from your various internet personae and based on what I know of Narnia from second-hand accounts (other than C.S. Lewis'), I could picture you there way more easily than in the midwestern US other than Fargo.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
4

Meanwhile, here in the Midwestern CollegeTown, the farmer's market has beets and sweet corn!


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
5

Yeah, that's nice, but can you do this?


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
6

to 4: meanwhile meanwhile, I went to the tekka wet market today and bought beets, corn*, okra, curry leaves, cleaned lotus root, chokos, litchee, californian sugar plums, japanese cucumber, indian mangoes (2 varieties), garlands of jasmine and marigolds, and a kilo of tiger prawns.
*the corn is not as good as hermit greg's corn. fuck, OK, the beets are probably slightly less good as well. however, I call "winter", infinite no backsies. advantage: narnia.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
7


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
8

Nice, except now you need to delete 7.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
9

6: I still foolishly believed that my local farmer's market was winning until I read "a kilo of tiger prawns."

Fuck. Narnia sounds rad. But hey, we've still got The Man Cannon!


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
10

dude, I've caused enough confusion. it was funny that I thought, shit, I better close that tag with a new comment, and then, heyyyy, I can, like edit comments and stuff. I don't have all the admin privelidges Standpipe Bridgeplate does, but still.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
11

For some reason I keep reading "S-EAC-SX" as "SEA-TAC".


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
12

Plus, my corn and beets were grown by the Amish.


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
13

I keep reading it as [BUTT]S-EAC-X.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
14

(Sigh. Alas, it is true that "plus," isn't only a minimal plus when juxtaposed with "winter.")


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
15

Yeah. Living in [GOAT]S-EAC-SX is better than in a midwestern college town. Probably better than most of California, too. UCLA and Berkeley are one thing, but I'm not sure that living around UCSD would be an improvement over what you've got now. It's a lot further away from Bali, too.


Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
16

What's the language issue like? I know English is the business lingua-franca, but I don't know if that works socially, or at the kid level. Are the kids picking up the language of Archenlandsia, or does it just not come up much?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
17

Shorter alameida: SEACSX is very different from the stereotype of it that exists in most of the rest of the world, particularly the U.S.

And, speaking as another content resident of SEACSX, I think she is absolutely right. As best I can tell, the vast majority of citizens are very happy with a social contract that delivers a vastly higher standard of living than in surrounding countries at the cost of certain restrictions on civil liberties. The difference in personal safety -- particularly for women -- between SEACSX and the US really is striking.

One thing I would add is that, if the sanitized nature of the place gets you down, it is easy to take a trip to somewhere with more edge. A cheap two-hour flight can put you in any of six other countries.

And the food really is excellent.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
18

Sure there's good food, but how are the transexual prostitutes? Does their quality compare to that available in the US?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
19

I just want to vote for Mega-City One as the best modern paraname (pseudonym?) for NYC. Slightly Orwellian, but mostly Awesome.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
20

16: English is the official language, and almost everyone speaks it. Various other languages are widely spoken: particularly dialects of Mandarin, Malay, and Indonesian.

17: There is occasionally a problem with assuming that you can understand/be understood by someone just because you are speaking the same language; it doesn't always follow. This may be a particular danger when conversing with trans-sexual prostitutes.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
21

20: 17 s/b 18.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
22

17 - Doesn't she exactly recapitulate the American stereotype about the place, but say that's it's not that bad?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
23

What happens if the well-meaning mandarians of Narnia start to become utterly corrupt bastards, as has happened in Calormene and some of the other countries near to Narnia? (I even hear that Archenland's got that problem, somewhat.) I guess that's my problem: the social contract isn't. It's more like working for a company where the CEO is a great guy, or living in a late medieval European monarchy under a good king. It's great until it's not, but whether it is or not is out of the hands of citizens and foreigners alike. If the next heir to the throne is a syphilitic monster, the kingdom goes to hell. If the next CEO is a spendthrift maniac or an incompetent, everyone loses out as the company goes under. If the benevolent technocrats of Narnia slowly metamorphosize into the cronyist raid-the-treasury princes of Calormene, then everything goes to shit.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
24

23: I was wondering about that. I don't know if there's any way to tell ahead of time about what would happen in such an event -- whether Narnia would go from benign to malign tyranny, or whether the gov'ts slide to malignancy would trigger a loss of power, because countervailing forces (no, I'm not sure what they would be) would cease tolerating the tyranny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
25

Isn't 23 the case no matter what form of government you have?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
26

6: Okay, so I concede the prawns and the winter. But in the Midwest, if you can't get a press to publish your novel, you can start your own vanity press!

23: If the next CEO is a spendthrift maniac or an incompetent, everyone loses out as the company goes under. If the benevolent technocrats of Narnia slowly metamorphosize into the cronyist raid-the-treasury princes of Calormene, then everything goes to shit.

The distinction between the possibility of this in Narnia and U.S. presidencies is so far eluding me.


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
27

like working for a company where the CEO is a great guy

For example, suppose you liked America under the Clinton administration.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
28

Beat to the punch.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
29

See, there's a theory of the US constitution, a theory that prevailed until the 1950s or so, under which Burke's comment would have made sense.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
30

If the benevolent technocrats of Narnia slowly metamorphosize into the cronyist raid-the-treasury princes of Calormene, then everything goes to shit.

Singha! Singha! Return to us in our time of need!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
31

25: And ogged joins mcmanus's team. Pseudo-comity!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
32

Are there some barricades I can watch on TV? I'd be up for that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
33

I can vouch for Narnia International Airport. Best airport of its class (Class IV: Shit That Was A Long Flight Class) in the world.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
34

How is it that no one has mentioned the humidity? For me, that would be the hardest part of living in S-EAC-SX.


Posted by: interabang | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
35

I would think the humidity makes SEACSX much better.


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
36

What? Humidity is awful.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
37

30: He is not a tame lion. Wait, are we talking about the same Narnia? The one where a proud, swashbuckling talking mouse will be my friend?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
38

37: I thought he was talking about beer, but I think that comes from Calormene.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
39

I've been to SEACSX, and, unlike most other places in SE Asia, I have no need or desire to return. Far too antiseptic.

Because I'm a (Canadian) criminal lawyer, I like to check out court houses when I travel. I stopped in and watched the tail end of a double murder trial (after his statements were ruled admissible - surprise! - he entered a plea pursuant to a plea bargain to 2 counts of manslaughter, so I stuck around for the sentencing). The court setting was very much like I'm used to in Canada - even the submissions on sentence...*except* when they were arguing over strokes of the cane.

It was pretty clear that there was a prior agreement of an 8 year sentence, and the only issue was strokes of the cane. Before the guy entered his plea, there was an inquiry by the judge to ensure it was voluntary and that he understood the consequences. As part of that inquiry, he was warned that he faced a maximum of life in prison, and *34* strokes of the cane. Clearly this is something they have measured to a T.

In the end, the judge gave him 6 strokes of the cane in addition to 8 years. When I was chatting with the defence lawyer later, he was pretty bothered that he hadn't won the argument on the strokes of the cane.


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
40

Things that are bad:
1. Genocide
2. Humidity


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
41

Couple other points...

Yeah, there's Singha beer, but it's damn expensive (as is any other intoxicating liquor there). And it is a shame there are no other available intoxicants...it is the one place in SE Asia I wouldn't risk it anyway.

This tells you what you need to know about the level of oppression in SEACSX: there's a sign warning you when you enter the subway that all persons and all bags are subject to being searched at any time for any reason...then, when you are riding the subway, they have these public service signs showing some swarthy suspicious arab-looking guy sitting conspicuously on the subway with a big bulky bag in front of him, with the rest of the passengers looking warily at him. The point of the sign?

BE THE FIRST TO REPORT HIM!!


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
42

Dictators are awesome.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
43

This is how expat English aesthetes felt in Mussolini's Italy, before the war started.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
44

I think S-EAC-SX highlights some of the importance in instilling a philosophical/principled bias towards political liberty in the people of a country -- because it's possible to have an extremely unfree society in which the vast majority of people are not practically terribly inconvenianced by their lack of freedom.

It's kind of like the warrantless wiretaps here in America -- it seems like the average citizen has (correctly!) determined that the odds of their being wiretapped are extremely low, and that even if they were wiretapped, probably the person doing the tapping would basically just say, "Huh, okay, this guy's boring" and that would be that. Surely fewer than .1% (probably more like .001% or .0001%) of everybody would have any kind of direct injustice perpetrated on them by a well-run technocratic police state such as S-EAC-SX. And .0001-.1% isn't much of a constituency for change.

Second or third order effects probably inconveniance greatly more people, but aren't very visible.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
45

41: This tells you what you need to know about the level of oppression in SEACSX

Well no, it tells you almost nothing about the level of oppression in SEACSX, actually. Also, I'm prepared to bet that there is way more racial profiling in NY subway searches than in SEACSX.

44: YMMV, but I don't think SEACSX is an "extremely unfree" society. Some freedoms that exist in the US do not exist here (notably freedom of speech and freedom of assembly). But it is not a place where there are armed police/military on every corner, or where people are scared to criticize the government in public conversation. And it doesn't have the surveillance systems of the United Kingdom.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
46

For what it's worth, even though I have a US spouse and I viewed the US as home for a very long time, I am -- quite seriously -- much more nervous these days about being illegitimately detained when I travel to the US than when I am in SEACSX.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
47

After your comments on this thread, I don't blame you. Comrade.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
48

I thought he was talking about beer

Beer. Magical lions. Either will do in your time of need.

This is a very sweet ad encouraging GLBT openness in SEACSX, but the stylized "asian epic" look of the ad, the Kitaro-esque soundtrack, and the slightly pidgin subtitles makes me laugh every time I watch it.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
49

I like it when the trains run on time, too, and a competent dictator seems a lot better than what we have now in the US, but...

Freedom of speech should never be underestimated as a basic human good. The main value of free speech is not that I can call Bush an incompetent dictator. (Notice how much good it does me.) The core advantage is the one Mill described as the opportunity to engage in "experiments in living." Why does SEACSX have tranny prostitutes? At some point people were allowed to experiment with their sexuality, and they found that weird intergender shit was good for them, and society found that there were ways of letting that go down without bothering anyone else, etc.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
50

highlights some of the importance in instilling a philosophical/principled bias towards political liberty in the people of a country

Or, alternately, what I take to be Alameida's point, which is that while there's nothing at all wrong with being adamant about the importance of political liberty above all else, there's equally nothing wrong with feeling that law and order are more important than absolute political liberty.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
51

Why does SEACSX have tranny prostitutes? At some point people were allowed to experiment with their sexuality, and they found that weird intergender shit was good for them, and society found that there were ways of letting that go down without bothering anyone else, etc.

Is this being proposed as a successful experiment in living? Being "allowed" to prostitute oneself because that makes it okay to be transgendered in a way that doesn't bother anyone?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
52

Strange...when I got a similarly upbeat picture of SEACSX from Husband X at UnfoggeDCon, I smiled and made agreeing noises, in part because I just wanted to hear more.

But now that I'm on the internet, I'm feeling...argumentative! Because of the magic of blocking nonverbal paths of communication, I feel a strong urge to quote passages form *On Liberty* at great length! Also give examples of how ~free speech --> environmental degradation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
53

B: I was more focussed on the "letting people be trannies" part than the prostitution part, although it seems to be that you have allowed in the past that prostitution can be a benign practice in the right circumstances.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
54

50: I got Alameida's point. What I'm saying is, I think it's easy for it to appear really nice and copacetic because Alameida is not personally noticeably inconvenianced by lack of political liberty (particularly as an ex-pat, as noted in the post proper), but to have that system hang on a lot of injustice to a small minority.

Of course, that's hypothetical. Maybe there isn't a lot of injustice to a small minority. But if there was, how would Alameida know? The victims are definitionally not free to call attention to the injustice that they experience.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:35 PM
horizontal rule
55

What I'm saying is, I think it's easy for it to appear really nice and copacetic because Alameida is not personally noticeably inconvenianced by lack of political liberty (particularly as an ex-pat, as noted in the post proper), but to have that system hang on a lot of injustice to a small minority.

I think she implies this in the post.

Also, the difference with this country is what, exactly? The minority is not very small here?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
56

The city-state is the ideal state of its kind -- in other words, it can only get worse. On the one hand, it's been growing continuously more prosperous all along. On the other, it's long-time philosopher king was an extremely impressive guy. With a major economic downturn or other major shock while the government is in the hands of non-philosopher kings, it could get pretty nasty.

Political participation is effectively very limited in the city-state, as is political speech, as are a lot of other rights we take for granted. Of course, none of this bothers anyone personally until it affects them directly, and the people affected are mostly people we don't know and wouldn't know.

The city-state philosopher-king was at one time holding his little nation up as a model for the world, claiming that ideas like "democracy" and "rights" are western constructs. The leaders of the PRC, Malaysia, Iraq, and Iran were most sympathetic.

When someone says that Western Democracy is at risk, the city-state is where they should look. Iran and Iraq were never very attractive alternatives, but the city-state is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
57

Is the thesis of this post "I have good reasons to prefer living in SEACSX over a small US college town" or "SEACSX is a great place for everyone and other countries can learn a lot from it"?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
58

55: The difference with this country is getting smaller, day by day. But, you know, that's why we need to do things like restore the right of habeas corpus and in other ways put transparency into government dealings, so that someone who's the victim of injustice can call people's attention to it (and, honestly, despite recent events, there are still ways that many if not all victims can call attention to injustice, and they have been operating in the last few years).

After the transparency issue, then you have the following issue of getting the 99%+ to care about the suffering of the 1%-, which is, obviously, not a minor problem. But you can't even start to solve that if you don't have sufficient political freedom to see the injustice in the first place, and then advocate for a change.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
59

This thread is pretty distressing. The city-state is Scalia world. We can have it here, if we want. We may get it whether we want it or not. It amounts to the return of absolutism, and I'm shocked at the blase attitude. (Yeah, the city-state is not necessarily worse than what the US is becoming, but that's hard;y a defense of the city-state.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
60

53: In the right circumstances, no doubt. But I don't think that "you people are freaks and should be jailed, but we'll let you serve as a safety valve for the unsavory elements, b/c after all we don't value you very much, and from your pov that's better than being flogged and thrown in jail" is really the right circumstances.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
61

It's a little tough for me to believe that Emerson is the person that I agree with most on this thread.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
62

One reason food safety and other environmental conditions have gotten so bad in China is that people who blow the whistle on dangerous industrial practices can be totally shut down by local party officials in the name of preserving order. SEACSX may be squeeky clean now, but who knows what hazards my be lurking in your kilo of prawns that no one knows about because there is no free press to investigate.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
63

A great man once said, "Give me Liberty, or give me death!"

I'm with him, at least to the extent "death" means "walking on moderately unsafe streets".

Granted, I'm a man and I have no kids, but having spent some time in small, antiseptic, white-bread, midwestern towns, I vastly prefer the grit and grime of the big cities, including all the freedoms and dangers that come with them.


Posted by: A. Chandler Moisen | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
64

I don't disagree with Emerson. I'm just saying let's not throw stones until we've put some plywood up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:49 PM
horizontal rule
65

I blame Sifu for my "it's".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
66

Wait, B, I wasn't defending SEACSX on this policy or any policy. I was trying to illustrate the value of experimentation. Really the relevant experimentation here occurred in very free times in free countries, like the US in the 60s and 70s, the Netherlands, etc.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
67

65: that's a loan. I'll need it back.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
68

I have to go to class. I'm going to ask Roger Ames if SEACSX is a good example of Confucian practice in the modern world.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
69

59: I think the blase attitude isn't so much blase as it is liberalism in the good sense of the word. I, personally, would be pissed if someone wanted to turn this country into Narnia--because as an American I value political liberty very highly. But I'm not unaware that political liberty is mostly something that is mostly used by a small educated class, and I'm not unwilling to acknowledge that different countries have different systems, which involve different tradeoffs.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
70

Rob, there's a symposium Tu Wei-ming participated in on that very question. Tu pretty firmly resisted the pressure to declare the city-state to be the Confucian model for the ages. The symposium was obviously set of for that purpose.

69: "Good sense" S/B "bad sense".

Thinking of SE Asian transvestites as wonderfully liberated is really obtuse. Large parts of the world have always had weird pariah groups which played strictly coded roles in the society. Transvestites have been among them. Often these were enforced roles you were born into or sold into. It wasn't part of a menu of options for everyone to choose from. (It's quite possible that the Thai trannies are slaves).

The tranny issue is just one more example of the disastrous result of trying to interpret non-American or non-contemporary realities in terms of the American issue du jour.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:02 PM
horizontal rule
71

Bad sense? It seems to me that unless we want to continue waging wars in the name of Freeing People From Dictators We Don't Like, we should deal with the fact that (American-style political) Freedom isn't the only possible or legitimate way to run a country.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
72

50:

what I take to be Alameida's point, which is that while there's nothing at all wrong with being adamant about the importance of political liberty above all else, there's equally nothing wrong with feeling that law and order are more important than absolute political liberty.

Is that Alameida's point? I'm often not sure she has a point, but rather tend to assume she's throwing something out for discussion. Whatever.

Rob Helpy-Chalk, I'm glad to see you!

So. Is there really an emergent discussion here about whether the curtailing of political and civil liberties makes for a better society?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
73

I can't tell if 72 is meant to be a response to the statement of mine it excerpts, or not.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
74

72: No. B's opinions can be fairly right-ish (probably not quite the right word) from time to time, and I think it just sort of shocks people. I trust we all prefer liberty to not, and don't like (and are suspicious) when govt asks us to trade liberty for security.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
75

74: I said explicitly that I prefer (political) liberty to, say, the freedom to walk anywhere at 3 am without being a little anxious. And I am, indeed, suspicious that the (US) government has been asking us to trade (political) liberty for security (from terrorism).

Have I now reestablished myself as a Decent Person?

I hope so, because I will be away for a while.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
76

This discussion is somewhat crazy. It's not like SEA city state x is the only example of a society where illiberal governance has been attempted. It is like Signapore is close to the only example of where they've had reasonably good results. The fact that they've worked, to whatever degree they have, in the one case under discussion can't possibly be a reason to ignore cases where they've failed when assessing whether the system in SEA city state is better than alternatives.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
77

71:

two completely different questions:
1) is "(American-style political) Freedom the only possible or legitimate way to run a country"?

2) should we "continue waging wars in the name of Freeing People From Dictators We Don't Like"?

on 1) I'm inclined to think that something like American style political freedom, while not the only way to run a country, would be a huge improvement for most countries in the world today. If, magically, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Pakistan and, yes, Iraq, could have been transformed overnight into American style democracies (or lets say: democracies with constitutions of some Anglo-American stripe, in which the constitution was actually respected as it was in our youth), then this would have been a miraculously good thing for the citizens of those countries.

on 2). Look, trying to make this happen by bombing people was always a stupid shit idea. Always and so obviously a stupid shit idea that the fact it produced a catastrophe in Iraq really tells us very little about the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the American system vs. the Iraqi system vs. the Narnian system.

so i think the move from "wars are bad" to "so let's be relativist about political structures" was kind of a non-sequitur.

but have a nice lunch, anyhow.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
78

76 ignores the example provided by mediaeval Florence.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
79

The city-state is Scalia world. We can have it here, if we want.

I don't think it is, and I don't think we can. The city-state is a small, highly educated place with a significant concept of the public good (or so I am let to believe). None of those things are true either here or Scalia-here.

On the larger point, I understood alameida to be saying, the city-state is a fine place for her to be, and finer than say Fayetteville, AR or even Lincoln, NE. She enjoys its merits, probably won't suffer its demerits, and as a noncitizen has a legitimate reason to feel irresponsible for its immoral behavior.

One wonders if those of us who are Americans unhappy with the USA's policies at the moment might be happier if we thought the same about our own country. We'd have to tweak it only slightly, as to point 3: if we voted against and don't approve of current policies, we are in no position to shift them until November 2008, and we can feel legitimately irresponsible for them. Perhaps in fact some people -- baa, for example -- feel this way, and that's why he's so cheerful.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
80

78:

oh, you mean Fiorenza?

(this is the thread about pretentious euro-trashery, isn't it?)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
81

I wonder, since Turin is now Torino to English-speakers, will Florence become Firenze?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
82

72: Our history has been an ongoing discussion not so much about whether the curtailing of political and civil liberties makes for a better society, but which liberties we should agree to curtail, under what circumstances, and by how much. The 18th Amendment was an experiment in this, one that we ultimately decided was a failed experiment. Current laws that ban smoking in many public places are another such experiment, one that seems more likely to endure.

74: I trust we all prefer liberty to not, and don't like (and are suspicious) when govt asks us to trade liberty for security.

But aren't laws against smoking in public places an example of us willingly trading liberty for security? Sure, we are trading away what I as a non-smoker consider to be a very trivial liberty, but is it not ultimately the same thing?

My point is that, yes, we all love liberty, but we're not all Libertarians. There's no way I'm giving up my right to criticize the government, but I'd willingly give up my right to own an assault rifle.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
83

Basically, for liberalism to exist it has to be more than just an option or a personal taste. This is sort of funny, because that's what Strauss and Schmitt said in 1932 -- liberalism was no good because it was incapable of defending itself.

I was not proposing that we bomb the city-state in order to liberate it. Movement has been in the opposite direction for quite some time now. I'm just saying that if we want their system here, all we have to do is nothing.

I'm not confident that Alameida really knows what the locals think (I don't believe that she claims to). I lived in Taiwan in 1983, when their not-terribly-harsh dictatorship was just starting to lose its grip, and people there did not confide in you quickly. Furthermore, the people I'd ever know there were from a very narrow sliver of Taipei society -- I was in no position to find out what people were thinking in the blue-collar neighborhoods or the middle-sized cities.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
84

74: Hm. Okay, thanks.

Threads here recently have coalesced around the predominance of violent, criminal behavior in the US. Addressing that in terms of a curtailing of liberties is entirely wrong-headed: it's a function of economic insecurity.

I have absolutely no idea what the economic spectrum looks like in SEACSX.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
85

83:

two things about being an ex-pat

1) the foreigners you meet in foreign-land are typically unrepresentative. after all, something has brought them into contact with you, alien invader. still, it's hard not to talk to random foreigners in your place of temporary exile and think you're getting insights into the culture. (In its extreme version, this is known as "Tom Friedman's Disease", and generally strikes in taxi-cabs).

2) you yourself are almost certainly a wholly unrepresentative sample of your home country, since, otherwise, what the f are you doing over there instead of staying home in nebraska. and yet...time and time again you will be taken as a stand-in for the average american, no matter how many times you explain that you were an outlier and an outcast since youth. get used to it, and wear that cowboy hat with pride. then take it off before the plane lands in houston.

weird dynamics.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
86

I wonder, since Turin is now Torino to English-speakers, will Florence become Firenze?

Torino, my ass. Ever seen a pic of the Shroud of Torino?

It's the one with a spooky image of a muscle car.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
87

I lived in Taiwan in 1983, when their not-terribly-harsh dictatorship was just starting to lose its grip, and people there did not confide in you quickly.

I don't know the history well, but this may have been when they were still holding political prisoners in Green Island.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
88

This thread reminds me of an enjoyable conversation I had with American Husband X and Helpy-chalk in DC. AH-X made the point that Slol makes above, that BUTTSECX only works because of the limited number of political constituencies and the substantial agreement between them, i.e., it works in virtue of its differences with the US.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
89

While I agree that unfreedom along the axes on which Narnia is unfree is a very bad thing, there's a real point that while that sort of unfreedom can, and often is, associated with concretely bad conditions for the citizens of the country, it doesn't have to be. Narnia can be both profoundly unfree and a rather nice place to live.

This isn't a reason to stop advocating freedom, but recognizing that there are two separable issues here can be important, as in the run-up to the Iraq war, where the fact that Iraq was ruled by a nasty totalitarian dictator was treated as equivalent to stating that it was such an ongoing nightmare for its citizens that burning them alive was doing them a favor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
90

What's with all the euphemisms? I note that nobody in the whole thread has called the place by its real name. (Only one reference to "Signapore") What's the deal?


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
91

What's with all the euphemisms?

We're following the lead of the rosy-toed post author.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
92

91:

oh.

I thought we were talking about Narnia.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
93

I like the idea of autocracy, in which we hope that the autocrat is a philosopher-king. Ideally in a land the size of the US there would be maybe 100 autocracies; at any given time a large fraction of these autocracies would have wise and civic-minded leaders; and if we lived in one where the crown was handed over from a philosopher-king to his son Dick Cheney we could easily move to another one which would be more congenial. The trick here is that we would have to be able to easily leave one of these countries if we wanted to. This would provide an incentive for the ruler to not create mass famines and redirect tax revenues toward his 450,000-bottle wine cellar.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
94

89: Meandering thread. There are more than two separable issues here: somewhere along the line the discussion turned to whether totalitarian dictators should be overthrown.

Is anybody really claiming that unfreedom that results in law'n'order is dispreferred to freedom that results in chaos? Serious question.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
95

92: Shh! Alameida doesn't want it widely known that she's really C.S. Lewis.

Oops.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
96

So is there any specific reason for not using the real name, or not? Is there fear that Alameida will be dragged away by the Narnian secret police if we call the place by its real name? Or that they'll cut off her internet access, or something?


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
97

94:

eh. i don't think i have an answer until we get down to cases and amounts. how much chaos, how much unfreedom, etc.

till then, it's a serious question, but an underspecified one.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
98

Further: Will my comment be deleted if I say "Singapore"?


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
99

I'm sorry Ned, but I'm standing next to McManus on the barricades before I let your philospher- kings parcel out the US into their various fiefdoms. Creaky as it is, I still prefer our repesentative democracy.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
100

This thread has been horribly fucking depressing. You people are exactly the reason why President Clinton is still going to be torturing people four years from now.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
101

Democracies are good too, but they limit the amount of initiative the government can have. A country the size of the US divided into a couple dozen democracies with free emigration between them would be pretty efficient. I hear they have one of those in that other affluent continent.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
102

no, no--c.s. lewis doesn't want it widely known that he has rosy toes.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
103

Will my comment be deleted if I say "Singapore"?

Why would you start using a term everyone else is avoiding? We do it to keep Alameida from turning up in any google searches that someone might do on her real name.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
104

Plus, how do you know she isn't talking about Brunei or Macao?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
105

I was actually wondering about the Narnia thing myself. The rosy toed Alameida is pseudonymous only to hide from googling RL family, not to conceal her identity from Unfogged readers, and the risk that someone would google [Narnia] and find this page seems to be zero. So I think that was all comedy rather than caution, but there might be some reason for the caution I can't figure out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
106

101. Isn't that called Federalism? Abolish the federal income tax and we return to that blessed state. It is harder for some people to move from Mississippi than you think.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
107

I thought the references to Narnia were to the political system of the actual Narnia, whereas the references to SEATACBUTTSEX were to Si/ngapore. You mean "Narnia" also means Sing/apore?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
108

That's my understanding, hence my reference to the peninsula of Archenlandsia at whose tip Narnia is located.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
109

A country the size of the US divided into a couple dozen democracies with free emigration between them would be pretty efficient. I hear they have one of those in that other affluent continent.

Hmm, what would we call such an arrangement? Maybe "the Confederate States of America?" Or that other term suggested in 106.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
110

I think federalism was a great idea. It leads to less of a winner-take-all society, it reduces the barriers to entry in political matters, it lets governments experiment with policies more easily. (laboratories of democracy or whatever) It doesn't work if some people are unable to move from state to state because, for example, they are chattel slaves.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
111

I have avoided using the true name of the city-state because I have a healthy respect for its secret police. Our rosie-toed one has said only good things about the place just now, but any publicity at all would most likely be a bad thing at this point.

Efficient autocracies use repression very frugally, but they can be extremely harsh.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
112

105, 107: It's kind of irritating to attempt to have a discussion of S/ingapore without ever saying its actual name, especially when the alternatives are clunky acronyms or utterly randomly-chosen replacement nouns that refer to other, fictional places. I'm kind of skeptical of the notion that Unfogged's internet power is so mighty that a single non-googleproofed mention of "S/ingapore" would reveal the poster's identity to the tiny handful of people who don't already know who she is, but whatever.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
113

But we call the opponents of the US Constitution Anti-Federalists!

More seriously, federalism and (con)federations are not necessarily the same things.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
114

I was thinking that the avoidance of the real name of S-EACS-X was comedy. Shows what I know.

I am kind of curious whether anyone could come up with a particularly compelling moral argument against the secession of one or multiple US states, in the absense of a horrible practice like chattel slavery, given the peaceful desire to secede clearly expressed by a supermajority of its people.

Or, in other words, suppose that California held a referendum, and 80% of the population wanted to secede so that the feds would stop busting medical marijuana users. The plan would be to allow easy emmigration of anyone who wanted to be a USAian, dual citizenship for the remainder, the return of all mobile parts of federal property, and a negotiated purchase of any bits of federal property (like land) that couldn't be repatriated. I presume that the majority of people in the other 49 states would want to bomb us back to the stone age for our hypothetical temerity, but is there any kind of good argument for why you should be able to?


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
115

Re: the crime issue...

Yeah, SEACSX is safe and crime free. I had no concerns about walking anywhere at any time of night. That being said, being the antiseptic city it is, there isn't much going on late at night.

More importantly, I had no concerns about walking around any other major city in SE Asia at night either (although being a 6'1 caucasian may have something to do with it). Bangkok, KL, Malacca, Penang, Phnom Penn, Bali, etc...I found no appreciable difference in my comfort level at night (although during the day, in a crowd, I might put my hand in my pocket over my wallet); indeed, the only difference with these cities at night is that they, as opposed to SEACSX, are cities with something going on at night.


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
116

114. Different question, but what if your referendum was from a non- CONUS state? Are there any members of the Hawaiian Royal family around, or enough blood for a legit claim?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
117

48, that ad *is* sweet, and also cheesy-awesome. REPLENISH THE INSUFFICIENT is my new motto, almost but not quite displacing MANDOM.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
118

I've heard that one night in Bangkok makes the tough guys tumble-- true?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
119

119: I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
120

Are you sure this isn't a sting? Let us know your gay thoughts, so we know where you are. (kidding)


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
121

Why would you start using a term everyone else is avoiding? We do it to keep Alameida from turning up in any google searches that someone might do on her real name.

Well, I didn't mean to be an asshole (if that's what I was being) - but I'm not sure I understand how that works, given that Alameida's real name isn't being used here, as far as I can tell from my perspective of not knowing what her real name is.

Beyond that, having done a google search of "[Narnia]" and "Alameida" comes up with numerous posts from the archives where Alameida herself, or others, calls the place by its real name. So things really aren't very google-proofed at all.


Posted by: John | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
122

So Alameida doesn't really live in Narnia??


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
123

116: Not sure why continental status would be relevent. California was a republic before it was a state, so we have a history of sovereign status, and, w/r/t the Hawai'ian royal family, screw monarchies.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
124

No, they're not, and it's not a big deal, I was just criticizing you on principle.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
125

I don't think California was recognized as a republic, rather than called that by some guys, not entirely sober, in Sonoma for a few days in 1846.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
126

Is it true that the whole town's made of iron ore?


Posted by: A. Chandler Moisen | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
127

Listen to Emerson people. This city state talk is fucking nuts.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
128

125: Fair enough. We could vote to rejoin Mexico (I presume they'd probably take us), if prior sovereignity is the issue. Or, you know, Hawai'i, with its screwed up monarchy, or why is prior sovereignty an issue, anyhow?


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
129

I was just criticizing you on principle.

That principal being: Ogged is absolute ruler, and can enforce any arbitrary standard he pleases. Visitors to unfogged must be willing to overlook tyranny, sure, but it's an orderly place and transexual prostitutes are treated well.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
130

83: Of course liberalism has to be more than just a personal taste. But I'm not as comfortable as it seems many of you are with say, KB's statement that
I'm inclined to think that something like American style political freedom, while not the only way to run a country, would be a huge improvement for most countries in the world today.

I mean, of *course* we're inclined to think that--we're Americans, and despite our knowledge of the ways in which our *own* system doesn't work and/or disenfranchises a lot of people, we think (on balance) it's a good system. I'm willing to grant credence to A's claim that most Narnians think theirs is a good system, as well--having never been there myself and knowing very little about the place beyond the occasional headline about the poor American tourist/student who got thrown in jail and caned for having a joint on him (or whatever). Plus, the specific political/ethnic/historical/blahblah situation of any given country is, well, specific: American-style political freedom, I suspect, might very well fuck up the situation in places with different histories than our own.

Anyway, I don't see what the point is of saying "interesting post, but of course dictatorship is Wrong." Which no one's said *exactly*, but which seems to kind of be the gist of most of the comments in this thread.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
131

78: I just got home and am just checking up on the internets, but I hope it's not too late in this thread to note that medieval Florence--pardon me: Firenze--sucked. Not necessarily more than a lot of other medieval Italian cities, to be sure, and probably much less than a good many other places of the time, but still: suckitude. These guys were bigger on the whole "shooting your enemies in the street" thang than on enlightened despotism.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
132

I would very much like to live in a city-state of swashbuckling talking mice ruled by a philosopher king by the grace of a leonine savior.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
133

131: Perhaps, but the interior decorating couldn't be beat.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
134

I agree with 132.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
135

Interesting post, but of course dictatorship is Wrong.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
136

Seriously, B., the vigor of your opinions is matched only by their randomness.

I don't see any way to draw a line and say "that wouldn't be good for us, but maybe it's good for them". The Narnians aren't as strange and different as all that (highly educated population, the official language and the legal tradition are English), and neither are we.

The Narnian example is a very powerful one, and it meshes neatly with Federalist Society / unitary executive vision / law-and-economics / technocratic ideas. So when you think about Narnia, you really have to think about it as a live possibility.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
137

In any question of this sort, there's the factor that if what's being traded isn't worth much, then the trade-off is an easy one to make. For example, millions of Americans are perfectly will to trade away Anglo-American traditions of due process for foreign civilians captured in a war in exchange for some modest increase in security. And it doesn't have to be much of an increase to be a good deal to people for whom those traditions are worthless.

Similarly, I could live in a place that's safe to walk about, but has no significant nightlife, after midnight: easy trade for me, as I'm not particularly interested in nightlife, but do go for walks late at night. Ask me how little I'll take in exchange for giving up the right to smoke cigarettes in bars.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
138

For example, millions of Americans are perfectly will to trade away Anglo-American traditions of due process for foreign civilians captured in a war in exchange for some modest increase in security.

But those people are wrong, and bad Americans.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
139

137: I'll give you a shiny new dime and the right to snort "Filthy junkies!" at huddled, miserable smokers standing on the sidewalk in the rain.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
140

Jesus fucking Christ, please stop referring to Singapore as "Narnia."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
141

Much as I have libertarian ideals and roll my eyes at anti-smoking legislation and whatnot, I think that there's a difference in kind, not just degree, between "the right to smoke at bars" and "the right to form an opposition political party," or "the right to know what crime you're detained for," or "the right to a speedy trial," or "the right to face your accusers."

Rights which affect your ability to participate meaningfully in the political process stand apart from rights which affect your freedom to do whatever you want, if for no other reason than that if you can participate in the political process, you can advocate for your other rights.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
142

141 -- Well, to those of use who use, or imagine using, those rights, they're precious indeed. There are plenty of people for whom 'the right to form an opposition party' is much less important than the right to smoke in a bar. And there are people who don't imagine themselves ever snatched and sent to Gitmo (or the brig in Charleston), and therefore don't give two figs about people who are.

I'm not disagreeing with 138, but find it heartening how many people, now that they've had a little more time to reflect, think the trade-off was a bit of a rip-off.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
143

140: The whimsy burns, eh?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
144

There are plenty of people for whom 'the right to form an opposition party' is much less important than the right to smoke in a bar.

I think that's right, and I think that's the most depressing thing I've learned in the last six years. Just...I don't even know. I wouldn't have thought myself naive before. I would have thought myself pretty cynical. Now I think that there was something fey about my cynicism.

And there are people who don't imagine themselves ever snatched and sent to Gitmo (or the brig in Charleston), and therefore don't give two figs about people who are.

I'm not sure I care much about the people snatched up. (Not a good thing.) I care a lot about the people doing the snatching, though, and the people sanctioning the snatching, because I have to live with them.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
145

I kind of like the right to determine, through a relatively open political process, what laws and regulations govern the use of cigarettes.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
146

143: This isn't whimsy; it's just a twee sort of "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named"-ism. If I say "S/ingapore" three times fast, will the Candyman jump out of a mirror?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
147

Or, you know, an attempt to follow ala's lead, motivated by a strong desire to protect ala's privacy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
148

I don't see any way to draw a line and say "that wouldn't be good for us, but maybe it's good for them".

Easy. The line is where my own country's national border intersects my knowledge and lack thereof.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
149

Does that go for all manner of rights?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
150

Don't tangle with the Very Angry Commenter, Tim.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
151

142: Well, I guess my point is that regardless of what value a particular person puts on a particular right, I think that rights which govern one's ability to participate in the political process are of a different character. Not just less or more important (some non-political rights might actually be super important, like, I dunno, right to healthcare), but different in ways that are outside the realm of subjective evaluation.

Mostly, I just think that putting the smoking stuff on the same spectrum as the freedom of speech stuff is a logical error.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
152

145 nails it. If you don't have rights like the right to form an opposition party, the right to free speech, habeas corpus, etc., it doesn't matter whether or not you get the freedom to smoke in a bar (or safe streets, or whatever), because you have no say whatsoever over whether or not the freedoms you have get taken away from you.

The idea that basic human rights are some sort of opulent luxury that can be just as easily traded for, say, tighter security or cleaner public streets, is exactly the kind of idea that's going to occur to someone who has never actually been threatened by the loss of their basic human rights. It's all well and good to sit from the comfort of a reasonably affluent home in America - or, for that matter, a reasonably affluent home as an expat in S/ingapore - and blithely talk about how swell life is for the folks living under a nice dictator, and how basic liberties don't have to matter so much after all (different strokes for different folks!), but it's a lot different to make that claim as someone about to be hanged to death for drug possession.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:37 PM
horizontal rule
153

149: Most of the stuff I get up in arms about is stuff I know something about, as it happens.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
154

S/ingapore

s/b "SEACSX."


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
155

it's a lot different to make that claim as someone about to be hanged to death for drug possession.

Okay, fair enough. What about as the mother of someone shot by drug deaing gangsters, like in the other thread? Not that I know what the woman's political opinions are, but just for the sake of argument.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
156

150: Don't piss me off, Ogged, or I'll lick you next time I see you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
157

Isn't 69 liberalism in the bad sense of the word, the kind of liberalism that is so broad-minded it won't take its own side in an argument? If S/ingapore is okay, then liberalism itself is wrong.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
158

Don't piss me off, Ogged, or I'll lick you next time I see you.

I meant the other Very Angry Commenter, you narcissist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
159

155: Drugs should be decriminalized in the U.S. That America is shitty in lots of ways is a reason to make America better, not a reason to praise S/ingapore - or, for that reason, to make America worse (by making it more like Singapore - in this case, by instituting even more draconian anti-drug laws).


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
160

Oh. Well, I don't care of Stras licks you or not.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
161

158: Apparently "angry" here means "holds opinions which do not perfectly harmonize with those of Ogged's." (ex.: "Why are these feminists so angry?")


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
162

Even I think that's untrue. And not just because Ogged tastes like chicken.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:51 PM
horizontal rule
163

No, stras, "angry" means "written by stras, b, or kotsko."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
164

See? It really is all about me. Okay, and Stras and Kotsko. Goddamn interloping men.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
165

163: Six of one, half a dozen of another.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
166

I kind of like the right to determine, through a relatively open political process, what laws and regulations govern the use of cigarettes.

Sure, when you are living in or thinking about your own country. Visiting Canada? Easy to trade-off.

There are people who are more-or-less just visiting the US, although they're citizens here, inasmuch as their participation in the polity is so insignificant.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
167

126: No. I disrecommend getting your information about such matters from Mr Waits.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
168

I totally agree with Epoch. Political rights are not on the same level as smoking rights, partly because there's no such thing as a smoking right. I feel more or less the same about tranny rights and prostitution rights. It's like people interpret fundamental rights on the continuum of fun things and desirable consumer products.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
169

I'm a total liberal universalist type. But of course authoritarian regimes vary quite a lot--as far as how illiberal & authoritarian they are, and as far as general quality of life. You don't have to have doubts about liberalism to prefer a given illiberal city-state to a given midwestern college town. I'm sure I'd prefer living in Singapore to some places in the U.S.; I'd prefer vacationing in China to vacationing in Tulsa. The Turkish gov't still tortures Kurds and prosecutes writers for talking about the Armenian genocide, but that didn't really affect me while on vacation in Istanbul, & I'd rather live there than Anchorage. etc. etc. Political liberty is incredibly important but it's not the only important thing. And Alameida doesn't even have to really give it up, since if she ever does get the uncontrollable desire to start her own party, she can leave.

That's entirely different from concluding that Singapore's model is just a different, equally valid "social contract" in which security has been traded for liberty. Leave aside the canings and drug laws for a moment--I don't really understand how you get from restrictions on the press to safe streets at 3 am. What's the causal mechanism there?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:21 PM
horizontal rule
170

The line is where my own country's national border intersects my knowledge and lack thereof.

Ignorance is no excuse.

Narnians are not strange people. At worst they're authoritarian, socially conservative yuppies, much like people we all know.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
171

I totally agree with Epoch.

Did I mention what incredible cognitive dissonance this is causing me? I'm supposed to be the libertarian that you disdain!


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
172

And if we're not calling Singapore may I suggest Giuliana.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
173

See, I think that's problematic. Smoking rights per se, yes; I'll grant you that those don't matter. Tranny rights? Prostitution rights? Much less clearcut, because the rights to sexual deviance are about behavior *and* identity (as, to be fair, are the rights of addicts generally speaking, a lot of the time).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
174

B, do you shut your eyes when you reach into the opinion bag and grab one?

It was a long and difficult process by which any political rights or civil rights at all came to be possessed by any but the top 5% or so of the population. Extending these rights also to sexual minorities has come late, but without the earlier process the extension can't happen. It seems that people here are putting everything on an flat consumption menu, as if sexual freedom and political rights are of the same value.

This question has nothing to do with what people actually ask for or want or think they want. Losing political participation and civil rights is a massive loss, and once they're lost tranny rights are gone too (even if trannies are tolerated).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
175

I'm very happy to be regarded as less angry than five other people here (B, Kotsko, and Stras, and you can add Frowner and Minneapolitan). I got tired of being the angry guy singlehanded.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
176

Epoch, as a libertarianish person where do you put Property Rights in the spectrum of rights? As far as I understand it that is the argument against smoking bans, not the right to smoke.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:38 PM
horizontal rule
177

Sexual rights actually vary a lot in how much they matter, I think. The right to marry who you want to; not to be involuntarily sterilized; contraception; to be gay (& have gay sex) are a lot more fundamental than, say, the legalization of prostitution. And it's certainly theoretically possible to allow various sexual hijinks in an illiberal undemocratic society (Sparta!), though in practice they tend to go together w/ political rights.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
178

163: YOU MOTHERFUCKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

The people who were upset about calling Singapore Narnia are a bunch of fucking tools. It's funny. Maybe it's a little in-groupish, but how many Southeast Asian City States are famous for caning? There was no ambiguity, unless you're a fucking moron. (SOOOOOOOOOO ANNNNNNGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

---------

So anyway. This is probably going to be surprising to people, but I think that in general people underestimate the importance of law and order. This is understandable insofar as in most situations, law and order basically takes care of itself. But it's not a given. And it's absolutely necessary to the functioning of liberal democracy. It's not like Western democracies just arose out of a total void of anarchy.

If you are going to do something that breaks that bond of law and order, you had better damn well know what you're doing, because the situation can get irrevocably out of control pretty easily, necessitating massive application of violence over a long time to bring things back to normal. That's the most profound crime of the Bush Administration -- they effectively destroyed Iraqi society itself. Dictatorships have gone more or less directly to liberal democracies without a lot of trouble under the right circumstances. Massive pits of chaos have never, to my knowledge, gone straight to being liberal democracies -- you don't jump from the Hobbesian state of nature into liberal democracy. (The example of the French Revolution is the only case I don't quite know what to do with in these terms.)

I will say that for me, the problem of "exchanging liberties for security" in terms of terrorism is that it's such complete and total bullshit -- terrorism is a nuisance-level threat in the US, and the liberties we're sacrificing don't seem to have much at all to do with it in any case. The fundamental problem is that people are buying into the terms of the debate as set by the right wing on this issue, when in fact the premises are totally wrong.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
179

I'm very happy to be regarded as less angry than five other people here (B, Kotsko, and Stras, and you can add Frowner and Minneapolitan). I got tired of being the angry guy singlehanded.

Wow. A shot at mcmanus from out of nowhere. Not very kind, Emerson.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
180

B, do you shut your eyes when you reach into the opinion bag and grab one?

No. In conversation with Adam, I said that probably the common thread in my opinions is that I'm less likely to get all wound up about things that I don't think I or anyone I'm talking to really has any control over.

That and I'm likely to defend the decency of anyone I like a great deal from direct or perceived criticism. Which includes Alameida as well as you, Mr. Emerson.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:56 PM
horizontal rule
181

Damn. My apologies to Bob.

I do like the new, angrier unfogged.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
182

176: Well, my feeling is that "property rights" is an umbrella over a pretty broad grouping of rights.

Some of those rights are really important. Like, the ability to choose to exclude people from your place of residence is important. The right not to quarter troops in peacetime, while now kind of irrelevent in as much as the army doesn't really WANT to quarter troops in your home, is the sort of thing that's very life-defining if it actually comes up. There are a bunch of important economic rights -- if you buy land and then are restricted from doing things on it that will let you turn a profit, that's important in terms of your economic self-determination. Not being forced to sell your property is important.

There are a bunch of way less important things, too. Like, yeah, maybe it's a pain if your city won't let you paint your house the color you want it, but, honestly, if that's the biggest injustice that's coming your way, you've got it pretty good. If restrictions on your use have minimal economic impact, well, there may be principle involved but that's about it.

None of these things above really impact your ability to participate in the political process (I can think of some arguably property-rights-ish stuff that also has to do with freedom of assembly that could potentially impact political process, but that's about it). So, important, definitely, but not really comparable to freedom of speech, assembly, and the various trial-related rights. Not exactly less important than those rights, but different. Apples and oranges.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 6:02 PM
horizontal rule
183

I was angry back when you were still beloved, John. You parvenu.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
184

I don't read Alameida as having said anything indecent, or as having advocated for Narnian authoritarianism. I've talked many times to people who preferred living in the upper-middle class in authoritarian states to living in the US, and my experience with Taiwan (when it was far more authoritarian than it is now) was almost all good. But that line of argument can be treacherous, and I think that I saw that happening here.

Adam, I'm confident that the Narnian secret police (like the secret police of most authoritarian nations) gather info on the internet, and I agree with Alameida that she's best off not having her name, even her fake name, dragged into this. I've learned about this business of spying on foreign nationals in the US with Iranians and So. Koreans in the past, and in a different way with Vietnamese and Cuban exiles.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
185

124 is excellent.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 6:10 PM
horizontal rule
186

Yikes! I didn't mean to kill it! Sorry!


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 7:18 PM
horizontal rule
187

The right not to quarter troops in peacetime, while now kind of irrelevent in as much as the army doesn't really WANT to quarter troops in your home, is the sort of thing that's very life-defining if it actually comes up.

My grandmother was outraged to the end of her life by the wrongs done to her great-grandmother by British troops quartered in her house during the Revolution. They not only killed and ate the goose she'd been saving, but WASTED THE FEATHERS!!!!


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
188

I know I was already accused of being an Emerson sock-puppet, but christ, when he's right he's right. Free and competitive elections: accept no substitute.

I'm also a bit puzzled by the claim some have advanced that physical security is underrated. Underrated by whom? It doesn't seem like we Americans have to look very far to find plenty of disturbing examples, from Giuliani's sanitizing of NYC to Korematsu, of Americans valuing (what they perceive to be related to) physical security very, very highly.

If the claim is that Americans take a certain degree of pervasive fear for granted as inevitable, I'll buy that, but that's really not the same, absent some clear and undisputed way to actually *make* the tradeoff. I don't think Narnia's experience shows such a path.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
189

"The right not to quarter troops in peacetime, while now kind of irrelevent ..."

ORLY?

You might want to ask the Iraqis about that. Seems that our troops have quite the habit or quartering themselves in Iraqis' homes.


Posted by: A. Chandler Moisen | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
190

189: "of" s/b "or"


Posted by: A. Chandler Moisen | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:18 PM
horizontal rule
191

Narnia executes folks, locks up those who oppose it
and eavesdrops on its citizens. Thank God we live in the good ol' USA...........


Posted by: Herr | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 12:35 AM
horizontal rule
192

The people who were upset about calling Singapore Narnia are a bunch of fucking tools.

Here's what's irritating about it: months from now, Singapore will still be referred to as "Narnia" in comments, because no in-joke, no matter how lame, can be allowed to die at Unfogged. And this will continue, noun for noun, word for word, until the Unfogged commenters converse entirely in their own separate language, a pidgin of English, AIMspeak and gibberish, incomprehensible to any outsider.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
193

You know, I'd agree with you generally, but Alameida says that there's a real point to not referring to her home city here -- that they have people surfing the net for possibly uncomplimentary references, and might deport her or something similar. Under those circumstances, I think you could tolerate a little whimsy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
194

a pidgin of English, AIMspeak and gibberish, incomprehensible to any outsider

It's a feature, not a bug.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
195

No, that bit's a bug. I have the impression that online communities have a tendency to gel to a point where they're very unwelcoming to new people, and then they get boring and die, and I think we're hitting (have long ago hit?) the very unwelcoming point.

Unwelcoming is great if it keeps out trolls who can't spell, but you don't want to make the barrier much higher than that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
196

How many new commenters have joined in the last six months? A lot, I think.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
197

A lot, I think.

ATM, IYKWM, ANITGBSW, WMYBSALB.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
198

196 is correct.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
199

True -- as I was saying that I was thinking of new people. I have a tendency to forget how long people have been commenting if they fit in nicely, so I don't remember them as 'new'. Eh, maybe there's no problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
200

I


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
201

198: It is correct that slolernr thinks a lot of new commenters have joined? How would you know this?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
202

Faith that the urbane and witty slol wouldn't lie about something like that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
203

I agree, both that this was a clear case of euphemism serving a purpose, and that in general this is an annoying tendency. There's no obvious solution, and people are often generous to link to discussions several years old. It's easy enough to pick up if you're motivated, but whether you are is pretty serendipitous.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
204

Here's what's irritating about it: months from now, Singapore will still be referred to as "Narnia" in comments, because no in-joke, no matter how lame, can be allowed to die at Unfogged.

Yeah, that blows, and it's hard to imagine the sort of warped moral framework that wouldn't elevate your irritation over ala's worries about jobs, visas, govt. action, etc. But, yet and still, there it is. Maybe after the consciousness revolution.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
205

193: "S/ingapore" is googleproof without being either opaque or cloyingly twee.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
206

Tim, with the surprising dose of bitter!

I have an idea that the injokeyness is indeed appealing to certain outsiders, who have a sense that these are the kind of injokes they might like.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
207

the urbane and witty slol

As Homeric epithets go, I've done worse, I gotta say.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
208

201 -- How could I not know it, given that we're all the same balding, overweight man living in his parent's basement?


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
209

parents'


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
210

205: but what if they're not, you know, searching on google? The probability that anything will be found out is probably quite low, but you must admit that "Narnia" is further distanced from ________ than "s/ingapore". And Ala says, with reasonable justification, that she'd like to keep the distance. What's objectionable about that?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
211

It's still not up there with 'rosy-toed'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
212

210: What? The interspersed slash been the preferred method of googleproofing on this site - to the point where at least one commenter uses them as part of his handle. Hell, they've even been used to googleproof Alameida's real name when mentioned here. To claim that the use of "Narnia" or "SEACSX" or "SEATACBUTTSEX" or whatever has been purely utilitarian is disingenuous, to say the least.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
213

Ala says, with reasonable justification, that she'd like to keep the distance

And here's where I believe the objectors can stop objecting. It's her life, and we should respect her wishes. Many of us here are pseudonymous, you know.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
214

212 - People aren't normally googleproofing against secret police.

I read Unfogged for the in-jokes. It's the opinions I could do without.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
215

SEATACBUTTSEX

When prostitution is legalized in Washington State, I like to think that I will move to the banks of the Cedar River and open a thusly-named brothel.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
216

210: Also, if "S/ingapore" freaks you out too much on the basis that the Singaporean government may be scouring the web with some googleproof-proof search tool, then try "S/ngap/re" or "eropagniS." All I'm saying is, if you need to avoid the actual name of the place, don't replace it with something that already means something else.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
217

I read Unfogged for the in-jokes. It's the opinions I could do without.

Yeah, that's what makes this site the veritable Algonquin roundtable it is.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
218

Dude, the barriers to entry are already too low here. Where does Alameida live? ainraN, bitches.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
219

ainraN should satisfy stras, I guess, since it's not already something that already means something else. Sort of a bitch to type, but there you have it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
220

Stras, don't be an ass.

(Hey, that rhymes.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
221

The harvest of ainraN: Reap it cheap. Tread carefully, lest it dawn on you.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
222

Eh, who among us cannot effortlessly spell nattarGcM? It's all practice.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
223

I cannot effortlessly spell nattarGcM. I almost never respond to anything he says, for that very reason.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
224

That's why I call him "McG."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
225

re: 223

You could just write Matt.* The google-proofing isn't supposed to be fool-proof.

* that fat Scottish wanker would also work, in the sense that it would serve to uniquely identify me among Unfogged commentators.**

** which Matt wouldn't. Given the whole 'too many Matts' thing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
226

There's also the typing of comment numbers. Which has the additional benefit of increasing the user unfriendliness of the site, at least according to some of you lazy can't-scroll motherfuckers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
227

223 was sort of a joke. I usually just write ttaM, which is easy enough. But nattarGcM is a chore.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
228

* that fat Scottish wanker would also work, in the sense that it would serve to uniquely identify me among Unfogged commentators.**

Only if you assumed we could offhandedly remember which tiny little subportion of Britain is which. [Ducks, runs.]


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
229

re: 228

Running is no good. You can't outrun a properly thrown caber.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
230

I can only assume 229 is referencing 143.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
231

re: 230

Yes. Which does, ironically, actually look a bit like me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
232

Now you're just bragging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
233

I saw this really drecky sports-and-machismo-for-the-silly-rich magazine the other day with an article about the Highland games and my thoughts immediately turned to a comment you had posted a while back about Lowland Scots ancestry of people reclaiming "their" clan lineage.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
234

re: 232

Nah, I'm fat. But the hair colour and beard are the same.

re: 233

Yeah, I'm generally fairly nasty about the enthusiasm people have for 'Highland' culture. Probably unfairly so, a lot of the time, but fuck it, it's fun and they often deserve it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
235

re 232 -- is it worthwhile making the cock joke explicit or has everybody already picked up on that?


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
236

Sometimes, it's funnier just letting the low-hanging fruit dangle there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
237

My innuendo filter is clearly broken.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
238

All I'm saying is, if you need to avoid the actual name of the place, don't replace it with something that already means something else.

Surely you're shitting me?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
239

Neologisms only! *That'll* make the site incomprehensible to outsiders!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
240

No, that bit's a bug. I have the impression that online communities have a tendency to gel to a point where they're very unwelcoming to new people, and then they get boring and die, and I think we're hitting (have long ago hit?) the very unwelcoming point.

I think we could be a bit more unwelcoming.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
241

After all, after we get a lot of new people, we need some time to settle. And a lot have joined up recently.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
242

we could be a bit more unwelcoming

Once upon a time we were.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
243

62

"... but who knows what hazards my be lurking in your kilo of prawns that no one knows about because there is no free press to investigate."

Just how unfree is the press? It is my impression that certain things (like criticism of the philospher king) are forbidden but a long boring article on food safety would be fine.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
244

76

"... It is like Signapore is close to the only example of where they've had reasonably good results. ..."

Is this really true? Singapore used to get grouped with Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea all of which had illiberal governance and reasonably good results.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
245

Q.E.D.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 12:58 PM
horizontal rule