• Rawls's Original Position & Marriage
    That seems unlikely since elsewhere in the book Rawls specifically endorses each of the other institutions that are listed. Monogamous family would have to be the only thing he tacks on to that list that he sees as irrelevant. Also, given that he thinks it provides privileges, it wouldn't be listed just because he is thinking of things our society happens to have. The fact that he considers it part of the basic structure itself indicates he does not think it is incidental or of no concern, in addition to the second quote.
  • Rawls's Original Position & Marriage
    Are you sure you're not reading your own domestic preference into his position? Very hard for me to see Rawls arguing against polygamy just as long as all parties consentedJerseyFlight

    My response is a bit long, but I think it's worth it to try and make the case as convincingly as I can... in the space of about an hour of my day.

    It's possible that I'm over-reading Rawls as you suggest, but here are some references that I think support my reading of Rawls in regard to marriage (potential objections addressed below).

    "For us the primary subject of justice is the basic structure of society, or more exactly, the way in which the major social institutions distribute fundamental rights and duties and determine the division of advantages from social cooperation. By major institutions I understand the political constitution and the principal economic and social arrangements. Thus the legal protection of freedom of thought and liberty of conscience, competitive markets, private property in the means of production, and the monogamous family are examples of major social institutions. Taken together as one scheme, the major institutions define men's rights and duties and influence their life prospects, what they can expect to be and how well they can hope to do." — Rawls, A Theory of Justice (rev. ed.), p. 6

    "Furthermore, the principle of fair opportunity can be only imperfectly carried out, at least as long as some form of the family exists. The extent to which natural capacities develop and reach fruition is affected by all kinds of social conditions and class attitudes. Even the willingness to make an effort, to try, and so to be deserving in the ordinary sense is itself dependent upon happy family and social circumstances. It is impossible in practice to secure equal chances of achievement and culture for those similarly endowed, and therefore we may want to adopt a principle which recognizes this fact and also mitigates the arbitrary effects of the natural lottery itself." — p. 64

    Let me say a few things about each quote. Regarding the first quote, obviously this quote provides the most potential difficulty as the term "monogamous family" would seem to rule out an open, polygamous marriage. Furthermore, one might also question the link between family and the more specific state of marriage.

    Answering this second problem first, it seems obvious that by "monogamous family" Rawls simply means "monogamous marriage." My reasons for this are three-fold. First, the idea of a "monogamous family" (as opposed to marriage) is prima facie nonsensical. Second, let's assume that the concept of a "monogamous family" does make sense if we stipulate a certain definition. This seems unlikely since Rawls never stipulates a definition. But whatever unusual sense we stipulate will likely end up being insignificant to the type of privileges that Rawls has in mind and which social scientists typically think result from stable marriages (just do a google search if you aren't familiar with this data). In other words, it would be strange, not to mention implausible, that Rawls thinks certain privileges result from monogamous families-but-not-marriages where this means brothers and sisters who don't have any adopted brothers or sisters or form close bonds with non-blood relatives that might be considered colloquially "blood brothers." And the third reason follows from this and really just further strengthens it, which is that Rawls later speaks positively of the principle of fraternity (I won't take the time to look up the reference here unless someone wants it).

    Now regarding the first and more important objection, my answer has to rely more on considerations more external to the text. First, at the time Rawls was writing (even in the revised edition in 99) I don't think there was enough data from the social science on non-monogamous stable marriage. That is, most of the data for comparison with monogamous marriage would have been of relationships that involved one man and one woman who were unmarried. There wouldn't have been a large enough sample size of same-sex marriages or open, polyamorist marriages (there still is not much for the former, is my understanding, and even less for the latter, since polyamory is still illegal in the U.S.). Furthermore, when Rawls was writing (again this is largely true in 99 as well) non-monogamous, non-heterosexual marriages weren't even on most people's radars. (Recall that Clinton signed DOMA into law and Obama only supported civil unions in his first term.) So most likely Rawls isn't trying to say anything about polyamorous or open marriages or even same-sex marriages. Rawls is probably just thinking something like the following: "when people get married and stay married this has certain privileges over against when people don't get married or don't stay married."

    But today we have a much more expanded view of which types of long-term relationships and marriages are possible and permissible. This is why, to my knowledge, marriage doesn't feature as a consideration in his original position. It likely just wouldn't have occurred to Rawls for monogamous marriage to feature in the thought experiment since, in his context, of course society has to have marriage and the only alternative is something like hook-ups or divorce. But there's no reason that we shouldn't consider marriage arrangements that weren't on his radar or hardly anyone else's at the time.

    Next, turning to the second quote. The last sentence brought to mind that someone might object to my inclusion of marriage arrangements in the original position because those things which Rawls considers in the thought experiment are already meant to address the sorts of inequalities which result from the basic structure of society. In other words, Pfhorrest's objection might turn out to be correct. Since the principles of justice that Rawls arrives at through his thought experiment balance out the inequities of the basic structure, it doesn't matter what sorts of marriage arrangements we do or do not have.

    However, I don't think this is a successful objection because Rawls wants (and his representative people want) to arrive at the most just society and not simply a just society. Thus, connecting with my answer to the first objection of the first quote, that Rawls arrived at a theory of justice which doesn't prefer any arrangement of marriage and which he thought would lead to the most just society doesn't mean that we, with a broader landscape for social and relational arrangements, must limit ourselves to Rawls's arrangement. Rawls would have agreed with this himself, since at one point he mentions that we are allowed to take data about what works or doesn't work, say, economically, into account and (I don't remember if he says this explicitly) that must include new data from future generations or experience. (Will look up the source if someone wants it.)

    Finally, I'll reiterate that it's possible that my entire project here is naively off-track since there's an obvious principle or thing Rawls says which renders my argument irrelevant or answered. I've gone through the trouble of writing the above simply on the assumption that I'm on the right track.

    P.S. And of course as Pfhorrest brings to our attention, if polygamy is not unjust then my further point about challenging the original position is moot. Right now, I'm more interested in whether the more immediate claim goes through.
  • Rawls's Original Position & Marriage
    Thanks for the feedback. I can’t look up my references right now or be too detailed on my phone, but I think Rawls would not agree that our sexual preferences should be carried into the original condition (in response to Philosphim), just that we are sexual being and that “marriage” is an important institution in a just society.

    Nor does it seem like Rawls would be okay with any concept or definition of marriage (in response to Pfhorrest), since he recognizes that family arrangements can have significant effects on things like wealth and social capital. In fact this is part of what gives rise to my thought.

    If entering into a marriage provides certain privileges to those within it and whatever children they have or adopt—then Rawls should say that we should only enter into it if doing so is also to the advantage of the least in our society. But it also seems like in the original condition we have an interest not just for “marriage” however it might be defined but for a definition which is most just: which is to everyone’s advantage. But since we don’t know whether every person will have a mate in a monogamous society, just as we don’t know whether every person will be wealthy or intelligent in a meritocracy, then we should choose open, polygamous marriages as the norm.
  • Life Isn't Meaningless
    But even here he does not say that life has no meaning.Sir2u

    That’s actually exactly what he says. Unless you want to argue that Russell thinks we should reject what science presents to us.

    He bitches about the truth of man's life as seen from the scientific point of view,

    He’s not bitching. He thinks he’s making a bold observation about what we learn from science.

    but no where does he say that it is not worth living

    That wasn’t the issue. You said you had never met an atheist that says life has no meaning. I showed you one. I could show you other too (Rosenberg).

    or that it is without purpose.

    That’s exactly what he says.
  • Life Isn't Meaningless

    “Such, in outline, even more purposeless, more void of meaning, [than Faustus’ cyclical creation myth] is the world which Science presents for our belief.” - Bertrand Russell, A Free Man’s Worship.
  • Life Isn't Meaningless
    Here is one quick argument that ants and apes don’t have beliefs about the meaningfulness of their lives:

    1. Having beliefs about the meaning of life requires higher cognitive faculties with a sense of self and abstraction, evidenced in complex language skills (i.e., a grammar).
    2. Ants and apes don’t have these things.
    3. Ergo...

    Even people base truth and falsehood to some small measure on feeling. A bacteria bases its will to live or "purpose" on whether it feels like it ate enough. If a person suffers X amount they stop feeling like life has purpose. Do you see what I mean?christian2017

    No. Can you be clearer about your line of reasoning, as I was above?
  • Life Isn't Meaningless

    No further explanation is required. Ants and apes don't have beliefs about the meaningfulness of their lives.
  • Life Isn't Meaningless
    The abstract concept that life has meaning even in intense suffering (some label this religion) allows very large groups of people (Ants and Apes) to coordinate their efforts to overcome the environment.christian2017

    Your example actually demonstrates that belief that life has meaning is superfluous, from an evolutionary perspective, to large groups coordinating their efforts to overcome the environment.

    Ants and apes evolved to coordinate their efforts to overcome the environment.
    Ants and apes don't have the belief that life has meaning.
  • The Amputee Problem

    That's right, but recall that the original claim was supposed to be that the ableism was suggestive of "religious thought" generally. The same would then follow for 'x' thought generally--in this case, atheism--unless we can think of reasons for why one instance of ableism must suggest something of religious thought generally but one instance of ableism wouldn't be suggestive for other atheist thought generally.
  • The Amputee Problem
    I pointed out that a wheelchair does not bind a person with a disability; it sets them free.Banno

    First, you didn’t actually make this claim. You merely asserted that the post was “ableist shit”, illustrative of why religious thought is useless, and asked for the thread to be deleted and for me to be banned. For future reference, let’s call these claims the Ableist Difficulty or AD.

    Second, if you want to make that claim now, we’ll okay. We might have had a useful conversation had you actually tried to make these points to begin with. But these points aren’t really relevant to this thread per se.

    In this thread I was simply arguing along the following lines. Take a belief like ‘B’ where B = “Becoming paralyzed counts as a disability and a bad/evil thing.”

    Let’s say that if you have B then you are subject to the Ableist Difficulty. (The BAD conditional)

    If B makes one subject to the ableist problem, then it would seem the prevalence of the amputee argument for atheism makes it subject to the ableist problem since it must be grounded in a belief very much like B.

    Others in this thread have answered the argument by denying the conditional.

    Now to make your comments relevant, let me assume that you also want to deny BAD and instead affirm some narrow premise like this: belief C = “Someone who has lost the ability to walk, and must use a wheelchair, might accurately be described as bound to their wheelchair.” And you want to say that C is subject to AD.

    Well, okay. But it seems that C doesn’t have relevance to religious or non-religious thought per se. There is nothing in religious thought, so far as I know that would entail or make it make it more likely that they accept C.

    So I guess I couldn’t say atheists have the CAD problem, but neither do religious people.

    Setting that aside, we might draw the two threads together and ask whether I have a CAD problem.

    I guess I would say that there is an ambiguity problem in your claim that “ a wheelchair does not bind a person with a disability; it sets them free.”

    The description is relative. I agree that wheelchairs give a greater degree of freedom to some paralyzed people than they would otherwise have. But this freedom is clearly more limited and might be said to be unfree relative to their former ability to walk, dance, run, jump. Further their limited freedom is bound to the wheelchair chair. If you want to argue these claims are subject to AD, be my guest.

    Your ableism was the presumption that a wheelchair is a bad thing.

    No. The illustration had nothing to do with a wheelchair as a device... and it seems odd that you would think I was trying to make a statement on the morality wheelchairs in that way. The illustration was about what might be common language to describe someone who has suffered an accident, become paralyzed, and confined to a wheelchair. The person’s overall experience can be described in common lay as a privation, but the state of affairs might also be described in common language as a power (binding), with the wheelchair as a synecdoche.
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?
    If I remember correctly I interpreted this struggle more caused by the poor family's ruthlessness than anything else. I think it might be a bit of a stretch to just chalk up this sometimes sociopathic ruthlessness to their class position but I could have missed something.BitconnectCarlos

    Actually this might be one of the few scenes in the movie that indicates a class problem. The old maid does at first plead to work together, sort of. But at soon as the old maid is presented with the opportunity, she tries to turn the tables on the poor family, behaving in the same way.

    Though there is a way to interpret this differently, so again it may be underdetermined. The old maid was pleading when she didn’t know the new maid had tricked her and the rich family. When she finds out it’s a farce is when she turns on them.
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?
    I was trying to see it through Bong’s lenses rather than my own, considering his past films. It seems obvious to me that the flood was referencing the floods of 2014.NOS4A2

    Fair enough. There is an interesting argument to be had here over over good or effective art and films. But maybe for another time.

    But your take that it is a subversively conservative film, isn’t this your assumed lense? That might be the point of Bong’s all along.

    That was a bit click-baity. As stated in the OP, my argument would be along the lines of a veil of ignorance. Let the movie have its own voice. And I tried to defend that, not just assume it.
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?

    Another great example of how it seems some are unable to not view things through their assumed lense.

    The movie makes no mention of climate change. We might as well assume that since the flood doesn't play a major factor in the movie, the movie must be telling us that climate change won't be a major issue either. Since the family is only temporarily displaced by the flood, Bong Joon Ho means to communicate that climate alarmism is false.
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?

    Thanks for the detailed explanation. I won't bother going piont by point either, because I think I would end up making the same point over and over since you keep making the same move over and over: you import marxist or leftist assumptions about classes and structures that simply are not conveyed in the film itself. Rather than go through your entire post, point by point, I'll just respond to the first several points and in this way you can see where I find your entire methodology misguided.

    But I can't help but think that this is playing out like the scene of Kevin and the rich wife staring at the painting. Kevin says "It's a chimpanzee, right?" and she responds "It's a self-portrait" and Kevin stares as if its profound and says "Amazing!" Objectively, the painting actually looks more like a chimpanzee than a self-portrait. If people need to import the artist's assumptions into the work, that's fine, but at some point there's a bit of absurdity to the whole thing of "Oh, yes... profound."

    the real question is structural: how and why is morality engendered in the way it is, in the film?StreetlightX

    The problem is that your explanation is external to the movie. In order to come away with this, we need someone like Bong Joon Ho standing by the way the rich wife stands by Kevin looking at the painting.

    Now maybe it's misleading or unfair to say this is a "problem"--I don't want to get into philosophy of art in that way. If someone wants to interpret the movie the way Bong Joon Ho most likely intended, that's fine. I don't have a problem with that.

    My point is that the movie doesn't convey these ideas, the same way Da-song's painting doesn't convey Da-song.

    (1) ignore entirely the cinematic elements of the movie and remain inadequately at the level of sheer narrativeStreetlightX

    The cinematic elements are underdetermined for the interpretation you want to give them.

    (2) ignore, as I said, the utterly obvious societal positions that inform the actions of the charactersStreetlightX

    Again, the social position of the Kim's is underdeterminative for the actions of the characters.

    (which in turn is why the film - to anyone with a half-developed cinematic eye - acts as a commentary and critique of the existence of those positions, and their pernicious effects).StreetlightX

    I have to admit this line is what brought to mind the Kevin staring at the painting scene.

    But this takes place against the backdrop of their terrible living conditions: they have shitty/no wifi, drunks pee outside their window, their house gets fumigated, etc. Their desire to improve their lot and their conditions of living cannot be treated in isolation, the one informs the other, and if you try and treat their individual actions without taking this into account, your reading of the film will be absolutely stunted.StreetlightX

    But the interpretation I gave doesn't require ignoring this. (Perhaps I didn't mention their being poor in my original post, but that's because I was viewing it as implicit to their envy.) And the fact remains that their being poor is underdeterminative for the actions they take. One could only arrive at the idea that the actions determined by their condition if they bring in something external, like dialectical materialism, to the film. But it isn't in the film.

    This, in turn is contrasted with the exorbitant privilege of the Parks, whose needs are expressly not that of just survival, but of sheer excess.StreetlightX

    Again, your over-interpreting the movie. The movie doesn't depict the Kims as being in a state just survival. Wifi is an excess, not necessary for survival. The Kim's don't have wifi and yet they act like parasites looking to latch on to someone else's excess.

    So what the movie actually conveys is not the Kims acting like parasites in order to survive, but acting like parasites in order to have more excess.

    Your use of the term "privilege" will also be misleading, since that is a key-term that carries a lot of baggage among the left and that isn't touched on in the movie.

    Without pointing out the obvious, it's clear their approach to the world is similarly informed by their position in life. The mum says it outright!: "She's nice because they're rich... If I were rich I'd be nice too - even nicer!".StreetlightX

    You see, when I heard that line I didn't think the audience was supposed to agree with it. And agreeing with it would, frankly, be absurd. If being rich is a sufficient condition for being nice, what explains Donald Trump :)

    Joking aside, I simply go back to the same point: the movie doesn't indicate that this line is supposed to be taken as accurate. (And frankly, any external philosophy you'd need to bring to the movie to assume it is accurate strikes me as navie.)

    Also, I don't think you're just over-interpreting the movie, but that at some points you're misinterpreting the movie. For instance, you mention the fumigation scene. This occurs not because of some class or structural problem--it's because the father intentionally leaves the window open.

    etc. etc.

    I will end by saying that I find you dichotomy between politics and morality to be false and oddly out of sorts with the entire motivation for a leftist critique of class and the like.
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?
    What do you expect? A character to turn to the audience and say "this is a movie about Capitalism"? This isn't a Marvel movie.Maw

    No, I guess that would be Okja... For this movie I expect people to be able to point to something in the movie and say "It communicates it in the following way..."

    The director has stated “Okja, Snowpiercer, Parasite, they’re all stories about capitalism," so that's probably a good indication to start with.

    Like I said, there is a difference between what we mean to say and whether we successfully communicate that message... intention, perlocution, etc. I already said that I agree with you that your take aligns with the director. So quoting the directors intentions at this point doesn't move the conversation forward. I'm interested in what the movie actually conveys.
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?
    It's an incredibly naive reading to think that 'parasite' refers only to the poor family, and not - perhaps especially so - the rich one too (to say nothing of the cellar dwellers).StreetlightX

    I have to agree with what BitconnectCarlos has said here. It's hard to see how the rich family can fit the definition of "parasitic".

    You try to defend this by quoting Bong, but what Bong says doesn't make sense. To be clear, I'm making a distinction between what the movie actually conveys and what Bong's intentions were. So when Bong says the rich family is parasitic in terms of labor and that they can't wash dishes or drive themselves I have to think both that Bong must not be clear on the definition of the word "parasite" and that Bong failed to convey, through the movie, the idea that the family *can't* do these things rather that they simply don't want or need to do these things.

    One of the great joys of the movie is coming to realize this, the way it kind of slowly subverts your expectations.StreetlightX

    My expectations were subverted in that I went into this movie expecting a leftist message about the evils of rich people, but got something different. But it was definitely a good movie, apart from whatever message it intended or actually conveyed.

    Also, one of the film's strengths is precisely in not simply casting the rich and poor family along straightforward good/evil lines.StreetlightX

    I agree, it's good that the movie doesn't have one-dimensional, black and white villans and heros... But you're talking about an extremely low bar. Even today's super heros movies aren't dumb enough to make that mistake. This is one of the things a movie needs to not be bad, but it's not sufficient to make a movie good or great.

    The poor family are clearly the protagonists (how the OP can think otherwise is beyond me)StreetlightX

    I kind of already explained how they are the villains. Aside from a rude remark of the rich father, the rich family does nothing wrong. In fact, the poor father even says that the rich family did nothing wrong when they first confront the basement dwellers. The poor family lies, steals, and murders (not to mention their display of hypocrisy at trying to call the police on the basement dwellers for doing the very same thing they had been doing) and the audience isn't given any indication that they are forced into their actions.

    Even prior to the whole plot with the rich family, the movie indicates that the poor family is parasitic and bad: they try to get a food delivery guy fired so that Kevin can take his job. Also, Kevin immediately starts to steal the girl that his best friend is interested in.

    But the film does a great job in showing how their actions are deeply motivated - and in some manner necessitated - by their class position, and not simply their individual 'moral dispositions' or whathaveyou.StreetlightX

    Can you explain some more about how the film conveys that, for example, the poor father is deeply motivated or even necessitated to kill the rich father? Because the rich father held his nose at the basement dweller? But go back and watch the scene of the poor family the first time the enter the basement, Kevin holds his nose!

    Or, setting aside the climactic scene, take the initial scene that sets the whole plot in motion. Did "Kevin" need to lie to the rich family and take the job? In the scene prior to that one the food-delivery girl says she will think about offering him a job. So, again, I think the movie fails to establish that these people were deeply motivated, let alone forced, into doing what they did.

    In other words, societal structure is foregrounded in a way that undoes any simplistic individualist reading.StreetlightX

    What? The poor family being poor and the rich family being rich are obviously plot devices. My question is where is there any indication of a deeper critique of something like capitalism?

    If there's any notion that 'greed for money leads to tregedy', its very specifically clear that it does so under our specific societal arrangementsStreetlightX

    Where do you get that in the movie? Can you point to scenes or dialogue?
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?
    the downfall of the poor family began when they attempted to eliminate the other poor couple in the basement. They seemed to be doing fine up until then. In other words, there just wasn't unity with their socio-economic class. Once the infighting began, it all started to unravel.BitconnectCarlos

    Not sure I agree with this. While their ultimate undoing was the other poor couple and how the poor family treated them, it doesn't follow that the movie indicates everything would have been fine otherwise. The scene with the rich family coming home early from camping shows us that the poor family is courting danger by their own actions apart from what they do to the other poor family.

    Additionally, the poor family is definitely craftier than the rich family.BitconnectCarlos

    Craftier than the wife, sure. The movie states explicitly that she is simple. But how can you make this judgment about the other members of the rich family? They are never placed in an situation which would call for them to display craftiness or simple-mindedness.

    As mentioned, the rich dad in particular is condescending and especially with that remark about how poor people smell the rich really don't come off well.BitconnectCarlos

    Agree. But given what I had heard leading up to the film, I was actually surprised that this was almost the only line in the film to indicate to paint the rich family in a negative light qua rich family.
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?

    Based on the director's other films, I don't think he is intentionally attempting to communicate anything conservative. In fact, it's likely that he was simply being unreflective about his views on capitalism and he took it for granted the audience would be viewing the film through the same set of assumptions (and I guess they largely did) and so he didn't need to actually tie anything in the film to capitalism.

    But if that's right then, nevertheless, because he took such things for granted, I think he ended up with a movie that leans conservative or that conservatives can appreciate.
  • Is Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Subversively Conservative?
    The movie shows that under Capitalism, both the rich and the poor are parasites to one another, and that class distinctions are arbitrary.Maw

    I don't see where the movie is critiquing capitalism. Do you have an example? And I also don't see where the rich are depicted as parasitical on the poor. The rich employ the services of the poor family, but how is that supposed to be parasitical in the context of the movie?

    The Kim family are intelligent (they beguile the Park family), and skilled (they quickly become skilled at the jobs they do), despite being poor.

    Since I'm going to disagree with this, in part, I guess I should qualify my own statement that the rich family is naive. In fact, only the wife is depicted as naive. I don't think the movie gives us much to judge the father or two children by. In fact, Park Da-song, the boy, is depicted as discerning in a few ways.

    Are the poor people depicted as skilled? In some ways, but it didn't strike me that the movie was highlighting their exceptional skills.

    The daughter has skills in photoshop, but it's stated that her art theory is just repeating what she read on wikipedia. We are given no indication that she's skilled at the job she's given.

    The father is skilled at driving, but it's stated that he had a driving job before--so I didn't interpret this as quick adaptation the way you did.

    The mother is just cooking and cleaning, no real indication of skill adaptation here either way. One might look to the scene where she doesn't know what a specific meal is that they ask her to cook, but it's hard to really look at this one very confined scene and say this indicates the sort of skill that blasts the effects of capitalism on class status.

    The boy is skilled at English, but it's stated that he took the university exams four times. This is where my ignorance of South Korean society may lead to miss what this means--is he supposed to have failed four times? Then not too smart, apparently. Was it only a practice test? Okay, then he is skilled and when he says to his father that he will go into university next year we can take him at his word.

    There is also a scene which depicts the family, as a whole, as not being too skilled... or at least this is what I heard one liberal commentator say: in the beginning when they are folding boxes, they screw up 1/4th or 1/3rd. There is also the scene of the father who tells the son not to make long-term plans. In fact, delayed gratification is one indicator of intelligence (but I grant that I may be reading too much into this scene to make that connection).

    Hence, the fact that the poor family does what they do (teach English, drive a car, etc) doesn't seem like a sufficiently grounded anchor upon which to hang a critique of capitalism--especially since the movie doesn't link any of this to an economic system. Where is the audience supposed to make the link with capitalism?


    The movie ends with Ki-Woo dreaming of becoming rich and successful and saving his father, but this ideal of social mobility is quickly revealed to be a delusion.

    Since the movie doesn't show how much time has passed when it's revealed to be his imagination, I didn't take it as "This will never happen." It simply shows us what his dream of the future is, not that his dream of the future is out of reach.


    Now I grant that your interpretation may fit more with Bong Joon Ho's worldview. I just don't see any of that communicated on screen. It seems like we have to enter into the movie with a certain set of assumptions, i.e., about why someone is likely to be poor, and map that on top of the movie to before we can get that out of the movie. If we go in with a veil of ignorance, the movie simply illustrates the destructive nature of envy.
  • Using logic-not emotion-Trump should be impeached
    You’re being an absolutist.Noah Te Stroete

    You're not reading carefully. I didn't make any absolute claim about complex systems.
  • Using logic-not emotion-Trump should be impeached
    Why are you even revering to "the government's" or "the democrats" abilities? Quality project management skills can be bought. In this case, it seems they were not - and it's fair to blame the individuals involved, but it is not fair to generalize this into a handicap from which all Democrats suffer. I'm a Democrat, and I successfully led projects, and I'm certainly not the only one.Relativist

    We need to distinguish between general competency and moral competency questions I mentioned earlier. Regarding the moral critique, if democrats were engaging in fraud and cronyism, then buying quality project management skills only means their fraud and cronyism is more successful.

    Regarding general competency, you're focusing on the wrong point. It's correct that the failure here isn't necessarily tied to democrats qua democrats, such that had republicans or independents attempted the same task they would have succeeded. The way in which the event serves as a piece of data against democrats is at a different level.

    Imagine there is a political party called the Whips and a key part of their political philosophy is that all people are secretly sadomasochistic and respond best to being whipped. Because of their political philosophy, at their first Iowa caucus they devise a plan to whip delegates into supporting them. Now let's say the plan fails because the delegates respond negatively to the whipping.

    On the one hand, it's not as though the negative outcome was unique to the Whips, such that had Democrats employed the whipping strategy they would have been successful.

    On the other hand, it's obvious that the problem is uniquely attributable to the Whips insofar as their political philosophy motivates them to employ methods that don't align with the reality of the way things are or the way things work.

    This applies to democrats in the following way. One common plank in conservatism is the idea that bureaucratic expertise is a myth and trying to control complex systems with relatively few people who are several hops away from the point of action is less efficient and more error prone. One common plank in leftism is the idea that the bureaucratic expertise of the few is the best method (often seen as the only method) for solving complex problems that are several hops away from the point of action.

    It's in this way that the failure of the Iowa caucus is a piece of data against the sort of technocratic overconfidence that Democrats are prone to.

    Imagination doesn't establish correlation

    The point of my thought experiment wasn't to establish correlation. If we're trying to see if something x has nothing to do with y, in principle, then I don't need to establish a correlation.

    (it's trivially easy to image specfic ethnic group x as being lazy; I hope you see how ridiculous that is).

    I guess this is supposed to be a counter-example? I didn't imagine democrats were bad at project management and then, on that basis, claim that democrats were bad at project management.

    Political philosophy has zero bearing on project management skills.

    My Whips examples demonstrates that this isn't true as a matter of principle.

    It's a different issue, which I thought you might possibly have in mind - namely, that even if Democrats are neither better nor worse than others at managing projects, the mistake is to try and tackle something so complex. If this were true, one might infer that a big government program is too complex to even consider tackling. I was simply conveying that this does not follow.

    The question isn't whether successfully tackling complex systems is possible, but how best to tackle complex systems.
  • Using logic-not emotion-Trump should be impeached
    No. That's a purely partisan perspective, and completely irrational to suggest the party and/or ideology had ANY bearing. This was poor project management.Relativist

    That this was poor project management does not entail that it was not relevant to the government's or the democrats' ability to properly manage complex tasks or to the problem of moral integrity.... which leads us to your second claim which I guess is supposed to fill in that gap:

    Quality project management has nothing to do with politics.

    Do you mean in principle or just in this specific case? If you mean in principle, I would disagree. It's trivially easy to imagine a scenario in which a specific political party has a political philosophy which itself leads to poor project management.

    But if you mean in this specific case, then I have no opinion since, as I already said, I haven't looked into it.

    And neither does it imply that complex systems are infeasible - corporate America utilizes complex systems every day, and would collapse without them.

    I'm not sure how this statement is supposed to fit in relation to the others. How exactly are you cashing out these terms? Because on some definitions and in some contexts we could say complex systems are by definition not feasible. And that complex systems exist isn't relevant to their feasibility pe se. As for the political debates that often take place, the issue is usually to what degree complex systems are able to be efficiently managed at a broad level vs an organic, close level.
  • On Equality
    On the other side, economic conservative argument assumes that people have an almost boundless potential for abilities, making the correct decisions economically, and that circumstances of one's background doesn't make much of a difference if one CHOOSES to be in the correct areas to make money. For example, if people value doctors and financial brokers, then that is where one should be to get the money. Not doing so is simply not choosing correctly.schopenhauer1

    I should probably lay my cards on the table here too. I'm an independent, never voted Republican or Democrat. But my philosophy and sympathies are conservative.

    I have a problem with how you don't and then do nuance what you say.

    Consider this:
    assumes that people have an almost boundless potential for abilities, making the correct decisions economically

    With this:
    circumstances of one's background doesn't make much of a difference if one CHOOSES to be in the correct areas to make money.

    Regarding the first, I've never heard an economic conservative make this assumption. Can you give some examples?

    Regarding the second, I have heard conservatives say that people living in the United States today have sufficient potential for economic success. And I don't take them to mean this in some strict logical sense, such that, if I were to outliers, like someone with Down's, it would disprove the claim. But I've never heard them claim that you just need to be "in the correct areas" in the narrow sense you imply by "doctors and financial brokers."

    If "correct areas" simply means that there can be pursuits that are monetarily worthless (like "dance theory"--to censor a common joke by some on the right), then yes I've heard conservatives say that. But do you actually think they are wrong on this point?

    If "correct areas" means some line of work that requires a high IQ (like doctor or scientist), then I've never heard any conservative claim this (with one caveat). In fact, they usually claim the opposite: anyone capable of working a full-time job at federal minimum wage can live comfortably.

    The caveat would be that some conservatives (e.g., Charles Murray) have expressed concern over the economy moving in a direction where high skill or IQ is increasingly necessary. But then these sorts of conservatives wouldn't be your target either, since they are worried about this alleged trend.

    The VOI would argue back that, there are barriers of class, circumstances and limited knowledge that would prevent one from gaining positions in the higher rung.

    What exactly is the rung here? It can't be occupation, right? Obviously a Rawlsian wouldn't suggest we allocate jobs at NASA to a proportional representation of people with Down's. Is it standard of living? If so, what's the Rawlsian standard for who gets to be at "the higher rung"?

    So the main differences are that the philosophies have two glaringly opposing assumptions of one's abilities to gain ability and make decisions to bring themselves to a higher rung.

    I don't think that's accurate, from what I've said above. I would suggest that a bigger difference is that conservatives start with an assumption like each individual has a right to themselves, their labor, and the products thereof. Rawlsianism starts with different assumptions (cf. Nozick's critique).
  • On Equality
    You're gonna have to explain that one to me.

    I was just trying to broaden the discussion beyond the usual race, class, and gender topics. I don't see any harm in doing that. I mentioned height, charisma, and looks.

    Maybe I should have sought clarification first. When you mentioned "a subtle attempt to boil intersectionality down to the individual" did you mean something like show that the method of reasoning used by intersectionality advocates could be consistently applied (in a slippery slope sort of way) to individual traits--thus rendering the group identity politics, with which intersectionality is often packaged, absurd?

    If this is what you meant then I guess I'm skeptical that group-level sets of traits don't exist (or that they collapse into individual traits). Or if "exists" is too loaded a term: I'm skeptical that groups of people don't have common sets of traits which could be discriminated against.
  • On Equality

    Ah. That's what I get for not reading comments. But I wonder if the tactic of trying to reduce intersectionality to the individual is guilty of a Sorites paradox.
  • On Equality
    Typically when we talk about equality we're talking about economic equality, which is of course a very real issue. My main question is why does the discussion have to stop here. ... We could actually take steps to limit people's heights.BitconnectCarlos

    The problem with the internet is that I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny and referencing Harrison Bergeron or if you're serious.
  • Using logic-not emotion-Trump should be impeached
    I'm saying this has no bearing on whether or not healthcare is manageable.Relativist

    To say it has no bearing seems like an overstatement. If taken as a piece of data relevant to the government's (or democrats') ability properly manage complex tasks, it is clearly evidence against their ability to do so. That's not to say that it is very strong evidence. It is, after all, a small piece of data and, in isolation, it could easily be seen as inconsequential.

    "Proper management" could include moral integrity or general types of competence or both. The general sort of competence (e.g., technological competence) seems like a less serious issue and the data has less evidential weight in this category, since other pieces of data fishfry mentions (Obamacare website) as well as our almost universal experience with technology, show that these eventually get fixed.

    The moral integrity charge is more serious. As another piece of evidence that government workers are subject to the same moral biases and failings as everyone else, and thus why many don't trust handing over more power (more programs) to the government, it would be hard to dismiss it. That is, assuming the accusation of cronyism and fraud can be substantiated. (I haven't looked into it.)