Episode 185 – Gillette, Gender, Race and Class
It’s the class war, Stupid!
Left-wing commentators miss the point. They are willing to talk endlessly about gender wars and racial privilege while ignoring the plight of the working class.
1:46 Our pre-match pep talk for Waz.
The best a man can be
Who better to critique #MeToo than 4 white men like us.
That Gillette ad. Good, bad or meh?
In the wake of the controversial (but, I think, excellent) Gillette ad, it has become clear that many people have no idea what toxic masculinity means. Too many of us, including some who make a living from using words, seem to think the phrase implies that masculinity, in and of itself, is toxic. However, it only takes a reasonable understanding of the English language to realise that is a silly assumption. As someone cleverer than me on Twitter pointed out yesterday, we all know that there are toxic plants (oleander, deadly nightshade etc) but we don’t assume therefore that all plants are toxic.
She sort of describes Toxic Masculinity as when the stereotype of what it is to be an acceptable male is taken to extremes.
… Feminists like me are not man-haters. Most of us—if not all of us—love our fathers, sons, brothers, male colleagues, friends and partners. What we hate is the damage we see toxic masculinity (not masculinity per se, just the toxic, rigid, performative kind) do to many men ….
Hmmm, so not all masculinity is toxic, just exaggerated versions of the stereotype. Maybe that is so far from true “masculinity” that it should be called something else like being a boofhead or a dickhead. Sure, oleander is toxic and part of the plant family and is therefore a toxic plant but dickhead behaviour is not part of true masculinity so “toxic masculinity” ties together two things which are quite separate.
Again from Jane Caro:
Regarding toxic feminity she acknowledges exists:
The most damaging example I can think of, however, is the very rare … Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. This is a mental illness where mothers so enjoy their role as hero-nurturer they actually poison their own children to keep them perpetually and mysteriously sick. Literally toxic, in other words.
Here’s the point. When referring to Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy we don’t say “Toxic Motherhood” because it is so far removed from true motherhood.
What does toxic mean?
poisonous, venomous, virulent, noxious, dangerous, destructive, harmful, unsafe, malignant, injurious, pestilential, pernicious, environmentally unfriendly
Brittany Spears didn’t think toxic was a problem.
The Fist blames Jordan Peterson. Just joking … well kind of…
20:45 But wait, we are not done with this ad. Was there racial prejudice?
33:07 Are wolf whistles just examples of instinctive mating behaviour?
37:32 The male Gay scene welcomes wolf whistles.
42:17 ‘I don’t want to celebrate it’: Today newcomer Brooke Boney reignites Australia Day debate
Today newcomer Brooke Boney has reignited debate over Australia Day, following a viral segment on the breakfast show where she addressed her own reasons for not wanting to celebrate the date.
“I’m a Gamilaroi woman, my family is from northern NSW, been there for about 60,000 years or so,” Boney, commercial breakfast TV’s first Indigenous star, told viewers.
“This date, I know it comes up every year and I’m not trying to tell everyone else what they should be doing or how they should be celebrating, but I think I have almost more reason than anyone else to love this country,” she said, citing her new high-profile job on the Nine show.
“But I can’t separate the 26th of January from the fact that my brothers are more likely to go to jail than they are to go to school. Or that my little sisters and my mum are more likely to be beaten and raped than anyone else’s sisters or mum,” she said
“And that started from that day. So for me, that’s a difficult day and I don’t want to celebrate it… That’s the day it changed for us. That’s the beginning of what some people would say is the end. That’s the turning point.”
Nine’s new sports presenter Tony Jones countered Boney’s suggestion.
“This is where I get not angry about it but upset about it in a lot of ways, is that why should it be an us-versus-them,” Jones said, when the panel’s discussion turned to the “third-world” living conditions among remote Aboriginal communities.
“We do see white Australians in similar situations, you know, kids going to school without lunch, or without a school uniform,” he offered.
“TJ, you know what, the statistics tell us that our lives are harder,” Boney shot back.
“It’s not me making it up or saying woe is me or feel sorry for me, because I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, but what I’m talking to are the statistics… For it not to be an us-and-them thing, I think that’s why we’re talking about [the date] changing.”
48:26 Let’s just scrap Australia Day
49:05 And get rid of Public Holidays?
54:36 Thanks to the Patrons
We had some nice messages and links to articles from Bronwyn and Lorrae
Aedan has come on board as a patron. He joins Robbie, Harry and Liam who are friends of my sons.
57:56 Problems with a Sydney Highrise
Building certifiers are an example of improper government outsourcing.
1:01:58 Jeff Kennett
The former Victorian Liberal premier speculates that Julie Bishop (62) and Kevin Andrews (63) should follow Kelly O’Dwyer in resigning from federal politics, while reserving judgement on up-and-comer Tony Abbott (61).
Julie didn’t want to serve in the ministry. Kevin’s had his opportunity and been on the backbench for a period of time. They… stand out clearly as perhaps giving others an opportunity. I’m at sixes and sevens about Tony Abbott. He’s still young enough to make a serious contribution in the parliament and a serious contribution outside.
What parallel universe is he living in? Give up on the Libs.
1:04:20 Woolworths becomes first supermarket to make own-brand halal food due to growing Muslim population
Woolworths will become the first supermarket to make and sell its own brand of halal food due to Australia’s growing Muslim population.
The range will be called Al-Sadiq, which means truthful in Arabic, and will start selling in May or June.
It will appear in 20 stores in communities with high Muslim populations such as Bankstown, western Sydney where one-third of people are halal eaters.
1:11:05 The US Federal shutdown.
Our predictions as to when and how it will end.
Never play chicken with a psychopath or the village idiot.
And Brexit will be a hard exit.
Waz is not convinced it is a big problem.
Inequality matters. Countries with higher levels of inequality have lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, more homicides, more teenage births, less trust, more obesity, more mental illness and drug abuse, and less social mobility. Even if you are one of the wealthier people in society, you have a lower life expectancy than wealthy people in societies that are more egalitarian.
“The question will arise and arise in your day, though perhaps not fully in mine: Which shall rule — wealth or man? Which shall lead — money or intellect? Who shall fill public stations — educated and patriotic freemen or the feudal serfs of corporate capital?”
When people worry about inequality today, they generally worry that it inhibits economic growth, prevents social mobility, impairs democracy, or runs afoul of some standard of fairness.
I was going to say:
Inequality would not be such a problem if the lowest level was comfortable. The problem is the lowest level is poverty. And the middle class is disappearing and shifting down into the lower class.
Adam Smith on the problem of inequality
None of these problems, however, were Smith’s chief concern—(which was) that economic inequality distorts people’s sympathies, leading them to admire and emulate the very rich and to neglect and even scorn the poor. Smith used the term “sympathy” akin to the contemporary use of the word “empathy.” And he claimed that, due to a quirk of human nature, people generally find it easier to sympathize with joy than with sorrow, or at least with what they perceive to be joy and sorrow.
Not only are people far more likely to notice the rich than the poor, according to Smith, but they are also far more likely to approve of them, to admire them, and to emulate them; indeed, he devoted an entire chapter of The Theory of Moral Sentiments to demonstrating that this is the case.
What’s more, Smith saw this distortion of people’s sympathies as having profound consequences: It undermines both morality and happiness. First, morality. Smith saw the widespread admiration of the rich as morally problematic because he did not believe that the rich in fact tend to be terribly admirable people. On the contrary, he portrayed the “superior stations” of society as suffused with “vice and folly,” “presumption and vanity,” “flattery and falsehood,” “proud ambition and ostentatious avidity.” In Smith’s view, the reason why the rich generally do not behave admirably is, ironically, that they are widely admired anyway (on account of their wealth). In other words, the rich are not somehow innately vicious people. Rather, their affluence puts them in a position in which they do not have to behave morally in order to earn the esteem of others, most of whom are dazzled and enchanted by their riches.
Thus, it is precisely the presence of economic inequality, and the distortion of people’s sympathies that attends it, that allows—perhaps even encourages—the rich to spurn the most basic standards of moral conduct. Smith goes so far as to proclaim that the “disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition” is “the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”
Smith also believed that the tendency to sympathize with the rich more easily than the poor makes people less happy. Happiness consists largely of tranquility, and there is little tranquility to be found in a life of toiling and striving to keep up with the Joneses.
The Fist worries a lot about the power of money to corrupt democracy
Money is power. Extremely wealthy people can and do influence politicians (by donations and jobs) and our democracy through controlling the media both traditional (Murdoch) and online (bots) to get laws that allow them to maintain or increase power at the expense of the poor. For example, we offer discounts for income from capital that are not available for income from personal labour. Or, Australia and the USA pass corporate tax cuts that are clearly not in the interests of the country. This results in undeserved benefits for the 1%. Not only is it undeserved but it sets up dangerous dysfunctional power imbalances that lead to dysfunctional societies.
Utilitarian vs Philosophical libertarianism
Perhaps Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s most talked-about idea, raised on “60 Minutes,” has been that people she called “the tippy tops” — those earning above $10 million — should pay a 70 percent rate on income above that threshold. The remark set off days of debate among economists and pundits, on the right and the left, about tax rates unseen in America in decades but common during the post-World War II era.
“I’ve been trying to open up this rhetorical space for many, many years,” said Stephanie Kelton, a former chief economist for Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee.
“They used to talk about the Oprah effect,” said Ms. Kelton, now a professor at Stony Brook University. “I think it’s the Ocasio effect at this point.”
AOC mentioned 70%. What is the Australian experience?
Adam Smith’s greatest statement regarding the need for government regulation of capitalism occurs at the end of Book One of the Wealth of Nations.
The interest of the dealers [referring to stock owners, manufacturers, and merchants], however, in any particular branch of trade or manufacture, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, and absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1991), pages 219-220)
Smith here stated that the economic “interests” of businessmen are naturally opposed to the public interest. This is because the natural goal of any businessman is to acquire, by any means necessary, a monopoly over the entire industry or trade that he is involved in. The obvious result of such a monopoly would be the destruction of all competitors, which inevitably hurts the public by reducing choice, efficiency, and progress while raising prices to whatever levels the monopolist deems necessary to achieve his desired profit. Though Smith warned against such an “absurd tax,” Americans today have been convinced that government de-regulation is necessary to rid the economic world of a burdensome bureaucracy. The public’s need for media, health care, and military defense is clear; but it is also clear that rampant government de-regulation in each of these areas has permitted monopolies in forming and taking control of their markets. The “absurd tax” has become a reality.
Even Australia’s beloved beer industry is thirsty for a bit more competition. Next time a someone starts extolling the virtues of craft brewing while sipping on a White Rabbit, Little Creatures, Kosciusko, Knappstein, Furphy or Matilda Bay, remind them that they’re drinking one of the many faux craft beers on offer that are owned by one of the big brewers. The only thing that’s crafty about these beers is the marketing.
Australian beer is one of our most concentrated industries. The four biggest firms control a whopping 90% of the market. Mega mergers in the pipeline will likely make things even worse. Over the past decade, the cost of a beer has gone up 42%
Or take banking, where the big four have increased their share of market assets from 65% to 77% over the past decade. In a competitive environment, we would expect to see profits squeezed down by intense competition. But over the past decade, Australia’s major banks have enjoyed an annual return on equity around 15%, making them among the most profitable financial institutions in the world. Over the same period, banks in Europe, Japan and the US have seen returns on equity below 10%.
Please, when you hear Scott Morrison on TV or a work colleague around the watercooler or Uncle Right Wing around the Christmas dinner table bang on about the need for lower taxes and smaller government and the libertarian need to cut red tape stop them and argue some of the ideas outlined above.