The Anti-Women 22


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty(rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

This past week a vote was taken in the United States Senate and it was not a vote to end a filibuster!  The vote that I am referring to was a vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.(VAWA)  It was noteworthy that the vote actually took place at all, but the results of the vote were especially interesting.  The vote to reauthorize VAWA, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy,  passed by a 78 to 22 margin.  All 22 votes against the measure were by male Republican members of the Senate.

Before we disclose some of the members who voted against this bill, let’s discuss just what this bill has done for women.  “As the country celebrates the 18th anniversary of the legislation, here are some of the victories achieved through VAWA:

  • Victims can call for help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline was established as part of VAWA. It currently serves over 22,000 victims a month and has taken a total of 3 million calls.
  • Law enforcement officers are trained to help victims. 500,000 law enforcement officials, judges, and prosecutors a year are trained with VAWA funding to help domestic abuse victims.
  • Partner violence and homicides fell. From the year before VAWA’s passage until 2008, the number of women being killed by partners dropped 43 percent, and partner violence against women fell 53 percent.
  • Stalking became illegal. Before VAWA, stalking was not a federal crime. The law established stalking as a felony offense.
  • Rape is rape, no exceptions. Since the passage of VAWA, each state in the United States has updated its laws so that rape by a partner is treated equally to rape by a stranger.”  Think Progress

I guess I could understand a Senator voting against the reauthorization if they thought the bill was too expensive and had not been successful in protecting women in the past, but that does not seem to be the case.  Some of the reasons the dissenting Senators gave for voting against the VAWA are startling.  One reason given was that the VAWA reauthorization included Native American women and LGBT women and undocumented women.

“Two Senators — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) — also offered significant amendments to the VAWA bill. Grassley’s amendment stripped all Native American, LGBT, and undocumented victim protections. It was voted down on Thursday of last week. Cornyn’s, aimed exclusively on the bill’s language relating to tribal lands, failed on Monday. Grassley and Cornyn amendments

Does it surprise you that all 22 of the dissenting Senators were male?  If this act was so bad, you would think that at least one female Senator would have voted against it.  Even in this current political climate, I just cannot understand how approving a bill that has helped prevent violence against women could be voted against by anyone.  Eight of the Senators even voted against moving the bill ahead to a vote.

The original VAWA passed in 1994 with even more Republican Senators voting against it, so maybe we are making progress.  VAWA    As I think about it, there were probably fewer female members of the Senate in 1994, so maybe we are not making progress after all.  Why do you think that some of the dissenting Senators wanted to omit Native American women from the VAWA protections?  Aren’t Native American women citizens? I realize that some of the Republican’s Native American concerns involve the Native American courts being able to deal with non-Native American participants. LA Times

From a political standpoint, I was surprised to see so many Republican Senators vote against reauthorizing VAWA.  Especially in light of the Republican Party’s public attempts to court Hispanic voters, it seems strange that some of the leading Republicans in the Senate would vote against a bill designed to continue programs that have helped protect women at risk.

I think we should ask Senate Minority leader McConnell and GOP Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio and Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Chuck Grassley, and the other dissenting Senators,  if they think women do not deserve the legal protections afforded them in this important piece of legislation.  Would women in these dissenting Senator’s states agree with their votes on this legislation?  Do these gentlemen remember how many voters are women?    What do you think of this legislation?

Additional sources:  Talking Points Memo; Think Progress;

100 thoughts on “The Anti-Women 22

  1. Thank you for your contribuiton. It was encouraging to learn that our nation is moving toward the right direction.

    I wrote a letter to the White House today so that President Obama will press Japan’s PM during his visit this Friday so that PM will officially apologize to South Korea’s victims of Japan’s Army which made these women their sex slaves.

  2. No one advocates violence against women, but do we need more laws that distinguish one group from another? Stalking, the hotline, rape are all noble attempts to help women, & I understand the inclination to make laws. However, while I don’t disagree with any of the goals of it, I disagree with the principle that we put women in a group as opposed to men. It’s the same as hate crime legislation, civil rights etc. We are all individuals, the group think legislation is praiseworthy in its goals, but makes what should be a crime distinct for no reason other than its against a woman, black, etc. This should be voted against on moral grounds that we are all equal, all crimes are crimes, and we don’t need to give any crime special treatment simply because its against some advocate groups will. To many laws today simply reinforce differences between people, where there is no need. A crime is a crime, be it against a man or a woman.

  3. Thanks Raff as always great work….For the life of me I don’t understand republican men, don’t they have wives, daughters, mothers, sisters and female friends that they feel should have these protections…I would bet money that psychiatrists would have a field day trying to work with these really sad excuses for men.

  4. Thanks Metro. I have the same questions that you state.
    whether you are willing to admit it, the VAWA has already helped protect the people that claim don’t need this protection.

  5. Excellent article, raff.

    “Even in this current political climate, I just cannot understand how approving a bill that has helped prevent violence against women could be voted against by anyone. ”

    I think Republican men are putting idiotology ahead of their responsibilities in governing for all the people. Consider what the Republican controlled states have been doing to make it impossible for a woman to have an abortion. There is an on-going debate about making contraceptives available to women. The efforts to shut down Planned Parenthood, if successful, would important eliminate health care for many women. The have declared war on women, especially poor women. Their votes aren’t a surprise to me.

  6. Like I said I’m not against its goals, the hotline and making stalking a crime are definitely good things. Anyone who is helped by this I’m all for it, I’m just arguing the principle of grouping people for legislation is bad law. Again we are all individuals, hotlines etc are good, but why does this need to be law? We can’t have women’s advocates groups doing this? A crime is a crime, if we’re talking about a new crime or a previously not legislated crime I get it, just remove the group think policy, crime is crime.

  7. “However, while I don’t disagree with any of the goals of it, I disagree with the principle that we put women in a group as opposed to men.”


    The reason a law like this is necessary is because despite all the progress women are still treated worse than men and it was only through VAWA that this began to change. These aspects, that Larry pointed out in his excellent article are all negative situations towards women that VAWA changed:

    “Victims can call for help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline was established as part of VAWA. It currently serves over 22,000 victims a month and has taken a total of 3 million calls.”

    Prior to this women, the vast majority of domestic violence victims were isolated and felt they had nowhere to turn.

    “Law enforcement officers are trained to help victims. 500,000 law enforcement officials, judges, and prosecutors a year are trained with VAWA funding to help domestic abuse victims.”

    Prior to VAWA LEO’s didn’t understand DV and weren’t sympathetic to the pain and terror victims suffered.

    “Partner violence and homicides fell. From the year before VAWA’s passage until 2008, the number of women being killed by partners dropped 43 percent, and partner violence against women fell 53 percent.”

    About 90% of homicides were done by people close to the victim. Much of those were done by the persons significant other.

    “Stalking became illegal. Before VAWA, stalking was not a federal crime. The law established stalking as a felony offense.”

    Because of lack of stalking laws the police were helpless to intervene prior to a violent act being committed. The act of stalking someone induces terror in the victim and prevents them from leading their normal life. This alone has saved many women.

    “Rape is rape, no exceptions. Since the passage of VAWA, each state in the United States has updated its laws so that rape by a partner is treated equally to rape by a stranger.”

    Living with a person in, or out of wedlock, does not give someone the right to have sex on demand. Prior to VAWA the belief was that a domestic partner couldn’t be raped.

    your complaint is that we already have laws on the books to deal with this and my response is that was not the case before VAWA.

    As to these 22 Senators who voted against this bill they are simply pigs and I pity anyone who is forced to live with them, much less have sex.

  8. I don’t agree w/ hate crime laws because they create a protected class based on arbitrary rules. I do support this legislation because of biology. Men are the predators and women the physically weaker victims. The same holds true for laws protecting children, biology dictates they need added protection, from both men and women.

  9. rafflaw:

    How do you answer Dave? He makes a legitimate point.

    At some point, if laws are only made for certain groups, then individuals will have no rights unless they join with some group.

    That pits different groups against each other for rights from the federal government. A group is comprised of individuals and only individuals can have rights. Group rights are a fiction.

  10. I share the concern with another commenter about making this only apply to women. I believe it should apply to anyone for equal protection purposes. It is rather easy to make most of it apply to both genders and still protect women.

    I would rather see this handled by state courts unless there was a true federal jurisdiction such as interstate commerce or actions between the states. Though I recognize that this can cause some issues if a particular state fails to enact and enforce a similar state statute.

    Here are some reasons for this being in a state court.

    Federal prosecutions are more cumbersome and remote compared with local jurisdictions. If a crime happened in many parts of the country, the victim and witnesses can be forced to travel hundreds of miles from home to testify or participate in interviews. Federal law enforcement is not as dispersed as local officials. Immediate response is best on the local level, though it certainly can be transferred to a federal law enforcement level.

    Federal law enforcement is not equipped to handle the number of domestic violence cases the happen on the state level for which the state can handle regularly It could become the case were US attorneys might hand it back to the state for prosecution. Federal gov’t does this for juvenile offenses most of the time.

    THat is not to say I wouldn’t support a reaonable and dedicated effort to debate this legislation and most of it I feel could be helpful though.

    Requiring the Criminal and Social Service divisions of state in local governments to provide information to victims and training to officials is very beneficial and worthwhile to all involved in my experiences.

  11. Bron,
    Mike S. already did a good job in responding to Dave, but you must also remember that this is not a new law. It is a reauthorization of a law originally passed in 1994 and it has been reauthorized, two times before this, if I remember correctly. It is a fact that women are treated differently than men. You still have Congressmen and state reps suggesting that only “forcible” rape should be charged as a rape. You have state governments suggesting that women should be forced to submit to invasions of their bodily cavities in order to obtain sonograms before a state will allow a legal abortion. Do men have these kind of problems in a state court with violations of their body before they are allowed to have a legal procedure?
    Before VAWA, a women had very little recourse in a stalking case and VAWA has protected women from stalkers who could become killers.
    Finally, Bron, many laws are designed for specific individual groups that need special protection. Just look at the protections that the banksters get.

  12. Let us remember that men are abused also. Women bearing false witness and an unjust, unfair judicial system placing full blame on the man. My sons are better parents than their spouses, you could call them “Mr. Moms”. Many men have been removed from the lives of their children only to result in those children’s suffering. Women like to party and have a “good time” but refuse to accept the responsibility of their actions. The children need a family life, not just a way to collect welfare checks and child support. My mother told me not to have any children until I was able to support them and wanted them. I praise the Republican’s for their brave vote. While they are at it, may I suggest getting rid of CPS, CAPTA and all the other useless organizations?

  13. It is hard to believe that in the nineties Texas had a democratic feminist governor. Of course Cruz and his sidekick Cornyn voted against the bill. All the top officials in Texas are republican evangelicals.

  14. Responding to the following comments about amendments: “Grassley’s amendment stripped all Native American, LGBT, and undocumented victim protections. It was voted down on Thursday of last week. Cornyn’s, aimed exclusively on the bill’s language relating to tribal lands, failed on Monday…Why do you think that some of the dissenting Senators wanted to omit Native American women from the VAWA protections?”

    Based on my (admittedly secondhand) understanding of the details of the amendments, it is probably a gross misrepresentation to say that some senators wanted to “omit Native American women” from coverage under the law. I believe the issue was not whether Native American women were covered, but who would have jurisdiction over cases involving non-Native Americans in incidents committed on tribal lands. The VAWA act places all such cases under the jurisdiction of tribal authorities. I think reasonable people can disagree whether all such cases should be handled under the U.S. justice system, under tribal justice systems, or perhaps assigned to jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis, depending on the details of the allegations. Or maybe at least allowing appeals to federal courts, which I don’t believe is possible under the VAWA. And I’m not sure an amendment stripping the language on tribal jurisdiction necessarily reduces protections for either Native Americans or women as a class, because I am not familiar with how tribal courts tend to treat cases where the alleged perpetrator is a Native and the alleged victim is non-Native American, or vice versa. A number of Native American settlements are considered sovereign nations, and I don’t know to what extent U.S. Constitutional protections are enforced in tribal courts.

    As for the provision on protections for alleged victims who are living in this country illegally, I believe it grants temporary visas to any such person who claims to be a victim of violence. On the one hand, I can understand why someone may be unwilling to get help if she risks being deported when she goes to the police. But I can also understand that there may be some unfortunate unanticipated consequences if illegal residents on the verge of being deported can receive visas if they accuse someone of illegal acts.

    I’m not defending all votes against the bill or for amendments, or all the reasons people may have opposed it. But experience has taught me that you can’t judge the actual impacts of a law by the values touted in its title, and you can’t automatically assume that people voting against the bill are doing so because they oppose the stated goals of the bill’s sponsors. (And what is more interesting, I’ve learned that you can’t assume everyone voting FOR a bill has the same understanding of what the bill does, or shares the same goals as the other people voting for it. Some bills only pass because there is enough disagreement about its probable impact to allow people of wildly different philosophies to vote the same way.)

  15. Why have laws that spedically protect women? Gee, I don’t know may be because women are the targets of certain types of violence and that until this law was first past law enforcement and judges often treated domestic violence as no body’s business even if the woman was killed. Would the commenters who object to this law object to laws that allow shareholders to sue when the company in which they own shares acts against their interest in a derivative suit . There are many laws that provide special protections to persons or entities because of their status or other special characteristic should we do away with all of these laws?

    The VAW Act is a reasonalble and rational law to redress the imbalance in the criminal justice system when it comes to domestics violence and related violations. I wish that women did not need this law but they do. When certain crimes happen to women, they are treated differently. As a result, a crime is not a crime in these instances. I suggest that those who object speak to some victims and victims advocates to see if this law is one that only pits women against me or if it really answers a serious need.

  16. Most of this law is about supporting women who are being abused, many times in fear for their lives from men.

    In most cases abuse is investigated by male police officers, many of whom are abusers themselves.

    Case: Woman has been abused by her husband such that she has been afraid for her safety at least once a week. They have an argument. She calls 911, takes their toddler and goes to the car to leave. He follows and tries to choke her. She bites his arm to stop the choking. Cops arrive. She is judged the aggressor. She has to leave, the child stays with him. She is about 5’2″. He is over 6′ and works the oil rigs. That’s an example of the kind of thing that women have to put up with.

  17. This grouping argument is ridiculous.

    VAWA protects children and men, as well as women. Women do deserve most of the attention (for reasons previously stated in earlier posts) but the law isn’t designed to protect just female victims of domestic violence or sexual assasults. If that’s how it appears to you naysayers, it’s likely because women are, unfortunatly, more often than not the victim…but that doesn’t mean the law is designed solely to protect women…it is designed to protect the group of victims as a whole (men, women and children). But wait, victims are a group…we shouldnt be selecting victims out like that, should we.

    And Nick, hate crimes create a special class? What class? The only class i see those laws help protect are, once again, victims. I think you, and those who have issues with VAWA, have trouble seperating the genral concept of victims from the stereotypical notions of who is typically a victim in such incidents. Hate crime laws are essentially color blind since they deal primarily with the reasons for the criminal act, which, if based on race, or sex, or sexual orientation, or what have you, can be labeled a hate crime and given tougher penalties. It’s about determing the catalyst for an act of crime, it’s not some law that haphazardly increases criminal penalties based on the affiliation a victim has with an overly persecuted group….go and read Wisconsin v. Mitchell. In that case the supreme court upheld a hate crime law but, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll notice that the victim was a white male. Why? It was found that the victim was targeted because he was white.

    So the only group created by both VAWA and hate crime laws are victims, aka, everyone. How the hell is that even remotely a bad idea?

  18. rafflaw:

    Please show where in the constitution it says that it is ok to invade the body cavity of any individual. That is a violation of a person’s individual rights. The putzs, here in Virginia, who brought that up should be run out of office on a rail by the people at the ballot box. We dont need special laws to handle things like that, they are already illegal per the Constitution.

  19. Steven:

    if someone beats the tar out of you, does it matter why? Is it any more of a crime if they do it because they dont like Russians?

    I just dont understand, a human being is a human being. The crime is against a human being not a member of a group.

  20. The state judicial and police authorities who don’t do their jobs require additional laws to make them enforce all of the laws equally. Without these kind of laws, the DOJ would be filing many more lawsuits to force compliance and then the states would be crying states rights. As I mentioned above, this is not a new law, but a reauthorization of a law created in 1994.

  21. RAFFLAW:

    well that is true. But the states are compelled to follow the federal Constitution where it applies. Does the federal Constitution not protect us from murder, rape, beating and theft of our property?

  22. Bron, in short, yes. Here is why (like with most crime, its about intent):

    Scenario #1 – I knock a beer out of a guy’s hand in a crowded bar, he shoves me because I spilled the beer all over his shirt and jeans, I get mad and punch him in the face and then he beats the tar out of me.

    Scenario #2 – I’m sitting in a crowded bar drinking some beer and chatting with a friends. The same guy now comes up behind me, unprovoked, and beats the tar out of me solely because I’m Russian.

    Is that the same? While in both cases the tar is beaten out of me, doesn’t it seem like the violence provoked by nothing other than my nationality warrants a stiffer punishment?

    You’re suggesting removing intent from the criminal equation. By your rationale, any killing, regardless of the circumstances, is murder because intent is irrelevant….all that is important is that a criminal act left someone dead. But that fails to take into account the circumstances. Is killing in the heat of the moment the same as a per-meditated killing? No. Is getting beat up for being Russian the same as getting beat up for shoving and punching someone? No.

    But hate crimes don’t just involve physical altercations. What if someone defaced the front door of your home with racial and ethnic slurs…should the culprit only be fined for the damage (likely less than $1,000) and then charged with a misdemeanor? I think, and I would imagine you would also agree, that the cost of the crime is far greater than just the money needed to replace the door.

    So yes, we are all humans, but since humans are imperfect and act upon misguided beliefs, we need to create a mechanism to punish those who commit crimes because of those beliefs. And despite what you suggest, there is not special group that receives protection. The law does not say, for example, that punching a Russian means you will receive a stiffer sentence. No, the law states that a hate crime is a “crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.”

    By your rationale, the intent makes no difference, just the end result of the criminal act. I’d hate to live in that society, because, when being consistent with your logic, a person convicted of involuntary manslaughter would, in your world, be guilty of murder because intent is not important, only the fact that a person killed another person.

    It doesn’t matter what race or sex or ethnicity you are, the law isn’t saying your protected because you fall into a certain group. Rather, the law is saying that if you are going to commit a crime based upon your ignorant beliefs (provided it can be proven that was the intent), be prepared to receive a stiffer penalty.

  23. Steven:

    that is why we have varying degrees of murder, premeditated, manslaughter, etc. The reason for a premeditated murder doesnt really much matter. And neither does an unprovoked assault, it doesnt really matter why, it only matters that it was done.

    Intent to murder is the issue, not whether the person is a particular nationality.

    And no, that is not where my logic takes this. Manslaughter and premeditated murder are results of a state of mind or lack there of, not of a state of race.

    The will of the individual is what counts, did he do it purposefully or was it an accident or was the individual negligent. It has nothing to do with race or gender but with the state of an individual mind.

  24. Bron:

    Here is your problem: you don’t like mitigating factors.

    You seem to enjoy lumping things into categories. In order to diffuse my hypo you suggest that it doesn’t matter if the act was provoked or unprovoked, just that it happened. Fine, I can accept that, lets run with it. In a world where it either happened or it didn’t, mitigating factors have no place. Interesting. So how do you, using that logic, separate voluntary manslaughter from second degree murder (since you agree that the degrees of murder are appropriate), both require malice aforethought yet are differentiated by mitigating factors…thoughts?

    You conveniently didn’t address my property hypo, but I guess you’d say the same thing. Spray painting a smiley face on my front door is apparently the same as writing a racial slur telling my family to leave because the same thing happened, someone damaged my property with spray paint….there is no difference.

    You can’t honestly believe that both instances are the same?

    But that brings me to the second part of your statement when you hit the nail on the head…it is all about state of mind (what was your intent when you spray painted my door). Except, you continually confuse the physical or perceived state of the victim with the state of mind of the criminal. When a criminal, intentionally, selects someone, due to their race or what have you, it his “state of mind” that he wants to injure that person because of that attribute. Yes, you are correct, it is his intent to harm someone and that should be punished. No argument there. But there is that mitigating factor again, that his intent to harm is predicated solely on his misguided belief.

    In your line of logic, there is no way to punish a crime more severely because you fail to account for anything other than the intent of the criminal to cause the result. But the world is far more nuanced…you can’t simply just punish someone on the theory of it either happened or it didn’t.

  25. Anyone who carries on about the law being either unnecessary or discriminatory because it concentrates its efforts on ameliorating violence against WOMEN as opposed to “against humans,” is just using pretend blindness/dumbness to cover for sexism. The plain fact is that in the 250 years our laws have developed, there have been gaping holes in enforcement and application of the nice neutral-gender laws as they applied to women (and children). Yes it was illegal to commit battery upon someone … BUT … if she was a disobedient wife, it was just plain necessary so nobody minded (except perhaps HER). Yes it was illegal to commit rape but really, would it count if she was a slut to start with? Yes it was illegal to kill somebody but if you think about it, a guy can get pretty worked up if the b*tch slept around. Don’t you see? Law is only law when it is applied, NOT when it is written. For it to be applied so that women are protected, there had to be a clear set of enabling legislation making it (a) clear; and (b) mandatory; and (c) possible for there to be application, enforcement and regulation.

    There is not only no DOUBT that the VAW Act worked even better than it was planned, there is no doubt that this improvement would not have happened without it. How much simpler can you get when it comes to measurement of the effects of legislation?

    The real reason for voting against this act is that the return to feudalism that is the essential plan of the 1% right now can best be achieved by keeping most, if not all, of the 99% very frightened, very besieged, and poor. Violence against Women is one of the best ways for an abusive society to do that. If the women are either terrorized or just plain disenfranchised (de facto), one of the strongest bases, if not THE strongest base, of future democratic viability is neutralized.

    Go ahead, beat down your women. You will destroy your society. You are two-thirds there already.

  26. Steven, Are you an officer in the Thought Police? I’m guessing mind readers would be an expert witness in your court. The answer to your Russian hypothetical question or for ANY “hate” crime is an absolute NO..there should not be stiffer penalties.

  27. The extension of the jurisdiction of tribal courts to criminal proceedings against those accused who are not members of the tribe is a major issue for many people. Being against that extension is not equivalent to being against protecting native american women from violence.

  28. Who were these 22 perps? I would guess: Blunt of Mizzou; Lindsey Graham of SC. I will go back and punch some of those blue words with my paws and see if I get the names.

  29. The 22 Perps of the Senate For the Year 2013 are:

    The 22 Republicans who voted against it were Sens. John Barrasso (WY), Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (AR), Tom Coburn (OK), John Cornyn (TX), Ted Cruz (TX), Mike Enzi (WY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Chuck Grassley (IA), Orrin Hatch (UT), James Inhofe (OK), Mike Johanns (NE), Ron Johnson (WI), Mike Lee (UT), Mitch McConnell (KY), Rand Paul (KY), Jim Risch (ID), Pat Roberts (KS), Marco Rubio (FL), Tim Scott (SC), Jeff Sessions (AL) and John Thune (SD)

    Now you dogs here in Florida need to get crackin and organize around some woman to run against the Cuban whose parents fled Castro in 1956 (three years before Castro was around). Yeah, the Marco guy.

    And, Mitch McConnell. Wife beater. Yep.

  30. The goals of protecting anyone from anyone are laudable goals.

    The violence against women’s act by its very name is sexist, as is the content.
    It should be named the violence against humans act.
    Stats show that women assault men as often men assault women.

    The end result of this legislation when it finally reaches the ground level is a presumption w/o proof of the man assaulting the woman, and encourages lying and false accusations, where there is no penalty for those false allegations.
    It additionally entirely skews all Family Court proceedings, and allows gaming of the system against fathers.

  31. Sadly but not surprising, many Senate Republicans voted against protections for gays who are involved in an absuve relationship. That is how much they despise homosexuality, they would rather not offer these protections to gay individuals. There is opposition to gay rights and there is extremism.

  32. I am somewhat in agreement with Gary T above. Remove gender language or word in such as way as to cover all cases. I have worked on several cases where the female in a relationship was the abuser. I used to work with a lesbian couple. The dominant one was a psychiatrist of all things, and the partner was a Registered Nurse. It was no secret the psychiatrist was physically abusive, and the RN sometimes came into work with visible bruises. No one seemed to know quite how to handle that situation.

  33. This is only slightly off topic. Speaking of strong women who can take care of themselves.

    Did you see that Danica Patrick made history today? First woman to be on the pole for the Daytona 500. She ran off and left everybody but Jeff Gordon, who was the only one to really challenge her speed. From what I have seen of her so far, she is really getting the hang of driving in NASCAR. She is perfectly willing to run over a driver who will not get out of her way or drives rough with her.

    Maybe we should send Danica Patrick to congress to straighten them out. She may be tiny, and she may be beautiful, but she is clearly not a woman to be dismissed lightly. Quite a few jocks have found that out the hard way.

  34. Darren,
    Ashley Judd has “Box Turtle” McConnell really nervous. She has not announced anything, but his PAC is already throwing attack ads against her.

    She is another woman not to be taken lightly. She has a Bachelor’s degree in French, and speaks fluent French. Her Master’s degree is in Public Administration from Harvard. And she can sing. In Kentucky, it probably will not hurt that she is married to a top tier NASCAR driver.

  35. Box Turtle.. Hillarious, I can see that completely.

    She hasn’t announced her intention to run for office and she is being attacked by minions of an elected government official. Contemptable, but certainly not unusual. That’s enough in my book NOT to vote for him.

  36. OS,

    Danica will finally give me a reason to watch Daytona. The last time I had a reason was to root for “Junior” and I don’t mean Johnson.

  37. Steven:

    I told you that, it is the state of mind of the individual that matters. Was the act premeditated or was it an accident or was it in a fit of passion. If it is an accident, you cant very well put the person to death. And if it was in a fit of passion then you can say the person was temporarily incapacitated by rage or whatever.

    “you can’t simply just punish someone on the theory of it either happened or it didn’t.”

    If it didnt happen, there is no crime. You cannot punish someone for thinking racist or homophobic or sexist thoughts.

    As far as the door, the person who paints the smiley face has trespassed and damaged your property. So has the person who wrote racial slurs. I would probably have the person who drew the smiley face pay for a new door and apologize. While I would try and punish the other person to the extent the law allowed. But I would not make a special law that protected one group of people more than another.

    The law should protect all people to the same extent. Some groups should not have more rights than another group, then you start devolving into tribalism and determination by government which groups have preferential treatment.

  38. malisha:

    “Anyone who carries on about the law being either unnecessary or discriminatory because it concentrates its efforts on ameliorating violence against WOMEN as opposed to “against humans,” is just using pretend blindness/dumbness to cover for sexism.”

    Not hardly. Women and men are human beings, you dont beat them, kill them, commit fraud against them, etc. They both should have equal standing before the law. You dont elevate one above another.

    A man’s life is less valuable than a woman’s? That seems sexist to me.

  39. “What are the nature and the causes of modern tribalism? Philosophically, tribalism is the product of irrationalism and collectivism. It is a logical consequence of modern philosophy. If women accept the notion that reason is not valid, what is to guide them and how are they to live?

    Obviously, they will seek to join some group—any group—which claims the ability to lead them and to provide some sort of knowledge acquired by some sort of unspecified means. If women accept the notion that the individual is helpless, intellectually and morally, that she has no mind and no rights, that she is nothing, but the group is all, and her only moral significance lies in selfless service to the group—they will be pulled obediently to join a group. But which group? Well, if you believe that you have no mind and no moral value, you cannot have the confidence to make choices—so the only thing for you to do is to join an unchosen group, the group into which you were born, the group to which you were predestined to belong by the sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient power of your body chemistry.”

    “Global Balkanization,”
    The Voice of Reason, 117

  40. Bron,

    I wasn’t going to respond to your post since you essentially proved my point in your attempts to refute it. But, since I’m not sure if you realized that you actually agreed with me, I figured I’d break down what you said:

    1. A guy who paints a smiley face on your door should have to buy a new door and apologize.

    2. A guy who paints racial slurs on your door should be punished to fullest extent of the law.

    So, you do realize that while an act is the same (what happened – someone painted your door) there are elements that make one act more egregious and deserving of a harsher punishment.

    I knew you’d see the light.

    And it was nice to see that you you unknowingly said the same thing with response to my murder scenario, that even though both second degree murder and manslaughter require malice aforethought, you noted that some cases are different because an individual could be incapacitated due to rage. Again, I agree. But, that doesn’t jive with your original comments on this thread…you are, like in the door example mentioned above, taking mitigating factors into consideration to alter the punishment…which is what I’ve been saying from the start. You keep suggesting that some special law is floating around in the the judicial ether designed to punish one group more than another, but that is, as I’ve said from the beginning, not the case. Some acts are just more egregious than other similar acts due to the reasons for the act, aka, mitigating factors. And, like you said in agreement, some acts, due to those factors, deserve harsher punishments. So how do you achieve those goals of harsher punishment for more egregious acts? You have to create a statutory mechanism that says, “hey, when these mitigating factors are involved, give harsher penalties.”

    Whether you realize it or not, you proved my point.

    And, to correct your ending statement, there is no “one” group that receives more rights than another….by that rationale, if “groups” were given specific protections, hate crime laws would be similar to strict liability. So, if that was the case, and special groups received special protection, if a Jewish, white man punched a Christian, white man, it would be a hate crime regardless of what happened because the parties involved were of different religions.

    But it doesn’t work that way. Just like painting a door, the act of punching someone isn’t always the same, other factors are taken into consideration. It’s possible the Jewish guy punched the Christian guy because he was sleeping with his wife…which is much different than the Christian guy being punched simply because the Jewish guy didn’t want to be near anyone who wasn’t Jewish.

    As for your criticism of Malisha…I don’t know what to say except, are you serious? Are you suggesting that women and men don’t have equal standing under the law? When has a man’s life been devalued? So if a women kills a man is she given preferential treatment? If a woman robs a man’s house is she given preferential treatment? If a woman is drunk driving is she given preferential treatment? Are there laws that say, “if a women commits this crime, she is too be given a lesser sentence than a man?” Last time I checked, and I’ve read a lot of criminal statutes, the answer is no.

    The very idea that you think what Malisha says denotes that a woman’s life is more valuable than a man’s is indicative of the fact that you totally missed the point. Despite what you think, VAWA is not some special group defining anti-man punishment mechanism. It provides services to help support those who are victims of domestic violence through education and other social services (it just so happens that most victims are women).

    As for Tribalism…give me a break, quoting Ayne Rand does not substitute as an argument (especially when taken from a piece that discusses the dangers of modern tribalism in the West and identifies the irrationality from which the idea of ethnicity arises). First, as I’ve mentioned before, the only group receiving protections in any of what we have been discussing are, and let me emphasize this, VICTIMS. Second, tribalism is the differentiation of people based on the possession of a strong cultural or ethnic identity. An example of Tribalism in Western culture would be separatist movements in Europe like in Belgium, where Flemish people want to break from Belgium and form their own country. Similarities don’t rise to the level of tribalism, it requires a deeper cultural and ethnic connection.

  41. Steven:

    I said that above. I am not making a special law to punish the rascist however, I am using the existing laws. So I really dont agree with you. I am not creating a new law to give preferential treatment to a group of people, I am using current laws to punish.

    There is discretion within our legal system as currently constituted.

  42. Steven, I don’t have hyhpotheticals like you used w/ the Russian..a choice I found curious by the way. There are plenty of real world incidents that occur daily. I worked a case where 3 b/m raped a b/f. They continually said they were “raping a “fat girl”. Is that a hate crime? There is an infamous case in LA @ Dodger Stadium. Three Dodger fans beat a man so he has permanent and severe brain damage. All evidence indicates this man was beaten solely because he wore a Giants jersey and hat, a fact the assailants yelled as they beat him senseless. Is that a hate crime? On a daily basis, young men are gunned down on the street by gangbangers. These victims are doing nothing but standing on the street wearing the wrong colors. Is that a hate crime? On Fall Saturday afternoons fans of rival college football teams are beaten simply for supporting the visiting team. Is that a hate crime? When I was a child, I saw kids get beaten simply for wearing glasses, the beater yelling, “Take that 4 eyes.” Is that a hate crime? We had a post here a couple months ago of Alabama football fans tea bagging a drunken LSU fan. Is that a hate crime. By your values, there are millions of hate crimes committed on a daily basis. Have you read Orwell?

  43. “There is an infamous case in LA @ Dodger Stadium. Three Dodger fans beat a man so he has permanent and severe brain damage. All evidence indicates this man was beaten solely because he wore a Giants jersey and hat, a fact the assailants yelled as they beat him senseless. Is that a hate crime?”


  44. Mike Spindell:

    Arent most crimes based on hate? Especially violent ones.

    Maybe you could educate me [no snark I am honestly curious] as to why there needs to be preferential laws made to protect groups of people rather than individuals?

    As Nick pointed out above, those crimes were against individuals.

  45. Bron: There is nothing more I can really say to you…you simply don’t get it, you support the current discretion in the legal system yet don’t approve of laws that create the very discretion you support.

    I’d break it down more but I will leave you with this: in the state where I practice, both door offenses would be a misdemeanor charge (unless the damage to the door exceeded $2,000). So, without a hate crime law, the fullest extent of the law, as you put it, would yield roughly the same result yet, you, as well as I, know that the offenses are drastically different and warrant different punishments.

    Nick: While I would personally agree with Mike, in saying that your Dodgers example should be a hate crime, let me clear up a misconception that you have: I have not been arguing for my own personal values, rather, I’ve been defending the application of an existing law.

    Hate crimes, depending on the state you live, can be applicable in cases where crimes are committed due to a person’s race, religion, ethnicity, nationality (hence my use of “Russian” in an earlier hypo), gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.

    I would find millions of hate crimes? Um, no. Not unless I was the best prosecutor on the planet. Again, at no point have I argued about my values, I’m been arguing in defense of the current application of laws designed to provide stiffer penalties for more egregious crimes. And Orwell? Give me a break, at no point have I even suggested that people should be punished for merely “thinking” something, nor is that even possible both practically and legally.

    You know what, I wasn’t going to do this but lets through your examples, just clear up your misconceptions:

    1. Girl being raped b/c she was fat. Not a hate crime. Secondly, the phrase “I’m raping a fat girl” doesn’t mean the same thing as “I raped her because she was fat”, as a lawyer (and I’m assuming you are one), you should know that is an important distinction.

    2. Dodgers fans. It is not a hate crime, even though, given the specific facts of the case, I agree with Mike and think it should be. Interestingly, after the event occurred, there were ample discussions about whether it should be considered a hate crime due to the horrific nature of the act, which supports the concept that some crimes deserve stiffer penalties because, given the facts, the crime is especially abhorrent.

    3. People wearing wrong colors: Not a hate crime.

    4. Rival Football teams: Not a hate crime and drastically different from the Dodgers example.

    5. Wearing glasses: Not a hate crime. Are you kidding me?

    You, like Bron, seem to think that the any obvious, visual difference (judging from your examples) would fall under the law and that the law would go to work immediately (without their being proof). Wrong and extremely wrong.

    Now, I’m assuming your trying to force me into a trap by suggesting that the reason your examples don’t apply is because they are not one of the protected classes under the law, supporting Bron’s certain groups get special protections concept….although, while I don’t think your that clever and it merely happened by accident…that trap has two fatal flaws.

    First, hate crime laws don’t protect specific groups, they protect EVERYONE. If you are a human being living in the United States, and someone commits a criminal act against you because of, I dunno, your race, guess what, this law applies to your case (as long as it can be proven that race was the reason for the crime). The law doesn’t selectively apply to one specific racial group, but all racial groups…aka, you, me and everyone else in this country. You know what it doesn’t apply to animals…and cars…and plants.

    Second, as a country, we have agreed that certain acts are more egregious and bad for society, and those who prey on others because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion should be punished more severely than those who commit similar acts but for different reasons. The law serves as a deterrent to those thinking of acting in a way that contradicts the norms of society. Why? Because hate crimes are not only more damaging to a victim (where it can take longer to recover psychologically), but they affect those in society similar to that victim.

    So no, none of your examples would be classified as hate crimes under the current application of the law, ergo, I would not find that there are millions of hate crimes committed on a daily basis.

  46. Steven:

    I understand completely. I am just against making laws which give a certain group of people some sort of protected/elevated status by virtue of race, sex, etc..

    “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”, I dont believe in that kind of thinking.

  47. Raff:

    Thanks for the light on this misogyny masquerading as principled disagreement. I bet they could find a dissent against Mom and apple pie if given enough time. Looks like they already did to Mom!

  48. Steven, It appears everything is clear in your mind. I am always wary of people who profess clarity on complex issues. I am not a lawyer, I’m an investigator. You’re raping the fat girl reasoning is decided by one word..”because”. What if they had poor language skills. What if one was raping the victim “because” she was fat but simply didn’t say “because”? Why are you so SURE about the other examples? Please explain.

  49. I went to NYC and made a train trek to the Bronx to see the Yankees play the Orioles. There was a group of midgets there in Giants jerseys. Well the approbation from Yankee fans on the little Giants was terrible. I thought at the time that simple verbal abuse of a Giant fan is one thing but picking on the midget Giants made it more of a human rights issue. So, the analogy to this statute gets some perspective. The Orioles won the game and the midgets were cheering at the end to the consternation of the big Yankee fans. We went to a nearby bar and drank with the midgets. One of the midgets gave us two passes to a Frisco Giants game against the Mets at Shea Stadium the next evening.. We showed up and there were all the midgets again in their Giants jerseys. The Mets fans started the same little guy abuse. That was back in my prior incarnation as a human. My dogpac sticks up for little guys.

  50. Nick: It’s not that everything is clear in my mind…it’s just that the arguments you posed failed to fall within any of the legal grey areas associated with hate crimes.

    But to answer your question, it comes down to what it listed in the statute. Now, I can’t speak for every state in the country, since some might expand what constitutes a hate crime, but in general hate crimes, like I said before, involve:

    Race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

    If a crime doesn’t involve one of those elements, it will not be considered a hate crime. Now, if it does involve one of these elements, it is not automatically a hate crime. It has to be proven that the intent to commit the crime was based on one of those elements, and the burden of proof is not easy to meet. But, conversely, if it doesn’t involve one of those elements, there is noting to prove and isn’t considered a hate crime. So now lets look at your examples:

    Colors worn: No (colored clothing does not count)

    Team affiliation: No (team affiliation does not count)

    Wearing Glasses: No (poor eyesight does not count). If the person was blind, or had extremely poor eyesight, then there is a possibility, but you did not say that in your hypo, you simple said: “wore glasses” and said “take that 4 eyes.”

    Raping of a fat women: No (being fat does not count). And, to clarify, my determination is based on the fact that being fat does not count. Now, if you wanted to say why doesn’t a hate crime apply because she is a woman, I’d agree with you there, but you seemed to focus on the fact she was fat.

    However, the unfortunate fact is that the law generally doesn’t consider rape a hate crime either, even though I personally believe, and now I’m interjecting my own values, that it should be since it falls within the spirit of hate crime laws.

    But lets go back to the word “because.” I was providing a secondary example to show how hate crime laws work. You would need to prove that the intent for the crime was based on one of those elements. To use your example, when guys raping a girl say “we are raping a fat girl” the statement isn’t clear to the intent of the rapists without further evidence to support their claim. Now, if those same boys say “we are raping this girl because she is fat” the intent of their actions is clear from their statement.

    That is a simplistic example of how it works, but it is instructive nonetheless. As for your contention that they might not speak clearly, that is a valid concern, but I highly doubt that simply suggesting they meant something different because they have poor speaking skills would meet the burden of proof necessary to show a hate crime. If they didn’t say anything, again, you would have to find other evidence to prove a hate crime, simply thinking it, does not satisfy the burden of proof needed.

    Contrary to what some believe, proving a hate crime is not easy, and, in actual practice, labeling a crime a hate crime typically occurs when the punishment for the offense itself, is not enough. So if the punishment is life in prison for a crime, a prosecutor will not try to show it was a hate crime as well, since it would add nothing to the punishment. This is why I used the examples of simple assault/battery and property crimes. In those instances, the available legal remedies don’t do enough to punish the perpetrators, thus encapsulating the essence of why hate crime laws exist.

  51. Mespo:

    I am a little unclear on how I am being a mysogynist. I have asked Mike Spindell to please explain and now I am asking you to please explain. Again no snark is implied, I just would like to know why you think my thinking is wrong about this.

  52. “Aren’t most crimes based on hate? Especially violent ones.”


    I don’t believe at all that most crimes are based on hate. As far as the violent ones of course some are based on hate, but many aren’t really personal in the sense that their basis isn’t specific hatred of the victim, but a psychological dysfunction in the perpetrator that doesn’t inhibit this person from acting violently toward another. Then too their is the example of the murderer who is doing it for “nothing personal”, but who for some reason sees the victim as threatening in some way. I won’t go into depth why these laws make sense, because Steven has done such a good job, I would only be parroting him.

    “I understand completely. I am just against making laws which give a certain group of people some sort of protected/elevated status by virtue of race, sex, etc..

    “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”, I dont believe in that kind of thinking.”


    I don’t think you “understand Steven completely”, because if you did you would understand that these laws are not about elevating a class of individuals to a “status”, but about trying to protect certain people who the law has not historically protected.

    In the case of Black people the simple fact is that most laws historically had treated them to a lesser status and while those laws have been negated for the most part, the “Legal System” in many venues still treats them unequally. For homosexuals this has always been true also. Latinos, Native Americans and people of other ethnicities also are even now treated unfairly under the “Legal System”. See anything about Sheriff Joe Arpaio. When it comes to women,
    giving them the right to vote was only a first step in helping them attain the equal status before the law they deserve and that was over 90 years ago.

    Just thinking of the crime of “stalking” alone, what would you do if your daughter was being “stalked”? In the past not only were the police powerless to intervene, but if you and I as fathers had intervened violently (and trust me I would have) we would have been the ones on trial. With rape historically the sexuality of the woman was successfully called into question as a mitigating factor as in “the slut deserved what she got”. This is also true for husbands who abused their spouses. I could go on but the examples are too obvious to need further elaboration, save for the fact that those who would respond with something like “men are abused also” are rather lame argumentatively.

    As for you being a misogynist, I certainly didn’t accuse you of that, nor do I think that of you. Your problem is that you view this issue from a narrow political perspective and there is nothing political about this issue. It is an issue that touches upon institutional fair treatment and maintaining a legal system that affords all the legal protections that keep this society from falling into a chaos of outlaws, where might makes right. Equal protection under the law is not about left-wing, or right-wing, it is about have a society where all are equal under the law. I’m sorry your pre-judgment prevents you from seeing that.

  53. Mike Spindell:

    I understand all of that. But that is a result of the laws not being properly enforced. And in the case of women and blacks not being allowed to vote, that was a flaw in our Constitution. As was slavery. But I do think that if the states are violating individual rights then the federal government may step in and enforce the laws.

    What if my son was being stalked? Do I love him any less? Is my daughter more special to me?

    This has nothing to do with politics per se but to philosophy and how it informs our politics.

  54. Steven, My point is that that hate laws are inherently unfair because “some hate is more equal than others,” combined w/ the fact there are adequate laws to prosecute offendors. I’m a libertarian and hate laws are an anathema.

  55. Mike: Your last post was well written and to the point, a great entry.

    Bron: Stalking? The Violence Against Women’s Act (yes, VAWA) defines stalking as the act of “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a SPECIFIC PERSON that would cause a reasonable person to:

    (A) fear for HIS or HER safety or the safety of others; or
    (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

    Did you notice the terms “person” and “his” and “her” were used? There is no difference between your son or you daughter under the definition of stalking in VAWA (the very act you said creates special classes of protections).

    So what again was your point?

    Nick: You seem to believe that laws, without the addition of hate crime laws, can effectively punish any crime. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be having this discussion because hate crime laws wouldn’t exist. And, as I’ve said before, in lots of cases hate crime laws are not pursued when the criminal penalties are already severe…they are typically only used when the criminal penalty alone is not sufficient to punish the crime.

    Lets make this very clear:

    Scenario #1 – You are a black family living in an all white neighborhood. One day you come home and a smiley face is spray-painted on your front door. You can’t remove the paint and the door will need to be replaced at a cost of $400.

    Scenario #2 – You are a black family living in an all white neighborhood. One day you come home and the N-Word is spray-painted on your front door. You can’t remove the paint and the door will need to be replaced at a cost of $400.

    In both cases, without hate crime laws, the fullest extent of the law would be, in the jurisdiction I practice, to treat each crime the same since the law does not distinguish between the content of the graffiti. Graffiti, in my jurisdiction, is defined as “the drawing, painting or making of any mark or inscription on public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner.” There is no discussion of “content.” The likely penalty, in both cases, would be to have the door replaced and the perpetrator charged with a misdemeanor.

    So to you that is fair? Both perpetrators should just have to buy a new door and call it a day. You see no difference in those two acts…they both result in the same psychological impact to the victim?

    You can’t possibly be serious and think that both those acts deserve the same penalty under the law, which is what would happen without the existence of hate crime statutes. If you think the content is important, you need a legal mechanism that takes the content into consideration…cue the hate crime laws.

  56. nick spinelli:

    I think a hate-crime is what Ayn Rand would call an anti-concept. I found this on the web:

    “Anonymous said…
    An example of an anti-concept

    An “anti-concept,” as Ayn Rand identified and defined this perversion, is “an unnecessary and rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept.”

    She identified the following as anti-concepts: “consumerism,” “duty,” “ethnicity,” “extremism,” “isolationism,” “McCarthyism,” “meritocracy,” “polarization,” and “simplistic.”

    To that roll of dishonor, I would add “socialization.” This term is used, ostensibly, to refer vaguely to the process by which a child comes to adopt the elements of civilized existence in society. A definition I found on the web states:

    “Socialization is the process by which culture is learned; also called enculturation. During socialization individuals internalize a culture’s social controls, along with values and norms about right and wrong.”

    A definition given at a medical dictionary site is more explicit, and therefore uglier:

    “the process by which society integrates the individual, and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.”

    Right there, you can see the incredible package-deal the term is trying to put over on us. The first part of the definition speaks of society acting upon the individual, as if society were an entity and the individual a lump of clay, waiting to be molded by it. The second part of the definition refers to learning. (And even with regard to that the definition’s author felt the need to add “socially acceptable” into the mix.)

    “Socialization” packages together rational learning and mindless conformity.

    The purpose of the package is to eliminate from the user’s mind the idea that there is such a thing as rational learning. Note, in regard to this purpose, that the two parts of the second definition are joined by “and”—as if there is always an element of second-handedness in a child’s acceptance of morality, etiquette, etc.

    But there is no more fundamental difference in a child’s development than that between first-handed and second-handed functioning.

    Both Howard Roark and Ellsworth Toohey came to hold moral (or, in Toohey’s case pseudo-moral) principles. But the difference in how this happened is the difference between . . . well, it’s the difference between Roark and Toohey. Packaging both their developments into one concept, “socialization,” is designed to obliterate this difference, to make the idea of Roark unthinkable—by implying there is no essential difference between Roark’s mental processes and those of Toohey and Keating.

    Indeed, the anti-concept “socialization” is aimed at wiping out the very idea of a mental process, suggesting that everyone is molded unconsciously by “society,” passively absorbing his conclusions, his convictions, his standards, from his interactions with others.

    Note that the first definition says “individuals internalize social controls.” You “internalize” the food you eat. If you are simply eating up the “values and norms” tossed to you by others, there’s something very wrong.

    The term “socialization” has currency because it resonates with the experience of second-handers. To the extent one has not engaged in rational learning, and has passively absorbed his ideas from others, he has difficulty even conceiving of an alternative. People who blithely write about society “integrating” the individual—without shuddering at the implications for how they themselves developed— are either unaccustomed to applying ideas to their own lives or confessing so thorough a second-handedness that they have lost the idea of rational learning altogether. Or both.

    What does a rational person do in regard to anti-concepts? First, he doesn’t allow them into his own thinking. He refuses to use words such as “socialization,” consigning them to oblivion. Second, he doesn’t give them further currency in communication with others; where appropriate, he unmasks them for the mind-busters that they are. Which is what this post has been designed to do for “socialization.””

    It was posted on some anti-Ayn Rand site by a supporter I will assume.

  57. “the process by which society integrates the individual, and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.”


    That Rand disdains this is further evidence of her sociopathic nature and aversion to human society. Here’s the deal. I’ve been a rebel all of my life from elementary school, through education and through my career. People have often been shocked by my rebellion, which some saw as courageous and others saw as self-destructive. Even today my friends and family are often shocked by my opinions about society, humanity and the world. Yet as an intelligent and mentally stable human being I recogize the existence of social norms and of the importance of any human society to inculcate their young into those norms. This is why we don’t live in a society in America, where all daily activities are life threatening and bandits don’t hold sway over local territories. Much is wrong with this country and indeed much is wrong with human society everywhere. However, this wrongness is the result of the type of thinking Rand exemplifies, where she emphacizes individual greed over human cooperation. She never grew out of the childhood need for instant gratification, but instead justified it with romantic novels peopled by flat characters, with protagonists that were totally unreal. Roark, Galt and Dagneskold were inhuman cartoons made heroic by their sociopathy. Pirates exemplified as saviors.

  58. Mike Spindell:

    I recognize the existence of social norms as well.

    All I was trying to do is show why I am against calling crimes against women or minorities hate crimes. Socialization was used as an example of an anti-concept.

    She was a big propnent of leading a moral life and contrary to what you and others may believe, she was not an anarchist. People who think so, either have not read her works or do not understand the written word.

    I cooperate with people all the time in my work, you see, I have to if I wish to eat. And I volutarily cooperate and so do my clients, it is a mutually beneficial cooperation. I get paid and they get a safe structure which will be well built. If they are a builder of homes, for example, their customers will feel safe in their house when an earthquake or hurricane or tornado strikes.

    The customers will tell other people about how well built Diamond Homes are and Diamond Homes will get more customers and I will get more work. It is all very moral and we all voluntarily cooperate with each other to provide value. Plans in my case, a home in the builders case and money is the contribution from the home owner.

    By saying people are greedy you are denouncing the cooperation you are so much in favor of. Why would I cooperate with the home builder if he wasnt going to pay me? Why would the home builder build a house for no money?

    The only person to agree to that would be the home owner but then again I would not want a house where the builder and engineer were not paid for their time and work. It would not be very well done.

    So it is greedy to want to be able to feed your family, to buy a car, a house, to take a vacation, to exist?

    That is what you are saying, it is better to cooperate even if it means you wont be able to exist. I know that is not what you mean. And I dont think anarchy, thievery and murder are good.

  59. Mike:

    Spot on…however, I will be a bit less succinct.


    Isn’t the very term “anti-concept” an “anti-concept?” As you correctly quote, an anti-concept is “an unnecessary and rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept.” In this case, you think socialization fits this definition. But, judging from the constant contradictions [explained below], an anti-concept is really a label applied to any concept that has ruffled the feathers of Miss Rand?

    Why? Continue reading…

    In fact, for most of this post, I will use her own words. In “Philosophy: Who Needs it” she criticizes anyone who believes in anti-concepts, suggesting that “if one asks him [someone who believes in anti-concepts] what he means by a given idea [an anti-concept], he will not be able to answer. If one asks him the reasons of his convictions, one will discover that his convictions are a thin, fragile film floating over a vacuum, like an oil slick in empty space.”

    So lets examine the “non-answer” and “oil slick in empty space” that is socialization.

    Do you pick your nose in public? Not tip at a restaurant? Walk around in the nude? Form a line at a cash register instead of just forming a mob? Fart and burp in a business meeting?

    Nobody’s rights are being violated by any of those actions, and performing some of them might be quite beneficial (picking nose, burping, farting) to the user, making them an objectively justifiable action. But, as a society, we have found that some of those actions, while not violating anyone’s rights, are objectionable. You also have to factor in how some behaviors (slurping soup, belching, tipping) are appropriate in some places but inappropriate in others based on cultural differences.

    So how do you refer to this learning of societal norms that differs from culture to culture? How can you reject a process, of which your a product, that informs and individual on how to behave….especially when Ayn Rand’s own ethical philosophy of objectivist ethics is based on the determination of “what is value”, or, as she simply suggests, “that which one acts to gain and/or keep.”

    For example, people in our culture want money, therefore, you can say that people in our culture value money. But why do people value money? It has no intrinsic value. In fact, if a Native American were dropped into this country right now would they value money? Nope. Why not? Socialization. This is why Ayn Rand’s anti-concept theory is stupid…socialization is defined as an anti-concept yet at the same time its the very mechanism needed to define what is valuable in order to make objectivist ethics function.

    But good try.

    As for reading Ayn Rand, I’ve read a lot of essays…and I have to ask you, how was Mike wrong? How is she moral? Ayn Rand despised the morality of self-sacrifice (which is why I find it funny when religious people quote her). Instead, as mentioned before, she advocated objectivist ethics; or, as it is simply put by her in an essay, “take what you want and pay for it.”

    The phrase, according to Rand, “take what you want” refers to the notion that human values are chosen [this circles back to socialization, since how do you choose what is valuable]. She goes on to suggest that a proper morality is not about religious commandments or duties, rather, it is about what you want out of life and what you must do to achieve that happiness. So the phrase “take what you want” really means that a person should use rational judgment to figure which courses of action will result in their happiness, or put more simply, “take what you rationally want.”

    This ties back into socialization. Let me provide a brief example. A 40 year old guy likes 15 year old girls. They make him happy. You have a 15 year old daughter. She likes this 40 year old man. He makes her happy. She makes him happy. They want to marry….are you ok with that?

    The answer is likely no, because that does not fall in line with our social norms and frankly, is repugnant. However, in other cultures, especially in more impoverished third world areas, the marriage of old men and young women is acceptable.

    Do you see the problem? You can’t on one hand say that socialization does not exist, because it is an anti-concept, and then at the same time act on the societal norms you have agreed are objectionable through socialization, to prevent your daughter from being happy with a 40year old man. You can’t have it both ways.

    And that is the fundamental problem with Rand…while not letting your daughter marry a 40 year old man is rational and makes you happy; from your daughter’s point of view, your response is irrational because it does not allow her to make her own value judgment on what makes her happy. In Rand’s world, where you are to determine your own values, finding morality is a personal quest. Doesn’t that seem like a risky proposition? We, as a collective group, are somehow supposed to meet in the middle on something as subjective as personal value structures?

    Now do you get why she wrote fictional stories?

    So, I ask again, how is Mike wrong and Ayn Rand truly moral? She speaks in constant contradictions when you apply her philosophy to reality, as opposed to fictional worlds. The “take what you rationally want” mantra is all well and good if everyone is on the same, rational page. Your example, of customers cooperating, works because you both are on the same page; you need each other to achieve a desired outcome that you both value. But when you both don’t value the same outcome, or your rational and/or moral views don’t align, how does Rand solve that problem?

    Simple, by suggesting that you do what “you” think is rationale. That isn’t moral, its just dumb.

  60. Steven:

    Many of our norms came from when people used manners in public. The rich were arbiters of good taste and manners back in the day. I think people probably wanted to do business with the rich and hob nob a bit. People back in the day didnt think the rich were all that bad.

    In order to do this they needed to learn some manners, so it was all very rational. You want to do business with Henry Ford, better not pick your nose in front of him. Do you want to sell Andrew Carnegie a new shotgun or rifle? Better not slurp your soup or hold your fork incorrectly while having lunch with him.

    Well anyway you get the picture.

    “We, as a collective group, are somehow supposed to meet in the middle on something as subjective as personal value structures?”

    In a free society I am not sure why this is a problem? If you want to join a commune and engage in free love and one for all and all for one, be my guest just dont ask me to contribute or to join.

    If you dont value the same outcome, then why in gods name would you want to interact with the person? If a builder wanted to build an unsafe structure why would I want to design it to his specifications? In a free society I would not be required to do so.

    You certainly havent pointed out any contradictions.

    And by the way did you actually read what I posted? He inst talking about slurping soup and picking your nose. He is talking about ethics and morals.

    I believe we call slurping soup and picking your nose habits Farting and belching are natural functions like urination or the production of saliva. The reason for slurping soup is a spoon which is a utensil. I would certainly love for you to explain how using a utensil is immoral. Are you against knives and forks as well? Why do people eat with utensils? So we dont use the same hand that wiped our a*s to eat with. You see, its a sanitary thing. Much etiquette is based on function and has nothing to do with the type of socialization the author in post above is talking about.

  61. “She was a big propnent of leading a moral life”


    Yet she was what many of us would call an amoral woman. she cheated on her husband with Nathaniel Brandon (her intellectual heir) and he was married. She also cheated on her husband with Alan Ginzberg. When it came to her pesonal needs she had no morals.

  62. Bron:

    What are you talking about? I think everything I wrote literally went over your head, or maybe you didn’t understand what I was trying to say.

    1. You stated that norms come from the manners used by people in public….that people reflected the manners of the rich.

    100% Correct….and that is a beautiful example SUPPORTING socialization, not contradicting it. Why did the rich determine that those specific actions were appropriate and others not appropriate? How did one determine that one action was more offensive than another? Why did they become the social norm? You can’t simply say something is offensive because now it is considered to be that way. Manners are created through mass acceptance via socialization…they directly reflect the norms that are accepted by a given society and are promulgated through the use of proper etiquette.

    Is it okay for a woman to be a judge? Of course…but in cultures different from our Western culture, no, it wouldn’t. Would you kiss Donald Trump on the cheek three times before doing business with him? No. Why? It’s not the norm in our culture. But in Egypt that is the standard greeting. That is the norm. Do they lack manners? How can there manners be so different than ours? Don’t they understand that no one will buy their products if they don’t act like how you think they should?

    The answer is simple: different cultures, different norms. Socialization.

    And you also seem to put everything into an economic scenario, which is patently absurd, I don’t walk out of my door and interact with world by buying stuff ad nauseam.

    2. You stated, in a free society, what’s the problem with meeting in the middle?

    There is no problem….if it was possible. The problem is that the very nature of subjectivity is that people will not agree. My mother loved the movie the Age of Innocence. I hated it. We will never come to the middle on that. Values are no different. Think about abortion; some are for it, others against it. Where is the middle ground? Both involve individually guided value judgments.

    3. You stated that, why would would you then interact with someone without the same value judgments if you could avoid it?

    Because you can’t always avoid it. I don’t believe we have the luxury of deciding with whom we get to interact with on a daily basis. So are you going to avoid everyone who doesn’t agree with you? Unless you live in a bubble, your going to encounter people who don’t share the same values as you. It is inevitable.

    Yes, I can avoid the guy that builds a crappy house but that is not culture, that is poor craftsmanship. They are not the same.

    You basically are suffering from the tragedy of the commons. Basically, if I am a bigger, stronger person who was taught that the strong should take what they want from the weak, and you were weaker than me, my personal values have no problem with me beating you down and taking what I desire from you. You, on the other hand, might think differently, and value your personal liberty.

    Without “duties” or “government rights”, like Ayn Rand advocates, your left to hope that we both agree in the middle. Good luck getting your property back…without laws, with are government rights, you have no recourse but to out strong the stronger person.

    4. Habits, functions and utensils.

    The slurping of soup is practice in Asian countries to show appreciation. Yes, the utensil aids you in doing this but that wasn’t the point. The lack of slurping, in those same Asian countries, is indicative of you NOT enjoying the soup. But in Western culture, slurping is considered rude, even if it is the best soup you’ve ever had.

    It is a cultural difference.

    And using utensils has nothing to do with sanitation. Are you serious? It is cultural. You do know that there are several cultures where they eat WITH THEIR HANDS only. Right? Why do Asians cultures use chop sticks? Why do western cultures use a fork?

    I had a professor in undergrad who tell you the cultural significance of each utensil we use…and it was amazing. It is also Socialization.

    And habits and functions are considered rude when society deems them rude. Sanitation can be a reason for why society finds some functions rude, but lets look at those having no sanitation issues. Getting dressed is a habit…why don’t we just walk around naked? Be much easier, and cheaper, to not have clothes in hot climates. Breathing is a function…yet no one finds that rude. Unless you are breathing really loud over someone’s shoulder while sitting next to them. Burping is also a function, with no sanitation issues, but people find it rude when done in public. In private, it is up to personal discretion. How about talking? That is a function and a habit. And its normally fine. But in certain situations we know its rude to talk loudly and we whisper. How do we know its rude?

    You would say because we learned from others that it is…which is right, it is also socialization.

    But to further illustrate the point, folks from Europe can typically spot an American because we talk louder than most Europeans, especially when eating dinner or hanging out with friends. Why? Because speak loudly, when communicating, is considered a social norm in America. In Europe, it isn’t.

    It is culture.
    It is socialization.

  63. Steven:

    “You stated, in a free society, what’s the problem with meeting in the middle?”

    In a free society I am not sure why this is a problem? If you want to join a commune and engage in free love and one for all and all for one, be my guest just dont ask me to contribute or to join.

    I should have said there is no need for a compromise in a free society because you can do your thing and I can do mine. Of course so long as either of our things dont violate others rights.

  64. Bron:

    Without defined rights, without agreed upon morals, without agreed upon norms….there can be no middle, because there is no definition of what is extreme in order to determine what is accepted. You can study the norms of a society by examining the fringe elements of that society. So, as I’ve said before, the problem is not meeting in the middle, its the impossibility of doing so in an Ayn Rand free society.

    Finding a way to have people agree on what is a right or what is a norm, when there is no formal or agreed upon way of achieving those definitions, is problematic, which is why it doesn’t work in a Rand style free society.

    For example, you say at the end of your post, “of course so long as either of our things don’t violate others rights.” Well, in an Ayn Rand free society, void of governmental rights and religious morals, how are you defining these rights? How do you determine what is the middle? This is the problem. Not that meeting in the middle is bad…just that it is not possible when it is entirely dependent on an individual’s decision to respect or disrespect your supposed right based upon what that individual subjectively considers to be rational and moral.

    Basically, if I don’t agree with what you consider to be your rights, in Ayn Rand’s view, I’m just fine, as long as I came to that conclusion rationally. That is the problem. It’s not the middle…its the fact there can be no middle without a definition for what should be center or on the extremes.

    I really suggest you read some American Studies and Humanities journals, as well as the Tragedy of the Commons, they have fascinating essays about how we learn and experience culture and the Commons highlights the problems of relying on an individual’s subjective view…it takes only one greedy jerk to ruin the commons for everyone.

    I’m not sure why Ayn Rand suddenly became so popular, especially when her writings had largely been cast aside for ages, but you don’t strike me as a true follower….which is good. I’m sure she appeals to your desire for free commerce (where her ideas work the best, because there is structure already in place…although governments and business put those structures in place) and individual free choice, but you also recognize societal limits and the rule of governmental law…two things that are inherently not Ayn Rand.

  65. Steven:

    Mike Spindell uses a quote from Rabbi Hillel. ““That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — [and now] go study.””

    That is pretty good advice for a free society of individuals engaged in voluntary cooperation. But it doesnt require religion or God. Granted it came from a rabbi but it is good advice for everyone.

    I could rationally come to a conclusion that I must kill you but that doesnt make it right, I am pretty sure Ayn Rand didnt condone that type of thinking.

    Government is necessary and nowhere does Rand say it isnt, she is not an anarchist. The problem with recognized societal limits is that sometimes those limits are troubling to say the least. Think about it, we voted for slavery which was an abomination against man, yet it was perfectly acceptable. Well within societal limits at the time. Look at the Nazis, nasty brutish thugs yet Hitler came to power by way of popular vote. German society during those years was crazy.

    We need more than just societal limits to inform our interactions, we need an objective moral standard informed by the value of an individual human life. You cannot base ethics or morality on anything else.

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