This is why diversity matters.
There’s a habit that’s hard to break where you want to dismiss an idea because it’s not simple. Like sexism. If it’s not outright discrimination, if it’s more subtle and nuanced and hard to measure, people want to dismiss it out of hand. I get that. But it’s so, so wrong. And it’s so, so boring. The latest Freakonomics podcast episode, What Are Gender Barriers Made Of? explores the subtle ways men and women alike dismiss, downplay, and denigrate women. It’s fascinating. And it also suggest tiny tweaks that can help mitigate the impact of latent, unexamined sexism.
Speaking of podcasts, the latest Invisibilia, The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes, is amazing, as always. But the theme that stuck out to me most was loneliness. One of the men interviewed kept talking about how lonely he was and is. There’s so much shame and stigma around loneliness. You rarely hear people admit, even to themselves, that they are lonely. They’ll say they’re depressed (which is plenty stigmatized) before they’ll say they’re lonely. The reason I wanted to write Technology is Making Us Less Lonely, Not More, is because I’ve been so lonely for so long.
One thing that’s interesting about loneliness is that it’s most embarrassing when there’s no good excuse. If you’re physically isolated, or have a disfigurement you’re ashamed of, or some weird tic, or whatever, then it is, like, kind of excusable to be lonely. But when you’re like the guy on the show, a pretty successful career, tall, I assume normal looking, normal sounding, physically healthy, in London, one of the most populous cities on Earth, what is your excuse then? Being lonely must mean you are very unpleasant to be around. Which is how I felt about myself for a long, long time.
The thing that’s funny about being lonely when you seem normal enough is that no one knows you’re lonely unless you tell them. I told my friends how lonely I was before they let me in and they were surprised. They assumed when I wasn’t hanging out with them I was hanging out with other friends. But usually I was hanging out with my boyfriend and maybe his friends, or going from house party to house party, official happy hour filled with acquaintances where we’d each take five minutes to brag about our lives before making the next connection. It was a way to stay busy. But it didn’t stop the loneliness.
I remember the first time I wasn’t lonely. It was in Birmingham in 2011. I joined the Ron Paul Revolution and moved into the headquarters and for the first time had a tight-knit group of like-minded people I’d do anything for and who’d do anything for me. It was a little family. I’d spent so long banging my head against the wall trying to find my kind of people.
Some people never have to make friends as adults. They have their coworkers and their families and their childhood friends and that’s enough. But for the rest of us, it’s a skill. We have to learn how to do it. And the first step is admitting that we’re lonely. I want that to be more okay. I want more people to talk openly about being lonely. I want us all to prove to ourselves and each other that loneliness isn’t a character flaw, it’s a temporary condition.
Onto the links.
How markets teach people to be nice to each other, and government teaches people to be mean to each other.
Peter Neiger on #CharlesKinsey:
An autistic man was sitting in the middle of the road playing with a toy truck and his caretaker (who is African American) went out to get him. Somebody called the police and said there was a man in the street with a gun threatening suicide. The police showed up ready for combat, hung out for about 20 minutes, and ended up shooting the caretaker. The police then handcuffed the caretaker and left him bleeding on the curb for about 20 minutes before getting him medical attention. The only video of the incident shows the caretaker laying on the ground with his hands up and the caretaker says that he asked the cop why he was shot and the cop said “I don’t know.”
After the incident the officer was placed on leave and after a day or so a statement was given that the officer thought the autistic man had a gun and was threatening the caretaker. The officer made a “split second decision” to shoot the autistic man, only he missed with all three shots and hit the caretaker instead.
Let’s run down some (but likely not all) of the problems with this scenario:
- Someone saw an autistic man with a toy and called the police with completely false information. There was no gun and nobody was threatening suicide.
- The police showed up to a suicide situation with guns drawn ready to kill.
- Despite being on scene for 20 minutes and the caretaker explaining the situation to the police that it was a toy they still claim to think it was a gun.
- A “split second decision” took 20 minutes to make
- If they truly thought the caretaker was a victim, why did they handcuff him and neglect immediate medical treatment? Also, why do officer’s keep neglecting medical treatment to people
- Once a scene is secure they should have EMS immediately there. If we were able to do that in Iraq and Afghanistan, I don’t know why police in America can’t.
- Why was the officer allowed to go home and come up with a story instead of immediately being detained and interrogated? Why do officer’s get such special treatment?
Should an officer who, supposedly, is simply incompetent instead of criminal be allowed to stay on the force and not face charges? If I accidentally shot a cop would we just shrug and say “oops, accidents happen?” Also, if I were at work and my incompetence led to someone being injured would I still have a job the next day? If he shot the caretaker because he “feared for his life” (which is the common defense in these scenarios) how can he keep his job? If he is afraid of a man laying on the ground with his hands up he should not be an officer and he should face criminal and civil charges for the harm done.
Overall, I think the officer is lying. I can think of no way that the officer shooting the caretaker and them treating the caretaker as a criminal matches up with the officer’s story that he was shooting at the autistic man. Unfortunately, I won’t be surprised when a secret grand jury decides not to press charges… another perk of being a cop that civilians don’t get.
Just as a reminder:
Policing isn’t even in the top ten most dangerous professions.
Police unions have fought against accountability at every turn. And won.
Last night I watched @PayPal co-founder @peterthiel speak at the #RNCinCLE.
Fusion: “Politically, Peter Thiel is an extreme libertarian.” Yes, he calls himself a libertarian. But his views have MUCH more in common with your average alt-right shitlord than principled liberatarianism. The two are not the same.
First of all, Peter Thiel wants to curb immigration. There is nothing libertarian about that. Libertarians support the right of people and products to cross borders as needed without government interference.
“Thiel, as you might expect, is a big fan of Ayn Rand.” Rand hated libertarians.
Thiel opposes democracy, and he especially hates that women get to vote, which is not a libertarian position. Though he’s sad women get to vote, he strangely donated $2 million to Carly Fiorina’s PAC.
Look, my babies. I’m not here to kick people out of libertarianism. If Thiel says he’s a libertarian, who am I to quibble? I’m not even a libertarian myself (market anarchist). But I do want to say that though there is unfortunately A LOT of racism and sexism within libertarianism, they are not libertarian principles. They are alt-right, neoreactionary and dark enlightenment principles.
Speaking of the alt-right, how is it that Twitter booting Milo is the end of free speech, but Thiel buying Gawker to shut them down isn’t? For those of us who, like me, aren’t good at math, we’re talking about one dude vs an entire media empire. Or is this not about speech at all?