Controversial opinions you hold

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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby cmsellers » Thu May 16, 2019 9:03 pm

I am morally opposed to city codes which limit the height of grass, but morally appalled by city regulations which require people to mow or shovel city property in front of their property.

I've been trying to figure out why I feel differently about this than about taxes or city codes. I'm somewhat skeptical of taxes (especially given all the wasteful shit government spends them on) and highly skeptical of city codes, but I'm not opposed to either in principle. If Arizona ever wanted to ban lawns, I'd be fully on board with that, and I accept the necessity of some taxes and am even not usually bothered by what other libertarians would call "double taxation," the main exception being the taxation of money which already went to taxes for another jurisdiction.

I can articulate several differences from both taxation and property regulations. When it comes to property regulations, of course, the difference is that you don''t own the property and can't do what you want with it. I can avoid regulations on lawn height by pulling up all the grass and planting low-maintenance native plants, except in jurisdictions which prohibit that (and I'm morally opposed to those prohibitions as well), but I can't do that on government property. Also, when it comes to grass height, it's purely an aesthetic issue, and I'm generally much more suspect of the government regulating aesthetics. And when it comes to shoveling, an actual safety issue, I think that if it's that important to governments, they should hire professionals to do it.

When it comes to taxes, obviously you're dictating the action to be performed and a timetable to perform it, but a property owner could hire someone, but would be paying retail, vs wholesale for a tax to pay for the government to maintain the sidewalks and grassy strips. I think what ultimately bothers me is that it's an imposition on a few for the good of the many, and the choice of who to impose it on is based not on equity, but convenience.

But then, I wonder: is there actually any good reason for me feeling this way? Is it just the resemblance to corvee labor I find upsetting? Or inversely: is there any good reason for me not feeling the same sense of outrage over frivolous regulations of private property and wasteful taxes?
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby cmsellers » Mon May 27, 2019 3:49 am

Sometimes gatekeeping is appropriate. Everyone recognizes Rachel Dolezal isn't black, Elizabeth Warren isn't Cherokee, and Mark Zuckerberg isn't a biological lifeform.

But sometimes, I think we could use a little more gatekeeping. For example: Texans cared more about who was a real Texan, the Canadian-born, east-coast-educated, Michelin-restaurant-eating, non-chainsaw massacring Zodiac Killer would not be our Senator.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby NathanLoiselle » Mon May 27, 2019 6:59 pm

I don't get it. I thought voting for aliens, robots, and serial killers was the in thing right now.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby cmsellers » Tue May 28, 2019 4:47 am

OK, a serious one: If I could set the voting age, I would lower it to twelve. I use this age for three reasons:

1. It's the traditional age of adulthood in many cultures.
2. It's the age when children begin to establish themselves as their own person.
3. It's the age when I personally started to actually understand politics.

When I tell people this, they talk about how stupid they were at twelve. Which, no fucking shit. You were an idiot at twenty-one too; your brain didn't even stop developing until you were around twenty-five. In fact, there's a good chance you're still an idiot about most things today, we acquire wisdom over time, but we also become set in our ways. I think it's absolutely worth giving children a say if they can reason about elections, even if they're a little stupider than average.

Children at this age also tend to be good at thinking of outside-the-box solutions that work, and it's an age where they still care about stuff, and think they can change the world. Teenagers also tend to rise to responsibility when given responsibility. If you treat them respectfully in the political process, I would imagine that yeah, you'll have a lot of teenagers who are acting even dumber than the average voter, but also that some of them will surprise you.

The other objection I get is that parents will determine how kids vote. Now, I don't care if parents influence how their kids vote, and I'm highly skeptical that this is much more of a concern with teenagers than with young adults, given how stereotypically rebellious the teenage years are.

Now, I would be concerned about parents directly controlling how their kids vote. I've heard stories of people doing this to adult children and infirm relatives with absentee ballots, and I'm sure it would be way more common with actual children if the law allowed it. Still, this seems to me like an easy fix: most schools either are polling places or are very near polling place anyways, just have an in-school voting day and ban absentee voting for students under the age of eighteen. With postal-only jurisdiction, the in-school voting day just looks like standardized tests: distribute ballots, fill out the forms in private and seal them. In either case, for students who are homeschooled or were sick, allow in-person absentee voting at the town hall/county clerk's office.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby Absentia » Tue May 28, 2019 6:07 am

Strongly disagree. A 12 year old might be able to understand politics in the abstract, but they are nowhere near sufficiently grounded in the real world to understand what they're voting for. They've never filed a tax return, held a job, or been responsible for their own health care. They haven't really learned about governments or constitutions or civil rights. I could go on. It's not that they're a whole lot "stupider" at that age than they will be at 18, they just haven't learned enough to be an informed voter.

Frankly, I'd be happy to set the voting age back at 21 if we ever get around to abolishing the draft.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby Krashlia » Tue May 28, 2019 6:22 am

I'm into it because I'm stupidly convinced that our system needs some stupid in it from time to time.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby cmsellers » Tue May 28, 2019 2:45 pm

Absentia wrote:They've never filed a tax return, held a job, or been responsible for their own health care

This described me until I was twenty, twenty, and twenty-six respectively. However my political views were basically formed at seventeen. None of the things you mention substantially changed my political views, and I'm skeptical that they shape most people's political views, much less in a way that's consistent with reality.

They haven't really learned about governments or constitutions or civil rights.

I definitely knew about those things at age twelve. But the obvious counterargument for those who don't is "well, if you feel they need to know these things, teach them." I had my first sex-ed class at ten, I feel like kids could handle voter ed classes at eleven or twelve. And anyways, based on polls of what the average voter knows, it seems like most people who learn these things forget them anyways by the time they're old enough to vote.

Krashlia wrote:I'm into it because I'm stupidly convinced that our system needs some stupid in it from time to time.

I sort of agree, but wouldn't say that it needs "stupid," so much as people who are willing to advocate the impossible, morally reprehensible, and obviously wrong. Because occassionally, such ideas are possible, morally admirable, and right. Even when they are brought up, the kneejerk response is to look for reasons to reject them. But if no one is willing to advocate them at all, they don't even get a hearing.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby gisambards » Tue May 28, 2019 3:22 pm

Personally I think 12 is too young. I would say the lowest feasible limit is 14-15 (in the UK, around when kids would start their GCSEs). I'm sure some people picked it up earlier, but out of myself and several other school-friends I know are now very politically engaged, I don't think any of us knew anything real about politics at 12 - Gordon Brown was just the boring guy who ran the country. I don't remember myself or my peers having any awareness of the differences between the parties before the 2010 election, when we'd have been 14-15, and then our views were simplistic but many of us did have clear ideas about who we'd vote for and why.

Certainly, I am in favour of lowering the age limit for voting substantially, though, because I don't think there's anything to suggest an informed teenager would make worse voting decisions than the majority of the adult population.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby Marcuse » Tue May 28, 2019 3:23 pm

The issue with getting twelve year olds to vote is that it'd essentially hand additional votes to their parents. When I was twelve if my parents had insisted I vote a certain way I would have, and wouldn't have been a good enough liar to keep from them I'd voted differently. On top of this, twelve years olds wouldn't vote in large numbers, so allowing them to would be predicated on whether their parents ship them to it. It would also make compulsory voting a pain in the arse, as any system would be obliged to fine the parent rather than the child and would represent an unjust imposition on any poor families whose kids refused (as twelve year olds are wont to do) to participate.

On top of this, I concur with Absentia's view that a twelve year old has no business making decisions about who governs everyone. By 22 I was married and living independently with my wife and working full time. When I was 12 I was playing pokemon and worrying about what spiderman episode was on kids tv. Even if someone isn't fully developed by 22, it's way way more developed than 12.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby Pedgerow » Tue May 28, 2019 8:28 pm

I'd go with 16 for the voting age. Some 12-year-olds are pretty grown-up, but plenty aren't, and I certainly wasn't. By 16, pretty much everyone has reached the requisite level of maturity to at least have an opinion. Also, I wouldn't have been interested in voting at 12, but I'd have loved it at 16. If you gave me the option from 12, then by 16, or 18, I would already be on my way down the route of being a person who doesn't bother to vote. I therefore suspect that it could actually lower participation.

There's also the matter that reducing the voting age would skew votes to the left, because most young people are traditionally left-leaning. I feel like the general political consensus could do with an extra couple of years of left-wing voters, but six extra years is crazy. Basically, if you can't masturbate to completion then you can't vote. That's my rule.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby cmsellers » Tue May 28, 2019 10:58 pm

I wrote out a response, but then I deleted it, because I have another controversial opinion about the meta of this: this is not the thread for trying to debunk controversial opinions, especially if your opinion is held by the overwhelming majority. Raising the voting age to 21 and lowering it to 14, admittedly, are controversial, but Marc's post isn't remotely controversial, and taken altogether it's a dogpile. And the dogpile is why I stopped making any thread where I expect to be in a minority of one.

But this actually gets to a broader issue. I hold a lot of opinions (mostly on morality and politics) which lie well outside the mainstream. I'd say it's because I'm less susceptible to peer pressure to most people, curious enough to question underlying assumptions, and open-minded enough to change my mind. Other people would surely say it's just because I have a strong contrarian streak, or that I'm so open-minded my brain fell out.

Trying to discuss those from the inside is frustrating. Because from my perspective, the dogpile means I'm inundated with responses. Some are making good arguments. Most are either rehashing things I've already answered, arguing with a strawman, or relying on assumptions I also consider false, but need to move the argument one step back to even address. Often it's what I think are the stupidest arguments that get the most upvotes, which means that I need to address them.

It also usually feels to me like the majority of the people I'm responding to aren't even open too what I'm saying, it's all about proving me wrong. I'd like to have a conversation with the people I feel are genuinely interested in having one, but I can't just ignore the people who are trying to prove me wrong, because it looks like I don't have any counterarguments, even if I've already made them.

The thing is, I've also watched some dogpiles on people who are objectively wrong on empirical subjects: anti-vaxxers and creationists most notably. And I see the same thing transpire. Now, of course they are wrong, so it's not wrong to want to prove them wrong. But I still see a large chunk of the responses adding nothing, and often either strawmanning the people they're arguing with or misrepresenting the science. I can guarantee you that while these circlejerks make everyone who participates feel better about themselves, they harden the views of the person they're arguing with. And I wouldn't be surprised if they tip people on the fence in the wrong direction.

I'm not sure what a good solution to the dogpile is in the broader sense. When you know you're in the right, and see the people already responding missing what seem like obvious lines of attack, you want to jump in. It's easy to miss that to the person you're arguing with, your arguments are either more of the same, or missing the point.

I will say that I fucking hate the dogpile, and after this I'll do my best to make sure that all the opinions I share in this thread are still within the Overton Window, and ideally shared by a majority of TCS.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby iMURDAu » Wed May 29, 2019 12:07 am

I don't think you should take everyone sounding off as a dogpile. It's just opinions and controversial ones at that. I don't think you should take it super personal if others don't agree with you after you brought something up. Lawd I should've left TCS years ago and multiple times if I was thin skinned like some others that used to come around.

I mean, my comment is that if 12 year olds voted Trump would be impeached and "Roblox Fortnite" would be installed immediately as POTUS but hey that's just my opinion. It's probably more on the side of stupid than controversial but whatever.

But to be serious I think when you're dealing with children you're going to have to set a bar because not all of them have ever paid attention to politics or anything remotely related to it. How then to prove they're an educated voter? I feel like I knew a lot about politics by age 12 but I also grew up reading the Washington Post cover to cover. Also how to prove they'll take it seriously? Yes, that's something we need to solve for everyone else as well though. The whole "you were an idiot at 21 too" thing rears its head.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby JamishT » Wed May 29, 2019 12:38 am

Not in Mod Voice, but personal opinion.

Because this thread is titled "Controversial Opinions You Hold" (which is the proper capitalization, in my controversial opinion), the expectation is that the opinions put forth aren't going to be agreed with by the majority, generally. Because this is a forum and not Twitter or something, there is not a character limit, allowing for in depth discussion/explanation if desired. The only guidance from the OP is

FieldMarshalFry of all people wrote:"as the title says, no judging here"


To be fair, I only looked at the first couple pages for instances of tone setting for this thread because 70+ pages is a little much for me. My view of this thread is that it is a place to post controversial opinions, and people won't call me an idiot. They might call my opinion idiotic, and maybe/probably provide their own opinion and why they think that way. But there is no real expectation of changing views beyond the off chance that someone simply didn't consider a point/angle raised. I don't think not responding is perceived as admitting defeat or anything. Maybe, I'm alone, but I don't think anyone is obligated to defend their controversial opinion on this thread.

Even if I don't agree with many of the opinions posted here, I'd rather people post more of them because I like thinking about new ideas. Most of the time, I don't even agree with the rebuttals made, so those can be interesting as well. I don't know if this was helpful in the slightest.

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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby gisambards » Wed May 29, 2019 12:54 am

Personally, I do think this thread would feel pretty pointless if you weren't allowed to disagree with the opinions. Dogpiling can be frustrating, but I think in this instance it's worth pointing out that all four disagreeing responses had different opinions to each other as well.

Controversial opinion: I think there needs to be a radical rethink of the idea that every adult should have a vote, although I'll admit I don't have an alternative solution. Certainly I wouldn't want everyone who votes for the current populists to become unable to vote. But when you see the people who think Nigel Farage is a legitimate moral authority and that anyone who dislikes him is a traitor to the country, or the ones who still insist the whole Labour anti-Semitism thing is a media conspiracy (funded by a certain non-Muslim Middle Eastern nation) to bring down the most honest man in politics, I personally no longer believe it should be a given that they are considered mentally competent enough to have a say in the direction of the country.
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Re: Controversial opinions you hold

Postby Tesseracts » Wed May 29, 2019 2:28 am

I think there is a good case to be made for lowering the voting age. It seems strange to me that 16 year olds can hold down the same jobs as adults and pay taxes but they can't vote. I think even lowering the voting age to 12 might make sense. So many policies disproportionately affect teenagers, and teenagers are capable of understanding that. However, I think you can also make the case that someone lacking any of the freedoms or responsibilities of an adult cannot be trusted to vote based on their conscience. What if you vote "wrong" and your parents send you to boarding school or something? I've had a lot of teachers who were overbearing in their attempts to influence our political opinions, and the indoctrination would probably just get worse if I could vote.
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