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Quora Answers

Why are more liberals not libertarians? (Quora Question)

Primarily because the Libertarian Party, as it is in the US isn’t simply about individual liberties. They’re also for pretty much completely unregulated corporate liberty, and they tend to reject the notion that government should play any role whatsoever in a) regulating markets or b) doing anything to ensure workplace safety, ensuring minimum compensation, or similar worker protections or c) doing anything at all to require even basic compliance with things like the Clean Air & Water Act or similar environmental protection.

The Liberterian Party as it is in the US is generally opposed to even the existence of things like the Clean Air & Water Act, on principle, as they’re opposed to things like legal protections for workers, again, on principle. Their notion is that unrestricted capitalism is going to deal with all of these things by itself, and that companies that mistreat workers will end up being companies that go out of business, because folks will just choose to work elsewhere, or customers will purchase from other companies, etc.

The party as it stands is opposed to any notion of antidiscrimination legislation. Don’t want to hire queers? No problem – you’re the owner of the business, and your liberty trumps any other concerns. Don’t like the idea of employing women? Hire all men. Think folks should be paid a per-piece wage? No problem. Get rid of pretty much the entire social safety net? Let the market do its thing. Eliminate public education? Yep. The market is magic, again. The market will do its magic and everything will work itself out “in the end.”

The answer to just about any issue, for libertarians is “the market will fix it.” It isn’t really a coherent political philosophy – it gets dressed up as one, but when you break it down, the answer is always “the market.” It’s an article of faith that the market can fix, well, everything. The reason liberals distrust this is because there’s simply no good evidence that an unregulated market the best possible solution – or even, in some cases, any possible solution, for all of the various things they’re claiming.

Liberalism fundamentally says that there is such a thing as a common good, and that government and business need to directed to serve that common good – in the case of businesses, not exclusively, but sufficiently. Some individual liberties which aren’t in conflict with a common good are pretty great – it doesn’t harm me in the slightest if you criticize liberal ideas, so individual liberty where speech rights are concerned is a thing that libertarians and me, we agree on.

But libertarianism says that there’s fundamentally really no such thing as a common good – there’s just individual liberty (and the accompanying corporate liberty) uber alles. Liberals – and conservatives, for that matter – disagree. We’re saying that individual liberty matters – but collective good also matters, the things the society as a whole values also matter (conservatives and liberals tend to disagree what those common values ought to be, but we generally agree that societies ought to have some of them). Liberterianism rejects any such claim because it might interfere with somebody’s claim to personal liberty.

Most liberals – the vast majority, including this one – see Liberterian positions on corporate liberty to be either a) hopelessly naive (it’s simply not a given that unregulated capitalism can work they way they say it will, or that everybody will just go work for somebody else), or b) profoundly dangerous. While I agree with some libertarians on some social issues, there isn’t remotely enough overlap for me to ever consider joining the party, as it currently stands, or voting for a libertarian ticket.

That’s open to future revision, if they change their minds, though. I just don’t think it’s likely.

What terms and acronyms are commonplace in the LGBTQ community but little known outside of it? (Quora Answer)


“Switch” may be more common among women – I rarely hear men describe themselves this way (gay guys tend to say “versatile” … which inevitably leads to Teh Funneh: if he says he’s versatile, he’s probably a bottom. 😉

Then, of course, there’s Drag Lexicon:

Kaikai: sex, in drag, with another queen.

Shade: (less common: “throwing shade”) artfully crafted insult, generally carries a negative connotation (“That Bianca is a shady b****” = Bianca loves to insult everyone she sees.)

T: “truth,” but counterintuitively, equivalent to shade (“I’m not here to insult you, huntee, just to impart some truth” – these are often THEN even more confusingly used together as…)

No T, No Shade: “I am not here to read you, b****, just to inform you of the facts.” (Occasionally used to mean, “I’m being completely serious, here” as in, “No shade, no T, Bianca is a straight up size queen.”)

No T: “I’m not saying this to insult you” (actual meaning: I’m saying this to insult you.)

Read: insult, but more lovingly, often occurring amongst queens who adore each other – but you may not know it, watching a read in progress. This generally doesn’t carry the negative connotation that “shade” does.

Read for Filth: A read so comprehensive and profound that there’s really no saving face at this point. You may as well pack up and go home. Relocating to Greenland wouldn’t be out of the question.

The Library Is Open: run for cover, reading imminent.

Huntee: “Honey.” Useful meeting & parting greeting for persons of all conceivable sexes, genders, species, etc. Can also be used ironically, to sass someone who’s been giving you hassle.

Paint (older) / Beat your face (newer): Get in drag; specifically, do your face. (Club owner: “What do you mean Bianca is 3 hours late? [see: Drag Standard Time] Dresser: “Um. You know she has to paint.”)

Drag Standard Time: You are scheduled to appear at 6:00. You arrive three and a half hours late. Yes, honeys, the world does stop and wait on your ass, because you’re just that fierce.

In Face: In drag

Giving Face: You look great tonight. Usually less emphatic than “fierce.” (“You’re giving some serious face tonight, Momma.”)

In Girl/In Boy: In or out of drag. Usually an interrogative. (“Will the after party be in girl or boy?”)

Fierce: You look incredible. (“Momma, the fierceness you are giving me!”)

Giving: To evoke a particular style. (“She’s giving you Kate Jackson in Charlie’s Angels tonight, huntees!”)

Serving: Similar to giving, but generally used to refer to the audience. (“Bianca is serving you some serious tilapia, tonight, bitches.” Bianca looks exceptionally fishy. “Bianca is serving you full. on. couture, you whores!” Bianca is working a particularly high fashion look, in this next number. Etc.)

Baking/Cooking: letting your foundation settle on your face, after contouring, before blending. See Beat Your Face.

Realness: can be similar to fishy; also refers to evoking a particular drag or iconic style. (“Bianca is working some serious Gucci realness, huntee.”)

Sickening: “I look so good, you don’t even have to compliment me, huntee… it’s presumed.” (“B****! That look is sickening.”)

Gagging: Complimentary “I f***ing LOVE <fill in the blank>” (“That hair has me gagging, momma!”)

Fishy: convincingly female. (“Momma, you are serving fish this evening!” “Have you seen Bianca? Over there – the fishy girl.”)

Girl: Your good friend (gender non-specific, but queens tend to refer to other queens this way. “Girl, you are looking fierce tonight!” Similar to the camp gay usage.)

Momma / Mama: older queen (though, being the catty bitches they are, that could mean she’s 35.)

Where do you draw the line for enforcing LGBTQ rights through national policy? (Quora Answer)

1. Heterosexual marriage doesn’t need a constitutional amendment in order to be so “enshrined,” so that doesn’t need to happen for non-heterosexual marriage, either. What does need to happen is this: gay people should not be subject to a different set of laws than straight people. We don’t need a constitutional amendment for gay marriage, because it’s the gay marriage bans which are already unconstitutional.

2. Speech rights would protect your right to say things I find offensive, but that doesn’t mean other social ostracism of you would be wrong, just as we socially ostracize racists, antisemites, etc. You would still have precisely the same rights as racist or antisemitic groups, you just do not have any reason to expect that there are no social consequences for exercising your speech rights.

3. We already regulate private business conduct under public accommodation statutes. I would be fine with adding sexual orientation discrimination to state laws which already include other classes of discrimination, and where such laws do not exist in some states, I’m fine with efforts to pass them.

4. Which LGBT issues do you mean, in a high school context? Do I think LGBT people have made significant contributions to our culture? Yes. Do I think we should study history, arts and the humanities in as unbiased a way as we can, even if I allow that it may not be perfect, in places? Yes. I do think as a society, we need better LGBT-specific history, but that’s a matter for historians. I don’t think at the hight school level this is anything special – I just think it’s history, so teach it as history.

5. Again, which policy? You need to be much more specific, here. There’s no monolithic “LGBTQ policy” as if that exists as a single notion. I don’t think it’s the national guard’s job to protect the public and enforce the law: that’s a police matter. But I do think there are instances where some crimes against LGBT persons are handled differently by law enforcement, again, because of their own biases, etc. about LGBT people. I don’t think that’s acceptable.

Edit: other answers have noted deployment of the national guard during the civil rights era, and I think that’s a valid example, but I don’t think we’re at the same point with regard to LGBT discrimination; if we ever got there, I might change my mind. I think calling it a police matter is sufficient because while violence against individual LGBT people certainly has happened, and is happening, it’s not happening on the same scale as the pushback against civil rights in the 1960s, say. That could change, but I don’t think it will.

6. Why are you focused on same-sex marriage, here? We already have foreign relations with countries which do all sorts of things I don’t think are acceptable; I don’t think the rights condition for women in Saudi Arabia is acceptable, just as one example, but we still have diplomatic relations with these countries. This is a tough issue for me, because I don’t have any clear answers, but marriage rights are among the least of my concerns here. I think there are much more pressing issues in many countries around the world, that we nevertheless maintain diplomatic relations with: violence against women, sexual slavery, and on and on and on. As an ideal question, I would like it if we had ways of bringing these countries into the 21st century on a whole range of issues, but I accept that that’s unlikely; I don’t think equal marriage is a compelling issue here, yet; there are other, much more pressing concerns.

What the Vatican does is of very little importance.

7. Speech rights would still apply to websites containing antigay speech. But again, that you have a right to post a web page that says, “God says homosexuality is an abomination” does not mean you have a right to no other social consequences for exercising your speech rights.

Why do so many liberals still seem to think Obamacare is a success?

Precisely no one thinks Obamacare is a success. Anything that leaves millions still uninsured is not, by any reasonable accounting, a “success.” “Obamacare” isn’t what liberals called for in the first place. Some liberals see it for what it actually is: a handout to the insurance industry which was the only sort of healthcare reform the Obama administration could ever hope of getting past Republicans in Congress.

As it turns out, the handout system the insurance industry, and its bought-and-paid-for congressmen wanted hasn’t worked out the way they wanted, so now they’re attempting to paint it as a Great Liberal Catastrophe.

As various other answers note, what we now call “Obamacare” was, in fact, a conservative plan, back when the Heritage Foundation first proposed it. (How the Heritage Foundation, a Conservative Think Tank, Promoted the Individual Mandate)

Heritage can stamp its feet and whine all it wants now, but the centerpiece of what we got was an individual mandate for health insurance. This was supposed to be a band-aid on a broken system. When Heritage was first promoting it, back in the early 90’s, it was promised to be the better alternative to comprehensive, universal healthcare funded by taxes, or “socialized medicine” in the parlance of hair-on-fire conservatives.

What actual liberals wanted, what most of us still want, is single payer.

Original question on Quora:

Why do so many liberals still seem to think Obamacare is a success?

What is your real feeling to be a vegetarian?

I’m not exactly clear what the OP is asking.

How does it feel to be vegetarian? It feels like I don’t eat animals. I don’t feel different, or worse, than when I was 14 or 15 and still eating birds. I feel like me. Some days are good; some days aren’t. Some days I gorge on cashew milk ice cream and feel fat. Some days I don’t.

I’m a vegetarian for ethical reasons, so any touted health benefits are largely secondary, and I’m realistic enough to realize that lots of diets can be healthy, and that vegetarianism, by itself, isn’t a cure-all. I don’t particularly care about health benefits. I’ll take ‘em, but they’re not why I’m doing any of this.

Being a vegetarian, at this point, feels ordinary. I’ve been one for far longer than I wasn’t, so that shouldn’t be surprising.

Original question on Quora:

What is your real feeling to be a vegetarian?

My boyfriend gets upset when I tell him that I feel a certain way about our relationship. What do I do?

I’ll echo Katie Anne Holton’s typically excellent answer, here.

When The Husband and I got together, he was a huge fan of telling me what I think or feel. He was also a huge fan of the word “should.”

“You should feel x about y.”

“You should be happy about <blah>”

I responded, without yelling at him, without accusing him, but persistently:

“You may think I should, but I don’t. Now what?”

…until he got the message. To his very great credit, when we disagreed when we were dating, he paid attention to the difference in my phrasing vs. his. He’s learned – quickly! – to make “I-statements” instead of “you-statements.”

You can do this, too.

You didn’t tell your boyfriend how you feel. You told him what he feels. He didn’t reject you – you felt rejected. That’s not the same thing. “I feel like you don’t want x” is not the same thing as “I feel sad / hurt / angry when x happens.”

Your boyfriend is calling bullshit on the way you phrased that because you don’t get to tell him what he thinks or what he feels – only he does. Similarly, only you can tell other people what you think about a given thing.

If it was me, I’d have said, “I felt sexually rejected last Thursday.” …and then I’d see how he responded. If he’s anything like The Husband, he may have defaulted himself to a should-statement. “You shouldn’t feel that way.”

“Well, okay, you think I shouldn’t, but I do.”

No more than that. No argument. Just persistence. Tell him how you feel, and no more than that, until the two of you can actually work out a compromise that works for you both.

Original question on Quora:

My boyfriend gets upset when I tell him that I feel a certain way about our relationship. What do I do?

Is it morally right for Jill Stein to raise money for election vote recount?

Is it morally right for Jill Stein to raise money for election vote recount?

I don’t think calling for a recount is a moral issue. I think systems that don’t allow for recounts as a matter of course are.

Either we can trust our election results, or we can’t. In states where the vote is close, the election results ought to be open to scrutiny. (They ought to be open to aduits and closer scrutiny everywhere, but particularly in states where the vote totals are as close as these.)

The voting systems in use in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have been declared illegal to use in California, because we know those systems are too open to tampering.

Regardless of whoever wins in a recount, why on earth should anyone accept electronic voting systems we know we shouldn’t be using? Why aren’t we able to get recounts in each and every state where vulnerable voting systems are in use?

We are not a direct democracy, but we are a democratic republic; people tend to emphasize the latter half of that, but if we want assurance that the former half still actually matters, recounts and hand audits are essential.

We know – we don’t guess, we know – that optical scan systems have undercounted votes, in the past, for example. This occurred in 2004, where optical scan systems were miscalibrated and missed tens of thousands of votes in one city (Toledo), and likely others. We have a system that doesn’t have rechecks and audits as a matter of course and requires voters or candidates to assume the costs of recounting, unless specific (and arbitrary) threshholds are met.

That is immoral.

We can either trust in the election results, or we cannot. If we’re to be able to trust them, they have to be open to scrutiny.

In 2004, the punch-card ballots were still widely used in some states. For example, most Ohio voters used punch-card ballots, and more than 90,000 ballots cast in Ohio were treated as not including a vote for President; this “undervote” could arise because the voter chose not to cast a vote or because of a malfunction of the punch-card system.

2004 United States election voting controversies – Wikipedia


Is Jill Stein’s recount just a 3 million dollar scam?

Is Jill Stein’s recount just a 3 million dollar scam?

Answer by Ward Chanley:

It is nothing of the sort. If you think that the Stein campaign is raising money for no useful purpose, you’re welcome to that opinion, regardless of the fact that I disagree with you. But the costs of the recount are real. If you have issues with that, take it up with the state boards of elections in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.


Why does it cost so much?

The cost is a function of state laws. A portion of the money raised goes toward state filing fees, while the bulk goes toward legal fees and the cost of recount observers in each state.

Why does it cost so much?

What will Jill Stein gain from the recount?

What will Jill Stein gain from the recount?

Answer by Ward Chanley:

In the short term? Absolutely nothing.

But you’re working under the assumption that the Stein campaign is only working from a short-term-gain basis. As with other efforts to reform the electoral process, including things like challenging restrictive debate access, and ballot access minimums, and advocating for ranked choice voting, the Stein campaign is calling for a recount in the interests of remaking the entire electoral process, and moving away from the anti-democratic, corporatist corruption that influences too much of our electoral system, presently.

As the campaign itself says,

Despite the many rumors swirling on the Internet, the Stein/Baraka campaign genuinely believes in the power of grassroots democracy. Independently funded candidates like Jill Stein cannot stand a chance if our electoral system is rigged in favor of establishment, corporate-funded candidates.

The recount is specifically aligned with the current Green Party platform, which calls for:

…”publicly-owned, open source voting equipment [deployed] across the nation to ensure high national standards, performance, transparency and accountability; [use of] verifiable paper ballots; and [institution of] mandatory automatic random precinct recounts to ensure a high level of accuracy in election results.”

Why are you really doing this?

If a black president was elected twice by the American people then why are they called racist now?

If a black president was elected twice by the American people then why are they called racist now?

Because your premise is flawed. The election of a black president in no way means racism is over.

The election of that president led directly to this:


The election of that president in no way prevented this:


…which led directly to this:


…and this:


If racism is suddenly over, somebody forgot to inform a whole shitload of white people.

Edit: For the half-dozen, or so, of you who’ve attempted to white-’splain to me what does or doesn’t constitute racism, this is (no surprise) not at all different from straight folks, who’ve never experienced homophobia, who attempt to preach to me about what is, or isn’t homophobic.

You quite simply do not know what you’re talking about.