Missing Link Friday – 12 November 2010

It’s Friday. And that means it’s time for another Missing Link Friday. This week Bill Muelenberg explains why letting teenage girls bring other girls to school formals may encourage bestiality, an Australian conservative argues that female empowerment is a plot to disempower men, and Frances from Corpulent lets it all hang out at the beach.

And that’s just for starters …

Teenage lesbians and the collapse of civilization

"Whenever the forces of political correctness and a morally bankrupt mainstream media come together, you know there is going to be trouble", writes Bill Muelenberg. And trouble there was.

When Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar barred a lesbian student from attending the formal with her girlfriend the story quickly went global. At Groupthink comicjester wrote: "Although it has become a big story for a relatively small issue, the only way these schools are likely to change their policies is by criticism from the media and the general public."

But for Bill, attacks on the school are just one more step on the slippery slope to anarchy:

And of course if the school cannot even establish and enforce standards here, then what next? What if a bisexual wants to bring both his male and female lovers to a school prom? What if a polyamorist wants to bring his entire coterie of lovers along? What if someone wants to bring his dear pet along?

Indeed, why have any rules or limits whatsoever? Why not just allow complete anarchy to reign? After all, to have any rules is always going to mean someone gets discriminated against. In our PC-mad culture, it seems that the only sensible solution is to ban all rules and regulations altogether.

The brotherhood strikes back

At Oz Conservative Mark Richardson worries that calls for female empowerment in the workplace are really about creating rules and regulations that disempower men.

According to Mark, feminists believe that:

… the maternal role is the subordinate, secondary and disempowering one. And yet that’s the role they want men to pick up. But if the good in life is to be "empowered" by careers, why would men do this? Feminists are forced into the position here of arguing to men, "do this even though we believe it will hurt you".

Mark goes on to suggest that Sweden’s policy of offering men parental leave is a form of state coercion. An anonymous commenter points out that the Swedish government doesn’t actually force new fathers to take leave, it just doesn’t allow them to transfer their leave entitlements to their partners.

Here at Troppo, Richard Green wonders whether the reason there are more male MPs and CEOs is because there are more narcissistic men than narcissistic women. In the comments thread Paul Frijters suggests a different theory:

My own opinion is that men are more likely to rise to the top because of male bonding: the sisterhood doesn’t work as well as the brotherhood.

Libertarians and the collapse of civilization

At Thoughts on Freedom Tim Andrews argues that libertarian tolerance for drug taking, out of wedlock childbearing and rampant hedonism will lead to the collapse of civilization as we know it. Tim argues that libertarians:

… must join forces with their traditional foes – the social conservatives – and recognise that the only way to achieve their policy aims is to ensure our civil society is based on a strong social conservative ethos. Because otherwise, the Sodom and Gomorrah society that shall emerge shall quickly fail and burn.

This isn’t only something that is tactically sound, or something that will ensure greater political gains. Rather, it is the only way we will be able to get a great society to flourish

Commenter Yobbo offers some advice: "I suggest you avail yourself of an ecstasy tablet or a line of cocaine, try it out and then come back and tell us about how horrible it was."

Update (17/11): In the comments thread below, Tim writes that the point of his post:

… wasn’t to say libertarian policies will lead to that (as you suggest through what I consider rather selective quotation) – I’m a pretty down the line libertarian myself after all. My point was that in the same way that libertarians acknowledge that civil society will be necessary to fill the social gap left by the welfare state, that some social constraints/pressures will be necessary to fill the gap once legislative social policies are liberalised, and that its necessary for libertarians to address this fact.

Enforcing the work ethic

At Crooked Timber, John Quiggin reports:

Faced with a sharp rise in unemployment since 2008, the Con-Lib government in Britain has diagnosed an epidemic of laziness, and announced measures to push the “work-shy” back into jobs. In particular, they’ve announced that those deemed not to be looking hard enough for work will be forced to undertake unpaid part-time work for community organizations.

In the comments thread Zamfir writes: "Doesn’t every country implement a scheme like this every once in while, when they have forgotten it didn’t work the last time?" Derrida Derider agrees:

As a labour economist and civil servant (not in the UK) professionally involved in designing labour market programs on and off for 20 years, and who was once a true believer in them, I have to say that Zamfir’s comment at 31 is spot on.

Crikey’s Richard Farmer is also critical of the Conservative government’s approach. At The Stump he writes "I suppose it is the traditional Tory way. First announce budget cuts that will put hundreds of thousands out of work and then start talking about dole bludgers."

The joy of work

While UK policy makers worry about people who don’t work enough, the Australia Institute is worried about people who work too much. As ButterflyPlum reports, a survey commissioned by the institute found that: "More than half of all full-time workers would prefer to work fewer hours to juggle their work-life balance. And 80 per cent who work overtime would prefer not to."

At Catallaxy, Judith Sloan is appalled by the Australia Institute’s calls for a cap on working hours. She argues that the institute’s analysis:

… completely ignores the thorough, rigorous and thoughtful analysis that has been undertaken on the topic of working hours, particularly by Professor Mark Wooden of the Melbourne Institute using the longitundinal data base, HILDA. In a hypothetical sense, some full-time workers who put in long hours express a desire to cut back their hours, but we know that in practice that by and large, they do not act on this desire over time. Moreover, the evidence does not suggest that these hard-working full-time hours are any less happy at work than their more leisurely comrades – in fact, work satisfaction is a little bit higher for the hard-working drones.

At Crikey Terry Cutler worries that the people who own and manage Australian businesses are not working hard enough:

We … have a cultural problem. Too many of our business owners or managers have what we might describe as a lifestyle approach to business. Even many of our so-called success stories look like under-performers when benchmarked globally. This lifestyle model of business strategy imposes a false ceiling on ambition: success is having the designer car in the garage, and the holiday home or two.

Sadly, this is not a caricature. At a recent forum I actually heard people saying they didn’t need to expand or export because they were doing it quite comfortably as things are. I am not making this up.

Gough who?

Apparently the people of Werriwa once had a Prime Minister as their local member. However, he ended up getting dismissed by the Governor General. This led to some controversy.

This week Andrew Leigh, the member for Fraser, traveled to Werriwa to give a guest lecture on the 35th anniversary of the dismissal. Andrew speculates on what might have happened if the member for Werriwa had not been dismissed. At Core Economics, Joshua Gans joins in.

Joshua also wonders whether the internet would have ruined Star Wars.

The perils of positive thinking

When a co-workers starts bitching and moaning do you encourage them look on the bright side? If so WhyI’mbitter has a warning for you:

… if I’m telling a story, or venting, or trying to get something off my chest, and your response is ‘try to see the positive side’, or ‘be a glass half full person’ or anything along those lines, you are Missing The Point.

I KNOW what the positives are. If I’ve had one bad day at work, I’m still aware of all the good things about my job. If we’re coming up with a list of reasons to stay vs reasons to leave, awesome. But if I just need to vent, your positivity does not help. It’s frustrating, annoying and makes me want to punch you in the head.

Could it be that encouraging people to look on the bright side is just a polite way of saying "Shut up"?

The blobs of summer

Venting is what blogs are for. At Corpulent, Frances is incensed by a lifestyle article by Natasha Hughes who thinks that overweight women should cover up at the beach: "Who wants to be exposed to someone’s rolls?" asks Natasha, "Where is their sense of style, of decency?"

"Decency?" asks Frances:

I hate the sense of entitlement that comes with a question like, “Who wants to be exposed to someone’s rolls?” Hughes’ tone is reflected in many of the comments. According to them, displaying our bodies becomes a vicious action – we are “subjecting”, “inflicting” and “confronting” – because our fat is “disgusting”, “nauseating”, “gross” and my personal favourite “pollution for the eyes”.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I despise the idea that all fatties (and indeed, anyone with bodies outside the beauty ideal) must shield the eyes of the poor, unsuspecting public from the offensiveness of their bodies. Listen and repeat after me: Life is not a beauty pageant. We do not exist to be aesthetically pleasing to the judgemental eyes of strangers.

At Spilt Milk Elizabeth writes about her unsuccessful experience with dieting, of losing weight but eventually gaining it all back. Research suggests that’s a normal pattern. As Elizabeth observes, in the diet and fitness world, "There are ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, but no ‘after that’ shots."

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Tim Andrews
11 years ago

That is a complete mischaracterisation of what I wrote, and you know it. Your comments are intellectual fraud, pure and simple.


Ken Parish
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
11 years ago

I thought it was a very accurate and restrained characterisation of a very extreme and silly piece of writing, though not quite as extreme and silly as the comment immediately above.

11 years ago

I enjoyed this article by John Quiggin here, where he notes that the Queensland government is selling it’s own assets to itself. The people of Queensland can be happy that they even know this — if they wanted to do this in Victoria, they’d probably find a way to do it so no-one never knew who the assets were sold to or for how much they were sold for.


[…] rather different. As mentioned last week, Club Troppo’s Don Arthur has been doing his bit: here is the latest installment. However, Rafe at Catallaxy is also doing something similar, a reprise of the job he used to have […]

11 years ago

re Ivanhoe Grammar and lesbians:

It was because the girl was year 10 and it was a year 11 function to meet boys and mix. Not to hook up and / or to have sex, not to get married.

At a real y12 formal there has been same sex couples, lesbians have attended school there rang up and said so. School principle said so.

Another ex student lesbian said they were tolerant and supportive . a same sex couple there had a baby this year and it was celebrated in school newsletter.

Been to EOpC and dismissed

Beat up beat up beat up

Tim Andrews
11 years ago

Ech okay, so I was probably in a bad mood when I wrote that previous comment and engaged in a bit of hyperbole. lol.

The point of my piece, however (which I freely admit was deliberately provocative) however wasn’t to say libertarian policies will lead to that (as you suggest through what I consider rather selective quotation) – I’m a pretty down the line libertarian myself after all. My point was that in the same way that libertarians acknowledge that civil society will be necessary to fill the social gap left by the welfare state, that some social constraints/pressures will be necessary to fill the gap once legislative social policies are liberalised, and that its necessary for libertarians to address this fact.