Monday, July 16, 2018

How we rank each other matters.

My comment on Once more for the people at the back: abortion rights and trans rights are the same struggle by Zoe Stavri. 


Bodily autonomy?  You and I don't have the same body.   We have different bodies.  You know how I can tell?  It's because we have different DNA.  You know who else has different DNA?  Your mom.  My mom.  Every mom.  Mothers and children have different DNA.  Otherwise everybody would be clones.  Are you happy that we're not all clones?  I sure am. 

Imagine if I invite you over to see my really nice garden... it's brimming with nature.  Of course I'd first have to give you my address.  This is my property's unique ID.  When you find, and walk onto, my property, what happens to your bodily autonomy?  Do you lose any of your bodily autonomy?  Of course not.  That would be absurd.   In no case does any of my property, to include my own body, negate or diminish your bodily autonomy. 

By this same token, if you get pregnant, in no case does your bodily autonomy negate or diminish the bodily autonomy of the unique individual that is inside you. 

Let's say that, for whatever reason, I decide I no longer want you on my property.  Should I be free to eject you?  Sure, as long as doing so doesn't harm you.  If my property happens to be a boat that is surrounded by sharks, then I shouldn't be free to eject you. 

In a perfect world, ejecting unborn individuals at any time wouldn't at all be harmful.  Like, your fetus could be instantly and safely teleported across the galaxy into the womb of some other lady.   It wouldn't be like Adam and Eve getting ejected from the Garden of Eden into a harsh environment.  It would be like God moving them to another wonderful garden. 

Why would this be ideal?  Here's why...

We’ve spent the last few hundred years throwing out every Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein or Jonas Salk or Tim Berners-Lee who didn’t happen to be white, and didn’t happen to be a man. That’s a terrible thing to have done to those brilliant and now lost people. It’s a much worse thing to have done to the rest of humanity, including our white selves. When I think, “why don’t I have a jet car and live in Alpha Centuri by now?” I think this is because the people that would have invented sky cars and interstellar travel were born black in Detroit, or in rural India or in the medina in Algiers in the 1950s, and spent too much time figuring out how to eat and not get killed to invent my damned skycar. - Quinn Norton, How White People Got Made 

All progress depends on difference, which is why it's wonderful that we're not all clones.  Every unique individual contributes to humanity's diversity... and more diversity means more progress. 

Difference inherently means inequality.  The only way we could all be equal is if we were clones.  You naturally rank a woman and her unborn child very differently,  and so do I.  You also rank authors very differently, and so do I.   I'm sure we also rank economists very differently.   Personally, I rank economists much higher than feminists.  Since difference matters, it matters how we rank each other.  The question is whether voting (cheap signal) or spending (costly signal) is the best way to rank each other.   The answer to this question is clearly revealed by the top-ranked videos on Youtube.   Once we replace all cheap signals with costly signals, then it will be heaven on earth. 

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