7-11-15 Hodgepodge

Saturday, July 11, 2015

From the World of Sport, a Failed Economics Exam

For winning the World Cup, the US women's soccer team received only a quarter of the prize money that the winners of the men's competition did. Apparently this was all the information many "journalists" needed to conclude that sexism was at play:

The Atlantic, the Associated Press, and other outlets similarly noted the pay disparity but remained curiously incurious about why. The writers did not appear to consider legitimate reasons to pay women's soccer players less than their male counterparts. The articles advanced sexism as the reflexive explanation.
In fact, the women's game, although growing in popularity, makes orders of magnitude less money during its world championship than the men's game. If anything, the winners of the women's competition were overpaid!

Weekend Reading

"... 'Vacation Syndrome' [is] when an individual tries to take a vacation from ALL responsibilities, instead of just some." -- Michael Hurd, in "The Positives and Perils of Vacation Mindset" at The Delaware Wave

"[I]t's not the escape that matters; it's what you're escaping." -- Michael Hurd, in "Why We Sometimes 'Medicate' Ourselves" at The Delaware Coast Press

"[W]e shouldn't crumble in the face of man-made institutions only a few decades old, or their mealy-mouthed advocates. " -- Gus Van Horn, in "'Reagan Conservatives' Dismantle Republican Revolution" at RealClear Markets

"[T]he sexual orientation of a particular individual is caused by choices made by that individual." -- Ron Pisaturo, in "How Choice and Emotion Can Influence Sexual Orientation" at The Federalist

"It's impossible to tell exactly how many Coloradans are violating the consumer use tax statutes -- but the number is at least several hundred thousand and probably several million." -- Ari Armstrong, in "Are You a Colorado Use Tax Felon?" at The Complete Colorado

A Word of Thanks

I thank reader Steve D. for his very helpful suggestions on an earlier draft of the piece linked above.  

My Two Cents

Ron Pisaturo writes about a complicated topic that I will admit that I have not spent a great deal of time trying to unravel. While I agree with the general thesis, which I think the quote above encapsulates, I doubt that one of its apparent implications, that one could change one's basic sexual orientation, is practical in many cases, if at all. I think that many of the choices that shape sexual orientation occur so early in life that they end up becoming very deeply integrated into one's overall personality. I think that even if someone were somehow interested in changing his basic sexual orientation, the task would take so long and require so much effort as to be practically impossible. For this reason, I regard basic sexual orientation as an issue outside morality. That said, I am not claiming that Pisaturo argues either that anyone should try to change his sexual orientation or that this is a moral issue.

A Word to the Wise on GMail

If you've been missing correspondence from your in-box and you use GMail, take heed:
[I]f you're ... using GMail for your communications, especially if it is using a domain that does not otherwise advertise itself as being a GMail-run domain please keep a very close eye on your spam folder, Google is no longer able to tell the ham from the spam and the number of false positives is extremely worrisome. And if you're not a GMail user and you wonder why your contact is not responding verify with them if your message hasn't been mis-classified as spam by Google's very much broken spam detection system. [minor edits]
Prompted by this account, I checked my spam folder to find two pieces of correspondence from my wife's professional email address.

-- CAV


7-12-15: Corrected link to RCM article. 


Jennifer Snow said...

The primary problems with Pisaturo's article are that:

1. His epistemology is godawful--instead of using inductive reasoning based on a body of evidence, he's attempting to deduce how sexual orientation OUGHT to work from a statement regarding the function of emotions viz abstract ideas.

2. He's trying to smuggle in the idea that there's something fundamentally better or at least "more natural" about being heterosexual. The title of his book offends me. Heterosexuality isn't a virtue. One does not gain or keep any values simply by being heterosexual any more than one gains and keeps values by being blonde. If one claims that heterosexuality is a virtue, then anyone who does not practice it is automatically failing of virtue--they are unvirtuous. To turn around and claim (as the author has, on Facebook) that he's not making any moral judgments of homosexuals is disingenuous at best. If it is one's conviction that heterosexuality is a virtue, then one must have the courage of one's convictions and declare anything that isn't heterosexual behavior to be a vice. This smacks of an effort to have one's cake and eat it, too.

I'm not an expert on sexuality either, but I know bad epistemology and a lack of grasp of terminology when I see it. And I've watched way too many youngsters go through a long, painful process of coming to terms with their sexual orientation to be able to handle this kind of thing with equanimity. My tolerance for people trying to pass off a combination of quasi-Platonic rationalism and poetic maundering as reasoned thought ran out some time ago.

Gus Van Horn said...


Not being on Facebook, I cannot comment on that part of your post.

Regarding the rest, I think that Pisaturo is at least being insensitive to non-heterosexuals. (Off the bat, a line about the obviousness of physical differences comes to mind.) I personally don't have a problem with an attempt to make a case that heterosexuality is the normal route of psychological development, but I do find assigning moral import to a non-straight sexual orientation naive at best, given how complicated human development is, and how young the science of psychology is.