My Faults My Own

…beleaguered by the same

negation and despair,

show an affirming flame.

IN WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo, a sometimes-poet and erstwhile student of Computer Science and Math, oc­cas­ion­al­ly writes on things of int­erest.

Reading Feed (last update: October 15)

A collection of things that I was happy I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they're interesting, not because I think they're correct, unless indicated otherwise.


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Is the World Bank lending too much to China? — "As I understand it, the World Bank makes money on these loans and there is a cross-subsidy of other Bank activities, most of all aid. A World Bank that stopped such loans would be poorer and less skilled, and over time could devolve into one of the poorer, less effective poverty-fighting parts of the United Nations, without much of a political power base at that."


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | Blade Runner 2049 (some Straussian spoilers) — "It hardly makes any concessions to the Hollywood vices of this millennium and indeed much of the Tysons Corner

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They're Not All Saints


Abbott Lawrence Lowell, as President of Harvard, attempted to impose quotas on Jewish students and ban black students outright.

Chester Greenough, with Lowell's ample support, presided over the Secret Court of 1920, which expelled eight students on allegations of homosexuality.

Benjamin Wadsworth was one of the first anti-abortion writers in America.

The Cabot family owned slaves.


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These are not pieces of our University's history that we should be proud of, but they are pieces of our history whether we acknowledge them or not. And it is disingenuous to object

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If I Ran the Zoo

content warning: Brief anecdote about inadvertent and nonmalicious -- but repeated -- misgendering. Discussion of moral-obligation-heavy social justice messaging.


While we were on finals-induced break...
(if you wish, skip over this news review)

College-Distributed Advice on Race Discussions Divides Students

At the close of a semester that saw a surge in racial tensions on college campuses nationwide, Harvard outfitted a number of dining halls with laminated guides printed with what purports to be advice for students discussing issues related to race and diversity with family members, but that some undergraduates decried as telling them what to think politically.

Adapted from a similar guide [link mine] published by an activist group called Showing Up for Racial Justice, the placemats address controversial topics including student activism about race at Yale and other colleges, the debate over whether the U.S. should welcome Syrian refugees, and Harvard’s recent decision to change

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As Allies

content warning: political call to action.


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Say you are deeply, morally opposed to capitalism on principle, but nevertheless some inconsiderate person walks up to you, presses a dollar bill into your hand, and walks away. You already have more dollars than you need, and you certainly don't want to take part in the system you despise by spending it.

But then what do you do? Hide it away in order to level down inequity? Burn it in protest of the capitalist system that distributes luxuries to the rich instead of welfare to the starving?

Writes Scott Alexander:

If, as I’ve postulated, the reason we can’t solve world poverty and disease and so on is...the capture of our financial resources by the undirected dance of incentives, then what better way to fight back than by saying

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Coda On (Male) Feminists

A hundred and fifty years ago, Charles Eliot, then President of Harvard College and now namesake of my house, delivered my favorite speech in the history of academia,[begins on page 29] from which I'll quote twice today, mostly because I'm too lazy to write my own poetry this week:


It were a bitter mockery to suggest that any subject whatsoever should be taught less than it is now in American colleges. ... It will be generations before the best of American institutions of education will get growth enough to bear pruning.

The endless controversies whether language, philosophy, mathematics, or science supply the best mental training, whether general education should be chiefly literary or chiefly scientific, have no practical lessons for us today. This University recognizes no real antagonism between literature and science, and consents to no such narrow alternatives as "mathematics or classics", "science or metaphysics". We would have them

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Why So Few Male Feminists?

content warning: unrepentant naïveté, use and interrogation of the word "feminism" by a cishet white male, statistical mention of rape, sexual/domestic violence, and abuse

content note: in parts, speaking only to people who have the privilege of choosing, intentionally and with lightness, how they engage with issues of social justice. (more in a previous post)


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Ozy Frantz[read this] is one of those bloggers who has significantly and dramatically changed the way I think -- and in this respect shares a reference class with Leah Libresco and Eliezer Yudkowsky. Though I've only been reading Ozy since they started Thing of Things last November, they're very quickly stepping into position as Possibly My Favorite Blogger Right Now. A perfect example of why is their recently re-run post, Thing of Things | Who Cares About Men's Rights?:

I do.

I care about every boy that was ever called a fag or

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A Place and a Role for Allies

This is part 3 of ? of a recurring series on approaching debates with a mind toward actually changing minds and the world.

[ | | ]

I've got some things to say in upcoming posts about how to fight the good fight re: identity politics, but first, I think it'd be useful for all of us to get a huge disclaimer out of the way. (This post had a bit of scope creep, too, and I ended up saying lots of standalone-important things.)

I'll get to it obliquely, by way of background first:


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Connor Harris posts on Facebook:

Connor Harris: It is easy for progressive students at politically homogeneous colleges to forget that there exist self-consistent arguments against same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and any other progressive policy you should care to name.

Thomism, for example, is nothing if not self-consistent. One can reject the premises of these arguments (I do), or think that

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