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Messages - Frenzie

I was going to say I heard about that on a BBC podcast half a year ago or even last year, but that was about France and this is about America. (And also possibly about Facebook instead of YouTube.)
Today this was in my alumnus magazine.
The BBC is a projection of British soft power. DW and France 24 will be happy to fill the gap, but be careful what you wish for. :)
Incidentally, we had a Singlish guest lecturer during my Englishes linguistics course at the university.
In the American system such a determination can't be made (except by Congress, in the process of enacting law...) before a case, a controversy, is brought to the court. Our judges have no power to propound such questions, let alone answer them before... Not in their official capacity.
(Such things do come up in their opinions as explanatory... But when it does it is dicta -- not precedent for future cases and of no import re the lower courts.)
Laws are written using words like "souls" and "spirits," for example in a phrase like "cities of 50,000 and more souls" (source). That's a pars pro toto or a metonymy. You're presuming the entire question to be ridiculous, which may not follow. A soul is clearly considered part of a person in common as well as legal use, even if we're just using it as a synonym for "physical person" in current reality. Under the right conditions asking the question may not be so silly as to be dismissed out of hand, whether by the prosecution or a (lower) court.[1] To presuppose that keeping a soul in captivity is not kidnapping seems to be begging the question, unless the law explicitly says "physical body" or if it's otherwise clear that "person" means "physical body."

The Dutch organization of judges somewhat regularly publishes pieces urging lawmakers to make some new law they're considering clearer, precisely so they won't have to say they can't judge. It's not the case that judges aren't aware of what lawmakers are doing and vice versa. I think the consequence of your argument is that a judge should be more like a stupid computer program[2] than like Gorsuch who skillfully uses practically applied philosophy.

That doesn't get us anywhere: The mode of transporting the victim is not a necessary element of the crime.
We're talking about interpreting the crucial element of the crime!
That's the point; I'm providing a more accurate analogy with regard to transgender people. Transgender people are dirigibles.

Quote from: Gorsuch
Employers may not "fail or refuse to hire or...discharge any individual, or otherwise...discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual'

Whether you're discriminating against a woman wanting to ride horses or against a woman wanting to fly previously unheard of dirigibles is irrelevant. You're still discriminating based on sex.

BTW: Did you read Kavanaugh's dissent?
Yup, he does nothing but repeat things that were already thoroughly addressed by Gorsuch. He's even so nice as to contradict himself for us: "our role as judges is to interpret and follow the law as written, regardless of whether we like the result." Which is what Gorsuch did. It's Kavanaugh who's trying to wedge in an absurd definition of sex to avoid following the law as written.
Cf.,_Inc. with regard to some uses of the word "person" in legal parlance.
I can't process customer complaint X because there's no field for it.
I'd forgotten about this topic. I posted a presumably relevant entry here:

The bigger problem may not actually be the systemic racism itself, but rather the propensity to violence exhibited by American police. Police here normally deescalates, while police in America can use all manner of excessive violence or even shoot if there's a "reasonable" threat. "We have a society where it's often considered reasonable to take a black person reaching into their waistband as a threat. The whole legal framework for determining whether lethal force is legal or not is premised on a flawed assumption that officers can determine what is reasonable."

But even so, assuming you fix the corruption and the violence, stopping minorities without any clear motive is at best a waste of tax dollars and a nuisance to those people. Splitting hairs over systemic racism vs propensity to violence sounds more like a way to avoid addressing either one.

A couple of days ago, police officers in Amsterdam were literally attacked (rammed). A handful of warning shots were fired. No one was shot or died while they subdued the suspect with pepper spray. Dutch police usually manages not to shoot people in situations like the West Virginia incident.

That's fair, I should've phrased that as "there's no evidence souls can be stolen." The reason why isn't relevant to the point about kidnapping.
But you exaggerate the meaning of "interpretation" beyond any reasonable bounds, to admit "soul stealing" into the range of reference for "kidnapping"...
Kidnapping is abducting someone against their will. If you abduct someone's soul against their will, why would it be so unthinkable that it might fall under the legal definition of kidnapping? I don't think you're taking your own thought experiment seriously.

If we look at Dutch punishment law, we can see that it says:
Quote from: van Strafrecht/282.html
Hij die opzettelijk iemand wederrechtelijk van de vrijheid berooft of beroofd houdt, wordt gestraft met gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste acht jaren of geldboete van de vijfde categorie.
He who intentionally robs or deprives a person of his liberty unlawfully will be punished with imprisonment of up to eight years or a fifth-category fine.

The relevant legal questions here are what a person entails and what it means to deprive a person of their liberty. Broadly speaking there are three possibilities with regard to souls:

  • There is neither evidence for souls nor for the stealing thereof. [There is no evidence that souls can be stolen.]
  • There is evidence for souls, but stealing them is roughly comparable to stealing hair or nails.
  • There is evidence for souls, and stealing them has severe consequences. For example, a person can recall how their soul was kept in captivity, and during the absence of the soul their body entered into a comatose state.

By (presumably?) opting for the first interpretation there's no value to be found in your thought experiment. It can, would, and should simply be dismissed. It would never make it to court. The only way in which your thought experiment can claim to hold any relevance is if we assume there to be a somewhat reasonable possibility that soul stealing might be kidnapping. In other words, some variety of the third scenario.

Perhaps it's easier to see the logic of the argument if we rephrase it slightly. Imagine a kidnapping law from 1600. The framers can only reasonably be said to have envisioned kidnapping by walking, horses, carts and ships. But now it's 1900, and someone was abducted by dirigible. The framers didn't foresee dirigibles, and there's no legal precedent with regard to dirigibles. It's not kidnapping, argues the defense. There's never been a kidnapping case in which dirigibles were considered a viable means of abduction, and just imagining the sheer wonder of being on a dirigible looking down at the world from far above should be enough to convince you that it's actually a wondrous opportunity. Quite the opposite of a kidnapping.

There's another option that I left unstated, but an act like lobotomy could also reasonably be called stealing of the soul. To take it (somewhat) out of the domain of grievous bodily harm, we might imagine that the brain can be restored as new. A person without a well-functioning mind might be said to have their liberty taken from them. I'm not saying that's a valid legal interpretation, but you can't just summarily conclude it's not either.

Gorsuch is crystal clear. A man or a woman is treated in a discriminatory way, which they wouldn't "but for" their sex. Talking about transgender nonsense is nothing but a distraction. Transgender means someone is behaving in a way that's "incorrect" for their sex. Discriminating on the basis of sex is illegal, plain and simple. There wouldn't be any discrimination if there were no sex involved. It's not Gorsuch confusing sex and gender, it's you. ;)

Would your interpretation of Freudian slip let this slide?  :)
That would fit common usage, so that's context dependent. But psycholinguistically (i.e., scientifically) speaking Freudian slips are a flawed explanation at best. Speech errors show something about language processing, not about underlying hidden thoughts. In that sense Freudian slips are quite similar to souls: neither exist in a relevant sense.
One of the reasons to avoid judge-made law is simple: Consider, should (and, of course, we're always talking about a "should" in such cases) Kidnapping -a Federal Offense- admit the matter of "soul stealing" via photography into its ambit?
Why shouldn't it, if soul stealing:

a. Is real.
b. Meets the legal definition of kidnapping.

I think your example rather proves my point. Just because the framers didn't consider soul stealing when they wrote the law, doesn't mean soul stealing is a-okay! On the contrary, a well-written law on kidnapping should implicitly cover soul stealing, or explicitly restrict the definition of kidnapping to physical bodies only. (Perhaps you made up this specific example because chances are a "person" is always implicitly assumed by legal precedence to be a physical body, which is something that would have to be taken into account. But laws aren't written in ignorance of how courts interpret laws; quite the opposite.)
I get what you mean... But it ain't the framers (did you mean The Framers?) intent that's the problem: We're not talking about amending the constitution, per se! (see below)
In this specific case, the framers of the Civil Rights Act. But those who frame any law, no matter how foundational or minor. Lawmakers are well aware of the need to restrict things further if that's their actual intent.
DnD Central / Re: NATO nonsense
The Typhoon has a similar price. When you're buying 50-100 of the things a million more or less means a free plane. :P
I found this review. I have to say my current laptop seems a fair bit more attractive, even if it doesn't have a 30-hour battery life. :) At the time I imagine relative price and battery life would've been the selling points.
My Latin phrase book tells me you're quoting Hugo de Groot. Go Dutchies go!  :wizard:
DnD Central / Re: NATO nonsense
Speaking of which (I know: Off Topic!), Your lot down south and the French still make airplanes?
Plenty of fighter jets being made in Europe. The Eurofighter Typhoon is probably the main one, although that one has been argued to be quite a lot of compromises in being multifunctional. Belgium's opted for F-35As though, mainly due to a supposedly lower price.
Are these devices from the '90s?
An MSP is a Member of the Scottish Parliament?
Well, it's a bit early here so I'll keep it short, especially since you say you wrote this on the basis of only the syllabus, but the conflation of sex and gender as you call it was extremely well reasoned. I find such an originalist opposition completely untenable; in fact I find the whole approach greatly suspicious because it seems to be selectively applied when someone doesn't like the only rational conclusion that can be reached on the basis of the text.

Gorsuch's argument hinges on what the lawmakers meant when they used the word "sex" without any involvement of thoughtcrimes or mores, and of course on the basis of what people are actually discriminating by. If you're not letting a woman be a mechanic solely because she's a woman that is the very definition of sexual discrimination. It's completely irrelevant why you're discriminating against men; all that matters is that you are discriminating. Whether the framers envisioned this particular scenario is quite irrelevant. You'd get the absurd situation that everything you can argue wasn't thought of at the time isn't covered by a piece of legislation, while you should simply interpret what the law says.

Edit: typo
These are legal matters, and I dare say that I'm better qualified to judge them than you...
Possibly, I don't know your background. If you're just a layman like me who happens to enjoy reading the occasional court case for the philosophy contained therein we might be less different than you think.[1] ;) My point was simply that you were somewhat facetiously pretending not to understand what @ersi might be referring to.

or referring to policy disputes.
Implementing policy in unconstitutional ways is a dangerous precedent that I believe we should all be against. I for one am against several policies that I broadly agree with for that very reason. (E.g., some of the corona response here in Belgium.) Also it just gives more ammunition to opponents who are against the policy tout court, which is a very ineffective way of getting things done.
For example, Gorsuch produced an excellent philosophical textualist argument recently in that was well worth reading. Being "American" or "Dutch" only gives an uninterested random person on the street a minor starting advantage or perhaps even a disadvantage due to pop culture misrepresentation.
Besides obstruction of justice and extorting the president of Ukraine? One could go on for a disturbingly long time. It's not like "being Trump" in the relevant sense means his hair looks stupid or something.
While I'm vehemently against the practice, you have to consider it within the 1893 context. It empowered the lower classes to take their right to vote without getting bogged down in court cases that they were probably going to effectively lose even if they won anyway. It may not be the most elegant way to do it, but it was an effective method the reasons for which are no longer relevant in 2020 (or perhaps rather 1960, but oh well).
Voting as such isn't required of course -- with the exception of North Korea, where votes aren't secret, and presumably there are several states where they claim votes are secret while they actually aren't.

In 1893, when the right to vote was extended to all male Belgian citizens under a conservative Catholic government,[1] voting was made obligatory to prevent employers from pressuring the lower classes into not voting. For Flemish elections (municipality, province, region) this will end starting with the next elections in 2024, but I assume that means the Belgian national elections and European elections will remain obligatory, since that wouldn't be the Flemish parliament's purview. I'd have to look it up. In any case, you can see how a combination of factors (e.g., voting on Sunday, labor laws to ensure a resting day on Sunday) make it so that there's no opposition since the underlying reason is no longer sufficiently relevant.

In the Netherlands it was obligatory to show up to vote from 1917-1970 for a similar reason. It was replaced by employers being mandated to grant a two hour leave to vote on election day.

Bulgaria went against all trends from the past 50+ years by introducing compulsory voting back in 2016, but the Constitutional Court shot it down.

Thailand has apparently directly copied the Belgian system, and also has obligatory showing up to vote.

Australia and Luxembourg are also well-known for having compulsory voting.
I add this to emphasize that we're not talking about a liberal, unionist or socialist-led government.
Most states I've been in do. I know our federal system strikes most Europeans as bizarre, but it is what it is: Rules vary.
If rules across Europe vary less, and that's a big if, ;) it'd probably be because [insert state] presented a superior model to be emulated.

Here in Belgium voting is compulsory. In that sense it's arguably more different than any of the differences between the US and all (?) other European states.,_OWID.svg
That's the simple point I've been trying to get you reasonable folk to understand: The Democrats oppose any ID/Driver's license requirement.... To them, that's disenfranchisement!
Must Americans be taken by the hand like children and be monitored as they vote? I don't buy that. The Dems do.

Can one vote in the Netherlands, if one doesn't have ID?
What I left implicit but meant to hint at with the word "if" is that if you require things such as IDs the state has an obligation to make such things as IDs cheaply and easily available. It's a different side of the same coin. I would imagine these Democrats object to a specific combination of factors.

In the Netherlands you've needed both your voting pass (invitation) and your ID since shortly after I was first allowed to vote iirc. Back in 2010 the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the ID is allowed to be expired for a maximum period of 5 years because 60,000 people were turned away when they went to cast their ballot, which mainly disenfranchised the elderly. You don't even need any nefarious intentions to accidentally disenfranchise voters. At least, it seems unlikely that the leading Christian government party with a disproportionally large number of elderly voters would purposefully disenfranchise 60,000 of what may well be mainly their own voters.

As Ronald Reagan said a long time ago: "It's not what you don't know, it's what you know that ain't so..."
That's a basic tenet of critical thinking, albeit in an incomplete form. You have to think about what would prove you wrong, and you have to steelman the opposing argument for that. "Oregon" may well be a valid answer in my case; it more or less implements what I sketched earlier. But there's a not particularly subtle difference between "we'll get there, and besides it's not so bad" and "everything's already fine and dandy." Another thing potentially worth noting is Election Day voter registration, which depending on how it's implemented could get around any concerns in that regard besides notification.
We don't have a "citizen registry"...
IDs/driver's licenses have an address requirement as well as a requirement to keep the address up to date, and if they're required anyway it's an unwelcome additional hurdle to have to request things that you have a constitutional right to.

About Cook County: and
My implicit point was how comparatively bad even Illinois is. Had I been an Illinoisan, my anecdote from some 15 years ago would've resulted in me not voting in that particular election. Because I was in the Netherlands, I did get to vote. Any additional hurdle increases the chance that someone drops out along the way, and some hurdles affect certain groups much more than others. Something doesn't have to be explicit disenfranchisement or capital B Bad to be a problem worth fixing, although it seems to me that some of the things happening in the US (such as recently in Wisconsin) are shameful if not capital B Bad.

But not to worry! Actual knowledge of circumstances here would obviate it... (I'll wait.)
Oh, I don't know, here are some commonly known facts. :)