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March 25, 2009

Comments

SOV,
So, what, precisely, have I said that is out of line?

In fairness, I think von's Ph.D bit was out of line, and while von has been patient he also IMO should retract that- the moderators owe a stricter adherence to the rules.
But if you felt that was out of line, you should have merely called von on it. One slight by someone does not open the door to repeated postings of insults in return.

Since you apparently don't get it, that is precisely what my schtick is all about. In fact, I have called out the offending parties . . . to no avail. The claim seems to be that what was said wasn't 'really' offensive. Since, in fact, I am only using their words (be my guest and check this out - nothing I have said today that is supposedly out of line was conceded to be so yesterday), there seems to be a slight contradiction.

As I pointed out on a previous thread, entire paragraphs of invective are just not going to fly here, no matter the provocation. Likewise, constantly escalating is a very bad thing- your exchange with AJ, where he claimed that your reasoning was flawed by anger, and you claimed that he was stupid and that you could 'wipe the floor with him', or your exchange with Johnny Canuck, where afaict you retreated to calling him a weasel when presented with a complex argument about autoworker pensions, using an earlier reference to anger as the pretext.

As I recall that exchange, I was the one pointing out that you had made some rather ridiculous statements and used an ad absurdum argument that most seemed to feel proved the point. Could you be simililarly mistaken in what was said here? Let's check:

ummm, seriously? The division that he worked in and its profitability are a matter of public record. I think your anger is blinding you.

And can we at least spell his name correctly? It's DeSantis with a t.

Posted by: A.J.

A.J., I think your absolute stupidity and blind partisanship, not to mention your nasty penchant for slipping in an insult makes you one of the blinder people here.

There.

Now, do you want to continue in this vein, or do you want to talk like an adult? If the former, I'll wipe the floor with you. If the latter - which I hope - then please refrain from gratuitous bashing liking referring to a posters 'anger'.

Fair enough?

Assuming we're going with the latter option, my question is a serious one.

Doesn't read quite the way you would have others think, eh? Just a sharp reprimand, a warning of the consequences, and an attempt to return to the thread of the discussion. Doesn't seem particularly angry now, does it?

And frankly, from what I've seen, I don't think anyone who suspects that you've got a lot of anger is making a significant leap.

Right. It's nothing to do with teaching a lesson. Given your behaviour the last time we talked, you'll pardon my skepticism.

Saying that someone's argument may come from anger is not a violation of the posting rules, particularly not in the context of a larger discussion. Your incessant name-calling is a violation. Notice that even people who are sympathetic to you are pointing out that you're coloring outside of the lines.

Okay, challenge. Show us where this 'incessant name calling' crops up in anything I've posted today. If you look, you'll see that I've been quite careful to say things like "I understand how your anger can make you say things that perhaps you didn't intend to. ". You know, something that you've just said is not an infraction.

Or are you applying a double standard here?

Nor have I said anything that I can be banned for.

I don't think you understand how this works. Maybe you were looking for the words "ought to" instead of "can". You are very close now I think, and you can either really try to understand where these people (left and right) are coming from, or not. If you want to stick to your guns and go down with the ship, so be it.

Posted by: Carleton Wu

I find it hard to believe you misread what I wrote that badly. I didn't say anything about 'oughts' or the simple power to ban, I said that if one wants to be consistent, nothing I have said is worthy of banishment. You really didn't see that? Seriously?

Okay, here's the deal: saying things like that is rude and abusive, even if they aren't a violation of the posting rules here. Perhaps you're a bit on the young side, but I recall an occasion when a slightly older, much better dressed woman burst into the break room of our company in tears. Angry tears I should say: she had been in an executive meeting voicing some legitimate concerns only to be told "You're cute when you're angry", which was an occasion apparently for general amusement and some guffaws from the older managment guys.

Yeah, that one's a real knee slapper all right.

Or how about that perennial favorite one-liner, used on women who are telling you what to do and you don't want to do it: "must be that time of the month again."

I'm rolling on the floor laughing, that one's such a killer. Not nasty or snide or a banning offense at all. Just good, clean fun.

Look, I don't particularly care if you don't get this, Carleton, but saying things like that are genuinely offensive. And apparently, more than a few people agree with me.

Finally, I might add that if you cause offense that you didn't intend, the usual practice(so I was told by my mother), is to acknowledge it, state that you didn't mean for it to be taken that that way, and say that you'll avoid making that type of remark in the future.

You don't ignore those comments, then whine later when those same types of comments are used against you. And frankly, I don't know why von, et al won't conform to this simple social convention. Maybe it just comes down to the fact that they really do know that what they said wasn't kosher, but that owning up would cause some sort of shrinkage(actually, I think that just the reverse is what happens in these situations.)

Well, I've said my piece, and that's the end of it, as far as I'm concerned. I trust that I've made my point, and in the future certain people won't be quite so cavalier in their remarks. Oh, and if I cause offense unintentionally? By all means, let me know. I don't by the remotest stretch of the imagination believe I am immune, that I never make thoughtless, demeaning remarks. But I think I'm big enough that it won't cost me to admit that I did so :-)

von: "There is at least one posts of yours that contains a broad attack on the "Masters of the Universe.""

The term "Masters of the Universe" comes from a Tom Wolfe novel, in which one of the main characters, who (iirc) works on Wall Street, identifies himself that way. As I used it, it didn't refer to every single person who owns a job there, but to people like that character who have a specific, outsized view of their own importance, and their exemption from ordinary standards of conduct.

For what it's worth, I think that most people understand the terminology to mean just what you say, rather than 'everyone who works on Wall Street'. Even if they didn't read "Bonfire of the Vanities"(not nearly his best, imho), there's still the movie.

Note also: I haven't written a word about DeSantis. Though, for what it's worth, I don't buy the idea that he's not responsible: unlike the rest of us, he worked in a unit of several hundred people one chunk of which was busy making bets that came close to taking down the financial system. At that level of proximity, I think one generally has the ability to see that something is wrong, and to make one's views known. If I am wrong, and he was working in a hermetically sealed room with no contact with his peers, I will of course conclude that he has no responsibility. Likewise, if it turns out that he did everything he could to get Cassano to stop what he was doing. But there's no sign of that, and if it were true, I would have expected it to show up somehow in his op ed.

Posted by: hilzoy

Exactly. And I think that's what most people have been saying. They're more than prepared to cut this man some slack . . . but the default assumption is that he was in some manner complicit, if only by his knowing silence. Show me some paper- or email trail that shows otherwise, and I'll be much more sympathetic. Until then, bupkas.

Iow, the idea that there's some sort of pervasive, unthinking, and reflexive mob hatred, doubtless a close kin to Bush Derangement Syndrome, just isn't true.

In fairness, I think von's Ph.D bit was out of line, and while von has been patient he also IMO should retract that- the moderators owe a stricter adherence to the rules.

That's probably not my finest moment, true.

In any event, I think that SoV has now been warned by three front pagers (myself last), which seems a sufficient amount of time spent on him/her. Let's direct the conversation in more interesting ways.

Kinda depends on whether or not you think that India being an independent country is of economic significance...

Hence my qualifier: "personal life."

Von: I think your harsh -- black-and-white -- stance is not accounting for foreclosed victims who did not fall into the subprime or gimmick mortgage trap.

I actually thought that there was a great deal of grey in my comment. My point is that you and I are no less -- but also no more -- responsible for the crash than someone who worked in finance but wasn't involved in any of the risky trading activity. That's not an indictment of a victim of circumstances, much less you. It's a request that we recognize that a group that is being vilified unjustly.

Though, for what it's worth, I don't buy the idea that he's not responsible: unlike the rest of us, he worked in a unit of several hundred people one chunk of which was busy making bets that came close to taking down the financial system. At that level of proximity, I think one generally has the ability to see that something is wrong, and to make one's views known. If I am wrong, and he was working in a hermetically sealed room with no contact with his peers, I will of course conclude that he has no responsibility.

I work in close proximity with literally hundreds of lawyers. I have no idea what many folks in my practice group in my office are doing, much less what many folks in my practice group in other offices or doing, much less what many folks in a different practice group are doing. (Oh, I general sense about many, but no idea as to the specifics. And the specifics are important.)

This may just be a difference in perspective. I have some experience with academia through my father (who's the head of a department at a land-grant college). Most senior folks in a department have a pretty good sense of what others are going because (a) it's a smaller world and (b) it's their job to try to grow the reputation and evaluate juniors.

(TO)Francis makes an interesting point, which is
Did many of the poster here benefit from the cheap money era? Depending on your job and the year you bought your house, it's quite possible.

Getting away from looking at mirrors and deciding who is to be judged, perhaps we can agree on the fact that what the financial crisis has done is to make random rewards. So rather than try to determine guilt or innocence from how much someone has benefited, one could simply adopt the notion that the haves need to give to those who have not. I realize that this may reek of class warfare, but by making random the rewards of hard work, we as a society need to make amends. I realize this may be a bitter pill to swallow for those who invoke the mantra of personal responsibility and the necessity of government to permit failure in order to punish bad behavior and create the most efficiency, but you should ask who is making you take your castor oil and take it out on them. And consider that taking your medicine in small doses might avoid you being force fed the whole bottle.

I actually thought that there was a great deal of grey in my comment. My point is that you and I are no less -- but also no more -- responsible for the crash than someone who worked in finance but wasn't involved in any of the risky trading activity. That's not an indictment of a victim of circumstances, much less you. It's a request that we recognize that a group that is being vilified unjustly.

Posted by: von

Since I doubt that anyone disagrees with your latest reformulation, you've provoked a good deal of trouble to say nothing new. Why didn't you just say this in the first place? Since nobody is for villifying someone unjustly, this thread could have died a peaceful death after maybe six comments.

SoV, I don't think that your 8:48 comment either accurately summarizes my point or the debate that we're having.

Could you then be specific about who's doing the villifying, what they have said, precisely that leads you to think this is happening, and finally, who, precisely, is being villified? Your characterization of Hilzoy's words to the contrary, neither she nor anyone else I can see is saying that we should kill them all and let God sort it out.

perhaps we can agree on the fact that what the financial crisis has done is to make random rewards. So rather than try to determine guilt or innocence from how much someone has benefited, one could simply adopt the notion that the haves need to give to those who have not. I realize that this may reek of class warfare, but by making random the rewards of hard work, we as a society need to make amends.

I submit that this is precisely what has so many people upset. They're not upset because they're Communists, or Socialists, or DFH's. They're not looking for a whipping boy or a sin eater to take out their frustrations. They're not practicing class warfare. Quite the contrary.

The're upset because the so-called free market isn't working . . . and they want it to work right, not break it or abandon it. That doesn't strike me as wild-eyed populism.

I actually thought that there was a great deal of grey in my comment. My point is that you and I are no less -- but also no more -- responsible for the crash than someone who worked in finance but wasn't involved in any of the risky trading activity.

Ok, so you *dont* think that Im responsible for the crash because I used a credit card in the last 8 years, you're just using this as a reductio- if everyone who benefitted from the boom is guilty, then we're all guilty. Do I have it right?

Hence my qualifier: "personal life."

I was kind of wondering about that. But then, who has had a huge economic impact in their personal life? Most people's impact involves their professional/political/etc life. I mean, Bill Gates has had a pretty big economic impact, but his personal life is pretty quiet.

"The larger point is that by saying we're all responsible you're (not so subtly) advocating that no one is responsible."

As larger points go, I think (The Orginal) Francis makes a good one, Von.

---

SoV: I hope you don't take this the wrong way because I always like to see new posters and I think they deserve a bit of latitude as being one of the new kids on the block. I also think you have more support than you realize. Sometimes it just seems more civil by toning down the rhetoric a notch. Not that regulars here, yours truly included, have not been guilty of using heated, perhaps over-the-line, rhetoric from time to time -- hey, we're all human, and, to some extent, I see that as healthy. But when it begins to dominate a thread is when I think -- and when that's pointed out by someone as even-handed as Carleton Wu -- is when it would not hurt to pull back a little.

von: I dunno. I worked for a large bank once upon a time, and I had a pretty clear idea of what my (largeish) unit was doing. Certainly I would think that in a group in which a whole lot of your money is being made making bets that could take down the company, that fact would not be a total mystery.

You might be right, Hilzoy. My sense is that professionals* (doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, and, I'm assuming, traders) have a great deal of personal discretion. So long as they are making money, sufficiently senior, and not obviously screwing up, they aren't carefully examined.

*I use the term loosely.

Ok, so you *dont* think that Im responsible for the crash because I used a credit card in the last 8 years, you're just using this as a reductio- if everyone who benefitted from the boom is guilty, then we're all guilty. Do I have it right?

I'm not trying to be difficult here, Carleton, but it seems that you're trying to fit this into a little either/or box when, in fact, it's both. Yes, it is a bit absurd (and reductio-to) to talk about large masses of folks having conscious guilt for the current economic mess. In that sense, I'm trying to demonstrate that efforts to blame equally blameless folk just because they make a lot of money or work in finance is silly.

But it's not absurd, to me at least, in talking about each of us bearing responsibly for the current crash to the extent that we participated in and benefited from activities that turned out, in hindsight, to not-be-so-good. It may be that we're a little too early to start down this path -- lots of folks are still hurting -- but the easy money that made me very happy when I bought my first home about five years ago is probably a direct contributor to the current mess.

But when it begins to dominate a thread is when I think -- and when that's pointed out by someone as even-handed as Carleton Wu -- is when it would not hurt to pull back a little.

Posted by: bedtimeforbonzo

Mmmm . . . possibly. But in my experience, letting people get away with snide little asides like the ones I was drawing attention to is the best way to keep things from going any further in that direction. Trying to pull things back from the edge after letting them slide for a while is a much, much tougher proposition. As just about every beggining teacher finds out to their sorrow.

Now, I don't expect the offending parties will apologize to me, or even admit to my face that they made a mistake. That doesn't appear to be in their nature. But I'll wager that they'll mind their manners a bit better for a while. Reepacheep, one of Lewis's Talking Mice had something to say on the subject you might want to look up sometime. It's in "The Voyage of the Dawntreader" where he spanks Eustace with his sword and the necessity of doing so.

By the way SoV: the folks who are saying you have a lot of support here are correct. I'm definitely an outlier on this site, so if you moderate your tone a bit you will find that people will want to hear what you have to say. Just a suggestion from someone who has been around here a little longer and seen it happen before.

Um, sorry, that was meant to be not letting people get away with snide little asides.

Since you apparently don't get it, that is precisely what my schtick is all about. In fact, I have called out the offending parties . . . to no avail. The claim seems to be that what was said wasn't 'really' offensive.

This bears no relation to what I wrote. What I wrote was that I thought von was wrong to say that, and that you could've pointed that out rather than taking it as an excuse to escalate insults. I did not say "call out", I said "call him on it".

Doesn't read quite the way you would have others think, eh? Just a sharp reprimand, a warning of the consequences, and an attempt to return to the thread of the discussion.

You offered a baseless insult. You can call that a reprimand. But what you do not understand is that you are not permitted here to escalate what you perceive as slights with a barrage of insults. Your recourse is to point out to the person that they've strayed, and if it continues to ask the moderators to intervene.
Frankly, it's also counterproductive. If you'd responded to von's Phd comment by just reproving him, you'd look like someone who just wanted to discuss the matter and he'd have admitted going overboard. Whereas escalating insults followed by an offer to end the flaming is virtually guaranteed to not produce a reasonable discussion.

Right. It's nothing to do with teaching a lesson. Given your behaviour the last time we talked, you'll pardon my skepticism.

When you get banned, it will no longer be my problem. I could sit back and watch that happen. Or, I could try to point you in the right direction. I've flirted with banning on a couple of occasions, and I don't always find the rules here reasonable. But feel free to assign questionable motives if it makes you feel better about being reproved.

Okay, challenge. Show us where this 'incessant name calling' crops up in anything I've posted today.

I don't recall saying that you had done nothing but insult people. If that were the case I wouldn't have bothered trying to help you understand how things work here. And it's a subjective phrase, so no amount of challenging is going to determine an objective truth value.
And I don't know why you think Id have a double-standard against you. I admire hilzoy. I disagree with von most of the time but we usually get along. I don't get along that well with Sebastian, and I *really* don't get along with Charles. I've got no particular reason to support the kitten (other than 'this place works & Id hate for it to stop working').

I find it hard to believe you misread what I wrote that badly. I didn't say anything about 'oughts' or the simple power to ban, I said that if one wants to be consistent, nothing I have said is worthy of banishment. You really didn't see that? Seriously?

Try applying that same logic to my statement, and you might find yourself unearthing meaning of a similar kind.
The rules are the rules. They aren't my rules, Id probably do things differently. But these rules allow for a pretty good discussion between left and right. They keep things under control. If you don't like those rules, you can follow them anyway, or you can break them repeatedly and get banned, or you can just leave preemptively. You want to argue about what you want the rules to be, but that is a basically fruitless argument to have.

Look, I don't particularly care if you don't get this, Carleton, but saying things like that are genuinely offensive. And apparently, more than a few people agree with me.

I don't even know what you're trying to say. You list several sexist jokes that would not be considered acceptable here as examples of what's wrong with the rules here? Suddenly, everyone (including some women, as you may not realize) are sexists because you can't make the rules or comply with the ones that do exist?

Back at you, von. Don't make any snide remarks and you'll get no trouble from me. I've got enough troubles without borrowing more. My philosphy on this matter, honed from life in general, years in the classroom, and now a teenaged daughter is not to let things slide too far before addressing them. If someone makes a smart remark behind your back and it's only the second week of class, turn around and deal with the offender immediately; don't let some threshold get established. It will only creep forward until people are arm-wrestling in their chairs when your back is turned . . . and Halloween is still a week away.

"But it's not absurd, to me at least, in talking about each of us bearing responsibly for the current crash to the extent that we participated in and benefited from activities that turned out, in hindsight, to not-be-so-good."

"My point is that you and I are no less -- but also no more -- responsible for the crash than someone who worked in finance but wasn't involved in any of the risky trading activity."

Which is it, von? In the example of DeSantis, he was an Executive Vice President at AIG FP. Even if his division was doing everything aboveboard, he was in an executive position, where he should have known what was going on in the rest of his office. And he also participated in, and benefited from, the bets that went on in the derivative market far more than you or I.

And the same goes for many other people at Wall Street. They were in positions to know, and the benefited and participated in what was going on to a much greater degree than everybody else. ESPECIALLY the executives, who are paid enormous sums of money to be responsible, and weren't. The janitors at AIG? Not so much. Derivative traders, definitely. Junior clerk in accounting? Probably not so much. Senior Vice President in charge of Lobbying? Oh hell yes. Bank teller? Nah. Phil Gramm? Heh.

But which is it, von? Are people all equally culpable for the derivative bets, you and I as much as somebody who worked at a company that made them, in a high level position? Because you've said both in the last page. I, and I think many others, have been interpreting what you've said as the "we're all equally guilty", which is a cop-out to avoid dealing with the people and systems that really are guilty, or are you just saying that not everyone on Wall Street, and not even everyone at AIG is directly responsible for the way their company crashed the economy?

I don't even know what you're trying to say. You list several sexist jokes that would not be considered acceptable here as examples of what's wrong with the rules here? Suddenly, everyone (including some women, as you may not realize) are sexists because you can't make the rules or comply with the ones that do exist?

Posted by: Carleton Wu

Shrug. It's over, Carleton. Drop it. Don't try to stir up trouble all over again. Let's get back to the topic, okay?

And the same goes for many other people at Wall Street. They were in positions to know, and the benefited and participated in what was going on to a much greater degree than everybody else. ESPECIALLY the executives, who are paid enormous sums of money to be responsible, and weren't. The janitors at AIG? Not so much. Derivative traders, definitely. Junior clerk in accounting? Probably not so much. Senior Vice President in charge of Lobbying? Oh hell yes. Bank teller? Nah. Phil Gramm? Heh.

Exactly so. I see that you use the word 'many' and not 'all' when referring to people working on Wall street. I suspect that is the case for most people. Certainly the ones I have seen are of this frame of mind. They don't have anything in particular against Bailey Savings and Loan; they do have a few beefs with Countrywide they'd like to discuss out back with the executives of that firm.

I'm not trying to be difficult here, Carleton, but it seems that you're trying to fit this into a little either/or box when, in fact, it's both.

Fair enough. I was really doing some head-scratching there, thinking: if he is serious, then it's not a reductio because the endpoint isn't a contradiction any more. But then, over here, he seems to be ridiculing those who blame DeSantis using his own argument's falsehood as the proof. It was like that Star Trek episode with Harry Mudd.
[I just googled to get the name right, but I thought it was "Harvey Mudd". And what do I find? Harvey Mudd College. I wonder if they teach smuggling and drinking classes? I bet the graduates get that all the time, from boomers anyway].

As far as DeSantis is concerned, I can't really bring myself to care. Im sure some people in the industry knew that things were rotten. Im sure others lacked the information, or imagination, or foresight, to see that they were. I just can't care because of all of the raw deals people have got from the economy in the last year, his seems like one of the least possible raw deals. He is very rich, but slightly less rich than he would have been- Im almost certain that I could find someone getting a much worse deal in 15 minutes on a downtown sidewalk here.
It's not class warfare, I don't hate the guy or want him to lose money. I just don't see what the fuss is about, other than the very wealthy class boggles at the idea that it's possible for them to get occasionally get boned just like ordinary folks, but with fewer bad consequences to them personally.
And over this, Brett is ready to leave the country. Not, say, the results of The Innocence Project- poor minorities wrongfully executed, Brett loves America. Rich guy doesn't get to keep his bonus because his company ran itself into the ground, Brett wants out.

Carleton: First, thank you for your efforts to improve civility. I thought I could best help by silence on the point, but perhaps I was just being lazy. On reflection, I think yours is the better way, if one has the energy.

second, I was listening to a lecture by the novelist Margaret Atwood (probably best known for the Handmaid's Tale). In it she mentioned a experiment with 2 monkeys. Both needed to cooperate to get the food treat; if one got the treat and didn't share, the second monkey would thereafter stop cooperating. Rather punish the other monkey than risk the chance of not getting a portion of treat.

I wasn't concerned whether people cared about DeSantis. My position has been that self-interest should lead to the payment of the AIG bonuses so as not to jeopardize the unwinding of AIG FP and taxpayers getting their money back.

I guess I am naive to expect rational self-interest to prevail over the opportunity to punish perceived villains.

As to what DeSantis must have known, my experience predisposes me to the same default position as Von and the opposite of Hilzoy. I suspect titles way mislead. In some organizations vice presidents may know what is going on throughout the organization; in others only what the people below them are doing.

Either tar us all with the same brush, or tar none of us.

But, you see, with tar and brushes, almost nothing gets a completely even coat. Especially the first coat, when the brush is kind of dry and the tar isn't fully adhered, and the surface being tarred doesn't have that initial smearing of tar that all subsequent coats adhere to.

This thread is suddenly deficient in pie.

Completely devoid of pie, at this point. Will no one remedy the pie shortage?

Johnny - the second monkey is correct, right? If I withhold co-operation I pressure monkey 1 to share in good faith. If that pressure ends up ineffective, well.. better I spend my time swinging in the trees, than laboring to make some other monkey rich.


One nuance I think we're skipping is that (from what I read, here and elsewhere) the populist rabble-rousing and bonus outrage started on the *right*, at least at the political level. Republicans trying to throw red meat to the base and saddle Obama with the bad PR of bailing out *their* good buddies on Wall St.

You thought our Democrats were gonna wear both sides of that? Well, maybe a couple years ago you'd have been right.

I guess I am naive to expect rational self-interest to prevail over the opportunity to punish perceived villains.

Despite your expectation that monkeys ought to behave in accordance with your ideology, primate evolution has long had a well-known liberal bias.

A quiz. Which is more to blame for the current financial crisis?

A)

• insistence on free movement of capital across borders;

• the repeal of Depression-era regulations separating commercial and investment banking;

• a congressional ban on the regulation of credit-default swaps;

• major increases in the amount of leverage allowed to investment banks;

• a light (dare I say invisible?) hand at the Securities and Exchange Commission in its regulatory enforcement;

• an international agreement to allow banks to measure their own riskiness;

• and an intentional failure to update regulations so as to keep up with the tremendous pace of financial innovation.

B)

• people who accepted offers for credit cards with low interest rates.

If you picked B, congratulations, you have what it takes to make it in today's conservative movement! Enjoy this free ticket good for one passenger on the Rush Limbaugh Limousine Ride to Irrelevance.

now_what: I don't get to choose anything related to our trade deficit? Or the Fed's refusal to use its powers to regulate the mortgage industry?

*pouts*

So von is a ham-handed postmodernist, and probably should think twice about posts like this in the future.

And Anonymous' 7:33 post has more than a kernel of truth in it because of that.

MattH, I may be "ham-handed," but I don't think my call for personal responsibility is properly characterized as "postmodern[]". (Even accepting that "postmodern" can mean almost anything ....)

Wrong interpretation of postmodernism, but then maybe I mistook your reason for posting this. If so, I take back the postmodern moniker and any suggestion that you might have been attempting any level of satire beyond a purely superficial one. Too bad Carlton's viewpoint is wrong then, and Nate's spot on in everything he's said.

[In this case, by postmodern, I mean that you took an outlandish position in an attempt to illustrate the absurd position of your opponents, and get them to realize the absurdity of their position, but that only works if you really don't support said outlandish position. So in this case, Nate "wins" and you "lose".]

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