Morning Report – Chinese Stocks Collapsing 7/7/15

Markets are higher this morning as Europe and Greece still try and to seek a solution. Bonds and MBS are up.

Greece and their creditors are basically searching for a way to finance Greece’s next payment (about 3.5 billion euros) to the ECB which is due on July 20. If they default, the die is more or less cast. The final result of this negotiation will not be a bailout, but just a liquidity injection to keep things going for another month. The Greek banks have deferred tax assets and Greek government debt as their capital. They are cut off from global credit markets and have been closed to prevent a bank run. The banking system will have to be nationalized and the Greek government will have to issue some sort of scrip to pay people.

If it weren’t for the Greek Crisis, everyone would be talking about what is going on in China. Their stock market is collapsing, with the Shanghai Composite B share index down 40% in a month.  The Chinese government has been pulling out all the stops to try and support the market – cutting interest rates, increasing liquidity, creating a stock fund to buy up stocks to support the market – and none of it has been working. The Shanghia Composite B-share index dropped another 9% last night as margin traders get liquidated. To stop the selling, the Chinese government has basically suspended trading in 26% of the stocks on the Chinese exchange. Of course this does nothing but delay the inevitable. Chart: Shanghai Composite (B-shares)

Between the Greek and Chinese situations, bonds should be heading higher. We are already seeing the German Bund rally, with the yield having dropped from just over 1% to 66 basis points over the past month. Relative value trades should work US Treasuries higher as well. US investors (and loan officers) should brace themselves for a bumpy ride as the situation in Greece is hardly settled, China is a falling knife, and the Fed is in rate hike mode. Global financial stress is bond bullish, while the Fed’s posture is bond bearish. LOs, tell your borrowers they are playing with fire if they are floating.

That said, I think the overall medium term effect of the stress will be to push rates lower on the flight to safety trade. A struggling China will try and use exports to stimulate their economy, which means the US will be importing deflation. The last thing the Fed will want to do in that situation is to raise rates. As an added bonus, you could see renewed buying in MBS as investors reach for government guaranteed yield. TBA spreads to Treasuries could narrow, which means that mortgage rates could fall as fast or faster than Treasury yields. IMO, the Treasury market has been fading the moves overseas and is behind the curve.

Job openings hit 5.36 million in May, another record in the JOLTS Job Openings index. There definitely seems to be a mismatch between what employers want (someone with the wisdom of a 50 year old, the efficiency of a 40 year old, the drive of a 30 year old and the paycheck of a 20 year old) and what is actually available in the labor market.

47 Responses

  1. So, you think mortgage rates might go down again? And here i am thinking i’m getting robbed at 4.5%

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  2. Frist.

    One of the cushions available to Greece in any event is NATO. May be a good time to lease more AFBs. Seriously.

    China is problem #1, in every way. Dwarfs GR as an economic problem. Dwarfs ISIS as a FP problem.

    Brent, is it true that China is encouraging folks to borrow from their home equity to buy into the stock market?

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  3. “Brent, is it true that China is encouraging folks to borrow from their home equity to buy into the stock market?”

    Mark, I don’t know that they are encouraging it, however they did allow people to pledge real estate as collateral for margin loans.

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  4. What country will put a couple of Air Force bases in the U.S. whenour debt bill comes due?

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  5. They’re not getting the argument that Thomas is making. IIRC, he’s Catholic. this is like dignity 101 stuff.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html

    Sec. 27: Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.

    and for fun, here’s the next section

    28. Respect and love ought to be extended also to those who think or act differently than we do in social, political and even religious matters. In fact, the more deeply we come to understand their ways of thinking through such courtesy and love, the more easily will we be able to enter into dialogue with them.

    Ha!

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  6. Brent: “Mark, I don’t know that they are encouraging it, however they did allow people to pledge real estate as collateral for margin loans.”

    Well, nothing can go wrong with that. Right?

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  7. The Chinese government believes stock prices are too important to be determined by a mere market.

    This will be a titanic clash of wills between the Chinese government and their stock market.

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  8. “novahockey, on July 7, 2015 at 10:25 am said:

    They’re not getting the argument that Thomas is making. IIRC, he’s Catholic. this is like dignity 101 stuff.”

    I actually think that Takei has the better argument here:

    “To say that the government does not bestow or grant dignity does not mean it cannot succeed in stripping it away through the imposition of unequal laws and deprivation of due process.”

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/george-takei-clarence-thomas-denying-our-rights-denies-our-dignity

    Of course I find the whole dignity premise absurd from a constitutional standpoint, but in terms of the understanding of the concept itself, yes governments can take it away.

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    • jnc:

      Of course I find the whole dignity premise absurd from a constitutional standpoint, but in terms of the understanding of the concept itself, yes governments can take it away.

      I think Thomas would argue (and I would agree with him) that there is a difference between denying someone’s dignity and stripping it from them. The former is all too easy to do. The latter is impossible to do, because it is an innate feature of humans. A slave can be treated as a sub-human, but he can’t be turned into a sub-human. If the state can literally take someone’s human dignity away from them, then once it is done there is no reason for anyone to subsequently treat that person as if they have any. Because they don’t, right?

      It is like the difference between violating someone’s natural rights and stripping them of their natural rights. The government can do the former, not the latter.

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      • McWing:

        This seems to be the answer to your question the other day, re Oregon and its insane policy regarding cake baking.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/07/06/why-may-the-government-ban-businesses-from-saying-we-wont-bake-cakes-for-same-sex-weddings/

        The solution, it seems to me, is for the baker to simply post a sign that says “We object to designing cakes for same-sex ‘weddings’.” Gets the message across, but doesn’t actually violate the order.

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      • there is a difference between denying someone’s dignity and stripping it from them.

        Dignity, like nobility, is a human construct, and hardly innate. Denying it or stripping it, it can be restored afterward.

        This sort of nonsense is similar to “slaves must free themselves because they cannot be truly freed by others” that is unworthy of any serious conversation.

        And now that I know you use “morality” in the personal sense while attempting to suggest it is universal I understand your confusion.

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        • Mark:

          Dignity, like nobility, is a human construct, and hardly innate.

          Interesting. Dignity means “the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect”. So you do not think that humans are innately worthy of esteem or respect. How do you determine which humans are worthy of it, then?

          This sort of nonsense is similar to “slaves must free themselves because they cannot be truly freed by others”…

          Rubbish. It isn’t even remotely close to that.

          And now that I know you use “morality” in the personal sense while attempting to suggest it is universal…

          I think you are the one who is confused, as I do no such thing. I have no idea how you concluded that.

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  9. “Dignity, like nobility, is a human construct, and hardly innate. Denying it or stripping it, it can be restored afterward”

    I tend to think of dignity and nobility as traits exhibited and perhaps chosen, things that are internal. People can be dignified in undignified situations and can be noble though others may try to portray them as otherwise. My argument, re: slavery, would be that it was not the slaves who lacked dignity, per se, but the institution itself that was undignified (indeed, and abomination).

    Yet it’s difficult to be dignified or exhibit dignity without modeling, examples, education, training, and thought devoted to the subject, I would think.

    Similarly, as you say, if I believe I had rights (and I do) you can deny me those rights and I’ll still insist that I have them.

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    • KW:

      Similarly, as you say, if I believe I had rights (and I do) you can deny me those rights and I’ll still insist that I have them.

      Exactly. Although you seemed to argue the other day that it is meaningless to insist that you have rights that are actually being denied to you.

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  10. @ScottC: “The solution, it seems to me, is for the baker to simply post a sign that says “We object to designing cakes for same-sex ‘weddings’.” Gets the message across, but doesn’t actually violate the order.”

    I wonder what would happen if I opened a bakery called Hetero Bakery that happily serviced SSM ceremonies and had a whole catalog of products for same-sex marriages, like the ‘Three Tiered Travesty’ and the ‘Vanilla Creme Abomination in the Sight of God’ and the ‘Amoretto Sodomite Special’ and the ‘Double Fudge Chocolate Sin Against Nature’ and so on. Perhaps there is a special category for highly-accomodating hate speech?

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  11. “To say that the government does not bestow or grant dignity does not mean it cannot succeed in stripping it away through the imposition of unequal laws and deprivation of due process.”

    Thanks for posting this, jnc. That sums up my thoughts quite nicely.

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  12. I don’t understand that argument that until this ruling, gay couples had no dignity.

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  13. @NoVA:

    The Simpsons were quoted as a tribute to you on PL today. 🙂

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  14. yeah? do i need to talk a look?

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    • More nonsense?

      “We believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation.”Barack Obama, 2014 SOTU

      But not, apparently, regardless of government policy.

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      • I certainly believe in the worth of human beings. But “dignity” exists only in a society that welcomes the worth of human beings. It is a figment to say dignity is inherent in a society which does not permit a dignified existence. This is the corollary to JNC’s notation that a government can strip one of dignity.

        Even a bunch of nasty HS girls can do it to another HS girl, with a yet incomplete personna.

        A person of utterly enormous strength of will can maintain his sense of self worth in the face of adversity, for a long while. But ask any tortured POW whether his will was eventually broken and he will tell you, if it went on long enough, that it was.

        Again, dignity is a construct, not a trait like eye color, or intelligence, or even free will.

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        • Mark:

          I certainly believe in the worth of human beings.

          Of what are they worthy? And is that worth inherent in them, or does it only exist because you happen to believe in it? What if most of society does not believe in it…does it no longer exist and do you no longer believe in it?

          Frankly I don’t know what this means if you do not mean that humans are inherently worthy of esteem or respect. Which apparently you do not. It is notable that you ignored my question, so I will ask again: If dignity is not inherent in humans, then how do you determine which human beings are worthy of esteem/respect and which are not?

          But “dignity” exists only in a society that welcomes the worth of human beings.

          What do you mean by “dignity”? Because as I already stated, I understand it to refer to the quality of being worthy of esteem/respect, and the existent of that quality is not dependent upon the recognition of it by others. My dignity does not vanish simply because of your inability to recognize that I have it.

          A person of utterly enormous strength of will can maintain his sense of self worth in the face of adversity, for a long while.

          A sense of self-worth is highly important to psychological health, but the absence of that sense doesn’t establish the absence of the thing itself, ie worthiness.

          Again, dignity is a construct, not a trait like eye color, or intelligence, or even free will.

          In what way is dignity a “construct” that worth – that same worth that you claim to believe humans have – is not?

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        • We are having a definitional issue.

          noun, plural dignities.
          1.
          bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
          2.
          nobility or elevation of character; worthiness:
          dignity of sentiments.
          3.
          elevated rank, office, station, etc.
          4.
          relative standing; rank.
          5.
          a sign or token of respect:
          an impertinent question unworthy of the dignity of an answer.

          I grew up with this dictionary definition. Clearly it means something else to you.

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        • Mark:

          Clearly it means something else to you.

          I guess I wasn’t clear enough the first two times I said it, but frankly I don’t know how to make it more clear to you, so I will just have to say the same thing again. Maybe the third time will be a charm. By dignity I take Thomas (since it was his use of it that started this thread) to mean “the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect”. That just so happens to be the number 1 entry in the dictionary. (BTW, it is also worth noting the 2nd entry: “inherent nobility and worth”. That same human “worth” you say you believe in, perhaps?)

          Now that we have hopefully and finally cleared that up, I’d like to pursue your claim that you “certainly” believe in the “worth” of human beings, because that seems to me to be strikingly similar to what Thomas was referring to. I’d like to understand the distinction between what you believe regarding human worth and what Thomas (and I) believe, such that what you believe is sensible, but what Thomas and I believe is “nonsense”.

          So, again, if you believe humans have worth, of what do you believe they are worthy? Is this “worth” inherent in human beings by nature? Or is it just a “construct” that exists only to the extent that society says it does? If the latter, does that mean you would cease to believe in it if society told you it didn’t exist?

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        • McWing:

          I discovered this article yesterday and thought it was relevant to our previous discussion re morality. Although it is focused on the idea of inherent human dignity, some of Pinker’s arguments against it seem to echo your arguments against the idea of objective morality, and so I think some of the counters to Pinker are relevant to your position as well, and reflect some of what I was trying to say. For instance:

          It does not follow from the fact that there are differing understandings of human dignity that there is no such thing as intrinsic human dignity or that no one has authentic or even approximate knowledge of it. The fact that Mother Teresa and Margaret Sanger, for example, had different conceptions of human dignity does not mean that neither one was right. The premise—“people disagree on what constitutes human dignity”—is not sufficient to support the conclusion, “therefore, intrinsic human dignity is either not known or non-existent.” It may, of course, turn out that Pinker is correct. But the mere fact of disagreement cannot logically ground his claim.

          Replace “intrinsic human dignity” with “objective morality” and this is the argument we were having.

          Also, I thought this quotation from CS Lewis interesting in light of your claim about the existence of societies with diametrically opposed moral notions.

          I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities.

          But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together in the appendix of another book called The Abolition of Man; but for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to-whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.

          Not having studied all cultures throughout human history, I don’t know for sure that Lewis is right, but intuitively it seems right to me.

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        • There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference.

          The overlapping of “personal moralities” is consistent with being of the same species. Thus one would find chimp behavior similar and bonobo behavior similar but great differences between chimps and bonobos. The differences between humans is less than the difference between chimps and bonobos, of course. However, I think chimps and bonobos can reproduce. Both chimps and bonobos have “free will”, in the sense that they make choices based on assessment of situations and their experience, and not merely instinct. But humans have a wider range of “free will” and a great many more shared experiences by reason of enhanced communication abilities.

          Apparent “universalities” would be products of common experiences like the need for self and group preservation and the ability to empathize with others and to choose between pain and pleasure and when and whether to spread pain and pleasure to others, and from the sharing of experiences over generations and “common” knowledge fed by advanced communication skills.

          It would be enough for me to both note the overlap and catalog the differences. Then one would also have to correlate this over a longitudinal study of say, at least 100 years. The quest for a Theory of Universal Morality and the very assertion of its existence strikes me as a speculative theological, or perhaps, philosophical task.

          In the course of cataloging, for scientific inquiry, we might find that personal moralities varied within groups more than across different groups, or more likely, varied by group more than by individual. We would have to first establish metrics and weight them. The measure and weight for these would itself be an interesting exercise and would involve thousands of questions and sub questions, and perhaps scenarios, which would have to be localized.

          I’m tired, already.

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        • Mark:

          The quest for a Theory of Universal Morality and the very assertion of its existence strikes me as a speculative theological, or perhaps, philosophical task.

          Of course. It is in fact a fundamental aspect of philosophy, and one of the main reasons philosophy exists as an endeavor.

          But again (and I really don’t know what else I can say in order to make this more plain) it has never been my claim that the One True Theory of Universal Morality is or can be known and definitively articulated. My point has been much more modest, specifically that when people talk about morality and make claims about it, they assume that such a thing does exist, and that they have some knowledge of it. Maybe it doesn’t exist, and maybe they don’t know anything about it. IDK. But moral claims are premised on its existence.

          To make a claim that something, say black slavery, is/was unjust or evil or wrong, is to assert the existence of an objective morality against which the practice of slavery can be measured. It is incoherent, or at best meaningless, to me to assert that black slavery is/was unjust/evil/wrong while at the same time asserting that no objective morality exists. I don’t know what you could mean by unjust/evil/wrong in the absence of the existence of an objective morality.

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        • I get your modest point, but mine, and I assume Kev’s and George’s, is that shared personal morality on the issue is as at least as good an explanation of detesting slavery as “objective morality”.

          KW?

          George?

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        • Mark:

          I get your modest point, but mine, and I assume Kev’s and George’s, is that shared personal morality on the issue is as at least as good an explanation of detesting slavery as “objective morality”.

          It is not “personal” if you are applying it to other people. It is one thing to say “I don’t like slavery, therefore I will never own a slave.” That is a personal distaste for slavery. It is entirely different to say “I think slavery is wrong, therefore you should never own a slave.” That is personal opinion of what objective morality requires.

          The phrase “personal” morality only makes sense to me if it means “my personal assessment of what objective morality is”. If by “personal morality” you mean nothing more than an accounting of your personal preferences (I prefer to wear hats, and I prefer not to own slaves), then you should call it that, ie your personal preferences. Because morality is an entirely different concept from mere preferences, and they should not be confused. A “distaste” for slavery is not only a difference in degree, but in kind, from say a “distaste” for, say, beer drinking.

          And it definitely is not “as good” an explanation of detesting slavery. In fact it is no explanation at all. The fact that Kevin and McWing share your detestation of slavery no more explains why you detest it, or more importantly why it is detestable, than would their shared dislike of, say, broccoli be an explanation for why you dislike it, or why others ought to do so.

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        • Scott, I define “personal morality” to mean one’s own subjective view of what is right and wrong for, at the very least, typical situations for ones’ self and for others. How each of us comes to our personal morality is dependent on many factors that are different for each of us.

          To use your “slavery” example, eleven states seceded from the Union in 1861 because their leaders devoutly believed that slavery was morally defensible. The Union did not fight the Secession to abolish slavery, because most of its leaders weren’t particularly moved about it either. It wasn’t a right and wrong issue for the leaders of the USA. The Union fought for a purely ethical position – the preservation of federal supremacy. Ethical, in the sense that it was a political community standard, not a deeply held and shared personal moral belief. Of course, there were many alive then who did share our current revulsion to slavery – they were called “abolitionists”. But they were not the political leaders of the federal government.

          I cite that example to demonstrate that personal morality is so subjective that it can be very different for people in the same period of history who were born and raised in the same country. The deeply held sense of what ought and what ought not be can come from one’s upbringing, or one’s experiences, or one’s religion or spirituality, or from rationalizing one’s own conduct to fit one’s own conscience, and perhaps from one’s genetic make-up, as well.

          Because you define it to mean something else,to mean “one’s personal assessment of objective morality”, you will come to different conclusions than I do. We can let that be.

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        • Mark:

          Scott, I define “personal morality” to mean one’s own subjective view of what is right and wrong for, at the very least, typical situations for ones’ self and for others.

          That sounds very similar to what I said. It is your subjective (I said personal) view of right and wrong (I said objective morality). So we agree that what you are providing is your personal/subjective view of some thing. What is that thing? Is it some thing that you think exists out there, independently of your mind? Is right/wrong an objective reality, a quality of behavior that exists regardless of what any one person thinks about it?

          Consider this. You take a sip of a drink and think “that tastes sweet”. I drink the same thing and think “that tastes sour”. Each of those assessments is our own subjective assessment. But they are subjective assessments of an objective reality, specifically the ingredients of the drink that provide it with a taste or flavor. That quality, flavor, exists independently of our minds, and we make our own subjective judgments of that objective thing.

          This is what is going on with moral assessments. This is what we mean by good/evil, right/wrong. Yes they are subjective assessments, but they are assessments of a presumed objective reality. Human behaviors have a presumed quality about them that we call moral. That quality exists independently of what any one person thinks about it, and we all make our own subjective judgments of that objective thing.

          If, when you refer to right/wrong with regard to human behaviors, you are not referring to a quality of the behavior that is presumed to exist independently of what any individual thinks about it, then I have to admit that I don’t know what you are referring to when using those words.

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        • Twilight Zone, I tell you.

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        • We probably agree on the the substance, then.

          I was completely flabbergasted by the use of the word to mean intrinsic worth, as I have never seen it used that way in classic literature. I think that in common parlance we talk about “dignified” and “undignified” and “indignation” and “indignity” and “dignitary” without regard to intrinsic self worth but with regard to manner and bearing and class; and insult to manner and bearing and class.

          When someone like BHO has used “dignity” in a string I have always heard “deserving of the same social classification” not “intrinsic worth”.

          Watch “Poldark” and note its use there: nobles were “dignified” and commoners were not. This use of the word to make class distinctions would have marked Brit English and perhaps American English has evolved to where that usage no longer implies social distinction, first and foremost. IDK.

          Perhaps my age is telling.

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        • Mark:

          We probably agree on the the substance, then.

          So just to be clear, we agree that human beings are inherently worthy of esteem/respect?

          I was completely flabbergasted by the use of the word to mean intrinsic worth, as I have never seen it used that way in classic literature.

          Perhaps it is a function of my Catholic upbringing, but I thought Thomas’ use of the word was obvious. As nova noted, for Catholics this is dignity 101 stuff. Although I don’t think the notion is at all unique to Catholicism, and is instead pretty fundamental to many religions. A quick google search of “human dignity classic literature” resulted in this interesting find:

          The most fundamental assumption of Jewish ethics is that there is something intrinsically and ineradically sacred about the human person, the human body, and spirit as such. The ontological fact of our collective creation in God’s image enjoins us to moral behavior, commanding us to work actively to honor the dignity of other human beings…On the basis of this assumption, Judaism formulates a prohibition against violations of human dignity.

          This sounds to me like pretty much the same idea and use of the word. I suspect that if we really looked, we would find the use of the word in that context has a long historical tradition. For just one example, Kant wrote that humans have “an intrinsic worth, i.e., dignity”.

          To be sure, as is true with nearly all words, dignity can be used in many different ways, depending on the context. Hence the existence of multiple entries in the dictionary. But Thomas was definitely not using the word idiosyncratically. And I think his use of it is actually something that his critics, in other contexts, would readily and happily embrace. Intellectual consistency is clearly not a progressive priority.

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        • we agree that human beings are inherently worthy of esteem/respect?

          Yep.

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  15. Nah. I’ll let you know if it gets really good. And yello just linked this:

    Someone tell NoVA that it will be safe to watch the Simpsons next season.

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  16. [Kirk and Luanne’s turn at Pictionary]

    Kirk: Ah, come on Luanne, you know what this is.
    Luanne: Kirk, I don’t know what it is.
    Kirk: [sighs] It could not be more simple, Luanne. You want me to show this to the cat, and have the cat tell you what it is? ‘Cause the cat’s going to get it.
    Luanne: I’m sorry, I’m not as smart as you, Kirk. We didn’t all go to Gudger College.

    [the timer dings]

    Kirk: It’s dignity! Gah! Don’t you even know dignity when you see it?
    Luanne: Kirk, you’re spitting.
    Kirk: Okay, genius, why don’t you draw dignity. [Luanne does so; everyone gasps in recognition, but viewers can’t see it]
    Dr. Hibbert: Worthy of Webster’s.

    S06E08

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  17. @ScottC: “Exactly. Although you seemed to argue the other day that it is meaningless to insist that you have rights that are actually being denied to you.”

    No, just trying to unpack the box to the bottom. Ultimately, I think we had to believe and assert we have rights. I don’t think they are innate or conferred.

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  18. Transgender acceptance:

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  19. @markinaustin: “I get your modest point, but mine, and I assume Kev’s and George’s, is that shared personal morality on the issue is as at least as good an explanation of detesting slavery as “objective morality”.”

    Objective seems to be defined by how something can be measured, and how much we agree, or how universal agreement is, on those measures. Thus something can seem transparently an objective fact to someone where it seems the opposite to someone else (AGW, for example).

    Ultimately, we can look at slavery as objectively bad (i.e., objectively immoral) based of a wide variety of criteria. Results speak for themselves, thus a wide degree of personal liberty seems to make for the most satisfying lives and successful societies by most metrics, while slavery has suboptimal results. Is it objective in the same way a right angle is objective? I dunno. But when you get to the point where the general benefit of liberty is superior in terms of results to slavery or utter conformity, I think there is some objective truth to the idea that something like slavery is objectively bad. When it comes to other things that we might view as immoral (or not) the consequences may be less clear.

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  20. @Scottc1: “Twilight Zone, I tell you.”

    Some news stories just want to make me shoot myself.

    Like

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