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Semiformalishmaybe

Vaadville

On the way back from work: wondering if creating a bus system is harder than computing optimal routes. The metric for measurement presumably is best acquired by tracking where each passenger joins and leaves the bus, over a pattern of months for all passengers. There are pretty serious privacy concerns with that, I think, if we assume that where people go is private-in-the-midst type information. It would not be hard, for example, for someone to notice a deviation from a standard route by someone if their entry and exits are normally stable and all this information were gathered, visible live and anonymised. Maybe by that reasoning it should not be collected to begin with, although it's probably hard to reasonably change a system without that kind of thing. Civil engineering is kind of interesting.

Living in SqHill, I am sometimes surprised that anti-semitism exists in a northern city. It's fairly sparse, I think, but definitely nonzero. With my looks, sometimes I see this directly, sometimes I just see it applied to others. In a sense, I have opposition to racism (which I see as a highly nuanced virtue) very cheaply - coming from a family where I am related to (in some cases by blood ties, in some cases by other sorts) blacks, jews, and other ethnicities, the us-vs-them perspective doesn't really come into play. I suspect those with less variety in their kin occasionaly struggle with this. I find it interesting that the racism seems to come in two flavours in the US - either the not-particularly-religious southern kind, or a subset of Roman Catholics. The latter I find fascinating - Roman Catholicism as a subculture is large enough that it has several distinct strands spanning the political and philosophical map, even pushing against the Pope from the left or right. Roman Catholic anti-semitism isn't really racism - I think it's more religious insecurity. Any religious philosophy with some kind of value for asceticism, differences between laypeople and those living the harder/more restricted life (virtuous by that philosophy's notion of virtue) doesn't have a place for other peoples with their own, distinct virtues - the "if I wanted to be more virtuous I would do X, Y, and Z" finds only confusion when it rubs shoulders with those living the stringent version of the lifestyle of another philosophy. Part of this is because these structures act as a kind of voluntary meritocracy (for those who accept the basic structure of virtues of their philosophy) - while there are Hiloni and Dati, the former constituting a culture with no draw left in the mitzvot, the latter defined by it, many of those between hold the ideals of the Dati but live in tension with them. The same is true for those who do not fully observe the obligations of Catholicism - in each case, we can imagine the twinge, tiny but present, in each act they do (or fail to do) that divides them from living their notion of virtue, that tension residing in them and defining them as much as observance does their kin. The failure to deny themselves is easily generalised, and is the source of this inter-religious tension. To a certain extent, this can happen outside the scope of religion - secular liberals, unaccustomed to this tension, instead react with irritation when confronted with vegetarians, those who do not drive, and other theoretical liberal values (as ill-codified as they are as of present), and are typically only put fully at ease if the adherer says it's out of taste rather than for value reasons.

To reapproach the topic from another angle (and repeat something I have probably already said), I believe in universal solidarity against moderate-to-strong racism, with race being understood as being biological, divorced from cultural or philosophical content. Cultural and philosophical content is not protected - we are obligated to evaluate it, judge it, to oppose or approve or adopt parts of it as we find suitable. In the general case, we restrict ourselves to counterarguments and possibly control of education to act in the sphere of competing ideas and stand in solidarity against stronger actions, although when a particular set of practices is sufficiently harmful to the public welfare, ideally in well-defined areas, we are willing to have the state intervene, banning the practice or disrupting the organisations and propogation of the culture/philosophy. (as I've said before, organisations that deny by doctrine medicine to their members even if voluntarily, those that practice young or arranged marriages, female genital mutilation, those that teach significant gender or racial disparity, and those that erect significant barriers to leaving the subculture may expect some kind of interference, among others).

Except in the case of the most harmful organisations and other specifics (e.g. neo-fascists and the like), we expect that we would act to to prevent violent acts to individuals occuring on the basis of their beliefs - that level of solidarity is due to those that hold the vast majority of humanity's collective variety in beliefs. We do not pledge this fundamental and limited solidarity to all of humanity, but it is a significantly wider pale than that of permissable political action (e.g. we may bar theocrats from politics, but we would not permit them to be beaten up).

It would be interesting to have a personalised trivia - given all the band names in one's collection, name when one first heard some of their music, and when one first got into them as a group. I imagine it'd be hard to judge...

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