It's become fashionable to object whenever someone says "Columbus discovered the Americas", pointing out that other people discovered in the Americas long before him. This objection is just semantic quibbling, and rarely even addresses the real problem with how Columbus' discovery is emphasized in history curricula.
1) To say that 'Columbus discovered the Americas' does not imply that he was the first person to do so. Everyone knows that people were present in the Americas before Columbus -- it is usually even included in the story of Columbus' voyage. The pedantic objection that 'others discovered the Americas first' does not actually clarify or improve anybody's understanding of history.
2) By simply stating that Columbus did NOT discover the Americas, these objections seek to obliterate the importance of what he did (both historically and as a nautical accomplishment). If they wanted to be accurate, they would say "Columbus discovered how to sail between Europe and the Americas". However, this performative pedantry is usually content to denigrate Columbus' achievement rather than seeking greater specificity about it's nature (as if that were needed).
3) The impulse to denigrate Columbus' achievement is generally intended to shift historical narratives away from Eurocentrism. However, simply dismissing Columbus' achievement does not accomplish that goal. It does not expose the evil intent of Columbus' journey, nor the evil acts he committed in the Americas -- let alone the horrible long term consequences for the people of the Americas. It also brings no attention to the accomplishments of the people who already lived in the Americas, who discovered America via a fundamentally different process. It doesn't even correct the historical record in favor of the Viking explorers -- the reason we hear so little about them is because they did not spread the news of their discovery in the same way that Columbus did (e.g. not because Columbus took credit for their work).
Ultimately, it is totally acceptable to use a term like 'discovery' in a subjective sense -- a person can discover something for themselves only or for their own society. It's fine to have a perspective. Columbus discovered the Americas for Christian Europe. If we want to expand our own perspective to include all people, we need to do better than create fake semantic objections to Eurocentric narratives.
Heavy usage of cars and trucks is detrimental to urban communities; we should implement policies that reduce car-based access to city centers and other densely populated areas. This is mainly focused on the USA.
1. Cars interfere with the movement of pedestrians and small vehicles (bikes, scooters), making dense urban areas less usable.
2. Cars require a lot of space, both for roads and parking. This competes with housing and green-spaces in cities, making urban areas less accessible and pleasant.
3. Cars are dangerous and dirty - especially when at high densities, such as in cities.
To address this, a variety of changes may be instituted:
1. Traffic arteries (e.g. expressways going to the city center) should be slowed and narrowed as it approaches the city center, so that passenger cars/trucks do not use it. Instead, they should be reserved mainly for motorcycles, buses, single-point delivery trucks (e.g. stores or to transfer packages, not trucks that will drive to each residence), and vehicles required for the disabled.
2. A portion of city roads should be closed to most cars, either by making barriers that they cannot pass through, or resurfacing and shaping them to be pedestrian focused rather than car-focused. It is especially important that side roads do not allow access towards the city center (so that commuters don't just drive on side roads when main roads are over-capacity).
3. Space reclaimed from cars should be re-engineered for greenspace, trees, mass-transit (trolleys), and pedestrians.
4. Cities should stop subsidizing the construction of massive attractions (e.g. pro sports stadiums), or at least move them to more peripheral locations that are accessible from suburbs while assuring good mass transit from the city center.
5. For situations where individuals feel that cars are essential, congestion fees should be charged and hefty penalties should be levied on traffic violations within dense urban areas -- including prohibition on driving in those areas.
6. Suburban communities will be told that if they wish to enjoy the ammenities of the central city, they will have to support the expansion of mass-transit networks into the suburbs. We will no longer tolerate the double standard where they insist on having access to urban neighborhoods via cars but intentionally block carless urban residents from accessing their neighborhoods.
Sports currently tend to use sex classes to separate players, before further ranking into classes based on ability or weight ranges. I assume this is a global norm, and it is certainly the case in all well-known sport competitions I've seen and in major international events such as the Olympic Games, where events are labelled 'mens' or 'womens', with some recent addition of 'mixed-gender' team/relay events, which is basically equal men and women, usually competing independently rather than different sexes competing. Mixed doubles tennis is a possible rare exception.
This topic asks if this model of separating sports players into physical sex categories (or social gender categories) is appropriate, or if both sexes should be in the same leagues.
**Potential starting arguments:**
- Having men dominate most sports where athleticism or muscle strength is a major factor would be demotivating for women. Top leagues (that get televised) may just become entirely men, with no women's league.
- Furthermore, competitions with prize money for winning would generally be very strongly biased against one of the sexes with an inherent physical disadvantage
- Heteronormative society makes mixed-sex groups more prone to sexual harassment, compounded by the energetic nature of sport
- Sex is a just a crude approximation of strength or ability, which is its own category/grading in most competitions.
- [Intersex](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex) people (that is, who have chromosomes or sex organs which do not fit standard male or female) complicate this system. [This page](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_verification_in_sports#20th_century) lists some examples Olympic intersex athletes competing in or disqualified from female events.
- The arguments for men dominating top leagues is irrelevant for non-professional sport leagues such as local competitions, where sport is aimed at fun and social interaction, which should not needlessly encourage sex segregation.
**NOTE:** This debate topic is *not* about 'trans in sport' issues. While that topic is linked, because removing sex/gender classes would make that issue obsolete, that debate in itself shouldn't be held in this post.
This article is from mid-2021, but addresses a timely issue given the prominence of "replacement theory" among much of the right.
Joe Pinsker at the Atlantic writes:
> The two main ways to help people have the babies they want are to give them time and give them money. A country can offer financial support in the form of cash and tax credits; it can also promote job flexibility by funding parental-leave and child-care programs, and providing job protections to parents who opt into part-time work. These strategies, demographers told me, address two core reasons why many people who want kids hesitate to have them: because they can’t afford to, and because they don’t want to compromise on their career.
What's notable about Pinsker's framing of the issue is his focus on evidence and individual preference. Pinsker is primarily concerned that adults feel like they cannot afford to have as many kids as they prefer, rather than fretting about racial or cultural 'replacement' or geopolitical power. It's also notable that the solution he promotes is to provide straight-forward economic assistance to parents rather than attempting to shame or coerce women into having more kids as Fox's pundits or Republican politicians do.
I found a few other interesting facts while browsing the web for information (I don't have all citations, but the [PRB is good](https://www.prb.org/resources/why-is-the-u-s-birth-rate-declining/)).
* The US birthrate dropped below replacement levels after the 2008 recession, and took another hit from the pandemic during the 2020 but rebounded during 2021.
* The low US birth-rate is not limited to white people (unlike what racial fear-mongers suggest)
* Low birth rates are seen in many other countries, including Europe and the Caribbean, with some East Asian nations having the lowest birth rates.
Some recent news also has me wondering about some specific factors that may be stopping people from having more kids, including
* rising maternal mortality (which has [more than](https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/maternal-mortality/2020/maternal-mortality-rates-2020.htm) [doubled since 1980](https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-brief-report/2020/dec/maternal-mortality-united-states-primer), and is likely to get higher as states ban abortion)
* The strong incentive to move around the country during young adulthood in order to advance one's career and achieve financial stability -- something that is harder with kids and separates would-be parents from potential family assistance.
* The rising cost of housing -- in addition to health care and schooling.
If we are concerned about the societal consequences of low birth rates (and I'm not sure that I am), then we, as a society should at least make concrete efforts to assure that everyone who wants kids is able to have them.... instead of letting politicians use this as another culture war issue to divide us.
This article has an excellent roundup of how conservative pundits have doubled-down on the 'great replacement' conspiracy theory in the wake of the Buffalo shooting. It also explains the various flaws of reasoning in that narrative. I'm really disappointed by this reaction from the conservative media elite -- I had expected them to shy away from it for a while, but instead they have decided to own it. That is troubling, to say the least.
I'll come back later to discuss why I think these pundits are promoting a genocidal conspiracy theory (if anyone has questions). Serwer does a good job of breaking it down. In short, there are several flaws:
1. Political identity/ideology is not fixed, especially not across generations.
2. Democrats are not openly advocating for 'replacement' (Carlsons' clips show nothing of the sort).
3. The problems with this conspiracy theory are not mitigated by replacing "Jews" with "Democrats" -- it still has 99% of the genocidal potential, and 99% of the logical fallacies.
Edit: Here's [an Ann Coulter piece](https://www.breitbart.com/the-media/2022/05/18/ann-coulter-here-are-the-nutcases-who-believe-in-replacement/) that Serwer did not include, but shows the same rhetoric.
This episode of "The Fire These Times" has an interview with a Syrian activist to discuss the war in Ukraine. They discuss several interesting issues, starting with how Syrians and Ukrainians are facing a shared enemy in the Russian military; they also talk about how the shared experience of being refugees can build solidarity between Syrians and Ukrainians, particularly if they end up in the same cities as they flee the Russians. Finally they spoke about the delicate balance required to connect the Syrian experience to the Ukrainian one without distracting attention from the urgency of the Ukrainians' needs at the moment.
To start a discussion, how do you think the media and politicians (and people) of your country are keeping a proper perspective about the war in Ukraine and seeing the full context?
This podcast describes what we can infer about the "Indo-Aryans" who moved into South Asia around ~1700 BCE. Lets discuss!
To start, the historian-narrator has a preface about how he does not want to discuss the modern political interpretations of "Aryans" -- whether that is neo-Nazi or Indian nationalist. Do you think this is generally a good rule -- that people living 3000 years ago are not relevant to modern politics and identity? Or should we *consciously* look to these ancient people to provide a foundation for modern identities?
Is this topic over-debated? Sure. Does that mean we shouldn't give it a try?
**Should all recreational drugs be legal for an adult to buy and take?**
Some starter arguments for:
- Removing criminal market, which is notoriously violent and resilliant
- Prohibition is futile
- Allows regulation, improving safety
- Encourages rehabilitaiton
- Encourages scientific study on substances of beneficial interest (e.g. cannabis, ketamine)
Some starter arguments against:
- Vulnerable people need to be protected against potentially harmful/addictive substances
- The current economic system encourages sellers to foster addiction (e.g. tobacco, alcohol)
- People affected by 'harder' drugs are inevitably antisocial and dangerous
- Illegality is an effective deterrent
- Legality normalizes drug use, which should be discouraged outside of medical purposes
::: spoiler spoiler
My intuition is that Lemmy attracts a lot of both USA-libertarian and progressive socialist demographics which both tend to have more permissive views on this topic. Because of this, I chose a more extreme topic than merely 'safer' drugs.
There is a general tendency on the internet that any forum that promotes free speech and only moderates spam and illegal posts, but does not remove posts based on their content, becomes majority right wing after some time. There are left-wing forums with censorship, and there are right-wing forums with censorship, of course. But if you let people discuss their ideas freely without interference, the mostly tend to become right-wing. It seems that without censorship and content-based moderation artificially steering discussion left-wing ideas cannot exist.
All these middle aged women who have no skills due to raising children would be able to support themselves by giving old men handjobs.
Keeping prostitution illegal helps save marriages . also has the added benefit of making it harder for the husband to cheat on payday.