This question came to me when I was designing the culture of a fictional country.  I was wondering outside of the life sciences, why do we use gender, and should we keep it in our daily lives.  In my own view the division of people by physical gender is pointless and serves only to create conflict.

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I fully expect to be bombarded on this, with me being 1 of about 100, and all.

If it makes you feel any better, the actual number at any given time is much lower. Some of us just post enough for ten or twenty people apiece.

Thank you, Kris. I have to say that the responses were kind. I fully expected an onslaught, ranging from reasoned & polite to rude teenage name-calling. I'm impressed, relieved, and thankful to you all.

@ David Proulx:

Hi, welcome to the site.  I'm not an Atheist nor a Theist, I am a self described Realistic Absolutist (my own label, my own meaning).

I enjoy the site, there are several fairly smart people who post here and I sometimes (not always) agree with their views, mostly I take a contrarian view (tis my nature).

Personally I have zero use for the labels Conservative & Liberal, these days they seem to find most use as curse words for the purpose of devaluing others POV's.

Again, welcome to the site.


Thank you, Gregg. You'll have to define that Realist absolutist label (hmm) for me sometime. Again about human nature. Categorizing is how our brains work and what we humans do----places, events, philosophies, and yes, people, but with an infinite number of variations of each, the trick is to not to assume it's cookie-cutter. All words can have the "curse words" tone, but this changing the names to change the tone is nauseating PC to me. George Carlin would always rail against that, and articulated it well.

@ David Proulx

I believe in self-reliance and personal responsibility and accountability.  I also believe there should be a minimum level of existence (food, shelter, healthcare) that we as a society shouldn't let a single one of our citizens fall below.  I have a pretty good understanding of human nature, and I recognize that any system or program can and usually is abused by someone trying to get something for nothing.  I also recognize that human greed knows no bounds, and the haves use what they have to ensconce themselves in their positions of power and to keep the playing field slanted in their favor.

My personal bias against conservatism stems from the fact that, since before this country was founded, conservatives of the day have fought tooth and nail against every attempt at social progress.  They were anti-independence from England, anti-abolition, anti-suffrage, anti-Social Security, anti-civil rights, anti-gay rights, and yes, anti-atheism/agnosticism.  At every stage, the last one standing and shouting "No!" to someone else's equal rights, has been a conservative.

On a more macro level, the liberal v conservative battle in this country can be viewed as a giant tug-of-war.  It is in the best interest of the country as a whole if the outcome is in the middle - a tie, so to speak.  For that to happen, someone has to be pulling from both ends equally.

I don't necessarily believe in the "minimal level of existence" philosophy, unless it's assured on a strictly voluntary basis (in the form of charities), and even then, while I love the humanitarianism of it, there are big picture consequences to it, because there is always going to be a percentage of the population who just WILL not pull there own weight, and handouts will not change any individual's behavior.

That is true about greed. At the same time, putting caps on earnings puts caps on human progress. Money is earned, for the most part, by achievement, and that is largely unrecognized by the left.

Lastly, while conservatives do fight social "progress", I too don't always agree that it is progress, so, if you're 100% on board with all that has happened and continues to be pushed, then we'll agree to disagree on many of those.


"...while I love the humanitarianism of it, there are big picture consequences to it, because there is always going to be a percentage of the population who just WILL not pull there own weight..."

Humanitarianism is a fine thing as long as it doesn't cost anything. What percentage of system abusers is small enough to make it worthwhile to help all the others who don't abuse the system? Have you ever researched the actual percentage that exists, or does it just feel true that most of them must be lazy or dishonest?

I'm not 100% on board with anything. Instead of straw-men, will you respond to the points I did make about conservatives fighting social progress? Which of those would you have fought, without the benefit of hindsight?

Sorry for the delayed response. Work, holiday, life, etc. left me little time for a thoughtful reply.

Humanitarianism is a fine thing as long as it doesn't cost anything? The mantra that there is a very small percentage of abusers of the various welfare programs, and that their actions shouldn't be held against the rest of those enrolled, is an overly optimistic and apologetic position, in my view. The concept of any welfare program is inherently corruptible.

I don't know if you've ever been on unemployment, but I have twice in my life, and I've known many others who have as well. Unless you're in immediate dire straits, your first thought often is to take the first week off, then pound the pavement after that. You tell yourself that you've certainly earned that free week. Then, if you don't find a job within the first few weeks, after you've looked in a lot of places, you start to do "drive-by's" of places, and write them down on the weekly claim form, as places you've looked, because you get a little pessimistic during the job hunt. Eventually, although you're keeping you're ear open for tips on jobs, you start to fudge those places on the form. It's not hard to do and you're looking real hard anymore, if at all. All the while, you start going to bed later and later and waking up later and later, because there's no reason to get up in the morning. All of a sudden, when you see that your benefits are about to run out, you start to panic and look for work really hard again. You'll take anything. Yes, I abused the system and have watched it abused by plenty of pretty good workers, but a program that gives you a free paycheck with no true accountability practically begs for abuse---and we were the ones who didn't start off dishonest. Plenty of others did. My nature, and many of those I witnessed, is not to take handouts dishonestly, but that's how these things work. Again, human nature, folks. There's a reason the SPCA doesn't give away animals, and it's not just to cover the cost of housing, shots, etc. It's also to combat the mentality that nothing given for free is appreciated, and that even includes jobs, training, and school.

As far as which specific social programs I would have fought, this is exactly what I don't want to get sucked into, especially on a thread that is supposed to be about the purpose of gender. I will say this. I would have been and will always be against special rights for any groups, especially those special rights that trample on others' rights in the misguided name of fairness.

I’m sorry for your difficulties, but your evidence for unemployment fraud is anecdotal and doesn’t generalize very well.  I have my own anecdotal evidence to refute yours; I have known many people who used unemployment benefits for the temporary leg-up they are intended to be.  They returned to work when it became available and felt better being productive again, as I’m sure you did.

So let’s look at some quick stats about unemployment.  In 2011, the government paid out $108B in unemployment benefits.  $3.3B (3%) were paid out dishonestly; of that, about 2/3 were paid dishonestly to people who were still working paying jobs.  So much for fraud due to laziness.  $3.3B is a lot of money, no doubt, but let’s put it in some perspective.  In 2011, Exxon received nearly $4B in government subsidies and turned a profit of about $40B.  That’s just one company taking more government handouts than ALL of the fraudulent unemployment recipients combined.

I didn’t mean to “suck you into” this type of discussion.  You opened the door with your comments about atheists and liberalism.  Then you wanted to shut the door to responses.

Conservatism means keeping things the way they are, or even rolling them back to the way they were in the good old days.  You self-identified as conservative.  With that identity comes some baggage; namely the major historical social developments in this country which conservatives were clearly against: independence, abolition, suffrage, civil rights, gay rights, etc.  As a conservative, which of those would you do away with so we can return to the good old days?

  1. Thanks, but my 2 unemployment stints were once in my early 20’s and once in my late 20’s. I like to think that I have a little more integrity than that now, but I couldn’t promise you that, to a much lesser degree, it wouldn’t happen again, if I weren’t to find a new job in, say the first month or so. As I said, that how it works you’re getting free money with very little risk of consequence for a lack of due diligence, and a lack of stigma attached to living on the dole. Yes, my evidence is anecdotal, and I’ve seen enough during those episodes and from others since in my years to tell you that it does generalize well. I’m not saying that it’s how everybody does it, or that even a large percentage does, but I’m telling you that it’s a much larger percent than those of your thinking ever allow yourselves to admit. Your anecdotal evidence is just as valid and the majority would do just as you described that you’ve seen, but, to various degrees, I would bet, depending on how driven the people you’ve been exposed to are, at least some of those have at least taken a week or two off during their unemployment stretch. The numbers you cite, like statistics, are just silly. First off, you cite the people who’ve been caught, and, as I told you, it isn’t at all hard not to get caught. Secondly, you reference a different kind of fraud than I did. I referred to the conditioned response of apathy, when it doesn’t cost someone much, if anything (in terms of money, effort, or reputation), to be fed, housed, educated, etc, through various (almost an infinite amount of them out there) entitlement programs. I just don’t understand how your, or anyone’s, life experience allows you to deny this.

  2. To be fair to me, I didn’t open this door. As I said in my opening rant on this thread, I’d been seeing political shots to the right (at least 1 by you, I think), and I was responding in a way that was saying “Hey, you lefties aren’t the only ones in the room, you know”. I also have not shut the door to responses. I clearly stated that, after I wrote what I initially wrote, I would take my medicine and take my beating graciously, and that I would actually read them all, as opposed to “taking my ball and going home”, so to speak. I threw out a general statement of what I believe to be a true basic flaw in leftward thinking, and I expected general shots back, but you want to engage me into specific issues, and I’m trying to avoid that abyss. Witness the marathon that was going on between Gallup & Dr. Bob that was starting to turn nasty. I’m very surprised it stopped actually, but that not what I want to do. Maybe I’ll get out of this burnout stage later, and I would probably enjoy debating with you, as you are intelligent, and, more importantly, civil.

  3. While I didn’t respect this particular subject matter (What is the purpose of gender) I always try to respect that it is the originator’s thread and all entries should relate to that original subject. “If not, start your own topic” is my thinking. In other words, I don’t like hijacking someone’s discussion, as I would not like someone hijacking mine.

Fair enough.

I remember from a period of involuntary unemployment looking at jobs that simply would have fulfilled my obligation to find work but that would have been a trap, making it difficult if not impossible to get back to where I was and that I certainly didn't want on my resume.

I'd far rather take a couple temporary jobs if I could find them, paid under the table so I could meet my rent, utilities, and other basic obligations and expenses, and put the period down as a period of "education" or "consulting" on my resume. And sometimes that consulting can become a new freelance career.

The legislators simply don't have a solution to this sort of problem, so people do engage in—if not active cheating—at least gaming the system a bit.

There will always be people whose whole approach to the system is to find ways to cheat it outrightly. This is a little different from learning the rules and doing some gaming with every intention of getting back into the workforce.


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