March 27, 2008

Pregnant husband

Watching the news last night, I was horribly depressed to find out that Iraq is, once again, on the verge of a civil war, and a large chunk of antarctic ice is about to break off.

This story, about a transman carrying his child, cheered me right up:

To our neighbors, my wife, Nancy, and I don’t appear in the least unusual. To those in the quiet Oregon community where we live, we are viewed just as we are -- a happy couple deeply in love. Our desire to work hard, buy our first home, and start a family was nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until we decided that I would carry our child.

I am transgender, legally male, and legally married to Nancy. Unlike those in same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions, Nancy and I are afforded the more than 1,100 federal rights of marriage. Sterilization is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights. Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire.

Ten years ago, when Nancy and I became a couple, the idea of us having a child was more dream than plan. I always wanted to have children. However, due to severe endometriosis 20 years ago, Nancy had to undergo a hysterectomy and is unable to carry a child. But after the success of our custom screen-printing business and a move from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest two years ago, the timing finally seemed right. I stopped taking my bimonthly testosterone injections. It had been roughly eight years since I had my last menstrual cycle, so this wasn’t a decision that I took lightly. My body regulated itself after about four months, and I didn’t have to take any exogenous estrogen, progesterone, or fertility drugs to aid my pregnancy.

Knowing there are people in the world this courageous really restores my optimism. Yes, the next few decades are going to suck. But we might just be able to pull through.

March 26, 2008


Ezra has a very creepy discovery in buying his Wii. Link.

March 22, 2008

Life: The Musical

If only this happened more often. Actually, now that I think about it, there are some aspects of life which might be made slightly more awkward if set to music. Link.

March 21, 2008

Way To Go Huck!

I've long thought that Mike Huckabee would have been close to the worst, if not *the* worst, person to win the presidency out of the initial field, but was conversely among the most likable guys running. Even though he's out of the race now and every political instinct should probably be screaming to find some way to help McCain's chances (and his own political career), ol' Huck is still totally decent. Good show sir. Link.

It's not as simple as `let them fail'

I've seen some progressive and mainstream voices denouncing the `too big to fail' Fed bailout of Bear Stearns a week ago. I'm much more ambivalent about this sort of thing.

The financial sector of the American economy functions much like a private toll road system. Some roads -- like the one from your savings to your neighbor's new mortgage or small business loan -- are small, low-volume, and highly local. Others, like Bear Stearns, are superhighways, moving tens of billions of dollars back and forth all over the place in both financial and physical space. Bad loans, in this metaphor, are like cars with severe mechanical problems -- no breaks, bad transmissions, maybe a couple cylinders aren't firing. And when lots of them break down in the middle of the superhighway, it gets clogged and slows down. The dead cars have to be cleared out, which adds to the operating expenses of the superhighway.

Now, the superhighway can, as it were, only allow cars that pass mechanical checks to use it. This keeps everything moving along nicely, but it's sacrificing some profit. More risk-friendly superhighway operators aren't going to have such checks, betting that the additional costs from cleaning up after the failures of bad cars will be less than the additional profit from having a higher number of cars move through their system.

Bear Stearns failed, essentially, because it lost this bet. As traffic ground to a halt on the Bear Sterns superhighway due to all the broken cars littering the roadway, the other superhighways closed their connections to keep the backup from spreading to their systems. (Imagine you have an east-west superhighway passed underneath a north-south highway, with a complex series of ramps that allow you to move from one to the other. Now imagine there are barriers that can be lowered to prevent cars from using those ramps. That's essentially what the other giant securities banks did to Bear Stearns late last week.)

This is good, at least in the short term, for the other superhighways, because it keeps them from grounding to a halt along with Bear Stearns. But it's bad, in the medium term, for the economy as a whole, for exactly the same reason suddenly shutting down one of the major superhighways through the middle of a large city is bad. Money/cars still need to move around. Either traffic will be diverted onto other superhighways, which will likely push them beyond their efficient capacity and slow them, and hence the system as a whole, down. Or people will, as it were, just stay home, and not bother trying to fight the nightmare traffic. Money won't move from the people who have it to the people who want it to do things, so people do less things -- don't open new businesses, don't expand existing business, don't build new houses, etc. In either case, economic growth slows down, and there's a potential for recession.

At least, that's the `too big to fail' theory. Closing fifty feet of surface street in the middle of a residential neighbourhood probably isn't going to do much damage -- the failure of small economic players, at least individually, might be inconvenient, but the system will adapt pretty easily. Shutting down a massive superhighway that carries a significant percentage of all the city's traffic will have complex effects that will ripple through the traffic network as a whole, and possibly even damage it severely -- letting Bear Stearns fail could have made the recession even worse.

So, did the Fed do the right thing, in essentially paying another superhighway operator to clean up the mess Bear Stearns made of its system by letting on all the junk cars? Well, they acted to prevent a medium term disaster. The clogged superhighway will be cleaned up. But the incentive to create such clogs will not have been removed. If superhighway operators knew that they would be the primary losers when a massive traffic jam developed on their superhighway, they would be likely to sacrifice some profits and allow only cars that passed mechanical checks onto their part of the system. But they don't know this. They know the exact opposite: that they can create a huge mess, and the Federal government will buy them out. According to a purely self-interested conception of reason, they have no good reason not to just do the same thing again.

It's this last point that critics of `too big to fail' are trying to get at. Or, at least, I think it's the best related point. With a prevalent short term profits mentality, a pure free market system will cease to function efficiently as these sorts of disastrous decisions are made again and again. A more virtuous business culture will help, but the temptation to tempt fate might still be too large. (Remember, Bear Stearns was enormously successful until it finally imploded. Even without the bailout, the former CEO could have walked away from the mess he created a ridiculously wealthy man.) And stopgap, emergency intervention by the government is just that -- it might avert the most looming disasters, but it completely misses the underlying cause of the problem. What the system needs, I think, is vigorous regulation -- the kind that pretty much made these disasters impossible in the '50s, '60s, and '70s.

March 19, 2008

Does the welfare state hurt us all?

Free marketers like to tell a story that is prima facie plausible, and suggests that life under a system of the redistribution of wealth is worse for everyone, even the poor, than life under a free-market system. The story goes something like this: The high tax rate needed to appropriate wealth from the people who produce it takes away the incentive to produce more wealth. So, under a distributive system, less wealth is produced overall, and since there's less to go around, the people who would have benefited from the redistributive system are actually worse off.

There are obviously some huge gaps in the reasoning there, and I've some suppressed some very, very important ceteris paribus (`all other things being equal') clauses. Ignore those for the moment. The story revolves around the claim that, under a distributive system, less wealth is produced overall. This is an empirical claim. Is it true? Here are two graphs from the US Department of Commerce that suggest not.

These graphs show the percentage change in the US GDP over the past several decades, including during the rise and fall of the Roosevelt-Johnson redistribution system. GDP is a measure of the size of the economy, and is one rough way of measuring how much wealth the country has. The percentage change in GDP over a given period of time shows how much the economy grew -- how much total wealth increased -- over that period of time. If the free marketer's claim is right, then ceteris paribus, percentage change in GDP should be less under a more radical restributive system (with more regulation, higher marginal tax rates, etc.) and greater under a system closer to the free market ideal.



And the exact opposite is the case. During the height of the Roosevelt-Johnson system, the US economy actually grew a little bit faster than after Reagan started to dismantle it. The '70s, with the highest marginal tax rates the strictest regulation, actually saw the highest economic growth rates of the past half-century. Since Reagan started lowering tax rates and removing regulation, the economy has seen relatively mild growth.

This isn't a Quick Refutation, since I haven't shown that the crucial ceteris paribus clause is satisfied. And it seems quite likely that it's not -- there have been wars and changes in energy costs and all sorts of things that can make a difference. But this does place a burden on free marketers: if regulation and taxation are supposed to be bad for the economy as a whole, then why did our economy do better when it was more highly regulated and highly taxed?
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I think I'm voting for Obama

I'm still wary of his policies. But yesterday, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, Obama spoke about race and class to Americans as though they were adults.

Obama gets a lot of flak for campaigning on a supposedly nebulous rhetoric of meaningless hope and dangerous bipartisanship. I think his speech yesterday should (not will, unfortunately) finally refute that criticism. Obama's hope and unity is much the same as King's was. From `I have a dream':

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

The hope is that, despite our conflicting interests, the emotional tension, and the deep-seated grudges, a real conversation, and the real understanding that comes with it, is still possible. Black and White, rich and poor, native-born and immigrant -- even progressive and conservative -- aren't so different that we can't live together as a community. To say that it's going to be awkward for a while is an understatement. (The dramatisation the Daily Show did last night was fantastic.) But we can, and should, still try.

March 16, 2008

A Couple Links

Obama's response to all the flak about his former pastor. I think he does a good job of diffusing all the fuss, but then again I'm not one of the people that was so terribly offended in the first place. Link.

Do The Test. I'd just like to point out that I failed. Link.

Quick debunking: Singular `they'

Myth: `They' is always a plural pronoun, never a singular pronoun, and hence it is grammatically incorrect to use it as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. (`The student turned their paper in a day late.')

Example: David Gelernter's recent anti-feminist grammar prescriptivist rant

He-or-she'ing added so much ugly dead weight to the language that even the Establishment couldn't help noticing. So feminist authorities went back to the drawing board. Unsatisfied with having rammed their 80-ton 16-wheeler into the nimble sports-car of English style, they proceeded to shoot the legs out from under grammar--which collapsed in a heap after agreement between subject and pronoun was declared to be optional. "When an Anglican priest mounts the pulpit, they are about to address the congregation." How many of today's high school English teachers would mark this sentence wrong, or even "awkward"? (Show of hands? Not one?) Yet such sentences skreak like fingernails on a blackboard.


Language Log suggests that `they' is used as a bound variable -- it doesn't pick out any one person or particular group, but instead ranges over some set of people or some set of groups of people. `It' can work analogously, ranging over individual things as a variable rather than a temporary name for some one thing. `He' and `she', by contrast, are not variables. They're temporary names, and have to pick out some one person, with some one gender. (Note that the two examples -- mine and Gelernter's -- can both be read this way.)

Still not happy with what you might be tempted to call a crazy revisionist grammar of `they'? Shakespere used singular they, as did Jane Austen.

March 13, 2008

Academic nerdiness

As an academic in the humanities, a great deal of my research involves tracking down 20-50 page papers published in professional journals. When I was an undergrad, this was mostly a two-step process: First, EBSCOhost and other such search engines would give you matches based on author and title names; occasionally it would also have an abstract, so you could tell whether or not it was worthwhile. Second, you would stalk through the periodicals section of the library, three-page list of citations in hand, tracking down the library's archive copies of all those journals.

By the time I got to Notre Dame, those two steps had been combined. I rarely have to go track down a physical copy of a journal to read an article -- academic search engines now include links directly to electronic archives, and I can typically read or download a PDF of the desired article within about 30 seconds. In preparing the list for my oral exam, I've had to request a handful of articles that were only published in books, one or two published in articles to which my library did not happen to have a subscription, and only one where I had to go down to the basement to get the physical copy of the journal (because the electronic version was of the wrong article).

So today my research consists largely of downloading 5-12 PDFs, skimming them for relevance, and arranging most of them into various folders and subfolders depending on which project they're relevant to. As a result, I have approximately 300 PDFs in various places on my computer. (Think about that for a second: on the order of a 10,000-page library right on my laptop. Thirty years ago, that would have required a small but very, very strudy trunk to transport. Today it all fits very comfortably in my backpack.)

This creates an archiving problem. Obviously many (most) of the projects I work on are closely related. And it would be nice to be able to be able to easily search through and arrange and re-arrange all those documents on the fly. Which is why I was really, really excited when I discovered links to Papers and iPapers.

And then really, really disappointed when I realised they're only for Macs. I guess this means I need to break down and finally buy my new laptop.

March 10, 2008

Watchmen Screens

Of course, the release of these photos of the cast of Watchmen has brought out all the angry nerds who are ready to boycot the film because Nightowl isn't fat enough, but I don't think a couple pictures can really tell you all you need to know about a movie. It's amazing enough that this is actually happening at all. Link.

P.S. If you didn't know, Watchmen is teh awesome.

Ultimate Universe No More?!

There have been lots of rumors over the past several months that Mavel Comics would be ending their "Ultimate" line of comics. Launched back in 2000 with Ultimate Spiderman (written by Brian Bendis, who is amazingly still on the title), the purpose of the Ultimate universe was to create books which shed all the weighty continuity of the mainstream Marvel U. as well as some of the more hooky facets of that world that crept up over the years. Sure, radioactive spiders (ok, *genetically modified spiders*!) still grant super spider-based powers but the idea was that the world was a bit more grounded than the 616 universe (that's the mainline universe where most Marvel books occur). In short, it was awesome. Well, Ultimate X-Men had some serious ups and downs, but there was lots of good stuff there. In the last couple years, however, the line appears to have lost some steam and most books are just relying on introducing "Ultimate" versions of old characters. In addition, several things which were signatures of the Ultimate U. have been transplanted back into the 616 (the recent reboot of Amazing Spidey is a lot like Ultimate Spidey, etc.).

Anyway, I think it's much more likely that, as this article says, Marvel is just going to shake things up drastically rather than kill off the line. By all accounts the lines sells very well, it's just stagnating a bit creatively. Hopefully this doesn't mean massive killings for characters, which is just the laziest way to grab people's attention, but I'm intrigued with where they could go. While the Ultimate U. was supposed to be more in tune with the "real" world, maybe they'll reinvision it instead as a world which actually moves forward, as opposed to the 616 which is pretty much trapped in sliding scale of a dozen years or so. Maybe "more real" doesn't have to mean "more like the real world" if it means "things happen, and they matter."

March 09, 2008

Scary McCain

No specific thoughts right now, but this might be the best screen grab ever. Thanks Ezra.

March 07, 2008

A nice statement of apatheism

From John Wilkins:

no matter what other beliefs an intelligent person may hold, so long as they accept the importance of science and the need for a secular society, we simply do not care if they also like the taste of ear wax, having sex with trees, or believing in a deity or two.

March 05, 2008

The seven deadly sins test for institutional corruption

Here's the idea: you pick an institution of choice, and run through the list of the seven deadly sins/cardinal virtues. The ratio of vices to virtues exemplified by the institution is a rough (and tongue-in-cheek) indication of how corrupt the institution is.

For example, let's take the American news media. I'll bold the one in each pair exemplified by the media, and give a little explanation of what the pair means, just in case you haven't seen Se7en lately.
  1. Pride or humility

    Pride is the desire (or belief) to be better and more important than others. Pride can be exemplified as vanity (pride of appearance or physical beauty), as pride of intellect, or by some other standard of dessert.
  2. Envy or kindness

    Envy isn't a desire for material goods (that's greed, covered below). We don't have a good English term for this vice, I think; the German Schadenfreude is better. Roughly speaking, envy is the desire (satisfied or unsatisfied) for others to suffer.
  3. Wrath or forgiveness

    Wrath is an uncontrolled hatred, anger, or desire for (disproportionate, unjust, or undeserved) revenge. The media don't typically exemplify this vice directly (except when it comes to immigration and powerful women), but do encourage it.
  4. Sloth or diligence

    Sloth is laziness, but also idleness and a lack of zealousness more generally -- being unwilling to pursue and lacking enthusiasm for one's vocation.
  5. Greed or charity

    Greed is the desire for material goods, especially wealth. The object of desire need not be owned by another, and greed need not be accompanied by a lack of concern for justice (although it often is).
  6. Gluttony or temperance

    Gluttony is the wasteful over-consumption of consumable goods, especially food. Gluttony is exemplified both in the act of over-consumption itself, but also in anticipating over-consumption. Like wrath, gluttony is not typically exemplified directly by the news media, but it is certainly encouraged in viewers.
  7. Lust or chastity

    Strictly speaking, lust is any form of love for another creature that is given precedence over love for God. As such, it's more of a `qualitative' vice than the `quantitative' ones of greed and gluttony. But today we tend to think of lust as another `quantitative' vice -- an excessive desire for sex, in particular. I prefer to understand lust as the objectification and commercialisation of love, especially sexual love.

Final tally for the American news media: 7-0.

Two election notes

1. It's going to come down to the convention

I've had a feeling this was going to be the case since before Super Tuesday, but now enough states have voted to see just how tight the race is. CNN has a delegate count applet that lets you fiddle with the delegate pledges. I started by giving Clinton 55% of all the delegates in each of the states whose votes have not yet been counted. (Ohio, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Texas haven't been entered into the set of fixed counts yet.) I chose 55% as a healthy and statistically significant (large enough to drown out the noise from sudden minor emergencies, people forgetting to vote, the polling machine craps out, that sort of thing) but still not overwhelming victory.

Clinton ends up with 1,899 pledged delegates; Obama with 1,898. That leaves Clinton the front-runner by a hair, and 126 delegates short of the number required to secure the nomination.

Now swing the 55% victories the other direction. Clinton ends up with 1,800, Obama with 1,997. Again, the front-runner is still short -- although in this case only by 28 delegates.

There have been plenty of victories with larger margins than this, of course. So Pam is simply wrong when she says `the math doesn’t favor any possibility of a Clinton win on the delegate side in the remaining contests'. First, it's far from mathematically impossible for either candidate to win. And, second, while it is unlikely that Clinton will secure a sufficiently large number of overwhelming victories, it's about as unlikely that Obama will secure a sufficiently large number of overwhelming victories.

I'm tempted to say: The primaries in the remaining states will just make the intraparty fighting more acrimonious and drain resources that would be better used squashing McCain like the pandering warmonger he is. Democrats should call off the remaining primaries, just cool off until the convention, and let the superdelegates decide who the nominee will be, since they're going to be doing it anyways.

I'm going to say: The primary in Indiana (exactly two months from today, if I remember correctly) is just going to continue this stalemate. So I don't feel obligated to choose between two slightly-left-of-center candidates whose campaigning has left me pretty disgusted. I'll either vote for Edwards (he's been getting a handful of percentage points in primaries over the past month, so I'm guessing he'll still be on the ballot) or Kucinich (ditto, without the handful of percentage points) or not at all.

2. I wish John Edwards hadn't dropped out

And not just because I genuinely wanted him president. Before Edwards dropped out, the media were (unfairly) focussed on Obama and Clinton, but there was little antagonism between them or their partisans. Clinton (and Edwards) partisans criticised Obama for the gap in his health care plan, Obama (and Edwards) partisans criticised Clinton for not renouncing her vote for the invasion of Iraq, and so on. Occasionally some issues of racism or sexism came up (some reactions to Clinton getting a little misty-eyed right around the New Hampshire primary were, to put it mildly, weird), but things were civil.

Then Edwards dropped out, we had Super Tuesday, and an all-out Democratic civil war errupted. Blogs I normally have the utmost respect for have degenerated, and do little more than repeat the disingenuous (and often racist or sexist) spitballs generated by the campaigns and right-wing lunatics. Rational discussion -- whether over the small but critical policy differences, the quality of campaign strategies, or the significance of racist or sexist comments -- has become virtually impossible.

I don't think Edwards leaving the field caused this to happen. Eight years of Bush has made Democrats jumpy and, quite naturally, they project the qualities of their ideal presidential candidate onto one name or another, even despite evidence to the contrary. (Aside: The NewsHour has been interviewing potential voters from highly contested states once or twice a week since before Super Tuesday. At first I watched these segments with interest. After a few of them, though, I realised that everyone involved was simply repeating the talking points handed down by their campaign, and many of the interviewees demonstrated spectacular factual ignorance. For example, there was one woman in Ohio who supported Obama because, she said, his health care plan covered more people than Clinton's. Another woman in Ohio claimed that, if Obama had been in the Senate five years ago, he would have voted to invade Iraq. I still watch these segments occasionally, but mostly they're just depressing.) The media ... well, are simply insane, and have badly fucked up this phase of the campaign in innumerable ways for over a year. And suggesting that you'll stoop to less-than-honest technical manoeuvres to secure the nomination (Florida and Michigan from the Clinton side; effectively eliminating superdelegates from the Obama side) that prompt accusations of `changing the rules in the middle of the game!' haven't helped.

What Edwards could have done, even if he was consistently getting only 10% or so of the votes in each state, is play mediator. There's no major public figure willing to honestly call out both Obama and Clinton when they or their campaigns pull inappropriate shit. There's no-one who can say `Obama's domestic policies have some serious problems and Clinton's foreign policies have some serious problems' and be taken seriously by everyone. Or that the media's sudden realisation that they've been giving Obama a free pass doesn't mean it's time to suck up to Clinton instead. And, most importantly, Edwards could have told people to calm down. Democrats can do a lot of good things in this country if, and only if, they learn the difference between constructive internal criticism and a circular firing squad.

March 03, 2008

Quick debunking: The college education gender gap

Myth: Colleges are facing a `man shortage'

Example: Weekly standard, 2006:

At colleges across the country, 58 women will enroll as freshmen for every 42 men. And as the class of 2010 proceeds toward graduation, the male numbers will dwindle. Because more men than women drop out, the ratio after four years will be 60--40, according to projections by the Department of Education.

The problem isn't new-women bachelor's degree--earners first outstripped men in 1982. But the gap, which remained modest for some time, is widening. More and more girls are graduating from high school and following through on their college ambitions, while boys are failing to keep pace and, by some measures, losing ground.


The percentage of men 25 years and older with a Bachelor's Degree or higher has risen steadily since 1940, and continues to rise. In particular, while only 7.3 percent of men 25 and older in 1950 had at least a Bachelor's degree (that would be around the time all the WW2 vets who went to college under the GI Bill started to graduate), in 2000 26.1 percent of men 25 and older had at least a Bachelor's degree.

For comparison, in 1950, the percentage of women 25 and older with at least a Bachelor's degree was 5.2 percent; in 2000, 22.9 percent.

Education is not a zero-sum game; the statistic is only alarming if you think that, for every woman who has a Bachelor's degree, a man is prevented from having one, or vice-versa. Every decade for the past sixty years, both more men and more women have gone to college than before.

Source: US census, A Half-Century of Learning: Historical Statistics on Educational Attainment in the United States, 1940 to 2000, Table 2 (XLS).

March 02, 2008

Le tribunal FISA ? Ce ne pas du tout démocratique !

Par Glenn Greenwald:

But for decades, the FISA court -- for obvious reasons -- was considered to be one of the great threats to civil liberties, the very antithesis of how an open, democratic system of government ought to function. The FISA court was long the symbol of how severe are the incursions we've allowed into basic civil liberties and open government.

The FISC is a classicly Kafka-esque court that operates in total secrecy. Only the Government, and nobody else, is permitted to attend, participate, and make arguments. Only the Government is permitted to access or know about the decisions issued by that court. Rather than the judges being assigned randomly and therefore fairly, they are hand-picked by the Chief Justice (who has been a GOP-appointee since FISA was enacted) and are uniformly the types of judges who evince great deference to the Government. As a result, the FISA court has been notorious for decades for mindlessly rubber-stamping every single Government request to eavesdrop on whomever they want.

Mais le désastre démocratique n'est pas seulement avec le tribunal. Il est aussi avec la «fenêtre Overton». Greenwald continue:

Yet now, embracing this secret, one-sided, slavishly pro-government court defines the outermost liberal or "pro-civil-liberty" view permitted in our public discourse. And indeed, as reports of imminent (and entirely predictable) House Democratic capitulation on the FISA bill emerge, the FISA court is now actually deemed by the establishment to be too far to the Left -- too much of a restraint on our increasingly omnipotent surveillance state. Anyone who believes that we should at the very least have those extremely minimal -- really just symbolic -- limitations on our Government's ability to spy on us in secret is now a far Leftist.

C'est formidable, la démocratie américaine, non?

March 01, 2008

Doing Moller Okin one better: Self-ownership is inconsistent

In the process of writing and reflecting on a recent post, I realised that libertarianism is inconsistent with a reasonable assumption about the existence of unwilling dependency workers. This post is a self-contained presentation of that argument.

Libertarianism, as that is understood by the political philosophers who call themselves libertarians, is based on two principles: self-ownership and non-interference. First, all persons own themselves.

(x)(Person(x) -> Owns(x,x))

Second, if x's claim of ownership of y would interfere with z's self-ownership (for example, x steals z's car), then x does not own y.

(x)(y)((Person(x) ^ (Ez)((Person(z) ^ Owns(x,y)) -> -Owns(z,z))) -> -Owns(x,y))

Call the conjunction of these two the general principle of self-ownership (GPSO).

Suppose Helen is an unwilling dependence worker: she does not want to care for Ben, her adult son with muscular dystrophy. However, without Helen's care, Ben is trapped in bed, and cannot exercise self-ownership. Hence, if Helen owns herself, Ben does not own himself. On the other hand, if Ben does own himself, it is because Helen was somehow forced, against her will, to care for him. So then Helen does not own herself. In either case, the second conjunct of the GPSO then implies that the first conjunct is false. This can be formalised:

(UDW) (Ex)(Ey)(Person(x) ^ Person(y) ^ (Owns(x,x) <-> -Owns(y,y)))

Strictly speaking, this does not show that the GPSO is inconsistent. But it does show that it is inconsistent with a fairly obvious fact about humanity: without care, often from unwilling dependency workers, dependent individuals cannot exercise the autonomy on which libertarianism rests. Given this fact of dependency, GPSO has to be rejected.

We Are Wizards

Harry Potter Mania, documented. Link.

Thanks PA.