I'm guessing that this is the biggest driver - Saudi Arabia just cannot afford to not allow this anymore.
How the KSA handles the coming social liberalization will be interesting, Chinese women still grapple with social conservative attitudes regarding working women (ie: leftover women). It is inevitable that the people of the KSA will encounter similar difficulties.
My mom and both of my grandmothers lived in a world where the dual income household is the norm, and has been the norm since the 50's, but since the 80's and 90's, there has been a retrograde shift because for a while, being a stay-at-home-mom became a status symbol. However, all of my cousins, male or female, are part of dual-income households. (They all live in Shanghai.) But that's a much longer rant and off-topic to the current discussion.
But +1 to your initial point, re: effect of dual income households on the economy.
That only depends on how you measure value.
A parent leaves their kids with their grandparents during the day = $0 GDP.
A parent drops of them off at daycare = +$X GDP.
Just because people were not working in the economic system does not mean there was not real value creation.
My mother sometimes worked, sometimes did not. The difference in the quality of our lives was quite noticeably more negative when she worked. That 'negative value' is not measured in the GDP - only the 'positive value' of her income.
I'm not saying that she shouldn't have, and certainly not that there should not have been mass reforms - but it's important to remember that much of 'real consumer surplus' is simply not measured in the GDP.
Policies that focus on the GDP tend to overweight measurable economic activity - while other elements are externalized and suffer.
The environment, community, social cohesion - they all have value to us but because we don't put numbers behind them, they don't fit into the equations very well.
Then why not much deviation from historical trend lines:
If you look at what the average person believes in that area, you will see that "allowing women to drive" is a very progressive opinion that makes the Saudi government/royalty a shining beacon of liberty, when you compare them to the opinions of the average person there.
In actuality, a populous democracy revolution would probably end the same way that the Iranian or MB Egyptian revolution ended.
Macro forces leave them a certain percentage wiggle room in production to affect price but US oil and the world wide reduction in demand rule even over OPEC at its strongest and OPEC is practically dead really.
While US producers price their projects in the $25-35 cost per boe produced and the Fed keeps rates low the US can keep on trucking and Saudi can do very little about it. There are billions of barrels of oil sitting offshore in ships waiting for better prices.
There are hundreds of fracked fields that can be turned on and off like a faucet.
Sure offshore deep water is slow due to cost and cannot respond to swings readily but the fundamentals changed years ago.
It is absolutely appalling that this type of backwardness is still a reality in the 21st century.
The faster we can transition to clean, renewable energy, the better for everyone in the world.
All without a single thought to stop and consider the example of the other 49 states, not to mention other countries...
The current example is the effort to make suppressors more available. Those opposed are already pushing tales of dramatically increasing crime rates and poaching instead of acknowledging that even suppressed firearms are still very loud or that many other OECD countries (which have more strict regulation) allow or even encourage the use of suppressors.
The sad part about using fear to support or oppose change is that you rarely end up with solutions that actually solve the underlying societal problem via a sensible compromise.
Now this piques my curiosity. Could you perchance name some examples?
A few years ago, a friend took me to a firing range near Dunedin, and I watched someone fit a suppressor to an AR15 style weapon.
New Zealand firearms regulations are incredibly tight. I never verified this, but I'm told that this particular AR15 was licensed and restricted to be used by him alone. His wife was also a shooter, and if she wanted to shoot an AR15, she would have to buy her own otherwise she would be committing a firearms offense.
On the other hand, I was also told that if I wanted a firearms license and the endorsement to allow me to own pistols, I would need to be a member of the pistol club, shooting regularly for six months, before I could apply for the endorsement. However, I could also apply for my firearms license AND the P endorsement on the same day, having been a regular shooter at the range beforehand.
One reason behind the strict regulation of firearms in New Zealand is the Aramoana massacre from November 1990. David Gray, who owned several military-style firearms, used these weapons to murder a number of people over the course of two days before finally being killed by police.
Our laws are based around the idea that a gun can be owned for hunting or collection but not self defence. So restrictions are in place to restrict pistols and automatic weapons to gun clubs and hunting weapons still require a license. The license requires you to pass a gun safety test and a background check. Then a police officer will inspect you have a secure cabinet to store the gun in.
EDIT: Removed Germany from list
The threshold for potential instant noise-induced hearing loss is 120 dB SPL at the ear. A rifle can exceed 170 dB SPL at a distance of one meter. When you're shooting a rifle, it's going to be cradled firmly against the shoulder -- a lot closer than 1 meter. Even the lowly .22lr fired from a handgun can exceed 160 dB SPL. A suppressor can knock that down about 30 dB. 130 dB is still a lot, but it's out of the 'will-immedately-and-permanently-damage-your-hearing' range at least, and makes further hearing protection (earmuffs, earplugs) that much more effective.
tl;dr - A suppressor is safety equipment.
In general, if people are shooting outside in my neighborhood, I'd rather be woken up. That's not the type of thing that should go unnoticed. And I live in the middle of San Franciso where I've watched people get shot and killed.
I'm tired of being woken up way too early in the morning by gunshots. Waterfowl season started last weekend, so it was shotguns going off a mile away. Rifle season for deer starts soon (it's bowhunting season now), and that will bring its own set of loud noises from even closer.
I'm all for suppressors, if only so I can sleep past 5AM without having to keep my windows closed.
Out in the suburbs, or further out on the edge of the city where things start to get rural, if someone has a big enough backyard that they can safely fire a .22, I'd rather they use a suppressor. It's not a case of not being woken or not by the danger of violence in the neighborhood, it's a case of neighborly manners. It's more similar to me not running a guitar amplifier after 9pm. Nobody likes to be disrupted by loud noises when they don't need to be.
They are expensive, but not prohibitively so imo. It's unfortunate the movie/TV industry really seems to have poisoned the well a bit there.
All the people from CA who chucked when they read this should consider the pot and kettle relationship.
<< insert picture of Saudi prince and president shaking hands >>
Why do you think petrol will be different? Electric is only marginally viable now, more than a century after internal combustion's invention.
The interference from western powers to prop up the Shah did not help matters.
At least this was the impression I got from my time in Iran and visiting the tourist sites.
It was a coalition of factions that took him down including socialists and communists. The ayatollah and his followers seized the country within a few years though and turned it into an Islamic republic.
The other driving force being the CIA.
I'm biased against death, and toward life. I don't generally feel a need to disclose that, since it's a widely-shared bias.
Now, if there was editorializing about the desirability of the decision, e.g., “finally agrees”, you'd have a point about bias (though the would be bias of those involved in the headline, not necessarily societal bias.)
Of course, there is a widespread (though not universal) societal bias toward treating women at least as human beings with the basic right to participate indepebdently in society, and I don't have any problem with that. But nothing in the headline points to that bias.
The police will need to be trained to interact with women in a way that they rarely do in a society where men and women who are not related rarely interact.
It could work out quite well for them if they're open to hiring women to work in businesses that support female drivers. e.g. female driving instructors, female gas station attendants, etc.
Low oil prices have limited the government jobs that many Saudis have long relied on, and the kingdom is trying to push more citizens, including women, into gainful employment.
So my guess is that they are not really unsafe, or they would have been banned earlier for that specific reason.
Capital punishment is "only" carried out in: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Sudan, and northern Nigeria.
It's often better to not make assumptions, or quietly inform yourself first on subjects that you're not familiar with.
The 21st century might not be homogenous but please name me one other place on the planet where women can't drive, where women can't open a banking account, or where women can't enter a Starbucks or where there are public beheadings on Fridays
Actually name one other place that even comes close to that level of chauvinism and barbarism. That cynicism is not without merit.
To your second point, I was not talking about the specifics of Saudia Arabia, but rather the common idom of going "what centry is this" with respect to judging other cultures. People forget that western history is distinct from world history. And it feels a bit supremacist too - "Western culture is at X point, so everyone should be at X point"
The notion that history is a linear, unidirectional & inevitable march of progress is highly contestable (to say the least).
What the hell. Don't let women vote because they tend to vote "left" and "emotionally" (allegedly). What if the women of this planet decide that male votes are shit, what then? Are we just going to have to fight it out? (I didn't really get a response to that.)
I just don't have words for this, it's so alien. Am I weird for rejecting the notion out of hand?
Edit: two downvotes, please explain? I am honestly interested in opinions; I just found it very weird to hear someone say this.
Why don't you use the opportunity to address the points intellectually rather than silently thinking they are wrong?
First of all, the statements are very different. One of your acquaintences advocated prohibition, while the other merely opined that the overall results were negative without supporting prohibition.
What are the dangers in each position? How do the arguments apply to other questions, like voting age? How do the arguments apply to other groups, like citizens/noncitizens or felons/nonfelons?
I'm not an expert here, but I know there are some tough questions here that you might find difficult to answer. And then you might better understand how someone might hold a misguided position.
Really, most peoples' thinking is muddled on these issues because they haven't studied them. The only thing that keeps most people from saying such things is politocal correctness.
Careful here. This can be said about the other side as well to parrot news stations, media outlets and propaganda. This is surely no way to address such a situation - it is one-sided and judgmental. You need to open-minded if you want to hold such a difficult conversation.
Basically I just believe the modern liberal ideas because they sound right to me and I haven't heard any serious rebuttal. "Parroting" might be a bit harsh, but only a bit.
As an individual you may not hold this belief in your heart, you may feel that some types of people are more or less qualified for certain tasks but when you start having a political discussion it is pragmatic for all parties to accept the previously mentioned axiom.
Some individuals are so firm in their beliefs that they refuse to accept the 'politically correct' viewpoint and so they devolve the discussion with arguments based on assumptions that make discrimination a foregone conclusion. Thankfully most people differ in the way they are politically incorrect so they feel that other peoples discriminatory assumptions are faulty, however, echo chambers...
I think a lot of historical precedent for keeping women out of certain things is rooted in the reality that women are the weakest link: If you go to war and lose too many women, you cannot recover. It takes nine months to gestate a baby, no matter how many men she sleeps with. But, one man can potentially impregnate multiple women and your people are not doomed to extinction.
Those biological limitations drive a lot of social norms. But, many people don't really understand that. Instead, they kind of have certain instincts or habits or thought patterns, but they are divorced from the reasons the human race developed certain social norms.
We forget that women are the weakest biological link and conclude they are the weaker sex. And it goes bad places.
Sort of like a programming bug. You inject instructions without context into an environment they were not intended for and things go sideways.
That is probably not true in all cases. But, it is a framing that I find useful.
I'd love it if, in order to vote, you had to name one policy position that the party you are voting for holds. I know we want everyone to vote so we can say participation is high but I'd rather only those interested enough to know what's going on voted.
I hope the dark sarcasm isn't lost on readers of my comments.
Historically, literacy tests had nothing to do with literacy, they were exclusively for racist purposes, and to subjugate 'undesireables'. They were handed out at the (almost certainly racist) poller's discretion, and the tests themselves were worded so poorly that most of the questions had no single, correct answer. They were not real tests. Comparing literacy tests to the above poster's suggestion is like comparing aspirin to cyanide because they can both be put into a pill and swallowed.
Over the past few years, we've seen numerous examples of the destruction that voters can create in democratic societies. Turkey is probably not a democracy any more, Russia definitely isn't. Brexit is probably due to a campaign that was based on out right lies. The notion that universal suffrage may not be the best system is no longer unreasonable. We certainly have lots of examples by now.
What does it mean in a democracy if people are voting for options that they literally know nothing about?
Here's an example of a voting test that I think would be totally fair. 3-6 months before the election, 20 multiple choice questions, and their answers, are released. The questions are all simple statement of facts. "What is the name of the person currently in such and such position." "What number amendment is quoted here". "If the president and vice president die, what is the name of the person who would assume the role of president." Then, when someone submits a ballot, they're handed 5 of these questions chosen at random, and they have to answer 4 correctly. The questions are all known ahead of time, so if there's a problem with one of them, everyone will know. If someone gets into the polling booth and can't answer these questions, then they don't know the most basic facts of our political system, and they didn't even bother to look them up even though they were explicitly told that they should know them.
Universal suffrage was a huge improvement on the political systems that came before, but that doesn't mean there isn't a better way.
I know it creates more problems than it solves, I just wish people would take the time and effort to have an informed opinion before voting. Even if that informed opinion is opposed to mine.
To split hairs you don't have to be literate to name a policy.
It also strikes at the heart of what "citizen" means. See, here I thought just being a "citizen" was good enough to have the privilege to vote. But now I have to know how to read. Or name a policy. Or come up with the money to pay the poll tax. Or be a man. Or agree with you.
No, the only requirement (in the U. S.) is to be a citizen and to be registered on the list of eligible voters. Anything else, history has taught us, is an attempt at voter suppression, i. e., keeping people we don't like from voting. And citizens come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and sometimes they're ignorant as fuck, but we let 'em vote anyway. Because the alternative is to eventually devolve back to only white guys voting, and only privileged ones at that.
I just wish people would take the time and effort to have an informed opinion before voting. Even if that informed opinion is opposed to mine.
That's not to say that I'm not in full-on agreement with you. But kind of like the ol' "better a 1000 guilty men go free than..." I'd rather a populace of ignorant voters cast their votes than suppress the vote of a single eligible person, no matter how ignorant, female, or brown they might be.
Like, you've already got a requirement in the US that everyone attend (public or private or home) school until they're ~16, right? So, what's wrong with requiring a civics curriculum as part of that, and then tying voting rights to a test of that civics curriculum? If people aren't passing, then they'd be temporarily disenfranchised, yes, but that'd be the government's fault/failing, not their own—and it would be up to the government to hunt them down and keep educating them until they do pass. Dragging people back (with compensation for their time) to get them qualified. Sort of like... jury duty.
Admittedly, that sounds a bit dystopian. Don't imagine cops showing up at your doorstep; just imagine it like an unpaid parking ticket. Can't get your driver's license renewed until you re-take the course; get frequent calls hounding you; etc.
On the other hand, we as a society have decided that citizens have a right to participate in our government through this selection mechanism. It thus needs to have a lower barrier of entry (over N age) and a higher barrier of exclusion (committed a felony).
But I'm not really suggesting exclusion. I'm more suggesting a sort of... hold? A delay. Because, under this model, you will inevitably be able to vote; it'll just take time.
For example. Imagine attempting to register to vote, one day before the polls open, and finding yourself redirected to attending a two-week full-time paid-attendance civics course (that you can't get out of, just like you can't get out of jury duty; but that your employer legally can't fault you for attending, just like they legally can't fault you for attending jury duty.)
Now imagine you pass the course. The polling date went by while you were still in the course. But you still get to vote! Two weeks late! And the votes aren't actually counted, until the people who were delayed by the government's failure to educate them, get to vote.
Of course, that's a silly implementation; it's easier to just open and close registration two weeks earlier, such that you can't register on a date such that that date + 2wks would overlap the polling day. But I think it gets the point across the best: you're not punishing these people. You're sequestering them, like a hung jury—and you're not letting the mechanism of democracy move forward until you have heard their very important voices.
In application it's based on the false assumption that there are an equal amount of partisans on both sides.
I had this realization after meeting a political strategist through a mutual friend and having a conversation with him about what he does, and then I felt stupid for not having realized it before. His job is, at a high level, to find areas where polling indicates that his party's support in a particular election is a little under 50%, and then find ways to get a few more people to vote. If they reach 50% + epsilon, he's succeeded. If they reach significantly over 50%, that effort is wasted; you win an election equally well with 51% or 90% of the vote, so as long as you have 50% + a comfortable margin of error, you might as well spend your time trying to win other districts. And then, of course, the other party is trying to do same thing.
So a roughly 50/50 split in votes in a district, or in senators in Congress, or whatever, isn't indicative of an equal number of the voters being partisans of each party. You might have 10% partisans of one and 40% partisans of the other, which would cause the first party to run a centrist campaign/candidate to attract a lot of undecided voters and the second party to be willing to run a much less centrist/candidate.
Essentially, as long as you have two political parties, you're basically never going to lose the partisans (they certainly won't vote for the other party, and an extremist third party will always sound like a spoiler), so once you've settled on two major parties, they'll end up getting about 50% of the vote, even as their actual political positions move.
One way to avoid this problem would be to move to a non-first-past-the-post voting system, so a centrist third party (or one with orthogonal ideas) can successfully beat them both by attracting the non-partisans. Or, at the congressional level, move to a parliamentary system that requires forming coalition governments, which would enable something similar. But the US has neither of these.
But what those people are making their decision on could be as arbitrary as "would I like to have a beer with this person?" or "what was the last article I read before election day". There isn't any inherent virtue in it.
Remember in ancient Greece only rich landowners could vote.
"Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of 'capitalist democracy' into an oxymoron."
– the inimitable Peter Thiel
That being said, giving women the [due] right to vote effectively doubled the eligible voting pool in america. To think this wouldn't functionally alter the results is nonsense. Whether or not someone approves of those results should not, and indeed does not, get to change the underlying rights of those women.
A similar thing is happening on the left I think, but since it is my group, I might not be as mindful of it. The same might follow for you.
Care to elaborate? I don't read Reason, but am curious as to an example of what you mean?
(I do agree the liberal moniker is losing value; most folks I interact w/ seem to take extreme characters as if they're the norm, and won't hardly discuss whether the values have any merit.)
Also, it is unfortunate that people continue to politicize police killings and attribute them to race. Such treatment is ignorant of stastics.
I think these glaring inconsistencies are just starting to tear the left apart. The right have their own problems, but they dont tend to be so obscenely inconsistent as to divide the base along racial and gender lines.
This is not stating that women and beneficiaries don't have a right to vote, but that they'll probably never side with him so if he want's to see a libertarian government they'll probably have to start their own society. I think they were looking at starting some sort of offshore man made island that they could govern themselves.
That comment was in the context of his doubts that libertarianism would ever become mainstream.
Voters rarely make decisions as to who is in power; they are forced to select from a small group of candidates which have come so far already, and then a committee choses which candidate is best and makes them compete for election. I do not think that a system based on the agency of people rather than the agency of ideas is a good system.
Sometimes the voters don't actually get their say; a national organisation overrides their will. Sometimes the democratic pathways are blocked by media misinformation. These are problems of the situation in which democracy is placed, and they have been recognised at least as far back as Marcuse wrote in the 1960s. The problem is less to do with whether people get candidates in power, it's more to do with how well people are informed as to the true nature of their reality. It may sound as though I'm saying "people don't know what they want", but my intention is to advance to the super-democratic status of "people must obtain the information they need".
Marcuse puts it better than I ever could:
>The liberating force of democracy was the chance it gave to effective dissent, on the individual as well as social scale, its openness to qualitatively different forms of government, of culture, education, work--of the human existence in general. The toleration of free discussion and the equal right of opposites was to define and clarify the different forms of dissent: their direction, content, prospect. But with the concentration of economic and political power and the integration of opposites in a society which uses technology as an instrument of domination, effective dissent is blocked where it could freely emerge; in the formation of opinion, in information and communication, in speech and assembly. Under the rule of monopolistic media--themselves the mere instruments of economic and political power--a mentality is created for which right and wrong, true and false are predefined wherever they affect the vital interests of the society.
Democracy is a technology for simulating civil wars without going through the formality of fighting them. So it's desirable that the side that wins the election be the side that would have won the civil war. If this is chronically untrue, then the side that would have won the civil war has little incentive to accept the election as legitimate.
Typically when the side that would have won the civil war is unclear, it's also desirable to most.
Even when the (civil war favorite) party loses the political battle (election), usually the issue is not deemed important enough to accept the consequences of civil war, and a structured political/governmental/legestative resolution is the desirable outcome (for most) when weighed against engaging in a violent community/nation-wide conflict.
Every idea needs to be inspected, no matter how bad it is. If you can't understand someone's POV then you can't defend against it.
What effects are these, did he say? I hope you engaged with your classmates instead of just rejecting it out of hand. They may be wrong but it's always good exercise to explain why they are wrong. All ideas should be up for discussion, even if only as a thought experiment.
There's an unhealthy trend of 'just because' replacing 'why' in our culture. Ideas, no matter how taboo or 'self-evident', occasionally need to be taken off the shelf and tested for integrity.
Women pretty much vote the same as men. Which actually disappointed the Suffragettes to some degree.
That said, I think you were right to call them out on that. It's an idea that shouldn't even be entertained as an option.
A critical component of whataboutism is the part where you say "you are not in a position to criticize," which this person did not do.
Killing women by throwing rocks at them because they dishonored the family is totally in the same direction of thoughts as accusing women of voting with their hearts over rationalism.
I don't like conservatives either but it's an entirely different category of messed up we're talking about.
But we can see from this subthread how quickly these comments grow like weeds and choke out more thoughtful conversation. It's not the starting comment itself, but what it precipitates, that we all need to guard against.
While the OP's comment was unsubstantive, it highlighted an interesting quotation from the article to discuss, that a lot of people had opinions on and also wanted to discuss. Maybe the only appropriate response to a quotation like that is ridicule, which serves an important purpose in its own right.
I do appreciate this is a very difficult topic to moderate however(!) To be honest, I'm surprised the article itself was even allowed on HN and wasn't flagged for being too political.
Cycling can cause sexual impotence in men, yet we don't see anyone claiming men should be banned from cycling.
Arguments like this are toxic; even if true (which they obviously aren't), they expose an ugly underlying sexism with the implicit assumption that somehow it's okay for men to make these decisions for women as long as it's for a 'good reason.'
If enough people are credulous, it's absolutely newsworthy, as it reflects how deeply wedded some people are to a particular perspective. Confirmation bias is a powerful thing.
Pat Robertson was doing this 20 years ago, and I don't think he's really stopped: https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/tv-preacher-pat-robe...
From what I know about NYT - definitely yes. Probably not in every article on the topic, but at least in some. It is a sensational claim which generates outrage - bread and butter of modern journalism.
That's not how it works with clerics in Saudi. They have official standing with the government, have their own police force with the authority to enforce morality laws (the mutaween), and even get to decide who the next king will be.
Unrelated but ran across the following story: woman gets rare and slow developing cancer at 22, decides against surgery, gets on "Gerson therapy", runs lifestyle blog for years, credible (and credulous) media eat up claim she cured cancer. Mother gets breast cancer, uses Gerson therapy, dies in 2013 (horrible now removed blog posts where they discuss "flare ups" as symptoms of the therapy working, was actually symptoms of growing cancer). Down to her last days was hiding growing cancer and deceiving rabid fanbase, criticizing "bullies" who were pointing out her cancer was back. Of course after she died, her fans and Gerson therapy advocates now leave crazy comments about how she didn't do it right.
Gerson therapy vids are all over YouTube even today with the implication it is effective. I mean people are basically committing suicide because YouTube is making money.
If that's possible in open and connected societies, what's unscientific bullshit but the norm? We all believe delusional stuff, the question is, what seemingly accepted and reasonable views in our own societies are are actually delusional and harmful?
[Saad al-Hijri, head of fatwas (legal opinions) in Saudi Arabia’s Assir governorate], who said women should not drive because their brains shrink to a quarter the size of a man’s when they go shopping has been banned from preaching.
In a video this week, Hijri asked what the traffic department would do it if it discovered a man with only half a brain. “Would it give him a licence or not? It would not. So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half?” he said.
“If she goes to the market she loses another half. What is left? A quarter ... We demand the traffic department check because she is not suitable to drive and she has only a quarter.”
My favourite "I can't believe" is probably homuncular theory, that ejaculate contained a tiny little man [men?], fully formed, who grew to be a baby. Presumably it was homuncula all the way down?? [Not sure of the historical verity of that theory.]