Two Games for One Date

male-and-female-tinderLately I’ve been using Tinder, without a lot of success, to meet women but I have noticed an interesting sociological interplay. I’m working on a pretty small sample size and if everything I mention in this blog is horribly wrong, please don’t hesitate to eviscerate me in the comments.

What I’ve noticed is the women with whom I make an initial connection ask me a lot of questions. A lot. I, on the other hand, ask a few questions but pretty much spend all my time telling the prospective date about me and my peculiarities. It seems like both of us are playing the same game, for lack of a better word, but we are playing by completely different rules.

Basically I’m hoping to meet the woman for perhaps a drink and a bite to eat. If it turns out we’re incompatible, I’m simply out the price of her preferred drink and a few appetizers. If it turns out she’s an absolute nut, I have a great story for my friends later.

But what about her? What does she have to lose? A quick perusal of any news channel indicates that she has to fear bodily harm, rape, kidnapping, and murder. Those are pretty high stakes indeed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asserting that women are completely non-violent and are incapable of meeting a man for a date and doing him harm. I’m just saying that the possibility is so low on my radar that I don’t even consider it when texting on Tinder. I imagine that it’s pretty much the opposite for a woman.

I don’t have any deep philosophical revelations based on this observation. No meaningful insights. Just something I noticed. It gives me a small window into the world of being a woman. An unpleasant reality in some ways.

Maybe I’m wrong. It’s certainly possible.

What do you think?

Are my observation on Tinder interactions accurate?

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Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

On Arranged Marriages and Math Tests

Indian Bride Math QueryThere’s an interesting story making the News of the Weird rounds and I think it’s worth discussing. A woman in India walked out of her arranged marriage when she determined that her potential husband did not meet minimal education standards.

For most of us in the Western world it seems impossible that a woman could not know the intelligence of her husband-to-be just a few short minutes before they were to be married but in India many marriages are arranged by the parents of the couple. In these sorts of marriages the parents pick an appropriate spouse and the two do not meet until the ceremony itself. There is no doubt, from a statistical perspective, that such marriages are more likely to succeed than are so-called autonomous marriages. Even in the United States small groups like the Amish practice arranged marriages and they result in far fewer divorces.

Divorce rate comparisons actually play a role in what I want to talk about today. The idea of an arranged marriage is that the parents of the two participants are slightly more level-headed than the bride and groom. Passions do not cloud judgment. The parents look at things like education level, social status, and general compatibility before other factors like physical attraction.

I find myself largely in agreement with the concept of an arranged marriage although the reality of it not so much. I  harbor no illusions that we here in the United States will suddenly embrace arranged marriages but I found the article interesting nevertheless. What I found most intriguing was the bride’s insistence on giving a mathematical test to her husband in the moments before the wedding. It’s clear she was concerned that her parents had been duped by the groom’s family. I was actually a little surprised by the simplicity of the question (What is 15 + 6) although I don’t know the education level of bride. I would have expected, if she were a college graduate, a more difficult question.

It also makes me wonder if perhaps this sort of duplicity is becoming more common in India, as the bride was clearly wary. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that, in the future, more arranged marriages require that the parents meet with the proposed spouse before making any agreements.

What struck me the most was the groom’s family lying on such a scale in order to gain a favorable marriage. It’s clear to me that the woman would likely never have been happy with such an uneducated man. In a culture where arranged marriages are the norm it is the responsibility of the parents to find the most likely match for their child. In this case the groom’s family failed him badly, as did the bride’s although that was because of lies told by their counterparts.

That’s a real shame. If your parents aren’t looking out for you, who will?

No profound revelations here today. I do applaud the bride’s diligence and adherence to Libertarian Principles. Always look out for yourself.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Blissfully Incompetent – The Dunning Kruger Effect

Dunning-Kruger EffectWhile at work today we had a short network outage which gave the Web and Software Development team a little time to talk about our favorite subject. How stupid everyone else is.

One of our younger coders mentioned something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. I immediately headed out to Wiki and read the article. There is nothing earth-shattering in the article. Even Dunning and Kruger mention in their original study that philosophers from the earliest times have noted stupid people are blissfully unaware of their idiocy while the intelligent are filled with doubt.

What was interesting was the scientific method was used to prove this effect, at least among those raised in Western cultures. A few studies on those from Eastern backgrounds did not show the same thing.

The studies also showed that competent and intelligent people tended to underestimate their own ability much as the less competent overestimate theirs. The idea being that competent people find particular tasks easy and assume that such jobs are, in fact, easy. That anyone should be able to do them without much of a problem.

The studies are interesting to be certain why the blog?

This study, this Dunning-Kruger effect is a tremendous impediment to the Libertarian Ideal. If the incompetent don’t know they are miserable at their jobs and the competent can’t recognize how well they do their job; we are left in a bad place.

What do we do about it? The study itself shows the way. Those people who are incompetent at their jobs recognize their previous inability after they are trained to do the job better! That’s really good news. It means when we see someone doing their job badly, our course is to spend the time and effort teaching them to do it better. It’s a good idea to pat the high-performers on the back as well.

Now that I’ve read the article on the Dunning-Kruger effect it makes much more sense to me. Those who find a task difficult assume it is difficult and everyone has a hard time doing it. Likewise those who find it easy figure that everyone can do it. Now that I at least partially understand the psychology of the effect I’m better prepared to deal with it.

I can’t wait to start roaming the office and telling everyone how to do their jobs … or maybe not!

Still, it’s an interesting piece of psychology and while I don’t suggest telling everyone how to do their job. I do think if you are a supervisor it’s a great idea to spend time with the low-performers and give them a hand. Maybe you’ll have a better understanding of why they struggle to improve.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming Soon: The Broken Throne

Why Writing Posthumous Notes to your Children is Selfish

posthumous lettersI’m not going to win any friends with this post but there’s a trend I’ve noted of late that I find unhealthy. I just read yet another story in which a soon to be deceased person plans to write a long series of messages to their child.

This trend apparently took its cue from the movie P.S. I Love You.

I don’t doubt for a moment that Garth Callaghan has only the best intentions as he pens a note a day to his young daughter. He wants to express that he loves her and offer her advice as she moves on in life. He knows that he might die in the near future and wants to let his daughter know he loves and cares about her.

As well-intentioned as these notes are, I think they are ultimately selfish. They are about him and not his daughter. They are about his unwillingness to accept the fact that death might be imminent. He wants to remain alive and imagines he is doing so by writing these notes. I’ve not see P.S. I Love You but the premise, from what I can tell, is the same. That the dead husband has only the interests of his widow at heart. That he wants to help her move on with life. I’m certain this was exactly the result of his letters in the make-believe world of movies.

It’s my opinion a series of posthumous letters from a dead relative cannot possibly ease the loss but only exacerbate them. Constant reminders of your dead father, husband, wife, or dog cannot be good for a person’s mental well-being. Yes, it’s good to have memories, loving memories. I’m not even saying a long-farewell letter shouldn’t be written. I’m suggesting this constant barrage of letters telling a loved one how to act or how much you still love them, even after death, is purely selfish and not in the interest of your loved one.

I’m not questioning the motivation, just the action. If we want to tell someone we love them we should do it, now. If we want to give someone some advice, we should do so. This idea that I have all the answers and will continue to do so even from beyond the grave is delusional and selfish.

I know my opinion on this isn’t going to be popular. I don’t think Callaghan is intentionally doing harm.

Some people might argue that this very blog is all about Tom Liberman and not about the reader. They’d be right! It is about me. It’s my opinions. I’m expressing them because I think they should be heard. But have no doubt, this blog is selfish and it’s largely about me, me, me. I want you to read the blog, click the links to my books, and purchase them.

Before you lay into me about how wrong I am, I would like you to honestly answer one question. After that, do as you will.

If you were to write a bunch of letters or emails or whatever to a loved one to be delivered after your death; are you doing it for your loved one or are you doing it for you?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Can You Apologize for Someone Else’s Mistake?

ApologyThere was an interesting article in the news which was put, mistakenly in my opinion, in the science section and thus I stumbled across it.

The nation of Cameroon issued an apology for their ancestor’s involvement in trading slaves to Europeans thus beginning the long chain that brought those slaves to plantations in the southern United States. The apology was issued specifically to genetically identified relatives of those still living in Cameroon but was extended to include anyone affected by the policies.

The genetic tracing part of the story is why it ended up in the science section I suspect. In any case, as I was perusing the comments I noted that there was a fairly heavy leaning towards the idea that it was wrong to apologize for something for which you are not responsible.

Clearly the people in power in Cameroon today had nothing to do with the slave trade of past centuries. The argument suggested that it was ridiculous to make the apology. That it was meaningless. That a the best remedy was to act with ethics and morality in the future.

I’m not unsympathetic to this point of view. I do think the apology is being made by people who did nothing wrong in the first place. That it doesn’t help those directly or indirectly effected by those misdeeds. It can even be said that such apologies can be used to excuse bad behavior.

On the other hand I do think an apology has the ability to heal hurt feelings. While apologies are just words that do not affect any physical change they can set the path towards a better future. It is probably true that an apology, even when for something you personally did, doesn’t really do anything to redress the original harm. It is merely an indication of your acknowledgement of wrong-doing. Of your intention to do better in the future.

Slavery was wrong. My ancestors weren’t even in the United States during slavery so should I apologize for it? What’s my responsibility?

Slavery wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything to promote its cause. If I don’t want to apologize for the actions of people who died long before I was born then I have no obligation to do so. However, I am more than willing to denounce slavery. To admit that the United States, my country, engaged in this despicable practice for generations. I’m sorry that it happened. I’m sorry my country did such a thing.

Let’s dial it down a notch. Let’s say I’m at an event and one of my friends does something boorish. Gets drunk and makes inappropriate comments.

I can handle it by talking to my friend and trying to get him to restrain himself. I can handle it by watching it happen and then apologizing to people later. I can do neither or I can do both.

In the end, I guess I’m a proponent of both. It doesn’t hurt to apologize for my friend’s behavior. It’s better that I try to stop it before anything else happens. That I take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But, why not all of the above? Everyone knows I didn’t do it but they appreciate my apology nonetheless.

Must you apologize for someone else’s behavior? No.

Should you? It’s up to you.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 for a full length novel)
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt (Out very, very soon!)

Rush Limbaugh’s Death Party

HateAs a Libertarian I often find myself in the middle of the political spectrum depending upon the issue in question. When I argue that Abortion is a State’s right issue I get some grief from my Democrat friends. When I argue that Gay Marriage is a State’s Right issue I get grief from my Republican friends. The thing that I find strangest in my most strident friends on the Democratic and Republican side of issues is their real hatred for those on the other side.

Their wishes of harm and death seem to be more than words. They want President Obama to be killed. They hope Senator Kerry’s wife dies because she married Senator Kerry. They plan to throw parties when Rush Limbaugh dies. I just don’t get it. I remember when President Nixon died and I sat around the table listening to people talk about how glad they were. I’ve heard people speak in unbridled terms about how they want to kill Hillary Clinton. I once watched in horror as a man told a little girl named Hillary that she had an awful name and she should change it. A little girl!

These friends of mine are convinced that only evil people who want to destroy the United States would vote for someone of the other party. I realize that the Democrats and Republicans together foster this attitude to ensure that voters do not consider third or fourth-party alternatives, but the reality is people make up their own minds to hate.

When you are filled with hate for a dying woman who happens to married to a Democrat or a radio host who spews increasingly erratic proclamations in the mad dash for ratings then it’s you who has the problem. Not the woman, not the radio host.

When you speak ill of a man immediately after his death it tells me all I need to know about you.

Whenever I have this discussion people always ask me if I would have celebrated Hitler’s death. It’s an interesting and fair question. Was Hitler himself Nazi Germany? Am I happy to see one Boston Bomber captured and the other killed?

Certainly Hitler was an evil man. As were the terrorists who flew the plans on September 11th. Osama bin Laden orchestrated the attacks that ended in the death of almost 3,000 of my countrymen. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator. So, I think I can honestly tell you my answer to that question. No.

The reason is twofold. The things these men represented are not dead. There are other deranged people out there willing to hurt innocents to further their ends. The ideas are not dead, just one promulgator of them. Secondly, celebrating the death of another person just isn’t in me. I didn’t cheer at the death of bin Laden. I am certainly happy that he isn’t around to hurt anyone else but the death itself just leaves me empty. Not hate, not joy. It’s just sad. A man, a driven man, a man who could have done so much good if his energies, if his mind, were not poisoned with hate.

So many of my friends are similarly poisoned. Not to that extent, of course. They talk of murdering. They spew hateful words but they do not act on them. Still, I find it sad that there is that much hate inside of people I know, people I like.

The end of a life, anyone’s life, is a time to reflect upon that life. The good, the bad, what could have been. It’s not the time to throw a party.

I think a lot of people won’t like what I’ve written here today. They had friends killed by bin Laden or someone equally evil. They truly believe President Obama is trying to destroy the United States.

I understand their hated but that passion does not fill me. I want people to work together, to realize we’re all in this together. We all want to make a decent living, have a few fun times with friends, accomplish something at work, at home. Live a pleasant life surrounded by those we love.

Hate always takes us further from these things. Even when it’s evil we hate.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 for a many hours of reading pleasure)
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt

Too Much Help – Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter ParentingThere was an interesting article in the news this morning that struck a chord with my Libertarian philosophies. The basic idea is that parents who are overly involved in their children’s lives do them no favors.

The article cites one specific study and indicates that others show the same trend but also admits that when it comes to parenting there are a number of styles that offer success. I don’t have any children myself and I’m probably not the best person in the world to analyze the data but I can, at least, speak from having worked with juniors in several golf programs over the years.

Let’s first talk about the concepts of helicopter parenting. The idea is that for children to succeed in the super-competitive modern world parents need to be involved in every aspect of their lives. This hovering is especially noteworthy around school where every grade is argued for the student, specialized tutoring is offered to help write college entrance essays, and other things of this nature.

The argument against this kind of parenting is that children who are not allowed to fend for themselves become anxiety ridden and unable to cope with the problems that arise in their lives. It’s fairly self-evident to me that if you do not allow a person to solve their own problems they will never learn that skill for themselves. It’s analogous the nanny state that America is becoming and I’ve talked about that in other posts.

One of the things I find discouraging about this country is how many people complain about the government without the realization that they are complaining about themselves. We are the government. We have the government we want. We chose them. I’ve talked about that topic before. My point in mentioning it here is that the nanny state isn’t responsible for helicopter parenting, it is our helicopter parenting that causes us to become a nanny state. Our representatives are us.

One of the ideas that I found most interesting about this sort of behavior was that parents who engage in it are actually less emotionally available to their children. They use modern technology to keep tabs on their children, fight with teachers, and defend their kids as a way to show their love without actually having to spend time loving. It’s like someone who clicks the “Like” button to support a cause. Look at me! I care! I hate cancer! Look at me, look at me. I’m better than you because you don’t hate cancer. I’m the greatest parent ever.

I’m certainly not suggesting that parents shouldn’t be involved in their children’s lives and their education. It just seems to me that a person who grows up not having to solve their own problems is not going to be a successful adult.

I’m reminded of my time at Spring Lake Golf Course in Quincy, IL under the direction of head pro Les Holcombe. We were teaching juniors when one little fellow came over to me and stated that “Jimmy took my club.” I was ready to offer my help when Les jumped in and said, “Then go take it back”. I immediately understood that Les was absolutely correct.

There are certainly circumstances of bullying, poor-teaching, and general life incidents that do require a parents intervention. I’m just suggesting that the first response to a  difficulty that arises should not be to solve the problem for the child. A person who grows up solving their own problems is a person who has a better chance to succeed in life. Isn’t that what any parent wants?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water (watch Silenia grow from frightened lamb to an empowered young lady)
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt