Friday, November 16, 2018

Trumpdown: 795 Days Left

Beinart: Left-Wing Protests Are Crossing The Line

Good on Beinart.
[Incidentally, I went to the Atlantic, as I often do now, looking for arguments defending the left...but found this.]
It's kinda hard for me to believe that he seems to have aligned himself more-or-less seamlessly with the new, anti-liberal left...but the death of the old New Republic cast a lot of us into the wilderness, I guess...
   I admire Beinart's effort to take shrieking leftist mobs seriously...I guess. I suppose it's the right thing to do, though I'm not virtuous enough to do it myself. I'm not sure about his specific approach, since these...whatever they are...don't seem like clear instances of civil disobedience to me. But I'd never even thought of seeing them that way until Beinart suggested it. So I haven't given this enough thought. They're just not very similar to the relevant prototypes. Surrounding, intimidating, and physically attacking conservative public officials and journalists for having the temerity to appear in public...well...the Greensboro Woolworth's lunch counter it ain't...
   It won't come as any surprise that he makes an obligatory gesture to the effect that Trumpers do it too...citing e.g. the recent "bombs." He doesn't mention the Congressional baseball attack by left-wing activist James Hodgkinson against Republicans. And there's little mention of antifa.
   But, anyway, good on Beinart for breaking with progressive orthodoxy, taking this seriously, and trying to write something serious about it.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Left Turns On The Big Dog

I see that Monica Lewinsky is about to reveal "her truth" [actual quote]
I also see that the left continues to completely ignore any of the women who have actually accused Clinton of actual rape...
You see, Lewinsky could not have had consensual sex with Clinton because of the "power differential." Which means that no one can have consensual sex with the president of the United States...
What load of horse shit.

We Got Hammered Today...But...Snowfalls Are A Thing Of The Past...So...

Today's was the earliest university closing I can remember...which is weird...what with snowfalls being a thing of the past and all...

What Was The Best Fighter Of WWII?

Taking them in order of how they show up on Google:  link

My view: nein! Double nein! Achtzehn!
That's a great plane...but die Nazis können nicht das beste...uh...WTFever Nazi for 'fighter plane' is...haben! F*ck those guys. That's a sweet-ass plane, but I'll die before I'll admit it was the best fighter of the war, m*therf*cker.

NPCs Go After Stan Lee

Do Non-Citizens Vote In U.S. Elections?

Mark Hamill Beclowns Himself

Even With Evidence Of High Crimes, Impeaching Trump Would Probably Fail

VoA: Trump's Baseless Voter Fraud Claims Could Hurt U.S. Faith In Elections

Well this isn't great.

Alex Trebek Thinks Some #Badthink, Says Some #Hatetalk

I'll take famous witch hunts for 400, Alex.
One of my current views about the lefty-left is: even when they're right about something,they'll end up being crazy about it. 
   I guess the other thing is: the crazy will have two parts/levels. The first-order crazy in this case is the evolution of legitimate concerns about and measures against sexual harassment (e.g. the "#MeToo" stuff...god I hate Twitter...) into rape crisis hysteria. The second-order crazy will be their pathological inability to tolerate disagreement about the first-order crazy--the mobs of shrieking hecklers on campuses, social media dogpiling and all that stuff. This is a way of enforcing first-order crazy by raising the social cost of dissent. (Right?)
   I think this has to be a fairly fringey fringe...but, as I've asserted before, (a) it's extremely prominent, (b) it seemingly exerts great influence on the rest of the left, and (c) the rest of the left seems unwilling to slap it down or even condemn it...dissent, after all, means excommunication, tearful public self-denunciation/apology, and all the other afflictions of the apostate. I want to believe that there are tons of real liberals left, dormant, just waiting to rise up and slap down the crazy uber-progressives... I think there's some reason for hope...but I also fear that it's just wishful thinking. Look at the comments at the Post sometime, or the comments under Andrew Sullivan's new columns. It's like they're written by a horde of mindless progressive zombies. The hyper-dogmatic groupthink really is a scary/repulsive sight. 
   Blah, blah, blah. I don't know any more about what's going on than you do. Why read this bullshit?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Justice: Whitaker Appointment Is Legal

Our Quasi-AG Can Protect Us From Time-Travelling Bigfoots

Doctors Are Not Authorities On The Second Amendment

This again.
   I don't think my thinking's sorted out quite right on all this. But I really don't see how doctors having first-hand knowledge of physical damage caused by firearms gives them any relevant expertise. We know, e.g., that twelve people were killed in a recent mass shooting. Do the relevant doctors think that we have an impoverished, mere layperson's conception of dead? I do think that first-hand experience counts for something. A person who's had a close relative commit suicide knows more about such a thing than the rest of us. The question is, though: how relevant is that? Doctors aren't experts on law or philosophy or political science or public policy or firearms. Suppose a group of doctors said: we see the devastation of STDs up close; government needs to start regulating casual sex. I expect progressives would feel rather differently about that. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Transgender" Dude Sues 16 Women For Refusing To Wax His Junk

Did You Know That "Regional And Local Transit Systems" Around Crystal City "Have Significant Unused Capacity, Even During Peak Travel Periods"?

Incoming House Dems Embrace Gun Control

They just keep making Trump look like a plausible alternative.

Black Security Guard Stops Murder, Disables Suspect; Police Shoot Him

John Yoo: "Whitaker's Appointment Is Unconstitutional"

If Sex Is Fluid, Why Isn't Age?

There can't really be much doubt that this is right, obviously, and people have been making similar points since the idea of "transgenderism" became fashionable.
   There's usually more than one way to make sense of a conceptual and logical train wreck of this kind. The way I currently favor puts the notion of "identity," as used on the left, at the center of things. 'Identity' means...or used to mean...who you are. The progressive left now uses it to mean something like who you think you are. Weirdly, they use it that way with respect to certain questions about race, but not others. Thus the central use of 'identify' is as a verb, as in: S identifies as F. One's "identity" in this sense is determined by one's own beliefs and/or "performative" acts (they loooove "performativity"). Though such acts of identification seem limited to the characteristics given centrality by the left: race, gender, "gender identity," sexual preference. But, while accepting that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman is obligatory, accepting that Rachel Dolezal is black is forbidden. So, laid over the main grid is a set of ad hoc limitations. To some extent these are probably just intended to conceal how nutty the view is--people will buy it in the case of a biracial person decided to go with one of their races, but won't buy it in cases like Dolezal's. (It's equally absurd in both cases, but it tracks with saner views in the former case...so the overt absurdity is concealed.) But to the extent that they're ad hoc they're indefensible.
   I've got a whole half-baked theory of this stuff half-baking in the back of my head. "Social construction" and identity-as-identification are, I think, new ways of pushing the left's old nurture-over-nature line. They're ways of subordinating the biological to...well...not merely the social, but to the non-biological more generally. The contemporary left just does not like the biological. (Except when it's convenient, as it occasionally is when sexual preference is at issue.) Hence the attempt to shove sex (and even gender) offstage in favor of "gender identity." Hence also the concerted effort to insist that race is "socially constructed." But they (a) lack the courage of their convictions, and (b) tend not to be the most systematic nor consistent of thinkers, and (c) know that, the more they let the theory metastasize, the more obviously absurd it becomes. Hence the ad hoc limitations.
   You know what's weird is finding oneself in the midst of people who think all this nonsense actually makes sense. It's like waking up to find that like half the people around you are Scientologists or believe in astrology or something...and they insist that it's always been this way. And the other half either thinks there's nothing wrong with that, or are too afraid to speak up about it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

RIP Stan Lee

The Medicalization Of Everything

Jesus, this again.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

WW1: 100 Years

This is giving me some kind of historical vertigo.

Our On-Going Rorschach Test: Trump And The Rain On Armistice Day

Right, so you know the outline of what happened.
   Did Trump do something wrong? I don't know and neither do you. Because neither you nor I know whether he was actually told not to travel there by helicopter and also not to travel there by car. If you dislike Trump, however, you likely automatically concluded that he just shirked his obligation. If you like Trump, you probably automatically concluded that he did what he should have by listening to the prudent advice of the Secret Service or whoever.
   But you don't know. In fact, you don't know what's what in the vast majority of such cases. Which probably doesn't stop you from opining energetically about them. It sure doesn't stop me...

It's Not The Science/Anti-Science Dispute That Really Matters; That's Just An Instance Of A More General Dispute

What's really afoot is the on-going disagreement/battle between (a) those who think that truth and dispassionate inquiry and discussion should get a kind of priority and (b) those who think that it shouldn't. The latter include those who think that religious revelation should get the priority as well as those who think that political goods (e.g. "social justice") should. People harp on the issue of science, with the right and left each accusing the other of being agin' it...but that's just a (major, admittedly) skirmish in the war.
   There simply can't be any doubt that truth and reason have largely been subordinated to "social justice" in universities. (One's tempted to say: wherever the left is powerful, reason will be subordinated to politics.) Though, of course, it's important not to admit that. Admit it and your side is doomed. Just deny it--no matter how implausibly--and you'll probably be ok. All you need is to give your partisans a veneer of plausible (or even implausible) deniability. Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?
   Recently I was having a discussion with a colleague with whom I have an on-going disagreement. I said that, when free speech conflicts with other things, such as emotionally protecting groups in the progressive stack, I err on the side of free speech. My colleague expressed the opposite view. It was an amicable exchange. But what I thought--and didn't say--was: that's the end of universities; in fact, that's the end of everything.
   It's the end of the world as we know it, intellectually speaking. But everybody around me seems to feel fine.

Promoting Frailty By Fetishizing Victimhood

Nothing new.
Still relevant.

Rod Dreher: Queering Science

Many of my friends think I'm crazy for thinking that the left is approximately as dangerous as the right. Obviously, they could be right. Sometimes we know how we're crazy, but, obviously, we often don't.
   But, for what it's worth, here's one of my main points: the right sometimes simply rejects science that it doesn't like. The left does that, too...but it also co-opts/colonizes science and turns it to its political ends. This is approximately the most anti-scientific thing imaginable.
   This is merely a particularly notable instance of this now-common phenomenon.
   I could go on and on about this, and I have. But I won't...this time.
   The left tends to be articulate and, in certain ways, anyway, erudite. It controls all the prominent levers of cultural power and authority. It controls all the elements of the cultural superstructure. It controls all the slick, impressive publications. There is no doubt in its mind that it's on the right side of history. It has everything it takes to make it seem like the intelligent and reasonable side of the cultural debate...and it tells us, inter alia, that men can be women, and that it's always been this way, and that to deny this obvious truth is the moral equivalent of racism. Has any cult ever insisted that its members believe anything more obviously false? The right may be an artless powder keg, but the left is downright hypnotic. It can and will sweet-talk us with the most up-to-date types of nonsense, and it thinks it has an obligation to rewire our minds. It's proceeding smoothly and ever-more-quickly toward its goal of rewriting the mind of the West on the basis of crackpot ideas cooked up in the weakest, seediest corners of the humanities. It knows how to make even outright contradictory ideas seem reasonable. Tell me about something more dangerous than that.
   The right tried for decades merely to get creationism seriously mentioned alongside evolution. It was (rightly) rebuffed. (I fought in some of those battles, on the anti-creationism side, incidentally.) In less than ten years, the left has managed to impose an outright contradiction all across society, and to get anyone who raises doubts about it branded the moral equivalent of a racist. There is simply no comparison between the cultural power of the right and the left right now, IMO. I rather doubt there ever will be again.

Spitfire and Typhoon


Larry King: CNN Stopped Doing News To Focus On Trump

OpenMind

This looks interesting.

Alberto Gonzalez: Whitaker Appointment "Confounds Me"

"Nationalism" and Trump and Macron

It's hard to tell what people are arguing about when they argue about nationalism. Trump says he's for it, Macron against it. If anyone actually knows what's going on, please lemme know. I tentatively guess that Trump's thinking of nationalism as it's opposed to some fairly extreme version of internationalism that takes organizations like the EU or even the UN to be paradigms for the future, and hopes to weaken/undermine national sovereignty. Whereas it seems that Macron is thinking of nationalism as patriotism gone wrong, and associating it with something like foreign policy "realism"...which, so far as I can tell, is basically ethical egoism writ large. And it's associated with one natural interpretation of "America first." This seems to be supported by Macron's emphasis on moral obligations that trump national prudence.
   These sorts of public, less-formal disagreements tend, IMO, to be matters of emphasis--haggling over smallish differences. Does Macron want to see the nation-state (or, depending on what you think that means, just: the state) wither away, to be replaced by EUs? And, ultimately, something UN-like? I guess I doubt it...but the Europeans are weird, so maybe. Does Trump want...I dunno...whatever Trump is supposed to want? Needless to say, the left is hyperventilating with the effort of making him a massively racist antisemite, a white/ethno-nationalist, and everything else bad...so they leap to corresponding conceptions of nation, nationalism and America-first-y-ism. I've heard people say that Trump is, if anything, a civic nationalist, which seems plausible--certainly more plausible than the ridiculous claim that he's a white nationalist...which really is a completely different kind of thing anyway.
Read more »

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Whitaker's Installation Is Illegal "And Anything [He] Does, Or Tries To Do, In That Position Is Invalid"

JFC

Hate Crime Hoax At K-State: Second Time In Two Years

WaPo: No Way Whitaker Should Be Running Justice

link
   Andrew McCarthy defends the other side.
   Rosenstein calls Whitaker "a superb choice"...but he's not holding up a copy of today's newspaper, so we don't know when he actually said it, nor even whether he's still with us...as opposed, say, to "vacationing in the Balkans." But, seriously, Rosenstein's judgment has to matter, no?
   Though I'm not seeing any even vaguely plausible way to get around that bit about how the Muslims and th' jooz and th' godless infidels shouldn't be federal judges.
   Though I'm under the impression that the Post is full of shit when it comes to Marbury v. Madison. Since when is that decision beyond criticism? Didn't Felix Frankfurter famously criticize it? I'm under the impression that it's a rather controversial decision. Counterpoint, obvs.: theoretically, yes...but keep that shit in law school, yo...don't appoint an AG who criticizes it. Counter-counterpoint: I don't understand how any of this works.
  Anyway, another hilarious week on So You Think You Can President...
  801 days.