Thursday, December 14, 2017

Formulating Stronger Arguments For PC / SJ Conclusions

I've been thinking about how to do this off-and-on for quite awhile...though never with sufficient diligence.
   The relevant sector of the left tends to employ shoddy concepts and terminology (e.g. 'privilege,' 'rape culture'), and rely on crappy forms of reasoning (wild leaps of interpretation, covert redefinition of terms, outright textbook fallacies (e.g. ad hominems are really popular over there)). Also their background philosophical views are a disaster. But sometimes, I think, there are stronger arguments that can be made for some of their conclusions.
   For example, the main actual PC arguments about transgenderism are a mess, typically relying on some unsupportable premises about "social construction" and whatnot... But a (long) while back it occurred to me that you might make a stronger (and more liberal) case based on privacy rights: what business is it of yours, after all, what's between my legs? If I want to keep that under wraps, that should be up to me. And being forced to choose a restroom forces me to reveal information that I don't want to reveal. We already acknowledge that private parts are private in many ways...so what about an argument that says that I ought to be free to conceal information about the general nature of my junk? This argument employs a well-established and sane liberal (in the broad sense) principle, and doesn't require wild metaphysical flights of fancy. It probably won't get you the conclusion that others can be coerced into complying with non-standard pronoun demands. But it at least brings some of the relevant arguments into the realm of reason.
   There's more...but grading's afoot.

Did Climate Change Make Harvey Worse?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Matt Welch: Who's Ready For Some Trillion-Dollar Republican Deficits?

Oh yeah...now I remember why I can't stand these guys...

The Volokh Conspiracy Moves To Reason

Whelp, the Post just lost one of its best features.

Judith Butler Argues For Additional Limits On Freedom Of Speech

This is terrible.
I tried...I really tried...to read that thing dispassionately. But it's just plain crap.
Butler just isn't very good. Her fame is out of all proportion to her actual ability and the quality of her work.
I'm in grading hell, so I'm going to resist the urge to go through that thing in detail.

Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate Seat; Roy Moore Does Not Concede

link
We dodged a bullet...but it shouldn't have been this hard.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cameron Harwick: Worry About Piety Contests, Not "Virtue Signaling"

Interesting. "Piety contests" is a pretty great term for what we see on the PC left right now, I'd say.

Is Climate Change Causing CA Wildfires?

Seems like the most likely answer is probably not...and that's what this post argues.

Rigor and Evidence = "White Male Heterosexual Privilege"

In engineering, no less.
   I think it's ok for scholarly types to explore stupid ideas. But there can be too much of a good thing. Also, it's bad to confuse a stupid idea you're exploring for purely intellectual reasons with...something else. If you're seriously panicked that you might be a brain in a vat, you're doing it wrong. Ditto if you're seriously suggesting abandoning intellectual rigor for gender correctness. Sadly, such activist pseudo-scholars seem to be perfectly sincere about what they're saying.
   Then, of course, there's this problem: the tidal wave of craziness is always always always pushing exactly the same ideas in exactly the same direction. It's like they've found an exploit in the university: academic freedom allows me to push my crackpot politics and call it scholarship.
   Well, it does. But you shouldn't. It's like using your academic position to pimp your personal business, or your favored religion. In fact, it's worse.
   But all that aside: it's just goddamn dumb.
   And: ask yourself: do you want to drive over a bridge built by an "engineer" educated in a program that abandoned the ideas of rigor and evidence in favor of political correctness?  Not that you didn't ask yourself that already.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How Nature Says "Do Not Touch"

Here's an unmistakable warning sign: using the "word" 'transmisogynoir' unironically.

Also, y'know...

Trump Accusers Renew Sexual Assault Allegations

In my very fallible opinion, a fair number of such allegations are probably false--in general. Not half. Maybe not a quarter. I don't know. But probably a significant percentage.
   These women I am inclined to believe. They just strike me as very credible, FWIW.
   And, oh, yeah...Trump admitted it on tape.
   So there's that.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fordham Campus "Safe Space" Coffee Shop Ejects Republicans

Behold, an "inclusive" environment.

Good Summary of Peirce's "Detached Thoughts On Vitally Important Topics"

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Jerry Brown: Trump Lacks "Fear Of The Lord"

Whelp, I'm not even going to say anything about this:
   California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) says President Trump's stance on climate change demonstrates that he does not appear to fear the "wrath of God" or have any regard for the "existential consequences" of his environmental policies.
   “I don’t think President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility ... this is such a reckless disregard for the truth and for the existential consequences that can be unleashed,” Brown said in an interview on CBS's "60 Minutes," which is set to air on Sunday.

Occasional Peirce Quote

"...the purpose of signs--which is the purpose of thought--is to bring truth to expression." (2.444)

Uri Harris: "White Woman Tears: Critical Theory On Lindsay Shepherd"

This guy Uri Harris is pretty good. I've said a lot of this stuff here before...but he's saying it where it counts. Or counts more anyway. Sadly, I'm sure that Salon and Teen Vogue and such places have hundreds or thousands of times the readership of Quillette...  Harris gets some stuff wrong...but everybody gets some stuff wrong. Overall, he's right on the damn money.
   To make a point I've made many times: political correctness / "social justice" has an activist/political wing and an intellectual wing. The intellectual wing is a kind of mishmash of bad Continental philosophy and literary theory, mostly: postmodernism, poststructuralism, and critical theory. It's always been that way. Well, for thirty years or so at least. In the paleo-PC era, postmodernism was kind of the most prominent of the three Continental views. Today, in the neo-PC era, critical theory is the frontman.
   Anyway, the combination of shitty philosophy and shitty, aspiring totalitarian politics is dangerous in the extreme, as I've said about a million times now. Also anyway, here's a shitty quote from a shitty person who accepts the shitty philosophy and shitty politics of neo-PC, quoted by Harris:
  Shepherd seems almost willfully blind to the ways by which speech acts, including the loaded history of white women tears, can indeed, incite physical and verbal violence. […] Others, myself included, who reached out to her to highlight the way in which historically rooted theatrics of white tears were mobilized to ultimately dismiss an untenured professor of colour, she dismissed and lampooned these allegations, questioning the basis of claims that she might be transphobic or racist. […] It’s true that Laurier did a rather poor job of handling all of this, but I do think they threw an untenured professor of colour under the bus to avoid media scrutiny. His only mistake was comparing Jordan Peterson to someone who committed genocide, when in reality, he is better compared to someone who denies genocide ever happened.
   Yeah...she's saying that Shepherd bullied her professors...mostly because she cried during the meeting...at which she herself was being grilled by, essentially, crazy totalitarians...I've linked to the recording before.
   These people are insane.

On 'Political Correctness' and 'Social Justice': You Can't Make Something Bad Good By Calling It 'Good'

That's basically the whole thought. The term 'political correctness' is said to have started out as an in-joke among Marxists about Marxist True Believers who were willing to say or even bring themselves to believe even the most obviously false bits of Marxist dogma. But the paleo-PCs adopted the term as their own--I mean...correctness is good, after all...
   But of course political correctness was insane, and it went back to its original meaning (roughly: fucking crazy) among everyone but crazy leftists (and the liberals who, temporarily, supported them) almost immediately. And now the neo-PCs...who are just turbo-charged PCs...won't touch it. In fact, it's dogma even on the comparatively-more-centrist progressive left that there's no such thing as PC. It's a total myth, you see! Totally made up by conservatives! I've held forth about such PC denialism in past posts, but am too lazy to look 'em up... But anyway: political correctness was and is wrong and bad...and calling it 'correctness' can't change that.
   To use one of their more specific neologisms as an example: it's like trying to replace 'crippled' with 'handicapped' with 'differently-abled' (an actual term of the old PC left...one of their favorites). But being handicapped is bad. Ask anyone who's handicapped... No sane person thinks that the choice between having normal use of all your limbs and being a quadriplegic is a coin-toss decision. No matter what word you use for being handicapped, that word is eventually going to take on a negative valence. Words for bad things take on bad valences. There's no way for them to refer to something bad without doing so.
   Anyway, the new term for PC is, of course, "social justice." But political correctness is bad, and calling it "social justice" won't make it any better. Eventually that term, too, will come to mean, more or less: fucking crazy.
   The terminological valence point is a fairly obvious one, I think. I've read Steven Pinker making it, too, somewhere. But I saw it on my own--as have lots of people. In one form or another, it was part of public discussions during the paleo-PC era.
   Anyway, there's that for what it's worth.

PC Left Bullies A Woman To Death For Refusing To Have Sex With Someone

August Ames was actress who made pornographic videos. (Though, for the record, I myself am unfamiliar with her oeuvre.) She was apparently working for a company who tried to to trick her into making a video with a male who also makes gay porn. Her objection was a purely prudential one: for health-related reasons, she (apparently like many other women in her industry) didn't work with guys who make gay porn. (Though it doesn't matter why she didn't want to do it; all that matters is that she didn't. Funny how consent goes out the window when there's some way to spin an action as un-PC...) The Twitter mob decided she was "homophobic" (a stupid word, but I guess it's the one we're stuck with; a mongrel of Greek and Latin roots, for one thing...for another, it's typically used to indicate an aversion, not a fear.) She herself was bisexual, as she made clear...but this didn't matter. The harassment continued. She hanged herself because she was so distraught by the accusation, and the badgering. 
    This is political correctness, distilled into one of its clearer forms.

Glenn Greenwald: The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle In Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Hppened

The title's hyperbolic. And I don't like Greenwald, nor trust him. But he's right about the media's complete lack of objectivity about Trump and Russia:
   ...this type of recklessness and falsity is now a clear and highly disturbing trend – one could say a constant – when it comes to reporting on Trump, Russia and WikiLeaks. I have spent a good part of the last year documenting the extraordinarily numerous, consequential and reckless stories that have been published – and then corrected, rescinded and retracted – by major media outlets when it comes to this story.
   All media outlets, of course, will make mistakes. The Intercept certainly has made our share, as have all outlets. And it’s particularly natural, inevitable, for mistakes to be made on a highly complicated, opaque story like the question of the relationship between Trump and the Russians, and questions relating to how WikiLeaks obtained DNC and Podesta emails. That is all to be expected.
   But what one should expect with journalistic “mistakes” is that they sometimes go in one direction, and other times go in the other direction. That’s exactly what has not happened here. Virtually every false story published goes only in one direction: to be as inflammatory and damaging as possible on the Trump/Russia story and about Russia particularly. At some point, once “mistakes” all start going in the same direction, toward advancing the same agenda, they cease looking like mistakes.
   No matter your views on those political controversies, no matter how much you hate Trump or regard Russia as a grave villain and threat to our cherished democracy and freedoms, it has to be acknowledged that when the U.S. media is spewing constant false news about all of this, that, too, is a grave threat to our democracy and cherished freedom.

Yet Another Over-hyped Journalistic Trump-Russia Dud

Looks like yet another absolutely conclusive proof that Trump is literally Stalin turned out to be a dudski. It's...as if there's some kind of...pattern here...or something...

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Junior Claims Attorney-Client Privilege Because There Was A Russian Attorney In The Room

IANAL...but that sounds like a stupid--hence probably desperate--argument.