Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Newsweek: "How Murderer Charles Manson And Donald Trump Used Language To Gain Followers"

Used language you say?! Why...come to think of it...Trump and Hitler both used language, too! And Trump and Stalin both used microphones! And Trump and Genghis Khan both breathed air...so...a pattern emerges...
   But at least:
Smaller is clear that he does not believe President Donald Trump is similar to the convicted killer, or that their followers have any shared beliefs or characteristics, but he did say we can look to the current president to see how language is used to form a bond with followers.
But the idea in the article seems to be that both sets of followers are psychologically defective, and Trump and Manson are both good manipulators. This effort to take it back once it's been said doesn't impress me.
   Then there's basically my favorite part:
Smaller doesn’t have specifics on what Manson may have told followers, but said cult leaders may say things like...
   Some this crap is the fault of sensationalistic headline-writers. But not all of it.
   TBF there's a point or two in the article that isn't entirely lame...but they seem pretty stock to me.

[Also: not enough to just compare Trump to Charles Manson...but to murderer Charles Manson. Because of all the Charles Mansons out there I guess.]

Monday, November 20, 2017

ESO Observations Show First Pictures Of An Interstellar Asteroid

The PC/SJ Appeal To Unsafety

One of the main weapons in the neo-PC arsenal is the assertion that any expression contrary to PC orthodoxy makes members of PC-favored groups "unsafe." This bit of obvious bullshit shows up in nearly all of their arguments. This nonsense needs to be addressed and slapped down in a general way, and bullshit must be called on it whenever it rears its ugly head. In its most absurd form, politically incorrect expression is itself said to constitute violence against PC-favored groups. So, for example, if I say [a] "men cannot become women," or [b] "races are natural kinds," or [c] "contemporary feminism is usually wrong," I thereby commit acts of violence against various groups high up in the progressive stack. This sort of argument is patent nonsense and, as such, is less dangerous than the other, significantly less (but still extremely) absurd versions. Though, honestly, it doesn't get shot down half as much as it ought to.
   A less-absurd version of the argument seems to go like this: saying things like [a]-[c] endangers members of PC-favored groups because...for some unspecified reason...this makes people (presumably evil white alt-right dudebros with their collars popped) more likely to physically attack members of PC-favored groups. Utterly absurd...but infinitely less absurd than the disagreement  constitutes violence version of the argument. Rather than being incoherent, this version is merely dumb. Its conclusion is entirely unsupported. It's false is what I'm getting at. Basically everyone the PC left fears already knows [a]-[c]. There's no reason to think that saying them is going to provoke evilwhitemen to attack. There's certainly no empirical evidence for the claim.
   Another merely-stupid-but-not-incoherent version of the argument seems to go like this: hearing things like [a]-[c] makes members of  PC-favored groups feel unsafe. (so that's a big shift; it's not actually a version of the argument above.) Now, to some extent pretending to feel unsafe is obviously a put-on. It's a tactic. It's bullshit. However, I myself don't doubt that more ardent social justice warriors have basically learned to be fairly adept at conjuring up something akin to actual fear. They're already hysterical and irrational, and particularly susceptible to groupthink and delusions. They're typically fairly entitled, so they may have no actual experience of fear with which to compare their manufactured quasi-fear. So, though mostly it's a pose, I think there's a bit of truth in it. Of course that kind of fear shouldn't concern us. I can't argue that you don't get to say anything merely because I have a weird ability to conjure fear in myself. Some kind of reasonable person standard has to be operant.
   Anyway, I've got the flu or the plague or something, so I'm not going to go back and fix all that up. But the main point is important: the neo-PCs lean so heavily on some version of this bogus appeal to unsafety that the argument needs to be addressed more directly and more often.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown: Ben Shapiro Should Be Punched For Not Believing That "Transwomen" Are Women

I like Elizabeth Nolan Brown (not that I know her personally), and everybody makes mistakes. But this nonsense really has to stop. "Transwomen" aren't women; they're men who represent themselves as women. It's an open-and-shut case. Some argue that we should humor them--that we should go along with the charade. I disagree--but the arguments there are at least worth discussing.
   But this isn't really a disagreement about whether or not they're actually women; I doubt that anyone outside the most groupthinky women's studies department honestly believes that they are. These disagreements (as somebody...Jonathan Haidt maybe?) says: these issues become symbolic. Affirming that "transwomen" are women is almost always, I'd guess, a bit of virtue signaling. And/or a  way of proclaiming allegiance to a certain tribe. Only the most pomo-addled Butlerian feminist really thinks that men can become women by putting on dresses and whatnot. To confuse so-called transwomen with actual women is to confuse womanhood with femininity. "Transwomen" would less-confusingly be called "transmen." But getting people to say "transwomen" is a beachhead. It's a station on the way to getting them to say 'women.' (Though, of course, convincing people to change the meaning of 'woman' won't make men into women either, any more than getting them to use 'dog' to mean cat will turn dogs into cats.)
   Standard disclaimer: people should be able to look and dress how they want. But it's downright creepy. as. hell. that so many people have allowed themselves to be badgered into insisting that night is day basically because they don't want people to say that they're mean. Or, worse: conservative. And, of course, if you don't go along, you're harassed by the shrieking PC mob. And now even ENB thinks you should be punched.
   But freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.

McMaster: Trump Is Dumb

Well, I can't even feign objective detachment on this one. It's not exactly a state secret or anything.
(I didn't realize that McMaster was a Tar Heel with a Ph.D. in history.)

Vice Re: Lindsay Shepherd "Transgender Pronoun" Inquisition: "Jordan Peterson Is Causing Problems At Another University Now"

Click judiciously: Vice is such a sack of shit site that they've had to block archiving...somehow. Can't be that hard to get around, but I haven't looked into it yet.
   The lame-ass author, one Drew "Lame-Ass" Brown, does come down on the right side of the Shepherd/free speech issue (on principle? Or because she's a woman?), but he manages to blame the totalitarian actions of WLU on Peterson (who teaches elsewhere). He (Brown) also writes the following crap: 
For the record: Jordan Peterson is a transphobic YouTube crank with basically nothing interesting to say about free speech or gender expression, and who very obviously has no idea what any part of the phrase “post-modern neo-Marxist” means. He is a bad political and social thinker, and many of his ideas about gender roles are genuinely dangerous. (Tabatha Southey has already written his intellectual obituary by clocking him as “the stupid person’s idea of a smart person,” which is immediately obvious to anyone who listens to his awful honking voice for more than thirty seconds.)
It’s worth telling Shepherd to consider maybe issuing a content warning prior to making students listen to a sad-sack middle-aged man get upset that the public existence of non-binary people is an unreasonable infringement of his right to be an arch asshole.
Jesus Christ, where does Vice find these idiots? I mean, really? The centerpiece of his "intellectual obituary" is a rehashing of that stupid person / smart person line? That's just embarrassing. Oh, also: Peterson is "transphobic"! Boo, amirite? I mean, what kind of prejudiced asshole refuses to do as he's told? And the stuff in the second paragraph is just a lie. Peterson--like me--thinks such folk should be able to do as they please. He only--rightly--points out that others can't be forced to participate in their fantasy.

IMPORTANT: Excerpts From Secretly-Recorded Proceedings Against Canadian Graduate Student For Discussing Jordan Peterson's Transgender Pronoun Arguments In Class

I really think everyone should listen to this. (It's under ten minutes long.)
I think this is extremely important. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I worry that the fate of the Western intellectual tradition may hang in the balance.
(Via the indispensable Ph*l*s*phy M*t*f*r*m)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Welcome to reeducation 101:
   An Oxford college has become the first to introduce compulsory classes on “cultural appropriation” for students.
   Magdalen College will run the mandatory workshops for freshers starting from next year, where they will be taught about racism, institutional racism, cultural appropriation and implicit bias.
   It never occurs to these people that they might be pushing a bunch of theories. Nor that they might be wrong. It's God's mouth to their ear. And the PC left is never satisfied until indoctrination is mandatory. It's particularly funny/tragic that the implicit bias nonsense seems unlikely to survive the replicability crisis. But the progressive left is undeterred...

It's International Men's Day!

So...is this a thing or whatever?
   I mean, aside from finding everything like this silly...do we really need a day? Nobody's more willing to bash feminism and the PC left for bashing us than I am. But c'mon. We kinda basically run all the governments and businesses and stuff. I think that means we don't need a day.
   Also, I just don't feel any solidarity or whatever with other guys qua guys. I dunno. I don't and never have. Like...Go Team Penis! Or what? I just don't get it. In the battle of the sexes, I prefer to sneak off and try to score with the other team. Y'all are on you're own.

Jim Bakker: Buy My Emergency Cheesy Broccoli Or The Antichrist Will Eat Your Babies

Holy. Jesus.
When did this lunatic reappear?
'member all that stuff I've been saying about the left being crazier than the right? Yeah...about that...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trump's Judicial Appointee Had A Ghostbusting Hobby; The Washington Post And Its Commenters Freak Out

  So...there are legitimate grounds for criticizing this appointment--obviously. For example, Talley has never tried a case. To the layperson, this seems...y'know...really bad... And the ABA rated him unqualified.  (Conservatives respond that the ABA has a liberal bias; which wouldn't surprise me in the least...but I don't know anything about it.)

   But hyperventilating about his ghost-hunting hobby seems like BS to me.
   First, ghostbusting sounds like a blast. I'd totally do it. In fact, a bunch of us back in high school decided we were totally going to do it. (Though, as I recall, it didn't really progress much past a bit of lame chop socky training in the back yard...y'know...in case we encountered "cultists"...)
   Second, nine in ten Americans believe in God and souls and whatnot. Last I looked, there were exactly no openly atheistic senators or congressmen. How is it that Talley's views are supposed to be wildly less rational / less scientific / more outre than those? Because he's agnostic as to whether those souls or spirits or whatever show up in the world occasionally? Which, incidentally, about half of Americans believe. And how many people in the federal judiciary are similarly agnostic on this burning metaphysical issue of crucial political importance?
Read more »

Thursday, November 16, 2017

David Kopel at VC: Most Mass Shootings In Gun-Free Nations

Not exactly sure what to make of this argument off the top of my head...but you know how I like arguments that confirm my prejudices...

Person Who Coined Phrase "White Fragility" Is Risible, Racist Idiot

I'm shocked...shocked to find racism going on here

Will A New New Age Attend Postpostmodernism?

Last time the irrationalist Continental mish-mash (postmodernism, poststructuralism, critical theory, feminism, etc.) and its associated illiberal politics (called 'political correctness' at the time) was on the rampage, so was supernaturalism (crystal, chakras, etc...called "new age" stuff at the time).
   So: I wonder whether that'll happen again this time. Will a new new age attend postpostmodernism?

Broadcaster Accuses Al Franken of Sexually Assaulting Her

If she's lying, she's a virtuoso.

The Developing Sexual Harassment Apocalypse

Look: some sexual harassment accusations are false. Of this there can be no doubt. In fact, I suspect that a pretty hefty percentage of them are false. It's a fairly low-cost, more-or-less sure-fire, way to destroy someone's career / life.
   But there doesn't seem to be any way around the conclusion that this shit happens a lot. And a little is way too damn much.
   Nobody that I'm at all close to gives any sign that they do this sort of thing. In fact, they give every sign of not being the sort of person who'd tolerate it for a second. If that's the kind of guy they are, they do a damn fine job of hiding it. And also of not revealing any sign of such assholery in the rest of their personality, either. But obviously my friends aren't going to be a representative sample of dudes. But there are all sorts of guys I've known-but-not-liked that I'd not put it past.
   At any rate, this is all complicated by lots of things. First, that most guys don't do this. So a relatively few guys are victimizing a lot of women. And those guys are often pretty good at evading detection. So most guys don't see this stuff, and can't help but be somewhat skeptical. Also, I think that, since most guys don't do it, when they hear stories of accusations, they can't help but think about themselves being accused--and so the prospect of a false accusation is close to the forefront of their mind. And, again: there probably are fair number of false accusations. And add to that that the radical, vocal vanguard of contemporary feminism is pushing a theory according to which false accusations are good--first they enthusiastically push overly-broad conceptions of sexual harassment and rape, thus intentionally classifying non-harassers as harassers and non-rapists as rapists; second, they deny that false accusations are real and insist that they don't matter.
   But, be all that as it may, there still seems to be an enormous amount of this stuff going on. I really just can't believe it. Where the hell are these guys coming from? Did they not have parents? My folks weren't what you'd call feminists, but they'd have never stopped beating my ass if I'd've ever done something of the kind. And I mean: basically regardless of how old I was. And it never had to be said explicitly, any more than I had to be told explicitly not to commit arson or something. Jesus Christ. This all really is mind-boggling to me.

RIP Academic Freedom: Swedish "National Secretariat For Gender Research" Mandates "Intersectional" and "Norm-Critical" Course Content; Also Judith Butler

This is the single creepiest thing I've ever read about leftist totalitarianism in the Academy.
   On top of everything else, Judith Butler is absolute crap. Well...so is most of the rest of the stuff about "gender" (which term means almost nothing anymore). Honestly, Butler's stuff in particular is basically jibberish. There really are courses of study that make people dumber. And I'm not talking about just teaching them falsehoods. I mean: altering the way they think for the worse. And the sort of highly-politicized ridiculousness that has taken over in many American humanities and social sciences--i.e. the sort of thing the Swedes are making mandatory--is that sort of thing. It teaches students to engage in a kind of improvisational free-form interpretation which aims to minimize clarity and logical rigor, aiming always at pre-determined leftist conclusions. Oh: and you gotta drop the right names along the way (Butler, Foucault, and the rest of the usual suspects...).
   Neo-Lysenkoism is a genuine threat to our intellectual future. It's pretty likely that people indoctrinated with such postpostmodern gender nonsense gave us rape crisis hysteria, the inaccurately-named "'yes'-means-yes" policies, the "Dear Colleague" letter and Title IX totalitarianism...and, well, the rest of campus PC-left insanity.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sexual Harassment And Collective Guilt: NYT Edition

Sanity's anathema to contemporary public deliberation and discussion. Sexual harassment's a problem. It'd be really good if we could have less of it. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not an easy problem to fix. We've already got some terrible solutions in place--e.g. policies that make a "hostile environment" completely subjective, purely in the eye of the beholder, entirely a matter of ungrounded feelings, unconstrained by reasonable person standards. That's just about the worst imaginable response. 
   And now we've got: collective guilt for all men because of the actions of some. Sometimes that's said explicitly; other times it's just suggested. The latter is actually worse. 
   Oh, and don't forget:  no woman has an obligation to speak up, as she may face retaliation for doing so. All men, however, have an absolute obligation to speak up...and must be made to fear the repercussions of not doing so. Without double standards, these people would have no standards at all.
   Thing is, you could say something reasonable about all this; you don't absolutely have to be crazy. Though at this point, I think we have to admit that going to crazy extremes is like crack to the progressive left. They almost can't even be blamed for it. They just can't help themselves.
   It's more than understandable that women don't immediately and always go public with such accusations. These guys are sneaky shits; they know what they're doing. They survive on plausible deniability and the threat of retaliation. And I think that men do have a special obligation to intervene--preferably by knocking a m*ther f*cker on his ass--if they see this sort of thing. But I think this, in part, for decidedly un-PC reasons: men, in general, do have something of a special obligation to defend women. Feminism invokes this intuition when convenient, eschewing its other implications. But I think we all know it's true. 
   But even aside from that: third-party interventions are good for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it's no longer he-said/she-said--now it's two to one. For another, third parties are often more objective, hence their word matters more, evidentially speaking, than that of either of the interested parties. So, yeah, people should intervene. Especially male people. (That is: the people formerly known as men...)
   However, we need to put our collective foot down about this we-want-men-to-be-afraid psychopathy. It's typical PC/progressive insanity, and it has to be slapped down with extreme prejudice. If liberal feminism existed it'd come down on such a line like the very fist of God. But these are the progressive left's true colors: it just doesn't have it in it to simply want the good. It can't manage to try to help women without using the opportunity to harm men. It really does have to be opposed by every reasonable means. 
   I refuse to believe that the only two options are tolerate harassment of women and use this as an opportunity to harm men. Again: this is about reasonable people of both sexes fighting against two insane extremes. It's not a complicated point.

Shep Smith Debunks The Uranium One Story; Fox Viewers Pissed

I haven't had time to do more than skim the news since the beginning of this semester...but this sure does sound like an open-and-shut case.
   Of course, if BenghaziBenghaziBenghazi has taught us anything, "open and shut" means: we might get away with a mere year of investigations.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

We're All Rape Culture Or Something; Something Something Patriarchy, Something Something All Men

Well this is idiotic.
   The progressive left really has gone off the rails. In terms of sheer delusional dumbness, it may very well be worse than the right at this point:
   The scope and the pervasiveness of this culture of abuse and our roles in perpetuating it—and not “our” as in men collectively but ourselvesspecifically—has resulted recently in a reflexive and unwieldy and messy and self-conscious excavation of memories, relationships and interactions: a digging that has intersecting intents. It’s reconciling with what you might have done—and might currently be doing—to prevent from doing it in the future. And well, it’s asking yourself, “How fucked up am I?” Which, expressed another way, is “Wait ... should I be worried about this avalanche too?”
   The answer, of course, is hell fucking yes. We are all complicit. We are all agents of patriarchy, and we’ve all benefitted from it. We are all active contributors to rape culture. All of us. No one is exempt. We all have investments in and take deposits out of the same bank. And we all need to accept and reconcile ourselves with the fact that, generally speaking, we are trash.
There's no reason to refute something this stupid in detail. It's just the same old PC bullshit slightly recycled and pointed at a slightly new topic. There's no "rape culture," there's not "patriarchy," we're not all guilty. You asshats might be guilty of doing or promoting or protecting this bullshit, but I'm not. And if you are, then yeah, you're trash. But the vast majority of us aren't. You may benefit from it, but most of us don't. Jesus. You have to be flat-out ******* stupid to believe this nonsense. Honestly. When you hit this kind of stratospheric level of shitheadness, I'm not going to even dignify it with a response. It basically refutes itself. Anybody who's not deluded by the cult of PC can see that this isn't even vaguely true. Not that this sector of the left cares about that anymore.
   Think about what drives the left's compulsion to selectively employ collective guilt...their eagerness to / obsession with assigning collective guilt to men (and "the whites," of course...) It really has become the flip side of the worst part of the right.
   And you know what? The progressive left deserves Trump. Hell, if I had to choose between them and him...I'd probably choose him. He's considerably less stupid, less delusional, and less morally rotten. Think about how scary that is.

Does India Want Out Of The Pak FA Program?

Kinda looks that way.

Drum: Sessions Is Right About Violent Crime Spike

Some on the left (e.g. the Brennan Center) have been denying this--e.g. arguing that it's isolated a few big cities. E.g. Moskos has been all over that, though. 
   The obvious hypothesis is: the Ferguson effect. Is that it? Maybe. Maybe not. This is a question we should be able to answer...but IMO political bias is typically more powerful than scientific methods. We could, theoretically, figure it out...but we probably won't. Because figuring it out would require political objectivity and intellectual honesty.