Saturday, July 30, 2016

Trump Is A Dangerous Idiot: "Lock Her Up" Edition

There is something deeply wrong with this guy.
   I've defended him against unfair attacks. I'm in no way on the crazy train that tries to pain him as the devil incarnate...
   But the guy is a parody of a fucking insane demagogue.
   The combination of the "lock her up" stuff--and the suggestion he makes at a point that doesn't show up in the video that he might try to jail Obama and others should he win--absolutely rules him out of contention. Again, he's overtly kidding...perhaps even kidding on the square, to deploy that handy concept again. But even if he's completely kidding, you don't get to kid about that. Kidding about that shows that you cannot be considered for high office.
   Then the bullshitting about e-mail and couriers and fucking carrier pigeons or whatever... Innocuous as that mindless bullshit might be, given the fact that it is totally divorced from anything resembling reality... That kind of lunatic appeal to some kind of nostalgia...just seems to me to be one really clear snapshot of the bullshit that runs through the guy and, I suspect, basically constitutes who he is. It reminds me of that candidate in Stephen King's The Dead Zone, standing on top of a parade float ranting about this and than, and saying, of nuclear waste, while thrusting his arm toward the sky, "Gonna shoot that stuff up to the moon!" (note: not exact quote undoubtedly.). The mindless enthusiasm for stupid solutions to complicated problems, drenched in loony enthusiasm with the aim of whipping up those who know no better... A paradigm of demagoguery. This is why Plato feared democracy...
   Then there's the suggestion that, somehow, he's been too nice a guy up to this point... Just a little icing on the crack cake...

Clinton +6 After Conventions

Better...but how can this bloody well be so close?
It's like we're running against Mr. Burns's half-wit nephew and still only winning by 6.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

One Explanation Of Demographic Gaps: Simpson's Paradox

Lee Jussim, at the great and revered Heterodox Academy.

[Title changed]

Behold, The Loony Left

Honestly, could these people be any more revolting?
   What is it about them that's so loathsome?
   I'm not saying that they're more dangerous than, say, the KKK or the Enron crowd... I'm just saying that they're more repulsive, though I find it hard to articulate why. I think it has something to do with the combination of their gender studies degrees together with their attempts to look like some kind of post-apocalyptic horde from Mad Max. The woman doing the yoga bit was in some ways my favorite...but there so much there to choose from...
   There are claims that there wasn't actually much of this, but I don't know whether to believe them. There's also this, but it covers much of the same footage.

Trump: Russia Hacking Comments Were Sarcastic

Er um...obvs
   That doesn't function as a defense against Aa's suggestion that I'm reaching for the worst interpretation of liberals' words in response to Trump's shenanigans.
   I'd respond: interpreting an obviously sarcastic comment as serious is a pretty clear case of what I'm talking about.
   Imagined Dem counter-response: yeah, but we're saying that no candidate for president should even joke about something like that.
   My response: that sounds a lot like the GOP objection to Kerry's "what we need is regime change at home" comment--and I'm willing to take that as a clear case of permissible humor.
   Imagined Dem counter-response: no, it's more like Reagan's "we start bombing in five minutes" comment.
   My response: eh, seems like a stretch to me...
   Imagined Dem response: Joking about colluding with a maniacal autocratic regime with respect to a type of attack they actually conduct against us routinely...that's what you're saying is a stretch?
   My response: Well, it sounds bad when you say it like that...
   Imagined Dem response: you damn straight it sounds bad.
   My response: it's still unfair to accuse him of requesting more hacking. He didn't do that.
   Imagined Dem response: you are so right about that and we are sorry


Trump Didn't "Urge Russia To Hack Clinton's E-Mail"

   That headline disappeared from CNN, so I can't link to it, and it's only approximate. So quotes are a cheat. So I cheated in the title. But that's damn close to their original headline. ( seems to do that a lot--put up a salacious headline on their home page that doesn't appear on the story page, and then take it down later.)
   But anyway, Trump also isn't doing what this headline says he's doing:
"Trump Calls On Russia To Find Hillary Clinton's e-Mails".  That's the NPR headline that the Google reveals...but that also seems to have later been changed.
   Rather, it was basically a joke. Russia hacked your server? Ha ha hope they found those 20k e-mails you "lost" LOLZ.
   Liberals are losing their minds over this guy. And, as per usual, they are making mountains out of molehills, stretching for the worst interpretation of his words. Yeah, yeah, conservatives do this shit too. But liberals are the ones who elevate it to an art form.
   This does remind me a bit of the faux outrage over Kerry's "what we need is regime change at home" quip. That was pretty funny, and I was sad that he apologized for it and dropped the line. This Trump stuff is way worse than that, because it's a kind of play on suggestions of collusion with Russia. And that's kinda not cool.
   But look: the real question is: is there any collusion with Russia, or any support coming from Putin? If the answer is in the affirmative, then that's what matters. If the answer is in the negative, then a joke's a joke.
   Dems are just playing this shitty game...just like the GOP...but it's damn stupid and annoying. It's a distraction from the real issues here. I wouldn't be surprised if Russia were trying to torpedo HRC's campaign and help out Trump. What could strike a bigger blow against America than that buffoon as president?
   But Trump's joke is just not really what ought to be at issue here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Penny Dreadful !!!

   JQ and I started watching Penny Dreadful, and are about halfway through the second season and really, really digging it.
   You've got to be willing to be social justiced every couple of episodes...shamelessly and eye-roll-inducingly social justiced, in fact. And the sex scenes...well...prepare for just the opposite of the ones you're probably looking least up to halfway through season 2...but hope springs eternal! In fact, even the sex scenes thus far have mostly been "social justice" (note: has nothing to do with actual justice) bludgeons... Needless to say, that kind of crap typically doesn't strengthen a show. At any rate, you have been warned...
   So anyway, except for the occasional social justicing and occasional infelicities with respect to dialog, it's pretty great. In fact, I say (on one viewing only part-way through the series) that the occasional small writing problems only stand out as they do because the writing is so often so good.
   Anyway, super-cool show thus far, but I hear that it's dead after three seasons, which makes me super sad.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bryanne Young: Intimacies of Rock: Ethnographic Considerations of Posthuman Performativity in Canada's Rocky Mountains

   The Political Hat discusses some of this thing.
   I can't stand this sort of thing, as I've said, and I think it's a scandal that it's taken over so much of the humanities and social sciences (and the jargon-swept no-man's land (as it were) in between). But maybe the thing is to think of this stuff like a kind of poetry or speculative literature. It doesn't aim so much at truth/accuracy as it aims at articulating impressionistic snapshots to get people to glimpse things in different ways.
   I mean...I'm still inclined to think that the ways we're being encouraged to glimpse things are bullshitty ways. And I think this stuff masquerades as actual philosophy; it intentionally gives the impression of trying to say true and important things about the world. And I don't think you can build whole sectors of disciplines that purport to tell us about the world on bad poetry... But I dunno. This kind of bullshit just flips my switches, and it's very difficult for me to see much of any worth in it.
   tl;dr: word salad

Monday, July 25, 2016

DNC Night 1: Pretty Good, No?

   Not too bad, I say. Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, and Bernie were all pretty great I thought. Bernie did a great job of matter-of-factly taking care of business (like defusing some of the DNC e-mail kerfuffle). (And: ugh. So. Many. Crying. Girls.) Heck, Elizabeth Warren was mostly even o.k.  I thought Michelle Langford was really good and provided us with a case that could really make the most out of the Trump "University" story...but the damned Dems wouldn't shut up and listen to her. In their defense, they seemed pretty stoked by Booker's speech.
   I'm a little worried about this "free" tuition (i.e. somebody else pays for it--probably me) scheme Bernie announced...but it's not really going to happen, so I'm not that worried.
   All-in-all, a non-disastrous night one of the DNC.
   Congratulations Democrats!
   You have successfully impersonated an organized political party.

Cory Booker Hits a Homer

I didn't agree with absolutely everything he said, but I really like that guy, and thought he did a great job. I think he'd have been just as good or better than Kaine as a VP candidate...but I guess it's pretty obvious that you gotta have a white dude on the ticket if you're trying to elect the first female POTUS.

How Social Justice Works


(via r/socialjusticeinaction...sadly becoming a shittier and Trumpier subreddit by the day...)

A Trump-Putin Alliance?

The Mystic was just expressing similar concerns to me this morning.
He was worried that they edge over into conspiracy theory territory...which is...the thought to have if you are not crazy...  But not every conspiracy theory is false...

Dems Selling Government Positions?

It em...kinda looks that way.
I knew big doners got stuff. Not sure how much worse this is than what we basically already knew about such things. And I presume the GOP conducts business similarly... (tu quoque alert... But I think such arguments can be sound when making a comparative choice, as between Dems and the GOP.)
Still...having it thrown right out on the seems pretty damn bad, doesn't it?

CNN: Trump 44 - Clinton 39

Convention bounce.
We'll be told not to panic...but given the disastrous outcome in play, it's hard advice to follow. It's kinda like being told that there's now a better-than-even chance that that giant asteroid is going to hit the Earth.

DNC E-Mails

Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Out

Bad choice from the beginning IMO

Sunday, July 24, 2016

NYT: Anti-Border-Fence Propaganda

Jeez this sort of thing is just amazing to me.
tl;dr: we found four people in Arizona who said that they didn't think that border fences would work. (Implicit conclusion of story: border fences won't work.)

   Seriously, this isn't just BS, it's BS that's part of a campaign of BS. (This is the sort of thing I expect that conservatives are complaining about when they complain about the liberal media.)
   Since we all have to ante up with our liberal cred to be taken seriously: I am not exactly for border fences. But I'm also not against them. What I'm against is the rabid liberal opposition to such a fence. My view is: we should build fences along the border were and only where they're going to be efficient / cost-effective. In the places where fences will help, build them. Where they won't, don't. I'm led to believe that they'd be cost-effective in some places, but not in others.
   Liberal opposition to border fences began with outrage and talk of symbolism (IT'S JUST LIKE THE BERLIN WALL!!!!111), and evolved from there. But the symbolism argument is crap. Two seconds of thought reveals why. And I refuse to explain it. Do the two seconds yourself if it's not immediately obvious to you.
   If it is permissible to have laws limiting immigration, then it is permissible to enforce those laws (humanely, of course). If it's permissible to enforce laws to keep people out, then it's permissible to use fences.
   And, in fact, I think that this is part of what's at the root of liberal opposition to border fences:  I've long believed (but sometimes questioned) that many liberals implicitly (or explicitly) accept an open borders position. Many liberals have a general orientation that is against border-enforcement of any kind: anti-fence, pro-sanctuary city, etc. etc. If a person leans consistently against enforcement of a law, eventually one must hypothesize that they're against the law itself.
   And another thing: I usually try to rise above rhetorical shenanigans, but I do think that people who are against fences tend to (a) say 'wall' instead of 'fence,' because it helps them invoke the Berlin Wall analogy, and (b) speak of a wall instead of walls (or a fence instead of fences) for roughly the same kind of reason.
   And furthermore: people in the story speak of drones and increased border patrols as if these measures and fences were mutually exclusive. Of course they aren't.
   Seems to me that, as with most problems, we have a relatively sane center with respect to this one, and two nutty extremes. The sane center recognizes that we need humane enforcement of just immigration laws. The nutty right wants to round up eleven million people and boot them out, and it has undeniable elements of racism. The nutty left opposes enforcement of immigration laws at almost every point, accuses everyone who disagrees with them of racism, and seems to strongly incline toward open borders.
   I say: stop making the fence question a political one. Leave it up to people who understand law enforcement on the border. It's a damn policy question. Treat it that way.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Post Editorial: Donald Trump Is A Unique Threat To American Democracy

This about sums it up IMO.
Though I suppose I might add: dangerously stupid con man with no understanding of what real life is like in the USA.

Free Inquiry vs. Social Justice at Brown

Friday, July 22, 2016

Progressives Pissed About Kaine

   I'm pretty meh on Kaine, but this makes me a bit more enthusiastic about him.
   He's a bit too religious for me to be very enthusiastic about him...though I do try not to hold people's religion against them if they make a real effort to keep it out of policy decisions. I'd like someone even centrist-er...but he'll do. And if he's pissing off the "progressives," then that's kind of a good sign by my lights.

Jerry Coyne On Milo's Twitter Ban

As I've said, Milo can go a bit too far sometimes.

Milo Permanently Banned From Twitter

(1) Twitter is idiotic
(2) Milo sometimes goes too far
(3) Some of Milo's fans are total shits
(4) Twitter is biased against conservatives; lefties can get away with much worse.

I don't have time to figure out what exactly happened.

Interpreting "Make America Great Again" As Racist: How The Left Descended Into An Intellectual Cesspool Of Bad Literary Criticism

"Make America Great Again"
So this presupposes:
(1) America was great at some point in the past
(2) America is not great now
It's also an exhortation, specifically:
(A) Make America great!
And there is a suggestion that:
(3) The way in which we are being exhorted to make America great is the way in which America used to be great. That is, though MAGA doesn't explicitly say that we should go back to being great in the way that we used to be great, that seems to be the suggestion.

It's a kind of article of faith in many parts of the left that this is racist.
Well, here's where the left's descent into crapitude comes in. The lefter you go, the more popular methods of reasoning adopted from shitty literary criticism become. One of the most popular methods is:
(M) Pick the most bigoted explanation/interpretation you can think of for anything anyone right of the left says; assert the explanation/interpretation as if it were incontrovertible fact.
So here's what they do: they think about all the features America used to have, they note the obvious fact that  one feature America used to have is that it was more racist than it now is, and they leap to the hypothesis that whoever says MAGA is saying it because they long for a more racist America. Do they really believe it's the right explanation? Or are they just making a rhetorical move in a tactical, political game? To make that distinction is to misunderstand the contemporary left. To think there's a distinction between seeking truth and seeking rhetorical victory is to be a retrograde, Western, phallogocentric Neanderthal.
Easy peasy.
There's the little problem that many people who pull this move also claim that American is not less racist than it used to be... But consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...*
Why not explain MAGA at least partially in terms of a generalized nostalgia of a kind shared by all sorts of people in all sorts of political parties all around the world? Or as a dopey, hollow, thinly-veiled way of saying "Obama sucks"? Well...again, to ask such questions is to fundamentally misunderstand the postpostmodern left.
Oh also: because all conservatives are racist, dummy.
Why do I have to keep explaining this stuff to you?

I'm sort of shooting from the hip here, as usual of late. Don't take that for more than what it is.

In case there should be any doubt about it: I hate Trump. Dude would be beneath my contempt if my contempt did not go so very, very far down into the vasty deep.

*Of course that's not the actual Emerson quote.

Christina Hoff Sommers: Does Philosophy Have A Woman Problem?

   She's great, and she's right.
   The preponderance of the available evidence currently available to us weighs heavily against the hypothesis that the sex differential in philosophy is mostly a result of sexism, a "hostile environment," etc. Thing is that PC/social justice types have taken over the APA and many of the loudest megaphones on the web. They take the sexism hypothesis as, basically, a given. And they are not interested in honestly evaluating that hypothesis. In typical PC fashion, to question the hypothesis is to be a bigot. It is verboten.
   I'm not sure how much of the blame goes to the PCs / SJWs in philosophy, and how much goes to right-thinking philosophers who refuse to stand up to them. Philosophy requires a certain degree of bravery of a non-physical kind. But I find that not all that many philosophers have much of it--at least when it comes to standing up to the left. They seem to be ok at standing up to the right...but, then the right has little power in universities. What they're bad at, anyway, is standing up to the anger and disapproval of the left. If arguments as weak as those coming from feminists and the PC left were coming from the right, philosophers would be piling on them absolutely mercilessly.
   I shouldn't have to add: of course philosophy isn't perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. But when we ignore the impressionistic interpretations of political partisans and look at actual numbers, the case for the centrality of the sexism hypothesis virtually evaporates.

Volokh Fact-Checks Politifact's Fact-Checking of Trump on Violent Crime Stats

   Well this is disturbing.
   I mean, it's disturbing that violent crime is on the rise...but I'm not talking about that right now. I've been puzzled by Trump's claims, so I finally went and checked them out, and came across the Volokh piece.
   Et tu, Politifact?
   I've run across some things in Politifact before that caused me to raise an eyebrow and wonder whether leftish bias was in play there, as in so many other places... I think Volokh is right, and that the PolitiFact post on this issue is wrong, and avoidably so.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

RNC Night 3 [4, Whatever]: The Crackening

It's downright creepy.
Had to stop watching Trumpo.
Will watch the rest tomorrow. 
I hate everything right now.

Trump: NATO Schmato

Intersexed Person Can't Get Passport

   Dana Zzyym is intersex(ed), genuinely neither male nor female and, as a result, cannot get a passport. Needless to say, that's unjust. It's not some evil thing the government has done--it's just that people haven't previously been sufficiently aware of this condition. But everybody is now. So the policy has to change.
   Note also that the problem here, contra the Post's headline, is not that Zzyym doesn't "identify" as male or female. The "identification" nonsense is...well...nonsense... The challenge Zzyym faces is that they're really, truly, as a matter of objective fact neither male nor female--i.e. of indeterminate sex. This isn't your standard-issue women's-and-gender-studies nonsense about "gender identity"... This is an object physical condition that affects some small percentage of the population. And, incidentally, the incoherent nonsense flying around about transgenderism isn't going to make things any easier on people like Zzyym.

FL Police Shoot (Black) Man Laying On The Ground With His Hands Up As He Tries To Help His Autistic Patient

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RNC 2016: Day 3: The Unhingening

I Don't Care About Melania Trump's Plagiarism

Should I?
   It's all bullshit anyway, the whole campaign is nonsense, bullshit and bluster from top to bottom... Somebody else obviously writes this shit, then another person trains them to read the teleprompter long as they can read a few words flashing in front of their eyes, they're good to go... So they lied and said she wrote it when it seemed to go over well, and then they said she didn't write it when that suited them. Mrs. Obama didn't seem to notice...she probably didn't write her speech either.
  I mean, tactically: sure, do whatever it takes to stop Trumpo's freak show. It's dumb that we're talking about this given all the insanity that the GOP speakers have been spewing... Lucifer? Really? And do these people actually believe that the Democrats are out to intentionally destroy the country? God, I hope it's just a rhetorical pose. But I have my doubts. They've come completely unhinged.
  Anyway, I guess you play the hand you're dealt. If the Dems can score points with this, then they should score 'em.
   I dunno. That's the way it seems to me.
   Good thing that there seem to be zero countries in the world that can rise above minimal rationality. If there were any, they'd probably eat our damn lunch.

Drum: Obama Is The Guy Who Made America Work Again

   Despite the GOP carpet-bombing the economy in an effort to fulfill their prophecy of a disastrous Obama presidency.

[fixed--thanks A.]

Clinton's Veep List: Kaine and Vilsack Replace Warren and Castro?

A relief, if true.
Kaine's a bit religious for my taste, but we could do a lot worse. Castro's an empty suit, and Warren is...well, Warren...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

RNC 2016: Day 2: The Crazening

Words, they fail me

Slate/Chase Strangio: No Such Thing As Male and Female Bodies: Possibly The Stupidest Article Ever To Appear On The Intertubes

This is complete idiocy.
   Basically everything in there is wrong, and demonstrably so. Well...actually I just skimmed most of it because it was completely idiotic and I have better things to do that read such crap... So maybe "Strangio" sneaks something non-false in there somewhere...but if so, I missed it.
   The core argument turns on the fallacy of the continuum, as do most such arguments--and as do most arguments for the conclusion that races are not real. I've discussed this many times, and I'm not going to do so again here. The main point though: real natural kinds have fuzzy boundaries. Pointing to fuzzy boundaries between the sexes in no way supports the claim that the sexes are not natural kinds. What it shows--all it shows--is that the person making the argument doesn't understand the bare minimum required to discuss the issue intelligently.
   One sign of hope: as usual, the comments absolutely savage this nonsense. It's an odd situation--perfectly cogent criticisms typically dominate the comments of such things (except in the very leftiest publications)...but nothing against the PC orthodoxy is ever published in those venues...
   It's appalling rto me that we see article after article in places like Slate (not exactly the Washington Post...but not exactly Salon or Jezebel either...) presenting patently invalid arguments for the patently false PC orthodoxy about transgenderism, while we see almost exactly zero articles presenting the very clear, obvious and decisive arguments against that orthodoxy. This smacks of brainwashing IMO. Of course it might not just be an editorial decision by Slate et al.--I'm sure that part of what's going on is that people are afraid to speak out against the left's orthodoxy about transgenderism. Anyone who does will, of course, be on the receiving end of the shrill, shrieky wrath of the academic and internet left...

You Won't Believe These Five Loony Moments From the RNC!!!

These people are bat-shit crazy.

More Polls To Make You Panic: NBC News: Clinton 46-Trumpo 45

I hate everything so much

RNC: Who Will Be Crazier, the Insiders or the Outsiders?

   Thus far what's gone on inside the RNC has been batshit crazy, whereas what's gone on outside seems to have been pretty tame by comparison, and has barely gotten any coverage at all. So the expected violence--expected by me, anyway--hasn't manifested itself. Some of the usual crazies are there (e.g. Code Pink), and there's some of the currently-fashionable nonsense ("white privilege" blah blah blah)...  And of course there are some giant paper mache (sp?) heads...I don't see any giant puppets yet though...

Don't Forget

The GOP is deranged

Monday, July 18, 2016

John McWhorter, Intellectual Virtue, and White Analogs of Sterling and Castile

   You'd think a willingness to admit error wouldn't be such a rare virtue...
But it is.
   McWhorter was/is sympathetic to the prejudiced police hypothesis, and indicated that he didn't think there were white (approximate) analogs of Philandro Castile and Alton Sterling. He challenged those who disagree to provide him with a list of names of such white guys. The list was provided. McWhorter changed his mind and now agrees that reasonable people can disagree about the prejudiced police hypothesis.
   That a case like this seems so rare in our public discussions shows how damn useless they are.

Johnson/Weld Ad

I'm not in...but I'm not not in...

A Very General Problem: The Left, Moral Condemnation and Non-Moral Questions

   This is a very general problem: the left regards disagreement with lefty orthodoxies about, e.g., transgenderism, race, global warming, and many other things as immoral.
   To take the example I currently find most amazing: if you think Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner is a man, then you are a bigot ("transphobic," in the lingo.) Now, this is simply not even close to being true. In fact, it's lunacy. If you think Jenner should be hassled because he wears dresses and is generally feminine, then you are, indeed, an asshole. That's Jenner's business, not yours. But believing that Jenner is male cannot make you an asshole. It's a purely descriptive belief about Jenner. It also happens to be true...but that's more-or-less beside the point. What matters is that it's held for good reasons. Also: there's nothing bad about being a man. There is simply no way that holding a justified belief about whether or not someone has a non-normative property that does not constitute a defect can make you a bigot.
   The effect of this sort of thing is to suppress dissent. That is, of course, also one of its purposes. It's a tactical, rhetorical device for coercing agreement.
   What's amazing and alarming to me is that liberals in general don't seem inclined to object to this. This is something every reasonable person should oppose. It is the moral and political equivalent of morally condemning homosexuality--it's moral condemnation of something that is not immoral--and it's in the service of enforcing one's mere preferences on others.

Three More Cops Murdered...In Response To Possibly Fictional Patterns Of Injustice

Three more.

   We don't even know whether there is actually a pattern of injustice in play--and we know that we don't know whether there is a pattern of injustice in play.
   I'm not happy favorably referencing Rumsfeld, but what we have here is a known unknown. We have very powerful reasons to conclude that we do not know whether or not there is widespread, disproportionate use of force against blacks by police. Some analyses say there is, some say there isn't. Which means we don't know. In fact, it seems to me that the analyses that indicate that such bias exists are typically less good than the ones that say there isn't.
   This is such an important issue that we (obviously) can't be satisfied with a stalemate. We need good reason to believe that policing is fair. We certainly can't be satisfied with it might be fair. However, the orthodoxy du jour became policing is not fair before people like me really realized what was what. (This seems to be happening a lot these days... But that's a whole 'nuther thing, as we'd say back home...)
   I think what needs to be done is this: the insta-orthodoxy needs to be crushed and replaced with the truth. The liberal/lefty view that there is widespread racial prejudice in policing must be exposed for what it is and replaced with the truth: that we just don't know whether there is such prejudice.
   Now, we don't know whether or not there is widespread racial bias in policing would normally be very bad news. Like...very, very bad news. But as compared to the new insta-orthodoxy, it's good news. But whether it's good or bad, it's just true.
   But liberals and the anti-liberal left are strongly biased in favor of certain bias hypotheses (those having to do with race and sex and sexual preference and gender and even fabricated categories like "gender identity"), and they don't seem to want to admit that we don't know. (Conservatives and farther-righties seem to be in basically an equal and opposite boat, but I can't exactly tell because I barely read them anymore.) That kind of intellectual dishonesty is bad in itself, and it's the kind of bad I'm normally interested in...but now we also have people being shot and killed because of it. And that's a kind of bad that really just can't be ignored.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

PEC: "Freakouts Over Outliers"


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ryan Hammill: "How [Occidental] Turned Me Into A Conservative"

   Needless to say, there's a lot here I don't agree with, including the gratuitous gestures at digs at Obama and all the Christian mythology. But there's enough good stuff in there to make it maybe worth a read.
   It's along the same lines as the first chapter of The Republican Noise Machine, in which Brock explains how the left-wing lunacy of Berkeley turned him into a conservative. Conservatives on campus are roughly in the position liberals were when I was a kid: a ridiculed minority. That's why I kind of admire non-lunatic campus conservatives--they're often the kids who refuse to be told what to think, refuse to knuckle under to campus groupthink.
   Anyway, some things Hammill writes are also consistent with the point, made most poignantly to me by the Mystic, that the postpostmodern mishmash, which is something like the orthodoxy in the leftier parts of academia, actually makes people dumber. Where they could be engaging with ideas and analyzing reasoning, instead they simply make the same postpostmodern identity politics moves over and over and over. There's a template, and it's easy to apply. Also, its outputs will rarely be questioned. And it doesn't just stall the development of actual thought, it replaces it--with something worse.

The Secret, Non-Existent "Day of Rage"

   I didn't even hear about it until after it didn't happen.
   The vanguard of the American left is a lot, lot crazier than most of its target constituency, so it didn't surprise me a lot to find out that this was a thing/wasn't a thing/didn't happen.
   But this does highlight the need to get an answer to the straightforwardly factual/descriptive question: do the police, on average, treat blacks unfairly?
   Currently, I think that the answer is clearly: we don't know. The left tends to harp on extremely unsophisticated analyses that fail to take propensities to commit crime, especially violent crime, into account. The more plausible analyses I've seen indicate that the problem is far less severe than e.g. Black Lives Matter seems to be alleging. However even these analyses sometimes can't explain away all of the alleged disparity. (Sidebar: one side effect of exaggerating the problem is that the disparities that do seem to be more difficult to explain away seem trivial by comparison when they actually probably shouldn't seem trivial.)
   Anyway. We've got a lot of problems about race, but I'm skeptical that this is one of them. That might sound like good news, but I suspect it's actually bad news, because I suspect that the problems we're facing actually have to do with the legacy of 400 years of discrimination, including 250 years of slavery.
   Another problem is that some of the biggest problems we face can't be discussed openly and honestly. That's a meta-problem, and a very, very serious one.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Dems Buy Into Lefty Neo-Lysenkoism and Enforcement of Groupthink: Call For Legal Investigation of Climate-Change Dissenters

   This is completely insane.
   This is actually the centerpiece of my antipathy toward the left: influential swaths of the left are deeply committed to thought-control. IMO liberals and Democrats are far too tolerant of the illiberal left, and, in fact, have gone over to the Dark Side in many ways (e.g. the DoJ's commitment to reading far-left theories of sexual assault and transgenderism into the law).
   I'm no friend of the anti-AGW crowd. (Though, honestly, I'm starting to have a bit of sympathy for them...). But more dangerous IMO is the idea of the Dems buying into far-left neo-Lysenkoism.
   (Oh and: don't miss the bit about that towering intellect Bill Nye The Science Guy toying with the idea of criminal charges and jail time for those who disagree with climate-change orthodoxy.)

Vive la France

No France no USA.

"Transgender" "Woman" Charged With Voyeurism For Photographing Woman In Target Dressing Room

   So, everyone realizes that this guy is a guy, right? He's a man in a dress who claims to be a woman, but isn't. The liberal cultural vanguard has decreed that we will accept the PC theory that such people are women, despite its obvious falsehood. We will not disagree, and we will not question.
   Oh, and, we will not point out that there is significant psychological evidence that men who like to pretend they are women are heterosexual and acting out a sexual fetish... So, in effect, it has been declared mandatory that we all participate in their sexual fetish, on pain of being declared bigots. Oh and: in NYC and DC: on pain of fines up to a quarter of a million dollars...
   So I'm it also mandatory to act surprised at news stories like this?

   And, as always: I'm cool with people living their lives like they want to live them. I see no good reason (other than aesthetic ones) why men shouldn't wear dresses, make-up, etc. if they want to. But, as a matter of some fairly simple definitions and undeniable facts, doing so won't make them women. It's really alarming to me that so many people have been so easily brainwashed/bullied into pretending otherwise.

Another High-Profile False Accusation Of Rape At UVA

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Report From Fox News Parallel Universe: ...And This All Could Have Been Avoided If Obama Had Just Said The Phrase 'Radical Islamic Terrorism'

(On the night of the Nice attack.)

Watched a couple of minutes of Hannity tonight. That's all I could stomach.
Man, you could cut the crazy with a knife.

   This "radical Islamic terrorism" nonsense that the right is exercised about... Well, of course the ODS crowd thinks that everything that Obama does is the opposite of right. And they are particularly adamant about it in this case. What a bunch of lunatics.

 So far as I can tell, this is something we could easily go either way on. It is radical Islamic terrorism, and there's something good about calling things what they are. OTOH, we all know who's doing this, and there are plausible practical/prudential reasons for being gentle with Muslims who are on the fence about the West. I typically err in the direction of calling spades spades... But there's plenty of people who are willing to do that in this case. I'm not convinced that the President absolutely has to be one of them. I trust his judgment. If he wants to pussy-foot around on this point, that's ok by me.
   Though I also want to say: if and only if we have fairly substantial reason to believe that pussy-footing around about this will have an appreciable practical payoff, it's permissible (but not obligatory) to do so. Otherwise, speak the truth in clear terms... So that's a little different...

   Oh and, on a similar note: Peter King was on Hannity acting as if it was patently obvious from the beginning that the only even vaguely reasonable course of action is massive numbers of boots on the ground. Everybody seems to have forgotten that there's no good course of action over there. There's simply no reason to believe that boots on the ground will be better. It'll just be different. But King & co. are way, way, way more interested in their real target, Obama, than they are in their secondary target, ISIL. Their point isn't so much that land action would be better as it is that we should always do the opposite of what Obama thinks we should.

14-Year-Old's "White Boy Privilege" Poem

So much facepalm

Heterodox Academy: Social Justice and Teachers College Curriculm

This is consistent with much of what I've heard.

Polls: Bad News and When To Freak Out

Nate Silver, being not very reassuring at all IMO.

Trump: "Showbiz" At The Convention

The aristocrats!
Or...the B-listocrats...

No matter what nutty nuttiness goes on inside the GOP convention, I expect the most attention-grabbing events to involve left-wing mob violence outside the convention site. It's deplorable how tolerant liberals and the mainstream media have been of such violence. Their disapproval has seemed pretty minimal and pro forma to me. And I think there's a good chance that events outside the convention could turn what ought to be a disaster for Trumpo into a win. The crazy right and the crazy left feed off of each other. In fact, I think that, for most purposes, we ought to just think of them as one group (the crazy?). They're subject to a fairly visible internecine disagreement...but their similarities are more important than their differences.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Legal Insurrection Contra the Post Study that Concludes that Young Black Men are Killed by Cops at a Disproportionate Rate

Not an in-depth analysis, but some pretty damning prima facie problems.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Police Are Sexist: A Wee Argument

Thus far in 2016, police have killed 484 males and 25 females.
Therefore police are sexist (specifically misandrist/anti-male)

This argument is how good?

Study Finds Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed Black Men At Disproportionate Rates

Reported by the Post

After A Bad Week For Clinton, A Bad Poll Result

Just one poll.
No reason to panic.

Dan Hopkins: Does Bernie Sanders Represent The Future Of The Democratic Party?

American Blacks Are Outnumbered By American Racists

At Peter Moskos's extremely interesting Cop in the Hood blog.
This is one of those points that leaves you feeling stunned.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Rove: Gingrich Would Kill Or Die To Be Trump's VP

   Nobody ever deserved each other more than those two asshats.
   Jebus...Trump makes the Newtron bomb seem jam(b?)-packed with gravitas by comparison.
   Maybe Trumpo can score Limbaugh or Beck if Newt isn't to his liking.
   Damn we are a stupid people.

Independence Day 2 Looks Like It Sucks

I haven't seen it, but I just got around to watching the trailer, so don't pay any attention to this...but's rare that a movie is better than its I think I might give this one a pass.

Second Amendment Foundation Calls For Investigation of Philando Castile's Shooting; NRA Finally Breaks Silence on Castile

Fryer et al.: Racial Bias In Police Use Of Force, But Not In Shootings?

If true, this conclusion could largely explain the disagreement about alleged racism with respect to police use of force.

Moskos vs. Pro Publica: Deadly Force In Black and White

   Rosenthal accuses Moskos of using bad data and engaging in statistical shenanigans. He says that the Pro Publica analysis is better. Moskos responds...and I think he's clearly right. Pro Publica has, for one thing, either cherry-picked data or accidentally chosen the same data that someone would choose were they cherry-picking it.
   Independently of what the actual data look like, the two sides of this dispute ought to be able to come to some agreement about what kinds of adjustments are reasonable here. I'm in no way confident that Moskos's approach is right--but there can be no doubt that his arguments provide very strong support for the conclusion that the unadjusted rates do not prove what they allege to prove. At minimum, his arguments show that it is an error to appeal to the unadjusted rates as proof of something like the prejudice hypothesis.

Moskos: Adjusting For The Rate At Which Whites And Blacks Feloniously Kill Police Officers, Whites Are 1.3 Times More Likely To Be Killed By Cops

   Adjusting for homicide rates, whites are 1.7 times more likely to be killed by cops. Obviously it isn't completely clear how to do the adjustment, but I think it's clear that:
     (a) There are good reasons to make some kind of adjustment(s)
     (b) Both the ones that Moskos makes are pretty reasonable.
   I originally found Moskos's blog because I linked to this by Andrew Rosenthal. Rosenthal accuses Moskos of shenanigans--denying reality, cooking data--but Moskos seems a lot more reasonable and dispassionate, and his arguments seem more cogent and detailed than Rosenthal's. Rosenthal accuses Moskos of using bad data. That I can't speak to.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Peter Moskos: Cop In The Hood

   Sleep crap is gettin' me down big time this morning, so I've just been sitting here reading the interwebs--mostly Peter Moskos's Cop in the Hood blog.
   Very, very interesting stuff IMO. More importantly, he seems very reasonable. 
   This is just a first impression, of course. And I don't know anything about this stuff, so my reaction thus far is very impressionistic.
   That blog reminds me--as I'm often reminded--that I don't understand this country at all. I basically left the farm for academia and have spent the rest of my life in it. Urban America in particular is largely another dimension to me, though I've spent my share of time poking around in big cities. Anyway, that's not going anywhere, so don't get your hopes up.

Pro Publica: Young Black Males 21 Times More Likely To Be Killed By Police

Andrew Rosenthal: "The Real Story of Race and Police Killings"

   I haven't cited nor read Moskos (but I will).
   Anyway, here's something on the more orthodox side of the dispute, i.e. in favor of the bias hypothesis.
   Again and of course: nobody should have a rooting interest in how this empirical matter turns out. But everybody should acknowledge that this question's got to be answered first, before the discussion can really proceed. We've got to know what kind of problem we're facing before we have any realistic chance of solving it.

Update: Here's some stuff from Moskos's site.

Meat is Horrible

Yeah, whatever.
Wake me up when people start addressing the population disaster.
Until that's at least somewhere on the agenda, I'm not interested in any of this nipping-around-the-edges nonsense.
(In actuality, a lot of meat is bad because factory farming is wrong because it's morally wrong because it's unjustifiable cruelty; but that's a different point entirely.)

Antibiotic Resistance Discovered In The Guts Of Ancient Mummies

Makes sense once it's explained...but really sent my head reeling there for a bit.

Roger Ailes: Sexual Harasser, Attempted Rapist, General Sonofabitch

   I'm strongly inclined to Cosbify, concluding that there are just too many accusations for them to be false. 
   How, exactly, is it that this guy has gotten away with all this? How has nobody punched the living shit out of him? How has no one gotten the word out? Or gone to the cops (One girl was sixteen)?

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Thanks Obama: For Not Bringing Us Together Edition

Yeah, this is on conservatives.

What Are You Most Likely To Be Wrong About (Politically)?

   I think about this all the time. I think it's a good exercise. Annoyed as I am by the PC left these days, I often wonder how they (collectively) would answer this question. Note: for lefties, it doesn't count to answer: I'm not lefty enough. A similar rule exists for righties.
   The value of the exercise is somewhat diminished for me these days, as I can seem myself being wrong about almost any of my political views. I mean, that's a lesson, too... But it doesn't help much with specifics...

Friday, July 08, 2016

Fox "News": Obama's Hip-Hop BBQ Didn't Create Jobs

I Guess The Great Jobs Report Will Get Overlooked

Are Americans Who Are Black Killed By Police More Than We Would Expect?

   If we just control for race, the answer seems to be yes, as is well-known.
   OTOH, if we control for more factors, the answer may be no.
   I don't have a position on this...except for this one: we have to know the answer to this question before we know whether we have a racial problem here at all.
   I won't be astonished if there is, indeed, "one trigger finger for whites and another for blacks." There's part of me, of course, that will always be surprised by racial bias no matter what the data says about its prevalence... But I have no strong presuppositions here. I just want to know the facts. I do think that the major media, in general, is inclined toward liberal points of view about a lot of things, inclined toward simple/simplistic explanations, and inclined toward sensationalistic explanations. And I think there's a strong bias on the left toward explanations in terms of bias/racism/sexism. And, of course, there are many parts of the prevailing liberal theory that cannot be questioned without bringing down charges of racism/sexism/"transphobia" or whatever... So we don't exactly have free and unfettered public discussions of the issues. Perhaps those are biases of mine, or perhaps not...but there they are.
  Anyway, tl;dr: we need to nail down the answer to the straightforwardly factual/descriptive questions before we know what kind of problem we're facing and how to proceed in terms of policy. And I'm not sure that our public discussions in this vicinity are predicated on actual knowledge.

   (Needless to say, even if we don't have a racial problem in this vicinity, we might still have some other problem, e.g. widespread excessive use of force by police.)

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Mark Dayton

   Was it just me, or was it excruciating listening to that guy talk?
   And that's aside from the fact that he all but flat-out asserted that the cop was guilty.

Faux News Feakout Over Comey's Testimony

   JQ has got me in the habit of watching cable news while we're fixing supper, and of including Faux News in the channel-surfing cycle.
   Holy shit it's a full-blown CDS freakout over there.

Obama's Comments On Sterling and Castile Cases

   I missed some of the comments in the middle, but what I heard was--just to spew my impressions--great, as usual. That guy is just so damned reasonable. It shouldn't be such a rare virtue. You'd think it'd be one of the more common ones. But it seems to me to be strangely rare.
   I couldn't agree more with him than when he indicated that this is a problem that people of good will should be able to agree about, to at least a large extent.

   However...we don't quite know precisely what happened in either case. It looks very, very bad in both's a bit difficult to fill in the blanks in ways that exonerate the police officers...but, then, that's what we thought about the Michael Brown case at first. I am inclined to think that the President should have waited to address the shootings...but perhaps he has information we don't.

Investigate James Comey!

Odds that House Republicans open an investigation of Comey for not recommending charges against Clinton?

The New Iron Man Is A Black Woman

   You know, I like this kind of thing.
   It kind of loses some of its luster for me a bit against the backdrop of the current political correctness/ "social justice"-ness/ anti-white-male-ness... But not completely...
   I first encountered Iron Man when he was wheelchair-bound, and I thought that was a pretty cool idea. Since this was undoubtedly a sop to PC, I'd probably have gone back to that. It's already "canon," as they (annoyingly) say...
   Anyway. On the one hand, I'm sick to death of PC and the PC bandwagoneers...OTOH...still kinda cool.

Jonathan Haidt Decodes The Tribal Psychology of Politics

   I think this is pretty damn good.
   Dunno how I missed it.
   I disagree with Haidt (and Hume) about metaethical issues, so I'm not endorsing those claims. But I think that the psychological/political stuff is pretty insightful. I'm not at all sure that he's right that liberals understand conservatives less than conservatives understand liberals...but he seems to have data for that.
   One of the things that concerns me about this is a claim I've seen Haidt make in the past:
The moral mind, to him, resembles an audio equalizer with a series of slider switches that represent different parts of the moral spectrum. All political movements base appeals on different settings of the foundations—and the culture wars arise from what they choose to emphasize. Liberals jack up care, followed by fairness and liberty. They rarely value loyalty and authority. Conservatives dial up all six.
Specifically, it's the bit about the primary liberal value being "care." It's this claim that helped bring some of my thinking on the issue into focus. That's not the liberalism I found myself attracted to when I first came to think of myself as a liberal. It was fairness, freedom and autonomy that attracted me--especially the issues of fairness at the heart of the civil rights movement. It does ring true, at least to some extent, that people identifying themselves as liberals have become more concerned with something like care than with things like fairness and freedom...and truth, if you ask me... That is, many liberals now seem overconcerned with protecting people from the consequences of their own actions...and even from hurt feelings and bruised beliefs. I'm down with antiauthoritarianism...but I think liberals are slipping there as well...blah blah PC orthodoxy = authoritarianism blah blah broken record blah blah.

   You can tell when I'm not sleeping because I just keep spewing this shit out. 

FiveThirtyEight: Trump Has A 22.4% Chance Of Winning

   I don't know why this felt like a punch in the gut. Or a slap upside of the head. Or a kick in the 'nads. Or...well...I don't know what it felt like. Some part of me had allowed myself to become convinced that the probability of a Trump victory was vanishingly small. 
   This is like coming to realize that there's a 22.4% chance of a November eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano or something. Given the outcome at issue, this seems to me like a horrifyingly high percentage.
   (And a Trump election seems to me like a disaster with a kicker, given that I think that the campus left might kick into hyperdrive should this happen. And anti-political correctness will become associated with Trumpian lunacy. There's no room for any subtlety in our public discussions, so it's always either pro- or anti-... I fear that Trump is already becoming the face of anti-PC. If he wins, reasonable people are going to be Polanized, crushed between the crazy right and the crazy left.)

Trump And The Dictators

He likes 'em!
   The GOP in general seems to have largely gotten over this...I'd hate to see them revert to form. Man, they sure loved them some Pinochet, for example. If pressed, they'd say that he was just a bulwark against communism, supporting him was a necessary evil, and blah blah blah... But they liked him. They had a kind of boner for the tin-pot dictators they supported in South America. Eventually I came to realize that they admired the crushing of dissent...left-wing dissent, anyway. Perhaps they even longed for the power to do so here. I came to suspect that they may have been living vicariously through their pet dictators. Of course not all Republicans were like this. They weren't all Jesse Helms...
   I guess I never got the feeling that the GOP really liked Saddam, but I didn't pay much attention to that, so I don't really know. But a fair number of vocal conservatives have fairly serious man-crushes on Putin... Now that's freaking weird. There's no way to explain that away with enemy-of-my-enemy excuses. That, IMO, clearly tells us something about the spirit of those conservatives. The only plausible explanation is admiration for political strongmen. Or for shirtless men riding bears. Ok, there are only two plausible explanations...

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Drum: Donald Trump's Love Affair With White Supremacists

   The real head line here is that Twitter has become important enough that people are doing analyses of retweet patterns and stuff.  My God we are a stupid, stupid people...
But anyway.
   Drum's always reasonable, and so there's his thing.

The Best Of The Worst Gender Studies Papers

We shouldn't be sanguine about the fact that utter nonsense--and a kind of nonsense that is heavily slanted politically--has taken over huge swaths of academia. This is the moral and intellectual equivalent of evangelical Christians taking over much of the humanities and social sciences. Except, actually, evangelical Christianity is less incoherent. It's rather as if Scientology had taken over...except at least Scientology doesn't also have extremist politics built into it. IMO this is an academic crisis. I don't know what to do about it, and I'm certainly not suggesting any infringement of academic freedom... Maybe what's needed is more of this sort of calling bullshit on bullshit.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

No E-Mail Charges Against HRC

Dunno whether this is right, but it's good.

"Dump Trump A Long Shot, But Still A Factor

Godspeed, dumpers. Godspeed.

Republican Delegate Revolt Grows In Effort To Sidetrack Trump Nomination


What a mess.
   Is it just me, or is it somewhat difficult to swallow the story that this was an innocent, purely personal meeting? Doesn't this require us to believe that the Big Dog has suddenly lost his understanding of the political Force? I mean...I just don't believe that he could not have realized ahead of time how bad this would look. And that makes me think that thought there was something to be gained that was worth the political cost.
   It's not that I think that there was some House of Cards-like explicit deal-cutting going on... My concern is more about the diffuse but powerful force of personal connection. I would expect that there was no discussion of HRC's case. I don't think there had to be any discussion of it. My concern is that influence can be exerted just by the force of personal connection.
   Of course all people can talk about is the "optics." It looks bad, but people need to shut up about how it looks. Stop focusing on the representations. It looks bad because it may very well be bad. That's the important concern. The media can't handle substantial questions to it turns everything into a horse-race issue.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy Independence Day


Sunday, July 03, 2016

Trump's "Anti-Semitic" Tweet

Even CNN can't bring itself to say that this is actually anti-Semitic. I thought the star looked like a sheriff's badge or something.
God Twitter is dumbifying.

More Details About The UVa-Rolling Stone Gang Rape Hoax

   Jeez what a train wreck.
   The reporter, Erdely, perpetrated what is essentially journalistic malpractice. It's incredible that she ever believed Jackie's obviously false tale. However...I do think the prevailing climate of rape crisis hysteria is a mitigating factor.
   The really amazing thing to me is that there still seems to be no responsibility whatsoever attributed to "Jackie," the perpetrator of the hoax.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Real Peer Review: "The Inseparability of Ejaculation and Hegemonic Masculinity"

   Question: why do people think that the humanities and social sciences are full of shit?
   Answer: many reasons, some good, some bad... But one reason is: they are largely full of shit.
   Any discipline in which this kind of mumbo jumbo is commonly taken seriously doesn't deserve a place in the university. And there are quite a few disciplines in which this nonsense is commonly taken seriously. Look, I live in a discipline in which we sit around asking whether we're brains in vats. Something's got to be extremely and irredeemably idiotic before I want to shit-can it. But stuff like this is worse than nothing. It actually makes people dumber. It's a scandal that tax money is wasted on this bullshit, and it's a scandal that young minds are subjected to it, especially when it's crowding out valuable things they could be studying. Write whatever dumb-ass shit you want...but clogging up the curriculum with bullshit like this...hell, students would be better off--much, much better off--learning astrology. At least that might teach them some astronomy, maybe some math...and otherwise, it's unlikely to do them all that much harm.
   And this isn't a few isolated morons... We're talking whole disciplines...whole swaths of the humanities and social sciences and the panoply of x-studies pseudo-disciplines in between...taken over by this fatuous harebrained trash.

RIP Elie Wiesel

Weirdly, I just finished Night two nights ago. I read most of it on a trip to Krakow (which included a trip to Auschwitz) a couple of years back. But with little of the book left, I left it in the seat pocket of the plane on the way back. I got another copy, but the tectonic action of the book pile by the bed only brought it to the surface again this week.

Michael Huemer: Is There A Right To Own A Gun?

This looks interesting, but I haven't read it yet. I'm not even sure what his conclusion is.

(h/t: dude on Reddit)

Cathy Young: Feminists Treat Men Badly...

...And It's Bad For Feminism...
   ...and, oh, by the way, feminists should care that they treat men badly even if it weren't bad for feminism...
   I think that your average feminist in the street isn't anti-dude. But anti-male sexism is a very strong theme in the vanguard of feminism. It's very much like old-school anti-female sexism, IMO: it's not so much explicitly, consciously, in-principle's just that basically everything is spun in an x-male direction. Whatever topic pops up, contemporary web-and-academia feminists cast about for some interpretation that makes men look bad, and then stick to it as if it were a fact. Most of them technically seem to understand that not all men are shits...but when their dander is up--which is usually--they don't want to hear it. When I was a kid, one of the good feminist points was: shy away from universal generalizations about the behavior and predilections of the sexes. Now, of course, point out that most men aren't shits and it's #NOTALLMEN!!!!
   God Twitter is idiotic...
   Every movement has its crazies...I usually try not to hold the lunatic fringe against anybody...  It's the fact that the average feminist in the street refuses to criticize or even acknowledge the existence of their lunatic fringe that bugs me... Oh, and: the lunatic fringe of feminism isn't a fringe. It's basically driving the ship...
   I continue to think that some day liberal, egalitarian feminists will seize power again in the movement...but until that time, I'll continue to categorize myself as non-feminist.
   Well, actually, feminism will also have to sever its link with the postpostmodern mishmash... I can't have anything to do with a cause that is so steeped in antirational nonsense. (Again: not the case for the average feminist in the street; totally the case for the vanguard.)

Trendy Fallacies: The Fallacy Of The Continuum

   Understanding why this kind of reasoning is invalid would clear up a whole lot of trendy confusions, especially about race, "gender," and "social construction."*

*   (Note contemptuous "scare quotes"...hah! Buuuurn. Double burn because the PCs like to put the word 'race' in scare quotes to show that they don't believe in it...except they do believe in they will tell you... You must believe it's real, according to them! But...real because the idea of race has social consequences! Not because of the biological stuff shhh!  But if having social consequences makes something real, then Bigfoot is real. And witches. And UFOs. And, well, just about everything we've ever thought of...  Two seconds of thought shows that the following is false:  if the idea of x has social consequences, then x is real.  My God. Honestly, I don't know how people get through life if they can't see points like that... But anyway, see how I don't put 'race' in scare quotes? (Though I do scrupulously adhere to the use/mention distinction?) TRIPLE FREAKING BURN!!!!111)

The Transgender Debate Is A Train wreck

  I'm not going to say much about this.  Grimm was "born as a female" [sic]. More to the point: Grimm is female. We do not currently have the technology to change a person's if Grimm was born female, then Grimm is still female. Barring really significant technological improvements, Grimm will always be female. I hope she can be happy. But the rest of us have no moral obligation to participate in the pretense that Grimm is male.
   It is not obvious how to defend the institution of sex-segregated public restrooms and locker rooms. This is one of the main and deepest issues in this discussion. It's ignored because the discussion (or, I should probably say: debate) is conducted in terms of a certain fantasy: the fantastical theory that a male can become female simply by declaring himself so (and vice versa). This theory is entirely false. There isn't a single shred of truth in it. There isn't a single good argument for it. And yet it is virtually unquestioned in polite society, because it has been declared true by (and I can't believe I'm about to use this phrase, but it seems apt) liberal elites. And any attempt to disagree with it is shouted down--"shamed" as one now says.
   The discussion should actually be conducted at a more fundamental level. Is it possible to defend the institution of sex-segregated restrooms if some people find that segregation discriminatory? And if some people find it an invasion of privacy to reveal their sex merely because they have to take a whiz? And if some people risk violence because they appear to be of the sex they aren't?
   Those are the real issues. I don't know what to say about them. They're kind of hard.
   But what we're arguing about now--the biological and metaphysical status of men who want to be women and women who want to be men--isn't hard.
   The public debate is being distorted because the issues aren't being addressed clearly. Instead, they're being addressed obliquely, through the distorting lens formed out of a cluster of highly theoretical, abstract, abstruse, controversial--and false--theories drawn from the intellectual swamp of the postpostmodern mishmash. A cluster of absolutely absurd theories that have gained currency in the weakest regions of academia have been declared true by influential components of the left, and anyone with the temerity to disagree with them is declared a bigot. (They invented a whole new kind of bigotry just to shut up dissenters--"transphobia"! Of course it had to have '-phobia' in it...though it has nothing to do with fear. It has to do with aversion.) Thus false theories are declared true by fiat, and, simultaneously, any discussion of those theories is declared verboten.
   But the theories are false. It is impossible to change oneself from male to female simply by declaring it so, or believing it to be so (and vice-versa). It cannot happen. It has never happened. It never will happen. It is no more possible than changing a dog into a cat  or lead into gold by simply asserting that it is so. Beliefs and assertions do not have such power.
   The fact that people like Grimm wish they were the sex they aren't really has no bearing on the actual issues. The actual issue is that Grimm wants to use the dude's restroom. The actual question is: is it reasonable to deny her that? And so: is it reasonable to segregate restrooms by sex?
   Ah, what's the point?
   There are complicated questions and there are simple ones. The nonsense that's dominating the current public discussion is easy. We should be able to tidy it up and throw it away quickly. But we seem incapable of dealing with it--largely because of the aforementioned ban on discussion...but not only because of that... Eventually this nonsense will probably fade away and the real issue will come into focus...but, hell, we can't even deal with the simple issues... Why think we'll be able to deal with the difficult ones? Social justice warriors are on the rampage, and liberals are their lackeys. Liberals have fallen in line behind an obviously false theory because that's what liberals do. Characterize something as discrimination against a sexual minority, and liberals will leap to the defense...almost no matter how absurd the claim.
   On the psychological side, Alice Dreger reviews the evidence in several places, including in Galileo's Middle Finger. As an actual matter of fact, the woman-trapped-in-a-man's-body (and vice-versa) theory of transgenderism is extremely controversial. An alternate theory--for which there seems to be more evidence--is very different...but it was shouted down and those who advocated it had their academic reputations destroyed. The alternate theory (with respect to men who want to be women) is that there are two different kinds of motives. (a) There are men who have a sexual fetish centered on thinking of themselves as women, and (b) there are homosexual men who believe that they have a better chance of having sex and relationships with men they desire if they can be woman-like. These are not, to my mind, the kinds of motives that ought to convince us to throw out sex-segregation of restrooms. Nor should they compel the rest of us to pay more for health insurance in order to cover plastic surgery and so forth. And the left recognizes these things. And so it pushes the other theory as if it were fact.
   It seems to me that the philosophical case against the new insta-proto-orthodoxy is compelling by itself. And the psychological evidence is compelling by itself. I haven't mentioned the psychological stuff much because I'd like to see us fix this mess with just philosophical arguments. If philosophy can't clear up this simple little bit of public philosophical confusion, then it probably can't do anything to improve public philosophical reasoning.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Gingrich, Christie Top Trump's VP List?

   I remember when the Newtron bomb was first elected, a peon Congressman from Georgia. I watched an interview with him on tv--the first I'd ever heard of him--and literally, actually said out loud "This guy's going to be trouble." I'll admit, Newt looks almost like a grown-up compared to Trump...but that's more informative about Trump than about Newt.
   And then there's Christie who uses the power of the state to punish his political opponents.
   Hillary's putative veep list is also pretty fretsome...I'm not denying that.