Friday, September 30, 2016

The Gourds, Gin and Juice

USA Today Anti-Endorses Trump / Endorses Non-Trump

   I really could not have said it better myself.
   Trump is unfit to be secretary of biting my ass, much less President of the United States of America. I am very concerned about the direction of the country, in particular about some of the extremist anti-liberal actions of the Department of Education and the Justice Department. And I'm so concerned about a liberal court at this point that, God help me, I actually might even prefer a randomly-selected non-Scalia Republican appointee right now... I really can't believe I just typed those words...  I mean, I really, really can't believe it. But--as I guess goes without saying again--Trump is nowhere close to being a viable option. Electing Trump would be a reductio of the very idea of America.
   Well, I've got nothing of any real interest to say on this score. You can only say that that guy is a stupid jackass in so many different ways.
   Here's something else I never thought I'd see myself type: Nice work USA Today!

Trump: "One People, Under One God, Saluting One Flag"

Pronoun Follies: #UMPronounChallenge Episode

   You kick ass, Wolverines
   I've begun to suspect that most millenials have simply never been taught the great importance of deploying one of the most important phrases in the English language, to wit: don't tell me what to do.
   This bit of Twitter defiance gives me a wee bit of hope for 'em.
   But seriously: we really have become a cowardly and compliant lot. They decreed that night is day. And now they've decreed that we will speak in ways indicative of our acceptance that night is day. Because silently letting falsehood pass for truth isn't enough. Totalitarians want public signs of compliance. They also know that if they force people to speak certain words, that will nudge them toward belief. And it sure looks like a helluva lot of people are reacting to this totalitarian insanity by quietly complying.
   'Merika, I am disappoint.

Michigan Debate On Black Lives Matter Shut Down By Protesters

   Michigan was a hotbed of paleo-PC craziness, and it's getting hit hard again this time.
   Note also the use of the neo-PC pseudo-argument template My x is not a topic for discussion/debate. This is commonly used by transgender activists to shut down any discussion of transgenderism ("my gender is not a topic for debate"), and we see it used in this story to shut down a debate about BLM.
   Political correctness is an irrationalist movement. This is not news. Its association with postmodernism...or no accident. Your desire to understand and discuss and seek rational consensus is your modernist/ enlightenment/ rationalist/ liberal hangup. PC wants no part of that. They'll occasionally offer arguments...but the arguments are not to be questioned, and not to be analyzed, and counter-arguments will not be tolerated. Their arguments are window-dressing. The real point is: accept the conclusion or else.
   Liberals protected and colluded with the illiberal left last time PC reared its ugly head in the '80s and '90s. Some of the damage (e.g. anti-free-speech codes) was eventually undone. Some of it wasn't. And some of it just festered in the depths of universities until it emerged again, more dangerous and less rational than ever. Perhaps the craziest expression of paleo-PC was the "the Antioch rules" requiring "affirmative consent" at every point of...what? escalation?...during sex. Back then, this was absurd enough to constitute one of the straws that broke the camel's back. Today, it is mandated at all public universities by the Department of Justice. What was once the craziest idea of the craziest college on the craziest fringe of the crazy left is today the law of the land. Liberals went along with all this last time. Some were too cowardly to stand up to the illiberal left. Some found that they had never been liberals at all; they were illiberal-leftists-in-waiting, and that finally had an opportunity to come out. Same thing this time, obviously.
   I suppose a lot of people are waiting for this all to blow over. I think that's the wrong attitude. The longer this kind of totalitarian bullshit is allowed to triumph, the more change it effects, the stronger it gets, and the more long-term consequences it has. People need to start standing up to this insanity now. You will be called a racist, because anyone who opposes PC is called a racist. You'll be called a misogynist ('sexist' is passe because it leaves open the possibility of sexism against men). You might even be called some words that aren't even actually words ("transphobic," "misogynoirist"). But: they're just words...or...non-words, as the case may be... People stood up against the Brown Shirts. We ought to be able to find it in ourselves to stand up to a bit of shrieking and name-calling. Being called a bigot by bigots ought to be a badge of honor. It's certainly no blot on your character. If you're still afraid to do it, maybe this will stiffen your spine a bit: you're probably going to be called those things by the regressive left anyway--so you might as well be called them for doing the right thing rather than sitting on the sidelines hoping that nobody says something mean to you.

Will Matthew Be Like Hazel?

This is a good way to freak out people around these parts.
I didn't step foot in North Carolina nor Virginia until the mid-80s, but still the word 'Hazel' will get my attention. Back then, down around Topsail beach, there were still the ruins of houses destroyed by Hazel. Well, anyway, just pointing out that this could possibly be...interesting...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

538 Polls-Only Back Up to Clinton 63.3.- Trump 36.7


Shika Dalmia Is Also Right About Ezra Klein Being Wrong About Affirmative Consent

Really, really right.

Conor Friedersdorf Is Right About Ezra Klein Being Wrong About "Affirmative Consent"

   Friedersdorf is on the side of the angels, and I like his stuff, but usually don't like like it.  But I think this piece is really good.

Ezra Klein: "Yes Means Yes Is A Terrible Law, And I Completely Support It"

   Enmeshed as I am in my Grand Unified Conspiracy theory according to which the Illuminati are deploying quantum gravity generators that run on dark matter to shoot globs of very tightly-wound superstrings at universities in order to provide fire-support in service of political correctness and...gender studies profs...or something something their plot to ban all books from campuses and force all classes to be taught using only the current week's posts from Salon and Jezebel...oh and PowerPoint presentations on made-up enmeshed anyway...this I interpret as yet more evidence that "progressives" are leaning hard over toward the Dark Side. Which is, of course, a totally racist thing to say. Also, it's totally only one case. But it's Ezra Klein, and I think he's likely to be representative of a certain group. So it's not proof, it's yet more cause for concern. EVERYTHING IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN WAKE UP SHEEPLE

[Also I'd like to yet again harp on the fact that this type of legislation is not correctly describe by the phrase 'Yes' means 'yes.' It is correctly described by the phrase: No 'yes' means 'no.'  This is almost the opposite of 'yes' means 'yes.']

What's Wrong With "All Lives Matter"?

   Though I think that Black Lives Matter (the movement, not the slogan) is largely wrong about some of the crucial facts, I do think they have a point about "all lives matter." I mean, I think that "all lives matter" is largely true...not exactly true, though...because I don't think that, e.g., Hitler's life matters...but I know what they mean. It's pretty true.
   But I think that it's not great as a criticism of/response to "black lives matter" (the slogan). "Black lives matter" is roughly equivalent to "black lives matter too." So "all lives matter" kinda misses the point--though it's understandable that even well-intentioned people could miss that point, I suppose. So "black lives matter" is like:  "Look, we all know that white lives matter, right? That's not something anyone really disagrees about. It's not an issue that even comes up. But here's the thing: black lives also matter." Responding "all lives matter" seems to me to be a mistake given the proposition(s) actually being expressed. They're saying something like: black lives matter just as much as white lives matter. So that all seems pretty obvious to me.
   But anyway, my real point is: given that BLM believes (justifiably (though mostly falsely) believes) that there's an epidemic of cops killing black men, and that it's purely out of racism and/or disregard for their lives...well...  Imagine that Smith's wife has just died. Overcome by grief, Smith exclaims "I loved her so much!" Jones, standing nearby, responds something like "Well, we all love our wives..." I mean, it might very well be true...but Smith is a jackass of world-historical proportions for saying it just then. It's not that it's false, but that the pragmatics are out of whack. I mean like waaaaay out of whack. Not a terribly deft analogy, I'll admit...but something like that maybe?
   Rhetorically speaking, it might be good for the response to "all lives matter" to be something on the order of: Yes they do; if you believe that, then we're on the same side, my friend. But even if that might be more effective, the more important question is: is ire in the face of "all lives matter" as a response to "black lives matter" defensible? And it seems to me that it is.

"Trigger Warnings" For Kant's Critiques and the Constitution?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

His Majesty, Grant Strobl, Challenges Michigan's Pronoun Fascism

Godspeed, your majesty.

   I can take one look at Grant's picture and tell you that we would not have gotten along at all when I was an undergrad... But things have changed. The far left is now completely insane. "Progressives" have split from liberalism, and they're basically on the side of the PC left. The smoldering remnants of liberalism...well...we're talking about people who might literally burst into tears if accused of're out. Also, they will usually defend anything conservatives attack...
   Only conservatives seem willing to stand up against this abject lunacy.
   Personally, I'll be pretty surprised if Grant doesn't get a visit from the local thought poli...uh...bias response strike force... I mean...making fun of totalitarianism?  That is not going to be tolerated in the academy, my friend...

University Of Michigan Faculty Will Face Disciplinary Action For Ignoring "Preferred Pronouns"

   Well, here we go I guess...
   Just to be clear about what's happening: relatively recently, some lefty / transgender activists came up with some ideas for nonstandard uses of pronouns. Transgenderism became a hot fad on the PC left. Otherwise, it's like a miracle that the number of transgendered folk just shot up like ten thousand percent... And now, with no even semi-serious public discussion of the issues, an almost-certainly-false theory is being declared to be above any reasonable doubt, and the corresponding misuses of the language are being enforced by law and fines in NYC and DC, and faculty at leftier universities are being told that they must conform or else.
   This is straight 1984 stuff.
   Apparently no one is speaking up against this. Almost no one has the guts to say that the theory is nonsense. And look, part of the reason is that they are genuinely empathetic. Nobody wants to risk being an asshole. Part of what's going on is that everyone is trying to bend over backwards to avoid being discriminatory against this newly-minted sexual minority (or semi-sexual-minority or whatever). Part of what's going on is moral caution. So there's something non-reprehensible or even laudable in play.
   But a lot of what's going on is coercion by the powerful academic left.
   And a lot of what's going on is cowardice. People are rolling right over for a fad--a fad in which you can simply declare yourself to be a member of an oppressed minority. And they're rolling over because they are afraid of being called bigots. Which, of course, is virtually the only kind of...well, we can't call it an argument...but...tactical assertion that the PC left employs. The PCs have some crazy theories and they cohere well with a certain kind of anti-realist orientation that is strong in the humanities and social sciences--roughly, relativist and social constructionist views according to which we create facts by believing them, individually or collectively. This is supplemented with some conceptual legerdemain--"gender identity," for example, which is strategically incoherent. Its whole purpose is to make it seem plausible that there is a real property that people have exactly if they believe themselves to have it. That is: it aims to confuse the distinction between genuinely having a characteristic and believing yourself to have it. (Blurring that distinction is very helpful if you're trying to convince people that something imaginary is real...)  And the meaning of 'gender' itself has been so blurred of late--specifically in defense of the desired political goals--that it barely means anything anymore. (The sex/gender distinction used to be very clear and very useful.) And "___ identity" adds on another layer of nonsense.
   Look, I'm starting to feel like a nut here--and needless to say, it's more likely that I'm wrong than that everybody else is. But as far as I can tell, this is all just insane. People I've tried to talk with about it--people who are just kind of going along with it--pretty readily admit that they think it's nonsense. But they seem to think, basically, that it doesn't matter that much, and it's probably better to err on the side of tolerance. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with least not in certain ways. But we're now moving into a phase in which this incoherent view is rapidly becoming official state and institutional dogma, and dissent is no longer tolerated in some places. We're no longer talking about erring on the side of tolerance. We're moving into territory in which we are, bizarrely, erring on the side of intolerance--intolerance for disagreement.
   Seriously, this is all either really nuts and creepy as hell, or I'm just completely and perhaps irredeemably confused about it all. I'm not rejecting the latter possibility out of hand...
   And hell, for the record, again: I don't think anybody has a right to tell anyone how to look or act. If guys want to wear dresses etc., I certainly can't think of any grounds for criticism of them. It's whatever, man. Nothing is less my business than how someone else dresses. But believing yourself to be an X doesn't make you an X, for any real value of X (excepting the possible validity of the Cogito, and maybe a few trick/self-referential cases I'm not thinking of). Dress and act and think of yourself however you want. But dressing like a woman doesn't make you a woman, and making up pseudo-concepts to blur that fact doesn't change anything. People are free to live how they want, and I'll defend their right to do so. But I will not be told that I must adopt nonstandard linguistic diktats that presupposes that a man is a woman if he says he is. I'm not interfering in anyone else's life, but I won't be told what to do. It's just not going to happen.



   Seriously, I couldn't even get myself to read all of this...and I love this stuff. Because I like feeling superior to other people. Because that's the kind of guy I am. But this...this was too damn dumb even for me to finish. I don't like feeling that superior to other people. I know that making fun of posts at Everyday Feminism is like shooting fish in a barrel... But gah, this one...
   The thing is, this isn't about naturally-occurring stupid. That, we just have to live with. This is about a strain of stupid created in academia. A theory. A method of (pseudo-)inquiry. A set of conclusions and values and philosophical positions that instills stupidity in people. People infected by this dumbassery can't think rationally anymore. They become obsessed with pop-culture bullshit, race and "gender" (not even sex!), minutia of trendy jargoneering and niche moral obsession... Gah!
   Just like a good theory can make you smarter, a bad theory can make you dumber. Learn sound methods of reasoning and inquiry, and it's like gaining 20 or so points of IQ. Learn unsound ones, and you're now basically running a stupidity emulator on your formerly-just-fine wetware... You'd have been just fine if you hadn't fallen in with the wrong crowd--lit-critters or gender-studiers or whoever...the purveyors of the post-post-modern mishmash of bad theories...
   I know it's a really dumb article about a really dumb topic. But I think it's an illustrative example--and example of the dumbification of our discourse. It's a kind of esoteric cult-speak. People ought to be as concerned about this as they would be if all of a sudden Scientology jargon and beliefs started cropping up all over in our public discussion.
   It's like the pod people are taking over...and they're all really, really dumb.

   Also don't miss the bit about how IT'S FOR HUNTING HUMANS!!!!!111

(h/t /r/tumblrinaction)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

John Warner Endorses Clinton

   This will carry weight in the OD.
   I respect the hell out of Warner. Never forget: he's the man who kept Ollie North out of the Senate.

Words Some People Apparently Use With A Straight Face, Episode I: "Fat-Shaming"


Still counts though.

538: Clinton Won The Debate, Likely To Gain 2-4 Points In Polls

Moskos: Spin This: The Biggest Murder Increase In 45 Years

Not. good.
   Also not good: it seems fairly clear that the left is doing it's thing and trying to spin, spin, spin this away. Well, it's the right's thing, too, of course. But I've so given up on those guys that I barely even get mad at em anymore. 
   Google 'Ferguson effect.' It's depressing as hell. Liberal source: no. Conservative source: yes. Liberal source: no. Conservative source: maybe. Liberal source: hell no. Conservative source: obviously. Liberal source: hell no you racist...and so on...  

Clinton Wins Debate 1

Looks like
   I guess HRC ought to just keep on keepin' on for debate 2. But I'd really like to see her fill in the gaps in the moderation by, say, pointing out that Trump doesn't have any substantive things to say about policy because he doesn't know anything at all about it. She should point out early on that he just repeats a handful of platitudes over and over. Maybe pick out a couple of them to explain in some detail--e.g. why manufacturing jobs aren't going to be coming back (though that's a dangerous one). The stuff ("renegotiate trade deals!") sounds ok if you're given to magical thinking, I suppose. So you've got to point out why it's a fantasy (when it is). Go one level down into the policy debate, and Trump's lost. Ridicule his scattered repetition of platitudes and you could, I think, make him look even worse.
   Trump's got some winning points, too, if he could just make them. This whuppin' might actually get him to commit a few of them to memory. Emphasizing the rise in violent crime (plausibly due to BLM and the Ferguson effect), law and order, etc. is probably a winner for him. I'm not sure how Dems can deal with those points. I suppose denial and "racism!" are their winning strategies, rhetorically speaking, there. And Trump's record on race doesn't exactly put him in a position to speak hard truths on the topic.
   This whole thing just makes me reflect on my basic view that it's basically always a contest between celebrities. Trump's just an extreme example. Celebrity is what gets people elected and puts them in a position to run for President. Hilary's basically a political celebrity. But she's a celebrity who at least cares about and learns about and knows about public and foreign policy. Trump, on the other hand...what a damn mess that guy is.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Trump Did Say That Global Warming Is A Chinese Hoax


Debate 1

   Trumpo didn't drop a deuce far as I could tell anyway...  So does that count as a great victory for him?
   Hillary is just pretty awful at this, seems to me. Imagine The Big Dog or Obama in there instead...not...y'know...first-debate-against-Mittens Obama...but, say, proceed, Governor Obama...  Anyway, could normal people tell that Trump was basically incoherent? I can't tell what normal people can tell anymore.
   So HRC was, of course, a lot better...if you think knowledge of policy and an ability to string together chains of coherent thoughts is important...but Trump did not literally crap his Or what?

Clemson Bans Harambe Memes Because Rape Culture

They're not even trying to make sense anymore.
How can a state school get away with this?

Leiter On A Dust-Up At The Society For Analytical Feminism: "Not Really A Philosophy Conference"

   Well, here ya go.
   Leiter is going to get shredded for this comment, though if the facts are as they now seem, then the main thrust of his point is near the target. In philosophy, as in academia generally, feminism gets strong presumption--any criticism is characterized as bigoted and impermissible. I expect that Leiter has jumped the gun a bit, which is fatal given the current rules of the game. I'm going to wait until more facts are in before saying anything more than that. That alone should tell you something about the current climate.
   [Incidentally, one of the updates includes an email from someone who, apparently with a straight face, uses the "word" 'misogynoir'...  I'm not even making that up.]

Current 538 Chances of Winning: HRC 51.8, Trump 48.2

(There's no permalink, so why link?)
I'm not disappointed, I'm just angry

Friday, September 23, 2016

Redemption Theory

I love this kinda stuff.

PC Freakout At KU

   This, at Kansas, is similar to the new footage of the Yale anti-Christakis freakout.
   If it weren't already clear, this footage would make it clear that PC is basically a kind of insanity. Again we see one party (in this case a group rather than one individual) patiently trying to reason with a group that is afflicted by a kind of artificial insanity. The one side is calm and reasonable, the other side is obnoxious and incoherent, has no respect for reason, for civility, or for the exchange of ideas. The PCs in the footage are just a mess. They shriek, they curse, they completely lose their shit. They mindlessly spout the same mindless "social justice" cant we hear spouted again and again from such folk. I'm not really one for making fun of the way people look...but I'm starting to wonder whether I should revise that position... The PC kids are just a mess...and that's about the nicest thing I can think of to say. If I walk around with a flower pot on my head, it's absurd to insist that people who make fun of me are bigots.
   Those who want to argue that political correctness doesn't exist, or that it's nothing more nor less than politeness/civility should have to watch this lunacy.

Criticizing Female Genital Mutilation Is Racist

   I give you "Knowledge is Made for Cutting: Genealogies of Race and Gender in Female Circumcision Discourse."
Circumcision discourse
Discursive violence
Material violence
Female abjection
Pleasure of whiteness

(via NewRealPeerReview)

Lionel Shriver: Will The Left Survive The Millennials?

   Lionel Shriver, my new hero, gives PC both barrels.
   I, too, have wondered whether liberalism will survive. It survived PC the first time around...but diminished. In retrospect, I now suspect that may have been the turning point at which American liberalism began caring less about freedom and reason and more about being nice and not giving offence.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

6 Ways Your Social Justice Activism Might Be Ableist

   I'm confident you cisheteropatriarchal phallogocentric transdouchecanoes need to read this article because I have no doubt that your social justice activism is probably ableist as shit.
Hilarious words / phrases that are written with a straight face in this article:
Ableist (obvs)
Dialects of privilege
And I am totally not kidding: ablesplaining

Today I Learned: There Was No Racism Until Obama Got Elected

The Daily Show Interviews Trump Supporters

   It's just like three people, undoubtedly selected for their irrationality...but damn...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wells-Fargo Used Employee Ethics Line To Identify And Fire Whistle-Blowers

Feminists Used Trump Jr.'s Skittles Meme in 2014; Ergo Trump Jr. "Ripped It Off" (But It Was Cool Before)

   Right, see, it was cool when feminists used it about men (warning: TownHall have. been. warned...)...but IT IS TOTALLY NOT COOL TO USE IT ABOUT SYRIAN REFUGEES.
  AND: Trump is evil because Trump Jr. "tweeted" (ugh...seriously?) it and white supremacists use it too which means he's like white supremacists and feminists use it too but it TOTALLY DOES NOT mean that he's like feminists in fact just the OPPOSITE and what he did was RIP IT OFF FROM THEM WHICH IS TYPICAL OF MEN AAAARGH 
   Ok, to be fair, the author of that one piece does kind of blur the point about whether or not the meme is bad. Also to be fair, some people objected to it when it was used about men but seem ok with it being used about refugees. 
   Double-standards: the heart and soul of our political discourse.
   Anyway, I'm inclined to count this as another lefty imaginary outrage. The recipe for that is, basically: begin with the assumption that everyone to the right of you is racist. Take something they say and, operating under that guiding assumption, cast about for some interpretation according to which it's TEH RACIST. (Note: employ denigrated/elevated standards according to which basically everything and everyone is racist.) Find an interpretation. Declare it racist. Declare the person who said it racist. Tweet it! Go have a gluten-free microbrew.

   Ok, what I might say about this nonsense if I could think clearly about it anymore would probably be something like: look man. This is a serious problem. This is about people's lives. About their lives being destroyed, in point of fact. And, of course, it's about terrorism--also serious. I take the point, but the candy thing doesn't really have the kind of prima facie gravitas that I'd prefer. It might be ok for John Q. Public to post on Facebook or whatever. But you're a candidate's son, and part of his campaign, so different, higher standards are applicable. Also, get off goddamn twitter it's a factory for stupid. It makes blogs look serious.

Trump, Skittles, White Supremacists, Guilt By Association

   And another thing:
   One overwrought criticism of Trump Jr.'s Skittles comment is that it's also used by white supremacists.
   This is what we call guilt by association.
   There is nothing inherently racist about the Skittles analogy.
   It may be faulty on other grounds, of course.
   But the fact that it's been used by white supremacists doesn't constitute a valid objection to it.
   This is different than the "meme" (ugh) with Hillary and the money and the suggestion of a star of David. That one had stuff in it that had objective (though conventional) symbolic links to anti-Semitic crap. There's no such link with the Skittles.
   Nice move, "progressives"! Again making Trumpo and his clown show look good by comparison.

The Guardian: "Donald Trump Jr. Compares Refugees To Poisoned Skittles" (Or: Return of the Mexican Rapists Fallacy)

   Via /r/SocialJusticeInAction, where the poster, /u/rodmclaughlin makes the relevant point in the post title: actually, he compared refugees to skittles, and terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) to a small minority of poisoned skittles.
   As I've said, I've got nothing against criticizing this analogy, of course. But this is the kind of anti-Trump bias that shows up over and over in I actually about to say this? I guess I am...yaaaargh! MAINSTREAM MEDIA THERE I SAID IT
   This is basically the same distortion that we see over and over and over again with respect to Trump's comment about crime among illegal immigrants. Trump said:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
This is reported over and over and over and over in (let's face it) liberal i.e. mainstream media as: (all) Mexicans are rapists. Of course, what he seems to actually have been asserting is: a higher-than average number of illegal immigrants (from Mexico) are rapists. That's a statement about illegal immigrants, not about Mexicans. And the distorted gloss is some combination of inaccuracy and distortion tantamount to a lie. This distortion of the skittles comment is of the same kind: someone in the Trump camp says a small percentage of F are G; this gets reported as: Trump camp says all F are G.
   The Guardian title is closer to being accurate / not as egregious a distortion...but it's in the same general direction. It's stated in such a way as to spin it in a bad (or, you might argue, worse) direction. And that's how most bias operates--not as outright fabrication, but as spin.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trump Making Impressive Gains With Black Voters? (Liberal Journalists: That's, Like, DOUBLE RACISM!!!11)

   Looks like Trump's up from about 3% to around 20% with black voters. Can that be right??  Well, anyway, it just goes to show that he's like super duper racist:
Dara Lind, writing for Vox, argued that Trump’s minority outreach had nothing to do with reaching out to minorities, and that it was “probably too little too late.” 
The real reason for the outreach, Lind wrote, was that “wavering Republicans are still looking for a reason to vote Trump. And Trump’s show of racial unity is what they need to feel that, once again, Republicans have the high ground when it comes to race and identity.” 
Bob Cesca, writing for The Daily Banter, went even further, declaring confidently that "Trump's outreach to African-Americans is actually a dog-whistle to his white nationalist base."
   Not reaching out to minority voters is racist...but, if you're a Republican, reaching out to them is like double racist...  In fact, reading out to minorities is actually reaching out to white supremacists...see?????
   What's up with Trump support? Well, all kinds of things probably, and obviously not all of them good...but here's one of the things that's up: people are tired of this kind of idiotic liberal bullshit.  Stupidity + the method of free association + ceaseless, mindless charges of racism against everyone they disagree with...what's not to hate?
   Trump is a disaster of Biblical proportions...but I'll be damned if liberals don't make him look like a plausible alternative by comparison.

Trump Jr.'s Skittles Metaphor, Political Correctness, and Stupid Outrage

   This is idiotic.
   The reaction, I mean--not Trump Jr.'s skittles metaphor.
   The overwrought bullshit in response to this is just nauseating. The dumbest responses include accusations of "dehumanization," apparently in response to the very idea of analogizing humans to non-human things. (The Skittles folks even seem to think it's necessary to point out that humans are not candy...) So...Juliet is the sun...ergo Shakespeare...oh, never damn mind. Stupid theories make for stupid people. Now the stupid rampages across the land...
   It's tedious to have to point out that, yes, Trump Jr.'s estimate of the proportion of terrorist sympathizers to normal people among Syrian refugees seems pretty off...  Jesus Christ, criticize that part, you twits. That criticism makes sense. But most of this faux-pious don't know...what's a synonym for 'nonsense'?  It's been a long day...  All I can think of is 'horsefeathers'...that's really not going to cut it...
   This is some of the bullshit that's driving people Trumpward. Some fairly typical political bullshit is met with weepy, breathless, moronic accusations of bigotry. I surprise, right? That's basically the only argument the left uses anymore. Everything they disagree with is some kind of bigotry... All normal, rational people are sick to death of this drivel. The combination of stupidity, intellectual dishonesty / intentional obtuseness, virtue-signaling and...oh, hell, I'm not even going to try to list everything that's idiotic about this. It's a big tangle of crap.
   So that bowl's got maybe a couple-hundred Skittles in it. Are 1% of Syrian refugees terrorist sympathizers? I doubt it, but, honestly, I don't know. Find a good estimate, state the numbers, explain why Trump Jr. is wrong--like rational adults--and move on.
[Or, of course: find something else reasonable to criticize about it that I haven't thought of.]
   Jesus this crap.

The Case For Calm: Wang Via Drum

NBC: Clinton Regains Momentum?

I'll believe any poll that tells me that at this point.

Another Aspect of the Informal Alliance Between PC and Campus Administrators?

  I used to joke that there were only two crimes according to the paleo-PC of the '80s and '90s--rape and genocide. Everything they opposed was "a type" of one or the other. A degree requirement they didn't like? Curricular rape. Fail to have sufficiently "multicultural" offerings at the dining hall? Gusatory genocide. (Of course they've settled on basically the opposite of that now; Taco Tuesday is now more likely to be deemed "cultural appropriation.")
   Anyway, the neo-PCs tend to take a more direct and less-specific route, deeming speech they disagree with to be "a type of violence." They idea, never clearly stated, is roughly: liberals think that your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins...but not before. The PCs assert that words are fists, and that I'm...I don't know...punching you in the ear if I express proscribed ideas or utter proscribed words within earshot of you. Or where you might read it. Or hear tell of it. Well, actually you're not supposed to say naughty things at all, anywhere, ever. Something something contribute to an atmosphere something. So no only, say, are we not to express the idea that Caitlyn Jenner is not a woman in Jenner's presence--something that might perhaps be defended on the basis of politeness, despite its truth--but we're ever to say it ever, since it is--somehow--tantamount to an attack on Jenner and everything like Jenner. (This, you'll note was one of the sticking points between Christakis and the shrieking students at Yale--he was willing to apologize for every imagined possible slight in the universe, but not willing to say that his wife's expressing politically incorrect views about Halloween costumes (i.e. that students might be left to make their own decisions about them) constituted a violent attack.)
   So one important confusion at the heart of political correctness is the identification of disagreement with violence.
   One of the local Anonymi has pointed out that there's a kind of informal alliance between PC student protesters and administrators. PCs make their demands, and administrators have an incentive to accept them for various reasons: they're often demands to grow the administration (by adding deans or deanlets or deanlings of diversity or multiculturalism or rape culture or what have you) or to increase the power of the administration (by decreasing student freedom, e.g. freedom of speech), or implement policies that, in the current climate, might decrease the likelihood of bad press or even lawsuits.
   Here's Catherine Rampell on administrators using trumped-up concerns about violence to keep conservative speakers off campus. (Milo's a racist now, apparently...because the alt-right is racist...  It could be, but I'm skeptical... I trust Rampell, and I'm admittedly out of the loop on the alt-right...but charges of racism against the right are virtually automatic knows?)
   So here's how it goes, according to me: PC radicals declare the expression of politically incorrect views to be a type of violence. They use this to justify their own violent actions against speakers to their right. Administrators know that you can't go wrong siding with the left, but that opposing them will bring a shitstorm. And they just want the problem to go away. So they announce that they can't guarantee safety at such events...and voila! no more problem!
   Any even vaguely objective person can see that this is all bullshit, and that the victim is freedom of thought and expression.  But that's where we are.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Colin Powell: The Last Reasonable Man?

   Well, a pretty reasonable man, anyway.

Science Is Socially Constructed and Androcentric And Needs To Be Restructured So As To Be Politically / Feministically Correct

   This kind of nonsense is all over the weaker regions of the humanities and social sciences. It's invariably terrible.
   Also: "socially constructed" barely means anything at all.
   And I guess it goes without saying: we've moved from (1) science is objective, but women can't do it, to (2) science is objective and everybody can do it, and now to either (3a) science is not objective, it's inherently "gendered," ergo women can't do it, but that's good because it's bad or (3b) science is objective and that's bad because objectivity is "masculist" or "androcentric," and so women shouldn't do it but should, instead, go do some other, better thing instead. We made real progress, and now the loony left is trying to drag us to a place that's even worse than where we started. It'd be alarming if their arguments were any good, but they're always terrible. So it's just annoying.

Lionel Shriver Contra PC: Full Comments From The Brisbane Writer's Festival

   I keep expecting liberalism to reassert itself against the illiberal left...but maybe not. Maybe we're seeing the last days of intellectual freedom in the English-speaking world, and the center of intellectual gravity will move elsewhere. When PC ravaged universities in the late '80s and early '90s, academia seemed to recover pretty rapidly, shredding their speech codes and so forth...but much of the damage stuck. Twenty-or-so years later, there's been another outbreak, and it's an even more virulent strain, and the internet is a new vector.
   Who knows? Hard to believe that a bunch of scrawny sophomores with an incoherent theory could bring down the intellectual tradition of the West... But, then, they have allies in the faculty--radical, passionate, ruthless allies... Also, as PC encroaches more and more on the sciences, there'll be more pushback. The humanities and social sciences are pretty flabby, hence malleable. Philosophy should be pushing back, but it isn't. Philosophers are cowardly, but I think that it's more consequential that so many of them are now careerists, and they fear what the discipline's vocal PC left will do to their careers. Well, that's really just a particularly cowardly kind of cowardice, when you think about it...
   Anyway, here's Lionel Shriver, and she's not having it:
In his 2009 novel Little Bee, Chris Cleave, who as it happens is participating in this festival, dared to write from the point of view of a 14-year-old Nigerian girl, though he is male, white, and British. I’ll remain neutral on whether he “got away with it” in literary terms, because I haven’t read the book yet. 
But in principle, I admire his courage – if only because he invited this kind of ethical forensics in a review out of San Francisco: “When a white male author writes as a young Nigerian girl, is it an act of empathy, or identity theft?” the reviewer asked. “When an author pretends to be someone he is not, he does it to tell a story outside of his own experiential range. But he has to in turn be careful that he is representing his characters, not using them for his plot.” 
Hold it. OK, he’s necessarily “representing” his characters, by portraying them on the page. But of course he’s using them for his plot! How could he not? They are his characters, to be manipulated at his whim, to fulfill whatever purpose he cares to put them to. 
This same reviewer recapitulated Cleave’s obligation “to show that he’s representing [the girl], rather than exploiting her.” Again, a false dichotomy. 
Of course he’s exploiting her. It’s his book, and he made her up. The character is his creature, to be exploited up a storm. Yet the reviewer chides that “special care should be taken with a story that’s not implicitly yours to tell” and worries that “Cleave pushes his own boundaries maybe further than they were meant to go.” 
What stories are “implicitly ours to tell,” and what boundaries around our own lives are we mandated to remain within? I would argue that any story you canmake yours is yours to tell, and trying to push the boundaries of the author’s personal experience is part of a fiction writer’s job.


Worse: the left’s embrace of gotcha hypersensitivity inevitably invites backlash. Donald Trump appeals to people who have had it up to their eyeballs with being told what they can and cannot say. Pushing back against a mainstream culture of speak-no-evil suppression, they lash out in defiance, and then what they say is pretty appalling.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

NYT: "Donald Trump's Anything Goes Campaign Sets An Alarming Political Precedent

Some stuff I don't totally agree with (including the kind of misuse of 'misnomer' that bugs the crap out of me...), but overall I agree with this.

Taleb: "The Intellectual, Yet Idiot"

   I guess that post title is ambiguous...
   IMO it's important to draw distinctions among types of approval and disapproval. I've long thought that a good thing about being in relationships with other philosophers is that philosophers are more likely to be able to do that. Instead of just I love you or / and I hate you, they're better at saying--and thinking!--things like I disagree, but am not sure that I'm justified in disagreeing...or I am too angry about this issue to think clearly about it now, but I'm willing to put it to the side temporarily....or though I actually agree about this point, there's a different point that I really disagree with you about, and I can't focus on this issue until that one gets cleared up. When you're no good at doing that, everything gets reduced to you're right or your wrong, or I love you or I hate you
   Which brings me to stuff like this, and Taleb. How good is what Taleb actually writes? Meh. It's ok I guess. I'm really not sure. Or, rather: I kinda have no idea. Yeah...I don't know. BUT: I've recently become more and more sympathetic to the general point, and for some of the very reasons Taleb cites. And these matters have been on my mind a lot.
   I mean, look: most published medical studies may be false. Even many of the most famous and influential psychological studies can't be replicated. The nutrition advice that's been pushed on us for years seems to have encouraged us to do just about the opposite of what we should have been doing. Economics isn't looking so good, either. Data suggests that Supreme Court decisions are guided largely by political preferences rather than arguments. And when the vanguard of liberalism likes something and/or chooses a new cause, it's rarely long before some soft "science" crops up to support it. (This can be trivial, as when red wine became good for you, or more consequential as when brain-scan data appeared just in time to support the trendy theory of transgenderism.) 
   In short: I've become wary of certain experts, and of liberalism's tendency to highly-value certain types of expertise, especially when it impinges on social and political issues. 
  Add to this: there's data that stereotypes are (contrary to what we've been told our whole lives) pretty accurate. In fact, it seems, they are more accurate, on average, than psychological studies...
   What this all adds up to in my mind is roughly:
People like me have long had a tendency to accept the conclusions of experts rather than common folk, especially in the realm of policy. But it now seems rather clear that, in this realm, at least, the experts have less expertise than we thought they did. And the aggregate conclusions of ordinary people (who often, to gesture Taleb-ward, have skin in the game) may be more accurate than we thought. I'd add to this: the expert opinions rendered by the intelligentsia are--far from being objective deliverances of reason and rational methods--profoundly influenced by the generally liberal preferences of that group. (See, e.g., how quickly fashionable yet nearly incoherent theories of race and "gender," and "social construction" generally, have swept through our parts of the culture). Which is unsurprising given the former stuff: when rational methods are clear, effective, and easy to apply, they're more inclined to carry the day. The less-effective and murkier they are, the more wiggle-room there is, the more likely it is that other causes of belief will assert themselves.
   So I'm not sure how good the Taleb thing is overall, but I've reluctantly become sympathetic with the overall thrust of it.
   I was too lazy to put in any links.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Political Correctness Is Insanity: New Yale / Christakis Video

   So we all watch a video of a shrieky Yale girl completely lose her shit screaming at Nicholas Christakis last year. Now here's new video at FIRE and The Federalist. It's a lot longer, and, though the shrieksplosion is the most dramatic part of it in certain ways, the rest is very much worth watching, too. It's a nonstop tapestry of acquired insanity. The students are gathered around Christakis--who is so patient and reasonable that he actually becomes unreasonable by conceding too much and being too irenic--and their side of the conversation is irrational to a degree I'm not sure I've ever seen surpassed. It's hard to generalize about the crazy things they say; it's hard pin down their particular type of madness. It's obviously acquired, almost certainly from Yale itself. It's clearly the current madness of the left, political correctness and its adjuncts. But after that...hell, I'd have to watch that a lot to be able to characterize it. One shot at it: they accepted a view that convinces them that the only fair rules are ones that allow them to say whatever they want, and others to say, basically, nothing. No matter how far Christakis bends over backwards to accommodate them, it's never far enough. They accuse him of being wrong and mean and evil and of talking out of turn and saying things he has no right to say. They accuse him of arrogance, he tries to be more touchy-feely, even to the point of bowing down, so they accuse him of, in effect, infantilizing them. He tries to find some other posture and demeanor, something that they will not object to. They talk over him at ever turn, they yell, they scream, they weep inconsolably when he cannot speak directly to each one of them at once. They scream at him for not knowing all their names--he points out that he is new to the position and has 500 names to learn (not counting his classes). They step up on him. Finally they just scream at him that he is disgusting, and he makes them sick, and that it is "never [his] time to talk." (Only one person says each of these things, but the others clearly acquiesce.)
   They don't ever actually hit him, though shrieking girl obviously does want to gesture at the possibility of violence. So they're not the Brown Shirts...but in terms of the content of what they say, they are utterly batshit crazy. We can draw a couple of conclusions from the tape, one of which is: there is no reasoning with such people. It is total agreement or nothing. And I'm fairly sure that if he'd have agreed, they'd have told him that he had to right to do so. Shut up and do as we say; we don't care about your agreement, we care about your obedience. Well, actually I'm sure they do care about agreement...obedience isn't enough for that type, in the end... Which is why the far left loves (in their jargon) "education". And, of course, re-education...
   I have a high tolerance for watching such stuff, and I don't think even I could stomach that again. Besides, what's needed is a writer's eye and ear. Maybe a Nietzsche or a Kafka or an Orwell or a Parker or somebody... There are patterns and nuances of crazy there that I just can't capture.
   One thing I can say: it's all artificial insanity, it's all theory-based. And the theory is a theory that is largely rooted in the humanities and social sciences and the campus left. The method that's most on display is one of shifting interpretations and protean rules; at each moment, a new demand is placed. Are you treating me as an equal? then I demand that you treat me more gently--and add that we are not equals, and your belief that we are shows that you are evil and have no right (to anything). Do you then treat me gently? Then I proclaim that you are treating me like a child, and must treat me some other way--and add that this, again, shows that you are evil and have no right. You then treat me as if we were friends? I proclaim that we aren't friends and never can be--and add that this again demonstrates that you are evil and have no right... And on and on and on... Almost the only constant is the assumption that you are wrong; all that's left to do is explain how you are wrong at each moment.
   Oh and it's not about ideas and disagreement, it's about pain and violence. My words are words; your words are fists. By even articulating your position, you violate me, you are violent.
   The shrieking and's all so embarrassing and nauseating, but angrifying too.
   These kids have been ruined. Some will recover. Some never will. And they've been ruined by bad theories. They've been converted to an insane political cult, and it's rotted their minds and robbed them of part of their humanity.
   I think in a way Christakis is not just fighting the students (though he's trying not to fight them at all). He's fighting an alliance of students (campus activists) and the faculty and shadowy administrators that are filling their heads with this nonsense. The faculty generate the crazy ideas, the students put them into action. Anyway, that's the way I've begun thinking about the current struggle for the soul of the university and Western civilization.

[Another thing; a lot of it is obviously "performance," mostly for the other students, I'd guess. As I read someone say recently, maybe in comments here, but I can't remember: *the performance of injury.* It's not *just*'s more like method acting. They largely believe what they're saying (and doing), I'd guess.]

Thanks For Nothin', Wang

So much for not panicking.

Gates: "...on national security...Trump is beyond repair"

The whole thing is worth reading, and he's hard on Clinton, too. That's probably more important for me to hear than the Trump stuff, which I already agree with. (You'll probably have to work around the paywall)  Anyway:
Mrs. Clinton has time before the election to address forthrightly her trustworthiness, to reassure people about her judgment, to demonstrate her willingness to stake out one or more positions on national security at odds with her party’s conventional wisdom, and to speak beyond generalities about how she would deal with China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, the Middle East—and international trade. Whether and how she addresses these issues will, I believe, affect how many people vote—including me. 
At least on national security, I believe Mr. Trump is beyond repair. He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform. He is unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief.

The Alt-Right Sounds Pretty Terrible. What is the Alt-Right Anyway?

...if this is even vaguely right...I guess it is terrible.
   I'm a little skeptical, but I really don't know what it mostly is. I thought it was Milo and similar people, who seemed to me mostly to be farbling liberal/ progressive/ PC/ SJW pieties...then I started hearing that it was racists and white supremacists...then Pepe the frog got in on the action...and I heard that Pepe was now a "white supremacist" symbol...though "white supremacy" is used by the PCs / SJWs to just mean racist since they can't resist good hyperbole and apparently ordinary racism isn't bad enough...but anyway...ordinary racism is bad enough for then it turned out that by "white supremacists" they meant the Alt-right...and I still didn't understand what that was...and I know that the left now just calls everyone on the right racist basically, again, I'm skeptical....and the SPLC calls the Alt-right a hate group...but the SPLC seemed to go crazy a long time ago...they call the men's rights movement a hate group and that doesn't seem right at all...and, of course, political movements are vague and fuzzy things anyway...
   But if anybody actually knows what the damn Alt-right mostly is, I sure as hell wish they'd tell me.

John Horgan: "Should Research On Race And IQ Be Banned?"

   Posted Without Comment.

[The Mystic does comment. I agree completely.]

Josh Voorhees: All Of Trump's Birther Tweets

Trump: Never Wrong, Never Sorry, Never Responsible

   To err is human...and if you think you're exempt from that law, then you're livin' la proverbial vida loca:
“We do not need any more bureaucratic leadership from Washington, D.C. We need true leadership from the top. Mr. Trump has never failed in anything, because he listens to his advisers, he listens to his people,” said Mike Thornton, who had received the medal for saving his commander’s life during the Vietnam War.
   Infallibilism is the most dangerous thing.

(h/t S. rex)

Moskos: "It's The Criminals, Stupid (Or Why Cops Can't Stand Gun Control)"

Moskos is always good, and this is definitely worth a read. It's really crazy that this is one of the only places I can go to find someone writing in an objective way about this stuff. Other than this, I mostly just find tribal cant of the left and right.
Cops see danger coming from a small subset of criminals with guns, and not guns in general. Remember: police officers and all their friends are (for the most part) legal responsible gun owners. Cops want laws to focus on criminals and crimes, rather than guns. Collectively, most cops are incredibly pro-gun and equate the 2nd Amendment with freedom (just as you and I might do with the 1st Amendment). Inasmuch as gun laws are seen to infringe their rights while doing nothing to prevent criminals from shooting each other and shooting cops, cops aren’t going to support it. 
Consider this: there are (almost) no shootings in Chicago or New York or Baltimore that involves a legally possessed handgun. We’ve already “controlled” these guns and made them illegal. So what would passing *more* restrictive gun laws do to stop this violence? Are we going to double-dog-dare make them illegal? They’re already illegal. We don’t prioritize the laws we do have.
Here’s what scares me right now more than guns: the potential right-wing law-and-order backlash. The official 2015 crime data comes out, get this, the day of the next presidential debate. Homicides are way up in America. We know this. Black homicides in particular. It will be the largest increase in decades. And yet the Left has been in denial about this (and/or discounts its significance). By talking about guns rather than crime, we’re virtually conceding law-and-order issues to Trump and the fascist Right. Politically and morally, this is bonkers.
   IMO this is part of what made the "Reagan revolution" possible: liberals became unmoored from reality. (Note: I don't think Carter had anything to do with that; but he came too late to stop it.) And I think it's happening again. When you absolutely cannot even imagine that people on the other side might be right about anything, you're virtually guaranteed to be wrong about something. And I think that's what's going on now. The PC left arose, in part, I'd say, simply because the American left drifted leftward. Liberalism seems to be out of fashion. The vanguard of the American left is now "progressives" and PCs / SJWs. And those people live in a fantasy world every bit as fantastical as the farther reaches of the right. They cannot imagine that guns per se might possibly not be evil, and they they might possibly not be the main source of the problem. They cannot imagine that BLM may be wrong, and that pure, evil (white) racism (the only kind!) may not be the main driver of the racial disparity in police shootings. And, as Moskos notes, many of them have, thus far, refused to admit that crime is on the rise in certain ways. I'm beginning to think that the left can convince itself of anything. Its imaginative powers have become prodigious, and it seems to now be able to believe that night is day or whatever else political correctness might demand. That all would be bad enough, but the relevant sector of the left also doesn't seem to care that it's detached from reality unless it leads to conservative political victories. The truer this seems to me, the more I drift away from the left. And not so much toward the right as...I don't know...out into la-la land, I suppose...

                                                        As usual...I could be wrong about everythiiiiiiing....

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trump's Cowardly, Lie-Laden Birtherism

   What a thoroughgoing asshat.
   Dude will neither come right out and say it nor come right out and deny it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tyler Durden: "Les Deplorables"

   Pretty good, I say.
Donald Trump’s appeal, in part, is that he cracks back at progressive cultural condescension in utterly crude terms.Nativists exist, and the sky is still blue. But the overwhelming majority of these people aren’t phobic about a modernizing America. They’re fed up with the relentless, moral superciliousness of Hillary, the Obamas, progressive pundits and 19-year-old campus activists. ...
The moral clarity that drove the original civil-rights movement or the women’s movement has degenerated into a confused moral narcissism. One wonders if even some of the people in Mrs. Clinton’s Streisandian audience didn’t feel discomfort at the ease with which the presidential candidate slapped isms and phobias on so many people. 
Presidential politics has become hyper-focused on individual personalities because the media rubs them in our face nonstop. It is a mistake, though, to blame Hillary alone for that derisive remark. It’s not just her. Hillary Clinton is the logical result of the Democratic Party’s new, progressive algorithm—a set of strict social rules that drives politics and the culture to one point of view. A Clinton victory would enable and entrench the forces her comment represents.
  Again, truth is a defense here. (Not from the perspective of politics/rhetoric, of course...) If Clinton was right, then she was right...though many alleged proofs that she is right contain obvious errors. Still...she might very well be right...
   I'd kinda say this: Clinton may be right. Ok. But the idiocy on the left--the constant stream of vile and scurrilous moral accusations against good, innocent people who disagree with the left about some relative jot or tittle--it's wrong and  it's stupid. And many people are fed up with it. It's become something like a boy-who-cried-wolf situation. It's so bad that many people are willing to cut Trump slack despite the fact that the charges against him are sometimes justified and some other times plausible. They're willing to play a bit fast-and-loose with the plausible accusations because they're so fed up with the implausible ones.  And they're not willing to cut Hillary slack for basically the inverse of that reason. 
   But this is pretty much shooting from the hip. HRC wasn't even clear about whether she was offering a long conjunction or a long disjunction. If she meant that half of Trump supporters have some bigoted belief or other rather than all of the ones she listed, that makes it a lot easier for it to be true. And, though I kinda doubt that she believes this, it's basically orthodoxy the farther left you go that we're all bigoted...well...all us white folks, anyway... So was that assumption operative? 

Lionel Shriver Interviewed About The "Cultural Appropriation" Dust-Up

   The interviewer, Nate Hopper, kind of pisses me off in this. He seems like he's pushing a PC agenda rather than actually interviewing Shriver. I mean, it's good to encourage the interviewee to respond to tough objections, but here it seems like there's too much pushing of the contrived, semi-coherent PC arguments. Shriver's responses are pretty good, but if it were me, I'd have attacked the shitty arguments in the objections more directly. Also, Shriver falls into the PC-hurts-the-groups-it's-trying-to-help argument too readily for my taste. I mean, I think she's probably right, so this is more of a strategic rather than a tactical point...but one of the things I'm sickest of is the fact that PCs will only accept their own type of arguments--appeals to alleged harm to their preferred groups. People need to stop falling for this, even though it's an easier route to rhetorical victory. I'd have liked to see Shriver stand up and say something like:
You know, the reason this criticism is wrong is because there's no such thing as "cultural appropriation," and I have no obligation to kowtow to idiots who have fabricated a pretend sin. Could I think of some convoluted way in which the theory of cultural appropriation hurts people in the third world? Probably. But I'm not going to do that. It's a confused concept, a false theory, and it's doing harm to me, a successful white American. Those things matter. Not every criticism has to be cashed out in terms of harm to the groups beloved of the PCs. There are other things that matter, too.

Lionel Shriver's Address On "Cultural Appropriation" Roils

Remember, kids, there's no such thing as political correctness...:
Officials in charge of an Australian writers festival were so upset with the address by their keynote speaker, the American novelist Lionel Shriver, that they publicly disavowed her remarks. 
Links to her appearance were also temporarily unavailable on the festival website, leading supporters of Ms. Shriver to complain of censorship, but festival officials said it was only a technical malfunction on their website, which was repaired later. 
The event, the Brisbane Writers Festival, which ended Sunday, also hurriedly organized counterprogramming, billed as a “right of reply” for critics of Ms. Shriver, whose speech belittled the movement against cultural appropriation. They scheduled the rebuttal opposite a session Saturday afternoon in which Ms. Shriver was promoting her new novel, “The Mandibles.”
   So...they ad hoc invented a "right of reply" to someone who said something inconsistent with far-left insanity. Not conservative even...but relatively centrist, and entirely consistent with ordinary, non-stupid liberalism. They put together a whole panel on it. They took her talk down off the site. And they officially disavowed her comments.
   Look, I know I may be a bit too agitated about this's always possible that I'm the crazy one... But this really does seem like utter insanity to me. How bad does this stuff have to get before the average liberal in the street is willing to criticize it? How bad, incidentally, does it have to get before we stop seeing articles asserting that it doesn't exist? Or that it's nothing more than ordinary politeness?

University Title Generator

MO GOP Passes Law To Allow...Anybody To Carry A Gun Anytime?

   I'm fairly pro-Second-Amendment...and this doesn't seem like a particularly good idea to me...
(h/t J. Carthensis)

I Am Teaching Such A Shitty Class On Wittgenstein

  I mean, it's really off the scale. It's been so long since I looked at the Tractatus...and when I finally managed to work it in, I realized that I really hadn't understood it before...or another way to say that: I don't understand it. What once seemed clear now seems like rather a mess to me. Also, the bookstore couldn't get a hold of the freaking Pears/McGuinness translation, and we're stuck with the Ogden. Also, I've just been sucking. FML.

Sam Wang To The Rescue

Sam Wang (and Aa) to the rescue...

I started reading that piece yesterday, but got distracted by the competitive congressional district finder, and didn't read the rest. Talk about burying the lede...

FiveThirtyEight Polls-Plus Forecast Currently: Clinton 60, Trump 40

link (no permalink, so this is always changing)
So...Clinton is down from roughly a 90% chance of winning to a 60% chance in about two weeks...

I hate everything so much.

Everything's Coming Up Trump

   The deluge of new polls all showing significant gains for Trump is depressing the hell out of me. And some of them were conducted pre-'deplorables' and pre-pneumoniagate. Not to mention Powell's e-mails, which I think are going to hurt HRC more than they hurt Trump.
   My disgust with the GOP pegged the needle a long time ago, but I've become disgusted with the Dems fairly rapidly. The things some people hate about them have only recently really come into focus for me. I'm so angry with / disgusted by them now that, in  a way, I'd welcome a Republican victory...if only they weren't running a candidate who basically constitutes a reductio ad absurdum of the very idea of America... So that's, y'know, a problem...
   Goddamn democracy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

WUSTL Follows Chicago, Brown, Claremont McKenna in Affirming Importance of Intellectual Freedom

   Good for Wash U.
   I've long thought that Carolina screwed up by driving off Holden Thorpe...

NRO: The Left Is Weaponizing Sports

  The details here aren't that great, but I agree with the general sentiment. I think it's alarming that the NCAA has decided to move games out of North Carolina over the transgender bathroom (and other facilities) bill. Not because I'm sure what I think about it--I'm not. But, rather, because North Carolina's position is perfectly reasonable. It might not be optimal, and I certainly have doubts about it, but it is not obviously bigoted. All it does is add the force of law to the long-standing and almost-universally-supported practice of segregating public restrooms, locker rooms etc. by sex. Most people have assumed that this already was a law. If one side is crazy here, it's the other side, the side that's pretending that the theory of trangenderism that burst onto the scene two years ago, which makes little sense, and which is not in accordance with the best-available psychological evidence is so obviously true that only bigots can oppose it. The NCAA has no earthly business sticking its nose into this issue...and on the side that makes far less sense to boot. This is not segregation of water fountains by race. This is about adding the force of law to a system that everybody already assumed had the force of law...and doing so on the basis of half-baked theories and quarter-baked concepts (like "gender identity") that can't stand up to ten minutes of sustained and reasonably objective thought.. the NCAA planning to boycott every state that deviates from whatever trendy PC policy proposal that might crop up from here on out? Because we should all be alarmed if organizations that are supposed to be completely non-political start weighing in so readily and irrationally on policy disagreements...especially by punishing any and all dissent. And, of course, it will always be on the one side, and never on the other...
   Again, my current view is that NC might ought to have left the law out of it...however...there is no such thing as "gender identity"--it's a deeply confused, nearly-incoherent concept (or pseudo-concept). And our long-standing policy is to segregate public restrooms and locker rooms by sex. (Note: it's not actually right to say "biological sex," since that's the only kind of sex there is...) It's the left that's aiming for massive social change, not North Carolina. North Carolina's move can plausibly be characterized as conservative (in the good sense of defending the status quo at least long enough for the issue to be discussed rationally.) It is utterly irrational for the NCAA--which has no idea what it's talking about on this issue--to punish NC for failing to adopt a far-left position that involves abandonment of a long-established institution on the basis of an incoherent theory backed by virtually no evidence. I suppose the NCAA might argue that presumption goes to the status quo ante...but it's not completely clear what should count as the status quo ante here. Sure, NC made move by passing the law...but it passed a law in response to...let's face facts...a bizarre new trend that has led many men to want to use women's facilities. NC can be seen as trying to protect the normal, universally-accepted (and plausibly important and just) system with the law. Some law-makers probably had bad motives...but the law isn't inherently bigoted nor obviously wrong. More importantly: if I thought the NCAA had thought this through and understood the issues and come down against NC on the basis of a disagreement about what constituted the status quo, that would be one thing. But I don't think there's any chance at all that's true. Rather, I think that the cultural tide is now moving so powerfully in the direction of a kind of loony version of liberalism and identity politics that hopping on every such band wagon is now what counts as cultural neutrality.
   We do not want the NCAA ending up as a de facto policy-making organization. But that's exactly what's going to happen if this keeps up. No state is going to stand up against pressure like this for long. Will the NCAA back off in the unlikely event that the courts rule in NC's favor? Well, it's willing to punish NC with no legal ruling in place, so I'm doubtful that a legal victory will matter to them.

Chicago Faculty Strike Back With Pro-"Safe Space" Letter

   I made a real effort to read this with an open mind, and I thought it started off pretty well...but I also thought it descended into sophistry fairly rapidly. The problems seem obvious enough, and I'm busy enough, that I don't think me bitching about them is cost-effective. But I might do so later anyway.

NY AG Looks Into Trump Foundation; House Dems Ask For DoJ Investigation

   Well this certainly do look fishy, don't it?
   This story has only been in my peripheral vision. I kept thinking that it couldn't really be as bad as it sounds. I mean, it'd better not be, 'cause it sounds a whole lot like bribery. LOL with "charity" money to boot. Which would just be almost too trumperific for words. I guess it's wrong to hope that somebody committed a crime... So I'm not. I'm...just not. I hereby officially hope that justice is done and the truth comes out. And that's all I hope. That is my official position.

Monday, September 12, 2016


   I'm kind of worried. For one thing, given how much and how long Trump has been harping on Clinton's health, I'm worried that they've got hold of some inside information, and there really is some cause for concern. I'm also worried that all it's going to take is another bad cold, or a stumble, or a a bit of unsteadiness, or a touch of laryngitis...and it's President Trump.

Moskos: "It Depends On What Your Definition of 'Rose' Is"

   Crime is up in 68 of the 100 largest U.S. cities. (Not "a quarter" of them, as reported by the NYT.) Moskos:
Back in January, based on less data, I guessed that 2015 would see about 1,500 more murders than 2014. Gosh, am I a swamy? No, just somebody who can remove the ideological blinders long enough to use a calculator. I even offered an open $100 bet to anybody who said, "We don't know if homicides are up." Nobody put their money where their mouth was. Odd. It's like they didn't even believe what they were saying.

If we focused on the carnage instead of arguing about reality and methodology, you see, we'd have to consider the why? And then, perhaps, we'd notice that increased violence isn't really linked to any change in poverty or gun laws or even legitimacy. Perhaps we'd take note, as have Professor Rosenfeld and myself, that the cities where violence is most up are the cities where police have been, to put it mildly, in the news (or even charged criminally for no good reason). Perhaps crime is up because police are doing exactly what we're asking them to do: be less proactive and have fewer interactions with the public.

Trump's Momentum Has Stalled--For Now

I suppose this doesn't take into account pneumoniagate, so who knows?

Big Cheese + Big Gubmint: Milk Without Additives = Artificial Milk

This kind of crap just makes me crazy.

Chait: Hillary Clinton Is A Flawed But Normal Politician


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Jim Sleeper: Liberal Racism

   Though his anti-FIRE arguments are terrible, his book Liberal Racism looks pretty interesting.

Heterodox Academy: Visions of the Academy in 2025

   I'm certainly not in agreement with all the suggestions here...  I'm not even sure that I'm down with the HDX's main mission statement about increasing "viewpoint diversity" in the academy. I'm not against it...but I tend to want something rather less activist and ambitious: I want less liberal and leftist bias in the academy. Liberals could accomplish this by living up to their principles--and, e.g., standing up to political correctness and the "social justice warriors." And they could be better about keeping their political proclivities from interfering with their teaching and scholarship...
   But, anyway, I'm very, very glad that Heterodox Academy exists.

Clinton's Pneumonia

   This is bad.
   This is really, really bad.
   It looks bad, it is bad, it comes at a very bad time.
   All it's going to take is a bit more bad luck, and we're looking at President Trump with his finger on the button.

Jim Sleeper's Response to FIRE: Even Worse Than The Original Post

   Ok, Sleeper's post discussed here was really, really bad.
   FIRE responded, mentioned here.
   Then Sleeper responded even less rationally here. It's not really worth reading--in fact it's really, really not worth reading. It's mostly ad hominems about FIRE being conservative--false, of course, though it would be fine if true. I don't care who's defending freedom of thought and expression against the PCs and other would-be thought police. Hell, Dinesh freaking D'Souza of all people wrote one of the better exposes of PC lunacy back during the paleo-PC era. What matters is the quality of argument and the reasonableness of the position. Sleeper, however, apparently doesn't realize this. In addition to accusing FIRE of the unutterable sin of accepting funding from conservatives, he also accuses Lukianoff and company of playing a "conservative long game," being part of the right-wing noise machine, consorting with the likes of...prepare yourselves...Roger Kimball!...and so on. (Kimball's Tenured Radicals is also an anti-paleo-PC classic. The conservatives, rather predictably, were all over the paleo-PCs long before liberals woke up and smelled the bullshit.) So anyway, lots of guilt by association stuff. And in best PC fashion, Sleeper posts a picture of the staff at FIRE and notes that it's insufficiently "diverse." Really, you almost can't parody these people.
   Honestly, I ended up skimming most of it. It's a screed by an avowed PC partisan, not a serious, rational response to FIRE. The thing ends with a truly bizarre argumentum ad Gingrichum. Sleeper notes that Harvey Silvergate, founder of FIRE, like Lukianoff, has noted that FIRE is not conservative. (In fact, anyone who keeps up with FIRE knows that it's not conservative.) Sleeper notes that Silvergate credits the left--sometimes the far left--with doing its share to protect the freedom of speech. And that's when things get weirder...  Sleeper notes that Gingrich once explicitly credited the Democrats with ending segregation...but goes on to claim--providing no evidence--that Gingrich was really saying this in the service of pushing freer markets (a terrible, horrible thing, of coruse...) And, you see, this...somehow...shows that FIRE, by acknowledging contributions by the left, is doing something similar, "taking on the mantle of progressivism" in order to...well...then it descends into some nonsense about the comintern, and the "con-intern" and...well, borderline gibberish. Silvergate's claim that “We don’t care what you say. If you are penalized for it, we’re there,” turns out, according to Sleeper, to apparently be the proof that FIRE is conservative. So, to review: acknowledging contributions to both ends of the spectrum means that you're conservative, and saying that you're not conservative means that you're conservative. Also something something "free speech absolutism"...
   Just not good, and not worth a read. I might not even mention it if Sleeper hadn't e-mailed me about it--which I appreciate. But FIRE has won this exchange resoundingly thus far. So score one for the good guys.

Jim Sleeper Lies About FIRE

PC apologist Jim Sleeper (previously) lied about FIRE.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Basket of Deplorables (and Binders Full of Women)

Well this isn't good.
   Half of Trump supporters are bigots? Could be. I'm skeptical...not...super skeptical...but skeptical. Also: it isn't the sort of thing you should claim without evidence. And I don't mean: evidence that some Trump supporters are bigots...
   Liberalism did it's now-normal thing when Mittens said that he had "binders full of women," despite the fact that it was perfectly clear to every sane person what he meant, and there was nothing wrong with it. Rather like they're doing now with "make America great again." They didn't really even spin the comments so much as just made up shit about how they were bigoted. At some point, spin becomes fabrication.
   This Clinton comment seems to come from the same place--that is, the view that all/most conservatives are bigots. A response is: Trump isn't a conservative. Also: Trump has given us reason to think that he's a bigot, and attracts bigots. I am inclined to agree with the response...but, OTOH, I'm skeptical of my own inclination. The drumbeat of racism, racism, racism (and misogyny, etc.) coming from the left makes it hard for me to think. One can be vociferously against illegal immigration without being racist. That's the position of most conservatives. I don't know what to think about Trump. But I've become so aware of the steady stream of false accusations of bigotry from the left that I may over-react. Liberals used to realize that conservatives value law and order--and "law-and-order type" was an insult. But racism is worse, and so the fact that conservatives value law and order has been conveniently forgotten so that it's easier to think they are racists.
   Anyway, unlike "binders full of women" and "make America great again," Clinton's comment does seem to me to be genuinely objectionable. Or at least treading on dangerous ground... Obviously there won't be much liberal objection to this, since it's their candidate...and pretty consistent with their view of conservatives...and of everyone who disagrees with them...
   I expect this to be tactically bad for Clinton. For one thing, it touches again on one of the shittiest things about American liberalism: the routine attribution of racism to conservatism.
   OTOH, truth is a defense, and if there's data, then she ought to produce it, and we ought to defend her comments. Seems to me, anyway.

Friday, September 09, 2016

538: The Swing States Are Tightening Too

The American Berlusconi is losing by 3%.
Come on, America FFS.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Did Evolution Select Us For False Beliefs?

The Reasoning Behind The Claim That "Make America Great Again" Is Racist

'Make America Great Again' Presupposes that America was better in the past
There was more racism in the past
'Make America Great Again' means (or is intended to mean) that racism is good
   I mean...this sort of thing is an idealization. People saying things like this aren't actually reasoning very explicitly.
  But, obviously, you might as well argue that "make America great again" means that we should have more heavy industry again, or more unions again, or less partisan hatred, or less urban violence, or more respect for tradition, or more family farms, or less cynicism... Saying that we used to be great but aren't anymore in no way specifies in which respects we allegedly used to be great.
   In fact, of course, it means: We were awesome and Obama and the Dems screwed everything up and now we're not awesome anymore but I, Trump, can make us awesome again. It's basically boilerplate political bullshit with a conservative and anti-incumbent twist.
   If we get to just pick out some nefarious meaning for campaign slogans, then we also get to say...oh, hell, whatever... Hillary's "stronger together" means that we'd be better off ceding more power to the UN...or that "fighting for us" means fighting for the Democrats. Once you allow this kind of crap, everything is fair game, nothing is too stupid.
   Another possible way to represent the reasoning that got this started is:
Trump is racist
Trump says we should make America great again
He must mean something racist by it.
   Perhaps more likely, it's a combination of things. Trump has a real and undeniable inclination to say things that are consistent with bigotry. And he says a fair number of such things. So the bigotry hypothesis really does present itself pretty forcefully. But in addition to that, the extremist PC/pomo left is currently extremely influential, and the PC/pomo left has a tendency to employ a method of literary free-association. And they've dragged the left edge of liberalism in that direction. (Or the left edge of liberalism went that way willingly...) If they can think of a possible interpretation of p that serves their interests, then they tend to declare that interpretation to be the meaning of p. They're driven by identity politics, so they're mainly focused on finding possible interpretations that indicate (alleged) prejudice. This + Trump: charges of racism aplenty.
   But this nonsense about "make America great again" being racist is, IMHO, by far mostly a product of the lefty imagination. It's mostly about confirmation bias. And this is a general problem on the left, the tendency to accuse the right of racism on shitty grounds at every opportunity. And that's one of the shittiest things about contemporary liberalism. And if liberals don't care that they are shitty, and that they have an obligation not to be shitty, then maybe at least they'll care that their shittiness makes conservatives stronger and fans the flames of Trumpism. Which, of course, is not something that you should focus on when you are shitty...
   And, dammit, liberalism needs to stop leaning on the fact that conservatism is currently shittier than liberalism. It's leaning on that excuse that's made liberalism shittier and shittier, until the shittiness gap is way narrower than it used to be. That's an almost inevitable result of relying on that excuse.
   And get off my damn lawn while you're at it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

"Make America Great Again" Is Not Racist

   Not the Big Dog too...
   Jesus, it's like liberals just can't go five minutes without making up some fake charge of racism.
   There is absolutely nothing about "make America great again" that entails or suggests racism. It's a fairly standard kind of gesture at the supposed greatness of the past, and it's also an anti-Obama anti-Democrat thing. It's a way of feigning a positive message but really bashing Obama. The real message is: America sucks now, and its Obama's fault. But: not every criticism of Obama is racist.
   This has become a real embarrassment for liberals. For years conservatives have accused them of playing the race card at the drop of a hat...but IMHO that has rarely been true. It tends to become true when the PC left rears its ugly head and drags liberalism in that direction, as it has over the last couple of years.
   Irresponsible accusations of racism are morally wrong. They also fan the flames on the right...but, as bad as that is, it's of secondary importance. Liberals just have to stop it with this bullshit.

News Flash: Men Cannot Menstruate

   Total number of men who menstruate: 0.00.
   As I've said before: when RedState starts being right about things, you know stuff has gotten completely out of hand.
   All of this nonsense really comes to nothing more than an attempt to change the meaning of words. 'Man' does not and has never meant masculine person. 'Woman' does not and has never meant feminine person. 'Man' means adult male human; 'woman' means adult female human. No males menstruate. Therefore no men menstruate. Convincing people to change the meanings of words does not change the facts. If the PCs convince enough people to start using 'man' and 'woman' differently, it will not turn any females into men, nor will it turn any men into females. If I convince you to start using the word 'dog' to mean 'cat', it will not turn dogs into cats. Facts don't care about words.
   Even places like Reason have begun to pay lip service to this insanity. God help us if places like RedState are left as the last defenders of sanity...

The Cult of "Diversity" and the Tale of a Conference Meltdown

   I don't really know what's going on with this, but I offer it up anyway (via /r/socialjusticeinaction).  The stuff about trying to figure out whether or not the keynote speaker committed politically incorrect "microaggressions" is bizarre in the extreme. One of the accusations was based on the fact that he once gave a talk titled "Monads and Gonads." Sounds really stupid, since there's no way in hell there's any reason to talk about those two things together other than that they rhyme and 'gonads' is a somewhat funny word. But damn, the witch-hunt that ensued...totally psycho. Rather than pointing out that it's fairly dumb junior-high humor, he was summarily booted from the converence. And don't miss the reference to "people of diversity"...
   This stuff is insane. People are allowing a lunatic political cult to control their lives. The combination of stupidity and cowardice is nauseating.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Hillary Clinton Gets Gored

Worst Cheap Shots In Sports; Duke Figures Prominently

   Two appearances by Grayson Allen...I'd have put in a couple of Justise Winslow's greatest hits in there...he really was a lot worse than Allen. Not sure why he didn't get as much press/hate for it. Allen does have a more punchable that really what accounts for it? Anyway, perhaps this is supposed to be just from last year? Any even semi-complete compilation of cheap shots by the team in Durham would have taken up the whole video...

"Hate Crime" Prosecutions Fall Despite Alleged Surge After Brexit the source...
   But the left has an extensive history of faking "hate crimes." And the "surge" was only reported with respect to a certain method of online reporting. And actual prosecutions went down.
   There also doesn't seem to be any reason that such crimes would actually go up after the Brexit vote. It just doesn't seem like that should be the kind of thing that would provoke actual crimes of that type...but it does seem to be the kind of thing that might provoke false reports of such crimes...
   I'd be willing to be a fair bit that this alleged surge was mostly faked.