Monday, November 30, 2015

Bring Back MST3K!: The Kickstarter Campaign


(via Inside Carolina)

It Is No Longer Possible To Parody The Lefty-Left: "10 Types Of Misogynist Men..." Edition

By one "Annah Anti-Palindrome" at a site allegedly called ""...
I thought this might be really heavy-handed satire...but then I didn't think that anymore. But it probably is. I almost has to be, doesn't it?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hipster Decides Videos About Black Friday Brawls Is Classist; Salonification Of The Washington Post Proceeds Apace

So...I'm not rich, but I tsk tsk over Black Friday craziness...
But, of course, everything has to be about race or class or sexuality...  Post-post-modernism rolls downhill, from gender studies departments to journmamalism....

It's really sad to see the once indispensable Washington Post slide farther and farther toward the cesspool containing Buzzfeed, Jezebel, Salon, Vox, .mic, etc...

PC Confusion Infects The Washington Post: "White Privilege" and "What White People Need To Know And Do After Ferguson"

   Wow. This just isn't good.
   Sadly, the Post continues on its apparent downward trajectory...
   I mean, almost no one writes something that's all bad; there are things in there that are true, but none of them will be news to anyone.
   The bad stuff is the PC nonsense that gives the thing its overall orientation: "white privilege," "whitesplaining," and the assertion that white isn't a race. You wonder how grown-ups can write such things with straight faces.
   Terminology is often not mere terminology. It can spin thought, and it often brings bits of theory along with it. "White privilege," for example, is, well, just dumb. Everyone recognizes that blacks and some other minorities are, on average, at a significant comparative disadvantage to whites in the U.S. But that's not a "privilege" of whites. Voting isn't a privilege, it's right. When the GOP disenfranchises blacks, it denies them their rights. This is very different than (and more serious than) failing to grant them a privilege. The more accurate and sober language is that of discrimination and disadvantage. If you want to deal with the problems, those terms are the better tools. The "privilege" silliness is part of a tangle of silly theories being advanced by the academic-activist alliance. "Privilege theory" typically has it, for example, that whites always gain from discrimination against blacks. That's idiotic. It's patently false. This isn't a zero-sum game. Note that Kohn herself notes this later...thus contradicting a common plank of "privilege theory," as well as her earlier insistence that whites do benefit from black disadvantage (or "privilege.")
   It's important to realize that trying to advance the "white privilege" locution and its attendant theory is not an attempt to solve the problem of discrimination against blacks. It's a move in a battle of far-left whites in the academic-activist alliance in the U.S. against whites outside of that alliance. Kohn is right that blacks in, say, BLM, aren't protesting against whites. The anti-white sentiment that's in play largely emanates from other whites. It's not that the far left doesn't care about blacks; I'm sure it does. But it also doesn't like (liberal, non-PC) whites. It doesn't like Western culture, it doesn't like men, and mostly it doesn't like liberals. It's not fond of conservatives, of course...but the far left's most passionate anger has always been directed at liberals rather than the far right. (One Marxist story was: it's liberals that keep the system from blowing up, thus they are the ones preventing the revolution.) And, of course, the obvious point of "white privilege" is to shift the focus to whites. That's why it's "white privilege" instead of "black disadvantage." Protesting that they're not aiming to suggest that whites are guilty nor that they should feel that way is disingenuous, and everyone can see that. That's basically the point of trying to shift the discussion to whites instead of blacks. Very few people object when we speak in terms of black disadvantage, or discrimination against minorities. And whites in the U.S. seem to have little or no advantage on average over, say, Asians and Jews. "White privilege" simply doesn't cut it as useful, accurate terminology for discussing race in the U.S.  But that's not what it's for. It's the terminological entering wedge of a bad tangle of confused theories.
   I could go on, but I won't. Not much, anyway. But I do want to mention:
Just like you’re mistaken if you don’t think white is a race, you’re mistaken if you think you can remain neutral.
See how that bit of irrelevant theory gets thrown in there? The point is obviously to reinforce the theory that "race is a social construct" (a claim so confused that, as Pauli might say, it isn't even wrong). But white is a race, of course. The arguments to the contrary, though pressed with revolutionary zeal by the cult of culture, are invalid. White is a race. Races are (rather unimportant) natural kinds, and all the PC mumbo-jumbo in the world won't change that.
   Ok, I've wasted enough time on this nonsense. 
   It's too bad that so much time and energy is wasted on PC nuttiness. Even ignoring everything else, the "white privilege" crap--aside from the fact that it's inaccurate and alienates people from a real cause that could use all the help it can get--is a damn waste of time. There has never been a real reason for introducing it. A real concern for discrimination against blacks would focus on discrimination against blacks. "White privilege" is not aimed at advancing that cause. It aims to use that cause to advance a tangle of far-left academic theories. The PCs are willing to harm the cause of real change in order to move their theoretical ball downfield. That means that people like me have the choice between wasting our time refuting the nonsense, or ignoring it and just hoping that ordinary people don't make the mistake of picking up the locution just because they've heard it a lot. So I chose the former here...but I'm starting to think that the latter option might be worth the risk...

Oh, wait! I forgot to mention a couple of other bizarre points in the piece. For example...what white person thinks that if they were black they wouldn't be the object of discrimination? I've heard these people attribute lots of silly beliefs to whites...but that's a new one on me...
Oh yeah...and then there's "whitesplaining"... aaaahahahahahaha...  Jeez...I suppose there is some tactical advantage to be gained by moving yourself beyond the possibility of parody...

Friday, November 27, 2015 !


(h/t The Mystic)

George Will: America's Higher Education Brought Low

IMO Will has turned into rather a crank. He only hits it out of the park when liberals give him a slow pitch down the middle. Which is exactly what they've done by tolerating/defending PC (and, of course, also denying that it even exists...)
Read it and weep.

PC Student Demands From Across The Country

   No demands for jetpacks or monorails...but pretty eye-roll-inducing just the same.
   We've got a big problem with race in the U.S., as goes without saying. (i) I see nothing here that will mitigate the problems; (ii) there's a lot of PC totalitarian insanity here--calls for mandatory PC "diversity" re-education camp and so forth; (iii) whoever's writing these things seems to have no idea what things are really like in academia, where people routinely bend over backwards to try to mitigate the underrepresentation problem. In academia, if there are racists, they stay well-hidden. Any hint that you're racist can cause the sky to fall on you. In fact, any hint that you're insufficiently enthusiastic about anti-racism can do so.
   My own view is that academia in the U.S is on the wrong end of the causal chains to do much more than it's already doing. You can't both (a) insist that racism is an enormous, debilitating problem in every aspect of American life and (b) pretend that it's inexplicable that some groups are under-represented at universities. Or, rather: pretend that the only explanation is racism at universities.
   It's not a problem that people are arguing that we should turn our attention to these matters in a more focused and energetic way than we have been. However, demands can't be accepted simply because they're being made by black students. And the soft totalitarianism that insists on indoctrination with left-wing theories about "diversity" and so on must be summarily rejected, and in no uncertain terms. The problem is that academia is already skewed far to the left, and many academicians are terrorized by the mere thought that they might be perceived as insufficiently anti-racist. This means that honest and open discussion of these issues is difficult to say the very least.
   And that's perhaps the most important overarching problem here: the PCs are shutting down discussion by leveraging the moral/political biases of universities. Many people are genuinely terrified of being branded thoughtcriminals.
   Now...this is a complicated issue, because this is not genuine bullying. These people are not the Brownshirts. They can be stopped if people simply stand up to them and refuse to be intimidated. But they rely on the fact that most people not only can be relied upon not to do this, but, worse, very many people can be relied upon to participate in the groupthink, and participate in applying peer pressure to recalcitrant individuals.
   My own view is that all these demands should be rejected in toto. No policies should be considered until they are stripped of their totalitarian trappings and advanced in a reasonable way through reasonable channels. However, I acknowledge that this might be an overreaction.

Free Speech vs. "Safe Spaces": Moral vs. Legal Considerations

   I'm just going to gesture at some general points. This isn't supposed to be a detailed examination of these issues.
   Neo-PC is basically just paleo-PC, but more radical. Many of the same types of issues and disagreements arise. For example, the paleo-PCs were anti-pornography, whereas the neo-PCs seem to have given that battle up, perhaps because feminism has given it up, and feminism is a component of the thing. At any rate, paleo-PCs and feminists used to argue that pornography was bad, viewing it was immoral, and it shouldn't be allowed on campus. (There's always been a puritanical, anti-sex sector of the far left.)  It was common for people like me to respond with free speech arguments. However, their response was commonly: we're not arguing for censorship, we're arguing that it's bad and no one should--morally should--have anything to do with it. I didn't believe them, but now I think that at least some of them were being honest.
   Similarly now, I think the PCs can say, in most of the relevant cases: we're not arguing for government censorship of, say, "hate speech," we're arguing that it shouldn't be tolerated on campuses. So, a university might reasonably try to prevent people from going around constantly saying hateful, demeaning, upsetting things to people, even when this falls short of assault. (Note: IANAL...there may be many complications here I don't know about.) Say there's a campus organization that thinks that women are inferior to men. Say they make dishonest, one-sided arguments aimed at supporting this conclusion, speak in a demeaning manner in classes and around campus, argue that women should not be permitted to vote, should be subservient to their husbands, etc. Suppose they were bad enough to upset a large percentage of reasonable people on campus. I expect a lot of sensible, non-PC types might argue for some kind of university action in such a case.
   Does that seem right?
   So one might see the PCs as making a similar point. E.g. when they try to keep Germaine Greer from speaking at Warwick. Many of them seem to think: it shouldn't be illegal for her to speak, but she's so wrong and wrong in such an "offensive" (to use the paleo-PC's favorite word) way that she has to be either stupid or motivated by hate. And so it's better not to have her speak on campus. A university wouldn't invite David Duke to speak (even if he isn't speaking about racism) they shouldn't invite Germaine Greer either (even if she isn't speaking about "trans" issues).
   If we think about things this way, free speech arguments in their normal form seem to become irrelevant, since government censorship is not at issue. The argument so conceived is a moral and not a legal one.
   I still don't think the arguments work, and don't think they come close to working. But I think we've got to at least see this angle on things to understand what's going on. (Though I'm not saying that it's the only nor the best angle.)

Trump Mocks Disabled Reporter?

   Well, Trump certainly is acting strangely, and his actions are consistent with such a thing. I don't know what Mr. Kovaleski's disability is like, so I'm not really in a very good epistemic position here...but I think we know Trumpo the Clown isn't about such a thing...
   What an embarrassment--the fact that Trump has even a snowball's chance in hell of being President of the damn United States I mean.
   The perils of democracy, I suppose. Even if we dodge this bullet, it indicates how stupid and loathsome someone can be and still be in the running.
   And I'm sure you realize: we won't dodge all the bullets, forever and ever...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Occidental Profs To Vote On Measure Establishing System For Students To Report Them For "Microagressions"

What insanity.

Reasonable Princeton Students Respond To The PCs

Wow. Compare this rational, measured response to the shrillness and irrationality coming from the PCs.

Chicago Police Deleted Burger King Security Cam Footage of Murder of Laquan McDonald

This is USSR-level organized police crime. Or banana-republic-level at least.

(via Reddit)

Murderous Chicago Cop Van Dyke Had Long Record Of Complaints

   This is really important and shocking. 
   I was astonished back in the idealistic days of my youth, to first hear about "the blue wall of silence." That is the kind of bullshit that should never have been tolerated. It needs to be shredded. There needs to be a professional code of conduct that prohibits defending other officers on what are, in effect, tribal grounds--and there needs to be enforcement of such a code. 
   This is not the kind of issue that's normally on my radar. I've got no particular insight into it, I don't know anything more about it than anyone else, and one can't go around outraged about everything. It's not an issue I yell about all the time, but that's purely accidental. We arm some citizens and authorize them to keep the peace. There is no reason on Earth why we should tolerate these sorts of actions by them. In fact, there's a case to be made that criminal actions by police officers should be punished more harshly than similar crimes by non-cops. Every now and then we are presented with irrefutable evidence that a certain percentage of the police force is composed of criminals with badges--a lot of other cops apparently collude with them, and it seems that even more turn a blind eye to it all. It's absolutely got to stop.
   This is Chicago, however, so one has to be cautious drawing conclusions with too much certainty about the rest of the country.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Here's A Really Terrible Article On Racism From CNN

Whelp, here's an extremely one-sided little essay about racism.
   The U.S. has a significant problem with race. That seems undeniable.
   But that doesn't mean that we should mindlessly accept every jumble of arguments coming from the left, academic or otherwise.
   I don't think that all of this is wrong, but a lot of it is questionable as hell. The problem we face is plenty bad and plenty hard without hyperbolizing. But there are sectors of the left that simply will not be satisfied until we have accepted as orthodoxy the theory--and it is a theory--that we are all horrible, horrible racists, but our racism is too subtle for us to detect (though sociologists can detect it!), so no matter how fair we think we are, no matter how hard we try, no matter how successful in this respect we might seem, we're still evil. Deny it and it shows that you're even more evil than those who at least readily--eagerly--admit their sinfulness... After all, some people are bad at admitting their bias! So you must be bad at it, too...  In fact (I really like this bit): the smarter you are, the more corrupt you might be... Don't think your brains can eliminate sin...that's just hubris on top of everything else...
   And that's really what's up here. This is a kind of secular sin. It's never enough to simply be a good person, unprejudiced by any reasonable standard. The sin runs too deep in you. It is original. And all you can do is accept your sinful nature... Deny it, and you are a liar--or deluded--on top of everything else.
   Though in this secular fable, there's not even any hope of grace. No hope of forgiveness.
   This is a counsel of despair. That, of course, doesn't make it false...  But you'd better ask for better arguments than this one before you accept a theory according to which our situation is hopeless.

Is Donald Trump A Liar?

Why...yes he is!
Or maybe he's delusional.
Hard to say.

Trump On Muslims

Jesus what an embarrassment to this country.
I've got an idea: how about we make them sew yellow crescents to all their clothes? Then we can always easily pick them out.
How is this shit even being discussed?
I've been on the warpath about the nutty left, largely because their theories and principles and methods are so, so, so insidious.
But damn...the right doesn't mess around, do they?
Nothing subtle about any of that.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tardigrades Are Even Weirder Than You Think


Manne and Stanley: "When Free Speech Becomes A Political Weapon"

   This is really, really bad.
   I'm trying to spend less time yelling at I'm going to try to resist the urge to go through it in detail. I plan to merely gesture at it disapprovingly and move on...

Trump: Muslims Celebrate 9/11; Protester Roughed Up

   Everybody needs to reflect on the fact that this guy is seriously being considered for the office of the President of the United States.
   As for the protester: it should probably be said that you can't--or at least I can't--actually see any punches thrown in the video, and certainly no kicks. Blue-checked-shirt guy keeps posing as if he's going to throw down...but what I can see after watching the thing about ten times is consistent with the protester merely being wrestled to the ground. Which is, of course, still bad...but different. I saw reports of punches and kicks, and obviously such reports constitute evidence. But I couldn't prove it by the video. What are the laws with respect to disrupting such events, anyway? Can you physically remove people? There are legitimate time, place and manner restrictions on speech, of course...but I have little idea what they're like...  I'm trying to give Trump and his groupies the benefit of the doubt here...
   It's worth noting that the protester's name is awesome: Mercutio Southhall. I am extremely envious.
   Anyway. Looks like Carson is imploding. Which means it's time to start worrying about Trump again.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Carolina Loses to Northern Iowa 67-71

   Congrats to UNI--they beat us fair and square.  They had a good game plan, and we...well...didn't seem to.  We also didn't have Marcus...but we really shouldn't have needed him. The Heels haven't looked impressive thus far this season, and it was clear that we couldn't really be #1...but I thought it'd be the Terps that knocked us off, not the Panthers...
   On the bright side, football won the Coastal division--so that's different alright...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Politifact: 5 Questions About Syrian Refugees


   Not sure what we should do yet, but it seems to me that presumption goes to helping refugees, and the burden of proof is on opposition thereto.
   Drum argues that--for reasons that he spins as purely political--Dems should throttle back on the mockery of people who are concerned about Syrian immigrants. But this seems true for not-merely-political reasons: concern about this is perfectly rational. Sadly, liberals seem to think that conservatives are obviously wrong about everything. Which is idiotic. Not to mention: annoying as hell. (Yeah, ok, I guess conservatives think the same thing about liberals. But let's skip the tu quoques for right now.)
   Anyway. I haven't yet been convinced that we should turn away Syrian refugees. I do have more-than-fleeting concerns about European nations that are taking massive numbers in a much less systematic way than we will. They also seem to have less luck with assimilation than we have.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Only Sympathetic Reporters Allowed At Smith College Protest; "By Taking A Neutral Stance, Reporters Are...Complaisant In Our Fight"

Only "allies" in the hugbox!

Carolina PCs Get In On the Protest Fad...

...with an extremely embarrassing 14-page list of "demands."
But, hey, if you enjoy words like "cisheteropatriarchy," it's actually kind of amusing.

Reason: This Is Why We Should Take More Syrian Refugees

We make the region worse, and refugees who come here will be carefully vetted.
Add to that: general humanitarian grounds.

Is The World On The Cusp Of The Antibiotic Apocalypse?

Jeff Schweitzer: Intolerance Masked As Tolerance Is Still Intolerance

Liberals are starting to wake up and speak out against the PCs.

(h/t LC)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Everything Is Problematic"

A PC/SJW who got better offers insight into the cult and how it sucks people in.

On a Trajectory Toward Separate Water Fountains?

Non-whites-only "safe space" at Claremont-McKenna
Similarly-themed art show at Pomona College

Members of Student Government At KU Insufficiently Enthusiastic About "Diversity Ultimatum," Face Impeachment

Students and alumni of the University of Kansas are coming to the defense of three student government executives who are facing impeachment on charges that they were not sufficiently enthusiastic in their support of a student-led diversity ultimatum. 
Student Body President Jessie Pringle, Student Body Vice President Zach George, and Chief of Staff Adam Moon are all facing demands that they resign by Wednesday or face impeachment proceedings after the Student Executive Committee voted 6-3 Friday in favor of a no-confidence vote against them, according to Huffpost 
The pressure on Pringle, George, and Moon came just two days after Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little moderated a forum at which a student organization called Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk presented a list of diversity demands that included hiring a team of “multicultural counselors” for students of color and instituting “mandatory, intense ‘inclusion and belonging’ training” for students and faculty. 
During the no-confidence proceedings, the Committee specifically claimed that Pringle and George did not "stand in solidarity with their black peers and proclaim that Black Lives Matter" during Wednesday’s forum. you have to not only support mandatory re-education camp, you have to do it with sufficient enthusiasm...
   Is there really any chance that everyone would submit to this totalitarian insanity? I mean...I think we all know that lots of students and faculty would submit...and happily. But there's no chance whatsoever that everyone would...right?

PC Freakout Watch: Brown

Not clear what the actual facts are like here, but predictable PC histrionics were the result.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chait: Obama: Political Correctness: "A Recipe for Dogmatism"

Man, Obama is just such a reasonable guy that it's hard for me to maintain an appropriately critical perspective on him. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

More On The Black Lives Matter Protest Gone Bad At Dartmouth

More On Physical Intimidation And Verbal Assault At Dartmouth Black Lives Matter Protest

   I suppose one can get away with this sort of thing at Dartmouth...but a fairly large percentage of people would not stand for this sitting down, as it were...
   Either these people are not liberals or liberalism is becoming unworthy of our respect.

French Jets Bomb ISIS in Raqqa In Retaliation For Paris Attacks

Pre-9/11 Warnings Ignored By Bush Administration Were Clearer, More Pointed and more Urgent Than We've Been Told

Tenet vividly recalls the White House meeting with Rice and her team. (George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston.) “Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda's intention is the destruction of the United States.’" [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’ ”
   This literally makes me feel sick.
   It's about an order of magnitude more nauseating when you realize that these incompetents were in office because of the butterfly ballot. And their unwavering insistence that they had won, and that counting the votes would be stealing the election. And their astroturf crowds intimidating people trying to count the ballots. And the most nonsensical and politicized SCOTUS decision of the last 40 years or so...
   What a disaster.
   What a god damned disaster.

(h/t S. rex)

Black Lives Matter Demonstration Gets Out Of Hand At Dartmouth

The reports are far worse than what was actually caught on video...but even that isn't great.
If the reports are true, it's a real problem.
Imagine the consequences if, say, the College Republicans did something like this. That kind of double standard is one of the reasons conservatives believe academia to be rife with liberal bias.
If the reports are true, it's yet another instance of PC protests shading over into intimidation and violence.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

An invaluable resource now that universities are the land of the crazies.

Amherst College Students Demand...A Bunch of Nonsense

   We tend to think that the people around us are basically sane... So it's alarming when you realize that a lot of those people are deeply nuts...
   Sadly, I expect that there will be a lot of appeasement. Where demands are refused, there'll still probably be a lot of administrative grovelling. What's really needed, instead of acquiescence and apology, is someone who will stand up and let these morons have it, going on the offensive against the thought police. Instead of please forgive us for being unable to immediately comply with your every irrational demand, someone needs to step up and give these totalitarians what for, telling them that they're wrong, and that universities will never knuckle under to them, never give them what they want. How is it that the alleged defenders of the Western intellectual tradition are so eager to give in to the irrational demands of a mob of totalitarians?

U.S. F-15 Strike Kills Leader Of ISIS in Libya

U.S. Drone Strike Kills Jihadi John

Rest in pieces, motherfucker.

Greg Lukianoff on The Coddling of the American Mind

Worth a look.
I'm not wild about his and Haidt's approach. The most important response to PC victimology involves stating the reasons why it's false and unreasonable. Arguing that it's psychologically harmful, or the fault of the Boomers, or whatever might be effective--perhaps even more effective. But it's beside the point. The point is that PC is wrong. The other point is that the PCs need to grow up, buck up, and recognize that if you're wrong, you're wrong, and no matter how hurt your feelings might be, it doesn't make you right.

Don't Sneak: A Father's Advice To His Gay Son In The 1950s

Whoa, this is pretty moving, I think.

Defending Political Correctness By Lying About What It Is: Sally Kohn Edition

   Here's just one more in a long line of liberal defenses of PC based on pretending that...why!'s just common decency! In this case: PC is merely a sane and humane rejection of the worst racism. That's all!
   These things are wrong in two very obvious ways. First, of course they ignore every single characteristically PC instance of PC--no attacks on free speech nor free inquiry are mentioned, nor are silly terminological demands, strategic re-definitions of terms, anti-intellectual/anti-scientific orthodoxy being foisted off as obvious truth... Not mentioned are the cases of insisting that everyone acknowledge that black is what, that night is day, that ignorance is strength... Rather, the tl;dr of this is: PC is just the insistence that black people should not be killed for bumping into white people. And if you reject PC, you think that blacks should be killed arbitrarily. The other major error, of course, is that there is an implicit denial that anyone to the right of the radical left recognizes the horrific nature of the cases Kohn mentions. Rejecting those things is not PC, it's standard-issue liberalism. In fact, it's standard-issue conservatism as well. No one this side of the KKK thinks that those things are nor were permissible.
   In a way, I find this bullshit the most infuriating bullshit of all. At least the PC loons are in a sense very honest. They're just out there saying insane things and making insane demands. Along with some sane ones here and there of course--almost nobody's completely wrong. The Nazis were environmentalists...  But Kohn and company, the liberal apologists, simply cannot be that wrong about what PC is. There is really no way to construe their defense by redefinition as anything other than intentional deception and intellectual dishonesty.

Labels: , ,

Beware the Cult of Meritocracy!

Among other things here, we encounter the tale of a Python developer criticized for having rejected suggestions by "people of color"...
(via /r/socialjusticeinaction)

Roger Kimball: The Rise of the College Crybullies; With Additional Comments on "Bullies"

   This is right. Kimball's book Tenured Radicals, written during the paleo-PC era, is also good.

   However, I wish people would note that the PC crazies aren't actually bullies in any important sense of the term...they're more like moral or political terrorists. They aren't going to actually hit anyone. They don't have the guts, fortunately. If these people did have guts and physical strength, then they'd pose a different kind of problem. As we've seen in the Yale and Mizzou videos, they're willing to use physical intimidation of a kind...but if they're not going to start throwing punches, it is, again, a different kind of thing. What they really do is scare away their opposition with threats of moral/political condemnation. They're crazy, corrupt, and possessed by a kind of totalitarian philosophical orientation...but their main weapon is nothing more than moral and political indignation and "shaming." Moral-ish condemnation is a powerful thing...but it's hardly impossible to stand up to. The real method of the neo-PCs is the same as that of the paleo-PCs. They simply dogpile people they disagree with, calling them names. Now, it's rather hard to be called a bigot, especially when you're strongly opposed to bigotry. 'Racism' is a particularly powerful word. However, if sane people would stop bursting into tears, running away, and abandoning their positions at the first sign of crackpot accusations from massed lunatics, said lunatics would lose virtually all of their power.
   I fear that we've become a rather cowardly lot. Running away because some shrieky rich college kids call you names...that's pretty sad any way you look at it.

Kurdish Fighters Cut Road Between Raqqa and Mosul

The Unholy Alliance Between PC Students and The Shadow Administration at Universities

   Anonymous pointed this out in a comment here not long ago: PC students tend to push for expanded powers for college administrations, and increased resources for the kinds of interstitial offices and programs that themselves tend to promote the PC agenda at universities. We see that very clearly in the recent so-called demands by Yale students
   Many of these offices and programs are staffed by people steeped in PC dogma, and they've kept the PC flame alive since the '90's. Pumping up their power and resources would be a way of strengthening illiberal left outposts at universities. The PCs will be beaten back again this time...but they may very well leave behind strengthened enclaves from which to work their mischief more effectively.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Paris Terrorism

We'll undoubtedly stand with our oldest ally.
God knows what one should think or say at this point.
If this was ISIS, they've almost certainly just signed their own death warrants.

Yale PC Students' Latest List of "Demands"

   Oh, you overprivileged (note: an actual thing, as opposed to "privileged" in the PC sense...) little morons...
   You are so pathetic and repulsive...
   Let's see if Yale has the wee tiny bit of guts required to stand up to these idiotic professional victims...
Until someone does, they're going to keep pushing for more.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jonathan Chait Bests Roxane Gay on PC on NPR

   Haven't had a chance to listen to this, but the transcript tells the tale. Chait is 100% right and Gay is 100% wrong.
   Just one bit:
I struggle with that definition [of political correctness] because when we're talking about gender and race, these are not things that are debatable.
   Absolutely incorrect, Ms. Gay. They're debatable, we'll debate them, and that's an end on it. There's nothing you can do to stop us.
   PC madness is indefensible.

Yale PC Students Spit On People Attending Free Speech Conference

   PC is not so much similar to a cult anymore, it seems to have become an actual cult. These people are, in effect, insane, though they've inflicted it upon themselves by adopting an insane theory. Their wetware is probably not defect, but they've downloaded a bit of software that runs as an insanity emulator. 
   Social psychologists should be all over this, incidentally. It would be fascinating--and, perhaps, useful--to find out how this artificial madness has become so common. And, of course, to understand why it seems to inflict mostly kids. I mean...I think we already have a fairly good idea...but it'd be interesting to know more.

Spiked: More And Younger Children Seeking "Sex Changes": Is It Legal?

Facilitated Communication Is A Cult That Won't Die

Anonymous left this for us.
I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I hate "facilitated communication" so much I'm just going to go ahead an post it.
I could barely believe it when I found out about the Stubblefield case and discovered that this nonsense was still around. I thought we'd driven a stake through its heart 20 years ago...

There's Nothing Polite About Political Correctness

I've complained here that this "it's just politeness!" ploy by liberals trying to defend the radicals is bullshit.
Ed West at The Spectator makes the same point.

The Republicans Really, Really Hate Dodd-Frank

Just got around to watching part of the GOP debate.
Boy, those guys really, really hate Dodd-Frank... Like...really.
(There were no mentions of the disastrous Gramm-Leach-Bliley, of course...)

Then there was all that stuff about not talking to Russia, decreeing a no-fly zone where the Russians are already flying, and my personal favorite, more "rebuilding the Sixth Fleet" from Fiorina...
Except for Rand Paul it pretty much all sounded like some kind of grade school foreign policy.
Pretty depressing.

Mizzou Director Of Greek Life Who Harassed Journalist Put On Administrative Leave

Unfortunately, in her apology letter she says that she was trying to "protect students," which is patent bullshit.
   I'm not advocating making too much of this...but I just don't think that what we saw from the faculty and staff involved can plausibly be construed as some kind of slip of the brain. I think that what we saw was probably an expression of their deep illiberal commitments. Those aren't grounds for firing someone. But they are grounds for rejecting any bogus excuses for inciting assault and (to some extent) battery.

Kristof: Mizzou, Yale and Free Speech

I think Kristof is a bit too easy on the PCs here.
But I'm hardly neutral on this issue. The illiberal left probably pushes even more of my buttons than does the illiberal right.
academia — especially the social sciences — undermines itself by a tilt to the left.
   I'd say: especially the humanities and the social sciences. And the explicitly politicized, largely activist departments like women's studies, gender studies, and the various varieties of ethnic studies departments that have one foot in the humanities and one in the social sciences. 
   More importantly, I'd say: I try to avoid the "this undermines liberalism" argument as a matter of principle. If liberals can't see and/or don't care that the PCs are wrong, then I'm not interested in helping out liberalism by bribing them to do the right thing by emphasizing prudential considerations. Do it on principle or to hell with you is my view of the matter...  Liberals have got to learn that they're not always right, and that this will help conservatives is not the only argument that matters. 
We should cherish all kinds of diversity,
Yeah, no. Not even close. Not even close to being close to being right. We should not cherish all kinds of diversity," This is one of the muddle-headed beachheads established by the paleo-PCs of the late '80's-early '90's. "Diversity" is part hollow verbal tic, part verbal camoflage that, among other things, encourages us to reduce individuals to whatever biological and cultural properties the left wants to emphasize at the moment, and part rotten euphemism that lets us do so without feeling bad about it. We don't have any reason to "cherish," say, 8-bit video-game aficionados, horse enthusiasts, Scientologists, poop-swastika-scrawlers...nor any number of other irrelevant types. Diversity is not clearly a good in itself, and certainly not good along any axis you can think up. Are there too few black people in American universities? Well say so then. If you can't even say it, then you shouldn't be pursuing policies that attempt to change it.
   One thing Kristof is almost certainly right about, though, is that one type of "diversity" that might ought to matter to universities is political: it's more than a bit weird that there are so few conservatives there. Were liberals really liberal, they'd worry about that more.
   Finally there's this:
A widely circulated video showed a furious student shouting down one administrator, Prof. Nicholas Christakis. “Be quiet!” she screams at him. “It is not about creating an intellectual space!”

A student wrote an op-ed about “the very real hurt” that minority students feel, adding: “I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.”
In addition to being illiberal, political correctness is anti-intellectual. They've got an array of jargon that might sound scholarly to the untrained ear, but that's just a facade. There is a kind of link between PC and the post-post-modern mish-mash of not-terribly-good recent Continental philosophy that's so popular in so much of the humanities and social sciences--critical theory et al. But there's a deep anti-intellectual current in that stuff that subordinates the pursuit of truth to "emancipation"--at least in it's more popular interpretations. Liberals-in-the-broad sense hold that we have to put up with discomfort and offense because free expression and the pursuit of truth and goodness are more important. PCs think that--to put the point in its most unfavorable light--hurt feelings trump all. Or, rather: the hurt feelings of members of politically correct groups trump all. There's a point worth considering deeply buried in their nonsense...but I'm not feeling particularly charitable this morning.

Second Suspect Arrested For Racist Threats At Mizzou

Good work by the MO police.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Was The Mizzou Poop Swastika A Hoax?

Vox Media Institutes Rules Against "Microaggressions," "Mansplaining," and "Well, Actually"s

   Well, actually...I'm not making this up...
   There really is just a torrent of stupidity spewing from the left currently...but this is just so embarrassingly dumb that it still manages to stand out just a bit. If you find yourself actually adopting the very trendiest and dumbest internet neologisms, you probably need to step back and kinda take a look at yourself.
   It's too bad. I used to talk a bit online with Ezra Klein back in his Pandagon days--he seemed like an earnest and reasonable guy. It's not that this policy silliness is, in and of itself, horrific...but it seems consistent with Vox's slide farther to the dopey left. A friend of mine who used to run a think tank once told me that any think tank that isn't created to be explicitly conservative eventually becomes liberal. I wonder whether that goes for publications too.

Mizzou Prof. Melissa Click Who Directed Harassment of Journalist Is a JMU Grad

Well that's just great.
"Retail marketing" (uh...that's a major?) and (wait for it...) women's studies.
Not exactly hard to believe that latter one...

   Click has apologized.
   People indeed do things that are out of character. And to err is human.
Thing is, I just don't believe that what we saw in the video is plausibly a one-off error. We know that totalitarian...or at least quasi-totalitarian...leftist ideas have a home in universities, and, in particular, in certain disciplines. Both communications and women's studies are departments in which such things are known to be reasonably common. I hope I'm not being vindictive when I say that I'm inclined to think that a professor directing students to assault another student--who is exercising his constitutional rights--for political reasons deserves more than a slap on the wrist. If a conservative did anything analogous, academicians across the country would have burst into flames by now. (If you could find a professor on a major university campus who is as far to the right as Click seems to be to the left... Something I rather doubt...)
   I'm rather inclined to believe that legal action should be brought against Click et al.--all the students who harassed and (in some sense) assaulted the journalist and all the faculty and staff who were directly involved. Were I running the show at Mizzou, I'd start trying to get rid of Click immediately. The faculty might rally around her--but I'd force them to at least make that decision.
   I am rather strongly inclined--right now anyway--to think that this should not be taken lightly.

Subject Arrested For Mizzou Yik-Yak Threats

Petition To Remover Faculty and Staff Who Directed Protesters To Harass Journalist

My gut says that this would be the right thing to do, but I haven't had a chance to think about it. It's clear, however, that academic freedom is not an issue here. If nothing else, the J-school should end click's courtesy appointment there.

Death Threats Spread Fear At Mizzou

   Does anybody have any clear idea what to think about this?
   My first reaction was: Here go the PC victimologists again, exaggerating their danger and fear, largely out of self-indulgence and a love for drama, largely as a political tactic, since weakness is now strength...
   OTOH, since at least the Charleston church murders, one might rationally fear that such threats are for real.
   Though both could be true...
   As for the rednecks driving around and yelling racial slurs: they are absolutely begging for an ass-kicking, and I very, very, very much hope they get receive one. At least one...
   Of course PC encourages people to exaggerate and make things up, so some of the reports are very likely to be that stuff in action. (Some reports, e.g. of the Klan on campus, have already apparently been debunked.)
   Maybe it's setting the bar too high, but it's tempting to compare these protesters to those of the civil rights era. Whereas the latter walked peacefully into certain danger, knowing with near-certainty that they'd be the targets of severe physical violence, the current Mizzou protesters are themselves bullies who use intimidation and actions tantamount to assault against the press, and seem undone by rumors of even possible violence...
   On the bright side--really digging for a bright side here--maybe we should thank Dr. King and company that students today have this kind of luxury...?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Campus Activists Weaponize The "Safe Space"

More on the University of Missouri Protests, by Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic.

"No Media / Safe Space" Sign at Mizzou PC Protest Where Reporter Was Harassed

Again, not making this up.

(via /r/pics)

Mizzou Police Ask Student To Report "Hateful Speech"

Not making this up.
In Place of a Curse
John Ciardi

At the next vacancy for God, if I am elected,
I shall forgive last the delicately wounded
who, having been slugged no harder than anyone else,
never got up again, neither to fight back,
nor to finger their jaw in painful admiration.

They who are wholly broken, and they in whom
mercy is understanding, I shall embrace at once
and lead to pillow in heaven. But they who are
the meek by trade, baiting the best of their betters
with the extortions of a mock-helplessness

I shall take last to love, and never wholly.
Let them all into Heaven--I abolish Hell--
but let it be read over them as they enter:
"Beware the calculations of the meek, who gambled nothing,
gave nothing, and could never receive enough."

Amanda Marcotte Doubles Down On Defending PC Thuggery At Mizzou

There is literally nothing too dumb for Amanda Marcotte to write it...
The protesters did nothing wrong by intimidating and (technically) assaulting reporters because this did not interfere with the reporter's freedom of speech!
Seriously. I'm sure that there are more dogmatic, irrational and intellectually dishonest people than Marcotte in the world...I'm just saying that I've never encountered any of them...

[Remember: Marcotte has never admitted that the Duke lacrosse accusations were false, and, at last check, hadn't admitted that the UVa/Rolling Stone gang rape story was a hoax.]

Amanda Marcotte Is Wrong About Everything: PC / Mizzou Edition

I'm sure she'll revise her view in light of the recent video, and write a passionate defense of freedom of expression and freedom of the press...

The Mizzou Communications Professor Who Urged Protesters to Assault Mizzou Student Journalist

I wish everybody involved would spend time thinking hard about the following problem: there are certain disciplines in universities which are (a) rife with people who largely consider themselves political activists rather than scholars, and (b) also widely recognized as being rather less-than-optimally rigorous.
IMO this is a significant problem in universities. This is, of course, not some kind of call for interference with academic freedom. One can be whole-heartedly committed to academic freedom and still recognize the problem as a problem.

The Illiberalism and Irrationality of the Campus Left: Mizzou Edition

   You absolutely HAVE to make sure to watch that video from University of Missouri in the Chait piece.
   I haven't even been able to get through it all yet it's so angrifying. Now remember: Mizzou has a renown journalism program which has, at least at times, been #1 in the world. PC protesters decide they don't want a journalist recording what they're doing, so they form a line to block his access. He refuses to leave, so they walk forward, pushing him backward. When he protests, the tell him he needs to give them space. Some kind of adults then get involved, and start lecturing him incoherently about their right not to have their picture taken and their right to assemble. He patiently explains that the same amendment that protects their right to assemble protects his right to document what's happening. One of the non-students then tells him that he needs to recognize the humanity of the other students...something he's done nothing to disrespect. Student hold their hands up so that he can't see, and another non-student starts yelling at him. He raises his voice in response to answer her points, and a student then yells at him to stop yelling at the non-student...
   This is madness. Utter madness. These are the politics and principles that a certain sector of academia is instilling in students.

Chait: Can We Start Taking Political Correctness Seriously Now?

Chait, right on the money as is so often the case.

"Are Races 'Real'?" (Philosophers Magazine)

   This is not very good.
   I'm not going to address the specific arguments here. We've seen almost all of them before.
   It's pretty disappointing to see philosophers making many of the same patently fallacious arguments that you see in the social sciences and in the popular press. When you see a relentless parade of bad arguments all aiming to push the same implausible conclusion, it become harder and harder to resist the [inclination to conclude] that political preferences are in the driver's seat.
   I'm really starting to wonder how this will all play out. I'm kind of starting to think that things might go roughly like so:
We start off--up until five or ten years ago or so--with a fairly uncontroversial biological conception of race, with all its warts. That's the conception of race that everyone understood through my whole life. The conception of race that prevailed on all sides during the civil rights movement. You know--race. Then we get the convergence of (a) the social constructionism fad, and (b) political correctness. A big mass of semi-coherent efforts to insist that race is (and, in some cases, has always been) a social category result. Of course, anyone who speaks English and lives in the U.S. knows that we've never meant that, nor come close to meaning that. 'Race', in contemporary American English, very clearly refers to something biological. People have many false beliefs about race, many bigoted beliefs about race, and so on...and of course we could be wrong about just about anything...but what we are talking about when we talk about race is biology. That is to say: physical features of people.  However, folks on the intellectual left simply insist that this isn't so, and that we're talking about social categories (they say a lot of other things too...). Of course people--especially liberals who tend to see the kinds of people who are doing the insisting as admirable--start to parrot what they hear from alleged experts. Slowly, people do start using 'race' to mean something social. After some more time has passed, the relevant social scientists, literary theorists, philosophers et al. can plausibly claim: "See? 'Race' really does mean something social!" And then: "And it has all along--just like we said!" The former can, of course, end up being true. But the latter won't be. What will have happened--if this happens--will be merely semantic. People will have tricked people into changing what they mean by a word. They'll have done largely because they have good moral (and corrupt intellectual) goals...but that's what they will have done. If it works.
   People wonder why the PC crowd likes to police language so ruthlessly. Well, there are several reasons, but one is: it's fairly easy to bamboozle people with semantics legerdemain.
   There are political goals in all of this, and the main one is a good one: they want to undermine any biological arguments for racism. Now, any clear-thinking racist (if there is such a person), won't be fooled by any of this. He'll just stop using the term 'race' and start using a new term to refer to the cluster of biological properties that 'race' now actually refers to. 'Schmace' or whatever. But who knows? If good people can be tricked by these linguistic shenanigans, perhaps bad people can be too... But I doubt it. Good people want to be fooled in this way; racists do not. And there is a certain kind of power associated with some words. This is why leftish folks want to re-define words like 'woman' and 'racist.' Consider the latter. Re-defining 'racism' in terms of social institutions means, among other things, that non-whites cannot be racist (in the U.S.) in the new sense of the term. And the left has always disliked the fact that non-whites, too, can be racist. Of course the redefinition doesn't actually mean that only whites can be racist (in the U.S.)--what it means is:  if the word 'racist' is re-defined so that it (counterfactually) no longer means what it actually means, then only whites (in that counterfactual) circumstance can be properly called 'racist'. If we re-define 'dog' so that it refers to trees that won't mean that poodles are not mammals. Semantic futzing around doesn't change facts.
   Of course one might say that we should just relax our intellectual standards in this case and go with the fallacious philosophical flow, because the goal is a good one.
   In my opinion, that's a really terrible idea.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Nicholas Christakis Of Yale Again Trying To Talk Sense To PC Students Opposed To Free Speech

These kids are in the grip of a very, very, very bad theory.

But remember: political correctness is merely about being polite!

Shots Fired In The War On Christmas

I think the cups look good...but...remember when Thanksgiving used to be a thing?

Minimum Wage Since 1938

U.S. Police Chiefs Call For Background Checks On All Gun Purchases

I don't think I'm opposed to this.

Another Part of the Problem: "Racial Realism" and White Supremacists

   That's another big part of the problem, though I can't find any links now: "racial realism"--the term and, I guess, the actual position--is a thing among white supremacists! Egad! And I mean actual white supremacists--cross-burning, sheet-wearing, people-shooting white supremacists. Not "white supremacists" in the neologistic lefty sense according to which 'white supremacist' just (allegedly) means what 'racist' actually means (because they've redefined 'racist' to mean something different...)
   So anyway, there's another moral/political motive that's in play.

"Rational"wiki: Realism About Race Is A Pseudoscientific View

I know, I know. "Rational"wiki is a joke.
Still, I thought it might be amusing/instructive to see how deep and wide the commitment to the new pseudo-social-scientific orthodoxy is.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

One Of The Major Problems With Social Constructionism... that it is so politically-motivated. The belief that things like race and "gender"--and often everything else up to and including reality itself--are "socially constructed" is held with the fervor normally associated with political orthodoxy or religious dogma. Advocates of the view often seem to believe that rejection of it is tantamount to racism. The view owes its popularity to these sentiments--certainly not to any empirical evidence, nor the the logical acuity of its arguments.
   There are straightforward logical and philosophical errors in the arguments for the view, to be sure. Confusing words with their objects, for example. Combine a cluster of simple but confusing errors with a quasi-religious zealotry and you get a kind of cult of social construction.
   Ugh. Tool late to get all worked up over this nonsense...I'm going to hit the sack.

Wikipedia Watch: "Social Construction" Nuttiness In The Race Entry

   Wikipedia is pretty good on a lot of topics, but as soon as it intersects with the fads that are trendy on the nutty academic left, it goes crazy. Here's the first sentence for the entry titled:  Race (Human Categorization):
Race, as a social construct, is a group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics
   First, this is wrong, and, in fact, crazy wrong. Second, it's actually worse than wrong; it probably has no determinate truth-value given that 'social construct' is used in so many different ways--and often in no particular way at all. Given that the meaning of 'social construct' is itself probably indeterminate, the meaning of the sentence is probably indeterminate. As Pauli might say: it isn't even wrong.
   But forget all of that. Even more importantly: one particular (loony, politically-motivated) theory of race is built right into the first sentence of the entry.  For the love of God! The normal way to discuss something like this in an encyclopedia entry is to start out with a general discussion. Then you move on to various theories, with emphasis on the prevailing theory among the experts. I absolutely acknowledge that--from outside anthropology, anyway--"social constructionism" seems like the prevailing theory...astonishingly unscientific, semi-coherent, and false though it might be. If it were merely receiving the majority of the ink...or the entry, I'd have no complaint. But that isn't what's going on there.
   What's really telling here is that--as in the "gender" entry--the editors trip all over themselves to cram "socially constructed" into the entry as quickly as possible. There's no discussion of the general concept, no acknowledgement that social constructionism is one (unverifiable...but let that pass) theory among others... Rather, in the race entry, as you'll note above, "social construction" is crammed in as quickly as one might do were one writing the entry specifically on the theory that race is a social construct. In fact, it's actually even a bit worse than that... The beginning of the entry only makes sense if the entry is on a specific conception of race--not even merely a specific theory: race conceived of as a social construct.
   This is not an introductory sentence that is appropriate for an entry on race. It is not an introductory sentence that is appropriate for an entry on race "as a categorization of humans." It is an introductory sentence that is appropriate only to an entry on race as a human categorization conceived of in one particular way--as a social construct.
   Look, here's the deal. These Wikipedia entries have been taken over by liberal/leftist zealots pushing the prevailing pet quasi-metaphysics of the left. It's as if the entry on the generic concept of gods or divine beings had been taken over by Christians, and the first sentence began something like: God, a triune being constituted of the father, the son and the holy ghost...
   The very fact that "social construct" is shoved so quickly and unnaturally into these entries--the race and gender entries--should make it fairly clear that there is an agenda in play. Oh...and don't forget the political correctness entry...
   Wikipedia has a problem. It's a great idea, and it seems to work pretty well for some topics. It seems to have shut out kooky conservatives very, very effectively...but if anything, the opposite is true of loony lefties--in many cases, those are the very people who are, apparently, running the show.
I make fun of "Conservapedia"...but one thing I'll give those guys...they went out and made their own, politically biased, wiki. The leftier liberals took over the wiki that's supposed to be unbiased, and turned it into a platform for spreading their dogma. (To be honest, I think these two different strategies are pretty much par for the course for both sides...) Either the social construct crowd realize sthis and is perfectly happy to substitute indoctrination for information, or they're so deeply immersed in groupthink of the lefty parts of acadeia that they don't realize that that's what they're doing. Which it is, I have no idea.

Drum: Ben Carson's Psychology Test Story Gets Even Weirder

OU Student Groups Drop 'Sooners' From Their Names Because "Some Still Suffer Trauma Of The Land Runs"

Not making this up.
   While we're at it, Missouri needs to drop anything about being the Show-Me State. It suggests a demand for evidence, which is oppressive because it is opposed to the official new epistemic doctrine "listen and believe"...
   (Oh, and don't miss the misuse of 'epistemic' in the OU story...)

(h/t: /r/socialjusticeinaction)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Melissa Harris-Perry Thinks It's Politically Incorrect to Call Anyone But Slaves Hard Workers

Except she doesn't really seem to think that, since she uses the phrase herself. With some frequency. Like a normal person. 
What nonsense.

Labels: ,

Carolina 66-Duke 31

Football counts...right?

Cruz: "Any President Who Doesn't Begin Every Day On His Knees Doesn't Deserve To Be Commander-In-Chief"

Newsflash: Cruz is a nut.

(via /r/politics)

Giles to Duke

   This is sports standard anyway.
   The AFAM scandal has just killed us. Giles is a really great kid--and I mean as a person. Five years ago, he'd never have given Duke a look. A great kid like that from North Carolina would have been a cinch for Carolina, and would never dreamed of going over to the Dark Side. And the year before this it was Ingram. Combine this with, e.g., the Austin Rivers game handed to Duke almost entirely on astonishingly bad calls, Carolina's complete collapse against them last year, etc. etc., and it all adds up to something very, very not good. And that's without even really mentioning the awfulness of the academic scandal, even though men's hoops isn't seriously implicated.
  Duke's not evil, but they're certainly not good. I hate to see Krzyzewski's tactics (which are in part Calipari's OAD tactics) winning in such an undeniable way. The Heels have lost like 500 of the last 10 games to Duke and the effect of the AFAM scandal has barely even begun to be felt. Carolina fans seem sure that MBB won't be affected...but I'm not so sure. The NCAA might reasonably think that it's the institution they are punishing, not the team...and the way to punish Carolina is to hit men's basketball--regardless of its involvement.
   Not good.
   Anyway, I can't but wish Giles good luck. He's a kid who largely just wants to pull his family up out of poverty. So good luck, Harry...but daggummit that's a bad decision...

The Instantaneous Emergence of a Liberal Orthodoxy on Transgender Issues--Without Discussion And Without Dissent

   There are a lot of things that are baffling and alarming about the seemingly instantaneous emergence of the new liberal orthodoxy on transgender / transexual issues. For one thing, many (though not all) parts of the new liberal orthodoxy are fairly straightforwardly and obviously false. For another, many of the arguments gestured at in support of the insta-orthodoxy presuppose or make garbled reference to philosophical views that are questionable to say the very least, and which are unlikely to be accepted by most people if made explicit independently of politically-charged issues.
   But one of the most alarming things about all this is that it all happened almost instantaneously, without discussion, imposed from "above" (if this counts as above) by academia, the media, and internet activists. Not only did it happen without discussion, discussion has been forbidden by the same groups who decreed and disseminated the orthodoxy. This would be creepy enough if there were any reason to believe that it was a one-off case. But I see no reason to think that it was, and I think there are decent reasons to believe that it won't be.
   I mean...I'm pretty sensitive to this stuff, I spend too much time on the internet, and I often at least know when an issue of this kind starts to become a matter of public interest. But I, at least, did not see the emergence of stories wrestling with questions like "are transgender women women?", or "gosh, what ought we to do about the whole bathroom thing?" (actually I did see a few of the latter...but fewer than you might think.) The first I heard of the issue was when I saw an internet lynch mob shrieking about someone at a video game company having said that he thought that women had vaginas or some such perfectly reasonable thing. That is: the orthodoxy had already been established before even I even realized that the issue was an issue. Perhaps I was just inattentive, but I doubt it.
   Furthermore, there seems to be a massive disconnect between the views of the vanguard and the views of ordinary people on these things. The latter publish story after story and column after column simply presupposing the truth of the new orthodoxy, or giving terrible arguments in support of it...while the comments sections are filled with (largely cogent) rejections of the orthodoxy. But there is almost no published dissent.
   This is a very strange situation. A poorly-justified (and, in many cases probably false) new view with important moral, metaphysical, and policy implications is promulgated, largely on the basis of bad partially-philosophical reasoning that makes use of premises promulgated by highly-politicized sectors of academia that are filled with activists. There is no real public discussion of the issues. In fact, dissent and even discussion are explicitly disallowed by the very theories--politicized, quasi-philosophical, illiberal theories poorly-understood by everyone involved. Most people aren't buying it, and for perfectly cogent reasons...but this viewpoint is represented, if at all, only in conservative media...and even the more mainstream of those are often caving. And in comments sections.
   I've been squawking about this here and there--possibly too vocally...
   But can people not find all this alarming and ominous?

Friday, November 06, 2015

Yale Students Demand That Faculty-Members Resign For Suggesting That It Might Not Be Good For The University To Micromanage Student Halloween Costumes

Do not miss the video of the student shrieking at and stepping up on a faculty member. I fear I would have blown my stack had that happened to me.

Rubio's Tax Plan Gives A Huge Gift To The Top 0.0003%

No thanks, Marco:
This post focuses on problem No. 2: making the tax code more regressive. In this regard, Sen. Marco Rubio takes the cake. If you were thinking: “what tax change could I implement that would be most helpful to the wealthiest households?” you’d quickly come to the same conclusion as Rubio: zero out taxes on capital gains and dividends. That’s because taxation on these forms of income, currently taxed at a top rate of 23.8 percent, is highly concentrated: according to the Tax Policy Center, 79 percent of the tax take from this asset-based income comes from the top 1 percent, 5 percent from the bottom 90 percent.

Kick-Ass Jobs Report

The Mizzou School of Law SBA Goes Crazy

...and tries to regulate students' online comments.
Right. At some point people are going to have to admit that I'm not exaggerating this problem.
ADMIT IT!!!!!!111

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Screening of "Stonewall" Postponed at Colorado College After Criticism By Leftist Students.

Link to Reason article.
Link to Colorado College Student paper.
Well here's some crazy for ya:
   Radicals Against Institutional Damage (R.A.I.D.). The group sent a letter signed by nine to key administration on campus expressing their views.
   “This film is discursively violent,” write the activists. “In a world where cisgender, white gay people have finally achieved “marriage equality” and many see the struggle as being over, it is reinforcing a hierarchy of oppression to invent someone who never existed and place them in a historically-based film with the express purpose of silencing more marginalized groups.”
   The Film and Media Studies Department argued that their decision to screen the film does not condone its content. Rather it is an attempt to engage with the executive producer and possibly, an opportunity to question some of the decisions made in the film’s representation of minorities.
   “For me as a scholar and queer person engaging with my environment it is essential to analyze and critique these representations in order to draw attention to what is at stake for queer folks and to engage with the stories that are being told and held as representative in mass media,” said Spanish and Portuguese Professor Naomi Wood.
Others argue that this critical discussion justification is a front.
   “Critical discussion is simply a way of engaging in respectability politics,” said first-year Amelia Eskani. “I think Colorado College should cancel the screening because the safety and well-being of queer and trans* students surpasses the importance of a critical discussion.” 
   Right. Showing a movie about homosexuals fighting for their rights might do "institutional damage" to the college because word that you don't agree with are "discursively violent," ergo represent a threat to the safety of people who disagree with them. There's also more later on about this being a treat to the relevant students' "identity and safety." 
   Also: if you are still laughing about "safe spaces," it's probably because you haven't yet heard of "brave spaces"... I don't know what they are, but they sound hilarious...
   Here's another bit:
“As we move forward from Monday’s conversation, there are many things I think we need to address,” said Dr. Heather Horton, Director of the Wellness Resource Center. “First among those is the immediate need to engage with communities and individuals to build our capacity to care for one another and ourselves. This kind of self-care and community-care is particularly important when we are engaged in activism.”
   People need to be slapping this stuff down hard. These people are illiberal radicals. They're totalitarians. It absolutely goes without saying that they can spew this nonsense all day long if they want...but no one should be taking anything they say the least bit seriously. This is some Scientology-level insanity and gobbledygook. A school that takes any such stuff seriously is making itself appear--and be--foolish.

Ben Carson: Pyramids Were Granaries. Compared to the God Hypothesis, Not That Weird

Compared to the hypothesis that a supernatural being created the universe, I'm really not sure that the pyramid thing is really worth getting all bent out of shape about.

"Microaggressions" Not Nutty Enough For You? How About "Microbehaviors"?

   I used to say that philosophy was more resistant to PC nuttiness than the rest of the humanities and many of the social sciences... But maybe I was wrong...  When I think back carefully on the days of paelo-PC, I begin to suspect that it was wishful thinking anyway...
   Note the apparent sadness that these "microbehaviors" are not legally actionable...  My god, what kind of world do we live in where someone can make eye contact with some people more than others?
   Oh, the humanity...

PC Follies: Ask Consent Before Every Social Interaction

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Heterodox Academy Blog

Haidt and company, thinking about left/liberal bias in the academy.
This is good.
In my view, liberals should be happy about this too.
But I kind of doubt that most will be.

Slate Bad Astronomy: Antarctica Still Losing Ice (?)

Some things I've read by Plait in the past were not so great...but those were way out of his area. This less so.
I hope he's wrong...but I'm not getting my hopes up about any of this.

Cardiff Has No Plans To Cancel Germaine Greer Talk

Honestly, I expected them to fold.
As I have said several times: when political correctness was ascendant in the late '80's-early '90's, it started, for awhile, to look like it was unstoppable. Then people farther and farther from the fringes/closer and closer to the center started to get wind of the thing. Centrist liberals were less easily fooled/cowed by the illiberal left than lefter liberals. When liberals started opposing PC, that was the beginning of the end, as I recall. Criticism from conservatives merely gives more power to it, especially since so many liberals automatically defend anything conservatives attack.
Anyway...I keep expecting signs of a turning point...though I fear it might not happen or might not be as easy as last time. We have the internet now, a highly-efficient concentrator of crazy.
Anyway. A small victory at Cardiff seems plausible. Maybe even a medium-sized one.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Lunatic Charges Dropped Against Goldsmiths University PC Lunatic Bahar Mustafa

This story is just crazy on crazy.
First, there's the crazy, apparently racist and sexist "diversity officer" (of the student union, note. The student union needs its own "diversity officer???) who asked white males to stay away from her events, and who tweeted #killallwhitemen. Ok, totally crazy.
   But then she was brought up on charges for the tweet. The charges were "sending a communication conveying a threatening message and with sending a grossly offensive message via a public communication network." My God, the insanity piled on insanity...
   If that's not enough for you, here's a wee quote from Ms. Mustafa:
“I, as an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender”
   Hahahaha... Translation: I, as a blatant racist and sexist, simply choose to use preposterous re-definitions of the relevant words to thinly veil the undeniable substance of my racism and sexism.
   These people...  Mostly crazy or mostly stupid? It's very difficult to tell.
   Germaine Greer gets blocked from even speaking at Cardiff because she does not accept the very most up-to-the-minute leftist insanity... This lunatic is a blatant racist and sexist and has an actual day-in-day-out job as a diversity officer and no one raises an eyebrow. leftist bias at universities...that's for sure!

Dawkins Now Under Fire For Saying Nearly the Opposite of What Germaine Greer Said

   First, amazing that even Dawkins has been cowed. 
   Second, amazing that he said pretty much exactly what we have been ordered to say by the relevant folks, but has still been declared a thoughtcriminal. He drew a distinction between biology and...well, the nearly-incoherent, made-up stuff about "self-identification"...basically the opposite of what Germaine Greer got in trouble for...but even that isn't good enough. Still "problematic"!
   You would think that the current trajectory of this nonsense can only end with the patently false claim that there is no biological component whatsoever in the concept woman. In fact, woman is an almost entirely biological concept, with only rather faint suggestions of gender--i.e. femininity. And femininity has nothing whatsoever to do with "identification" (self- or otherwise). It doesn't even really have anything to do with "social roles". It's a purely behavioral category. The masculine/feminine distinction is a bit like the extrovert/introvert distinction. It's a distinction between different types of behavior or tendencies toward behavior.
   Before the thought police seemed to be saying that we were required to confess that there was some sense or other of 'woman' that is not biological. Now apparently the requirements have been made more stringent, such that we are being required to confess that there is no sense of 'woman' which is biological. 
   I'm amazed that Dawkins is giving in to all this. He's pretty terrible when it comes to anything even vaguely philosophical...but I thought he was too cantankerous to capitulate on something like this so quickly.
[No wait is the point in there that we are now obligated to deny the very distinction between biology and the mythical non-biological component of being a woman that we've been commanded to accept???  I've got a really bad cold and can't pay attention to the drivel on the other end of the link long enough to figure it out...]

The Dumbest Thing You'll Read This Week: Timothy Laurie, "Against Freedom of Speech In Academia" (on the Germaine Greer Controversy)

   If you want a glimpse into what's wrong with a big chunk of the university--in particular much of the humanities, the social sciences, and the trendy, highly-politicized nouveau quasi-disciplines like women's studies, gender studies, etc.--look no farther than this astonishing terrible offering by one Timothy Laurie. Laurie is a lecturer in "cultural studies"--one of the dankest parts of the swamp of stupidity to which I refer--at Melbourne.
   Somebody on the internet is always wrong...but rarely this wrong...
   But I'm trying to do more productive things with my time than explain in detail why idiots are being idiotic.
   So I'm just going to post this and try to move on.
   It's a slow-moving target and all...
   But look...this kind of patently fallacious, politically-motivated argument is not merely tolerated in much of academia; rather, employing such reasoning is considered a kind of cutting-edge scholarly accomplishment. This is a disastrous mass of confusions that a decent grad student in philosophy should be able to absolutely shred. But it is the order of the day in great huge swaths of the university.
   If you wonder why the humanities are in crisis, here's at least a part of your answer: the humanities are genuinely in a crisis brought on largely by the widespread adoption of various intellectually rotten varieties of pseudophilosophy. It's not merely that bad methods of reasoning are employed because practitioners are slipshod. Rather it's that they have enthusiastically adopted invalid methods of reasoning as valid.
   What a damn mess.

Royals v. Mets: Too Bad Somebody Had To Win

Here's the astonishingly terrible call in '85 that cost the Cards the series. They fell apart after that call--for the rest of game 6 and all of game 7.
This in '87 was also unfortunate, though perhaps less consequential. The Cards had already had to struggle hard against that absurd Minnesota stadium with the back-lighting and the baseball-colored ceiling... This call just seemed like the icing on the...cake or whatever.
But I'm not bitter...

Bad calls happen in sports. Officiating is an approximate business. You've got to accept that going in.  But damn, that Denkinger call is hard to forget...

Germaine Greer Still Under Attack By The Illiberal Left At Cardiff

   This is perhaps the most bafflingly irrational attempt to create thoughtcrime by fiat and enforce it by indignant quasi-moral rhetorical force that I've seen in my lifetime.
   Even if Greer were wrong, this would be a matter of great concern. But the icing on the cake is that--at least with respect to the main outlines--she is absolutely right. "Trans" women are not women. This is not a hateful position, it is a purely descriptive non-moral, non-political, philosophical/biological position. The arguments in this vicinity are somewhat complicated--but only because the reasoning used by Greer's opponents is so confused. The main argument for Greer's view is clear, simple, and easily defensible: a woman is an adult female human. Being female is a purely biological matter. Furthermore, We do not, at our current level of technology, have the ability to actually turn a male human into a female human. Thus no "trans woman" is, in fact, a woman.
   The position in question is not a moral nor a political position. It may, of course, have moral implications (though I don't think that's actually clear)--but that's a very different thing. But the straightforward philosophical and scientific arguments that support Greer-like positions are met almost entirely with quasi-moral, politically-motivated outrage from the left. It's a bit like someone saying F=MA and someone else responding, by way of disagreement: "This equation kills people! You are advocating murder!"
   Are liberals standing up against this? It doesn't seem so to me, but I can't tell. The illiberal left is ascendant--at least on campuses and in many sectors of the interwebs--and it rather seems to me that liberals are either tolerating this or even abetting it. That's certainly what happened during the paleo- PC wars of the late '80's and early '90's.
   Behind this disagreement--or battle?--is a clash of philosophies. Liberalism is associated with a fairly ordinary collection of fairly common-sense views bequeathed to us from antiquity and, especially, from the Enlightenment: realism about truth, some kind of empiricism in epistemology, and, especially, a vaguely Millean view to the effect that all ideas are welcome in the marketplace of ideas, where, to do the mixed metaphor thing, justification is sought and (at least provisional) consensus is forged. The anti-Greer side is associated with a collection of views we might call the post-post-modern mish-mash. Some vaguely postmodern and poststructural stuff to the effect that the Enlightenment is dead, no measure of objectivity is possible, science is always a tool of hegemonic something-or-other, etc. etc....some views inspired by critical theory to the effect that the goal of emancipation trumps disinterested inquiry, and, of course, a large dollop of "social constructionism" strategically ambiguous as between claims to the effect that (a) society creates everything and (b) rather less insane views. (Such ambiguities allow defenders of the view to switch back and forth depending on the rhetorical needs of the moment.)
   One of the main disagreements here is over the question "can political premises be employed to answer scientific/philosophical questions?" Note that the response to Greer-ish arguments is almost invariably "that's transphobic!" or something similar.  From the perspective of common sense, the Enlightenment, and almost everything/everybody else, this is a massive confusion. There are moral questions in the vicinity--but everyone we're talking about right now agrees that no one should be persecuted for looking or acting in nonstandard ways. The disagreements are about non-moral, non-political questions about the nature of women and men. From the perspective of science and standard-issue philosophy, these questions are no more moral than questions about what makes something a tree or what makes something a dog.
   (And it's worth noting at some point that no one, anywhere, would ever be inclined to believe that a man can literally become a woman (or vice-versa) simply by feeling as if he were one, dressing like one, etc. if not only political grounds. The radical position, stripped of the rhetorical power of political outrage, is almost entirely without force. It is politics that motivates these arguments, not dispassionate inquiry. But, of course, that's permissible according to aficionados of the post-post-modern mish-mash...)
   There's a lot at stake here. This is, whatever else it is something very similar to a battle between reason and unreason. This is not a disagreement about which liberals should be indifferent...much less come in on the wrong side of.

Monday, November 02, 2015

NASA: Mass Gains Of Arctic Ice Sheet Greater Than Losses?

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dolphin-Assisted Childbirth Is A Bad Idea

Junior Thought Police Prefer "Academic Justice" To Academic Freedom

Wow, this is really moronic.
This person is just an undergrad, it no reason to get all bent out of shape about it...but just imagine what universities would be like if the junior moonbats actually took it over.
One shudders to imagine.
(And don't miss the citation of Donna Haraway's "Situated Knowledges," one of the most godawful epistemology papers of all time... Nothing makes for a chicer totalitarianism than a little feminist epistemology...)

Which Republican Has The Most Delusional Tax Plan?

Just in terms of the numbers, that is...not in terms inspiration or anything...

Stripping A Professor Of Tenure Over A Blog Post

Seems to me that Friedersdorf is pretty much exactly right about this.

The Winner-Take-All Economy, In Charts


"As Bush Slips, So Does His Party"

Francis Wilkinson:
The devolution of one of the nation's two major political parties, and its sanction of nonsensical beliefs on taxes, science and other issues, is the most important political development of our era. Bush's candidacy originated as a conscious backlash to that. Before his campaign even began he said a Republican would have to risk losing the primary to win the general. Bush was saying that his party had become so extreme that the policy positions required to please its base were toxic to a general electorate. He would have to risk the base's ire to have a shot.

NASA: Mass Gains Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater Than Losses

Well now that's puzzling/good news...right?

Anna Holmes: "Has 'Diversity' Lost Its Meaning?"

   I think this is pretty bad.
   First there's the facepalmerific PC terminological nonsense ('whitesplaining'? really?)...
   But that's the least of the problems.
   Holmes is on about something like this:  "Diversity!": she's for it. We're not doing it enough. We have to do it more.
   My general criticism of it comes from the other direction: "diversity"...if you think we need it then you need to be able to say, clearly, accurately, and out loud, what it is that you think we need. Because:
   1. You're asking us to hire people on the basis of their race and sex (and sexual orientation and/or identification and/or whatever new property of people the not-exactly-liberal left might deem important next). And that's something with which liberals-in-the-broad-sense should not be comfortable. In actual fact, what's being said is: we need to hire people because of their race and sex even if they are less-well-qualified. If you accept the ideal of color-blindness, as I do, you simply cannot accept the Diversity Diktat without thinking very, very hard about it.
   Note: I do understand the reasons on the other side of this issue. But they are far from obvious and far from decisive. But 'diversity' (the term) works to keep that discussion--i.e. a clear-headed examination of the doctrine and the reasons--from happening.
   2. As one of the top-rated NYT comments mentioned: "diversity" is not affirmative action. Its goals--so far as one can tell given the fact that we never actually discuss the whats nor whys of it--are not the goals of affirmative action. Affirmative action is something that most liberals accepted as a necessary evil, a way to try to redress past and present imbalances. "Diversity" is something different. The idea seems to be that we need to seek an appropriate mix of races, sexes, sexual preferences (and, of course: who knows what else) in everything...and do so for reasons that have nothing to do with redressing injustices. Which, so far as I can tell, means that we are expected to, for example, hire the rich girl from Harvard over the poor guy from West Virginia, (i) even if the latter is better-qualified and (ii) simply on the basis of sex.
Because, y'know, diversity.
   I'm willing to have the conversation, and willing to be brought on board. But, contra Holmes, the real problem with 'diversity' is not that it lets people get away with too little of it, but, rather, that the euphemism encourages us to do something that seems morally wrong when we say clearly, accurately and out loud what it is that we're actually being urged to do. And that's a weighty concern that can't just be swept under the rug.
   This is just another problem with accepting without question the confused terminological gobbledygook of the PC crowd. 'Diversity' is one that they foisted off on us last go-round. Though that eruption of liberal illiberalism was largely beaten back--eventually--it did win some victories, for better and/or for worse. 'Diversity' is part of the legacy of paleo- PC, and neo- PC is using that beachhead to have another go at things. Last time, liberals went along with illiberal efforts largely out of fear of being accused of being insufficiently liberal. And, sadly, it seems to be happening again.
   Anyway. Maybe the PCs are right about this. But the case for that has not been made.
[Also: note that the top-rated comments at the NYT are pretty damn good. I expected nothing but hallelujahs for Holmes's view--but it isn't so.]