Monday, February 29, 2016

Hillary, Smart Power, and a Dictator's Fall, Part 1

At the NYT, eminently worth a read.

Bernie Performs Better Against Plausible GOP Opponents Than Does HRC

Says RCP

John Oliver Shreds Donald

unmitigated pw0nage

Snow Penis = Hate Crime

Republicans Stole An Actual Presidential Election In 2000...

...surely they can steal the mere nomination from Trumpo the Clown...right? RIGHT?
Though actually I'm starting to think he might be the least-objectionable Republican candidate.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

This Week In Social Justice: 21/02/16: The Dumbening

Swarthmore's "Social Justice" Requirement

so, so very much facepalm...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Leiter: More On The APA's Statement on Bullying and Harassment

   Yeah, I tried hard to be neutral, to step back from my natural reaction to the statement and see it as innocuous. But after mulling it over on the side for a couple of weeks, I think my initial reaction was probably right: something's rotten in Delaware...
   Mistakes were made last night, and hangovers abound this morning here at the I'm not going to discuss this at any length right now.

Thought-Policing Philosophy

   It's cause for concern that the online consensus about transgenderism among vocal philosophers is wrong. But that's no biggie. People are wrong a lot. Philosophers are wrong a whole lot. Par for the course.
   It's of much greater concern that the new instant orthodoxy has been adopted for political reasons. Philosophy (in its online manifestation, at any rate) seems to be no better on this score than anywhere else... A largely incoherent view about a non-moral matter (is (to use a familiar example) Caitlyn Jenner a woman?) has been adopted because it is politically correct.
   It's of still greater concern that genuine discussion is being discouraged (to say the least), and even fairly minor dissent from politically correct orthodoxy is being met with accusations of bigotry.
   It might ultimately turn out that the PC left is right about transgenderism. It isn't likely, but it's always a possibility. Again: that philosophers are wrong about something is neither surprising nor all that important. The danger is the politicization of philosophy, the adoption and imposition of an orthodoxy with respect to certain questions, and the stifling of dissent. That last bit is the worst, and the people who are doing it are a danger to philosophy...but the bigger threat is that people who know better aren't standing up to the PCs. These people aren't the Brown Shirts. Their only power comes from those who they try to bully going along with it and keeping quiet.
   What is a man? and What is a woman? are legitimate philosophical questions. There are very straightforward, obvious answers, and they're probably right: a man is an adult male human; a woman is an adult female human. 'Woman' and 'man' are primarily sex terms, not gender terms. There is some hint of gender in them, but that aspect is far from central. (A "real man" is something like a masculine man. But, even there, the sex aspect is primary.) Straightforward, obvious answers are not always right. But they provide a good starting-point for inquiry. These answers are, however, unpopular for political reasons. And so there's a vast array of not-very-good philosophy and quasi-philosophy that works very, very, very hard to spin things in pursuit of the politically correct conclusion. The politically correct position is that (e.g.) Jenner is a woman. This conclusion is pursued relentlessly, and countless arguments, definitions and distinctions are produced with the purpose of trying to make the conclusion sound plausible and seem defensible. This is bad. One shouldn't start with a conclusion and then insist that arguments be found to support it. But the attempt to shout down (or "shame") people who disagree is much worse. Philosophical questions are notoriously contentious. Philosophy, perhaps even more than other disciplines, officially values open discussion, disagreement, and debate. The attempt to stifle such discussion and enforce an orthodoxy for political reasons is antithetical to the very idea of the thing. As is knuckling under to such political pressure.

Friday, February 26, 2016

When They're Good, The Tar Heels Are Very Good...

...but when they're bad...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Melissa "Need Some Muscle" Click Fired by Mizzou; AAUP Objects

   On the one hand: substantive justice!  Yay!
   OTOH: no procedural justice.  Boo
   AAUP disapproves, on rational grounds: there's a procedure, and it wasn't adhered to.  That's bad. Of course there are undoubtedly plenty of lefty faculty who will circle the wagons and do everything in their power to protect depending on what the procedure actually is, sticking to it might not yield substantive justice. But that's the risk we take.
   My view: whether or not this firing sticks, Click will probably be in a better job within the year. Communications (note: not an actual discipline) has a fairly lefty rep. Some Comm department somewhere will welcome her as a hero of "social justice" soon enough.

Anti-Illegal-Immigration vs. Anti-Immigrant

   I suppose I'm becoming a kook about all this stuff, but one of the things that's been baffling/infuriating me for a year or so is the media's resolute effort to paint people who are concerned about illegal immigration as "anti-immigrant." This is--obviously--outrageous. It seems to be too obvious and egregious an error to simply be an oversight, doesn't it? I's an absolutely crucial distinction, it's an extremely obvious and simple distinction... There's no whiff of casuistry in it...  I don't know which thing I find more incredible, that the media could simply be oblivious or indifferent to the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants (and between anti-immigration and anti-illegal-immigration) or that this could actually be an intentional strategy by the media to discredit concerns about illegal immigration. We all tend to recoil from conspiracy theories...but the alternative is that a very large group of at least moderately intelligent people do not recognize an extremely simple and important distinction. CNN and MSNBC seem particularly bad about this; the conflation seems basically routine there.
   Here are just a very few examples grabbed after a few seconds of Googling:
"When Did the GOP Get So Extreme On Immigration?"
"The Danger of the GOP's Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric"
"From California, A Warning To Republicans On Anti-Immigration Rhetoric"
"More GOP Senate Campaigns Adopting Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric"
   In each case, it's actually illegal immigration that's at issue, as you can confirm. Not only do these ignore the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, a lot of them (intentionally?) gloss over the distinction between anti-illegal-immigration and anti-illegal-immigrant. Also, obviously, important.
   I'm getting more and more concerned about American liberalism, more and more concerned with such confusions and tricks by liberals, and more and more concerned about liberalism's cozy relationship (to say the least) with the media (and, on a different note, universities). Unfortunately, conservatism has spent 30-ish years using the "liberal media" mantra to weasel its way out of legitimate making this case isn't going to be easy.
   Perhaps this sort of thing really is par for the course, and I've just been oblivious to it in the past. Perhaps I had an excessively rosy view of liberals and Democrats, and I'm just now having many of my illusions shattered. Of course it's difficult for me to tell.
   At any rate, and other things to the side: if your opponent is wrong, then you shouldn't have to straw-man him. Just explain why he's wrong. If the GOP is wrong about illegal immigration, just state the case. But pretending that they're anti-immigrant is despicable. This is reminiscent of the left's tendency to call anyone who disagrees with them about race 'racist,' and it absolutely needs to stop. Such tactics are sleazy and entirely impermissible.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Twitter's New Trust and Safety Council Is An Orwellian Nightmare

Really? Because, hey, you can't tell that from the name...
Probably thought up by the same genius who thought up "the department of homeland security"...

The Jihad Against Race

   The real problem with the current middlebrow public discussion of race is that the question "Are races natural kinds?" has been turned into a moral and political question rather than a question about classification.
   (This is distantly related to a point made by John McWhorter.)
   Here's yet another example in which it's clear that the question of the reality of race is not being treated as a scientific/philosophical one, but, rather, as a means to the end of anti-racism.
   Although the vast majority of the currently-available arguments for nominalism/antirealism about race are unsound (and rather clearly so), good arguments could, theoretically, appear in the future. The most striking feature of the disagreement, however, has to do with meta-level questions about the enforcement of political orthodoxy in science, and sciences' pliability in this respect. As with other groups, most biologists and physical anthropologists seem to be afraid of being called racist, and so they seem to be hunkering down and/or paying lip-service to the politically correct doctrine.
   However the answer to the specific question about race turns out, no one short of the totalitarian left should be applauding this kind of Lysenkoism and intellectual cowardice, especially on the part of natural scientists. Even if the nominalists are right, their demand that their conclusion be accepted by the public in the absence of sound argumentation is alarming in the extreme.
   This is not an issue to be treated lightly.

Kareem Is Wrong About PC In Part Because He's Wrong About Liberalism

While I'm ranting about liberalism again, I'll throw out something I didn't throw out before. Kareem's wrong about this part, too:
...Although the extremes of political correctness can sometimes be absurd, America needs this trend to help it fulfill the spirit of the Constitution. Our country was founded on principles of inclusion, which means acting compassionately toward the many different people who make up our nation. Almost every group who immigrated to America was at one time the outsider — mistreated, abused and taunted. Maturity means not having to relive our mistakes of the past, but learning from them and doing better. Our country needs more sensitivity, not less.
   It doesn't seem entirely accurate to say that the country was founded on "principle of inclusion"...but, depending on what's meant by that, we can let it pass. But on any reading that lets that pass, you're not going to be able to argue that it "means acting compassionately"..."toward the many different people who make up our nation," or anyone else. Compassion isn't a founding principle of the Constitution. And incidentally, it's not a central value of political liberalism. Compassion is great. But what's important politically, and to liberals, are rights and freedoms. Everybody has the same rights, and we are obligated to defend each others' rights. Compassion, important as it is, is a peripheral consideration, and as a principle, it doesn't seem likely to make for good government. Suppose you're pregnant and I say to you: your health is not in danger, this fetus is merely inconsistent with your expectations about your life. Have compassion: don't abort it. Your desire for a Ph.D. is selfish when stacked up against the life of this potential person. How does that sound? Now think about making law and policy on the basis of such considerations of compassion...  (Obviously there are possible responses here...this is all too fast. But there it is anyway.)
   Anyway, again, I'm fairly sure that Kareem is wrong, but once again I'll note that this is by far the most reasonable defense of PC I've read. There are mistakes in there...but the intellectual dishonesty at the core of other defenses is completely absent.

Nadine Strossen Blames Liberal Faculty for Decline of Free Speech On Campuses

I'd say:
1. PC silencing campaigns on campus seem to be conducted primarily by students, not faculty.
2. These efforts are supported/not opposed by a fair percentage of faculty, almost certainly the leftier ones
3. Faculty are likely the ones introducing students to the mixture of left-wing politics and recent continental philosophy and quasi-philosophy that lie at the heart of all this.

   On a tangentially-related note, my guess is that, what with the internet and all, there's a decent chance that the U.S. is now stuck with a permanent crazy left fringe just as it seems suck with a permanent crazy right fringe. This fringe is not liberal, but American liberals basically won't criticize the left, so this form of illiberalism is under the protection of liberals. Furthermore, if we believe what many people are saying, it turns out that many "liberals" aren't liberals anyway--their primary political values are (at best) kindness and empathy rather than freedom. (At worst, it's primary political values are ressentiment and pseudo-righteous vengeance.) So if the free expression of ideas hurts someone's feelings (someone from the right sort of group anyway), they will sacrifice freedom to shield feelings.
   I've long thought that we occasionally come to such crossroads, whereat we find that we've only had accidental agreement with many of our fellows--something changes, and suddenly we find that, at the level of principle, we actually just don't agree at all. That's what I think is happening now. And the sooner liberals can distinguish themselves from the pseudo-liberal left, the sooner liberals will stop protecting them. We'll find out that the crazy fringe is bigger than we thought--but at least the threat will be out in the open.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Kareem Is Reasonable, As Always, But Wrong About PC

   Honestly, this is the only intelligent defense of political correctness I've ever read--and I've read a lot.
   Kareem is right that typically we shouldn't identify movements with their extremes...the problem is that PC is basically all extreme. If you subtract the crazy from it you're basically left with a small number of views--e.g. that words can cause distress--that are shared by most liberals and a helluvalot of conservatives as well.
   Give it to him, though: he admits right up front that PC does have excesses. That puts him head and shoulders (lol) above other defenders of the position. It's ridiculous how happy it makes me to read a sane, sensible, cogent defense of a view I detest. PC is so mired in postpostmodern incoherence that its defenders seem incapable of stringing together more than two or three sentences that actually make sense before they fall right back into cant-filled incoherence.
   Anyway, props to Kareem. Dude really is somebody I admire a lot.
   Even though...y'know...he's wrong about this one.

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Bill Nye, Spreading the New Instant Orthodoxy About Race

   Wow is that ever embarrassingly bad.
   He seems like a reasonably intelligent guy. If he'd just reflect for a couple of minutes on those terrible arguments, he'd see through them. But, of course, he's not going to think about them. These propositions have been transmogrified on the left into religious dogma.  
   Though, on the bright side, though Nye is pushing a false view, at least he's pushing a coherent one. The discussion goes into a hellish tailspin when social scientists shove their oar in and start arguing that race is real, but "socially constructed." That view is such a tangle of incoherence that the average person has little chance of understanding what's going on there. So...that's something?
   What's most amazing to me is that no one calls these people on the obvious fact that they are confusing politics (or, at best, morality) with science. They are obviously driven by the desire to fight racism. That's good...but it's not science. Science must be walled off from politics. Even morality can't be allowed to dictate conclusions to science. Questions about racism are not questions about race. And scientific views about science can't be accepted or rejected on account of their effects on the moral/political project of fighting bigotry.
   Furthermore...and I usually don't let myself point this out...fantasies about the unreality (or social reality) of race are in no way necessary to fight racism. We've been pushing the forces of racism farther and farther back for 150 years now in 'Merka, and haven't needed to make up biological just-so stories to do it. Races are natural kinds--real biological groups. That doesn't mean that some of them deserve more rights than others. But the main point is: insofar as your goal is fighting racism, you aren't doing science. You might even be doing something better than science...but it isn't science.

Drum Contra Will: Trump Isn't Wrecking The GOP; The GOP Is Wrecking The GOP

Stupid Fratboys vs. Incoherent Protesters at Duke

   Stupid frat boys have a thing for theme parties. I have no earthly idea what's up with that. There's a picture with this story. I can imagine somebody saying to these guys: way to make the black guys the prisoners, loathsome fratrat. Seriously dude. People hate you because you are hateable.
   Instead the response involved the familiar cornucopia of incoherent postpostmodern bullshit, hyperbole and far-left cant.
   The incoherent political left gets its incoherence from the incoherent intellectual left that is a powerful force in the humanities and social sciences. There's a wave of irrationalism sweeping universities and the internet, and it has a kind of unofficial philosophical view. That view is deeply, deeply confused. It's not only wrong on specific points, it is committed to shitty and in some ways outright incoherent methods of reasoning and standards of explanation. There are some points worth considering deeply buried in all this...but since the points presuppose a lot things that make no sense, and come wrapped in the cant and gobbledygook fashionable on the intellectual left, there's virtually no chance of them being considered.
   Here we've got a group of kids so out of touch with reality that they think that "no police, no prisons" is a policy that's going to improve the lot of American blacks.
   When, in response to stupid fratboy tricks, the left proposes a course of action that would lead to the destruction of society, it's no wonder that no reasonable people take them seriously.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Yak In The Room: The Colorado College Yik-Yak Case

   White guy makes a joke about black women on Yik-Yak, at a time when all sorts of (according to him) semi-good-natured trash-talk about all sorts of races and ethnic groups (including whites) was going on. Seems clear that he didn't mean any harm, though the joke was admittedly a bit edgy. Colorado College administration hunts him down and expels him for two years.
   It was a joke. It was in no way some kind of terrible, soul-crushing, extraordinarily hurtful joke. I've made a lot edgier jokes than that, as has basically every person I know...and any person I'd want to know. The reaction on the part of the other students is completely over the top. They do not in any way acknowledge that it was a joke. They treat it as if it were a serious comment, intended to convey an actual attitude. Even if it was, the guy doesn't deserve expulsion. But it wasn't.
   When did everyone go fucking insane?

Do Male Students Think More Highly Of Other Male Students Than They Do Of Female Students?

   One study's not worth much, of course. And hunting hard for pro-male bias is a cottage industry in academia. So I regard the conclusions of such studies as basically nothing more than hypotheses. But it might be something to keep an eye on in case the result holds up through several studies somewhere down the line. It also looks like there's one gigantic outlier that might ought to have been dropped...but we don't see the data and I'm no statistician.
   Anyway...interesting if true.

Chait: The Case Against Bernie

Washington Post ("The Fix") Charges Of Racism Against Bernie Supporters False; Spun As "Both Sides Wrong"

   So maybe I'm missing something here, especially given my low tolerance for this kind of thing...  But here's my take on the relevant events:
   Background: In general, there's been an effort by some people to paint Bernie supporters ("Bernie Bros") as un-PC / bigoted / retrograde. They're bros, see?
   Here were the relevant recent accusations that Huerta was driven off the stage by chants of "English only," unsubstantiated by the video provided.
   Here we get the latest story, the upshot of which seems to be: the accusations are false. However the story is spun as: the truth is in the middle.
   And this seems like a fairly common pattern from the leftier fringe: accusations of sexism racism, and more esoteric forms of bigotry fly around freely. It's their stock and trade. It's almost the only kind of argument we ever hear from that sector of the political spectrum. But the vast majority of them turn out to be unproven--perhaps unprovable in principle--or outright false.
   There may be more racism and sexism out there than I think. I'm certainly willing to admit that. But we also need to admit that the leftward parts of the spectrum exaggerate the problems. Unproven accusations are common, as are false accusations. Here we have false accusations seemingly disconfirmed...but no admission of error. Instead the falsehood of the accusations are soft-peddled. And this isn't the Huffington Post or Jezebel. This is the Washington Post. And that's a problem.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

PC At The Washington Post?: False Accusations of Bernie Supporters Chanting "English Only"?

   Accusations in the Post that Bernie supporters chanted "English only" when a Clinton supporter wanted to translate for a Spanish-speaking activist. The video in the piece does not substantiate this assertion, though it does show some booing and hissing...hardly unusual occurrences at events during primary season. As one of the comments notes, Snopes concludes that the accusations are false. Some other eyewitness reports cited by Snopes support this. The whole damn thing seems to be based on Tweets fer chrissake. Tweets! It's already the kind of topic that attracts PC craziness. Then there's the PC-ish tendency to put the worst possible spin on events, and to deploy "social media," especially Twitter, to get their spin out. But whatever. It's the Post's biased coverage here that's most worrisome. This piece is mostly about what an important activist the speaker was when it ought to have been mostly about whether the event actually happened. Add some gestures as rumors of other (subtantiated? unsubstantiated?) accusations against Bernie supporters, and you get...bad journalism.
   Et tu, WaPo?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Go Heels, Beat the 'Canes

Feed Brice!
Hit some 3s!
Attack, attack, attack!

Oberlin: A Response To Somers's Talk: A Love Letter To Ourselves

   Look, this isn't worth reading. Here's the tl;dr:

  • Somebody we disagree with is going to speak here;
  • We'll be lucky to survive this violent attempt on our lives
  • We are strong and beautiful and perfect
  • We love ourselves so very, very much

   I'm just documenting this idiocy because, after paleo-PC was largely defeated, liberals who had defended them started denying that anything had ever happened. "PC? Never heard of it," they'd say.    Or something like that. I may be exaggerating a bit.
   Also: am I misreading things, or isn't there still WAY insufficient outrage among liberals about this utter insanity?

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Scalia Conspiracy Theories, Part Deus

According to Glenn Beck, it was aliens...
...the alienest alien...the assassin from beyond space and time...
God killed Scalia

MoJo: A Guide To The Scalia Assassination Conspiracy Theories

You can't tell the players without a scorecard...

My vote

Crisis At Brown: About 10% of Professors Still Demand That Student Protesters Do Their Coursework; Protesters Break Down In Response

   Obviously this is racist, sexist, and, in general, x-ist for all conceivable values of 'x'. How dare professors demand that students with crucial social "justice" obligations complete their coursework like any other student? That's like...I dunno...privilege or rape culture or something, amirite?
   Columbia's private. It can be as idiotic as it wants. Public universities, however, need to make sure that, if they're going to routinely grant extensions for one stupid type of activity, they do so for all similar stupid types activities. And certainly they shouldn't favor any one type of political cause over any other.
   Another aspect of this story, of course, involves the carefully-cultivated, largely-but-perhaps-not-entirely-mythical emotional fragility of the PC lefties / social-justice warriors. There's no doubt that they're mostly just making this shit up...but I'd bet a bit of money that some of it is psychosomatic / quasi-real--they've genuinely convinced themselves that their commitment to crackpottery is so passionate that it's driven to the breaking point. Whatever the case--whether they are actually far on the tail of the curve with respect to actual emotional fragility, or easily self-deceived, or lying--these are exactly the people who cannot be allowed to set the standards for what counts as emotional harm. PC assertions that even rather minor and civil differences of opinion (etc.) cause people intolerable psychological distress are easier to understand when one realizes that these claims are coming from people with radically distorted conceptions of what constitutes emotional harm. And understanding what's going on here makes it clear that such folk cannot be allowed to be the arbiters of what counts as intolerably harmful ideas and speech.

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Was It Over When The Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor????

You damn right it wasn't.

Go to hell Duke!

Neo-Lysenkoism Is Alive and Well

I haven't yet picked up Dreger's Galileo's Middle Finger, but it's on my list.
Here are summaries of some of the tales of the persecution of politically incorrect science therein.

Go To Hell Duke

To the last, we grapple with thee
From hell's heart, we stab at thee
For hate's sake, we spit our last breath at thee

Ya pansies

Carolina Collapses Against Duke, 73-74

   That really was the worst collapse I think I've ever seen. I love this team, but they've somehow fallen into a pattern of just choking against Duke game after game. Collapsing was simply their way of life last year, but it didn't afflict them as severely this season. But tonight's collapse really took the cake. This time they virtually put on a clinic illustrating how to lose a basketball game. They led the almost the entire game until the final two minutes, let Duke outscore them 15-4 over the final few minutes, and I think only got the ball to Brice once in the final 10 minutes despite the fact that he had been completely unstoppable. Marcus and Berry went something like 2-10 and 2-12. Roy, characteristically, didn't call a time out in the final minute, when it seemed absolutely imperative, and Berry, running the point, failed to play his role correctly. Roy always says that with more than 7 seconds left, you attack, hoping that the D won't be set. But with like 14 seconds left, Berry didn't attack, but dribbled over near Roy to see whether he wanted to take a time out...and he didn't...thus we accrued the disadvantage of both courses of action. Berry was fouled on the final shot, but, of course, we're not going to get that call. All anybody said all week was not to let it come down to the final call...and that's exactly what we did.
   I really don't like losing to that program, for reasons that are probably fairly well-understood, and which, unfortunately, take a lot of the fun out the sometime rivalry. But now's not the time to reflect on that stuff...
[We scored 27 points in the entire second half for the love of God...]

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

In Which I Say Something Positive About Trump

   He's in the wire an' creatin' chaos.
   I can't believe, for example, that a GOP candidate is actually standing on stage and saying to GOP audiences that Bush did not keep us safe. It's amazing that that's happening...but somehow it's also amazing that it upsets the audiences so. Do they really think that Bush did keep us safe? That 9/11 itself doesn't count somehow?  I mean, contra Trump, they can say "Bush kept us safe after 9/11 if they want...but that's never what they say..."
   Anyway. It's gotta be good for the GOP to have someone in there--loony though he may be--saying this stuff.

Go Tar Heels

Beat the dookies

That is all

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Leiter On The APA Statement On Bullying and Harassment

Ok this is worrisome...
I don't have any settled opinion on it as of yet. Some thoughts:
(a) I see some things in in that are wrong.
(b) I don't see anything in the letter of it that should send anyone to red alert.
(c) There are prominent/powerful PC / SJW elements in the APA.
(d) Reasonable people cannot help but wonder whether:
   (i) this is actually/partially aimed at opponents of far-left orthodoxy
   (ii) this will ultimately be used in an attempt to silence such dissent.

   If the APA is saying what it means and meaning what it says, I'm inclined to think that all is well. However, given the irrationality and illiberalism of certain views and groups with which powerful elements of the APA and the profession sympathize, reasonable people must be at least somewhat concerned about this statement. The problem is that centrists and genuine liberals get caught in the crossfire between the illiberal forces of the right and the illiberal forces of the left. I'm sorry that professor Yancy has received such awful emails and telephone calls...his piece in the Times was wrong in many crucial ways, but that doesn't matter a bit. He seems like a good guy with a good heart, and to hell with those people who are harassing him. But I am of the opinion that the illiberal left is powerful in the APA, and may be using this incident for its nefarious purposes. The question that exceeds the letter of the statement is: will it be used to silence those who disagree with the illiberal left?

Thought-Experiments: Dogs and Cows, Colds and Cancer, etc.

   Suppose we discover that we can achieve some important goal (say, reducing animal cruelty, e.g. factory farming) by getting people to adopt/change their concept dog so that cows are a type of dog. Maybe we say that a dog is actually any animal of a type that has been domesticated for a long time, and such that its relationship with humans has been beneficial to us. This allows us to say things like "I can't believe you eat dogs!" and "Surely you agree that dogs--man's best friend!--should not be slaughtered in factory farms." Suppose, even, that we get the vast majority of people to go along with this.
   Question: In the imagined situation, are cows dogs?

   Suppose that we discover that cancer survival rates improve (at no cost) if we accept and employ a concept common cold that includes (only?) cancer. Perhaps doctors say things like: don't worry, you just have the common cold, located in your lung. Survival rates are over 75%." Suppose this improves people's spirits, etc.
   Question: In the imagined situation, is cancer a form of the common cold?

   Suppose that we discover that we can decrease sexism and sex-based discrimination by convincing people to alter the concepts man and woman such that all men are women. Perhaps on grounds something like: to be a woman is to have an X chromosome, and all men have X chromosomes, so all men are women.
   Question: In the imagined situation, are men women?*
      (Don't look at that footnote until yo're done.)

* I know this is all incoherent. It's not my fault.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Melissa "I Need Some Muscle" Click: Encounter With Columbia Police

   This is way less bad than assaulting the student journalist, but it may be the straw that snaps the spine of the proverbial C. dromedarius.
   There's also this obvious bullshit account she gave yesterday. You see, when she called for muscle it was a mistake! She meant experience! And also tallness. know...the experience. Of tall people.
   It's really that she cares so much is the thing.
   The PCs are willing to ruin people's lives for using the wrong terminology. But when it comes to, y'know, was the heat of the moment and there's no reason to make a big deal out of it...

Got Slack?

Bob does.

Praise Bob

A Guide To The Philosophy Underground

Apparently, I'm in danger of reprisals for even linking to this.
But there ya go anyway.

Testing The Experimental Results Of Experimental Philosophy Experimentally

This is just damn great.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

RIP Justice Scalia

   Wow, that certainly seemed to come out of nowhere...
   I'm a bit annoyed by the hagiography flying around, but this isn't the time to complain about that, I suppose.
   One thing that seems clear to me: Obama should nominate a replacement, and Senate Republicans are out of line to complain about that. Obama's got nearly a year left in office, and apparently the longest it's ever taken to confirm a nominee is four months. It is entirely unreasonable to demand that 1/4 of a President's term be ruled out in this respect. And, of course, the GOP would never consider abiding by a similar principle if the President were a Republican. This is yet another GOP demand for a double standard.
   And I say this as someone who is a bit apprehensive about Obama getting another nominee. I think he'll have to go with a comparative centrist to have a chance of getting someone through, so that's good. And I think he can be trusted to pick someone who's more of a centrist than any of the GOP candidates can be trusted to pick. Also good. Recently I've become concerned about ending up with an activist court (in either direction). If this is a time that will encourage the approval of a centrist, non-activist nominee, then that's great by my lights.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Neo-Lysenkoism: Paige Harden Fights The Good Fight

   Now that people have started speaking up against neo-PC and neo-Lysenkoism, I say it won't be long before the Forces of Darkness are swept from the field...  But we won last time...only to see them metastasize in the shadows and return 25 years later, stronger and crazier than before...
   If we do win, the liberal apologists' Ministry of Truth will inform us (as they did last time) that this never happened at all...

Neo-Lysenkoism: "Tell The Truth About [Welfare] Benefits Claimants And The Left Shuts You Down"

Best bit: "Personality is a capitalist construct"
Um... Anybody out there still think there is no leftward bias in the academy in general and social science in particular?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rutgers Students Smear Themselves With Fake Blood To Protest Milo's "Most Dangerous Faggot" Tour

Or: Milo Strikes A Nerve
   Needless to say, I didn't want to see it come to this...
   I would have preferred that we had all sat down like adults and had a rational discussion about why liberals are right and you whiny little ressentiment-addled trembling totalitarians are wrong...
   But nooooooooooooo...
   You had to go straight for the shrieking and fake blood.'s the thing... Smearing yourself with corn syrup and red food coloring is only a vaguely plausible form of protest if you're protesting some kind of actual violence. It just highlights your idiocy if you think that civil disagreement and reasoned dissent is violence.
  Go git 'em, Milo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Big Tweeter Is Watching You

   Twitter goes the full SJW.
   The tweetification of public discourse has made it even stupider and shallower than it used to be...something that, a priori, I would have thought it really is a perfect platform for the PCs / SJWs. After all, "that's racist" is way less than 140 characters... You can whip that out and still have room for several "that's problematic"s and a "you microaggress against me, sir" or two...
   I don't tweet, of course, what with my every idea being far too complex and sophisticated and stuff to make the limit... But if I did, I quit it you can betcha. Call me an MRA or whatever, but I don't relish the thought of having Anita Sarkeesian & co. telling me what I can--and mostly can't--say. Er...write.  Er...tweet. Whatever.
   But, y'know...PC isn't a problem and doesn't exist and doesn't have much power and is just being nice anyway so there's no reason to worry and if you're against it it's because you are a straightwhitemale who wants to be able to be racist in peace. #poisoningthewell #freedomisslavery #disagreementisviolence #allyourtweetarebelongtous

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Edinburgh's "Creation of Reality Group" (CRAG)

   Unless that website is incredibly misleading, that's just embarrassing.
   Edinburgh is already notoriously the epicenter of some Very Bad Ideas, to wit "science studies" and the "strong program" in the sociology of belief (mistakenly typically called the "sociology of knowledge"). So I guess this is, in some sense, par for the course there... I mean...somebody actually wrote this:
In the last decades, we can observe a strong increase in the belief that our reality is or can be created, whether it is phenomenological, subjective or collectively shared. It is visible in popular culture, often via New Age formulations; it is present in the sciences, for example in the discourse of brain studies. It is also active in the humanities, within the diverse offspring of social constructivism, but also in politics, as a variation on democratic empowerment and community activism.
Not to mention this:
The Crag is a think-plateau on the diverse modalities of reality creation. We will try to entwine all the research disciplines around the constitution of a ‘crealist’ science, a human science of the creation of realities. The group is also conceived as a laboratory for a multidisciplinary and public ongoing seminar and an annual conference.
That, my friend, is the kind of bullshit that gives bullshit a bad name...
   And, er....that that in any way interesting? It seems like it's meant to provide evidence for the claim that believe in "reality creation" is on the increase...but that seems to be, at best, information about how many times such a thing is mentioned, whether favorably or not. It does seem to indicate percentages of some kind, so at least that bit seems reasonable...
   I'm also hesitant to take anything seriously that has such slick "production values"...but maybe that's just me...
   I'm fairly worried about academia outside the natural sciences...and this doesn't help any.

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Far Left / PC Bias In The Academy: UCLA Diversity Indoctrination Edition

Imagine an expression so incredulous that it bores right through the customary facepalm

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Duke Dirty Foul Archives: Episode MCXVIII: Grayson Allen Trips Ray Spalding

A rather extensive file...
There's a pattern here. I'm not exactly sure how it gets swept under the rug.

UNC-G Grad Student Requires Undergrads To Write "8-Page 'Commitment to Social Justice' "

There is absolutely no chance that a conservative would get away with something analogous.

Drum: Just How "Cozy" Is HRC With Wall Street?

Obama, the GOP, and Executive Orders

   The GOP has really come to love double standards. E.g. they shriek endlessly about Obama's vacations, never asking how many vacation days are normal for a President. When confronted with the fact that Bush '43 took more--a lot more--vacation days than Obama, they fumble for new arguments to defend the conclusion they want, instead of admitting error. The point is to keep their conclusion in place, not to see the facts for what they are. 
   Another thing they've made an issue of is the number of Obama's Executive Orders. However, this chart shows that Obama has issued fewer executive orders per term than Bush '43, Bush '41, and St. Ronnie of the Teleprompter. Of course the content matters as well, as one President might issue rather innocuous orders and another very ambitious ones. But the number has been an issue, and content is more difficult to compare. So it's the quantitative issue that I address here.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Northwestern Students Say Burlesque Show Insufficiently "Diverse," Violates Their "Safe Space"

If PC bullshit catches on this time, we will all live in a hellish post-post-modern distopia in ten or twenty years. If we beat it back again, people who didn't live through it will look back on this stuff in absolute astonishment.

AAUP Asks Mizzou To Lift Melissa "I Need Some Muscle" Click's Suspension

Perhaps the AAUP is just sticking to policy here. But it's hard not to worry that there's a lot of support for her and her actions after a large number of Mizzou faculty-members came to her defense.
I'm skeptical of the AAUP's actions here.

CDC's New Alcohol Recommendations Are "Slut Shaming"

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Carolina Drops Another Road Game

On the bright--or, rather, no longer horrifically lightless--side, Paige seems to be back.
But the really depressing thing is that, with the possible exception of merely covering the spread against a terrible BC team, the Heels have looked pretty mediocre for about the last six games. For awhile it looked like we were really good but slumping badly... I'm really not sure that I can honestly say that that's what it looks like anymore...

Women Fighting ISIS

B. A. M. F.s
I love these pix. Somebody find out how to contribute directly to these people. 
Damn. These are my new heroes.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Neuroscience and Free Will are Rethinking Their Divorce

Good idea, IMO...

PC Denialism: Political Correctness Is Just Niceness!

And I guess Fascism is just making the trains run on time...

The Strange (Test) Case Of Anna Stubblefield: The "Social Justice" World-View in Practice?

So there's this...
Does this tell us anything about the (misnomer alert) "social justice" crowd? Stubblefield is an outlier, of course...and such cases can't be relied upon to tell us much about the fat part of the curve... But what about the reaction to her case from the PC / SJW crowd and its penumbra of sympathizers in e.g. the arts? That is...what about this?:
A crowd of friends — mostly fellow travelers in the field of disability studies — watched the hearing from the gallery. A three-person documentary film crew gathered tape from the jury box. “I’m interested in this as a love story,” the director told me later. (Since publishing my article, I have also heard from playwrights, poets and producers. The other day, I met for tea with a composer, who described his plan to render Anna’s story as an opera, with the court transcript as his libretto.)
One uber-crackpot doesn't tell us anything, really. But the fact that that uber-crackpot apparently has a gaggle of sympathizers/supporters... What about that? Here's one of their own, using utterly discredited pseudoscience...oh...sorry...rather, a method "rejected by the mainstream scientific community" commit the ultimate crime in their eyes: rape. Rejecting science is fairly commonplace on the far left... Defending accused rapists, however, is not.
   Obviously I'm in no position to make such impressionistic judgments. My plausibility metric is all skewed to hell when it comes to the nutty left. But I'll just throw it out as food for thought. I rant and rave, you decide...

Mizzou Protesters Support Melissa "I Need Some Muscle" Click

Not good.

The New Religion of Anti-Racism Can Turn Disagreement into Heresy

   Can I get an 'amen'?
   God Bless HeterodoxAcademy.
   The link above is a kind of summary of John McWhorter's piece here.
McWhorter and HA are interested in the same kind of phenomenon I've been griping about (most recently here). It'd also gesture at the generalized point: the academic/cultural/intellectual/internet left has begun to react to dissent with respect to purely factual, non-moral issues as if such dissent constituted obviously outright and uncontroversial immorality/evil. Like others, I think that PC is basically a cult--or at least it's extremely cult-like. And calling it quasi-religious is also illuminating and near the truth.
   Of course McWhorter's words will only have any impact with the left--if they do--because he's black. If he were white, he'd be Chaitified: oh look another something something white guy something something privilege something something. (Of course that's a facet of the choice everyone faces when wondering whether they ought to join the PC cult: which side do you trust? The side that gives fairly clear arguments and thinks that race and sex are irrelevant to the evaluation of reasoning? Or the side that obfuscates with a truckload of post-post-modern gobbledygook at ever turn and thinks that the value of your reasoning is determined by the color of your skin and configuration of your genitals? Having thus clearly and dispassionately articulated the options...I leave it up to you...cough...cough...)

Mizzou Suspends Melissa "I Need Some Muscle Over Here" Click

Seems like the only sensible course of action to me.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

PC Denialism: Hellerstein, "The Phoney Debate About Political Correctness"

   This is pretty bad, and many of the standard sophistries are here, plus at least one new on in the form of a laughable study alleging to show benefits of thinking about PC. If you weren't worried about it before, you should be worried about it after discovering that anyone, anywhere, would take such a patently dopey experiment seriously...
   At least Hellerstein does admit--grudgingly, I'd say, and only briefly, before rushing back to the the denialism project--that there are some problems originating on the PC left. That's progress, I suppose, and she deserves props for that.
   No time to go through this all now, but I'll just gesture at some stuff. She notes one important anecdote about paleo-PC that was apparently made up. That's important information because the case was's not all that important...  The more important question is: what about all the non-made-up cases, of which there are many, many examples. Then there's her trip to American University. She asks students whether they're worried about PC, and they say no! So there! Then they proceed to show that they're PCs themselves by promptly talking about the need for suppression of "hate speech," the allegedly oppressive campus environment, etc.  This is like asking a bunch of people whether they're worried about American conservatives going nuts, reporting that none of them were...and then noting that what they're really concerned about is BENGHAZIBENGHAZIBENGHAZI!!!111. Only an author very deeply committed to defending the view in question would fail to notice this very obvious point.
   The left--leftier liberals and illiberal leftists--really, really, really want to convince people that there is no problem here. They're wrong about that, and, IMO, each new sophistical effort to pretend there's no problem shows just how unobjective and untrustworthy the left is about this topic.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

John Cleese: When People Can't Control Their Own Emotions They Have to Control Someone Else's Behavior

   This is worth a listen, though I'm not convinced he's really on the right point here. I'm not convinced he's not, either.
   But, you PC...

PC Totalitarianism About Sex: The USC "Consent Carnival"

Wanna lose the urge to make out with somebody quickly and efficiently?
Here ya go

LSE Students To Discuss Motion to Ban Free Speech Society

Apparently it only takes one students to make such a motion...rather hard to tell what's going on there...but it may not really be all that bad.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Cathy Young: The Totalitarian Doctrine Of Social Justice Warriors

Sympathy for the Devil: Is There A Decent Case for "Trigger Warnings" in College Classes?

   So...I've gotten so bent out of shape about the PCs that I haven't even been trying to give them their best case. They're a bad bunch...but they can't be wrong about everythingNobody is wrong about everything... Even the Nazis were environmentalists... They're damned irritating, and they advocate all sorts of crazy, evil's not my fault! YOU KNOW HOW HATEABLE THEY ARE!!!!
   Be that as it there a decent case to be made for "trigger warnings"? thing about the PCs is that they have some terrible, infernal knack for generating the dumbest-sounding, most irritating terminology known to man... I should be reasonable enough to ignore that...but I'm not...  So yeah, "trigger warning" (like e.g. "microaggression", "rape culture," "check your privilege," etc.) is just damn stupid, even just qua word. But it's silly to worry much about that. The question is:
   Is there a good case for warning students when you're going to discuss questions that are disturbing?
   Prima facie...why not? It's quick, it's easy... It's really no skin off the professor's...uh...nose? Teeth? What the hell is that figure of speech anyway? Where's the skin supposed to come from? Nose, right?  Teeth is a different thing...
   Now...don't give me all that yeah but this just plays into the hands of the crazy lefties because it won't just be that, it'll also be this.... I want to ignore slippery-slope problems for the time being. Is there anything really, intrinsically wrong with warning students that you're just about about talk about something that some of them might find extremely disturbing?

President of Oberlin Rejects List of Student Demands

Marvin Krislov is my hero.
   In case you've forgotten which tediously fantastical list of demands was the Oberlin one, here ya go. I think my favorite "demand" is the one for more "female-identifying" instrumentalists in the jazz department...but there are a lot to choose from...

Monday, February 01, 2016

Feel the Cruzmentum

On the bright side, Trumpo lost...

Hillary and Bernie still neck-and-neck.

Carolina's Doldrums Continue; Heels Fall to Louisville 65-71

   Wow. The Heels just do not look good. They didn't look good when they ascended to #1/#2, and they still don't look good.
   Marcus is either still in, or barely starting to crawl out of, the mother of all slumps. Berry was 1-10. Hicks was 2-8. We've been missing almost every 3 we take...but tonight we added an enormous number of missed layups to that. We really did not look good.
   On the bright side, we actually had a chance to tie, and might very well have if we'd gotten a good bounce here or there. And Jackson was something like 6-9. So maybe he's emerging from his slump...
   I love this team...but man they've gotten frustrating to  watch.

Mandatory "Diversity" Indoctrination at Mizzou

   It's astonishing to me how far this sort of thing is going.
   I'm going to go ahead and assume that these things are not all bad, that some good points will be made, that some people will learn things, and that we collectively might be better off if everybody thought at least a little bit about this sort of thing.
   However. If CR's account is right, then there seems to be a fairly large measure of leftist/PC indoctrination in the session. Deploying the massively confused concept "cultural appropriation" at all would, by itself, already send the thing down an ideological track. The problem here is not that such issues are discussed. The problem is that: (a) a very specific far-left perspective is being advocated rather than discussed; (b) that perspective is being taught as if it were uncontroversial and obviously true; (c) there is, almost certainly, no attention to criticism of the perspective; and, of course, (d): it's mandatory. This sort of extreme political bias wouldn't be ok even in an elective class...much less a mandatory session for all students.
   If public universities were, say, forcing students to attend pro-free-market or pro-small-government indoctrination camp, the academic left would explode.  If public university students were being forced to attend pro-religion workshops, where where controversial religious concepts and perspectives were being presupposed (e.g.: is such-and-such a thing sinful?)...well...there's no way to finish that sentence, because it's almost unimaginable that such a thing would happen at an American public university.
   This really is an outrage. There might be a decent idea somewhere in it...but there's just too much bad. If, during orientation, a school wants to tell students something like the following, I think that's not only ok, but good:
 "Hey, look, there are going to be a lot of people here who are going to be, superficially speaking, very different than those you're used to. They're going to look different, think different, act different, dress different, talk different, accept different things, have sex with different people...all sorts of stuff. You need to realize that that a university is a pretty cosmopolitan place, and you are going to have to get used to it. Do not hassle people just for being different. That doesn't mean that you have to believe what they believe, or do what they do, or think it's ok, or think that it's off-limits for reasonable discussion. But no hassling. Here endeth the lesson."
   But mandatory left-wing indoctrination sessions...that just isn't ok. No one should stand for that. (If, indeed, that's what's happening at Mizzou. CampusReform is a pretty good source of info, but it does have an agenda.)

The Riddler (at Night Falls, A Storm Rolls In