Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Biology Don't Real: No Such Thing As Sex Edition

Gender studies is largely gibberish.
There's an on-going bad rap against the humanities--they're often falsely said to be inherently BS. It isn't true...but for the past thirty years or so, many of the humanities (and the softer social sciences, and the inherently political pseudo-disciplines in between) have been bullshit. Part of the bad rap against them is undeserved...but part of it is absolutely deserved. Much of what goes on in the humanities right now is utter gibberish. Studying it probably actually makes you dumber. Majoring in women's / gender studies or similar fields is rather like majoring in Scientology. You will probably get cleverer at bamboozling people, and at throwing up sophistical smokescreens to obfuscate your crackpot'll probably get pretty good at honing your "intellectual" facade...but, in terms of reasoning and discerning the truth, you'd probably be better off studying nothing at all.

Props To Romney

Jesus Haploid Christ this cannot be easy for the guy.

Carolina v. Indiana

Gonna be a good game.
Go Tar Heels!

Ignatius: In Today's World, The Truth Is Losing

Same as it ever was?
   Not a new problem; an old problem in a new form.
   Here's my suggestion for a first step:
   The mainstream media should strive for objectivity again. It currently has a clear liberal bias. Not an overwhelming liberal bias--but a clear one. This exacerbates the echo-chamber problem: it helps constitute the liberal echo-chamber, and helps drive conservatives into their own. This is not a panacea, but it would help. Or, rather, if it wouldn't help, then I'm inclined to think we're doomed.
   The right is in bad shape epistemically. But so is the left. On the right, we have massive numbers of conservatives falling for the most obvious nonsense. Not even clever or sophisticated hoaxes--just outright, National-Enquirer-level absurdity. But roughly this phenomenon is hardly unknown on the left. Remember, to use what seems to me like the clearest case here: much of the left accepted, at the drop of a hat an on the basis of no good arguments, that a man could become a woman simply by feeling as if (or saying) he was one. And, in fact, that anyone even questioning this was a bigot.  I'm honestly not sure there's anything even vaguely comparable on the right.
   [Insert your own snappy ending here.]

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Yeah no they don't.
There's basically no chance this is true.

Chait: Trump's Kleptocracy

The GOP has already destroyed many of the norms that made American government work. Things have gone rapidly downhill, and Trump isn't even in office yet.

How Stable Are Democracies?

Maybe not very.

No Free Speech At Tufts

You really have to read this.
These people are nuts.

Mr. Brennan Has Made His Decision; Now Let Him Enforce It?

Trump seems...somewhat unfamiliar...with Texas v. Johnson.

Kevin Drum, Racism, "White Supremacy," and PC Hyperbole

   I complain about this periodically. It's dumb. But the PC left is addicted to hyperbole--often to the point of flaming falsehood. There's typically no reasoning with them, but it's good to register their errors--both because truth is important, and also so that reasonable people who are on the fence don't get sucked into their BS.
   Racism is not the same thing as white supremac...ism? (The folks in question would write 'white supremacy' there, but it obviously doesn't work out grammatically...) Anyway: being a racist isn't the same thing as being a white supremacist. Obviously. And the (as Drum correctly puts it) fad of misusing 'white supremacy' to mean racism is crap for a lot of obvious reasons. And, as Drum also notes, we get a kind of double escalation given the combination of:
(a) The left calls everybody and everything in sight 'racist'
(b) The left says 'white supremacy' instead of 'racism'
So now we get this this kind of outlandish nonsense such that if your grandma isn't to clear on this weeks trendiest jargon and maybe even--heaven forfend!--says 'colored person' instead of 'person of color'...well...she's not merely a racist, she's a white supremacist! Goddamn, grandma!
   This is basically a kind of case study in the fatuousness of the PC left. Sometimes people are just too far gone to reason with. I'm not saying that someone might not get sucked into this stuff because it's trendy on Tumblr, or because they heard it in their women's studies class, or whatever... People often just parrot the lingo and orthodoxy of their peer group. And someone might even be torn about it. But anyone who can look at this situation and not understand that there's a big problem here probably can't be reasoned with. They're probably just too far gone. If you don't at least smell a rat, and see that PC's got some 'splainin' to do... Well, I certainly can't do anything for you.
   Drum suggests that this misuse of the term got started with Ta-Nahisi Coates. If so, that would explain it. Not because Coates is prone to such errors, but because of the internet left's Ta-Nahisi Coates worship. I mean, I generally like the guy's stuff, but damn, I really don't get the adoration with which he is regarded by the leftosphere. (And his well-known piece on the "social construction" of race is all wrong...but that's another thing...)
   Anyway, much of PC confusion is based in terminological errors, but it's no secret that it's often hard to tell whether people are making terminological errors or factual ones. Perhaps PCs just can't resist terminological escalation: they've become so used to calling everybody else racist that they want a new drug--and 'white supremacist' is so much worse/better! Or maybe they really do believe that your grandma is in the there's that possibility... Usually people drawn to the PC left don't think clearly enough to draw such distinctions, though. It's common for people to fall into confusion in some indeterminate way--they're not exactly making this mistake, they're not exactly making that mistake...they're lost in a twilight zone in between. And the indeterminacy of their beliefs is one of the things that trips them up.
   But, anyway, it's good to see Drum saying something about this. I get the feeling that he's too reasonable not to be onto the looniness of the PC left...but he usually sticks to wonkier / policy-er issues. Smart man. But he could do a lot of good but speaking up on these points a little more often, sez me.

Trump Gets "Information" From Info Wars

On the bright side, maybe we could get an anti-UFO space force out of this.

Matt Taibbi: WaPo's Russian Propaganda Story Based On Bogus Sources

   The actual Rolling Stone headline is kinda hysterical...but it does sound like the Post screwed the pooch.
   Which is good news, of course.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Statement By The AAUP On "Sanctuary Campuses"

   I still say it's none of their business. I still say it's liberal co-opting of an organization that ought to be politically neutral...I'm still not happy about it...but I have to admit, the recommendations are perhaps more defensible than I'd expected:
While colleges and universities must obey the law, administrations must make all efforts to guarantee the privacy of immigrant students and pledge not to grant access to information that might reveal their immigration status unless so ordered by a court of law. Nor should colleges and universities gather information about the citizenship or immigration status of people who have interactions with the administration, including with campus police. College and university police should not themselves participate in any efforts to enforce immigration laws, which are under federal jurisdiction. Faculty members should join efforts to resist all attempts to intimidate or inappropriately investigate undocumented students or to deny them their full rights to due process and a fair hearing.
   Well, now that I paste it in, I guess it is pretty bad. 
   I don't see any justification for any of these asserted "musts." Even if immigration laws are a federal matter, is local law enforcement ever expected, with respect to any other crime, to ignore even blatant violations of the law? Or is immigration yet again being treated as a special case?
   I understand recommending that people not go out of their way to bust a law-abiding student who has lived his whole life here. But it makes no sense to me whatsoever to assert that it is never permissible for any university official to report even the most egregious violations of this particular type of law. 
   Again, I don't see how such a position is defensible except in light of a premise to the effect that immigration laws are inherently illegitimate. And that is an open borders position.
   Seems to me that universities ought to treat immigration law like they do any other law--whatever that might mean. Immigration law is not a special case in this respect. It's only the liberal bias of academia that can explain this special treatment.

How Worried Should We Be About Trump?

I was talking to a colleague about this today.
I mean, what's the answer???
I oscillate between (a) Trump might actually destroy the world and (b) Ha ha! It'll probably be alright...right?
I think I've just knuckled under to the prevailing (b)-ish attitude.
Sure, he seems fully capable of bringing total disaster down upon us...but...y'know...I kinda feel like it won't happen...
But what the hell can we do? The recount is unlikely to help. The Electoral College is unlikely to bail us out. Impeachment seems like a real possibility...but that's unlikely to happen for awhile.

AAUP Endorses "Sanctuary Campuses"

Immigration is none of the AAUP's damn business.
   This is obviously a case of a bunch of liberals deciding to hijack an organization in order to advance their own political preferences. There is no link between the purpose of the AAUP and this cause. The AAUP should no more have a position on immigration enforcement than it should have one on infrastructure policy or the designated hitter rule. Is the AAUP going to start taking a position on interest rates now?
   As for the "hate crime" stuff--I expect that most of it is made up. (I also think "hate crime" is a stupid category, but I don't particularly feel like dying on that hill these days.) There's no doubt that a fair percentage of them are made up. And we know for a fact that a lot of them are so blown out of proportion that they might as well be made up (see e.g. PostItNoteGate...). Whatever residue of actual crimes--assault, harassment, etc.--is left over ought to be dealt with as any other such crimes are. I've got no tolerance for bullying, nor for general dickishness. But this political hysteria and hate-crime hoaxing has got to end. Academia's response to the election has been unconscionable. Nobody reviles that sonofabitch Trump more than I do. But academia isn't even trying to hide its leftist bias--and nuttiness--anymore.


This is so idiotic that I, personally, would be in favor of razing the whole place and salting the earth.

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Annual PC Movember Freakout

I think "Movember" is dumb.
It's not some big-ass deal or anything...  I just think it's kinda dopey, and the cult of beards is dopey.
But leave it to the PCs to deploy bullshit, moronic criticisms of it every year.
Not everything has to include women. It's permissible to have a jokey thing...something something men's health or whatever. It's ok to have it if it's not something something men's health or whatever. In fact, I think the men's health angle was tacked on as a defense against incoherent PC criticisms in the first place. And no, "transmen" are not men. Sorry! But it's a fact, and no amount of verbal legerdemain will change that. A lot of people are not things they'd like to be. That's life. I'm sorry if you want to be male but aren't, and I'm sorry if you want to grow a beard but can't. Lots of actual dudes can't grow beards. Honestly, it's not something to make big deal out of. Growing a beard is not some amazing experience. It's kinda just like waiting too long to get a haircut. But itchier.
Seriously, when did everybody get so dumb?

"Trump Is Making A Strong Case For A Recount Of His Own 2016 Convention Win"

No he isn't.
   He is, as usual, making no case at all. He's an idiot who just says words--whatever words come into his head. He is a child. He doesn't actually seem to even draw a very clear distinction between fact and fiction. He doesn't like the fact that he lost the popular vote, so he simply asserts the opposite: he actually won it! Many of his supporters are apparently just fine with this. Though honestly, few people are loony enough to just assert that night is day without some kind of cover story to bleed off some of the pressure from the cognitive dissonance. So Trumpo added the completely fabricated "massive voter fraud!!!!111" assertion to his previous completely fabricated assertion.
   Anyway, it's permissible to argue ad hominem here that either Trump is full of shit, or he is making a case for a's absolutely right. But that's a largely rhetorical point. In reality, there's no reason to fiddle around with the disjunction. He's making no case at all for a recount, much less a strong one. He's just completely full of shit about this, as per usual.

Walter Mebane: Anomalies In WI Vote, But No Conclusive Evidence of Fraud

Will need to re-read this with more caffeine in the system...but the upshot is clear enough.

Steve Bannon, Racist?

The only question is: did he actually say this stuff?

Trump Transition Clown Show

This is not going to be good.
It's not funny anymore.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Trump Claims Millions Voted Illegally--On No Evidence

   Even if they did, who'd they vote for? So far, if I'm not mistaken, most of the handful of people we have caught were voting for Trumpo, yes?
   So, though I am absolutely willing to spend some money on an things stand now, there's just no reason at all to think that there was some massive voter fraud...and it was in favor of Democrats.

BLM Mourns Castro

Obama And Trump Talking Regularly

   Obama's got to be like I come in during a disaster, and I'm gonna leave just as another disaster begins...
And, if Trump will listen to him, he's got to be thinking I so wanted to be done with this I'm the only thing standing between the nation and a complete train wreck...
   Anyway. Bad for Obama. But good for us.

Trudeaun't Get Me Started: Castro Tribute Edition

Jesus that guy.

U.S. Manufacturing Alive And Well--But Not Creating Jobs?

That's what this says anyway.

Soave: Trump Won Because Of A Backlash Against PC

I find this hypothesis attractive, of course.

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Alleged Trump-Inspired "Hate Crimes" Oddly Similar?

   I'm not convinced by this. For one thing, some of these things are not really all that much like the others. But there are certain somewhat suspicious similarities--relatively minor acts of violence, the perpetrators identifying themselves as pro-Trump, absence of witnesses... And they all sound a lot like past "hate-crime" hoaxes. (Sadly, the Fake Hate Crimes site has been crashed for like a week now.)

"PizzaGate" Combines Right-Wing Myth-Making And The Pedophilia-Obsession of Conspiracy Theorists

   If there's one thing contemporary conspiracy theorists love it's organized pedophilia. In the U.S. this manifested itself most notably during the Satanic Panic of the '80s and '90s. This obsession showed up in the UK recently in myths about "VIP pedophile rings"...basically the same thing we had, but with less Satan.
   Now it's showing up in this bit of pro-Trump/anti-Clinton fake news.
   A couple of years ago /r/worldnews went absolutely bugshit over the VIP pedophile rings nonsense. One very-highly-upvoted comment in one thread asserted that the CIA was kidnapping "tens of thousands" of children every year inside the U.S. and funneling them into sex slavery. That comment was followed by a giant sub-thread of sub-comments all saying things like "I can't believe this can happen here right under our noses!" I commented, in essence, that I couldn't believe it either...because there was no chance whatsoever that there was even the tiniest fragment of truth in it. I mean you should have seen the freak-out about that. Honestly, people go nuts about that stuff. They seem to completely lose whatever tenuous grasp of reality they had.

Russian Propaganda Effort Used Facebook Etc. To Spread Fake News To Help Trump / Punish Clinton

Read it.
   In short, we face a de facto alliance among Putin's Russia, American right-wing crazies, and the low-information voters that form a large part of the GOP base:
The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.
Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.
Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House.
McFaul said Russian propaganda typically is aimed at weakening opponents and critics. Trump’s victory, though reportedly celebrated by Putin and his allies in Moscow, may have been an unexpected benefit of an operation that already had fueled division in the United States. “They don’t try to win the argument,” said McFaul, now director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. “It’s to make everything seem relative. It’s kind of an appeal to cynicism.”
   Russian autocracy didn't just win a battle--it seems to have installed an incompetent, mentally unstable, criminal pro-Russian idiot as the President-elect of the United States. This really is an off-the-scale victory. Putin must feel roughly like bin Laden felt when we invaded Iraq--nobody really expects an operation like this to succeed so unequivocally.
   And I'd add: this was accomplished by leveraging the irrationality, and credulity/dogmatism that right-wing media has fostered in the GOP base for the past thirty years. And again I'm going to assert: it largely started with Rush (sounds like "Russia") Limbaugh. What you see on the right is a lot like what you see on the pomo/PC left, IMO: awful, destructive habits of mind that are more poisonous than any particular belief or conclusion. Firmly entrenched tendencies to accept bad forms of reasoning, which act as a steady source of more and more false beliefs. Teach a man a falsehood and he's dumb for a day; teach him how to reason badly and he's crap at thinking forever. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

"Watch List" Of Liberal Professors

This is odd.
I'm not sure what to think about it.
On the one hand, it seems kinda creepy and Big Brotherish. OTOH, it's not an enterprise of the state, of course. Liberals don't seem too happy about it, predictably.
   But suppose it were very accurate. If a professor really is biased in whatever way--as many profs apparently are--I don't see anything wrong with making that known. Of course I'd predict that it wouldn't be notably accurate... But maybe.
   I'm put in mind of a standard PC argument. Let's call it the Freedom From Criticism argument. People often complain about PC efforts to shout down views with which they disagree. These critics point out the PC is notably hostile to free expression. PCs often respond like so: we're not against free expression; you can say what you want, but you must be prepared to experience criticism / disapproval of your views. (Of course that's BS. Anti-PC folk aren't asking for freedom from criticism. Rather, they're pointing out that typical PC tactics don't include rational criticism, but, instead, involve efforts to simply shout down, intimidate, and "shame" opposition. But anyway...) The Freedom From Criticism argument would seem to be applicable here. Even if you think it's permissible to exhibit significant bias in class, surely no one can think that you should expect to be protected from criticism for it. In fact I don't understand how anyone can have any reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to what they do in class. Why is there anything wrong with students talking about what you teach and how you teach it? And if you exhibit bias of one kind or another, it's surely not impermissible for students to discuss that. So--again, putting aside questions of accuracy--I suppose I'm not clear what the grounds are for complaint.
   But I haven't thought about this much. It's pretty shoot-from-the-hippy at this point.
   And I'm not saying I'm wild about the idea of such a watch list. I'm just not immediately outraged about it or anything.

"I'm An Undocumented Harvard Grad; The Election Has Left Me Broken"

What/how should we think about stories like this one?
   On the one hand, I understand the argument according to which long-term illegals are de facto Americans and constitute a special case. I'm inclined to agree with that position.
   OTOH, it's not at all clear that this is what Ms. Diaz is thinking. She's clearly indicating that enforcing immigration laws would be bad...and she gives no indication that she thinks this is true only when long-term illegals are at issue. 
   She writes:
I’m not going to say that I’m undocumented and unafraid. Not yet. Three weeks after the election, I still feel broken. I still feel the knife that America stabbed into my back. To so many in America, I was not worth anything. Disposable, replaceable. My work over the past 17 years meant absolutely nothing to them. The laws have not changed; the attitudes remain the same. The abuse will continue and will grow.
   This seems absurd to me. Enforcing--even threatening to enforce--immigration laws is stabbing her in the back? It indicates that she is "not worth anything"? And to what "abuse" is she referring?
   I have to say, this sort of thing is getting old. It's not that I don't sympathize--I do. But without immigration laws, the U.S. would not exist in anything like its current form, and might not exist at all. Ms. Diaz has her (rather overly) tearful story. But there are equally heart-rending stories of people waiting to get in legally who cannot. In fact, many of those stories are much more heart-rending, if that's to be our criterion.
   So again with my hobby-horse: there's no advocacy of open borders here. But there is certainly a clear suggestion that enforcement of immigration laws is unjust. 
   And it's not that I don't want to hear Ms. Diaz's story. It's that I'm starting to question the motives and objectivity of the media when we hear this sort of thing over and over and over again...and when there seems to be no effort to criticize or even acknowledge the apparent implications of the motivating ideas and sentiments of these stories.
   Needless to say, I could be wrong.

Why Does No One Care That Russia Interfered With A U.S. Election?

   I can't control my temper about this, ergo I have not posted much on it, and I'm going to continue to shut up now.
   We have good reason to believe that a hostile, anti-Democratic, anti-liberal foreign power affected the U.S. election. That alone should make this the focus of our attention. That said foreign power seems to have helped install an unstable idiot with autocratic tendencies really is just icing on the cake.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Really worth seeing, IMO...despite a 10-yard penalty for a pivotal reference to a notorious bit of pseudoscience.
Good enough that I was even willing to forgive that.

Trump's Team Of Rivals: Fighting Spills Into Public

Oh yeah.
This is gonna be great.

Krugman: Manufacturing Jobs Are Not Coming Back

Seems plausible to me.
I don't see how "There are plenty of jobs in the service sector" is anything like a serious alternative.
"Sorry, gentlemen, we won't be making any more cars...but you can just get a job holding jeans for people at The Gap..." Yeah...that's...not really gonna fly. Even ignoring pay, dudes especially just do not want those jobs. I'm not saying we always get the kind of job we want...but there are limits.

McWhorter: "We Need A New 'PC' That Includes White People"

I don't necessarily agree with every jot and tittle of this, but McWhorter's always reasonable and worth a read.

Kirk Noden: "Why Do White, Working-Class People Vote Against Their [Economic] Interests? They Don't"

I don't know whether this is right or not, but I learned some stuff from it.
   Anyway, I'll use it for an occasion to make the following points:
[a] Why do white, upper-middle-class Americans vote against their economic interests? Why is voting on the basis of principle weird for the working class and not for the upper-middle-class? Why isn't it condescending to think that it is?
[b] In the Noden piece we see the now-basically-orthodox-on-the-left conflation of immigration with illegal immigration. I don't see any reason to believe that the working class is broadly pissed off about immigration. It seems pissed off about illegal immigration. This is a perfectly rational thing to be pissed off about. They may also be pissed off that many liberals / "progressives" seem to think, absurdly, that any concern with illegal immigration is bizarre and racist. Maybe they're even pissed off about what I'm pissed off about, i.e.: the left's tendency to simply refuse to acknowledge the simple and crucial distinction at the very heart of this discussion between legal and illegal immigration.
[c]  Contra Noden, we are not "at the darkest moment of American history." We are not near the darkest moment of American history. How could anyone who knows anything at all about American history think that we are at anything like one of our darkest moments? We may very well be at one of our least dark moments. I mean, I'm freaked out about Trump, too, and I think for good reasons. I do realize that the risks are great. But let's get some damn perspective.

(1) Sessions; (2) Intentional Conflation of *Immigration* and *Illegal Immigration*

So while I was trying to wake up this morning I was just reading this and that about Jeff Sessions, and ended up here.
   Two things of minor note:
   This is fairly well-known:
In 1986, he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a federal-district court judge, but a bipartisan panel of Judiciary Committee senators declined to send his nomination to the Senate floor amid allegations that he had said the NAACP was “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” and that a white civil rights lawyer was a “disgrace to his race.” Sessions vigorously denied the allegations.
   Sessions responds:
“I am not the Jeff Sessions my detractors have tried to create,” he said. “I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks. I have supported civil rights activities in my state. I have done my job with integrity, equality and fairness for all.”
   So there's that. Denials are cheap...but so are accusations.

   But here's the thing that caught my eye:
Most prominently, Sessions has pressed for a crackdown on immigration, saying he is opposed to any path for legal citizenship for undocumented immigrants and is in favor of Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Southern border.
Look, this has gone beyond anything that can plausibly be attributed to carelessness. The media now routinely conflate illegal immigration and immigration. Here both (a) a refusal to grant citizenship to people here illegally [note: wrong wrong wrong--wasn't paying attention: opposition to a path to citizenship for illegals. Still not "anti-immigration" in any way. But different.] and (b) a plan to decrease illegal immigration are counted as anti-immigration--as "crackdowns" on immigration. It doesn't really matter what we think about the wisdom of either (a) or (b). The important point here is that it's difficult to see how anything short of open borders can count as non-anti-immigration / non-anti-immigrant according to this view. This just does not seem like a trivial point to me. It's not an accident. It happens too frequently to be an accident. And if it's not an accident then it has an end. If the end isn't something in the vicinity of open borders, what is it? (These are actual questions, not rhetorical ones.)
   For the record--though I should probably refuse to say this in the context of this discussion--I'm willing to discuss and consider open borders. I think open borders would be a catastrophe--tantamount to the end of the U.S...but I'm willing to discuss the idea. I've been wrong before. Maybe I'm wrong about that. But the apparent unwisdom of the policy isn't the main source of my concern. What I'm most concerned about is that (i) this campaign (if that's what it is) is being conducted covertly, and (b) it's being conducted by the "mainstream" media. I simply don't understand how anyone can think this kind of chicanery is permissible.
   Am I crazy about this?

NRO: Jeff Sessions Vs. The Klan

Is Clinton's Loss "One More Nail In The Coffin Of Center-Left Politics In The West"?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Trump Not Interested In Intelligence Briefings?

Reportedly: Vice-President-elect Trump is not very interested in his intelligence briefings.
Fortunately (?) Vice(?)-President-elect Pence takes an interest in them, though.

John Tierney: "The Real War On Science: The Left Has Done Far More Than The Right To Set Back Progress"

   This is ok, but it's a familiar story by now, and Tierney's version of the story leans heavily on climate-change skepticism. Though I've become more open to such skepticism, I just don't know enough to make anything like an informed judgment about it. (I do kinda like the Climate, Etc. blog, though, and Tierney links to this post there, concerning the tendency of climate models to overestimate warming.)
   Tierney could have made a much stronger case by, e.g., also citing Dreger and the current pseudo-scientific crackpottery about "transgenderism." But he doesn't.
   I'm also not in any way convinced that the left has historically been worse than the left--though I suspect that it's currently worse. In general, the more powerful you are, the greater your potential to do harm. The left is far, far more powerful than the right in academia. It doesn't take much error for the left to do a lot of harm.* Just look at the wackjobbery surrounding academic discussions of race.
   Though, come to think of it, it's really the social sciences and humanities that are devastated by rampant leftist nonsense... Maybe...ah, never mind.
   I can't sit here and bitch about this nonense for free...I've got a bunch of nonsense I get paid to bich about.

*Incidentally, IMO, that's basically the important, but completely distorted, core of truth in the PC nonsense about the impossibility of non-white racism and female sexism: if you've got more power, then you can do more harm as a result of smaller errors. Of course the PC left, being both nuts and fond of pseudophilosophy, has to exaggerate it all into some kind of conceptual impossibility...which is absurd...but the kernel of truth in there is roughly: racism by whites can more easily do harm to blacks, and sexism by men can more easily do harm to women. (Typically, that is.) They're probably also more common, I'd guess. (Actually, I'm astonished that there's not more anti-white racism among blacks and anti-male sexism among women. Seriously. I'd have predicted that there'd be a helluva lot more of it.) But these mundane points aren't enough for the left, which has been trying for years to cook up a plausible story about how bigotry among their "valorized" groups is literally impossible. As is their wont, they've recently settled on just insisting that the terms 'racism' and 'sexism' have always meant...the new thing that they've never meant but that the left wants them to mean. Jeez those people.
blah blah Get Off My Lawn

Carolina 71-Wisconsin 56

It wasn't actually that close.
And the Heels won at the Badgers' pace--I don't think we had a single fast break point.
Definitely looking good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Twilight Zone

I was rushing to get ready and out the door to get to class the other day, so my mind was very focused on practical things like making sure my fly wasn't undone. I look over, and on the screen was Trump, at a podium (sound was off) and superimposed on the picture it said basically "President-elect Donald Trump"
Man that hit me like a ton of bricks.
I really had a nanosecond flash like I'd fallen into the Twilight Zone. Like this simply couldn't be real.
Goddamn it, America.
You have screwed the pooch and no mistake.

"The Real Secret To Asian-American Success Was Not Education"

I was excited to read this, but it turned out to be not very good, IMO. Really pretty bad in a couple of important ways, I thought. But I don't have time to complain about it in detail right now. So I don't know why I'm linking to it, nor why I'm saying anything at all about it.

Carolina 107-OK State 75

I don't ever remember the Heels looking this good this early in the year.

Biden For DNC Chair?

I'm down.

(h/t S. rex)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Message Mocking Trump Trauma Investigated As "Hate Crime" By Edgewood College

Universities are going bugshit over the election outcome.
I honestly don't know what to be more worried about at this point: Trump or the Trump-related hysteria at universities.

Yeah I Ain't Gonna Do Nunna That Crazy Shit You Elected Me To Do: Ain't Gonna Climate Change Edition

Yeah I Ain't Gonna Do Nunna That Crazy Shit You Elected Me To Do: Ain't Gonna Lock Her Up Edition

Wow that's a huge surprise, huh?

Carolina 104-Chaminade 61


Trump's Popularity Soars After Election

Nazi Salute Is All The Rage In the UST

   So it looks like the first political fad in "Trump's America"--the UST for short-- is the Nazi (or at least Nazi-esque) salute. Not kidding.
   Turns out that the girl in the pic is, in fact, Tia Tequila, one of the few quasi-celebrities even less notable and more embarrassing than D. J. Drumpf.
   And, for the record:
   I don't think she's got an official position in the cabinet yet, but I expect she's on the list, along with Gallagher, the Shamwow guy, and a lesser Kardashian or two.
   Now...though I'm not kidding about the link above, I expect the people in the picture are, actually, kidding. I reckon this as 4Channery. And my not-very-well-considered guess is that it's important not to fly off the handle about it. Mostly because it's not (entirely?) serious, and its point is to rile people up. We can point out that these lackwits are lackwits without giving them the reaction they're looking for. And, of course, it should go without saying that, whatever its degree of sincerity, it's Constitutionally protected expression. (Please no lame fire-in-a-crowded-theater analogies.) My guess is that these guys should be regarded and treated as approximate analogs of heavy metal "satanists." If we start acting like pearl-clutching religious types, they win and we make the problem worse. (More fascinating thoughts on this fascinating hypothesis soon.)

   (Though I'm going to add that one might want to consider this guy before engaging in this kind of irony-or-whatever-it-is too enthusiastically.)

Trolls For Trump

Jebus, this is definitely worth a read.
But it is not going to make you happy.
The internet has not been an unmitigated good for humanity.
I can't resist pointing out that the author is full of shit at a few points (e.g. "GamerGate, a vicious campaign against feminists in the video-game industry.") But that is really, really, really not worth mentioning against the backdrop of the extreme, thermonuclear jackassery of this Cernovich person. I mean holy crap. This guy pegs the repulsometer.
You have been warned.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Is your Filter Bubble Destroying Democracy?

First we were worried about cyberbalkanization...then we were told that it was a we're worried about it again.

Irish Prez: Teach Philosophy To Heal Our "Post-Truth" Society?


It's a bit funny that people would only now be abuzz about a "post-truth" society when it's showing up on the far-ish right.
The far-ish left has been much more ardently anti-truth than the right, and for at least the last 30 years.
The right just ignores facts and evidence. That's a pretty routine human thing. It sucks, but waddayagonnado? It's kind of a cost of doing business, human-wise.
The left has a long metric shit-ton of theories about how evil and male and Western and imaginary truth is. You want "post-truth," look to the left, not to the right, m*therf*ckers.
Huge swaths of the left think that the very idea of reason is incoherent and/or evil.
The right has merely ignored some evidence and some facts here and there.
Granted, to more disastrous effect.
But, theoretically, it's all less consequential.
Sure, they were wrong. Often disastrously so.
But they've never given up on the very idea of truth and reason.
Failing to live up the the right ideals is bad.
Repudiating the ideals themselves is far, far worse.
Speaking of the crazy pomo/PC left tho:
University students in the States actually (typically) get a fair amount of philosophy.
But they get shit philosophy. Pseudo-philosophy. Postmodernism, poststructuralism, leftier flavors of critical theory.
Crap, crap, crap.
Good philosophy is good. But bad philosophy is bad. And it's bad philosophy that has done more to promote a "post-truth society" than anything else. This kind of shit--relativism, subjectivism, "social constructionism" (creationism as I, personally, think of them, collectively) has done more to undermine truth and rationality than anything coming from the right.
So the point is: beware.
Philosophy can be good, and it can be bad.
Too bad for everybody that the good stuff tends to stay locked up in the discipline, and the bad stuff tends to get out and rampage across the land...

So anyway...I'm kinda with Higgins on this...but I'm also a bit scared of the idea.


In general, American single-malts are my fave.
In particular, here's my current #1.

IHE: Free Speech In Contentious Times

How about: "diversity" is not at odds with freedom of inquiry and expression.
   Repression and censorship are at odds with freedom of inquiry and expression.
   We can have all the "diversity" we want (though personally I think we need to drop the mantra and say what we mean) and it should have no affect whatsoever on free speech. No new problem arises. There has always been a tension between people's feelings and freedom of expression. This is nothing new. We are permitted to take the former into account, and often ought to. But we're permitted not to and often ought not.
   And: As an IHE commenter notes: any thought that universities need to strike some balance between our Constitutional rights and people's feelings and preferences is way off on the wrong foot.
   I'd add: we don't even need to appeal to the Constitution here. Universities are essentially places for free inquiry and discussion. Period. That doesn't mean that we should intentionally be mean to people, nor that we should use appeals to free expression as a smokescreen for jackassery. But it does mean that, when there's a conflict, it's free inquiry that should win out.
   Furthermore, the arguments presented for the other side in the IHE piece are, for the record, not strong.

Steve Bannon, Non-Psychopath?

Well he doesn't sound crazy here.
Of course everybody's baseline hypothesis should be: almost nobody is as crazy as the other side says they are.

(The gut-wrenching bit is the one where he says that he's going to work to implement "Donald Trump's vision of America."
Goddamn I thought I was going to...I dunno...burst into something...flames? tears? shrapnel? something...upon reading that godawful phrase.
Jesus Christ America.
You sure have gone and done it this time.)

For "The New Yellow Journalists," Opportunity Comes In Clicks And Bucks

We're doomed.
That is all.*

   Rush Limbaugh started this latest phase of our decline. Adoration and money was/is more important to him than the reservoir of good will that sustained our democracy. Sure, he kinda believed what he said...but he must have had his doubts. But not enough doubts to outweigh the adoration and money. So he went into the business of spinning out mythical tales of liberal traitorousness and related wickedness.
   The right has plenty of true believers, but now the production of propaganda seems to have become a purely financial endeavor for some. If someone could get rich by wrecking the country--e.g. turning us into a Mad-Max-esque distopia--how long do you think we'd last? If: more than a week, then: you're quite the optimist.
   I also think that it's informative that these patent fantasies/falsehoods are vastly more popular / effective on the right than they are on the left.
   The left has its own craziness, but at least it tends to be rather more articulate, and tends to gesture at abstruse (if absurd) theories.  It at least has a kind of theoretical / pseudophilosophical smokescreen / fig leaf. This radical-right-wing kinda have to be witless to fall for it.
   Though--come to think of it--I actually think Thinking you're a woman (or man) makes you one--one of the more prominent current myths on the left, is much more patently absurd than Obama was born in Kenya. Both should send any rational person to epistemic DEFCON 1...but at least the latter depends on hidden facts. Birtherism could, at least theoretically, turn out  true in some not-all-that-distant possible world. The transgenderism stuff is just flat-out, obviously absurd. On the order of day is night. Or: day is night if you think it is.  And I guess we could add: the right never insisted that it was obvious that Obama was born in Kenya, nor that anyone who denies that Obama was born in Kenya is an ignorant bigot. Hmm. Then is it just that the righty sites lack the veneer of sophistication? That they're filled with lowbrow popups? (Goldbuggery, magic bracelets, reverse mortgages?) That they're inarticulate? That the lefty stuff is often somewhat more articulate and urbane? Hmm... Actually, I'm not really sure about that, even. It's often pretty moronic and inarticulate too.
   There does seem to be some difference. But now I'm not sure what it is.
   I probably just don't know what I'm talking about yet again.

Rorty, *Achieving Our Country*: Prescient?

I don't remember much about the book.
I'm not sure whether it's worth reading (again). But it's short and easy. So that's something.
I generally have a higher opinion of Rorty than most analytically-trained philosophers do. Part of that is probably because, when I was skulking around UVa, between grad school and employment, I was overly-aggressive toward him at talks, and he was always kind and friendly to me nevertheless. (What a little shit I was, in retrospect...) But part of it's because I think that his development of criticisms (often not originally his own, of course) of realism, empiricism, and analytic philosophy are often better than they're given credit for. But criticism is usually easy; the other thing is hard. His own attempts to generate something like a positive program fall very flat--unsurprisingly, given his allegiance to characters like Wittgenstein and Derrida.
Anyway, the article linked above may be of some interest.

(h/t the other RR)

Trump The Racist, Elected By Racists, Got A Fair Percentage Of Minority Votes

The inescapable conclusion, of course, is that they are all racists, too.
There is no alternative hypothesis.
I believe that false consciousness is a fairly standard, more-or-less all-purpose, ad hoc hypothesis commonly invoked by the left to explain away such pesky data and preserve favored explanations--especially when "valorized" groups fail to believe and act as told expected. This is why we need vanguards. The people aren't sophisticated enough to be in charge of popular movements.
Also: data is racist.

On a somewhat more serious note, it's like a punch in the got to me to see those bars differ so much by race. Damn. Not that I didn't already know about it. And the real outlier is whites. This is probably significant.

Did You Realize That We Are In (Our 16th Year of) A State Of Emergency?

This makes me uncomfortable.

Dude Who Coined 'Alt-Right' Says It's a White Nationalist Movement

  Obviously the meanings of terms often develop in ways neither intended nor foreseen by those who coin them (see, notoriously, 'pragmatism'). But it's significant that Richard Spencer, the guy who coined the term 'alt-right', says that the alt-right is a white nationalist movement.
   Oh, also the guy is basically a Nazi.
   And I don't mean that as humorous hyperbole, but as an actual description of the guy's position.
   So there's that.
   Incidentally, Bannon disagrees about the alt-right. From the same story:
“Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment,” he told The Journal, adding that the alt-right had “some racial and anti-Semitic overtones.” [my emphasis]
Also incidentally, compare this to the actual WSJ story:
He acknowledges that the site is “edgy” but insists it is “vibrant.” He offers his own definition of the alt-right movement and explains how he sees it fitting into Breitbart. “Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.”
But he says Breitbart is also a platform for “libertarians,” Zionists, “the conservative gay community,” “proponents of restrictions on gay marriage,” “economic nationalism” and “populism” and “the anti-establishment.” In other words, the site hosts many views. “We provide an outlet for 10 or 12 or 15 lines of thought—we set it up that way” and the alt-right is “a tiny part of that.” Yes, he concedes, the alt-right has “some racial and anti-Semitic overtones.” He makes clear he has zero tolerance for such views. [my emphases]
   Yeah, it's important to include those bold bits. Very important. Yet the NYT leaves them out. Funny, eh? 
   I've got no fixed opinion of Bannon. Nor on the alt-right. I occasionally read stuff at Breitbart if a link takes me there. It seems like a pretty typical right-wing site to me. And IMO: right-wing sites tend to be more overtly nutty than roughly equivalent left-wing sites. However, they're not wrong about everything. Not by a long shot, actually. E.g. they're unabashedly anti-PC, while many mainstream = liberal sites are still publishing piece after piece to the effect that (a) PC does not exist / (b) there is no precise definition of 'PC' so the term is meaningless / (c) PC is mere politeness / (d) anyone who is anti-PC is racist / (e) PC is actually obligatory. Which is not to say that there's not a bunch of crazy stuff on Breitbart. Which should go without saying. But you know how things are.
   Anyway, there's that. I expect that the alt-right is a motley collection of views. But it's a new term, and not worth fighting over. Sounds like it was conceived in sin, and the non-Nazis ought to find a new term. People who like Milo, for example, seem to me to mostly be farbling liberal/leftist pieties, sounding out idols, all that sort of thing. And they're largely right to do so. Raise up stupidities and proclaim them inviolable, and people--especially a certain type of young person--is going to start poking at them. That's what I would have done at that age. Hell, that's what I do now. If you don't want your pieties poked, then don't pietize stupid shit. It's pretty simple, really. 
   Anyway, sometimes its worth fighting over words, and sometimes it isn't. It isn't worth fighting over this word. My advice to the alt-right is: let the Nazis have it. Find a new one. I'm never going to really get along with you-all, but I do want to make common cause with you in the fight against the anti-liberal left. (Unless you actually want to fraternize with Nazis, in which case fuck off.) Both the Nazis and the anti-liberal left are going to want to paint swastikas on you--so you better block that shit right now. (Unless, again, you're happy with that. In which case: see above.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Another Indeterminate "Hate Crime": Swastikas at Adam Yauch Park

Maybe yes, maybe no.
   As an actual "hate crime," this is pretty shit. Basically the last thing you want to do if you're a Trump supporter is link him to the Nazis. I'd think it'd be kind of a tough call even if you were a neo-Nazi and a Trump supporter. I mean, why not letcher boy do his thing, unencumbered by any associations to Nazism? Obviously you might want to scream it from the rooftops...but then again you might not want to. But if you're a lefty who wants to pump up the anti-Trump hysteria. you could hardly do better--if we're talking low-cost, low-risk operations--than to just paint 'Trump' and a swastika and run away. 
   But, of course, this could be for real.
   In which case: they go clockwise, dumbass. 
   I mean, even an illiterate Aryan Nation troglodyte ought to know how to spray-paint a credible swastika. Just sayin'.
   Anyway, I'm skeptical but obviously not convinced that it's a hoax.  But the media is counting all of these ambiguous/indeterminate incidents as pro-Trump "hate crimes," when the plain fact of the matter is: we don't know how many are straight and how many are hoaxes.
   Though if it is for real...may the vengeful spirit of MCA hunt your ass down put the hurt on you, you Nazi m*therf*cker,

E. N. Brown: Hate Crimes, Hoaxes and Hyperbole

Elizabeth Nolan Brown, still on the case, and very level-headed about it (way more so than...uh...some people around here one could name were one so inclined...):
Several of the most prominent early reports of Trump-inspired violence against people of color were later admitted to be fabrications or directly contradicted by police statements. Pointing this out seems to really anger people, who assume my intent is discredit all such reports, or to deny that there's any bigotry among Trump supporters. Neither is true. Rather, I saw a lot of distortions being spread and a lot of people who were really scared. I heard from LGBT and Jewish and non-white friends of mine, in private communications and on social media, who honestly believed it was open season on them this week. And I didn't want to see people I care about fearing for their very lives and physical safety because of a massive amount of misinformation floating around.
This isn't helped by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which states that more than 400 hate crimes have been committed in America post-election. But the vast majority of the examples SPLC gives involve incidents like one elementary student telling another that he would be deported, or a white woman laughing at a black woman who overheard her saying racist things, or a man in a car yelling "fag" as he drove by a gay couple—things that may be intolerant, unkind, and legitimately scary for those targeted, but not what most people would conjure when they hear "hate crimes" or "hateful extremism." And pointing that out doesn't equate to condoning these acts, or dismissing the hurt and fear they inspire in people. It is simply an attempt to separate what is really happening in America right now from what is hyperbole, hysteria, or hoax.

The bottom line is that when it comes to physical aggression inspired by this election, we are looking at a little more than a dozen incidents reported, over a 10 day period, in a country of roughly 318.9 million people—none of which resulted in serious injuries. And these incidents vary widely in how much they can be attributed to politics, prejudice, and hate versus tempers, egos, and mental-health issues flaring along with the election results and our collective heightened emotional state.

The picture that emerges isn't a wave of hoaxes, a wave of attacks on minorities by Trump-emboldened bigots, nor a wave of attacks on Trump supporters by intolerant liberals—though all have occurred—but something more complex and, hopefully, a little less frightening, even if the stories that have happened are still horrible.

SNL: The Liberal Bubble

Funny in that sad kind of way.

(h/t r.r.)

Trump: The Theater as "Safe Space"?

Trump is Trump, so there's no sense in thinking too much about his exact phrasing. But I hope this "safe space" nonsense does not metastasize into the world outside of academia.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cast of *Hamilton* Makes Public Statement to Pence; Trump Ragetweets In Response

What to make of this?
I do not know.
Was Hamilton out of line?
Kinda seems like no to me, but I think I understand yes.
I gained a weird bit of respect for Pence hearing that he walked out, but listened from the hallway.
Trumpo, of course, ragetweeting at 3am...nutty as usual...heaven help us...

The Kettering Incident

Season 1.
We liked it.

Anti-Apparent-Muslim Incident Against Hiker In California?

   Honestly, I think we have good reason to be skeptical of such reports given the left's tendency to fake this stuff.
   OTOH, I've lost my objectivity about all this crap.
   Alarm bells didn't go off for me when I read this, but as soon as I looked at the comments, I realized that I'd looked right over obvious grounds for skepticism:
[1] Ms. Pancholy says that she was wearing a head scarf for protection from the sun because she has lupus--but her neck, shoulders, face and arms are left unprotected. That's not decisive, but it's odd. We'd need input on this from a doctor or lupus patient.
I'd add to that:
[2] Ms. Pancholy's headscarf doesn't really look anything like a hijab.
And, more importantly,
[3]  she's some kind of leftish activist type--she says she'd spent an hour or so in the parking lot blogging and videotaping herself. (Well, those do, indeed, sound like the characteristic activities of such a person...) And she was on some kind of vaguely-described "peace walk" or something.
   My guess: more likely to be fake than not.
   My general, background theory on all this is:
   A Trump victory is less likely to increase the number of "hate-crimes" by kooks on the right; it's more likely to increase the number of "hate-crime" hoaxes by kooks on the left.
   Why do I think that?
   Oh, I don't know.
   Something like:
   If you've won, you're not mad about it. If you lose, you are mad about it.
   Trump supporters, including the kooks, should be pretty happy and satisfied. It's the other side that's angry and frustrated. I find it difficult to believe that all that many Trump supporters suddenly think that such actions are going to be tolerated in "Trump's America". (Lord I feel sickened by typing that phrase, even in scare quotes...) And Trump isn't even in office yet fer the lova... OTOH, the left loves the idea that it is oppressed and victimized. Victims are the heroes of the left. And they are so sure that they are victims that they are willing to fake victimhood if they have to. And they're mad. And they have an extensive history of faking this stuff. So it's a known way that the left expresses anger and frustration.
   Here's another suggestion: if there's more craziness on one side, we'd expect there to be more of many different kinds of craziness. That is, increased craziness across a spectrum of different types of ation. We wouldn't expect only an increase in craziness with no witnesses. We're seeing a fair amount of public nuttiness from the left, including violent protests that are big and undeniable. OTOH, we're not seeing big, undeniable public demonstrations by racist Trump supporters emboldened by their believe that racism and violence are now permissible in "Trump's America"...
   Anyway, I don't buy this one, but obviously it's a hunch. I'd be willing to bet a modest amount of money that it's a hoax, but not a lot of it.

Bannon: Trump Greatest Orator Since William Jennings Bryan

   Uh...I'm trying to think of a way to make "crucified on a cross of stupid" work out to be even vaguely apt...but it's just not going to work.
   Anyway, Bannon's "darkness" point is hard to make out, but it's almost certainly not what CNN seems to be trying to make it mean. It's something like: when people who are confused think that you're the bad guys, that's ok. Liberals will try to twist this into: Bwahahahaha eeeevil is good!
   Anyway: you have got to be stupid on stupid to think that Trump is anything other than pathetic as an "orator." In fact, you've got to be utterly out of touch with reality to think that he's an orator at all. You've got to meet certain minimal standards of non-shittiness to even be called an orator. Trump is a guy who talks in front of groups. He is not, and will never be, an orator, great or otherwise.
   As for non-oratorical comparisons between Trump and Bryan...well, I have no idea how to sort all that out.
   Jesus. Trump is going to be President.
   Somebody just f*cking shoot me.

Trump Is An Argument For Limited Government

That is all.

George Will: Higher Education Is Awash With Hysteria; That Might Have Helped Elect Trump

IMO every single thing in this is right.
   Academia is descending into PC madness.
   My own school, which has seemed to be more-or-less immune to this bullshit, has gone a little nuts since the election. Members of the shadow administration have organized hug-ins (note: not the official name) in the wake of the election. Major parts of the institution have declared themselves "safe spaces," with specific reference to current events and suggestions that there may be some unspecified danger to individuals in the usual range of "valorized" (to us a favored paleo-PC term) groups. One committee has used a list of rumored incidents (including: "students crying in class." I'm not kidding.) to justify its long-standing demand for an expensive, external "campus climate" survey. (Note: we did our own just last year.) Trump is not named by name, but to call the references to his election thinly-veiled would be to exaggerate their substantiality.
   There's a decent chance that this contributed to Trump's win.
   PC is a real problem. It's a problem in a lot of places, but it's most powerful in academia. In fact, academia is the source of the madness. Trump explicitly made opposition to PC a major part of his platform. It's downright bizarre to deny the plausibility of the hypothesis that PC helped Trump win. If we're ever going to take informal political hypotheses seriously, then we should take this one seriously. And everybody at the level of bloggy discussions takes informal political hypotheses seriously. To suddenly pretend that our standards are higher and we can't even consider any such explanation until it's thoroughly tested by the poli sci department would be ad hoc, inconsistent and dishonest.
   I'm not in any way wedded to the hypothesis. I'm interested in getting people to understand how insane PC is, and interested in getting people to oppose it. I'm not committed to the hypothesis that PC and opposition thereto is a major force in American politics. I don't know whether it is or not. But I suspect that it is. It'd be pretty weird if it weren't, given what people are openly saying. I mean, denying that PC was a factor in the election would, I think, be rather like denying that illegal immigration was a factor. When a candidate says I'm really, really against x, and his supporters say We're for him because he's really, really against x...well, I think the burden of proof is on those who want to deny that x was a factor in the election.
   Finally, Trump, like the rest of the right, tends to paint everyone and every policy to their left as politically correct. That is, their conception of PC tends to be overly broad. We run into similar problems all the time. I don't see much of a reason to fret about that more with respect to "PC" than anything else. So: yes of course it's an imperfect bit of terminology. How could it not be, realistically speaking. So what? 'Twill serve.

(h/t the redneck raconteur)

Fearing Trump's Wall, Central American's Rush To Cross The Border

The two things that are clear:
We have to help these people
We cannot let everyone in
   How to strike some balance...God knows.
   One of the reasons I've generally wanted to keep out more economically-motivated illegals is because I'd like us to be able to offer asylum to more people fleeing violence. Though, of course, there are a lot of other places they might try to go in the Americas. This is the rough analog of Syrian refugees shlepping all the way across Europe and then trying to get into the UK or Sweden... The desire to avoid violence at A can't fully explain why you'd travel through B, C, D, and E to get to F.
   I had thought that the Obama administration was doing a decent job with respect to illegal immigration...but this piece makes it sound as if that isn't true when it comes to what's happening right at the border. 
Many of the Central Americans do not sneak over under the cover of darkness; they are delivered by smugglers to the banks of the Rio Grande and wade across in broad daylight to turn themselves in to Border Patrol. That’s because most of the migrants are asking for some type of asylum and, therefore, are entitled to go before an immigration judge to plead their case, rather than being quickly deported. But it often takes months, if not years, for the backlogged courts to determine whether asylum seekers face danger at home and deserve protection.
In the meantime, most of the migrants are released from detention after a few days. Often, they do not appear for their court dates. Of the 20,000 families whose legal proceedings ended with deportation orders between July 2014 and August this year, 85 percent did not show up in court, fueling the perception that migrants are gaming the system and intending to remain in the country illegally. [my emphasis]
Gee...ya think?

The End Of Identity Liberalism

The end?
I kinda doubt it, unfortunately.

Friday, November 18, 2016


   Ya know...there's a whole lot of crazy on the left these days. It's like a smorgasbord for the right. Between the riots and the cry-ins, you'd think they'd have more stuff to bitch about than they knew what to do with.
   But that's just not the American right we know and...well...know. 
   They've just got to turn the crazy knob up to 11. 
   Their latest feverish fantasy is PAID RIOTERS!!!111 But not paid by just any old body. Because even that just ain't crazy enough. So who is it? Satan? Michael Moore? The Illuminati?  NO IT'S GEORGE SOROS SHEEPLE!!!!11111111oneoneoneoneone
   Right on up to eleven with these people. Every. Damn. Time.

More Violence At Anti-Trump Protests/Riots

Anarchists, rather than anti-Trump protesters per se, may have been largely responsible for the violence and destruction of property in Portland
Still, this is, IMO, becoming rather a problem for the left. Violence at anti-Trump protests is hardly rare.

Is The North Pole In A Death Spiral?

The NYT on Trump's Deportations, And Why I'm Skeptical Of Liberals On Illegal Immigration

   For a long time now, I've noted that I suspect the left of having a kind of tacit open-borders premise floating in the background of their arguments. This editorial at the NYT is the kind of thing that makes me think that. It argues two things. The first of which is that deporting millions of people would be bad. That strikes me as a plausible conclusion, though I don't know enough about law enforcement to really deserve an opinion here. It also seems to me, incidentally, that this argument only flies in conjunction with something like the premise that illegal immigration isn't bad--or isn't very bad.
   At any rate, I'm not in enthusiastic agreement with the NYT's conclusion, but I think it's plausible. I do not want to deport people who've been here a long time, who "play by the rules," who are good citizens and de facto Americans. That may be what the NYT is thinking, too, though it's not what it says in the linked piece.'s the final paragraph, defending sanctuary cities, that bothers me. Or, rather, it's the kind of thing that bothers me. This is the sort of thing that seems to inch (or leap) closer to the view that we should have no immigration enforcement at all--it seems to be a localized open borders policy. (Though, of course, since these cities are not on the border, their actions are consistent with merely thinking that immigration laws should only be enforced at the border. Though why one would think something like that is difficult to fathom.)
   Oh, also we get the next phase in terminological normalization: illegal aliens are now apparently "unauthorized immigrants." (I'm actually fond of our old friend TVD's suggestion "undocumented Democrats"...).
   Look, if we don't enforce borders, we don't have a country. The U.S., where basically everybody but Europeans and Canadians wants to live, would simply cease to exist as a viable political entity. I'm willing to consider the somewhat kooky conclusion that we should not kick anyone out who manages to evade border long as we then improve border security appreciably. Right now we apparently apprehend only about half of the people who try to get in illegally. That, combined with a policy of never kicking anyone out, is madness.
   Finally, open support for open borders is now a thing on the far-ish I think I can plausibly claim to be right on this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Scott Alexander, Slate Star Codex: You Are Still Crying Wolf (About Trump and Racism)

This guy is really, really good, and every time I run across his stuff, I resolve to read more of it.
Anyway: he's right on the money about this.

NOT The Onion: DePaul Bans Ben Shapiro From Speaking On Tolerance

Mostly because leftist rioters attacked Milo...ergo the administration says it can't risk more chaos.
   So you can shut up anyone you disagree with at DePaul...just attack them and--voila!--they become a security risk!

Man At Point Where Thought Of Reince Priebus Controlling White House Pretty Comforting

At The Onion


I cannot believe the joy with which I receive news of this possibility.
Oh, Mittens, I see you in a whole new light now.

False Accusations of Racism: "Make America Great Again"

   Trump's a sketchy, questionable character, and no mistake. But on the other side, we've got liberals and the PC left crying wolf virtually non-stop. That's racist is the go-to "argument" (n.b.: not an actual argument) across much of the left now, and has been for awhile. (Engage no-true-Scotsman module in 3, 2, 1...) of course I think this is less pronounced among actual centrist liberals, and more pronounced among PCs and "progressives"...but you know me...
   One dumb anti-Trump argument went like this: "Make America Great Again" means (or: CAN ONLY MEAN) Go back to Jim Crow. Jesus Christ that's stupid. I mean, that's 100% pure-D stupid. In addition to being stupid, it's exactly the kind of stupid that Trump and his supporters are reacting against. So it's intrinsically stupid, and it's consequentially stupid. That's a very bad combination of stupids, for you folks out there at home keeping score. 
   I'm not complaining about people wondering whether MAGA as intended to be racist. I'm not even complaining about those who, after careful thought, concluded that it was. I'm complaining about the people who spoke as if there were no other option.
   This nonsense is a result of this kind of method: hmmm....I can think of one really bad and uncharitable interpretation of x....SO THAT'S WHAT X HAS TO MEAN. Jesus, cut it the hell out. You guys are making the right look like a paragon of reason by comparison. 
   (I've seen a bunch of this crap, but don't feel like looking for it now. Here's a related dumb thing that mentions Derrida, so I'll link to this for some two-for-one ridicule. Everything sucks. Everything is dumb. I hate everything. Blah blah blah.)
   "Make America Great Again," as I've complained in the past, is boilerplate BS political nostalgia. It doesn't mean anything in particular, and doesn't point back to any time in particular. It gestures vaguely at an idea of an ideal past rather like "progressivism" tends to gesture vaguely at the idea of an idealized future. It's a conservative thing, not a racist thing.
   This isn't a difficult point to see, and if you don't see it, you're part of the damn problem. Continually bending over backwards in an effort to pretend that everything conservatives do is driven by racism is insane. It is completely out of touch with reality. And if you--like so many folk on the leftier-left--don't care about things like sanity and reality, then maybe you care that this insanity got us Trump. I think you should care a lot about the latter, but a lot more about the former. But obviously I can't make you care about shit.
   I never, ever, ever let myself make the following argument. I don't do it because I'm against counterproductivity arguments in general, and I've violated that enough for one post. Also, I'm against such arguments in this context because folks on the left seem unwilling to accept anything but this kind of argument. They seem unwilling to accept that false accusations are inherently bad. So I refuse to play that game. But: your non-stop geyser of unjustified accusations of racism is making things worse. Racism-wise. Racism is a bad. And one thing you're doing by spewing false accusations is pissing people off and devaluing justified accusations. So: even if you don't care that you're making serious, unjustified, and false accusations against your fellow man...well, you see where I'm going with this.

Don't pay any attention to me. 
I've been pissed off at the world for a week now, and that ain't going away anytime soon.  
Naw screw it you probably ought to listen to me.

Yeah, Charleston: Safety Pins, Symbolism, and Why I Was Like "Naw, Son"

Ok, now here's a man I may not agree with about everything, but I can hear what he's saying without cringing. See how you can say things in a clear and non-dopey-jargon-laden way? Also: a genuine and non-stilted way? See how much better it is?
I still haven't made it back to re-read that other cringey "performative wokeness" thing yet though, so who knows? I could be wrong about's a theoretical possibility...

(You've also got to love that one pic.: MAKE WHITE AMERICA AGAIN!!
At what point do you get so mad about something that drawing a swastika seems like a good idea? I mean...presumably you've got to be pret-ty pissed off...  (Of course there's a decent chance that's the other side doing the hoax thing again...but I dunno...the inability to even get this simple, shitty message out speaks of sincerity, to my mind.))

At The Last Minute, A Tiny Percentage Of People In A Few States Decided To Vote For Trump

The Word Of The Year: 'Post-Truth'

TrumpCrimeWave?: Racist Incident at Baylor?

So here's a Washington Post editorial on the alleged Trumpcrime wave.
The flagship incident in the editorial is this one.
Question: how likely do you think it is that Ms. Nkhama's account of the incident is veridical?

"Why I Voted For Donald Trump"

Not me me, of course.
Well, this is eye-opening/sobering.
There are a lot of things to say here, but they're mostly obvious.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"There's Been A Nuclear War, But Political Correctness Is The Real Problem"

   I guess this is an attempt at humor...but it isn't actually funny enough for that to be its only purpose. OTOH, it's making a stupid point if it's supposed to be serious. So God knows.
   As I've said before, I think that fallacies that aren't quite committed are among the most dangerous kind. If someone clearly commits a flaming fallacy, there's a decent chance that they'll be called on it. But just suggest it, or keep it floating insubstantially in the background...hell, it's like having a covert ops wing of your argument. It might never be rooted out. And even if it is, you have plausible deniability.
   What's going on here is basically a straw man. The suggestion is that those who are against PC think it's the most pressing problem we face. Which is a dumb thing to think, whichever thing you're thinking of there. I doubt any sensible person thinks that PC is the biggest problem we face.
   But that, of course, doesn't mean that it isn't a big problem. There ought to be a name for this specific fallacy, incidentally. Goes like so:
   x is not the biggest problem we face; so x isn't a problem.
   Were that reasoning even vaguely valid, it would mean that we only ever have one problem at a time--whatever the biggest one is. (As if there were always a determinately worst/biggest problem... What's our biggest problem? Global warming? Trump? Death? Man's fallen nature?) Nobody would ever reason like that if they weren't dead-set on defending x, and blinded by the project. Two seconds thought shows how dumb the argument is.
   This is about the tenth time I've seen this dopey argument in defense of PC, incidentally.

What So Many People Don't Get About The U.S. Working Class

This (h/t S. rex) is worth the read, I say.

Donald Trump: Nice Guy?

Warning!: Reddit thread ahead!
   Well, I don't know what to make of this. On the one hand, basically all the top comments--and I read like 50 of them--say that people's personal interactions with Trump have been sane and pleasant. OTOH, /r/the_donald is almost certainly trying to pump up the good comments. OTOOH, Reddit is overwhelmingly liberal-ish and anti-Trump, and those folks are probably down-voting the comments. But just the sheer volume of positive, credible-sounding comments was comforting to me. They seem to make it plausible that Trump may not be the idiotic, malicious, unstable lunatic that he has been playing on t.v.  Maybe.
   A maybe is better than I ever though I'd get on it's hard not to be pretty excited about it...
   Needless to say, this isn't much. But it's not nothing.

Firings and Discord: Trump Transition in Disarray

Wow. Hard to believe.

Every Argument In Vox's The Myth Of Race Debunked In 3 Minutes Is Fallacious

   I know I've complained about this before, but I just got done using it in my critical thinking class, and so I've been annoyed afresh.
   So far as I can tell, there is not  a single sound (in the sense of the term that includes non-deductively-valid arguments) argument in that video. There's one around the 3:05 mark, concerning sickle cell anemia, that may have some non-zero degree of weight, but I'm not sure. If it has any, it isn't much, and overall that argument is intentionally misleading.
   At any rate, everything in that video--with the possible exception of about 5 seconds worth of it, is total crap. It's actually a pretty good video if what you want to do is study a pseudo-scientific fad that's sweeping middlebrow culture... It's probably pretty great for that.
   And don't get me started on the smug tone of the thing.
   And definitely don't get me started on the narrator's off-the-scale, nearly unendurable vocal fry. Jesus, I made a typescript of that thing for my students and so had to listen to it like thirty times (because my typing suuuucks). I thought I was going to start breaking things by the end.

Trump Win Was Not Only Predictable But Inevitable

Not to be confused with, y'know, actually predicted, however.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Secondary Break: The Impact of Theo Pinson's Injury

This is extremely informative.

Muslim Immigrant Ban May Be Constitutional

Elizabeth Nolan Brown: There Is No Violent Hate-Crime-Wave In "Trump's America"

You know how I hate to say I told you so...but...
Seriously, what is it about the left that is responsible for this? 
This seems to be a real, persistent property of the left--the leftier-than-liberal left, it seems to me, but that may just be me no-true-Scotsmanning again.
What is it about the left that drives them to fake hate crimes? This is a serious and important question. This could really tell us something enlightening about this movement. I'm tempted to say that, if social psych were worth a damn, it'd be working on this.

Rudy "A Noun, A Verb, and '9/11'" Giuliani Front-Runner For Secretary of State

You think that's bad, I've heard that John Bolton is running second.

It's like the dipshit hall of fame or something.

SafetyPinWars!: The Leftiest Slapfight Ev-Ar

But that’s not how some people saw it. Just days after the impromptu campaign went viral, the decision to don safety pins came under fire from critics — including several black and Hispanic writers — who lambasted it as a poor excuse for action and a self-indulgent way for white people to distance themselves from Trump voters.
“Let’s call these safety pins what they are: an empty gesture,” Demetria Lucas D’Oyley wrote in The Root. “These pins, not the wearing of them nor the pictures posted of folks wearing them, are not about safe spaces. They’re about not wanting to be perceived as a racist. Like, ‘I might be white, but I’m not like them, over there. I’m enlightened.’”
Writing for Mic, Phillip Henry went farther, calling the trend the trend a “bat signal of white guilt” and an example of “performative wokeness” — put simply, the act of advertising one’s progressive beliefs to appear tolerant.
“They are nothing but badges made for white people to assuage white guilt and declare themselves allies completely autonomously,” he wrote. “It signifies almost nothing at all. It is a self-administered pat on the back for being a decent human being. Privilege at its finest.”
   This...this actually brought tears of self-righteous, joyful superiority to my eyes. This is like crack to me. I may never get over this particular story. I am so filled with self-righteous revulsion right now that I hardly know what to do with myself. Man, I am messed up.
  I was going to rant and rave about how repulsively idiotic they and their disputes are...but why? If you can't see it, there's nothing I can do for you.
   But..."performative wokeness" LOL...And used unironically! Or is it..? God knows. No, of course it's un-ironic. These people are humorless.
   And "bat signal" should "moonbat signal".
   But, see, the objection on the table in all that isn't you people are's that's not politically correct enough. (Later in the piece the author asks how anyone can wear a safety pin when MORE THAN TWENTY TRANSWOMEN OF COLOR WERE KILLED THIS YEAR!?!?!?!?!?! How indeed.)
   Even the form of this dispute is getting old:
   B:  NO YOU'RE NOT PC AT ALL BRO YOU'RE...(drops PC nuclear bomb) YOU'RE ACTUALLY RACIST!!!!!!!

   This lunacy is seeping more and more deeply into what used to be sane and ordinary liberalism. The more this stuff affects relatively more centrist liberalism, the more that liberalism deserves to be repudiated by normal, non-insane people. And, of course, by liberals...since there's nothing at all liberal about this nonsense.

The Decline and Fall: This Thing Edition

Maybe this is the thing you need.

Some UVa Students, Faculty "Deeply Offended" By Quoting Jefferson

This should come as...well...not a surprise at all to anyone actually.
   And really, when you think about it, isn't UVA itself, in its entirety, irredeemably flawed by its history? Shouldn't the whole thing be razed? Ditto all of Western civilization and its works, intellectual and material?
   Better take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
   Actually, as loathsome as I find these people and their crackpottery, I honestly don't know how to respond to them in a fully satisfactory way. Which means I'm not sure that they're as dumb and as wrong as I think they are.
   I mean shit, man...slavery.  I take a back seat to no one in my starry-eyed, childlike adulation of Mr. Jefferson...but damn.
   Yet, somehow, I still manage to feel unbridled contempt for the PCs on this one.
   I'm a complicated person.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Drum on Steve Bannon

   I'm too tired for all this to register effectively.
   Obviously, this is not what you'd call good.
   But c'mon, Kevin--the SPLC? The SPLC is basically insane now. It's not your father's SPLC. It's a hotbed of lefty loons. 
   Also, this would all have more impact if the left didn't insist that everybody and everything is racist all the time. When you not only cry wolf semi-constantly, but insist that everything and everyone is a wolf, your cries become entirely valueless. Evidentially worthless with respect to the actual presence of wolves, that's for damn sure.
   Also, because of PC terminological inflation, it's now fashionable for PCs to say "white supremacist" when they just mean racist. [I mean...all and only white folk are now racist by definition, regardless of their thoughts or now we need some term to mean what 'racist' used to mean. Of course we also need a term to mean what 'white supremacist' used to mean.  I suggest 'racist' and 'white supremacist,' respectively.] So this leaves us sometimes unable to figure out which is meant at crucial points. 
   But anyway: not good, [even dividing through by lefty lunacy.]

RIP Gwen Ifill

Well damn.

Hate-Crime-Wave in Trump's Amerikkka!

Yeah, no.
I'm telling you right now that most of those stories are fake.
I didn't even read them carefully. It's not that I identified subtle contradictions that tipped me off to their falsehood.
It's that I don't even have to read this stuff carefully anymore. By induction, we've got good reason to tentatively conclude that most of it is fake.
And the stuff that's not obviously fake largely seems to be kids.
(Which is bad...but it's kind of a different kettle of fish.)
I mean, some may be for real, and not just stupid kids. But you do realize that the left has a penchant for--and extensive history of--making this shit up, right? You need to realize that a very large percentage of reports like this are just flat-out fabricated. And elections, it seems to me, cause hoax spikes.
Also: there's no reason for Trump supporters to up their "hate-crime" game right now, after a Trump victory.'s the perfect time for lefties to go into hate-crime hoax overdrive.
And I'm committing myself to this hypothesis in front of God and everybody: that's mostly what's going on right now.

Robby Soave: On How Political Correctness Gave Us Trump

This is ok.
   I post it not because it's brilliant or anything, but because--as I think I've made clear--I think it's very likely that the craziness of the left--mostly the PC left--helped cause the Trumpocalypse.
   It's a hypothesis, of course, but I think there's more to be said for it than there is for most such hypotheses. It seems pretty unlikely that the unhinging of the left played no role in further unhinging an already largely unhinged right. Anti-PC is one of Trump's main shticks. Seems unlikely that the shtick would gain traction unless there was a fair amount of antipathy toward PC.
   Spouting crazy theories, shouting down anyone who disagrees with you and calling them bigots...e.g. for not being up on the latest, hippest words...opposing free inquiry and free expression... Is it that difficult to believe that this sort of thing is helping to piss people off? Especially given that they specifically cite it as something pissing them off? False accusations of racism are approximately the most angrifying thing there is, mostly because they're unjust. A little of that shit goes a long way. The PC left is very, very wrong, and very, very crazy. I just don't believe that that played no role whatsoever in the Trumpocalypse.
   But, of course, I detest Trump and I detest PC, so this is kind of a GUT for me.
   Trump's awful as should go without saying...but (as in the late '80s and early '90s) liberalism has been co-opted by the illiberal left. And it's not exactly some big surprise that crazy shit pisses people off.
   So anyway, there's a thing.

Trump May Not Understand the Scope of the Presidency

Gosh, that's surprising.