Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tucker Carlson Interviews Brett Weinstein

   Here's something to write down in your journal so that you don't subconsciously try to weasel out of it ten years from now: conservatives took the lead in opposing neo-PC / the "social justice" warriors. Many liberals / "progressives" are still denying that there is any such thing as political correctness, or are still asserting that it's "just common courtesy."
   The left is not right about everything.
   In fact, the left is very, very, very wrong about some things.

James R. Rogers: "What Gun Control And Refugee Admissions Policies Have In Common"

   The point is not that refugees must always be admitted regardless of the risk they pose. Far from it. But magnitudes and probabilities matter. As with gun rights, conservatives are willing to accept a level of social harm because the corresponding right is so important and the difficulty of identifying individuals who will commit the harm is too high.
   To be sure, the first response of many will be, “But nations do not admit refugees as a matter of right, therefore the initial premise of your argument is wrong.” I agree as a matter of positive law that nations need not admit as a matter of right refugees who, out of necessity, must leave their home country. But that’s tautologically true. There is no positive law right if there is no positive law right.
   But the question is not quite as easily answered for people, or for nations, who, or which, affirm commitments to natural rights, such as those articulated in the Declaration of Independence.... [Grotius] argues as a matter of natural right that refugees created by “necessity,” such as escaping violence in their home country, have a right to immigrate to other nations, a right that stems from the original collective ownership of the earth.
   But even the natural right to take refuge, under necessity, in other countries is not, for Grotius, an absolute right. Grotius writes:
Nor ought a permanent residence to be refused to foreigners, who, driven from their own country, seek a place or refuge. But then it is only upon condition that they submit to the established laws of the place, and avoid every occasion of exciting tumult and sedition. . . . To drive away refugees, says Strabo, from Eratosthenes, is acting like barbarians; and a conduct like this in the Spartans was also condemned. St. Ambrose passes the same sentence of condemnation upon those powers, who refuse all admission to strangers.

Trump Administration To Return Russian Compounds Obama Kicked Them Out Of For Election Meddling

O.k., I don't think even Trump is dumb enough to do this if he's actually in cahoots with the Rooskies.
   My hypothesis: this is a big f*ck you to liberals. Oh yeah? You're mad about all this Russia stuff? Well how do you like this kick in the 'nads?
   I still find it hard to believe that Trump would actually be conspiring with Ivan. But I don't find it hard to believe in the least that Trump would compromise our strategic well-being in order to retaliate against his political enemies. That doesn't stretch credulity even a bit, to my mind.
   He might also know that the Russia investigations aren't going to turn anything up, and that liberals are overplaying their hand. To mix metaphors, he may be giving them more rope.
   Or, of course, maybe he really is in cahoots with 'em after all.

Heather MacDonald: "The Left's Unilateral Suicide Pact"

I just read this quickly, and, honestly, have little idea what to believe about these issues.
   As I've said, it often seems to me that the left thinks that (a) the right has a theory about such things, and that theory is racist, whereas (b) the left just sees things as they are, their thinking is unclouded by (bad) theory. And it also seems to me that much of the time it's actually that (a') it's the right that interprets things in the more straightforward, non-theoretical way, and (b') the left that has a theory--and the theory says, basically, that no unpleasant sort of inequality can possibly be real. So, for example, the theory says that Muslims cannot be more prone to terrorism. They just can't be. If the evidence seems to point in the other direction, then the evidence must be misleading. (And if the evidence just can't be denied, then it's a result of something we did. Colonialism. Imperialism. Capitalism. Christianity. The Crusades. Whatever.)
   It's not that I don't feel the pull of something like that liberal's rather that I refuse to substitute faith for facts in such cases.
   I think we have to discuss these issues openly and seriously, and that we can't do what liberals want us to do--which is substitute faith for facts. I think that liberals simply will not even consider the kinds of arguments that MacDonald is making. Whereas I think we must consider them. I don't have any foregone conclusion about them. I think that we have to have extremely strong reasons to discriminate (in the non-normative sense) on the basis of something like religion. But I also think that it's crazy to deny that Islam has a notable terrorism problem--in addition to several other problems...
   What to do about it is less clear to me.

   I do definitely agree with MacDonald that much of the left has a de facto open borders position. I've been saying this for years, despite quite a bit of pushback. I think it's done nothing but become clearer. I honestly think that, by now, it's fairly difficult to deny.
   But, anyway. When I get a chance to go back and read the piece more carefully, I might be appalled that I took it seriously. But I doubt it. I might disagree--but I think these types of arguments need to be taken seriously.

Bret Weinstein: "The Campus Mob Came For Me--And You, Professor, Could Be Next"

A first-hand account of PC madness at Evergreen State.

More Shameful Video From Evergreen State College

Could this be neo-PC's Sister Soulja moment? That is, the beginning of its end? The point at which it goes too far even for the average liberal or "progressive" to defend it?
   Hell, the faculty in this video repulse me more than the students. If some assholes try to trap me in a room, we gonna go round and round. At least one of us is gonna end up bloody.
   Incidentally, these students are the current analogs of the students who eagerly murdered the kulaks when Lenin told them to. There's simply no doubt that many of these students would put you up against the wall if they had the power. These are the Khmer Rouge. These are the cultural revolutionaries. These are the Jacobins. They're laughable largely because they are physically weak. But if you think this insanity is going to die out without your need to think on that a bit more, my brother.

Evergreen State College Is Nuts

   I don't even try to stay on top of all the craziness that might be of interest to us, and here's one of the many stories I haven't gotten around to posting on: the over-the-top PC madness at Evergreen State College in Washington.
   Here's just one of scores of videos on YouTube showing how insane and racist the protesters are. They've been threatening and shrieking at a prof--himself quite the lefty--who refused to absent himself from campus on a day when whites were told that they weren't welcome there. So, of course, he's the racist, you see...
   If you want a vision of our PC future, imagine an 18-year-old with purple hair and a gender studies major shrieking at you that "whiteness is the most violent fucking system of all time"...forever...

Eugenics Question

So, suppose that Smith believes that the following proposition is true:
(E) There is at least one person, S, who should not have children, because S might pass on undesirable traits to those children.
Question: Is believing (E) sufficient to make Smith a eugenicist?

Jason Willick: "How Trump Affected Political Correctness"

I think this is kinda good.

An Open Letter On The Hypatia Controversy

Via Leiter we find this open letter on the Hypatia controversy, condemning the first open letter condemning Tuvel. 
   No time to go into this much now, but: I probably won't sign it. It's right about most of what it says, but there's the weird list of "demands" at the end that queers (as it were) the deal for me. But I'm ecstatic to see someone (other than me) saying out loud that all dissent and even critical discussion of the prevailing leftist orthodoxy on transgenderism has been squelched. It's just plain creepy that there is a near-total absence of criticism of this patently bogus theory. If you're not extremely freaked out about what this says about philosophy, the state of public debate in the U.S., and the role of political correctness in that public debate...well...ya need to get freaked out about it. 
   Incidentally, the tiny bit of criticism that has been allowed is all of the form: the prevailing theory of transgenderism is inconsistent with certain feminist views. The fact that the theory makes virtually no sense and is inconsistent with obvious short, that it's just false...well...that kind of criticism is verboten.

Progressives Change Their Minds About Sculptures That Change The Meaning Of Other Sculptures

Well, I called it: turns out that now it's not ok to install a sculpture that alters the impression made by another sculpture that was already there.
   "Pissing Dog" is pretty...well...artless...and I wish that it didn't make it so easy for progressives to deploy their beloved and all-purpose racism/sexism/x-ism complaint...but it does have the virtue of directness...
   I think that di Modica, the sculpture of Charging Bull, ought to just turn his sculpture around.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bullshitwatch: Assembled Bodies: Reconfiguring Quantum Identities

Basically par for the course in bullshit studies.

Kushner's Russia Back-Channel

Not exactly breaking news at this point...but I'm posting it because it's making me lean more toward DJ's Trump-is-the-devil hypothesis than toward Anon's The-media-is-the-devil hypothesis.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

If You Think That Selling Burritos Is "Cultural Appropriation," Then You're A Dumbass

In fact, if you think there is such a thing as "cultural appropriation," then you are a dumbass.
   Apparently at least one Portland restaurant has had to close down because the owners are white...and apparently there's a whole list of other restaurants being targeted on account of having white owners, chefs, etc.
   As JQ points out, McDonalds sells burritos. Why not go after them? 
   Also, if selling burritos is impermissible, then eating them is impermissible. So you're going to have to cut that shit out. In fact, you shouldn't be able to eat or drink or read or use anything from another culture. In fact, since there are no clear boundaries on cultures, you shouldn't be able to eat or drink or read or use anything that isn't part of your sub-culture. If you're not from either the south or Kansas City, you need to stop eating BBQ. If you're not Jewish, no bagels. Not from rural America? No fried chicken nor gravy for you. Not from NYC or Chicago? No pizza, I guess. Oh and: not from the south? No reading Faulkner nor O'Connor. And, really, stealing from your own culture is no better than stealing from another. Cultures are, when you think about it, just a bunch of younger people stealing from older people. So you really shouldn't eat or drink or read or use anything you didn't invent and make yourself... 
   It goes without saying that non-Americans/Brits can't use computers, airplanes, Gore-Tex, can't drink bourbon... Too bad for the Japanese...they love bluegrass...but...that's appropriative!
   Honestly, you just couldn't make up shit this stupid.
   Really, I don't care so much about the idiots who actually believe in this sort of bullshit--they're irredeemable morons. The people that exasperate me are the ones who aren't dumb enough to fall for it, but nevertheless allow themselves to be bullied by it

Possibly The Most Pathetic, Repulsive, Barf-Inducing Story I've Ever Read: "Streetwear," 'Bots And Fashion Obsession

And by 'read' I mean skimmed...because...seriously...I couldn't bear to do anything more. I hope this is made up. (Archived, so: no hits.)
   Jebus. What is wrong with these people? I mean...young and stupid...but...we're all young at some point...but how do you get this damn stupid? Making money...ok...but...there are innumerable less repulsive ways to do that.
   (How did I end up reading this crap? Damn clickbait my love of feeling superior to others by reading about how dumb they are. I'm not proud of it.)

Yale Honors Students Who Berated, Attempted To Intimidate, Nicholas Christakis

Yale’s Nakanishi Prize is awarded every spring to “two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.” Normally, the bestowal of an undergraduate award, even at an august institution like Yale, is of interest to no one beyond the recipients, their classmates, and their families. This year’s prize, however, should trouble anyone concerned with the imperiled fate of free inquiry and rational dialogue at our nation’s institutions of higher learning: on May 21, Yale recognized—out of a graduating class of some 1,300—two individuals who did more than most of their peers to worsen race relations on campus.

Two Killed, One Injured In Anti-Muslim Knife Attack By Far-Right "Nihilist" In Portland

I'll be a bit surprised if this guy turns out to be even vaguely sane.
It's a blurry line, of course...

Philosophy Instructor Arrested For "Antifa" Assault With Bike Lock During Berkeley Protest

The video tells you a lot about such people. Scrawny ("anti-" lol) fascist philosophy dude hides furtively in crowd until person on the other side glances away, scrawny philosophy dude darts forward, hits person in the other side in the head with a U-lock, then scurries back into his own crowd and vanishes.
   Of course they may have the wrong guy, needless to say.

Friday, May 26, 2017

NYT Breaks Down Video Of Erdogan Thugs Beating Protesters In DC

The NYT identifies the attackers individually, all by picture, some by name and status (Trukish secret service, American citizens).
Call your Congresspeeps (House, Senate)
(Don't miss the point where one of these asshats says, roughly: I didn't know that the person on the ground who I was kicking in the head was a woman--I'd never kick a woman.)
I also think we need to organize semi-constant protests outside the Turkish embassy for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Identified: Erdogan Thug Who Stomped Kurdish Protesters In D.C.

This asshat is an American.

Former Playmate Sentenced For Snapchat "Body-shaming" Of Naked Woman At Gym

Here's one of the things I've been doing the Cassandra thing about.
   Preliminaries: I haven't been really keeping up with this case, and IANAL, obviously. And there's little doubt in my mind that the way this looks legally is different than the way it looks if you read this story. 
   However..: I am totally down with something on the order of an invasion of privacy charge here. Or possibly harassment? Is that a legal thing? But here's what the prosecutor said:
This was a very important case to me - as a father, as a son, as someone who recognizes the damage that body shaming can do because it is so humiliating,"..."The issues that surround body shaming can be devastating – not only to daughters and mothers, but also to sons and fathers, members of the LGBTQ community, to a trans kid who might be struggling with identity, to people who are disabled. The message today is clear: body shaming is not tolerated in the City of Los Angeles."
  This is pure, unadulterated PC/SJ newspeak. It's not the invasion of privacy that was motivating him, nor some other respectable charge (e.g. harassment) --it's SJW concerns about a favored SJW concept, "body shaming." Defenders of PC try to brush off concerns about it by arguing that it's isolated to campuses. Well, (a) universities are places, too, and (b) today the university, tomorrow the world, and (c) it's not limited to universities, Jack...not even today.
   The idea here is that the state can prevent Smith from making fun of Jones. And that's a horrific idea. The state can punish Smith for invading Jones's privacy. The state can stop Smith from harassing Jones (right?) But the state has no legitimate authority to prevent Smith from making fun of Jones. This is, once again, liberalism vs. the totalitarian left. And what's at issue is your freedom of thought and speech--even if you're an asshole.
   (Oh and, just incidentally: if the PC left wins the transgenderism debate, their position ultimately leads to the elimination of sex-segregated locker different is that, really, than the view that locker rooms don't need to be private in any significant sense? And, if we go down that road, don't we end up with the view that we have no legitimate interest in keeping our nakedness private? I always...I'm happy to have the debate, and I think that a more enlightened society might very well believe that our interest in concealing our bodies is loony. But: let's have an honest discussion of it rather than ending up at that point via an irrational trajectory. Though...if we did accept that we have no legitimate interest in keeping our bodies and facts about them private, that undermines a gigantic chunk of the PC theory of transgenderism...)

[Also: PC, being largely PoMo...or PoPoMo...doesn't seem to be constrained by considerations of consistency... If "body shaming" is bad, is it because "shaming" is bad? Because the PCs / SJWs loooove "shaming" their opponents for heterodoxy... If "shaming" is bad generally, should political shaming also be illegal? If not, why not?
   My inclination, as I expect is made clear above, is that this body-shaming nonsense needs to be laughed out of court...and possibly everywhere else as well. Making fun of people for certain things does make you an asshole...but which things isn't completely clear to me. One thing that does seem clear: the state has no legitimate authority to prosecute people merely for being assholes.]

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Paul Roderick Gregory: "There Remains No Evidence Of Trump-Russia Collusion"

Though the evidence seems strong to me that Trump has engaged in what--to a layperson--seems to be obstruction of justice, I remain agnostic about the collusion accusations.
Anyway, this seems pretty reasonable...therefore worrisome.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Our Thoughts Are With The Brits

Brennan: Contact Between Russians And Trump Campaign

This scandal...a tremendous...believe me, it's a YUGE...a tremendous!...scandal...the best! A high-energy scandal with, let me tell you, all the best people. A truly, truly amazing scandal. A terrific...excuse me, but I'm telling you: a terrific, terrific scandal...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Deryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real: Which Means Science Is Broken

I deny that proof of ESP means that science is broken...I'm not religiously anti-ESP. As far as I'm concerned, it's pretty much just another empirical question. In fact, I was getting a little bit excited reading about Bem's was, as was predictable, too cool to be true. So...worst possible outcome: instead of science works and so does ESP!, we end up with: neither ESP nor science works... Talk about a damn bummer...
   Oh and: "white guys" who stay around after the experiments to ask about experimental design and suggest problems are "mansplaining." [contemptuous eyeroll] Hell, that "mainsplaining crap is way sillier than ESP.
   Claiming to prove the reality of ESP wouldn't even be the dumbest thing I've heard claimed for a psych experiment, anyway...
   Also anyway: the alleged confirmation disappeared when the researchers decided registered ahead of time what kind of analyses they were going to do on the data. Which...I cannot believe is not standard practice when there are several different methods of analysis that might be used. What do people think is going to happen if they keep analyzing the data in different ways until they find a way that yields results that are consistent with confirmation? Jebus.

Turkey Whines Like A Little Bitch Because D.C. Cops Interfered With Erdogan Goons Attacking Protesters, Violating Their First Amendment Rights

I agree with McCain: kick out their ambassador.

White Member Of "Alt-Reich Nation" Facebook Group Murders Black College Student

Trump Asked Intelligence Chiefs To Push Back Against FBI Collusion Probe

Is there any chance whatsoever remaining that Trump did not engage in obstruction of justice?

Michelle Goldberg on Kipnis: "She's Not Like Those *Other* Feminists"

   I'm in love with Laura Kipnis...but I'm ALSO in love with Michelle Goldberg...who, c'mon, also not like those other feminists...
Kipnis makes a strong case...but Goldberg does, indeed, point out weak points in that case that I skimmed right over, enamored as I was by Kipnis's telling of it did I miss the house in Scotland part...was that only in the lawsuit? 'cause dayum, that is some shit right there...
   There are asshole "predators" in philosophy--mostly male. There are tons of psychofeminists... The rest of us--you and me, whatever our sex--are caught in between. We're like the Poles, caught between the fucking Nazis and the fucking reds. Well...except we have the power, unlike the poor Poles...we just choose not to use it...
   Anyway, feminism in philosophy is nuts, and Kipnis really captures that, and--per Goldberg--I may have let that influence my view of Kipnis's view of the Ludlow case... At any rate, Kipnis is probably still right...but I reckon we'll see...

Helen Pluckrose: Sokal Affair 2.0: Addressing Its Critics

There are some good points here, but some stuff I thought was a bit weak. But, overall, Pluckrose is on the side of the angels.
   Again, I agree that gender studies is more full of shit than the average humanity or social science...though do keep in mind that the average is pretty bad... But I'm inclined to think that the Conceptual Penis hoax doesn't tell us much more than we already knew.
   OTOH, some philosophers online (including, kinda, this jackass) are asserting that it only tells us about pay-to-publish journals...which doesn't seem to be true. In fact, the conclusion is underdetermined by the evidence. We know--or ought to know--that gender studies is largely crap. Conventional wisdom is that pay-to-publish journals are pretty much crap. Seems like, by something akin to a principle of indifference, we ought to guess that the two factors are more-or-less equally responsible for TCP being published. That's a kind of starting guess, anyway.
   Some people are insisting that this is different than the Sokal hoax in that Sokal proved something about his target, whereas Boghossian and Lindsay show nothing about gender studies. Well, be that as it may, it's fairly important to recognize that whatever it is that Sokal showed, it applies in spades to gender studies. One of the two main problems with gender studies is that it uses the same crap methods that Sokal was criticizing in a rather general way. (The second main problem is: gender studies is thoroughly political--it's largely activism pretending to be scholarship.) At any rate, the contrast between Sokal and Boghossian/Lindsay goes only so far.
   One last thing that hardly needs to be mentioned: Pluckrose is right about one of the major sophistries of the intellectual left: that any criticism of it is a type of bigotry. That's the bullshittiest bullshit at the heart of that whole bullshit view. Well, maybe this point does have to be mentioned--maybe it can't be mentioned too much. Neo-Lysenkoism (or, as Peirce would say: prope-Lysenkoism) is kind of the heart of darkness of that nonsense over there.

Democrats Are Falling For Fake News About Russia

   And, at a quick read, it's pretty good.
   It's a topsy-turvy world out there, man.

Conceptual Tools: Boner Pills And Hegemonic Phallocentrism In The Discursive Construction Of Masc(k)ulinity And (M)Othering Of Da Wimminz

Ok, I just made up that title...but made you look.
   More importantly: we got a 'phallocentrism' here! Not 'phallogocentrism', the death of which I was recently lamenting...but gettin' close!
   Although I didn't think much of that Boghossian gender studies hoax, more than a few philosophers online are acting like they have no earthly idea where anyone could get the idea that gender studies is in any way less-than-reputable. It's a mystery! No, wait...of course it isn''s something something patriarchy! Also, as should go without saying, the construction of something...possibly patriarchy.

"Discrimination Sunday": Transgenderism, Bad Philosophy, and Stealth Social Change

   Well, once again I'm going to urge us to have a proper public discussion about whether or not it is ever permissible to have sex-segregated public facilities. The current debate hinges on at theory of "transgenderism" that is a philosophical train wreck, and which itself largely turns on the muddled (quasi-?)concept "gender identity."

   It was a frenzied night for Texas Democrats and civil rights groups, who fiercely protested both measures across social media into the early hours of the morning.
   Equality Texas shared a tweet from one critic who summed up the day in one post: “Let’s just call today discrimination Sunday.”
   In an act of protest, a small group of Democratic women legislators went to the men’s restroom just off the House floor before the debate.
   House Republicans advanced the hotly debated “bathroom bill” as an amendment tacked on to a broader, otherwise unrelated public school bill regarding emergency operations plans.
   The proposal would require a transgender student who “does not wish” to use a facility based on “biological sex” to use single-occupancy restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities at their schools.
   It would override policies at some of the state’s school districts that already allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
   The Democratic women legislators unintentionally made a good point--that the idea that's actually being advanced is that it is never permissible to segregate public facilities by sex. (There is no mention that any of them "identify" as male...). Could be true...but let's discuss it instead of pushing it through on the basis of the theory that "gender" is magic, huh?
   (Also: kind of amusing that 'biological sex' appears above in what could be construed as scare quotes, whereas 'gender identity' does not... There's a reasonable explanation for that...but it wouldn't take a lot of squinting to spin this as a sign o' the times...)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Stats Are The Devil: "Significant Differences: The Construction of Knowledge, Objectivity, and Dominance"

The scientific method is a tool for the construction and justification of dominance in the world...[blah blah blah]

How Bad Is Trump? How Bad Is The Media (On Trump)?

For the love of God, somebody tell me what's going on. I've lost all perspective. Is it:

(a) Trump is awful beyond the telling of it
(b) The mainstream media is in a tizzy, and is significantly exaggerating Trump's awfulness
(c)  All of the above

How A "Regime Of Rationality" Makes Students Reject Feminist Course Content

On the bright side, I guess it's satisfying to see the admission that misology is an important theme in much contemporary feminism...though, as I've said, I don't care much about such admissions. It's obvious to anyone who is familiar with the academic feminism of the last 40 years or so. Perhaps it's still a minority view among academic feminists...but, if so, it's a pretty vocal and prominent minority.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anybody Want To Drive Up To DC And Mix It Up With Erdogan's Security?

Fuck those assholes.
Is that sonofabitch even still in the U.S.? I reckon not because Trump's not here.
Those bastards are protected by diplomatic immunity, right?
Seriously, if that PoS comes back, I'm driving up to protest. I'll hand those fuckheads their asses.

The Conceptual Penis As Social Construct: A Sokal-Style Hoax On Gender Studies?

Eh...not so much.
   Don't get me wrong--gender studies is probably even more full of shit than the stuff Social Text published. But this hoax doesn't prove it, since the legit (by the standards of gender studies, anyway) journal they sent it to rejected it, and then they were enticed into publishing it in an open-access pay-to-publish "journal" (though, to be fair--a Taylor and Francis
   Actually, they talk the talk pretty well, and I'll bet if they'd have kept with it, they might have got a real acceptance--but now we'll never know. Though they had to use pseudonyms and a fake they didn't have the mojo that Sokal had as a physicist when he pulled off the "Hermeneutics Of Quantum Gravity" thing.
Read more »

Scottish YouTuber Faces A Year In Jail For Nazi Pug Video

Also, that was a hilarious video.

Paul Griffiths Forced To Resign From Duke Divinity For Criticizing "Diversity" Re-Education Camp

   Leiter's been on the story. Absolutely do not miss the link to the emails! Here's the link, for good measure: THE LINK. CLICK IT.
   The totalitarians have taken over the academy. They established a beachhead in the earl '90s, and now they're making a push inland for...I don't know...the capital...or the library or whatever...  And, just like last time, the bulk of their fighting force is made up of turncoat liberals. Other liberals are cowering under their beds.
   Fer the lova God, nobody's asking you people to battle the brown shirts in the street...I realize that's asking to much of you lot...but you can't stand up to a bunch of pasty, bespectacled postpostmodernist scolds? If you can't stand up to them, could you maybe at least stop helping them?
   These people taking over the academy is the intellectual equivalent of fundamentalist Christians taking over. In either case, it's an anti-intellectual, anti-philosophical, anti-scientific cult.

Tuvel / Hypatia Dust-Up At The NYT

Nothing really new here.
   Again I'll note: this is an embarrassment to philosophy. But, of course: though the incident constitutes an embarrassment in itself, the more important point is that it reveals things that are much more embarrassing. I.e.: that this politically-motivated nonsense can survive in philosophy, that it can even take on the status of unquestionable orthodoxy, that one risks being dogpiled for making obvious, ordinary arguments that should be apparent to anyone...and that philosophy has remained silent while the rest of the culture has been gaslighted by the prevailing, incoherent theory of transgenderism.
   Tuvel didn't even draw the correct conclusion, which would have been: transracialism makes no sense and neither does transgenderism. Imagine how she would have been treated had she had the temerity to do that...
   As almost a side-note: it's worth noting the strategy that the Hypatia crowd is using here. Now, if you've seen some of their arguments in support of their preferred theory of transgenderism (e.g. Jenner is literally a woman, etc.), you know that they're an incoherent mess. But, basically, it doesn't matter how bad your arguments are in support of their preferred theory--just about any such argument will be accepted. But if you reject their preferred view? Then the very most stringent...and absurd...standards will be applied. You must review all the literature, you must respond to every possible objection, no matter how inane, your paper must (we are now told) meet the standards of all the various disciplines that are taken to be part of...the women's studies coalition, or whatever it is, you must cite and respond to a sufficient number of papers written by the right kinds of people (in this case: non-white, transgendered). These differential demands alone are very effective at squelching dissent--differential skepticism is one way in which individuals and groups maintain their preferred beliefs.
   Philosophy needs to sit down and do some hard thinking about the political shackles that it has allowed the PC left to place on it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Portland State Student Reporter Fired From Paper For Posting Video Of Muslim Characterizing His Own Religion

Reporting politically incorrect facts is verboten.

Psychologists: "Our Field Is A Hot Mess" Philosophers: "Hold My Beer..."

Jay Van Bavel, commenting on the Tuvel / Hypatia dust up on Twitter.

U. of Hawaii Math Prof: White Men Should Quit Their Jobs So Non-White-Men Can Have Them

   Yeah, you can have my job when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. 
    Almost worse than her idiotic post are the idiotic comments. Here's one!:
We need to decouple success in mathematics from IQ. IQ is a social construct that cishet white men devised that defines “intelligence” on the basis of culture. Sadly, there is a direct correlation between high IQ and “earning” a PhD in a STEM discipline, which is all too reflective of how white cishet men have designed disciplinary concepts to reinforce their own power structures.
It is fundamentally unfair and marginalizing for IQ tests and mathematics curriculum to be designed around the same white supremacist, cisheteronormative standards, thus marginalizing women of color. What we need isn’t just “fair hiring;” we need a radical reconceptualization of mathematics in a decolonizing framework.
Our friends in the fine arts lead the way here. A century ago, white male composers like Beethoven and Mozart were considered mastered, while the authentic cultural expression of nonwhite peoples was denigrated using words I won’t repeat here. The advances of critical theory have helped guide musicians into recognizing that the music of the Bantu people is just as worthy of learning and study as that of any baroque composer…so should we not follow the same lead? Is not our problem is that we have allowed white cishet men (nearly all of whom had utterly disgusting views about race and gender) to define “mathematics,” “logic” and “proof” for us? We should recognize that there are many kinds of math, many kinds of logic, and many kinds of proof, and assemble a new concept of math from the mosaic of cultural expression that humanity affords.It’s time for a new scientific revolution, if you ask me…this one led by the folks shut out of the last one.
That could be Poe-try...but I kinda don't think so... Which means Poe's law holds up...but we'll never really know whether that's for real.

Allll Aboooard The Trump Train!

Social Justice Math!

What Happened To Great Paleo-PC Hits like 'Phallogocentrism'?

   Seriously...the neo-PCs are still all tangled up with that big incoherent Continental mess...PoMo and the come we never hear about phallogocentrism anymore?
   I always thought that shit was the crowning achievement of PoMo--or PoPoMo--absurdity. Dropping the 'p' word...they seemed to think that was like their ultimate weapon...and now...ya just never hear about it anymore. Now they just kinda say "social construction..." over and over and over...

Political Correctness Is Not Merely About Words

   I keep seeing the same mistake over and over in discussions about PC, especially by its defenders (those that will admit that it exists...) Typically, defenders of PC say that it's no more than ordinary politeness--it is, you see, about nothing more than not dropping n-bombs all over the place...
   That is completely wrong. First, PC was never about about The Word That Shall Not Be Named. With respect to this tiny slice of PC, it was about shriekily demanding that everyone say 'African-American,' and that they NOT say 'black.' Now...this left the people who knuckled under with no race-term for referring to any black person other than American blacks. Blacks who live in Africa, or Europe or anyplace other than America...well, terminologically speaking, you're just outta luck there. A black dude who's lived his entire life in Belgium cannot plausibly be described as "African-American." As with the vast majority of PC jargon, 'African-American' just never made any sense. Or, rather: in this case, at least the term itself had actual meaning. What made no sense was the twin insistence that (a) 'black' was a Bad Word, and (b) it's replacement must be the not-even-close-to-synonymous 'African-American.'
   By the time all this nonsense happened (in the late '80s) nobody on university campuses thought it was ok to drop n-bombs. PC was not about eliminating racial slurs--that's liberalism you're thinking about. To the extent that PC was about language, it was mostly about insisting that everyone conform to the bizarre terminological preferences of a particular slice of the far left. And this usually involved a loss of clarity, accuracy and concision. So 'African-American' was decreed PC and 'black' un-PC. 'Differently abled' was the PC term for disabled (because e.g. not being able to walk is no worse than being able to.) 'Oriental' was arbitrarily substituted for 'Asian' solely because of imaginary problems with 'Orient' dreamt up by postmodernists. 'Partner' was PC--'girlfriend' and 'boyfriend': verboten. And so on.
   But the real point: PC was never primarily about language.
   If you're interested in the topic, Marilyn Friedman and Jan Narveson's Political Correctness: For And Against is pretty good. Friedman is not someone whose work I think particularly highly of, and her contribution to this book contains a lot of bad arguments, but she's not completely wrong about what PC is. She says PC is basically about four things: campus speech codes, the literary canon, truth, and feminism. Narveson's list is better: the canon; multiculturalism; philosophical issues about e.g. truth and objectivity; oppression and preferences e.g. in hiring; and speech codes.
   There's no perfectly clear thing that PC is, really--this is often used by its "progressive" defenders as part of an argument that it's not real. But that's bullshit. Political movements (and terms for them) aren't generally the kinds of things that are clearly defined. There's no clear definition of 'liberal' or 'conservative' or 'progressive' or 'fascist.' That doesn't mean there's no such things as liberalism, etc...     But anyway, there's more to say about this...some other time...

Northwestern Philosophy Student Who Accused Ludlow and Brought Title IX Charges Against Kipnis Now Suing Kipnis And Harper Collins Over Book

   This is the world the PC/SJ left (including feminism, of course) has built. The mechanisms are in place to ruin your life if a relationship goes bad. Or if you say the wrong thing in an op-ed. Or if you write a book explaining to people how their lives can be ruined if a relationship goes bad or they say the wrong thing in an op-ed.
   Of course good liberals don't question such I suppose the only thing to do is hope that you and I don't happen to piss off the wrong person.
   Good luck!

Freddie DeBoer: Planet of Cops

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The PC Left Is Gaslighting The Rest Of Us

   'Gaslighting' is one of those politically correct / "social justice" buzzwords that those folks love so much. (And boy, they really do love their jargon, don't they?)*
   But the thing is: the PC / PoMo left is gaslighting everybody else. You might say: they're gaslighting the culture. They shriekily insist on all sorts of insane things that most of us can plainly see are crazy and/or mean/wrong...and they try to convince us that we're the crazy ones. And, if you don't mind me saying so: a lot of us--present company presumably excluded--are falling for it. For example, they insist that races are not biological categories. You know that's wrong, I know that's wrong, presumably everybody not cultified by the PC / PoMo cult knows that that's wrong...but a whole lot of people are, in some sense, convinced that they ought to go along with it...they come to think it, in some doublethink it, in Orwellian terms. They tell us that we're all racist--that even universities--where racism is avoided like the very plague--are deeply and powerfully racist. They insist that men can become women simply by dressing in traditionally feminine ways, or merely by "feeling like a woman," and that it's patent bigotry to even notice that someone is merely pretending to be a woman...or to be uncomfortable with such a person using the women's locker room. They insist that we live in a "rape culture." They insist that any talk of how a woman might avoid rape is "victim-blaming." They insist that the fact that a woman continued to have sex with and profess love for a man for years provides no grounds whatsoever for skepticism about her claim, after the relationship ends, that she was raped in their first sexual encounter. They insist that we submit to whimsical micromanagement of our vocabulary on the basis of arguments and theories that make no sense at all--and that the tiniest divergence from the ever-changing jargonistic preferences of the PC vanguard is inexcusable prejudice.  And, on top of all that, they insist that all of this insanity is nothing but an ordinary expectation of politeness...and that there is no such thing as PC at all.
   In short, the PC left is gaslighting us all.
Read more »

Social Creationism

'Social creationism' is a better term than 'social constructionism.' And analogously: 'social creation,' 'socially created.'
   But ya know...though certain people throw around 'social construction', 'social construct,' and 'socially constructed' all the time, almost no one ever says 'social constructionism.' I suspect that 's because they don't seem to even understand that they're promoting a highly controversial theory. They don't even see it as an -ism.
   Personally, I tend to use the terms 'creationist' and 'creationism' to describe such people and views. I admit that it's a bit of a rhetorical dirty trick...but I think that this terminology makes a true and important point--and points to a real, though weak, similarity with theism. Furthermore, social constructionism is such a conceptual train wreck that I think it's important to have some punchy way to snap people out of it. It's a crazy, disastrous view promulgated without criticism bey people who ought to know better, and it's become deeply entrenched in public discussion. Something needs to be done to snap people out of it at least long enough to get them to understand the problems with what they're saying. After they understand, if they judge that they still believe the crazy-ass things they've been thinking and saying...well, then they're free to keep thinking and saying them.
   That is all.

Michael McConkey: Why We Should Stop Using The Term 'Gender' (Plus Some Fascinating I-Told-You-Sos)

   This is right about a lot of important things--things (ahem) that I've been saying on here for a long time. 'Gender' has come to mean everything and nothing, and that's for tactical reasons. The PC/PoMo left is, as McConkey notes, using it to advance a "social constructionist" agenda. There is a legitimate use of 'gender' to talk about non-linguistic facts about humans: it used to be a term for the behavioral categories masculine and feminine (and (sort of) androgynous). It was a term used to mark half of the sex/gender distinction, and to help make the point that men--though male--can be feminine and women--though female--can be masculine. That was an important point, true point. But feminism has, as we might say, moved beyond feminism. Feminism is now "intersectional," and anti-realist (not exactly in the analytic philosopher's sense of the term). Feminism has bigger fish to fry that equality of the sexes. Feminism--like the rest of the PC/PoMo left--now uses 'gender' to help advance a theory about transgenderism that brings in tow a non-realist, social constructionist metaphysics that it wants to install in the culture. This is an escalation of--and a sneaky tactic in--the nature-nurture controversy: sneak in a term that lets you equivocate in a lot of different ways. Then use it to mean some things that are patently, inherently social...and many things that only have peripheral, inessential, social effects. Use the term to suggest that the latter things are every bit as "socially constructed" as the former things. Sneaky, sneaky...
Read more »

DoJ Appoints Robert Mueller Special Council To Investigate Trump Campaign's Alleged Ties To Russia

Now we ordinary citizens can ratchet things back down to DefCon 4 or whatever and let the system do its work.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kipnis and "Retroactive Withdrawal of Consent"

This is not very good.
   I'm not going to waste a bunch of time on it, but the post isn't even trying to engage with Kipnis's point. This is what happens when philosophy goes bad. It's embarrassing to academic philosophy that Kipnis, from film studies, is being so much more reasonable and acute than the philosophers who are criticizing her.
   I'm not going to go through Kipnis's book and cite chapter and verse, but look: she in no way denies that Smith might engage in a sexual encounter at t1, and believe it to be consensual at t1, but realize at t2 that it wasn't. Smith might learn new information, for one thing--might find out that drugs had been secretly administered. Could Smith, without learning anything new, simply reflect in new ways on things already known and then recognize that the relevant kind of consent had not actually been given? That's less clear...I'm skeptical...but not strongly let's say yes, arguendo.
   Kipnis's point is really this: not every case in which Smith asserts, at t2, that Smith did not give ("meaningful") consent at t1 is, in fact, a such a case. That's to say: with respect to whether they actually gave consent in the past, people can err in either direction. Contemporary feminists seem to want to say that people (actually: women) can only err in one direction--they can think they gave consent when they actually didn't. But they can never think that they didn't give consent when they did.
Read more »

Yale Dean Championed Cultural Sensitivity, Said Nasty Stuff On Yelp

So, Chu is Chinese. ("Identifies as Chinese" as the Post says, in accordance with the prevailing fantasy that this is a matter of self-representation rather than biology...). She said some nasty things about ordinary people people working ordinary jobs. Some of those things were racial. The term "white trash" seems to be used once.
   She sounds like she is a kind of an asshole. Though maybe she was just mad or drinking and bullshitting, or trying to be funny or just in the mode of ripping on people or whatever. Maybe she's ok. Maybe she's a nutty SJW. We don't know.
   Whatever the case, it was her private Yelp account, and there's nothing in it that's worthy of making a big-ass deal about. I don't see any reason this is in the Washington Post. Perhaps Yale should make sure that she isn't so racist that she can't be objective in relevant matters. She's apparently a Title IX coordinator, a position ripe for abuse...though I'm sure that there are nutty Title IX coordinators all across the country... Sounds to me like she's probably a snob. Oh, sorry...the paleo-PC term was "classist"...but that seems to be passe in neo-PC / SJ era...this time around, only race and "gender" matter...
   Of course if Chu were white, the butlers would already have been summoned to fetch the gilded pitchforks and iTorches... 
   But, honestly, Chu just sounds like a snob. Or maybe not. Maybe just someone who said some slightly nasty things, and ended up having them printed in the Washington Post.

Are We "In Impeachment Territory"?

Well...I tend to respect David Gergen...and he thinks so...

Monday, May 15, 2017

It Doesn't Matter That Trump Bashed HRC For Mishandling Classified Intelligence

People just can't resist the hypocrisy angle.
   What matters is mishandling intelligence. It doesn't matter much that you've also criticized someone else for doing it. If Trump stupidly mishandled highly-classified intelligence, then he'd deserves to get the hook whether or not he'd ever said a word about such a thing.

Trump Revealed Highly Classified Information To Russian Foreign Minister And Ambassador

Best-case scenario: amateur hour. 
Worst-case: the Manchurian candidate.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

F-22 vs. PAK-FA

Despite my jet fighter patriotism, I freaking love the PAK-FA. I think I'd still bet on the Raptor to win...but daaaaayum, as I have noted, the Rooskies make some sexy-ass airplanes...and the PAK-50 is one of them...

The Doomsday Glacier

Well that's just great.

Torch-Wielding Far-Right Protesters Last Night In Charlottesville

   This is not good.
   I'm not sure what I think about...well, if we adopted PC jargon, I suppose we'd call it Confederate erasure... But putting those questions to the side...these assholes have to realize that torches and goddamn "blood and soil"...not exactly going to win anyone over to their side. Right? Right??? Why not a bit of cross-burning and a rousing chorus of Deutschland Uber Alles? Is there any even vaguely plausible function for torches at such an event other than as a shout-out to lynch mobs?
   I would not have predicted this in C-ville. Gonna guess: "outside agitators." 
   Guess this is a wee tiny taste of how the Ukrainians feel.

Lawrence Tribe: Why Trump Must Be Impeached

The prima facie case seems strong.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Leiter on Tommy Curry and: When Is It OK To Kill White People?

This seems a little less clear to me than it seems to seem to Leiter.
   It should go without saying--though perhaps now, during the PC/PoMo reign of (t)error, it doesn't really--that Curry's speech is protected both by the First Amendment and academic freedom. Not to even mention the Common Law tradition, the natural and inalienable (though not God-given, because that doesn't work) rights of man, and the norms of rational (and even scholarly) discourse...which...well...I guess I did mention them after all. So sue me...
   Because make no mistake about it: I will absolutely go to the freakin' battlements to defend Curry's right to discuss such things openly.
   Furthermore--though it's not terribly relevant--I actually found Curry's comments interesting. Which is not something I can say for most discussions of race coming out of the contemporary academy...
   However...I have to say...having listened to what he said three (four?) times...he does come uncomfortably close to advocating political violence by blacks against whites. Leiter seems to me to represent Curry's comments in a way that downplays Curry's flirtation with that position. address these issues seriously, we'd need a transcript. Serious thinking doesn't really happen so much with speech. You've got to have things written down. But it seems to me that Curry is lamenting the fact that a certain view is not taken more seriously. And that view is: that blacks should employ violence against whites for political reasons.
Read more »

George Will: The Left's Misguided Obsession With "Cultural Appropriation"

Will hits another one out of the park.
   You can basically predict how good his columns are going to be on the basis of how crazy the left currently is. He was generally scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with something to complain about during the Obama years. Now that the PC/PoMo left is back in force, he's got more slow pitches down the middle than he knows what to do with.

Friday, May 12, 2017

F-15s Fly The Mach Loop

Also some Tornados and Typhoons and some other damn thing who knows what it is...
Daaaamn the Eagle is one sexy-ass flyin' machine.

Trump Issues Weird Quasi-Threat To Comey Via Twitter

[squints incredulously]

Zuul, Destroyer of Shins: Another Big Ankylosaur Find

What? These things just fallin' out the sky now?

Irish Police Drop Blasphemy Investigation Against Stephen Fry

At the VC.
"Blasphemy investigation"...the mind reels...

Royal Tyrrell Unveils Perfectly-Preserved Nodosaur

This is amazing.

Trump Says He Was Thinking Of Russia Controversy When He Decided To Fire Comey

Thursday, May 11, 2017

FBI Searches Republican Consulting Firm In Annapolis

The APA Is A Joke

That's the philosophy one, not the psychology one. (The psychology one may be a joke too for all I know...)
   Here's a quote from an email I just got from the APA begging for money:
“We must support the work of the APA in whatever way we can, because it's the only place where we all come together: epistemologists and ethicists, analytic and continental philosophers, brand new undergraduates and retired professors, philosophers from disenfranchised populations and the beneficiaries of privilege..." [My emphasis]
   Philosophy used to be largely insulated from the "social justice" loons. But not anymore...
   This is why I would not even consider giving to the APA, and I don't even pay up my dues unless I'm going to one of the meetings. The less money the APA has, the better. I mean, there's really no reason to work this bit of PC stupidity into an email going out to everyone about matters unrelated to such things. Or, rather, the reason for doing it is: the crazies have taken over the APA, and they want to use every opportunity to push their crackpot views.
   Jeez the profession has become a joke.

MMA Fighter Pummels Tai Chi Master, Rattles China

It's surprising that the Tai Chi guy agreed to the fight. I guess he believed his own bullshit.

Racism at American U., The Post's Response, And Volokh Is Right

So this racist bullshit happened at American U.
   There's no need to rail about what facepalmerific bullshit that is. We're all on the same page in that respect. I'm not even going to go down that profanity-laden path right now.
   Then the Post published this editorial.
   I'm ashamed to admit that I was saying amen until Volokh posted this.
   And, as usual, he's right.
  That produce-related bullshit...somebody deserves, sub specie aeternitatis, a punch in the head for it. But racist speech is, indeed protected speech. This is the best system we know of, in our fallen condition. We don't have to like it, but we have to allow it. In fact, we have to defend it. That's the goddamn rub, idn't it? We have to defend it.
   Also, I don't expect assholes like the banana-hanger to know any better. I don't even always expect myself to know better in the heat of the moment, reacting to such bullshit. But I do expect the Washington Post to know better. Maybe not in the heat of the moment...but in a cool hour. I'm not trying to make some federal case out of it--everybody slips up, especially in the face of bullshit like that bullshit. I completely understand wanting to publish an editorial like that. But Volokh's right, and the Post needs to repudiate what it published.

Political Correctness Is Bullshit

What's essential to political correctness is the substitution of (left-wing) political orthodoxy for truth. The most important distinction is that between what is actually correct and what is merely politically so. At the core of PC is a disregard for truth.
   And that, on Frankfurt's famous theory of bullshit, makes PC bullshit.
   This is not some major point. I just keep meaning to say I did.

Comey Associates: "Farcical" To Think That Comey Told Trump He Was Not Under Investigation

Mr. Comey’s associates also denied the claim made by Mr. Trump, in his letter firing Mr. Comey, that the director told him on three occasions that he wasn’t under investigation. They said Mr. Comey never gave Mr. Trump any such guidance, which would violate longstanding policies on criminal investigations. “That is literally farcical,” said one associate.

FBI Will Not Update White House On Russia Probe

Grand Jury Subpoenas Issued In FBI Russia Investigation

Lawfare: The Nightmare Scenario: Trump Fires The One Man Who Would Stand Up To Him

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

David Frum: This Is Not A Drill

The question has to be asked searchingly of the Republican members of Congress: Will you allow a president of your party to attack the integrity of the FBI? You impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sex. Will you now condone and protect a Republican administration lying about espionage?
Where are you? Who are you?
The question has to be asked of every Trump law-enforcement appointee: In 1973, Elliot Richardson resigned rather than fire the investigator of presidential wrongdoing. Why are you still on your job? Where are your resignations?
The question has to be asked of every national-security official: It’s a lot more probable today than it was yesterday that the chain of command is compromised and beholden in some way to a hostile foreign power. If you know more of the truth than the rest of us, why are you keeping it secret? Your oath is to the Constitution, not the person of this compromised president.
The question has to be asked of all the rest of us: Perhaps the worst fears for the integrity of the U.S. government and U.S. institutions are being fulfilled. If this firing stands—and if Trump dares to announce a pliable replacement—the rule of law begins to shake and break. The law will answer to the president, not the president to the law.
Will you accept that?

Trump's Stated Reasons For Firing Comey Were Not His Actual Reasons

Coyne: Academic Madness: Feminist Analysis Of Squirrel Diets / Reproduction Shows Squirrels are Otherized, Gendered And Fat-Shamed

Total bullshit.
And props to Coyne for acknowledging that not all humanities scholarship is of this kind. It's important to resist the false theory that the humanities are all inherently full of shit. Paraphrasing Fareed Zakaria: the humanities are currently (largely) full of shit...but that's of course very different. One practical consequence of acknowledging this is that it might help move the offending sectors back toward less-bullshity approaches.
(via Leiter)

David Post On Firing Comey

Fishy, to say the very least.

   Here's the best defense of Trump I can think of (to be clear, Post does not say this--don't blame him...): 
Comey mishandled the Clinton email thing. Thus he deserved to be fired from that time forward. Candidate Trump hated Clinton and was happy that Comey handled the situation as he did--but only for tactical / rhetorical reasons. It was all bullshit. In real terms, Comey has needed firin' for over a year. So Trump has done the right thing. Consistency ad hominems to the effect that his recent, justified decision is inconsistent with his past, bullshit, campaign rhetoric are rationally weightless. Or, rather: they are indictments of his past bullshit, not of his recent action.
I'm not saying I buy this. Rather, I think that the olfactory perception of rattus rattus is undeniable.

Demand A Special Prosecutor

I think protests are generally stupid, but I'm willing to take to the streets for this. IMO those of us with Republican legislators need to start pouring on the pressure and not let up. I don't mean to offer any hint of prejudgment about the outcome of such an investigation. Is there any reasonable alternative?
   McConnell is full of shit, right? Or is he right in some way that escapes the layperson?

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The Gourds, Gin And Juice

The Tuesday Night Massacre

Impeachment fever...catch it!

'Neutral Sex' Designation Is Struck Down In France, or: Let's Make Sure We Get It ALL Wrong (Plus! Animadversions On The PC/PoMo Axis of Crazy!)

A cynical sort might worry that we're working hard to achieve maximal falsehood on these issues...
   Intersexed-ness (?) is an actual, real, biological state. It is (assuming the accuracy of the reporting, and that we're getting a full accounting of the biological story) a fact that Mr. Schmitt is neither male nor female. To refuse to recognize this is (unless we're missing something), to simply refuse to acknowledge that this fact is a fact. 
   And those reasons! Lord have mercy:
The court upheld the Orléans court’s decision, ruling that the distinction between male and female was “necessary to the social and legal organization, of which it is a cornerstone,” and that the “recognition of a neutral gender” would have “deep repercussions” on French law and would entail “numerous legislative changes.”
That last bit about legislative changes seems true.
Read more »

Yates's Testimony

How big?
Pretty big it seemed to me. Though Republicans seem dedicated to ignoring the really important parts in favor of condemning Yates for not defending the travel ban, finding the leaker, and, needless to say, re-litigating the Clinton email business... I was disappointed that Benghazi didn't come up...

Monday, May 08, 2017

No Asian People In/On The Orient Express????

Happy V-E Day Everybody!

Just now realized that it's the 8th!
Oh and: 
Rot in hell, Nazi scum!!!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Santa Cruz Agrees to Student Demands, Including Racially Segregated Dorm, Mandatory "Diversity" Indoctrination For All New Students

   Liberalism is so passe.
   If the things in the title don't bother you, maybe this will: they also harassed reporters and shouted antisemitic slurs.

Andrew Sullivan: The Reactionary Temptation

I think this is great.

Eric Trump, 2014: "We Have All The Funding We Need Out Of Russia"


Malhar Mali: Who Teaches Students That Words Are Violence?

   Their professors.
   I can't resist pointing out that I've been yelling about this for a long time.

According to the PoMo-PC Axis Of Emo, What Other Philosophical Views Should It Be Impermissible To Argue For?

   Briefly/quickly, provoked by the Hypatia/Tuvel dust-up, something I've wondered for years:
   The Axis of Emo alleges that it's impermissible to argue for certain views because they cause harm to certain groups. And, of course, the only groups that matter are the "vulnerable" or "historically disadvantaged ones. There's disagreement about the reasons, but it's fairly common to appeal to the alleged fact that such argument "dehumanize" such people, making discrimination and violence against them more likely.
   But this seems to support the conclusion that it's impermissible to argue for any philosophical view that "dehumanizes" people...and/or any view that might bring about the alleged bad effects (dehumanization, discrimination, violence). And that seems to include, just for starters: moral nihilism, moral skepticism, some versions of moral relativism, external world skepticism, ethical egoism, any view that denies the reality of the self, solipsism...and undoubtedly a lot more.
Read more »

Mark K. Siegel: What The Republican Health Care Plan Gets Right

   I had to look around quite a bit for something that made a reasonable case for this. I don't have a position on any of the question, though obviously I tend to generally be more skeptical about the GOP than the Dems.

Ruchir Sharma: Let's Destroy The World So We Can Grow The Economy

"To Be Great Again, American Needs Immigrants"
[It goes without saying that we want (legal) immigrants. But the title on Sharma's piece is extremely misleading--par for the course in this kind of discussion. He's not arguing that we should have immigration--he's arguing for increasing immigration in order to increase the population in order increase economic growth. Saying "we need immigration" when you're actually going to argue that we should have increased immigration is a bit like the other routine rhetorical shenanigans by progressives in this disagreement: pretending that someone is anti-immigration when they're actually merely against illegal immigration.]
   This sort of thing ought to infuriate people, but it doesn't seem to. Though even those who would like to push back can't do it at the NYT--comments are disabled, so we don't know what the reaction is like to this particular story.
   How people can, with a straight face, make this argument is just beyond me. This is a blueprint for disaster--and obviously so. We cannot increase the population indefinitely. We're already beyond the reasonable, natural carrying-capacity of the U.S., and far beyond the point at which an interruption in the food supply would be a catastrophe. Avoiding future disaster already depends on developing certain kinds of new technology, and developing them on time. When you're running out of not only water, but dirt, you've got to stop and reassess. And, of course, many other parts of the world are much, much worse off than we are. And trying to get control of this problem before it gets out of hand is imperative. It's easier to avoid overpopulation than it is to come back from it.
   Sarma's paper combines the madness of both right and left on this issue. He argues, in effect, that we should overpopulate the country for economic reasons, but he also gestures at the left's favorite ad hominem in this context: that concerns about the link between immigration and population growth are inherently bigoted.
   The really amazing thing is that the objection is so damn obvious, and Sharma doesn't even bother to acknowledge it, much less respond to it. There's no suggestion that it's a short-term strategy nor any such thing. It's an unrestricted recommendation. The clear suggestion is that we want the economy to grow forever, and that we ought to do so by increasing the population forever.
   Jeez this sort of thing makes me nuts.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Drum: Can We Even Call It Lying Anymore?

Donald Trump has changed Washington. There was a time when Republicans would have strained to make excuses for a piece of legislation like this. Heritage would have churned out white papers, data would have been cherry picked, words would have been twisted, and the spin would have been dizzying. That's politics. As recently as a couple of months ago, this was still the case for the original health care bill. Remember Paul Ryan's PowerPoint presentation?
Not anymore. Like Trump, Republican politicians now just say whatever they want. There's no longer any pretense of retaining even a nodding acquaintance with the facts. TrumpCare is going to benefit the rich. No it won't. TrumpCare will do away with protections for pre-existing conditions. No it won't. TrumpCare will rob 24 million people of health coverage. No it won't. TrumpCare will take Medicaid away from the poor. No it won't.
   There are legitimate differences of opinion about what kind of health insurance system we ought to have. But you've got to be honest about the damn thing.

A Problem With Trivialization And Counterproductivity Arguments

In brief, or I'll never get around to it at all:
   They often accept false/questionable presuppositions of their target and ignore other considerations that are at least as important, and ought to be given at least equal weight/attention.
   For example, I agree that a lot of extremist / gender feminism undermines good / egalitarian / liberal feminism. But problems with the former view go deeper than that. Commonly, the only way to get people on the left to listen to criticisms of feminism is to try to out-feminist them. Title IX insanity on campus treats men unjustly. But people often leap right over that point and go for something like a self-refutation argument: Title IX insanity is bad for women / violates feminist principles by (e.g.) infantilizing women. True enough, says me...but the argument, in a non-trivial sense, accepts the overall flawed framework of illiberal feminism by suggesting that injustice against men doesn't matter. It's consistent with and suggests that the only acceptable type of criticism is a criticism that demonstrates harm to women. Harm to men is irrelevant.
   Similar points can be made about arguments against the PC Words = Violence view. That view does trivialize violence. But here's a very much more important problem with it: words do not equal violence. The thesis is simply false--and not a little bit. It's flat-out crazy. That is the most important point. It's also worth making the trivialization point...but less so. Even if you manage to win that skirmish against the Dark Side, it leaves the general problem in place. It also suggests an acceptance of the PC/pomo thesis that harm matters but truth doesn't. And that's bad.

Politifact: ACHA Doesn't Really Cover Pre-Existing Conditions

   It sort of does...but, as Michael Scott might say, in  a much more real sense it doesn't.

Friday, May 05, 2017

William James Might As Well Be Explaining The Disproportionate Power Of The PCs / SJWs

A social organism of any sort whatever, large or small, is what it is because each member proceeds to his own duty with a trust that the other members will simultaneously do theirs. Wherever a desired result is achieved by the co-operation of many independent persons, its existence as a fact is a pure consequence of the precursive faith in one another of those immediately concerned. A government, an army, a commercial system, a ship, a college, an athletic team, all exist on this condition, without which not only is nothing achieved, but nothing is even attempted. A whole train of passengers (individually brave enough) will be looted by a few highwaymen, simply because the latter can count on one another, while each passenger fears that if he makes a movement of resistance, he will be shot before any one else backs him up. If we believed that the whole car-full would rise at once with us, we should each severally rise, and train-robbing would never even be attempted. [My emphasis]
                                           From "The Will To Believe"

Helen Pluckrose: "How French Intellectuals Ruined The West: Postmodernism And It's Impact, Explained"

   Pretty good, for a popular piece, says me.
   This might be of interest to people who aren't subjected to pomo BS all the time:
   The philosopher, David Detmer, in Challenging Postmodernism, says
   “Consider this example, provided by Erazim Kohak, ‘When I try, unsuccessfully, to squeeze a tennis ball into a wine bottle, I need not try several wine bottles and several tennis balls before, using Mill’s canons of induction, I arrive inductively at the hypothesis that tennis balls do not fit into wine bottles’… We are now in a position to turn the tables on [postmodernist claims of cultural relativity] and ask, ‘If I judge that tennis balls do not fit into wine bottles, can you show precisely how it is that my gender, historical and spatial location, class, ethnicity, etc., undermine the objectivity of this judgement?”
   However, he has not found postmodernists committed to explaining their reasoning and describes a bewildering conversation with postmodern philosopher, Laurie Calhoun,
“When I had occasion to ask her whether or not it was a fact that giraffes are taller than ants, she replied that it was not a fact, but rather an article of religious faith in our culture.”
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Friedersdorf: Why Can't The Left Win?

   Maybe worth a read. No big surprises.
   I've said this before, but: the extremist left is currently so vicious, irrational and repulsive that they're actually making Trump look like a viable option.
   There's really just no excuse for that.

Unemployment Hits Lowest Rate In Ten Years

I, For One, Welcome Our New Snake-Robot Overlords

When the spider robots show up, I'm outta here.

A Paradox Of PC / "Social Justice": Why Is Their Hectoring So Effective?

   So here's a thought:
   Why is PC / "social justice" hectoring so damn effective? There's some outright bullying / physical intimidation / violence... (Not that I'm suggesting that it's ok to capitulate to that either.) But it seems fairly clear that the vast majority of it the stuff takes the form of badgering and slandering (the preferred PC term is "shaming").
   Now, it's a central tenet of the view in question that we live in a culture that is resolutely bigoted--racist, sexist, homophobic, and all the rest. However, if this were so, why would accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. be so effective at suppressing opposition to PC? If the culture were as racist as they allege it to be, then we'd predict that such accusations would be fairly ineffective. But they're not. And this counts significantly against the hypothesis of pervasive bigotry. And an analogous point holds on a smaller scale: if the individuals they tend to target were as bigoted as they allege them to be, we'd expect that they wouldn't be much bothered by accusations of bigotry. But they are. So they probably aren't.
   PC hectoring is extremely effective because the culture is not remotely as bigoted as they assert, and neither are the individuals they tend to target. Most of us tend to bend over backwards to avoid even the tiniest bit of bigotry, and the mere thought of being accused of it is alarming in the extreme--terrifying, in fact, to many. 
   Furthermore, this is one of the most evil aspects of political correctness: it leverages people's goodness against them. Accusations of bigotry are, ceteris parabus, more effective against people who are less bigoted.

What Ulrich Baer Gets Wrong About Free Speech

"What 'Snowflakes' Get Right About Free Speech"
   This is a largely unmitigated piece of crap. However, it does articulate the PC position fairly well, and sketches a bit about Lyotard's role in all this. I don't think there's anything in there that hasn't been shredded a hundred times before, but I probably won't be able to resist complaining about it in more detail at some point.

Objective, Accessible Analyses of the AHCA?

Post 'em if you got 'em.
I'm pessimistic, but not dogmatically so.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Tuvel, Transgenderism, and Anti-Philosophy: Zoe Samuzdi Edition

   These tweets do a fair job of summarizing what's gone wrong with much of academia. Of course every discipline has its bullshit. But it's worse than that in the less-rigorous, more political parts of the humanities and social sciences. Really, this sort of nonsense could easily be a parody of academic BS. Sadly, philosophy seems to be on its way down the road to perdition, too.
   The worst of these may be:
She [Tuvel] extracted structures from historical function into the realm of liberal individual choice in order to force analogy where there is none
   What utter nonsense. And also: Not liberal individual choice?!?!?!?!??? Seriously, could anything be more terrible? And as for "forc[ing] an analogy where there is none"...well...just denying it over and over won't make it true. If the analogy weren't so extraordinarily strong and obvious, the PC left probably wouldn't have to keep insisting that it isn't there.

NewNewspeak: "Deadnaming"

   At this point, it would surprise me not at all if core elements of the PC left eventually revealed themselves as part of a massive Sokal-style hoax. They really can't get any more Orwellian unless they just flat-out adopt the terminology 'Newspeak,' 'thoughtcrime,' 'doublethink,' etc. They already largely accept the concepts and the theories behind them...I don't know what else they could do except adopt the exact terminology and see whether anyone has the temerity to criticize them.
   "Deadnaming" is a PC neologism meaning, roughly: referring to someone transgendered with their old name. So, for example, say I want to talk about a certain celebrity, and do so thusly: Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner. I have thereby just committed the mortal wordcrime of deadnaming. Here's what Tuvel wrote in her abstract:
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Is The Disinterested Pursuit Of Truth Ever Permissible In Philosophy (When Someone Might Be Harmed)? If Not In Philosophy, Then Where?

   This is too fast, but I'm either going to say it sloppily or not at all:
   Certain sectors of the intellectual / philosophical left--e.g. people in the anti-Tuvel crowd--seem to hold that the disinterested pursuit of truth is not particularly important. Some folks in that sector don't believe in the truth, and/or don't believe that it's possible to be disinterested in the relevant ways. Others seem to recognize its importance, but think that considerations about harm to certain groups trump purely intellectual considerations fairly easily/often. And many have a very expansive conception of harm and violence--holding, e.g., that merely expressing politically incorrect opinions can constitute violence.
Read more »

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Burn The Heretic!: Bleeding-Heart Libertarians On Tuvel / Hypatia

The Hypatia / Tuvel Dust-Up, Political Correctness, And Disagreements About Metaphilosophy and Method

   So this is probably worth thinking about. To cut to the chase: the anti-Tuvel faction is motivated largely by the conviction that Tuvel's arguments are politically incorrect: they are at odds with current orthodoxy in the relevant sectors of the left. Heterodoxy in these matters is alleged to be harmful to certain vulnerable/disadvantaged groups. Therefore heterodox arguments and conclusions are deemed unacceptable.
   To cut to the chase again: more traditional scholars will be inclined to disagree with the idea that harm--especially mere offense--is a legitimate criterion of argument evaluation. 
   My sympathies are all with Tuvel.
   However, to do the cut/chase thing once more: I'm amazed that people are amazed by the push against Tuvel and her paper.
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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

UVA Names New Building After Peyton Skipwith--Stonemason, Quarrier, Slave

   I found this short account powerfully affecting, honestly. It's sad--and difficult to believe--that is such an uncommon move. Once upon a time I spent so much time at and around UVA that the place felt like my academic home--though, since I've been neither student nor faculty there, I've never thought about donating to them. But I think I will in response to this. 
   Much respect to UVA for this.

The Daily Nous On The Hypatia / Tuvel Dust-Up

I've only read the top twenty-or-so comments here, but I'm heartened to see that, by a large margin, the voting on comments indicates that an overwhelming majority of commenters seems to recognize that insanity's afoot. Even Justin W. is largely on the side of the angels in this matter.

Leiter On The Current Political Madness Gripping Philosophy

   Well, I've said all this myself, and probably linked to this in the past, but it's so important that here it is again.

Canada Man Ordered To Surrender "Offensive" Star Trek / Borg License Plate (ASIMIL8); And: As If Losing Your Individuality Were The Worst Thing...

   A Canadian man’s Star Trek-inspired license plate has been revoked after his public insurance company received complaints that it was offensive to indigenous people. The two-year-old plate, which reads “ASIMIL8,” is a sly reference to the Borg, evil aliens in Star Trek who “assimilate” their prey and go by the motto “Resistance is Futile.”
   Manitoba local Nick Troller was informed by an agent from Manitoba Public Insurance on Wednesday that they had received complaints from two people about the word “assimilate,” which they claimed is offensive to minorities. He was then served a letter informing him that “it has been brought to the attention of this office that the personalized plate ASIMIL8 is considered offensive,” and was ordered to surrender it immediately.
   It is, of course, imperative here, as always, to remember that there is no such thing as political correctness (and also that political correctness is good, and just, and merely ordinary politeness/civility, etc....) To deny that is the epitome of political incorrectness....
   This reminds me of a basically unrelated thing: years ago a lefty friend of mine was commenting on the political incorrectness of the idea of the Borg. She was arguing that ST:TNG was demonizing collectivism. "As if," she said, laughing,"losing your individuality were the worst thing that could happen to you..."

Apocalypse Soon?

Is it just me or does this seem just, y'know, a tad alarmist?:
It is considerations like these that have led risk scholars — some at top universities around the world — to specify disturbingly high probabilities of global disaster in the future. For example, the philosopher John Leslie claims that humanity has a 30 percent chance of extinction in the next five centuries. Less optimistically, an “informal” survey of experts at a conference hosted by Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute puts the probability of human extinction before 2100 at 19 percent. And Lord Martin Rees, co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University, argues that civilization has no better than a 50-50 likelihood of enduring into the next century.
Read more »

Monday, May 01, 2017

You Are Not Important: Defund "Identity" Culture


And while you're at it, I'll add: stop using 'identity' to mean race or whatever.
It took me a long time to finally figure out what people were talking about when they were nattering about "identity." I was foolishly listening to something on NPR and it was "identity" this and "identity" that, and I couldn't figure out what the hell they were talking about...until finally I realized that it was trendy jargon for, basically, race (or sub-racial group). These people, their minds are mush.

Attack Of The Offendotrons: Tyranny Of The Flash Mob

This, at least, has been known for a while, partly because it’s psychologically satisfying for those who indulge. Aldous Huxley observed that the surest way to work up a crusade in favour of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behaviour “righteous indignation” — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.
We need to pull the offendotrons up short. They’re undermining civil society, wrecking lives, and making it impossible for people to maintain any distinction between public and private life.
That said, it’s worth investigating why long-established principles — like not mistaking employees for their employer unless they are directly engaged in the performance of duties for their employer — are under threat.
Oxford philosopher Jeffrey Ketland points out mobs amplify their power or strength in three ways. First, they use social media to increase their number, a form of proxy recruitment; second, they deliberately seek institutional power in universities, corporate HR departments, and unions; and third, they generate emotional and moralistic outrage about trivialities because humans are prone to instantaneous, furious responses. The individual who says ‘ask me what I think tomorrow’ is rare.