Saturday, March 31, 2018

Z0MG Races Are Natural Kinds!!!

This caused a big dust-up, of course, since the leftier left officially adopted "social constructionist" pseudoscience about...well...basically everything. Including race. Reich tries to appease the progressive powers that be by asserting that races are "socially constructed" while simultaneously arguing that they aren't. This is actually a smart rhetorical tactic--"socially constructed" is such a vague, ambiguous, protean term that it barely means anything at all. Might as well say the magic words and let the progressive cultural superstructure acclimate itself to the facts again. As Rorty suggests, the cultural left is more devoted to making up new words than it is to actual argument. ( could argue about whether he thinks that second part...but I think he's got to say something like that. He's right, I think, when he says (in Achieving Our Country) that the cultural left ascends to "theory" too quickly. Much of what's wrong on the lefty-left can be traced back to postmodernism, poststructuralism, the excesses of critical theory, and all that Continental-y stuff.)
   It's really kind of interesting once you ditch the "social construction" stuff. So far as I can tell, what we end up with is a bunch of fuzzy, indistinct patterns of not-particularly-important similarities and differences that roughly correspond to roughly the idea of race that most ordinary people have. Of course white, black and Asian can be broken down into smaller clusters, but that doesn't matter much. And of course we've "drawn lines" differently for different purposes, but that doesn't matter either. Both of those facts are cited as evidence that race is "socially constructed"...but either those arguments are invalid or x is socially constructed is perfectly consistent with x is a natural kind.
   But the most important point in this vicinity is the metatheoretical point that questions about the reality or unreality of races have to be settled on purely scientific (broadly construed) grounds. Questions about the impact of various answers on debates about racism can't be allowed into the discussion. And there's simply no doubt that the recent ascendance of social constructionism about race to orthodoxy was driven primarily by such moral/political considerations. It's possible--though unlikely--that nominalism about races will turn out to be right in the end. Nominalism (though not: social constructionism) about races is a respectable position. Though it's probably wrong. The dangerous position is the leftist position that allows scientific conclusions to be determined by political considerations. Neo-Lysenkoism is the essence of political correctness, IMO.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Philosophy And The M*ther F*ckin' Mirror of Nature

Wow. I'm teaching--if you want to call it that--the final chapters of Rorty's Philosophy And The Mirror Of Nature again in American Philosophy (aka Peirce And Some Inconsequential Others)... Damn. I mean, I seriously do not have a lot of natural affinity for Rorty. And he's certainly short on actual arguments late in the book. But there's stuff in there that's pretty insightful and interesting. Or so I'm currently inclined to think. Quasi-arguments that at least warrant attention. I mean...I haven't got to the final chapter again yet...that's the one that really, usually, makes me flip my shit. So I could be singing a different tune tomorrow.
   I'm just sayin' that Rorty deserves more respect than people like me are inclined to give him. Even if he's wrong as shit about shit.

I Hate Bein' Right All The Time: Thomas Jefferson Edition

Statues of Mr. Jefferson are next, mofos.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Famed Times Square V-J Day Kiss, Like, Totally Problematic Rape Culture And Stuff

Over to you, Victory Girls...

Remember When We Had Liberals?

I miss 'em.

Does Coffee Lower Risk Of Clogged Arteries?

   I mean...anything's possible. But my long-standing view is: if progressive elites are fawning over any food or beverage, it will have magical medical powers attributed to it.
   So I'll just assume that this is that.

Trumpdate: Russian Connections Visualized; Cambridge Analytica Story Looking Thinner By The Day?

Leiter Is Bad At Reading

The majority in Heller interpreted the Second Amendment correctly. And that was obvious before Heller. It's absurd to claim that the court's interpretation is "fraudulent." 
   As for repeal: that's not going to happen in my lifetime, fortunately. But, sadly, we can't rule out the possibility that illiberalism will rule the future, dispensing with both of those first two, extremely pesky, amendments, allowing us to fall in line with the rest of the "civilized" West.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Planned Parenthood: We Need A Transgender, Undocumented Disney "Princess" Who's Had An Abortion

The lefty-left has now demonstrably lost its shit.
Also: that would be a prince.
[Well, actually...this cartoon person can't coherently be a "transgender princess"--i.e. a dude--*and* have had an abortion... Aside from that, though: my god these people are sick.]

Lindsey Graham: I Want Every Democrat Asked If The Second Amendment Should Be Repealed

Dude is totally my favorite Republican

A New Organ?

Nassir Little Named McDonald's All-American Game MVP

One in Five Americans Wants To Repeal The Second Amendment

And two in five Democrats.
    So the vanguard of the left is now against both the First and Second Amendments. How long before we start getting Vox explainers extolling the virtues of quartering soldiers in private homes? Or arguing that search warrants are relics of the 18th century foisted upon us by dead straight white males?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Behold The Left: Gun Control Kids' Crusade Too White?

lol yeeeesss....let the farce flow through you...

John Paul Stevens: Repeal The Second Amendment

Heller was right, and there really can't be any reasonable doubt about it. The Second Amendment recognizes the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms. Alternate readings of the amendment are sheer fantasy.
   Stevens is right, at least, in one respect: thwarting the individual right would require repealing the Second Amendment.
   And if you think you can do it--and think you can enforce it--then, well, molon labe.
   The left seems to split its time pretty equally between Oh, no, we don't want to take your guns! and Give us your guns!

Monday, March 26, 2018

CNN: "The Parkland Kids Keep Checking Their Privilege"

In addition to being a totalitarian cult, PC is also basically a young-people's movement driven largely by the popularity of its cringey jargon/slang. So, y'know, like, check your privilege and don't do any of those microaggressions and whiteness. All that stuff is totally transmisogynoir. Not to mention columbizing or whatever.
   It's enough to make you miss 'phallogocentrism'.

Trump's Legal Team Continues To Come Apart

I can hardly even watch anymore:
After meeting with the husband-and-wife team on Thursday — after diGenova’s hiring had been announced — the person said Trump was less impressed with diGenova than he had been while watching the former U.S. attorney on television.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Rock, Chalk...

...well, you see where I'm goin' with this...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bolton To Replace McMaster

Not good.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

C. E. Larson: The Benefits Of Thinking Like A Scientists, And Why VCU Is At Risk

   There is only space here to mention a single offending guideline from VCU’s proposed General Education curriculum: “Recognize how knowledge is constructed differently in various communities.” Knowledge of course is knowledge. But there are fashions in academia that suggest that the most important kinds of knowledge are somehow not universal, and that there is no “truth” to scientific laws.
   One of these trends, alluded to in this curriculum guideline is “social constructivism” or the “social construction of knowledge.” The main idea here seems to be that, because people discover scientific laws, the discoveries must be somehow dependent on the backgrounds (cultural, political, etc.) of the scientists who made them.
   It is certainly true that scientists make up the language they use. (For example, whether a neutron is called a “neutron” or something else is a choice — which becomes a convention.)
Insofar as scientific language and practices are conventional, there is something true in social constructivism — but specific claims (that can be substantiated or falsified by evidence) in social constructionism are rare. Insofar as social constructionism is the backdrop for the rejection of “truth” — especially scientific truth — the new VCU General Ed guideline promoting it is pernicious.
   A better guideline here would be to recognize how knowledge is universal, and acquired only slowly over time, with great effort, by serious and thoughtful researchers across the planet.
Hear, Hear.
   Social constructionism, relativism, and similar nonsense have basically become dogma in the humanities and social sciences. Here's a simple rule of thumb: once the term 'social construction' or its cognates is in play in a discussion, nothing serious will be accomplished. It's not that society has no effects on us; it's rather that those terms are so ambiguous and unclear that they destroy any conversation they touch.
   VCU was in the process of destroying itself fifteen years ago (one of its first inane moves: shove a bunch of unrelated departments into the laughably-named "school of world studies"...  I mean...there's not much in the humanities and social sciences that you can't shove into "world studies," really... ) Now it seems to be going the way of JMU by replacing its core curriculum with a half-assed "General Education" program.
   Academia is a silly place.

Amy Wax Told The Truth; Ruger and Penn Lied

It's not happy data, but, as I suspected, Wax was right:
As for the low number of black Penn law students graduating in the top of their class, Wax’s observations about the mismatch effect accord with all available data. The Law School Admissions Council collected 27,000 law student records in the early 1990s, representing nearly 90 percent of accredited schools. After the first year, 51 percent of black law students ranked in the bottom tenth of their class, compared with 5 percent of white students. Two-thirds of black students were in the bottom fifth of their class. Only 10 percent of blacks were in the top half of their class. As mismatch theory predicts, bar-examination failure rates were also skewed, since students put into classrooms above their preparation levels will learn less than when teaching is pitched to their current academic skills. Twenty-two percent of black test-takers in the LSAC database never passed the bar exam after five attempts, compared with 3 percent of white test-takers.
As I also noted, Penn's president's vague non-refutations of Wax's claims are a strong indication that she was right:
Unfortunately, Wax overlooked the precautionary rule for criticizing affirmative action: avoid any generalizations that can be rebutted with an even vaguer generalization. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the class and rarely, rarely in the top half,” she said, clearly speaking informally and from a subjective perspective. Ruger responded in his memo: “It is imperative for me as dean to state that these claims are false: black students have graduated in the top of the class at Penn Law.” Ruger’s statement leaves unspecified what the “top of the class” is and how many black students over what period of time have graduated in it. But his assertion, as so broadly defined, is undoubtedly true. It is also not inconsistent with Wax’s claim that black students have graduated in the top half of the class, but “rarely.”
Look, nobody likes data like this. No reasonable person, anyway. But this sort of official lying about the numbers has to be challenged. You'd think that Penn would just let Wax say her piece, ignore her, and go back to pretending that the facts aren't the facts. But in our time, these lies are the sacrosanct lies; these lies can meet refutation with all the righteous indignation the truth might muster. Penn doesn't have to worry about making things worse. Like Google, it can look the facts in the face and call them false; they're backed up by the rest of the cultural superstructure, all of which is committed to pretending that what we want to be true must be true with respect to this topic. 
   So, bottom line: Wax told the truth; Penn lied. For her temerity, Wax was forced to stop teaching 1L civ pro, and has been branded a racist. Amy Wax, like James Damore, spoke unspeakable truths and paid the price.

A Former Russian Troll Speaks: "It Was Like Being In Orwell's World"

(h/t the Mystic)

Catherine Lhamon, Architect of Title IX Madness, Now Claims She Was A Champion Of Due Process

What's The Difference Between Frats And Gangs?

Wow this is dumb.

Trump's An Idiot: Trump Loves Putin Edition

Dread Crew Of Oddwood, They're Taking The Hobbits To Isengard

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What If There Is No Collusion?

   I'm still just waitin' for Mueller.

Neo-Lysenkoism: Science As Whiteness

Blah blah "whiteness," blah blah multiculturalism blah blah diverse. 
Blah blah hegemonic, blah blah ideology, blah blah "of color." 
tl;dr: science and its cisobjective phallogophobic ciswhite whitewhitewhitey whiteness needs to refashion itself so as to emulate the very least-respectable, least-rigorous, least-rational, and least-successful parts of the humanities. 
   I mean...physics, schmisics...but women's there's a paragon of epistemic grandeur...


Or: In The Bum.

The APA And Transgender Pronoun Stupidity

   So...the author of that facepalmerific piece of facepalmery is a fourth-year philosophy Ph.D. student at a solid program.
   This nonsense moved into self-parody territory long ago.
   It's not even worth refuting this ridiculous nonsense. English pronoun use is determined by sex, not gender. Sex can almost always be determined by looking; almost nobody out there is fooling anybody about their sex. Almost anyone with half a brain or more rejects your ridiculous, trendy theories of all this, and has no interest in "showing solidarity" with people who believe them. People can tell I'm male by looking; there's no even vaguely plausible reason for me to wear them. And I'm not going to be modifying proper English usage on the basis of your irrational demands. And I'm not going to call you 'zxzzr.'
   It's extremely important to refuse to go along with this nonsense. And definitely don't fall for the "it's just a word...why not be nice?" argument. It's not just a word--not by a long shot. You're not being asked, you're being told. You're being told that you must believe and act in accordance with an incoherent theory according to which thinking so makes things so. And you're being told that you must speak as the left tells you to speak, even when that means saying and presupposing patent falsehoods. And you're being told that you must alter the rules of the language upon demand. The proper response to all this is "fuck right off."

A Liberal Who Remembers

Not bad, and some good links.
Via the Philosophy Meta-Forum.
One of the things that struck me as most disheartening during the paleo-PC eruption has turned out to be true again this time: a very large percentage of liberals turned out, in both cases, not to be liberals at all. They're really fine with anti-liberal identity politics radicalism. They may be a little uneasy with it sometimes--but not enough to speak up against it and get called some kind of -ist or -phobe.

Does This Mean That Mentioning The Trinity Is A Jail-able Offense?

Is this the word they really want here?

Ted Olson: I'll Help Steal An Election, But I Won't Help Defend Trump

Mel Brooks To Be Extradited To UK For Hate Crime Trial?

Count Dankula Found Guilty of Nazi Pug Hate Video

I find myself incapable of articulating how ****ing insane this is.
I'm afraid it's time to start really worrying about the state of things in (on?) Airstrip One.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Peak PC?: You're A Sexist If You Don't Treat Your Echo With Respect

It's cheating...

The Khan / Yale Sexual Assault Trial: About Par For The Course

It seems like it's just one story after another like this from academia.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Carolina 65 - TAMU 86

Congrats to the Aggies on a damn great game. They were the better team on the court today and absolutely deserved the win.
   Really sad to see Carolina go out that way. Though TAMU was good, we were also...not. At one point we were 1 of 22 from 3, and we ended shooting under 20% from there. Not our day. TAMU was the kind of big, athletic team that is...or...was...very bad match-up for us. Since our inside game is so weak, we've got to be hitting from outside to beat a team like that. The offense manufactured lots of open looks for shots over the zone...but absolutely nothing would fall. Ergh.
   Man, I really wanted to see just one game where we got it all together and a healthy Theo could really strut his stuff...but, alas, 'twas not to be.
   Hey, yo, but we still get to be in the Sweet Sixteen, right? You, like, can't have the Sweet Sixteen without Carolina...right?
   On the bright side, I guess, hoops is over for the year, so I've got more time to do actual stuff.

Lindsey Graham Calls For Judiciary Hearing On Firing of McCabe

Don't agree with him all the time, obviously, but Graham has been going mostly up in my estimation since the '16 GOP debates.

Go Tar Heels

Beat the Aggies

History Conference Under Fire Because All Speakers Were White Males

The horror...the horror...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

There Is A Clear Link Between Mass Shootings And Mental Illness

   As for the link between mass shootings and being a white male--well, that seems true, too. I mean, I don't know what to make of it, and the vocal vanguard of the progressive / PC left is absolutely bat. shit. crazy. with hatred of evil straight white males...but that doesn't change the facts. If there's a correlation there's a correlation. No sense in getting our fee-fees in a bunch about it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

McMaster Out

I find this unnerving. 
I suppose I'm not the only person who wonders whether he's going to keep getting rid of people until he finds some compliant enough to do what he wants them to...whatever the hell that might be.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

"Recognizing Racist Microaggressions"

Includes the patently racist "there is only one race--the human race" (which I've heard many folks on the left say, incidentally, in some form or other), as well as the heinously, like, SUPER-MEGA-microaggressive "where were you born?" And don't miss "I think the most qualified person should get the job" God don't these people realize it's [current year]?????
   Then there are the hilarious ones that seem to have been lifted from a Leave It To Beaver episode or something, like "You're a girl, you don't have to be good at math." Which, of course, people say all the time these days. Just like: "Women? Vote? Hahaha! Dream on, little lady! Next thing, you'll want to wear pants!" And "Why don't you be a good girl and go make me a sandwich?"
   Also: saying "affirmative action is racist" is...well...I'm sure I don't have to tell you what it is...

Why Doesn't FDR Get Blamed For Japanese (Et Al.) Internment?

I read someone pointing this out a couple of months ago. It'd just never occurred to me before. I mean...shouldn't he be? 
(Unless, of course, internment was excusable...though...not to say I wouldn't have been just as crazy under those conditions...but...I'm skeptical that case can be made.)

CNN: Legally Deporting Illegal Aliens Back To Their Home Countries = The Holocaust

At first I thought: eh, this isn't so bad. It's just a journalist being relatively neutral about this shitty problem, plus some perfectly reasonable sympathy for these girls.
   Yeah, that goes away completely, and it becomes a full-blown, Holocaust-mongering feelz-fest. Seriously, this "journalist"s attitude is just gross.
   Which is, again, in no way to deny that this is a shitty, shitty problem.
   Honestly, do people not realize that it's the end of America if we don't exercise reasonable controls over who comes in? We've only got two options: (a) have some kind of reasonable immigration system and (b) chaos.

Duke Makes It Out Of First Round

...bracket busted

Who Believes in Russiagate?

All I know about Russiagate is what I read on the intertubes: it's either obviously for real and Trump is treasonous or it's obviously bogus and only the dupiest dupes take it seriously.
   I know it's all terribly obvious...but I basically don't know anything else about it.
   I'm just waitin' around for Mueller to tell me what's what.

[Whoa...turns out that when you post on Russiagate you get some reeeeeeeally crazy spam...]

Kudlow To Become Trump White House Economic Adviser

My prediction of Judge Judy to the Supreme Court is looking better and better.

What Will The Nationwide School Walkouts Accomplish?"

   There's little reason to think that kids have any particular insight into this problem--other than the kids who were actually at Parkland. It seems like that would give you an important perspective. Though it's also likely to rob you of your objectivity. My general inclination is to take the testimony of people with direct experience of such things very seriously...but not to accept their conclusions uncritically.
   Even the people involved in these walkouts seem to think it merely aims to "sustain outrage." It doesn't do anything to advance the arguments of the pro-more-gun-control side. It's really just a kind of theater. Here's one sentence on schools "collaborating" with students on walkouts...and almost a whole paragraph about schools working to thwart them:
Some schools collaborated with the students on actions, moments of silence, or programming with guest speakers. But other schools have forbidden students from participating in the walk-out, with some even threatening suspension. Some superintendents cited safety concerns for these restrictions, arguing that they didn’t have enough staff to protect students from potential violence while they were outside of classrooms. But other schools explicitly objected to students’ political activism: One middle school in Fresno, California, allowed students to walk out, but strongly discouraged them from speaking about gun policy, noting that some students wanted to make a statement of solidarity rather than engage in an act of political protest.
Obviously a lot of teachers and schools will be doing more than "collaborating," given the general political orientation of the education establishment. There can't be any real doubt that many teachers and schools will be encouraging the walkouts. Reports are already rolling in about students being pressured to participate--as well as reports of students being prevented from doing so. Our main goal right now, obviously, has to be to protect student's First Amendment rights. And that's got nothing to do with which side of the issue they're on (needless to say).
   I'm not a protesty guy anyway. And mobilizing the least-knowledgeable and least-mature segment of the population to do your bidding seems beyond lame to me. OTOH, I do think that youth can have a certain perspective on things. OTOOH, I doubt there's much more thought behind all this than there is behind any other teen fad. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Penn Punishes Amy Wax For Her Un-PC Views

I suppose it's possible that Penn is telling the truth about why they now refuse to let her teach civ pro...but only distantly possible. 
   Then there's this:
The Penn Law chapter of the National Lawyers' Guild, a progressive legal organization, said that Wax's comments were "an explicit and implicit endorsement of white supremacy," and asserted that "her bigoted views inevitably seep into her words and actions in the classroom and in private conversations with students."
White supremacy!!! means virtually nothing. Of course "white supremacy" is used by the left to merely mean racism. And 'racism' is used to mean...well...almost nothing anymore. Certainly nothing beyond white people did it and we don't like it. So it was inevitable that 'white supremacy' would come to mean virtually nothing, too. Nothing wax said is racist. She's got a--plausible--view about the advantages and disadvantages of certain cultures. The left bitches about Western culture ceaselessly. Needless to say, however, that's not racist for reasons. 
   Our cultural superstructure is controlled by cultists.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

National Geographic: We Were Racist For Showing People Who Were Different Than Us; And Because They Thought Our Cameras Were Cool

Nat Geo has decided to enter into the newest progressive fad: stern self-denunciation of its own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad racism. It apparently hired an expert on glossy racist nature photography to tell it exactly how awful it had been. Chief among its sins: it showed pictures of (a) people from elsewhere in the world who tend to wear fewer clothes than we do wearing fewer clothes than we do, and (b) people from places that don't have cameras and shit being amazed at cameras and shit. Both of these things are, as you can see, superDUPER racist. Like, basically they couldn't BE any more racist unless they'd, I don't know, represented non-Westerners as exotic or different than us or something. God knows they probably otherized the shit out of other people.
   Who, incidentally, doesn't go gaga over slick technology they've never seen before? We gawk at the stuff like crazy and we see it every damn day. How can you be so goddamn puritanical or whatever it is as to flagellate yourself over showing people having perfectly goddamn natural, amazed reactions to objectively amazing shit? I guess they should have been like: "Listen up you guys, you gotta act SUPER FUCKING BLASE about this technology or we're totally not putting you in the magazine."
   Cultural Revolution II: The Cultening seems to be proceeding apace.

De'Andre Hunter Has A Broken Wrist; Done For The Year

Damn that's a gut punch for the Hoos

Julia Serano, "Debunking 'Trans Women Are Not Women' Arguments"

Wow this is terrible.
   I mean really, really, really bad. Though I will say that I think it inadvertently helped me understand an aspect of this ridiculous theory: the not-well-articulated idea seems to be that experiencing sexism is what makes someone a woman. I mean...that's obviously absurd. But I think that's part of what these people are thinking. That squares with my view that one way to understand these kinds of theories is as the latest development in, roughly, the disagreement about the priority of nature over culture (or vice-versa). They basically want to minimize the role of nature and maximize that of culture. So they are unhappy that being a woman is a biological matter, and are trying to find a way to replace that conception with a social conception. So much the better if it's an oppressiony one.

The Loneliness of James Mattis

Please don't leave, Mad Dog.

Tillerson / McMaster / Mnuchin "Suicide Pact"?

I hope not. I don't see Trump's choices getting any better.

Hayley Phelan: "How Does Submissive Sex Work In The Age Of #Me Too?"

This is reasonable.
   But look: 
   First, it's not about "Me Too." It's about "affirmative consent" = "'Yes' means yes." As I've noted before, "yes means yes" isn't the right name for it. It's, rather:  No 'yes' means no. The main component of "affirmative consent" theory is: 
If John and Jane are having sex, John must explicitly ask for and explicitly receive permission to proceed at every moment.
   No one has ever done this in the entire history of sex. In fact, it's impossible. No matter how frequently John asks, there will always and inevitably be a window during which he has not secured explicit consent. And that's where the rape happens. Every time.
   Of course usually the advocates of the "affirmative consent" theory say that permission must only be secured at every point of escalation...but that isn't true. It's no defense to say "we'd been doing x for awhile at that point." If you fail to "secure assent" with respect to continuing to do x, advocates of affirmative consent will classify you as a rapist.
[I once asked Johnny Quest what she'd do if I started asking for consent during sex at every point, every time. Without hesitating, she said "Break up with you." Oh yeah. She's crazy about me.]
   But anyway: 
   Though I think Phelan's piece is pretty reasonable, it's probably wasted effort, because there's a clear answer to the question in her title: there is no place for any non-zero degree of dominance or submission in sex according to the affirmative consent theory. It's patently obvious that, by the principles (such as they are) of political correctness and progressivier parts of progressivism, any nonzero degree of either dominance or submission is "rape culture." Period.
Read more »

Damore's "Anti-Diversity" "Manifesto"

This is just one stupid thing, but it does give you some idea what we're up against when you see this kind of rhetoric. Damore's document is in no substantial sense "anti-diversity." (Not to mention: a "manifesto.")
   At my own institution, "diversity" and "inclusion" have become creepy-ass mantras that are intoned at every opportunity...and then some. They often seem to be more important to the institution than teaching and scholarship. Even somebody like me who's basically in favor of the ideas (when they're stripped of their quasi-religious creepiness and PC aspects) can't help but be weirded out a bit by how they've been elevated to something like the unquestionable and primary obsession of the institution.
   Anyway. Pointing out he failings of contemporary diversophiliacs is not equivalent to being against fairness. In fact, a commitment to fairness demands that we oppose the excesses of diversophlia. Which is what Damore did. The first words of his "manifesto" are: "I value diversity and inclusion..." Of course the PC left springs its kafkatrap at such impertinence...but they're crazy.

Trump's Revolving Door

Tillerson out.
   I'll bet turnover in the upper administration constitutes some kind of (weak) objective measure of presidential quality. Ceteris parabus, high turnover doesn't seem like a good sign.

Bombs in Austin

Sunday, March 11, 2018

David French: Civility Isn't Surrender

This is ok. An important topic, anyway.
   Of course it's the fringes that tend to be uncivil. Though as the American left has shifted lefter, and "progressives" have more-or-less accepted political correctness and identity politics (except for white identity politics, of course) as their orthodoxy, incivility has invaded / pervaded more and more of lefty discourse. Or so it seems to me.
   Among the many crazy things mixed in with all of this: the shrieky left shrieks about calls for civility being fascist even as they insist that those with whom they disagree must not be allowed to speak at all--and even as they shout them down and physically attack them. To review: calls for the left to engage in civil discussion: fascistic. The left physically attacking non-leftists in order to prevent them from civilly stating their case: totally cool.

Heels Fall To the Hoos 71 - 63 In The ACCT Final

Good game Heels, good game Hoos.
The better team won tonight.
Hoos are legit.
Looks like a 1 seed for UVA and a 2 for UNC.
Everybody in C'ville be all like.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"Queer Death Studies"

The header from a recent conference announcement on PHILOS-L:

The Third International Queer Death Studies Workshop
“Death Matters: Death and Dying in a Queer Context”
30-31 May 2018
Linköping University, Sweden

I am not making this up.

Putin: Election Meddling Probly Th' Jooz

Well now...why didn't I think of that?

Heels - Hoos

The south's oldest hoops rivalry, and my two favorite teams.
   Man, this is gonna be fun.

Carolina 74 - Duke 69

Kind of a weird game. And Carolina just seems to have fallen into a pattern of not scoring for the last five minutes against Duke. But they built up a big enough lead and played good enough D that it didn't matter this time. Duke's perennial relentlessness almost turned things around, though.
   There was--unsurprisingly--some Grayson Allen trippery. But at least he got a flagrant for it this time. And Brooks could have been hurt--that was a hard fall. Total dick move by Allen, yet again. And Trent pulled Duke's signature kick-the-defender-on-the-3 move against Cam Johnson, and grabbed him and pulled him down to the floor just for good measure on the same play. And got away with it. This is the stuff that makes it hard to regard Duke as just an honorable rival.
   OTOH, Bagley continues to be a blast to watch. Dude is really, really good.
   And, what can you say about that dude? One of my favorite Heels ever.
   Carolina does seem to be the better team. Who would have thought that at the beginning of the year? Not me, I'll admit.

Monday, March 05, 2018

"El Salvador's Gangs Are Targeting Young Girls: The Trump Administration's Immigration Policies Are Certain To Make It Worse"

IMO the main points to make in this vicinity are:
1. We do have an obligation to take a significant number of refugees; that should be a major component of our immigration policy--and it is.
2. We can't take everyone.
3. There are about ten countries closer to El Salvador than the U.S. is. As in the case of so many refugees (or "refugees") to Europe, if the aim were really just to get out of their home country, you'd expect them to aim for somewhere closer / stop sooner. Given that they don't, there can't be any doubt that they're not merely trying to get out of somewhere, but, rather, trying to get somewhere.
4-ish. Furthermore, it'd be interesting to know how many keep going to Canada. My guess: if getting out of El Salvador were the overriding (?) motive, you'd expect a pattern that was more-or-less directionally indifferent, and people should tend to cluster in nearby countries. I'd also guess that you'd actually find an inordinate number of people going north, and passing right through Guatemala and Mexico...and going to the U.S...and stopping.
   I think we should aim to help more refugees rather than fewer. But I also think we shouldn't be stupid about it. I'd also like us to do more to help out places like El Salvador--which I'd think would mean: more foreign assistance of some kind, probably including law enforcement training and funding. Just letting their people flee here isn't the greatest plan. Maybe we could give preference to people who agree to learn about international development and return some day. I don't know. It's not exactly my area. But progressives often seem to hover on the verge of arguing that we have to take in anyone who is worse off elsewhere. All of their arguments are slanted in the direction of taking in more and more people...from groups high up in the progressive stack, anyway...and alternatives are rarely mentioned. Others note that the vast majority of those they want to take in are future Democrats...but I doubt that's their main goal. I think it's the general progressive principle of aiding the poor and disadvantaged, and women and nonwhites. Those principles pervade progressivism. I doubt we'll see any similar progressive push to give refugee states to, say, white South African farmers. (Though not a lot of white South African farmers are showing up at our borders; so there's an asymmetry.) At any rate, I think it's clear that progressives are constitutionally disinclined to think of alternatives to and limits on our acceptance of poor, nonwhite females who can plausibly claim to be fleeing sexual violence. (I'd also guess--were I guessing--that the article makes the problem seem more pervasive than it actually is. I'd further guess that someone less committed to the progressive project of (in effect) maximizing immigration of certain kinds would note the obvious objection: one goal of regulating such immigration is to prevent the gangs in question from flourishing here. To refuse to seriously attend to keeping e.g. MS-13 out of the U.S is just going to make the problem bigger.)
   At any rate: I'm generally in favor of helping refugees, but generally suspicious of the relentlessly single-minded progressive orientation on immigration.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

The Strange Case of 'Oriental': Jayne Tsuchiyama: 'Oriental' Is Outdated, But Not A Slur

Obvious, but I was still glad to see it.
I read somewhere (and think I posted) that the idea that 'oriental' is a slur was basically engineered in the outrage factory of the humanities / social sciences.

Plants Might Have Colonized Land A Whole Lot Earlier Than We Thought

Carolina 64 - d00k 74

Yeesh that was an ugly half...that was the ugliest half since...the first half against Miami...which was the ugliest half since...I dunno...Wofford maybe?
   Good game Dukies, especially Bagley. And WTF?, dude isn't even hateable! What's up with that? Of course he's just passing Dukiness hasn't really seeped into him.
   Not wild about the idea of aiming to spoil somebody's senior day...but gotta admit, I wasn't wild about Grayson Allen, the personification of d00kzyzewskiness, going out on a winning note. Man, if that guy played for us I'd be mortified. But they love him. But Duke and Carolina are, well, different.
   But, hey, they seem to have been doing some how-not-to-kick-the-opponent drills in practice. And it seems to really have paid off for them.
   Berry and Maye...MIA, and two shaky performances in a row for the Heels... Not really awesome...but maybe not really indicative of something major. Hard to say.
   On to the ACC TournamentDome! Fifteen teams enter, one team leaves!*

*Fifteen teams.
In Brooklyn.
I miss the old/actual ACC.

Is Trump Flipping His Shit?

Seems so.
   This is what I really fear. In addition to all his other vices, that guy just isn't stable. He's in way, way, way over his head, facing less-and-less-fantastical accusations of collusion...and never-in-the-least-bit-fantastical accusations of obstruction of justice. I don't find it at all difficult to believe that someone like Trump would flip out under such conditions. I mean, look: it almost doesn't even matter whether he's innocent or guilty. Either way, he's living a nightmare. Other than the nightmare of just being Trump, that is. He's got to feel trapped like a rat. A rat that may very well have colluded with the Rooskies...and then tried to cover it up by firing the director of the FBI.
   Add an openly anti-Trump media and the grotesquely unhinged "resistance" to the mix...not even to mention the ordinarily extraordinary pressures of being the POTUS...and, honestly, it's enough to drive a much better man than Trump (of which there are many) flip out.
   I mean...extemporaneous trade war? Really????
   I just hope that Putin's announcement of his new alleged superduper weapons doesn't provoke Trump into another button-measuring contest. That's the kind of thing that really keeps me up at night.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Go Tar Heels

Beat the Dark Side

I Don't Even Ask

Refuting Falsehoods Does Not Make People Believe Them More

For forty years or so, psychologists have reveled in telling us how irrational we are. I used to believe all that stuff, but stopped doing so quite awhile ago. Some of the alleged phenomena seem pretty plausible and well-established...but a lot of the more recent just don't believe 'em. My view is that there are basically only two reasonable reactions to hearing about such alleged results: (a) LOL no and (b) wake me when there's a metastudy. 
   I never quite believed the stuff about cognitive boomerang effects, but I'll admit, it didn't send me to SKEPTICON ONE the way a lot of stuff does. 
   But anyway: it's likely false. And that's not exactly surprising.

School Are Safer Than They Were In The '90s; School Shootings Are Not More Common

Very interesting.
Of course we might respond: but they were insufficiently safe in the '90s, and shootings were too common. But the comparative point is still important.

Lisa Marchiano: Transgenderism and the Social Construction of Diagnosis

This is right on target.
   I'll say again that the terminological train wreck 'social construction' undermines every conversation it shows up in...but we can work around that.
   The problem isn't really that diagnoses are "socially constructed" (not that that's an actual thing...), but rather that (a) they're often theory-laden, and that (b) theories are often false or inaccurate, largely in virtue of being (c) socially transmitted (d) on non-rational grounds. There's likely a real (often: psychological, even biological) basis for this sort of thing. But the phenomenon itself is vague and multifarious, and nobody knows exactly what it is. So a theory is promulgated: you're really (in some sense of 'really'...) the opposite sex! This theory is false, of course--but it catches on because the left has a political interest in promoting it. Political pressure is applied to enforce acceptance of the theory among psychologists, doctors and the public. And now people with a vague and multifarious collection of maladies start interpreting their own experiences through the lens of the theory: I'm gender disphoric! I'm actually the opposite sex!
   This all has more straightforwardly moral consequences as well as more epistemic ones. The former include implanting delusions in children and mutilating their bodies. The latter include training ourselves to obey whatever commends the left might decide to issue, cowering in the face of their disapproval.
   There's a really important lesson in all this, but I reckon we won't learn it. We didn't seem to learn anything from the Satanic Panic. We're in the midst of an episode of mass hysteria / mass psychogenic illness. The official theory doesn't make any sense, but the left has adopted the meta-strategy of accusing anyone who disagrees with its theories of identity sin: some affront to the feelings / self-concept of one of the groups at the top of the progressive stack. Identity sins are sins so horrific that most people anywhere left of the right dare not say (or even think?) anything that might even possibly result in an accusation--and accusations are made very, very freely. During the Satanic Panic, no one wanted to defend the accused, since by doing so they risked bringing down accusations of pedophilia on themselves. (Some people were actually put on trial merely for testifying on behalf of others who had been accused.) And so we went on collectively pretending that children were being flown to other countries en masse during the school day, molested by Satanic cults, then flown back...without a peep from them or a single sign it had happened.
   It was one thing when the left used accusations of identity sin to coerce conformity of word and deed. But now they're using them to coerce conformity of thought. That's on them, of course...but the really scary thing is how well this works on us. Even people I've long thought to be independent thinkers are cowed into silence and acquiescence because they are so desperately afraid of being called "transphobic." Which, you'll note, wasn't even a sin until very recently...but we've been trained to hit the dirt when anything of the form "*phobic" or "*ism" is thrown at us. We haven't merely been trained to obey, we've been trained to live in terror of suffixes.
   We sure do disappoint me sometimes.

Extemporaneous Trade War Everybody!

LOL now this is the Trump I fear and deride.
   On the bright side: trade war not war war. 
   This time, anyway.
   On the other bright side: surely this sort of thing makes it more likely that we'll finally throttle back on presidential power...right? And speaking of war and presidential power: remember when the War Powers Act was a thing?

Friday, March 02, 2018

Another Really Shitty Piece on PC: Tim Kreider: Go Ahead, Millennials: Destroy Us"

Egad this is terrible...except for the part about the left being the censorious and oppressive end of the spectrum now. That's certainly true.
   I do think youth has certain cognitive advantages; it tends to be less blase and set in its ways. It's also almost completely lacking in wisdom, good sense, the ability to engage in dispassionate analysis and perspective.
   And: yes, transgenderism is a fad. And a fad that makes no sense whatsoever. It isn't about breaking out of gender roles; it's about reinforcing them. In fact, it's about turning generalizations into definitions. Stop pretending that defining women as people who wear dresses is some kind of act of liberation. Jesus Christ. That nonsense makes conservatism downright liberal by comparison. And, more importantly, transgenderism, like the rest of the PC train wreck, is about subordinating truth to political dogma.

   And as for taking our guns, destroying all our works, and all that...well...molon labe, kiddies.

   But look: just stop pretending that a couple of well-coiffed, media-savvy rich kids from Florida are going to change the world. I'm sorry that they went through what they went through. And I am, indeed, interested in doing something about mass murders. But being photogenic doesn't make you worth listening to, and no amount of pimping by CNN will change that. I'm happy to have a national conversation about this stuff, and I'm happy to hear the input of people who have actually lived through such things. It's worth listening to their reports of their experiences; they had them and we didn't. But having had those experiences doesn't make them any better at reasoning about principles and policies.

REI Stops Selling 5 NRA-Linked Brands

Well...I'm not pro-NRA...and I love REI...but I think I'm going to cancel my membership over this.
   I'm sick of the left's view that politics must pervade everything...including our business dealings and personal lives. "The personal is political" is one of the most insidious ideas of our time. I'd rather not get dragged into such nonsense...but damn.
   Hell...maybe I should join the NRA again...haven't been a member for decades...I don't actually agree with all that much...but damn. They may be on their way to being the less-crazy side in this debate.

20 Years Later, Lewinsky Decides Her Affair With Clinton Was Non-Consensual

Because any woman can declare at any time than any act of sex she ever engaged in (with a man, anyway) was rape. No matter what.
   Honestly, is this better than what we had before? And is the left simply incapable of not taking everything to surreal extremes? In terms of actual effects on people's lives, I'm sure that rape crisis hysteria and #MeToo madness isn't worse than its opposite. But in terms of sheer insanity, it's quickly outstripped the opposite error. 
   I think this is a pretty common pattern: there's some social problem that genuinely needs to be fixed...but, whatever else you can say about it, it doesn't really come with a theory. It's just bad behavior. The left takes steps to fix the problem...but, as Rorty points out, it just can't resist the urge to "theorize" it. And its theories are always insane. In terms of flat-out, unconceptualized misery, there can't be much doubt that sexual assault and harassment are worse than feminist #MeToo hysteria. But in terms of sheer deranged looniness, it seems to me there's no comparison. And don't forget: there is no reasonable person standard that regulates things like "hostile environment" "sexual harassment": whatever a woman feels to be harassment is harassment. 
   And, as always: I realize that some feminists reject the radical position. But what I really object to is the fact that the sane sectors of feminism basically refuse to criticize their crazies. (Cathy Young et al. don't count--they're considered heretics.)

Merkel Admits That Germany Has "No-Go" Areas

Trump Wants Yer Guns

Cripes, what a spaz.

I assume he'll have forgotten about this in a week or two.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Miami Dude Walked

The Miami dude who hit the alleged game-winner on senior night walked.
Waddaya gonna do? You're almost never gonna get that call.

[Better angle]

Jalek Felton is Gone

When is this BS going to end? PJ, then the AFAM scandal, now this. It's like we're snake-bit. Except, y'know...for those two title games. And the title... Anyway, the most exciting player we've gotten in awhile...and he turns out to be...if the rumors are true...a piece of crap. And it sure sounds like they're true.