Saturday, August 31, 2019

A Progressive Cycle

Adopt irrationalist, antiscientific, anti-speech positions and uncivil tactics --> political opponents left and right point out that you've adopted irrationalist, antiscientific, anti-speech positions and uncivil tactics --> "Reason, science, free speech and civility are racist, racist."

Everyone I Don't Like Is Literally Hitler

It's about time for this classic again, I say:
It won't embed, though, unfortunately.

John Yoo: AG's Report Shows That Trump Didn't Obstruct Justice, "Trump Freed Justice" (By Freeing It Of A Rogue Comey)

Well, I used to bash Yoo nonstop...turns out he's actually not a monster. That was a stupid, unreflective, anti-Bush attitude. (Though many anti-Bush attitudes are justified.) (And Jesus Christ the tortu...uh..."enhanced interrogation"...thing...)
I have no idea whether he's right about this, but I now have reason to believe that he's worth taking seriously. Those reasons might be overridden in the future.
We're stuck in this ridiculous position again: even after an investigation, and even after we have an AG's report in hand, and even after the experts have reported on what it means...we're stuck with more-or-less opposite conclusions.
I absolutely do not currently have time to even try to figure it out myself. And I'm not at all sure that I could figure it out myself. In general, of course, I tend to think that the right is just about as nutty as it's always been, but that the left has completely flown off the handle...basically into an erratic low-Earth orbit... I'd be less-surprised if the leftier interpretations were more off-base, driven by TDS. Yoo sounds like he might start from about where I do: Trump's awful, but...
But I doubt there's any figuring all this out for sure without some expertise and/or quite a bit of time.

Racism --> White Supremacy --> Slavery Advocacy?

I've wondered here before how the progressive left will rhetorically escalate things beyond 'white supremacy.' Of course any opposition to them is racism, as has been well-established... But then that wasn't enough, and now 'white supremacy' has largely replaced 'racism' that your dear old aunt Mary's barely-detectible, slightly suboptimal attitude about, say, Asia-Pacific islanders makes her a white supremacist--the moral equivalent of George Lincoln Rockwell.
   But where next? We know that the PC left works largely by thinking up inaccurate and politically-loaded terms, then insisting on their use. It's one of their main ways of skewing debates in their favor. But where to go after 'white supremacist'??? I guess Eve Fairbanks's recent train wreck of an argument gestures at one path forward: even natural lefties who are pushed away from the left by the left's misology and incivility are the moral equivalent of slavery advocates/defenders.
   Of course they'll have to think up a stupid-sounding earworm of a term for it--I'm sure the PC jargonworks is already spinning out some options. 'Sladvocacy'? Maybe just something like 'Neoconfederate'...though that doesn't have the right pseudointellectual ring to it, really... Obviously I'm not going to be any good at this...but you know it's going to happen...

   Standard disclaimer: not everyone left-of-center thinks like this. But so long as the silent majority (?) of former liberals refuses to oppose this insanity, it's reasonable to characterize them as something in the vicinity of sympathetic/complicitous.

More On The Fairbanks Thesis: Truth, Reason and Civility = Slavery

Or: it's easy to hit a large, slow target.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Was The Tea Party Mostly About Racism?

Tyler O'Neil: "The Left Still Thinks The Tea Party Was All About Racism"
Stephen Green: They don't, really, it's just a useful smear.
Me: They probably kinda do, because they think everything the non-left does is all about racism.
OTOH, they're so addicted to doublethink that it's really hard to say...

More On The Possible Decline Of Insect Populations

This would be a particularly ignominious way to go out.

Trump: Meta-Lying

Liars also tend to meta-lie of course--they lie about their lying. Sometimes if I think someone is lying to me I'll ask them outright. Every now and then you'll run across someone who's willing to lie about something, but not willing to meta-lie about it. But that's not the usual state of affairs.
I do think that K-Mac has a kind of point. It's painfully clear that the media and the left have done a lot of their own lying about Trump--lying, distorting, spinning, nit-picking and so on. And a fair amount of that has come in the form of bogus "fact-checks."
But no matter how you slice it, the dude says a whole lot of false things. He lies...he bullshits...he gets carried away...he's subject to wishful thinking. He just doesn't have a firm grip on the truth.
Somebody like that simply can't be president.
But here we are.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Eve Fairbanks: If You Care About Reason, You're A Slaver

I recently said that I can no longer discern what the stupidest thing I've read in the last week-or-month is.
Whelp, I was wrong.
This is a goddamn horrorshow of stupid.

K-Mac: Trump Has Never Lied

Aw, K-Mac...why you gotta be like that?
She's smart. I actually like her. But...damn. Like...really damn...

DOJ: Sex Is Biological; Civil Rights Act Doesn't Protect Transgenders

   Contrary to one of the amicus briefs mentioned, however: "gender identity" isn't so much a vague concept as a nonsensical one. Better: an absurd one. I can't think of any real case in which we consider thinking of yourself as F as a way of being F. Especially when you are demonstrably not F. Many guys think of themselves and/or represent themselves as being 6'+ when they are not. Many people misrepresent their ages, and many even claim to feel younger, and/or not think of themselves as being the age they are. Sometimes people "can't believe" their age is what it is. Believing that you are F when you aren't F is not another way of being F. In fact, believing that you are F even when you are F isn't a way of being F--it's being F that makes you F. Not believing you are F. Being F has nothing to do with believing you're F. Well, being F probably raises the likelihood that you think you're F, if that counts.
   There are probably some trick cases floating around, but I don't care. Notoriously thinking that you are a thinking thing makes you a thinking thing--but that just doesn't matter here. Such cases work because the F in question is having a mental property that you come to have as a result of believing. Sex, obviously, isn't like that. Gender isn't like that either...unless you fall for the nonsense redefinitions of the term. And, well, even if you do fall for them, it isn't actually like that.
   This really is the stupidest, more patently irrational stuff I've ever seen in the culture wars in my life. This makes backmasking and astrology look downright scientific...
   As I've said before, though: I don't see why you can't just make a case on the basis of actual sex. If the employer allows women to wear certain clothes, isn't it plausibly sex-discrimination not to allow men to wear the same kind of clothes? But that case is far too rational and straightforward for the contemporary progressive left and transgender ideologues. They've got bigger fish to fry--they aim to coerce people by force of law to accept their superstitious views about transgenderism. Winning the case on rational grounds isn't what they want. They want to win it as a stepping stone to imposing their creationist metaphysics on everyone. 
   I continue to think that this is a hugely important episode in the crazification of the left. The addition of 'T' on the end of 'LGB' is no trivial matter. It represents a transformation--from a liberal, libertarian movement that merely sought to let people live their lives freely, to an antirealist, totalitarian movement that seeks to control the actions, words and thoughts of others, forcing them to accept and act in accordance with obvious falsehoods. 

British PC T.V. Scolds Ban Ads Suggesting Sex Differences In Parenting

It seems to me that this sort of thing should alarm the hell out of everyone.
I hate commercials and never watch them--in fact, JQs dad finds it annoying that we invariably mute commercials. But it's utterly mad to give the government the ability to micromanage the details of any speech in this way.
And, of course, it's not just this one thing. PC progressivism is pushing forward on--seemingly--every front. Progressive friends of mine seem inclined to simply dismiss every instance--that's NBD...that's a plausible restriction...that's aspirational...that really is a necessary corrective...and on and on and on. Somehow nothing ever seems to cause alarm...and neither does the aggregate of all the many things.
Even aside from more general concerns about speech- and thought-control, the problem seems to be (in at least one of the commercials) that the ad has the temerity to represent (in a humorous way) the fact that women tend to be better at parenting than men are. So it's the truth that is particularly offensive to cultural micromanagers.
Guess I must be the crazy one. It's either me or pretty much everybody else I know. The latter seems unlikely. Hard to believe that my craziness metric is so severely out of whack...but there it is.

Vancouver: Women-Only Rape-Relief Shelter Defunded, Vandalized

Because it wouldn't take in men misrepresenting themselves as women.

Turley: Between Trump And The Openly Anti-Trump Media, We Can't Be Sure What To Believe

Trump has little regard for the truth. Significant swaths of the media don't either, anymore, when it comes to Trump--and, I'd say, any culture-war issue. Did Trump suggest nuking hurricanes?:
I truly do not know the truth of this matter and that disturbs me a great deal. Like many Americans, it is not clear who or what source can be trusted. With some media now openly anti-Trump, it is difficult to trust the reporting. Yet, the President himself shows a continuing lack of concern over the accuracy or truth of statements. That leaves the public with little ability to discern fact from fiction — a dangerous position for any democratic system.
Agreed. This is, I think, basically the situation I predicted before the last general election: Trump is disaster in many ways. The insanity of the contemporary left contributed to his election, and now he's made them even crazier than they were before. And now we'll have to choose between four more years of Trumpian lunacy or at least four years of increasingly loony leftward lunacy. I see no good, realistic path forward, honestly. Trump's policies are center-rightish; that may be the deciding factor. Bernie is dangerous economically, but at least he's sane--and he's expressed obvious irritation with the identity politics wing of the party in the past. I don't see Dems losing the House, especially if they win the presidency. Perhaps the least-bad option is a president Bernie hobbled by a Republican Senate.
   But my concerns about the Dems aren't limited to their frontman. I continue to be very pro-Obama...but even he swept hard-left bureaucrats like Catherine Lehman into office, where they were able to advance their cultish agenda (see e.g. Title IX madness).
   Actually, at this point, it's all too crazy for me to rank the likely options. If someone could stop Trump from tweeting, that might make him a live option. But the fact that no one can is another cause for concern. Sometimes I think his tweets are good because they are frequent reminders / updates on his nuttiness and unfitness for office. They keep us informed about his thoughts, such as they are. OTOH, they constitute a coarsening and crazifying influence on the nation. At any rate, tactically they almost can't be good. But no one can stop him from issuing them. That in itself is worrisome, to my mind. No one has enough influence over him to keep him from shooting himself in the ass multiple times per day.
   But the transformation of the news media often worries me more. In fact, what worries me more than that is that it may not be a transformation, but a revelation: they're the same as they've always been, they've just been flushed out.
   I'm going to stop even thinking about this stuff.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

More On The NYT's "1619" Lunacy

The Times, we are told, will "demonstrate" that "nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery."
It's no longer feasible for me to identify the stupidest thing I've heard in any given week...not most weeks, anyway. But this one is going to be damn hard to top.
Honestly, you've got to be pretty damn well-educated to be so indoctrinated with stupid that you can say things like that with a straight face.

Thomas Sowell, "Mascots Of The Anointed"

The Left And The NYT (But I Repeat Myself) Slander The Tea Party, Calling It...Well...Guess!

Since they call everyone the same thing no matter what, it's an easy one...
I'm not a Tea Party fan. But, damn, given how crazy I now see things can get, it's made me almost miss 'em. At least they were a political opponent I could basically respect. And one that--though I was inclined to think them mistaken--wasn't likely to wreck the whole damn country and send it spinning off into cloud cuckoo land.

Trump: "Fox Isn't Working For Us Anymore"

What a train wreck that guy is.

Rauch on Trump and "The Constitution of Knowledge"

I think I disagree with a lot of this, but I'll need to read it more carefully.
   My own view is that Trump raises no special epistemic or otherwise philosophical questions. He's just an ordinary lying, bullshitting politician, different in degree but not in kind as compared to others. He says more false things--he's turned that up to 11. And that's very, very bad.
   But it's the left, not the right, that raises philosophical problems. Much of the academic left has abandoned the ideas/ideals of truth, knowledge, and objectivity. It explicitly rejects them as something akin to a matter of principle. The right might refuse to accept scientific conclusions it doesn't like; but much of the intellectual left rejects the very idea of science as a method and an institution for discovering truth. (Also, it tends to colonize sciences and bend them to its purposes...I don't know whether that should be classified as an in-principle, philosophical problem or not.)
   Of course differences in degree are sometimes more dangerous than differences in kind. Leftist misology, anti-science and relativism/constructivism do have practical effects--e.g. in the debate over transgenderism. But it's not clear (to me, anyway) how much they affect practice. Having a guy who doesn't care about the truth as POTUS...that's a clear and present danger.
   My own current view is that Trump's disregard for truth is a more immediate danger, but the left's philosophical rejection of truth, knowledge, and objectivity represent a deeper, more long-term and fundamental threat.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Jason Richwine: "Free Speech Matters, Even When It's Not Protected By The First Amendment"

   Of course the vocal vanguard of the progressive left tends to leap immediately to ad hominems--and what they tend to say in response to arguments like Richwine's is: you just want to use racist epithets without suffering any consequences. (In Richwine's particular case, of course, they have more specific ad hominems to level, too.) Of course they're wrong, as usual. And it's hard to believe that the argument is even sincere. We're not facing a social situation in which all speech is permitted except for screaming racial epithets. We're facing a case in which wide swaths of permissible speech are being suppressed by extremely powerful private groups and organizations. And in which merely asserting that someone is e.g. a racist can do great harm to them. And in which the groups and organizations previously mentioned are willing to level such charges at the drop of a hat.
   As conservatives--and the remaining rag-tag remnants of liberalism--keep pointing out, the First Amendment protects free speech because free speech is good and important. It doesn't create a right, it protects a right.
   And, of course: the progressive left is committed to suppressing speech--and thought--because its arguments are generally shit. It can't win in the marketplace of ideas. Its only hope is to exert nonrational pressure on people, bullying them into agreement/submission.

Democrats Don't Want Your Guns, They Just Want Common-Sense Gun-Confiscation

This sort of talk makes me more understanding of NRA hard-liners.
   I'm willing to consider additional restrictions--e.g. background checks--on "assault rifles" and high-capacity magazines. I'm skeptical, but I don't dismiss the idea out of hand--in a cool hour, anyway. I'm even willing to listen to arguments about "red flag" laws, dangerous as they are. But the fact that prominent Dems are willing to leap to crazy ideas like confiscation so quickly isn't a good sign. The relevant concern is that they'll never be satisfied with anything less than confiscation / a ban. 
   It seems to me that this disagreement largely turns on facts about how common mass shootings are. If there were a high-casualty mass-shooting with an MSR every day in every town, the shape of the debate would be different. Well...I suppose we'd actually just all go around armed in that case. Well, maybe not "just"...we may well seek a ban, too. I'd think it'd be an open-and-shut case at the ballot box. 
   I used to be more receptive to restrictions on MSRs and high-capacity mags. But what I've seen in the left over the past five-or-so years has alarmed the hell out of me. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

"Trump Is Prioritizing The Climate's Destruction Over His Own Reelection"

Yes, Trump is intentionally destroying the climate--that is his goal. He sits in the Oval Office with a white cat on his lap saying "Bwahahaha by this time next decade, there will be no reversing my anti-climate initiative!" Destroying the climate is more important to him than his own reelection. That's how much he hates the climate. And humans. Especially his own grandchildren. As you know, Trump has no principles...except...weirdly...this one. So...he has no good principles. But he does have bad principles. Like Fuck the Earth.
   Spending $A-Gazillion on climate stuff is win-win! It pays for itself! It's worth it even if you hate the climate! It's worth it on purely economic grounds! Even for a climate-hater, there is no better way to stimulate the economy and make us all rich, rich, rich! So the fact that Trump doesn't do it shows that he wants to destroy the Earth.


Is this story really worth plastering all over everywhere? It's a terrible idea that basically everyone has suggested at some point or other. So he suggests it and it's rejected. What's the problem? I'm kinda more concerned about the yes-man who told him it was worth looking into. What's wrong with these people. Repeat after me: "That won't work, Mr. President." How hard is that? Granted, I don't know how you get to be 73 without knowing that...but whatever.
Why not focus on his real and important weaknesses and errors?

Sunday, August 25, 2019

TDS Watch: Chair Of Duke Psychiatry Department: Trump May Kill More People Than Mao, Stalin, and Hitler (Combined?)

My guess is that this is one of those deals where a patient chloroformed a doctor and then went around impersonating him. If B movies have taught us anything, it's that this is a fairly common occurrence.
I really can't think of any other equally plausible explanations.

The Klan Kind Of Rallies In Hillsborough

F*ck these guys, obviously.
As goes without saying.
Also noteworthy: looks like twelve of them, excluding a kid. Such jackassery is never going to go away entirely. My own view is, roughly: if they've been reduced to a dozen, largely old, chubby dudes, occasionally and peacefully exercising their sacred First Amendment right to be idiots, then there's basically no reason to get too bent out of shape about it. These guys are powerless numbskulls. Don't make them out to be something they aren't. They're an embarrassment, but not a lot more than that.
Hell, try to talk to 'em. I suspect they thrive on anger and being shut out. I don't think many people are entirely immune to reason. I'll bet that, given enough time, I could flip at least a couple of these people. They've got to realize, at some level, that their view isn't built on solid ground.

Saturday, August 24, 2019


"Heterosexuality just isn't working" and "women are opting out."
   When I was young and stupid enough to listen to feminists, I thought shit like this was serious.
In actual fact, women like men. Like men like women. Aside form the 1-ish percent of each sex that likes their own sex more, nobody's going anywhere. A whole lot more women experiment / fool around with other women...but that's not who they elect to stay with long-term. Have these people never met people? Because they don't seem to know anything about them...
   Also...I thought it was hate speech / patriarchy / white privilege / global warming / whatever to think that sexual preference was optional... So what happened to that? It's as if the left is simply making shit up and grasping at such rules ad hoc...I mean...if I didn't know better, of course...

Friday, August 23, 2019

Majority Don't Want Trump Impeached

Not sure how much that should matter.
The more important question is: how strong are the grounds for impeachment?

"'He Has Made Us A Laughingstock': Diplomats Stunned By Trump's Feud With Denmark"

   This is an actual thing about the actual Trump: he's a national--and international--embarrassment.
I barely even notice this stuff anymore. It's humiliating...but it doesn't move the needle much, because we've already basically hit rock-bottom in that respect. We can't really look all that much more ridiculous than we already look.
   There's a kind of microcosm of the Trump administration here: he has a really nutty--but not entirely crazy--idea (buy Greenland). Kinda embarrassing...but not actually terrible. In a way. I guess. The left loses its shit, as if the idea were somehow beyond the pale, rather than merely nutty. Trump ups the ante by being a loony jackass and starting a feud with Denmark because they--perfectly reasonably and entirely predictably--turn him down. was kind of a rude suggestion.
   The only thing missing, really, is some sort of contrived accusations of racism from the left.
   And a porn star.

Trump Dismisses Recession Warnings

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Damon Linker Shreds The NYT's "1619 Project"

The claim that the real founding of the nation was when the first slave ships arrived is so stupid as to almost deserve no response. And that's just for starters.

CBO: Trillion-Dollar Deficit Next Year

John Kass: Robert Mueller Crushed Their Dreams, So Democrats [e.g. The NYT] Pivot To Race

It's sad how accurate this is.
I swear liberals--and the NYT--didn't used to be like this.

RUSSIANS! UNDER MY BED!*: The States Say They Weren't Hacked

Contrary to what we were just told.

* Glenn Reynolds's thing, obvs.

More Violence Against Trump Supporters

Among all the things that should bother you about this: the media's double standard.
They give much more coverage to allegedly-Trump-related acts of "violence" that are patently obvious hoaxes (e.g. the Jussie Smollette incident), and to the left's now-pervasive insistence that speech of which it disapproves is violent, than they do to actual acts of unprovoked, politically-motivated, anti-First-Amendment violence against Trump supporters.
   And, as always: even if you don't care about this (and you should), perhaps you'll care that this sort of thing makes Trump's side look more and more like the less-bad option. And, more importantly: it moves closer and closer to making his side be the less-bad option.

Campus Sex Bureaucracy And Sex Totalitarianism / "The Revolt Of The Feminist Law Profs"

   Writing in the California Law Review, Gersen and her husband Jacob argued that the creation of a “sex bureaucracy,” as the title of that article christened the system of administrative oversight of student sex lives, entailed “the enlargement of bureaucratic regulation of sexual conduct that is voluntary, non-harassing, nonviolent, and does not harm others.” The Gersens go on to note that “watered-down notions of nonconsent” embedded into regulation allowed “ambivalent, undesirable, unpleasant, unsober, or regretted sexual encounters to meet the standard.” The system thus “will investigate and discipline sexual conduct that women and men experience as consensual (if nonideal) sex.” The conduct deemed illegal, the Gersens wrote, “plausibly covers almost all sex students are having today.”
   These expansive definitions of wrongdoing were paired with an adjudication system lacking nearly every aspect of fair process. “In recent years, it has become commonplace to deny accused students access to the complaint, the evidence, the identities of the witnesses, or the investigative report, and to forbid them from questioning complainants or witnesses,” Gersen noted in a recent piece in The New Yorker looking back at the changes wrought by the Dear Colleague letter.
   The sex bureaucracy, in other words, pivoted from punishing sexual violence to imposing a normative vision of ideal sex, to which students are held administratively accountable. Georgia Southern University, for instance, explains that “Consent is a voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement.” The California Law Review article culminates in a discussion of a case in which a gay male student was found responsible for sexual misconduct for waking his partner with a kiss (the sleeping cannot consent) and for looking at his partner’s genitals without consent while showering (consensually) with him. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Women Sweep The Hugos For The Third Year In A Row And It Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With Political Correctness And The Progressive Takeover Of Sci-Fi

In case you were thinking that maybe it did.
Something like 80% of sci-fi authors are male, according to this anonymous person on Reddit who I have decided to believe.
As this Redditor notes, there'd be hell to pay if there were three years of only men winning. We all know how that would be explained...
Some of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy authors are chicks--Linda Nagata and Ursula K. Leguin, just to name one in each category, respectively. But the Hugos are now a joke. PC/SJ BS is what gets people awards. No reason to even pay any attention to them anymore other than as a source of amusement.

GamerGate In 60 Seconds

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

NYT's Relentless Propaganda/Lies About GamerGate

   They just will not give up on this.
   They are lying about GamerGate like they lie about every other culture war issue. I mean...Brianna Wu? Seriously? That guy's nuts. Which puts him in good company with Zoe Quinn...who is nuts and a grifter. Sarkeesian, the least-bad of the bunch, is just a grifter.
   As I've said a million times: I have no doubt that there was some harassment of people by the anti-SJW side in GamerGate. I have no doubt there was some harassment going the other way, too. But that wasn't what it was about. It certainly wasn't the point of the thing. The anti-GG side lied about Gjoni's initial "zoepost." It wasn't intended to spark harassment. It was a kind of cry of despair on an obscure forum. And similar posts, on much more mainstream venues, in which men were the object of almost-identical criticism, were praised lavishly by the left. [Woman outs her cheatin' bf on the internets: hero! Dude outs his cheatin' gf: villain!] The left's propaganda aims to turn GG into nothing more than a "campaign of harassment" for the same reasons they always do such things--they aim to stifle legitimate criticism of political correctness / progressivism / "social justice."
   People shouldn't be harassed. And I hope anyone who did harass anyone gets caught. But if you think you can trust the likes of Wu, Quinn and Sarkeesian...well, ya can't is what I'm getting at. [Similarly: the New York Times, which is rapidly approaching We're a big fat joke territory.]
   As usual, the key to progressive victory here is propaganda and the suppression of truth.

Turley: How The Democrats Are Becoming More Trump-Like And No One Seems To Notice

Trump: "Stripping Immigrant Children Of Protections" or "Closing Loopholes"?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Hong Kong Protestors Embrace Pepe, 'Merkan Flag, First Amendment, Second Amendment

Like, it used to be, like, about "hate" and stuff! Haaaate! REEE! it isn't anymore. See?
   On the bright side, at least progressives/media don't seem to be siding with China. Not that I thought they would. But it wouldn't exactly be the most surprising thing to happen in the last five years. Also, I remember when much of the left bent over backwards to make excuses for the it's not like they don't have it in them.
   And, speaking of symbols that the left isn't so wild about, but the HK protestors seem to appreciate.
   Similarly for Amendments...

Charlottesville Councilors Called Nazis For Refusing To Approve Off-Budget Allocation To Bring Rapper To "Unity Days"

The allocation was, apparently, against the rules. And relevant details were missing from the proposal. But they're still Nazis for refusing to approve it. This moved at least one of the councilors to confess her "white privilege." 

"New Goal For The NYT: Reframe American History, And Target Trump Too"

To my mind, this is snapshot that does a pretty damn good job explaining why reasonable people should be concerned about progressivism--and about its control of the cultural superstructure. I'm someone who has always thought that slavery and racism are extremely important phenomena in American history. Though who doesn't? But the contemporary progressive views seems to be: race and racism explain just about everything about America. Racism is the central fact about us. The only stuff it doesn't explain are our other sins--the other -isms and -phobias. Behold:
In the Times' view (which it hopes to make the view of millions of Americans), the country was actually founded in 1619, when the first Africans were brought to North America, to Virginia, to be sold as slaves.
An important event and date, to be sure: but there is absolutely no plausible case to be made that it constituted "the actual founding of the country."
   This seems like a pretty dramatic deviation from what ought to be the task of the Times. The project is clearly polarized hard left. And they claim to intend to turn the output of the project into a school curriculum. Which seems to be a bit too much like brainwashing for comfort. Or at least there's a good chance that's what it'll be.
Read more »

Sunday, August 18, 2019

NYT Learned Its Lesson About Insufficiently Woked Headlines, or: Stephen Miller, Immigrant Killer

An actual NYT headline that I'm not even making up:

"How Stephen Miller Seized The Moment To Battle Immigration: Behind Mr. Miller's Singular Grip On The Trump Anti-Immigrant Agenda Are Forces Far Bigger Than His Own Hostility Toward The Foreign-Born"

A year or so ago, calling people who want to enforce immigration laws "anti-immigration" became passe and insufficiently woke/inaccurate. Calling them "anti-immigrant" became the new hotness. They'll keep flailing around for something worse..."hostile toward" "the foreign-born" just doesn't have the right PC ring to it. I'm sure it's also "white supremacy" and some *phobia or other, and probably toxic somethingulinity and probably some other stuff too.
   I didn't read the story. (For some reason I can't get around the paywall this morning--and I would no longer even consider subscribing.) Trump is not "anti-immigrant," and he has no "anti-immigrant agenda." Is Miller the immigration Sauron? Well, I know that the contemporary left doesn't argue anymore, but merely accuses their opponents of racism* (i.e. racism or some moral equivalent) basically immediately. I know they're full of shit about Trump being "anti-immigration"...and even more wrong about him being "anti-immigrant." Furthermore, I don't see that Trump's position is all that different than my own: we should enforce immigration laws. Also: legal immigration numbers should be on the table. Maybe they should go down. Maybe they should go up. Maybe they should stay the same. Progressives have done their ordinary thing by making only one side in the discussion politically correct: you can argue for not enforcing immigration laws, but you can't argue for enforcing them. If you do: RACIST! You can argue legal immigration should go up (or maybe stay the same), but you can't argue it should go down. If you do: RACIST! The progressive rules of public discussion absolutely guarantee that we will do something stupid--lots of somethings, actually. Because: only one side, one opinion is permissible. You're only permitted to go left guarantees you'll--later or sooner--go off the cliff.
Read more »

Agnes Callard: "Philosophers Shouldn't Sign Petitions"

This seems wrong.
   And that even though I'm not a fan of most petitions and open letters by philosophers. In my experience, they're more likely to be driven by left-wing politics than by philosophy. (Though I also think it's clear that a fair bit of left-wing philosophers' philosophy is driven by left-wing politics, too, so... In fact, it's pretty common on the left to accept as a principle that politics should drive philosophy (and science; and all scholarship, as I understand it). That is: on much of the intellectual left, political bias isn't a bug, it's a feature. Or, to be more accurate: an ideal.) (Boy, that's a long convoluted parenthetical... Blogging means never having to edit...)
   I don't know professor Callard, but, contemporary philosophy being what it is, I'm a bit skeptical when she says that she'd be against the petition in question even if it were on the other side of the issue. (That is, if it aimed to restrict allegedly "hurtful" speech rather than protect free speech and inquiry.) Her arguments basically force one to hypothesize that she's actually writing to defend the other side of the argument. But that's a hypothesis, and ought to at least be bracketed--or, better probably, not even mentioned. But I mentioned it.
   The petition itself is right on target, incidentally. And props to the signatories. They'll be dogpiled, undoubted. And most philosophers will sit back and watch.
   The petition says, basically: stop suppressing discussion of these issues with your weird, hysterical social pressure. Let open discussion proceed unimpeded. Callard seems to respond: Aha! You are politicizing philosophy by saying it shouldn't be politicized! That's bullshit of a fairly common variety, of course. So I don't think we have to spend any time on that
   Her more prominent argument seems to be: Don't rely on the authority of your position/name to give epistemic weight to your argument; just make the argument. Well...sort of yes...but...  Anyone who puts his name to his comments makes it possible for others to weigh his reputation, position, etc. more heavily than his arguments.* In fact, it's the other side in this debate that is trying to make who you are determinative of whether you are permitted to speak on the issue. (I argue, ad hominem...)
   Here's what seems like the meat of the issue: it's perfectly o.k. for someone with special knowledge of some issue to say: Look, at the end of the day, here's my view of the matter... Contra Callard's apparently suggestion, this in no way precludes argument, nor does it circumvent it, nor any such thing. It's a fallible, bottom-line summary of the state of certain arguments--allegedly, anyway--by someone who's thought through them carefully--allegedly, anyway. It's no replacement for argument. It's more like a supplement--or the best we can get under certain kinds of space-and-time constraints.
   And that's true even though most of these sorts of things are just half-baked lefty philosophers doing their thing. What's bad isn't petitions, nor summary judgments. It's that so many of both coming out of philosophy and the APA are bad and stupid. But not, to repeat: the petition Callard is talking about. That petition is right on target.
   Furthermore, such a petition is basically fighting fire with fire. Well, not exactly. It's better than that. It's not arguing against a philosophical position so much as it's arguing against the now-routine hysterical screeching and accusation-making of the illiberal, progressive left. It really is saying something like: Let's let philosophy proceed normally. I'm probably too cynical by this point, but it does strike me as notable that one side is using illicit, threatening, nonrational methods to shut down all criticism of their view, the other side politely posts a petition decrying this...and Callard writes against the latter rather than the former. That fact doesn't settle anything...but it's not nothing. Petitions may be subject to certain weak objections...but the shrieking and dogpiling and "politics of personal destruction"...that wasn't worth criticizing? The philosophers' answer is commonly: I can discuss any problem; I don't have to discuss the worst relevant problem. True enough. wonders...
Finally, and on a rather different note, a wee quiz!:
Suppose side A wants to discuss an issue rationally, and side B does its best to shout down and intimidate side A into silence, even resorting to scurrilous accusations against A, and to producing laughable arguments to the effect that A is committing violence by so much as speaking.
Question: Which side is it that knows, deep (or maybe not all that deep) down that it has the losing case?

*I'd normally have written 'their' instead of 'his' fact that's how I first wrote it. But I changed it because I'm pathologically contrarian.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

New Species Of Leech Discovered Near Washington D.C.

World's Loneliest Tree Felled By Drunk Driver

In case you don't know the story.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Hong Kong

The protesters are heroes--as goes without saying.
I hope for the best, but don't expect anything like it. If/when the Chicoms work up the nerve to try to crush them, I hope the world comes down on those bastards like the very fist of God. Tiananmen Square should never have been allowed to fade into history. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Ignoring News

Running on mountain with pupper.
Brain feels much less explody.
Number of rattlesnakes encountered: 0.00.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Jesus what an embarrassment. As catastrophic as the radicalization of the left has been--and will continue to be for the foreseeable future--I almost can't even wrap my head around the fact that this guy is the president. He's a loose cannon. He's throwing the country into a tizzy. It's hard for me to separate out with any precision how much is him and how much is the hysterical overreaction of the vocal, visible left. But a lot of it is him. Way, way too much. That guy is a representative and representation of the country as a whole. To our immense shame. I've tried to tune out the noise and focus on the policies. But the noise isn't just noise. Words and attitudes matter. They represent the nation and set a tone. They reveal who we are and help form who we'll become. This sorry state of affairs can't but alarm and distress those of us who take the idea of America seriously. I wish the president were less important. I'm among those who think we've seriously erred by allowing the presidency to become too powerful. But that's where we are. And that's where he is. Even when he does the right thing, it often comes across as mean-spirited, as with his approach to deportations. We need to enforce our immigration laws--and that means, inter alia, deportations. Obama did it; it's got to be done. But it's an unfortunate thing that ought to be done with something more like a sense of sadness. Or at least bureaucratic dispassion. Obviously the press is working hard to make everything he does seem maximally bad; again, it's hard to separate out the real facts from the noise. But damn.
   Eh, it's probably time for me to check out of all this. Some people can keep their wits about them when everything gets this crazy. I can't, really. This stuff is hard. My only real idea is: avoid the really stupid unforced errors. Both sides have basically rushed headlong toward the stupidest available mistakes. They've both gone loopy, and they're making each other even crazier than they need to be. The left seems to have fallen in love with the ideal of a kind of soft Orwellian dystopia in which the viciously passionate denial of plain facts and evidence is the pinnacle of political virtue. Maybe Year Zero isn't quite on the horizon...but it's lurking around somewhere. And the apocalypticism! Jesus. The other guys have managed to elect an unqualified spaz. A loud-mouthed, narcissistic con man. A swine. A jackass. A guy who thoughtlessly generates words, elected to a position in which words matter more than usual, and ought to be chosen with the greatest care. A fan of conspiracy theories, to boot. The birther-in-chief. He's about half as bad as the other loons think he is--but that's way worse than bad enough. Too bad by half, at least.
   We've been through worse, and we'll almost certainly right the ship. But...well, but nothing, maybe. Maybe that's the thought to close with.

Hickenlooper To Drop Out Of Race To Run For Senate?

Bad and bad.
We'd lose one of the comparatively sanest of the Dem candidates for president, and it would raise the odds of the Dems taking the Senate. Lose-lose.
Everything sucks.

Climate Apocalypse Theater: "Greta Thunberg Prepares To Set Sail For U.N. Climate Talks"

This is just perfect as it is. An absurdist snapshot of pop culture performance art masquerading as...what? A heroic quest? God knows.
And the whole kid thing. What is it with that stuff? Where's Nietzsche when you need him...
Once again: I do think we should take climate-change seriously. Short of losing our minds, that is.

Medai Bias / Fact Check: Climate, Etc. Is "Conspiracy - Pseudoscience"

Hard to believe that I was initially optimistic about that site. Rating Snopes and Wikipedia "least biased" was basically the end of that. This is utterly absurd. 
Curry could, obviously, be wrong, as she herself often acknowledges. But there's basically zero chance that her site can plausibly be categorized as pseudoscience--much less "conspiracy." 
But, of course, it isn't possible to have a legitimate disagreement with the progressive orthodoxy. To disagree is to be a thoughtcriminal.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"From Race To Plastic Straws, Trump Dials Up Culture Wars In Divisive Play For 2020 Votes"

I went into this expecting to agree with it, because the title struck me as plausible.
   Didn't take long for me to come to think that it was just more 21st-century WaPo propaganda. Well, not just... But take the plastic straws. So one side is a bunch of dedicated scolds that is pushing a senseless ban of a not-actually-that-harmful product people like. The other side is saying Hey, look, those guys are, yet again, taking a dumb progressive fad and forcing you to change your life because of it; screw that shit. Have a straw. With which side are Americans (even more than other people) more likely to agree/sympathize. And look: I don't like Trump and I don't even like straws. Straws suck. As it were. They make you drink the warmest part of the drink instead of the part that's got the delicious, lovely ice swimming in it. I just don't believe that the coldest of the drink will sink fast enough to even things out. I use 'em sometimes, of course. But I kinda don't like 'em. Seems weird to me that people use 'em routinely. Why? They're good in the car. But why use 'em if you're not in some way on the go? Just drink normal. And you know what? Despite disliking both Trump and straws, I've got a right mind to go buy some goddamn Trumpstraws. That's how fed up I am with the other side's bullshit. I ain't even kidding.
Read more »

When Your Lies Are Too Much For Vox...

Not only did Warren lie about the Michael Brown incident, Kamala Harris did, too. Not only did the WaPo and the NYT call them on it, Vox did too.
Straight-up lies pushing a story that has been proven false, and that plays into the false proposition central to Black Lives Matter: that cops routinely murder innocent black men. Which itself plays into the progressive fantasy of a U.S. in which "white supremacy" is one of the most powerful forces.
   Any chance the media will make as big a deal out of this as they did out of Trump's lies about the size of his inauguration crowd? (Which, don't get me wrong, was bad in its bald-facedness...but these lies are worse.)

Warren On Campus Free Speech

She gets Charles Murray completely wrong, but Stanger corrects her. She sounds like she's on the side of the angels on this issue, but doesn't get into details, so it's hard to say for sure.

Everything Is White Supremacy: Being Anti-Abortion Is White Supremacy

You really just cannot make this shit up.
   Any deviation from PC orthodoxy means you're whatever the sin du jour is. Thoughtcrime used to just be racist (or some sinful equivalent thereof). But I guess racism isn't bad enough anymore. Now everything is white supremacism. But what comes after that? What's the next level of rhetorical escalation? "Intersectionality" (lol) may hold the key--I predict that the next phase will involve combinations of sins--I'm sad to report, for example, that 'misogenoir' is an actual term in actual use in Moonbatistan. I'm also sad to report that it's supposed to mean just what it sounds like it's supposed to mean. I'm going to go ahead and predict the emergence of more such terms--maybe 'cisupremacy' or some similar absurdities. Eventually, there will be a grand unified prejudice, a truly intersectional sin...raceogenistichotraphoism, perhaps...
   Though I will say that actual white supremacists really are way into white babies. Obviously I like to observe and feel superior to crazies, so I lurk a lot of crazy places. Go lurk on racist and white supremacist boards, and you'll see. They really talk a lot about having white babies. It's a whole big thing. Creepy, even by their standards, IMO. Which is, of course, sayin' somethin'.

Elizabeth Warren's Ferguson Lie

Best-case scenario: it's a lie.
Worst-case: she actually believes it.
Progressivism largely exists in (as?) a web of falsehoods. The big ones that are more like articles of religious faith--the patriarchy, rape culture, transgender ideology, systemic racism, and white privilege. And the small ones that are actually easily disproven--the Nick Sandman / Covington kids lie, the UVA/Rolling Stone gang rape hoax, The Jussie Smollett hoax...and the Michael Brown / Ferguson lie. Honestly--how many progressives still believe the initial tale about a perfectly innocent "good boy" murdered in the street by a racist cop? Or some version thereof? I'd like to see survey data on that.
   Warren is perpetuating a proven falsehood. And a dangerous one. She's contributing to a tissue of myths that work to convince blacks and whites that there is a murderous, racist system that is so unjust that it more-or-less routinely murders innocent black Americans in the streets--the perpetrators waking away scot-free. (Is scot-free an ethnic slur?)

Elizabeth Warren: Anti-Firearm Extremist?

Kinda seems that way.
I'm willing to consider some additional gun-control measures. E.g. background checks and/or other reasonable additional measures for modern sporting rifles, and e.g. for high-capacity magazines. I'm even willing to consider the extremely dangerous idea of "red-flag laws"--legislation just about designed to be abused. (The same people who think everyone to their right is a racist on the basis of wildly-spun and virtually non-existent evidence will undoubtedly suddenly discover that every gun-owner is a dangerous potential mass shooter who needs his gun taken away. And are psychiatrists/psychologists going to make crucial decisions in such a system? Because they're not exactly known for their political neutrality, as a group.) I don't generally see a problem with short waiting periods, especially, again, for MSRs, high-capacity magazines and the like. And I have nothing at all against prosecuting sellers who break the law. Go get 'em, I say.
   But any such legislation would have to be proven to be effective in states before implemented at the national level. (Why do people say "at the federal level"? That makes no sense at all.) Thing is, we're actually talking about putting restrictions on massive numbers of law-abiding gun-owners in the hopes that it'll stop a few crazies. It probably won't affect the real loci of gun violence--inner-city gangs and crime. We could do more to cut down on that by reversing the Ferguson effect than by any such gun-control measures. (Speaking of which--Warren also got that stuff about Ferguson massively wrong, of course.)
   I used to be more amenable to some of what often get called "common-sense" gun-control measures. But, first, we know that the "assault-weapons" ban didn't do anything. And, second, the left lost its mind. Unless/until it regains it--which I do still expect--I'm sort of inclined not to give in on anything, since they now automatically move to more radical positions after each victory. Also, I now sort of think in terms of the sweep of history. The anti-gun inclination will always be there, and always work to disarm the people. It will be consumed by radical fervor from time to time. All it'd take is one anti-gun victory every decade or so, and in a hundred years we'd be in the sorry state England's in.
   Gun-owners would likely be more amenable to more restrictions if there were real evidence of their efficacy--and if there weren't plenty of evidence that no restriction will ever be sufficient to placate the anti-firearm left.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pro-Trump Movie Cancelled Because Of Trump

Congratulations, now you're like them.

Jacob Sullum: "Biden Concedes That The 'Assault Weapons' Ban He Wants To Revive Had No Impact On The Lethality Of Legal Guns"

Warren: Big, Structural Change

Those are words that should make your blood run cold.
   The bigger and more structural, the more likely to be disastrous. Big, structural changes should only be undertaken after a lot of thought and research. The more cavalierly someone talks about big changes--especially structural ones--the more concerned I become.
   Put the big, structural changes on the table, and we'll start discussing them. Maybe in a decade or two we might be in a good position to know whether we should implement them experimentally.
   But, to me, this sounds a bit like having "Let's jump off this cliff and see what happens!" as part of your platform.

Hanson: "The Strange Case Of White Supremacy"

Mostly a myth.
   Contemporary progressivism is largely a cultish superstition, a tissue of myths and conspiracy theories; it's a kind of left-wing analog of the religious right / Moral Majority. White supremacists exist, of course--that's who mostly composed Unite the Right. And they star in Blood in the Face, in case you haven't seen it...and you really should. But contemporary progressivism has spun out yet another myth--the myth of "white supremacy" as a pervasive force in America.
   But actual facts about racial attitudes give the lie to that. A white supremacist is someone who wants, well, whites to be supreme. And there just aren't many of those people left. And they certainly aren't in positions of power.
   The neologistic use of 'white supremacy' is another jargonistic train wreck on the left. For awhile it seemed like it was just a nastier-sounding term for white racism generally. Now it seems to be rather like "white privilege"--a term associated with a conspiracy theory about...and here's another one: "systemic racism." Again, there are real examples of systemic racism: slavery and Jim Crow, for example. But today? It's mostly a myth.
   Most of this stuff is a dodgy way to keep the faith in pervasive racism alive in the face of vastly improved racial attitudes. Racism still exists--it'll always exist. That sort of thing never goes away completely. But white supremacy isn't a major force in American life. And are there any real, contemporary examples of racism that's systemic? The most obvious example that comes to mind is affirmative action, actually...and that works in exactly the opposite direction it's supposed to.
   As with Straw Trump, the progressive left is mostly complaining about Straw America. The actual item is so horrible...that it's not nearly horrible enough and a much more horrible alternative has to be manufactured in the ideology factories of the humanities and social sciences.
   When you lurch to an extreme, that's basically the same as losing your mind. And that's what's happened to the vanguard of the contemporary left.

When You've Lost The Mooch...

The Mooch vs. Trump / Straw Trump / Media As Bad/Crazy Force Multiplier

How is the GOP tolerating this? I'm not sure. Well...ok...I'm pretty sure. The answer is: the current Dems seem more substantively dangerous than Trump--more dangerous in terms of actual policy. I mean--don't just "ask" the question rhetorically. Ask it for real and the answer should be obvious.
   Should the Pubs consider someone else for the 2020 ticket? Yes. Lord yes. A thousand times yes. 
   Is Trump "giving people a license to hate"? No. Don't be stupid. 
   OTOH: they may be taking one from what he says. Seems implausible to me...but I can't really get into the minds of such people. He speaks and tweets so chaotically that...God knows what could come of it.
   But he says very clearly that he's against "hate" (a buzzword I'm rapidly tiring of). He's said it many times, with apparent sincerity. 
   You know what would help: if the other side stopped lying and bullshitting about what he says. Spinning it out into something it isn't is doing basically the thing they're accusing Trump of. As is so often the case, "media"--social and otherwise--are acting as a force multiplier. If you don't want the bad guys and the crazy guys to be motivated by Trump, then stop falsely portraying him as their champion, and stop lying about him supporting them. 
   I think Trump's a disaster...but Straw Trump is a catastrophe of Bushian proportions. Straw Trump could wreck the country.
   I usually don't like such arguments, but in this case I find myself attracted to it: and stop provoking him. A president should be able to take provocation without losing his shit. Like Obama.Trump can't--which is part of why he shouldn't be president. But given that he is president--just stop. You can criticize him in every reasonable way you need to without cheating and lying and intentionally provoking him so that he moves closer and closer to the Straw Trump you really want. (God, you want the Straw Trump. It's starting to seem like your fondest wish.) This is serious business. There are independent and sufficient reasons not to lie and cheat and spin. This is just one more.
   Anyway: the Mooch isn't right about everything there. But I'm still a fan. I can't believe that guy is turning out to be an at least somewhat serious person.

Mass Shootings Aren't Growing More Common [Or Are They?]

Here's another one.
I saw a report on a study that disagreed, but can't find it now.
I'm under the impression that it matters a lot how you define mass shooting.
[Here's one piece that says they have become more common.]

Puppy + Rattlesnake, But Disaster Averted

Took my well-on-his-way-to-being-a-dog puppy for a short hike the other day. Stopped at the head of a trail that split off from the fire road. Not sure why I stopped--I think I was thinking about which way to go. Pup, on leash, kind of started poking around slightly off-trail to the right, down the small decline at the trail head. Even in the heat of the day, of course, there's considerable racket in the woods--frogs and bugs and whatnot making those SHHHH-SHHHH-SHHHH noises. Found myself listening pretty carefully to one of the prominent noises. Had the following thought:
Jeez, that [frog or bug or whatever] sure sounds a lot like a rattlesnake...
After a couple of seconds...
Look down, slightly down the trail...holy shit, there it is--about a 3' timber rattler, rattling away.
Puppy's still with me, but was looking and moving forward. Not close to striking range, but going in the wrong direction. Pull him back, everything's cool, but gave me a bit of a start.
   About 3' long, very light tan--about the coloration of a copperhead, actually. Black markings. Very gracile compared to the last one I saw, which was a big, almost totally black monster about as big around as my forearm, with a big 'ol honkin' head that looked as big a my hand. Also this rattle, as noted, was kind of a polite little rattle, compared to that last one which--though we (four of us) were in a smallish area enclosed by rocks, so that mattered--was absolutely ear-splitting and pretty scary. That last one, though, had gotten alarmed because we were all standing around gawking at him. He coiled up and cut loose. My friend's daughter clapped her hands over her ears it was so loud. This one, though...not all that effective as a warning was the way it struck me, anyway.
   Anyway, this one was stretched out, facing the trail, with its head only a couple inches from the edge of the trail. If I hadn't seen it--her, I'm guessing--that could have been bad. And that was the side of the trail the dog was walking on. I was mostly alarmed for the dog, who only weighs about 35 lbs. at this point.
   So I gawked at it for awhile and then we...decided to take a different trail lol. Immediately ran into a couple of bikers, and warned them--they wanted to see it. But by the time we got back, it was gone. One of them said he thinks he saw it moving through the grass just down from where I saw it, but I couldn't get a fix on it.
   Only later did I realize that, since I wasn't running, I had my pack on, and had my phone with me. Could have gotten some pics and video. Damn! That's the first one I've seen in probably five years, and the only one I've ever seen on that particular mountain, despite running there all the time. Bummer. But, on the bright side, no snake-bit puppy...

Is It Racist To Think That White Guys Commit A disproportionate Number Of Mass Shootings?

   I thought that was true until I saw the studies I linked to previously. Of course there's the tendency among the leftier progressives to want to blame white guys at every opportunity--they're probably racists. But I think ordinary folk probably ought to think that white guys commit just about all of them. That's what it looks like if you just follow the news. They tend to commit the most ostentatious ones. Not every mistake people make about race is racist. Most probably aren't, I'd bet.
   Also, there seem to be other studies indicating that they do commit a disproportionate number. My sense is that we're not exactly sure, and that much of the question hinges on the definition of mass shooting. Too bad this is a conversation that's even on the table--obviously.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Loren Thompson: "Why China Can't Target U.S. Aircraft Carriers"

Steven Novella: "Some Climate-Change Cherry-Picking"

Sounds plausible to me. The recent stuff about electric cars made me suspect this stuff.
Here are a couple of recent examples, both of which involve some subtle cherry picking. The first has to do with electric cars, which are frequently opposed by the denialists, in that they oppose subsidies to help bootstrap the market. This involves the “solution aversion” aspect of climate change denial – deniers are really motivated by the proposed solutions to climate change, which goes against either their politics or other interests.
Dunno whether he's saying that solution aversion drives all "deniers"...that would be false. (Also: "deniers.") But there's no doubt in my mind that it drives some of them a lot, and a lot of them some. Of course the flip side of that would be something like solution-partiality: an inclination to antecedently favor the alleged solutions, and, thus, to be overly-accepting of climate catastrophism, and to use it as a stalking horse--a means to achieve the real end, the solution (or "solution") that's desired on other grounds. There's no doubt that this drives a lot of the catastrophism-acceptance on the left. It clearly drives the Green New Deal. That's basically all the Green New Deal is. People already want solar and hate nuclear, so...etc. Throwing school lunches, guaranteed basic income, affordable housing, "free college" and the rest of the laundry list of progressive social preferences into the thing is an even lower level of cheating.
   Anyway, aside from that stuff: Novella's points are worth knowing about, IMO.

Grayson Logue: "A Nation Without A Chest"

I thought this was worth a read, perhaps because I have an overly-high opinion of (the first two chapters of) C. S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man. And I think the comments are more interesting than the post itself.
   No time to go back and link, but one point made there is, roughly, that it's simply not rational to discard the idea of nations and national sovereignty when we know of no realistic, plausible replacement. The USA has tried to strike a balance between (a) some kind of strong nationalism that accepts some sort of "realism" in international relations (really: a type of national ethical egoism that rejects the idea of acting for any reason that isn't basically national prudence) and (b) a cosmopolitan universalism that sees the USA itself as nothing more than one country among many. Rather, we take a kind of reasonable middle way that starts from the idea that we have to start where we are and attend most carefully to our own good--but also seeks to rise above that as possible. We recognize that our national interest must often be subordinated to considerations of justice and the greater good. Neither extreme is tenable. The left often seems to go wrong--as in the dispute about illegal immigration and the border--by pushing extreme versions of national altruism that are too harmful to the nation. We want to help non-Americans who are poor and endangered--and we should. But we can't take in so many people that we can't effectively assimilate them. The chances of doing irreparable harm to the nation are simply too high. (And the problem is exacerbated by the left's success in pushing strong versions of multiculturalism that come close to completely rejecting the very idea of assimilation.)
   Anyway, worth reading and thinking about.


It's like a bomb hitting places like the few remaining conservative subreddits that have yet to be banned (which is: a whole 'nuther problem). It's all Clinton Body Count all the time! It's like a virus to which wingnuts have no immunity. It's sweeping through the population, leaving devastation in its wake. It's kinda scary.
   But, look...letting that guy Epstein off himself. What a cock-up. It's honestly a bit hard to believe...right?
   Well...hard to believe to the average nonexpert. And that's an important point. How uncommon is something like this? You have no idea. I have no idea. If you're not a prison guard, you're probably just making shit up. This could be super common and extremely hard to stop for all I know. For all I know, 75% of people like Epstein kill themselves within two weeks of going to prison. I am completely ignorant of all such things. And so's almost everybody else.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Clinton Body Count Is Back, Baby!

I LOVE Clinton Body Count!
Now this is my kinda crazy.

VA District Judge Rules In Favor oF Gavin Grimm / Against Gloucester County Schools

Gavin Grimm is a girl--actually a woman by this point--who wanted to use the boy's restroom at school. Gloucester County Schools--quite reasonably--said: No, sorry; you can't use the boy's restroom. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia just ruled against the school board and in favor of Grimm, basically on the grounds that enforcing sex-segregated restrooms made Grimm feel bad. What this means, basically, is that it's illegal to have sex-segregated restrooms. A full-blown prohibition against sex-segregated areas is barely held at bay currently by the idea of "gender identity." But "gender identity" is akin to a pseudo-concept. It's no more an identifiable characteristic of humans than is their conception of their own height. If I think I'm 6'5" when I'm actually 5'5", then I have false beliefs about my height. It's ridiculous to pretend that I have some special "height identity" I'm just wrong about my height is all. When, eventually, "gender identity" is laughed out of court, what we'll be left with is a legal prohibition against sex-segregated restrooms--and, undoubtedly, locker rooms.
   This is the kind of madness that makes Trump look sane. As I've said before, I'm happy to rethink such sex-segregation. But I'm not happy to have it undermined by mythological nonsense like "gender identity" and the rest of transgender ideology. That's just basically a quasi-religion being imposed on us by the left. For chrissake, I'm not even sure the religious right ever pushed anything this patently irrational.

PC Sex Totalitariaism Moving Off Campus And Into Law?

As I and many others predicted, it looks like PC "affirmative consent" ideology is in danger of metastasizing beyond campuses and infiltrating the law.
   I've never been one of the people who tried to argue that campus sex totalitarianism didn't matter because it was isolated to universities. What kind of crazy view is that, anyway? College students are people too, you know. Securing affirmative consent with new partners--if not taken to the crazy extremes recommended by the left--is a good idea. It's also, however, a bad idea in that it absolves women of any responsibility for stopping unwanted sex. It's utterly absurd to think that a person has no obligation to say so much as "wait" when they prefer not to proceed. Current leftist dogma says that a woman (but not a man, apparently) could intentionally bite her tongue, nonverbally encourage a man to proceed with sex, giving him no sign it was unwelcome...and then he'd be guilty of rape. Utter madness.
   I care less about these arguments, because they other arguments are more powerful. But, furthermore: this is another instance of the left infantilizing women.
   Anyway: it was always clear that progressives would make a move to expand these rules into the law as soon as they felt influential enough to do so...because that's the radical logic of the left. Moderation is for, well, moderates [spit].

Is Ideology Ruining Sex Science?

If that means leftist ideology...then of course it is.
   Note the exceedingly lame and predictable argument by one Florence Ashley later in the piece. That's the last--or first--refuge of Lysenkoist scoundrels---it's ok that we politicize science because science is already politicized. Uh, no, dumbass. That's like you catching me cheating to make illicit amounts of money off of a charity I run, and me defending myself by pleading psychological egoism--"But all actions are selfish!" People only drop the skepticism bomb when they're out of good arguments. 
   Another way to think of it: if my arguments are shamelessly ideological, I can't defend them by arguing that yours are secretly/undetectably ideological...because they must be! Because all arguments are!
   Utter bullshit.
   One of the biggest problems with the contemporary left is that it's in bed with some of the shittiest philosophy ever to come down the pike.

Trump: "Joe Is Not Playing With A Full Deck"

Ehh...not entirely false...tho...pot...kettle...etc.
Biden is goofy and weird.
Trump is...well...Trump, unfortunately.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Quillette Hoaxed

Pete Mac Sends me this.
   Seems like kinda thin gruel to me. Quillette always seemed like kind of a shoestring operation, and I always inclined to think caveat lector. The Sokal and Boghossian/Penrose/Lindsay hoax had real bite because the journals were allegedly scholarly and the articles contained ridiculous reasoning such that: if they couldn't see through that shit, they have no business publishing a journal. Fact-checking wasn't necessary: only a modicum of elementary critical thinking ability. Ordinary reporting is different. That's the easiest thing in the world to make up. Honestly, I didn't even know that Quillette was expected to fact-check it. I thought the relevant judgments of plausibility were left to the readers. I'm just happy to have one sane platform standing up against the tsunami of leftist bullshit.
   Also, the first I heard about this was the revelation of the hoax, and the post is gone--which, I think, it shouldn't be. Leave it up, preceded by a warning. Anyway, I don't know whether it'd've seemed fishy to me or not.
   But anyway, busted is busted, and--unlike the left--I say this is good and instructive. Instead of shrieking hysterically and seeking to get the hoaxer fired, I say this is a fucking great thing. My hat's off to the guy. We learn something from this, and perhaps the lesson is important--though I don't know since I can't read the thing. Grievance studies got its petticoats in a riot about the Boghossian et al. hoax, and his institution punished him for it. Exactly the wrong reaction, and exactly what one could easily predict from the progressive, illiberal left.
   We're better than that, though--so, again: big props to the hoaxer, and we move forward wiser, with new knowledge under our collective belt. Unlike the screechy outrage-mongers on the left, I'm totally down with this shit. And I hope the screechy left produces a steady stream of this stuff directed at sane centrist (or "conservative," as the Daily Beast has it) sites like Quillette. This is a service one's enemies ought to be particularly adept at providing.

Biden: "We Choose Truth Over Facts"

NBD. Some kind of slip of the tongue or braino or teleprompter glitch. Who knows? I have no idea what he meant. But the rest of the quote is worth a quick look:
Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. We got to let him know who we are. We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts.
"Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is."
Well...I know who he is. I guess many of his supporters do--though I'm often not sure. I'm skeptical that progressives do, though. They still seem to still think, e.g., that he's the Manchurian candidate--among other things.
"We've got to let him know who we are."
Problem is, you're letting the rest of us know, too. You realize that, right?
"We choose unity over division."
LOL no you don't.
"We choose science over fiction."
You absolutely don't.
 "We choose truth over facts"
No Earthly idea WTH he was trying to say there. Maybe he's an alethic coherentist and he's saying that he chooses the interlocking web of progressive myths to the facts. (That's not a serious comment, for the record.)

I do maintain some hope that Biden will get the nod and rocket back toward the center as soon as the primaries are over. I don't think that will come close to solving the problems with the Dems--I don't think it matters all that much who their front-man is. But it'd be a lot less bad if they had a sane, centrist one.

"The Hunt" Depicts Trump Supporters Hunted For Sport By Liberals

I don't care.
   Also: the trailer sure makes it look like the Trump supporters are the heroes. This looks like a stereotypical revenge flick in which act 1 shows group-or-person A tortured horribly by group-or-person B in order to establish that B is inhumanly horrible and deserves whatever A ultimately and inevitably does to him/them. Act 2, of course is the revenge bit. Blah blah blah. I can't believe I used to like that shit. Well...I still sometimes do. To my shame. What inane bullshit. It's sadistic. Torture/revenge pr0n.
   Anyway, the point is: the left has more to complain about here than the right. Unless somebody really throws the template out the window...
   Probably not the greatest idea for a movie at this particular "cultural moment" as they say...
   But did I mention that I don't care?

[Stupidly watched the trailer again. Yes, it's as obvious as it could be. "Ordinary people" from the South, vs. "elites"...hunting people for sport... Then the righteous revenge... Come on. This is an anti-lefty movie if anything.]

Doug Bandow: "Mandatory National Service: A Bad Idea That Won't Die"

Some kind of national service program would seem to have benefits. Many have noted that drafting people for the military had the salutary effect of throwing together people from different regions and different walks of life. That's something that might be especially beneficial now that we seem to be so balkanized; I, anyway, rarely interact in any extended or meaningful way with people outside my--whatever it is--class? Cohort? What? Most of my extended, meaningful interactions are with university faculty and students and similar types. 
   Mandatory national service is a terrible idea. And, as Bandow notes, it just won't die. It's characteristic of the contemporary left to move fairly rapidly from We like the idea of x to X should be mandatory/not-x should be illegal. That was a kind of move that was, in my youth, more characteristic of the right. But not anymore. 
   This general inclination toward totalitarianism is what I find most alarming about the contemporary left. The leading edge of progressivism is all about it; the trailing edge seems unwilling to criticize it--which isn't far from: unwilling to reject it. 
   Though e.g. Buttigieg isn't easily regarded as being on the radical edge of the left--though I'm not sure how to sort that all out. If he's not on the leading edge, then the left loses one of its main defenses against accusations of extremism: he's not on the edge, but he's advocating radical ideas, ergo the extremism penetrates further into the center of the left than its defenders like to admit. If he is on the radical edge, then the radical edge is so powerful that it's represented by plausible presidential candidates--and Buttigieg isn't nearly the most leftist of the lot. 
   Another defense is: it's the primaries. This craziness will be tamped down in time for the general. I hope it's true. But, first, there's too much crazy in play for it all to go away. And it's unlikely that most of it will--the Dems aren't going to transform themselves by half in the next six months. Just as important, to my current mind, is the fact (?) that what we're seeing is something like the disclosure of something like the ideals of the current incarnation of Democratic party. One friend of mine dismisses every radical idea of the Dems as "aspirational"--e.g. the Green New Deal. But having bad/crazy aspirations is bad/crazy. I'm not sure how strong a defense it is to say, roughly: They won't do any of these crazy things they say they're going to do--they merely have crazy aspirations. Well, that's something, I reckon...but how much? I fell hard for Obama largely on the basis of his aspirations; I don't think that was an atypical reason for supporting him. That's a kind of admission that aspirations matter. How is it that they don't matter anymore?
   Perhaps the more popular candidates will quash this; that's what I'd expect. It's one more unpopular, progressive, anti-liberal program. They're already so burdened with the like that they can't take on too many more--one would think. But they may hop on the bandwagon, especially if the idea catches on on Twitter, that fever swamp of progressive madness. Guess we'll see.
   Damn we are in trouble.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

"Death Camps For Trump Supporters" Fliers Appear Around Long Island, N.Y.

I don't really care. It's protected speech. And any jackass can print a flyer. So what?
But imagine if this were aimed at Democrats. The media would absolutely be losing. its. shit.

Trump Isn't To Blame For The Mass Shootings

It's ridiculous to believe that he is.
More magical, quasi-religious, progressive nonsense.
Which doesn't mean that he shouldn't tone down his goddamn rhetoric--because obviously he should.

"How Beto O'Rourke And Julian Castro Respond To Trump's War On Immigrants"

Yes, that's actually the title.
   On the one side, we have the entire superstructure lying and advancing crazy positions--e.g.: that wanting immigration laws enforced is anti-"immigrant." The MSM simply drops the illegal part half the time or more. Though perhaps it's because "Using The Term 'Illegal Immigrant' Sets The Stave For Mass Shootings"...
   One side has largely lost its mind on this and many other issues; the other is artlessly, imperfectly, and sometimes shittily trying to defend some semblance of order as against chaos, recognizing that unregulated mass immigration is playing with fire. Trump is, on this issue, with Obama of '08 and the majority of the country. I don't much like Trump's attitude nor his words nor him. But he's not the crazy one here. Intentionally lying by conflating anti-immigrant with anti-illegal-immigrant is utter bullshit.
   You want to make the case for moving close to an open borders position, make the case. I, for one, will listen. But you haven't come close to doing so yet. Screeching that (in effect) borders are racist simply isn't going to cut it.

[I'm working hard not to let the blatant bias of mainstream sources drive me off...but the more I read them, the more disgusted I become. I've decided that it's better to ease up a bit and turn my attention away from them to some extent.]

Amnesty International Issues Warning To Travelers Visiting The United States

Prima facie, this is just PC propaganda. But we'd have to know what the pattern is like--do they normally issue such warnings for countries with our level of violence (or worse)? The whole left often works as a giant, expansive, self-supporting echo chamber. This wouldn't have been issued were Obama still present--nor if Amnesty didn't have a political interest in acting against the Second Amendment. Were this more honest, it would say: make sure to avoid these twenty-or-so counties in the U.S. where violence is a problem.
   This kind of nonsense doesn't help people like me remain objective.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

I Misspoke When I Said Trump Called For The Extermination Of Latinos; It's Just That [Basically That's What He's Always Doing], And I Got Confused

More straw Trump.
It's not enough that he says a bunch of shit he shouldn't say...the left will not be satisfied until he is literally Hitler.
Also: LOL "I misspoke."
I misspoke when I said that I'd already paid you back the money I owe you; actually I didn't.
See also: my words were taken out of context.
This torrent of lies and false accusations from such progressives is in no way specific to Trump. This is how they operate: ceaseless, ridiculous accusations of prejudice against anyone they disagree with culturally/politically. That is their M.O. That is who they are.
Not every progressive everywhere, of course--some of my best friends are progressives... But that's how the movement operates. That's the spirit of the thing now.  As I've said, I usually don't hold a faction's loony fringe against it--but I do hold it against the faction if the (alleged) rank-and-file don't speak up against the loons. And the more powerful and influential and agenda-setting the fringe becomes, the more implausible it becomes that the rank-and-file even really disagrees with the fringe in significant ways.

Trump: Bad; Media: Worse: Mass Shootings Are "What He Wants"

Needless to say, orange man bad, yadda yadda yadda.
But here's another media straw Trump freakout.
If you think he wants mass shootings, you need to start worrying about your sanity. That's absolute crazy talk. You're entering Obama, Antichrist territory. Trump needs to watch his mouth--and his thumbs. He probably had no effect on these shootings. But it's not the kind of thing you want to play around with. One can make points more judiciously without caving in to PC efforts to control the public discussion. Trump simply can't discuss things like an intelligent, adult person. Much less like the president of the United States. He's an embarrassment. But there's a gigantic gulf between those truths and the lunatic delusion that he wants people killed in mass shootings.

David A. Graham: "Trump The Bulldozer"

This is one of the things I fear most about Trump.
He seems to have assembled the opposite of a team of rivals. A team of yes-men.
This is a very general error that is, IMO, extremely likely to lead to disaster.
This is just one of the many ways in which Trump is basically an anti-Obama.
This sort of thing isn't guaranteed to lead to disaster, of course. But IMO it's just dumb luck if it doesn't.

Prager: "American Is Drowning In The Left's Lies About Trump"

Indeed it is.
Which, for the thousandth time, doesn't mean that the guy isn't awful.

Kevin D. Williamson: "The Reflex Toward Illiberal Democracy"

I'm not sure about the theory of fascism he discusses...but, as for the rest: right on target.
This is in line with what I wrote about that facepalmerific Mark Lance piece on transgenderism: one might, perhaps, be pushed to anti-liberal suppression of rights (or: the suppression of speech and inquiry favored by Lance et al.) under sufficiently dire circumstances. But one of the many problems with the contemporary left is: they leap to such measures immediately, eagerly, and at every opportunity.
Which is no surprise because: they are anti-liberal.

Dayton Shooter: Media Suppress His Leftism; But He May Not Have Been Motivated By It

   It's all El Passo all the time in the media, which means that the crazy right-wing shooters is the star of this show. The left-wing Dayton shooter is of secondary interest, and his political views are downplayed. 
   OTOH, it seems that the Dayton shooter may not have been motivated by his political beliefs, but, rather, by some crazy personal something. He didn't leave a manifesto, and killed his sister and her boyfriend. That's certainly relevant.
   Was the MSM always this biased and I just didn't notice? I'm fairly sure that it at least didn't used to be this bad...

Trump's Address On The Mass Shootings

There's really no way to be more against them than this. (See video)
   The left somehow still thinks that Trump is a closet white supremacist. But, then, as I've said, they largely live in a fantasy world.
   It's possibly that he's said things that inadvertently encourage the crazy racist right; he's certainly sloppy and incautious and unpresidential. And an asshole. But even the hypothesis that he's a racist is implausible. But even that implausible hypothesis wasn't enough--he had to be a white supremacist (though that can just mean the same thing in the ever-changing jargon of the left). Now we seem to have moved into the "HE'S AN AVOWED WHITE SUPREMACIST" phase--which has also spawned the "HIS SUPPORTERS BY DEFINITION SUPPORT WHITE SUPREMACY" phase.
   Anyway, again: you really can't condemn the shootings and shooters in stronger terms than he did here. In fact, it was, I have to say,  maybe a little much in some way I have a hard time articulating. I mean, it's horrible and I'm mad about it--but I'm not sure I'm heartbroken and so forth. That's just the way most of us are with respect to tragedies at such a distance. Not complaining--just saying that there's no Earthly way to say that his statement was insufficiently critical, insufficiently anti-crazy, anti-racist, etc.
Read more »

Turley: "Eat The Rich: Democratic Candidates Plunge The Party Into Class Warfare"

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Gabbard Rejects Decriminalizing Illegal Border-Crossings

Gabbard is one of the less-loony occupants of the clown car.

Can "Red Flag" Laws Unite Dems and Pubs?

   I used to be in favor of some so-called "common sense" gun control measures. Years ago, when I found out how easy it is to get an AR-15, I was, frankly, shocked. I'm not inveterately against background checks for modern sporting rifles ("assault weapons"), nor for very high-capacity magazines, nor for bump stocks...but I think arguments for any such restrictions have to carry a fairly heavy burden of proof.
   It's become clear to me over the past few years that significant elements of the left have a strong tendency to become increasingly radical. I'm skeptical that they can be defeated on any given issue for long--they're simply too powerful. And they've made it clear that they have even less respect for the Second Amendment than for the First. Consequently, I've come to understand the position of, e.g., the NRA: basically, no concession will ever appease the lefter-than-liberal left. So each concession merely brings us that much closer to being completely disarmed. Under those conditions, it makes sense strategically to never concede anything.
   Furthermore, mass shootings are, of course, extremely rare, and result in few deaths and injuries in the cosmic scheme of things.
   Furtherfurthermore, we should be extremely hesitant to give our neighbors, the government, and psychologists the power to take away our firearms. Consider the misuse of "hate crime" laws, "bias incident" reports, etc. Consider also the hard left lean of psychology. We can say with complete confidence that such laws will be abused; the question is how often?
   However, I'm certainly willing to consider red flag laws. If we have good reason to think that they'll work, perhaps they could be implemented on a limited scale--e.g. in certain states, and/or with sunset clauses built into them. Implementing them for five or ten years would likely tell us what we need to know about their efficacy and misuse.
   What most concerns me about such laws is that they're usually not implemented temporarily and experimentally. OTOH, the assault weapons ban turned out to be temporary--thus far, anyway.

Was It Racist For Donald Trump Jr. To Doubt That Kamala Harris Is Black?

Of course not.
   That's utterly absurd.
   Wikipedia says that her mother is Indian and her father is Jamaican. As a matter of fact, Harris is half black. There's nothing wrong with her saying that she's black as a kind of shorthand--basically, if you're half or more race R, we seem to have a convention that allows you to just say that you're R.
   But, of course, certain facts are racist.
   And which ones are...well...progressives simply make that shit up as they go along.
   The comparison to birtherism makes no sense whatsoever, obviously.
   Furthermore, Trump Jr. seems to have retweeted something written by a black guy. So....was "questioning" Harris's race a racist thing for him to do as well?
   It looks like all the major Democratic candidates said something utterly idiotic about this. Bernie seems to have cheated about what was said so that he could make Jr.'s  tweet sound worse, so that he could criticize it without making a complete fool out of himself like the others. Which, I guess, is something.
   This nonsense seems to be rooted in the leftist idea that whatever you say about your race is unquestionable...which, somehow, didn't apply to Rachel Dolezal...but...that's different, bigot.
   Look, if I were half white and half Asian, you'd be perfectly entitled to point that out. There's simply nothing wrong with doing so.
   I suppose we add this to the rapidly-lengthening list of hatefacts.

[Also: looks like Don Lemon basically said the same thing. So Trump Jr. merely retweeted it. It was written by a black guy. It was the same thing that was said by a famous progressive black guy. And Larry Elder--also a black guy--argues that it wasn't racist...
Progressivism has lost its mind.]