Monday, September 22, 2014

Helpless Girls: Self-Defense Doesn't Work, Contributes To "Rape Culture"

Many of the currently-fashionable confusions here, concentrated for easy consumption:
Hofland blamed the popular song, “ Blurred Lines” and rape jokes for perpetuating rape culture in everyday events and details. She also claimed that teaching women self-defense techniques such as fashioning a weapon out of keys by sticking them between knuckles, possessing pepper spray, fighting back against an attacker, and consistently being aware of one’s surroundings contributed to rape culture.
“We should be telling people not to rape people,” she said. “All these things we tell women to do...they don’t bring down the number of rapes that happen. They don’t.”
It's bad enough that these ideologically-motivated myths are being propagated at all. It's worse that they're being disseminated with public money. But perhaps the most worrisome thing is that students are being indoctrinated with them at university-sponsored events.

I again assert: this is the political correctness madness all over again.

"Blurred Lines" is shitty music, but it is not about rape. We do not live in a "rape culture." If we did--or if the concept even made any sense--teaching women self-defense would not contribute to it. Teaching women self-defense techniques does, in fact, lower the number of rapes. And, though we already do tell people not to rape--it's one of the clearest messages society sends--teaching self-defense is in no way inconsistent with doing more of it.

I don't think I can continue to blame the "far-ish left"...

This has become a problem for liberalism per se.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Platitude Storm: Race As A Social Construct

Some pretty good points (at West Hunter)

The most important thing to understand about the proposition that race is socially constructed is not about that proposition in particular. It's rather the general point that claims of the form "x is socially constructed" don't really make any sense. Such claims are ambiguous as between two almost opposite meanings (we make x and we make x up)--and that is almost the least of their problems...  The phrase 'socially constructed' is simply not clear enough to be used in any even semi-serious discussion. Confronted by these objections, those wedded to the jargon will insist that its meaning is perfectly clear, and to object to its use is to display ignorance of the state of play in the relevant sectors of academic literature. But that simply isn't so. Assertions of the form "x is socially constructed" are, even there, used so indiscriminately and in such inconsistent ways that, though they don't quite mean nothing, it's not by much...
Assertions of the form "x is socially constructed" are variously used to mean:
A. Our beliefs about x are caused by social forces (but this has no effect on x's themselves).
B. There are no x's, but we agree that there are.
C. We agree that there are x's, and to say that x's are real is equivalent to saying that we agree that there are x's.
D. x's are real--really real--and they are real because we believe in them. (This is the magical option...)
And these aren't the only ways in which such assertions are used--not by a long shot...
But the biggest problem with assertions of the form "x is socially constructed" is that they commonly are not used to determinately mean any of the options A-D (nor any of the large number of other options not discussed here.) Rather, nothing very determinate is meant by the phrase at all. And terminology that is used so loosely is dangerous for any number of reasons. For one thing, such terminology allows its defenders to slip around indiscriminately from one suggested meaning to another as a way of avoiding refutation. This is handy for the bait-and-switch strategy: strongly suggest that radical interpretations are at issue for the purposes of advertising the importance of your theory...but then retreat to the modest ones when challenged.
That's often what happens with the "race is socially constructed" version of the claim. It's used to mean "society made race" or "society made up race"...until such claims are refuted...when proponents of the claim fall back on the "many of our beliefs about race are caused by society" interpretation. Which, of course, everybody already knew... Worse, that's not a legitimate meaning of the words "race is socially constructed." The way to say that is, well, "many beliefs about race are caused by society." Which is a completely different claim... And everybody knows it. And it's boring. And it won't get you any attention. And it won't help you pretend that your theory has metaphysical implications...
But, of course, it's hard to have a philosophical or scientific discussion of a view that is not advanced for philosophical or scientific reasons. This claim (like so many claims about "social construction") is  largely advanced for political reasons.
Good political reasons...  Many proponents of the view naively think that it will help fight racism, and falsely seem to think that it's necessary for fighting racism...but political reasons nonetheless.
But introducing politics into science is Lysenkoism...even when your goals are admirable...

Fox News: God- and Freedom-Loving Cheerleaders Stand Up to Atheists and First Amendment In Tennessee

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Clemson Requires Students to Respond to Poll Concerning Sexual History Or Face Disciplinary Action

If this madness were emanating from the right, faculty everywhere would be deploying torches and pitchforks...  But it's emanating from roughly the left...so...don't hold your breath on that pitchfork thing...

FIRE And Donations Thereto

FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is a great organization.

Here's where to donate, if you are so inclined.

Sullivan: Back To The Bush Years...?

At The Dish:
My own dismay (even bewilderment) at the current mood in America may well be because I was largely off-grid in August. But it’s still a truly remarkable shift. In a month, the entire political landscape has reverted to Bush-Cheneyism again. I honestly thought that would never happen, that the grisly experience of two failed, endless wars had shifted Americans’ understanding of what is possible in the world, that the panic and terror that flooded our frontal cortexes from 9/12 onward would not be able to come back with such a vengeance. I was clearly wrong. Terrorism does not seem to have lost any of its capacity to promote total panic among Americans. The trauma bin Laden inflicted is still overwhelming rationality. It would be harder to imagine a more stunning success for such a foul mass murder.
The party that was primarily responsible for the years of grinding, bankrupting war, a descent into torture, and an evisceration of many core liberties is now regarded as superior to the man originally tasked with trying to recover from that experience. The political winds unleashed by a few disgusting videos and a blitzkrieg in the desert have swept all before them. And we now hear rhetoric from Democratic party leaders that sounds close to indistinguishable from Bush or Cheney...
 Worth a read, I say.

"Social Justice" Hysteria: Women Are Helpless: Rape Whistle Edition

[Forgot to link to this ad from a campus newspaper somewhere.]

Two aspects of current leftist (i.e.: lefter-than-liberal) delusions about rape go like this:
(1) It is logically impossible for women to do anything to lower their probability of being raped.
(2) If you in any way suggest that (1) is false, you are "blaming the victim."
But both (1) and (2) are false--clearly, unequivocally, undoubtedly false.
DoJ statistics show conclusively that (1) is false. Resisting rape attempts (even, apparently, by simply doing things like shouting loudly) is effective in stopping rape.
As is so often the case, confusions like those in the ad on the other end of the link glance off of the truth. Here is something a good ad might have said:
Having and distributing rape whistles might possibly give some people the wrong idea.
For example, it might suggest to some that most rapes are committed by strangers; but that isn't true.
That would be ok. I'm not sure it needs to be said, but there's not a damn thing wrong with saying it. And it might help. It's not obligatory to say those things, but it'd be fine.
However:
Having and/or distributing rape whistles (or carrying or distributing pepper spray, or participating in or giving self-defense classes, etc.) does not in any way suggest that "the targeted person is primarily responsible for their assault." First, even if it did suggest partial responsibility, there is nothing whatsoever that suggests primary responsibility. Second: no responsibility is suggested at all, of course. Selling burglar alarms in no way suggests that homeowners are responsible--much less "primarily" responsible--for break-ins. Installing seat belts in cars in no way suggests that accident victims are responsible for their injuries. And so on. 
This ad is terrible. It's terribly confused--and confused in a way that is currently fashionable/rampant on the left and among leftier liberals. It's motivated by the false beliefs (1) and (2). And, furthermore, it exhibits a willingness to sacrifice the lives and well-being of real people on the alter of dogmatic ideology. (1) and (2) have become dogma on the left, and denying them often generates vicious, irrational denunciations in response. These are falsehoods that threaten to actually misinform women in a way that might actually increase their odds of being raped.
This confusion and ideological madness is just one part of the neo-PC/SJW madness that is metastasizing on the left. Crazy views bolstered by bad reasoning, dogmatic refusal to listen to or even tolerate criticism, and a kind of moral/ideological fanaticism are now rampant in certain sectors of the political spectrum--and spreading. Confusions about so-called "cultural appropriation," attempts to re-define 'racism' and 'sexism' so that it is literally impossible for non-whites to racist and women to be sexist, indiscriminate claims about the so-called "social construction" of, well, everything under the sun, attempts to broaden/weaken the concept of rape in ideologically-driven ways that classify even things like consensual sex between intoxicated people as rape...and on and on. 
Under the rubric--the misnomer--"social justice," the lefter-than-liberal, neo-PC left is promoting irrational, unjust, illiberal positions--and, as during the paleo-PC madness of the '90's--many liberals are falling for it. Liberals should be rejecting these positions because they are irrational, unjust, and illiberal. But, in case that doesn't motivate you, you might also note that the more liberalism allows itself to be influenced/infected by the irrational, illiberal left, the more reasonable people will be driven to the right. That's what happened during the paleo-PC madness, and that's what will happen again if the madness is allowed to spread.
I've often thought that American liberals are particularly helpless against the illiberal left because it's fairly scarce here. We're used to fighting a conservatism that seems to have become unhinged that we are used to pointing all our weapons in that direction, and falsely see everyone on our end of the spectrum as allies. But illiberalism is illiberalism and irrationalism is irrationalism, right or left. The nouveau PCs are not liberal, and they are not our allies.
The rape ad is just a small thing, but it's a small instance of a big problem.

[Also forgot to address the main text of the ad above:
"The only use for a rape whistle is: if you're about to rape someone, blow the whistle." This is a reference to the current delusion common among the SJWs and leftier feminists, that all anti-rape messages/information should be directed at possible perpetrators of rape and none at possible victims. These are policy implications of (1) and (2) (above)...]

What To Call ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State

Apparently the best term for these jackasses is DAIISH.

The reason for using this term: they hate it so much that they've threatened to cut out your tongue if you use it.

LOL.

That's so DAIISH.

"So Help Me God" No Longer Required In Air Force Oath

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Krauthammer: Obama Thinks He's So Great

Wow, this is really embarrassing, even by the standards of Chucky K...

Climate Denialism In TX Textbooks

U.S. Intelligence Services Remain Uncertain About Danger Posed By ISIL

Monday, September 15, 2014

SJWs: More Annoying That Sam Harris

link

It's his account of the interactions...but they ring true...

Terrorist Force Multipliers: Lindsay Graham: Will ISIL Kill Us All?

link

For a bunch of people who seem to consider themselves hard, the GOP/Fox "News" axis of crazy sure is easily frightened. I mean

Though, to be fair, I saw the same kind of thing toned down a notch or so on CNN. Before making the mistake of turning on cable news, I had not realized how terrified we all are of ISIL. So see? You can learn stuff by watching that stuff...

Though, of course, Graham's real target is the real enemy of America: Barack Obama. The point of the tirade is really: Obama isn't handling this right; Obama is bad. It is, of course, crucial to make this point as often and as dramatically as possible. If you've got to help out ISIL to do so...well...the enemy of my enemy...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Return of Sex-Negative Feminism

Meet the new boss...

One of the many things the far right and the far left have in common: they frown upon sex, sexual pleasure and eroticism, and think you have to justify them in moral/political terms if you're going to insist on enjoying them.

Michelle Goldberg on The Return Of the Anti-Liberal Left

This, too, is very good, IMO.

Michelle Goldberg: Feminism's Toxic Twitter Wars

This is really, really good.

The main point: as web feminism becomes more radical, it has become more vicious.

Here's just one paragraph:
Online, however, intersectionality is overwhelmingly about chastisement and rooting out individual sin. Partly, says Cooper, this comes from academic feminism, steeped as it is in a postmodern culture of critique that emphasizes the power relations embedded in language. “We actually have come to believe that how we talk about things is the best indicator of our politics,” she notes. An elaborate series of norms and rules has evolved out of that belief, generally unknown to the uninitiated, who are nevertheless hammered if they unwittingly violate them. Often, these rules began as useful insights into the way rhetorical power works but, says Cross, “have metamorphosed into something much more rigid and inflexible.” One such rule is a prohibition on what’s called “tone policing.” An insight into the way marginalized people are punished for their anger has turned into an imperative “that you can never question the efficacy of anger, especially when voiced by a person from a marginalized background.”
Several of the top comments are also really good.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Amanda Marcotte: Christina Hoff Sommers Is Public Feminist Enemy #1

link

Marcotte is an idiot.

Sommers, on the other hand, is pretty great.

If there were more feminists like Sommers and fewer like Marcotte, I'd still think of myself as one.

The funniest thing about this is that Marcotte's claim that Sommers "works tirelessly against equal rights for women" isn't even minimally plausible. If Marcotte had said that Sommers has the wrong conception of feminism or whatever, she might at least be able to make a token argument for the claim. But, since Sommers is obviously far more committed to genuinely equal rights than Marcotte, this article shows itself up for what it really is: an incoherent shriek against Sommers.

I mean, the mere fact that Sommers takes the top spot should tell you something about what Marcotte is up to here.

But here's one of the thing the insanity on the left is doing to liberalism: it's trying to eliminate the possibility of non-culpable disagreement. This is a ploy favored by extremists left and right: disagree with the orthodoxy, and you are a counter-revolutionary thought-criminal...

That web liberalism happily counts someone like Marcotte as one of its voices says a lot about the disastrous trajectory it's on.

[Bonus!: If Sommers approves of you, then you're a misogynist! (via /r/Tumblrinaction)]

Has Gawker Achieved Peak Stupid? Or: Why You Are Evil If Your Actions Contribute To The Arrest Of Your Mugger

If this is not satire--and I fear that it isn't--then I think that it may literally be the stupidest thing I have ever read in my life.

This would normally be called 'victim-blaming' by places like Gawker...

Wonder what's different about this case?

The stupid runs rampant in the land...

(h/t /r/Tumblrinaction)

George Zimmerman, At It Again?

Boy, George Zimmerman seems dedicated to making sure that I keep getting wronger and wronger about the Treyvon Martin case...

I never did really explain why I switched over to the Zimmerman is probably innocent side...  But boy, was I wrong.

It seems clearer and clearer that the guy is a freaking psycho.

(via Inside Carolina)

Also:

George Zimmerman, gun-show hero.

Oh man. That makes you ashamed to be human.

California's Water Shortage (Remember: OVERPOPULATION IS NOT A PROBLEM)

not good

(via Inside Carolina)

The Loneliness Of the Social Justice Warrior / The Leftist Threat To Liberalism

For the love of God, American liberalism...it's not too late...

Don't go down this path...

This is the political correctness debacle part deux.

Although, by the standards of this stuff, this letter is pretty tame, it still represents mindless, brainless moral fanaticism. In some cases, it's moral fanaticism about issues that are, in their non-fanatical form, worthy (e.g. anti-racism, anti-sexism). In other cases, it's moral fanaticism about insane, fabricated sins (e.g. "cultural appropriation").

Like the PC fiasco, this is, in a way, a test of liberalism. To what degree will it allow itself to be swayed by this irrational, illiberal movement? Sadly, the answer is: at least to some non-zero degree...

I wonder whether this is some kind of weird balancing effect...  Just as the American right seems to have become so irrational that a massive backlash against it seems unavoidable...madness emerges on the left wing of American liberalism...

In my experience, it doesn't take much left-crazy to balance out a whole bunch of right-crazy...  It might be that the U.S. is just a lot more used to/tolerant of craziness on the right. OTOH, speaking for myself, I seem to find left-wing craziness more inherently nauseating than right-wing craziness. Perhaps that's unreasonable...or perhaps my friend McCarthy is right when he says "the right just wants you to behave...the left wants your soul..." I value my right to misbehave...but I value my soul (my metaphorical soul, that is) more. Right-wing crazy I kinda sorta understand, and accept as part of the human condition: sit down, shut up, toe the line, greed, God, guns, conformity, nationalism...  Left-wing crazy comes with theories...  Creepy, creepy theories...  The cult of culture, the social construction of reality, Worfian linguistic determinism, queer theory, critical theory, "theory" theory, neo-Marxist views about class struggle, feminist epistemology...and on and on...  It's the difference between fighting a Neanderthal and fighting a demented religious lunatic who aims to kidnap you and brainwash you until there's no you anymore... The former might be more dangerous--even much more dangerous--in bottom-line terms...but god damn that latter one is much more sinister...

Should The World Fantasy Awards Be Named After/Representations Of (Big Fat Racist) H. P. Lovecraft?

Warning: this is a link to Salon.com.  But it's actually a pretty good post, IMO.

Lovecraft was--and this is undeniable--a big fat racist.

And, as the author points out, no one seems to be arguing that we shouldn't read him.

But it's not clear that the World Fantasy Awards should be representations of him (and, hence, informally named after him).

As the author notes, there are a lot of people the statue could be modeled after...and, of course, it doesn't have to be modeled after any particular person at all.