Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hipster Decides Videos About Black Friday Brawls Is Classist; Salonification Of The Washington Post Proceeds Apace

So...I'm not rich, but I tsk tsk over Black Friday craziness...
But, of course, everything has to be about race or class or sexuality...  Post-post-modernism rolls downhill, from gender studies departments to journmamalism....

It's really sad to see the once indispensable Washington Post slide farther and farther toward the cesspool containing Buzzfeed, Jezebel, Salon, Vox, .mic, etc...

PC Confusion Infects The Washington Post: "White Privilege" and "What White People Need To Know And Do After Ferguson"

   Wow. This just isn't good.
   Sadly, the Post continues on its apparent downward trajectory...
   I mean, almost no one writes something that's all bad; there are things in there that are true, but none of them will be news to anyone.
   The bad stuff is the PC nonsense that gives the thing its overall orientation: "white privilege," "whitesplaining," and the assertion that white isn't a race. You wonder how grown-ups can write such things with straight faces.
   Terminology is often not mere terminology. It can spin thought, and it often brings bits of theory along with it. "White privilege," for example, is, well, just dumb. Everyone recognizes that blacks and some other minorities are, on average, at a significant comparative disadvantage to whites in the U.S. But that's not a "privilege" of whites. Voting isn't a privilege, it's right. When the GOP disenfranchises blacks, it denies them their rights. This is very different than (and more serious than) failing to grant them a privilege. The more accurate and sober language is that of discrimination and disadvantage. If you want to deal with the problems, those terms are the better tools. The "privilege" silliness is part of a tangle of silly theories being advanced by the academic-activist alliance. "Privilege theory" typically has it, for example, that whites always gain from discrimination against blacks. That's idiotic. It's patently false. This isn't a zero-sum game. Note that Kohn herself notes this later...thus contradicting a common plank of "privilege theory," as well as her earlier insistence that whites do benefit from black disadvantage (or "privilege.")
   It's important to realize that trying to advance the "white privilege" locution and its attendant theory is not an attempt to solve the problem of discrimination against blacks. It's a move in a battle of far-left whites in the academic-activist alliance in the U.S. against whites outside of that alliance. Kohn is right that blacks in, say, BLM, aren't protesting against whites. The anti-white sentiment that's in play largely emanates from other whites. It's not that the far left doesn't care about blacks; I'm sure it does. But it also doesn't like (liberal, non-PC) whites. It doesn't like Western culture, it doesn't like men, and mostly it doesn't like liberals. It's not fond of conservatives, of course...but the far left's most passionate anger has always been directed at liberals rather than the far right. (One Marxist story was: it's liberals that keep the system from blowing up, thus they are the ones preventing the revolution.) And, of course, the obvious point of "white privilege" is to shift the focus to whites. That's why it's "white privilege" instead of "black disadvantage." Protesting that they're not aiming to suggest that whites are guilty nor that they should feel that way is disingenuous, and everyone can see that. That's basically the point of trying to shift the discussion to whites instead of blacks. Very few people object when we speak in terms of black disadvantage, or discrimination against minorities. And whites in the U.S. seem to have little or no advantage on average over, say, Asians and Jews. "White privilege" simply doesn't cut it as useful, accurate terminology for discussing race in the U.S.  But that's not what it's for. It's the terminological entering wedge of a bad tangle of confused theories.
   I could go on, but I won't. Not much, anyway. But I do want to mention:
Just like you’re mistaken if you don’t think white is a race, you’re mistaken if you think you can remain neutral.
See how that bit of irrelevant theory gets thrown in there? The point is obviously to reinforce the theory that "race is a social construct" (a claim so confused that, as Pauli might say, it isn't even wrong). But white is a race, of course. The arguments to the contrary, though pressed with revolutionary zeal by the cult of culture, are invalid. White is a race. Races are (rather unimportant) natural kinds, and all the PC mumbo-jumbo in the world won't change that.
   Ok, I've wasted enough time on this nonsense. 
   It's too bad that so much time and energy is wasted on PC nuttiness. Even ignoring everything else, the "white privilege" crap--aside from the fact that it's inaccurate and alienates people from a real cause that could use all the help it can get--is a damn waste of time. There has never been a real reason for introducing it. A real concern for discrimination against blacks would focus on discrimination against blacks. "White privilege" is not aimed at advancing that cause. It aims to use that cause to advance a tangle of far-left academic theories. The PCs are willing to harm the cause of real change in order to move their theoretical ball downfield. That means that people like me have the choice between wasting our time refuting the nonsense, or ignoring it and just hoping that ordinary people don't make the mistake of picking up the locution just because they've heard it a lot. So I chose the former here...but I'm starting to think that the latter option might be worth the risk...

Oh, wait! I forgot to mention a couple of other bizarre points in the piece. For example...what white person thinks that if they were black they wouldn't be the object of discrimination? I've heard these people attribute lots of silly beliefs to whites...but that's a new one on me...
Oh yeah...and then there's "whitesplaining"... aaaahahahahahaha...  Jeez...I suppose there is some tactical advantage to be gained by moving yourself beyond the possibility of parody...

Friday, November 27, 2015 !


(h/t The Mystic)

George Will: America's Higher Education Brought Low

IMO Will has turned into rather a crank. He only hits it out of the park when liberals give him a slow pitch down the middle. Which is exactly what they've done by tolerating/defending PC (and, of course, also denying that it even exists...)
Read it and weep.

PC Student Demands From Across The Country

   No demands for jetpacks or monorails...but pretty eye-roll-inducing just the same.
   We've got a big problem with race in the U.S., as goes without saying. (i) I see nothing here that will mitigate the problems; (ii) there's a lot of PC totalitarian insanity here--calls for mandatory PC "diversity" re-education camp and so forth; (iii) whoever's writing these things seems to have no idea what things are really like in academia, where people routinely bend over backwards to try to mitigate the underrepresentation problem. In academia, if there are racists, they stay well-hidden. Any hint that you're racist can cause the sky to fall on you. In fact, any hint that you're insufficiently enthusiastic about anti-racism can do so.
   My own view is that academia in the U.S is on the wrong end of the causal chains to do much more than it's already doing. You can't both (a) insist that racism is an enormous, debilitating problem in every aspect of American life and (b) pretend that it's inexplicable that some groups are under-represented at universities. Or, rather: pretend that the only explanation is racism at universities.
   It's not a problem that people are arguing that we should turn our attention to these matters in a more focused and energetic way than we have been. However, demands can't be accepted simply because they're being made by black students. And the soft totalitarianism that insists on indoctrination with left-wing theories about "diversity" and so on must be summarily rejected, and in no uncertain terms. The problem is that academia is already skewed far to the left, and many academicians are terrorized by the mere thought that they might be perceived as insufficiently anti-racist. This means that honest and open discussion of these issues is difficult to say the very least.
   And that's perhaps the most important overarching problem here: the PCs are shutting down discussion by leveraging the moral/political biases of universities. Many people are genuinely terrified of being branded thoughtcriminals.
   Now...this is a complicated issue, because this is not genuine bullying. These people are not the Brownshirts. They can be stopped if people simply stand up to them and refuse to be intimidated. But they rely on the fact that most people not only can be relied upon not to do this, but, worse, very many people can be relied upon to participate in the groupthink, and participate in applying peer pressure to recalcitrant individuals.
   My own view is that all these demands should be rejected in toto. No policies should be considered until they are stripped of their totalitarian trappings and advanced in a reasonable way through reasonable channels. However, I acknowledge that this might be an overreaction.

Free Speech vs. "Safe Spaces": Moral vs. Legal Considerations

   I'm just going to gesture at some general points. This isn't supposed to be a detailed examination of these issues.
   Neo-PC is basically just paleo-PC, but more radical. Many of the same types of issues and disagreements arise. For example, the paleo-PCs were anti-pornography, whereas the neo-PCs seem to have given that battle up, perhaps because feminism has given it up, and feminism is a component of the thing. At any rate, paleo-PCs and feminists used to argue that pornography was bad, viewing it was immoral, and it shouldn't be allowed on campus. (There's always been a puritanical, anti-sex sector of the far left.)  It was common for people like me to respond with free speech arguments. However, their response was commonly: we're not arguing for censorship, we're arguing that it's bad and no one should--morally should--have anything to do with it. I didn't believe them, but now I think that at least some of them were being honest.
   Similarly now, I think the PCs can say, in most of the relevant cases: we're not arguing for government censorship of, say, "hate speech," we're arguing that it shouldn't be tolerated on campuses. So, a university might reasonably try to prevent people from going around constantly saying hateful, demeaning, upsetting things to people, even when this falls short of assault. (Note: IANAL...there may be many complications here I don't know about.) Say there's a campus organization that thinks that women are inferior to men. Say they make dishonest, one-sided arguments aimed at supporting this conclusion, speak in a demeaning manner in classes and around campus, argue that women should not be permitted to vote, should be subservient to their husbands, etc. Suppose they were bad enough to upset a large percentage of reasonable people on campus. I expect a lot of sensible, non-PC types might argue for some kind of university action in such a case.
   Does that seem right?
   So one might see the PCs as making a similar point. E.g. when they try to keep Germaine Greer from speaking at Warwick. Many of them seem to think: it shouldn't be illegal for her to speak, but she's so wrong and wrong in such an "offensive" (to use the paleo-PC's favorite word) way that she has to be either stupid or motivated by hate. And so it's better not to have her speak on campus. A university wouldn't invite David Duke to speak (even if he isn't speaking about racism) they shouldn't invite Germaine Greer either (even if she isn't speaking about "trans" issues).
   If we think about things this way, free speech arguments in their normal form seem to become irrelevant, since government censorship is not at issue. The argument so conceived is a moral and not a legal one.
   I still don't think the arguments work, and don't think they come close to working. But I think we've got to at least see this angle on things to understand what's going on. (Though I'm not saying that it's the only nor the best angle.)

Trump Mocks Disabled Reporter?

   Well, Trump certainly is acting strangely, and his actions are consistent with such a thing. I don't know what Mr. Kovaleski's disability is like, so I'm not really in a very good epistemic position here...but I think we know Trumpo the Clown isn't about such a thing...
   What an embarrassment--the fact that Trump has even a snowball's chance in hell of being President of the damn United States I mean.
   The perils of democracy, I suppose. Even if we dodge this bullet, it indicates how stupid and loathsome someone can be and still be in the running.
   And I'm sure you realize: we won't dodge all the bullets, forever and ever...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Occidental Profs To Vote On Measure Establishing System For Students To Report Them For "Microagressions"

What insanity.

Reasonable Princeton Students Respond To The PCs

Wow. Compare this rational, measured response to the shrillness and irrationality coming from the PCs.

Chicago Police Deleted Burger King Security Cam Footage of Murder of Laquan McDonald

This is USSR-level organized police crime. Or banana-republic-level at least.

(via Reddit)

Murderous Chicago Cop Van Dyke Had Long Record Of Complaints

   This is really important and shocking. 
   I was astonished back in the idealistic days of my youth, to first hear about "the blue wall of silence." That is the kind of bullshit that should never have been tolerated. It needs to be shredded. There needs to be a professional code of conduct that prohibits defending other officers on what are, in effect, tribal grounds--and there needs to be enforcement of such a code. 
   This is not the kind of issue that's normally on my radar. I've got no particular insight into it, I don't know anything more about it than anyone else, and one can't go around outraged about everything. It's not an issue I yell about all the time, but that's purely accidental. We arm some citizens and authorize them to keep the peace. There is no reason on Earth why we should tolerate these sorts of actions by them. In fact, there's a case to be made that criminal actions by police officers should be punished more harshly than similar crimes by non-cops. Every now and then we are presented with irrefutable evidence that a certain percentage of the police force is composed of criminals with badges--a lot of other cops apparently collude with them, and it seems that even more turn a blind eye to it all. It's absolutely got to stop.
   This is Chicago, however, so one has to be cautious drawing conclusions with too much certainty about the rest of the country.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Here's A Really Terrible Article On Racism From CNN

Whelp, here's an extremely one-sided little essay about racism.
   The U.S. has a significant problem with race. That seems undeniable.
   But that doesn't mean that we should mindlessly accept every jumble of arguments coming from the left, academic or otherwise.
   I don't think that all of this is wrong, but a lot of it is questionable as hell. The problem we face is plenty bad and plenty hard without hyperbolizing. But there are sectors of the left that simply will not be satisfied until we have accepted as orthodoxy the theory--and it is a theory--that we are all horrible, horrible racists, but our racism is too subtle for us to detect (though sociologists can detect it!), so no matter how fair we think we are, no matter how hard we try, no matter how successful in this respect we might seem, we're still evil. Deny it and it shows that you're even more evil than those who at least readily--eagerly--admit their sinfulness... After all, some people are bad at admitting their bias! So you must be bad at it, too...  In fact (I really like this bit): the smarter you are, the more corrupt you might be... Don't think your brains can eliminate sin...that's just hubris on top of everything else...
   And that's really what's up here. This is a kind of secular sin. It's never enough to simply be a good person, unprejudiced by any reasonable standard. The sin runs too deep in you. It is original. And all you can do is accept your sinful nature... Deny it, and you are a liar--or deluded--on top of everything else.
   Though in this secular fable, there's not even any hope of grace. No hope of forgiveness.
   This is a counsel of despair. That, of course, doesn't make it false...  But you'd better ask for better arguments than this one before you accept a theory according to which our situation is hopeless.

Is Donald Trump A Liar?

Why...yes he is!
Or maybe he's delusional.
Hard to say.

Trump On Muslims

Jesus what an embarrassment to this country.
I've got an idea: how about we make them sew yellow crescents to all their clothes? Then we can always easily pick them out.
How is this shit even being discussed?
I've been on the warpath about the nutty left, largely because their theories and principles and methods are so, so, so insidious.
But damn...the right doesn't mess around, do they?
Nothing subtle about any of that.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tardigrades Are Even Weirder Than You Think


Manne and Stanley: "When Free Speech Becomes A Political Weapon"

   This is really, really bad.
   I'm trying to spend less time yelling at I'm going to try to resist the urge to go through it in detail. I plan to merely gesture at it disapprovingly and move on...

Trump: Muslims Celebrate 9/11; Protester Roughed Up

   Everybody needs to reflect on the fact that this guy is seriously being considered for the office of the President of the United States.
   As for the protester: it should probably be said that you can't--or at least I can't--actually see any punches thrown in the video, and certainly no kicks. Blue-checked-shirt guy keeps posing as if he's going to throw down...but what I can see after watching the thing about ten times is consistent with the protester merely being wrestled to the ground. Which is, of course, still bad...but different. I saw reports of punches and kicks, and obviously such reports constitute evidence. But I couldn't prove it by the video. What are the laws with respect to disrupting such events, anyway? Can you physically remove people? There are legitimate time, place and manner restrictions on speech, of course...but I have little idea what they're like...  I'm trying to give Trump and his groupies the benefit of the doubt here...
   It's worth noting that the protester's name is awesome: Mercutio Southhall. I am extremely envious.
   Anyway. Looks like Carson is imploding. Which means it's time to start worrying about Trump again.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Carolina Loses to Northern Iowa 67-71

   Congrats to UNI--they beat us fair and square.  They had a good game plan, and we...well...didn't seem to.  We also didn't have Marcus...but we really shouldn't have needed him. The Heels haven't looked impressive thus far this season, and it was clear that we couldn't really be #1...but I thought it'd be the Terps that knocked us off, not the Panthers...
   On the bright side, football won the Coastal division--so that's different alright...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Politifact: 5 Questions About Syrian Refugees


   Not sure what we should do yet, but it seems to me that presumption goes to helping refugees, and the burden of proof is on opposition thereto.
   Drum argues that--for reasons that he spins as purely political--Dems should throttle back on the mockery of people who are concerned about Syrian immigrants. But this seems true for not-merely-political reasons: concern about this is perfectly rational. Sadly, liberals seem to think that conservatives are obviously wrong about everything. Which is idiotic. Not to mention: annoying as hell. (Yeah, ok, I guess conservatives think the same thing about liberals. But let's skip the tu quoques for right now.)
   Anyway. I haven't yet been convinced that we should turn away Syrian refugees. I do have more-than-fleeting concerns about European nations that are taking massive numbers in a much less systematic way than we will. They also seem to have less luck with assimilation than we have.