Friday, June 26, 2015

Gun Rights Benefited Black Americans During The Civil RIghts Era, And Still Do

The University of California's Insane Speech Police

Whelp, so far as I can tell, liberals still mostly refuse to acknowledge that the crazy totalitarianism of the neo-PCs / SJWs is a real problem.
So anyway, here's this...

Antonin Scalia Sick Burn Generator

link

(h/t S. rex)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Common Dreams: From Jenner to Dolezal: One Trans Good, The Other Not So Much

   I think there's a fair amount of good stuff in this, though it does spiral down into trendy humanities-speak at several points. One of the important things that Reed gets right is something that I was going on about recently: the way the left is insisting that we talk and think about these issues is a giant, confused step backwards with respect to sex and gender. One of the central themes there goes roughly like this: Jenner looks and dresses as women have traditionally done, therefore Jenner is a woman. From the perspective of old-school feminism, this is totally wrong-headed. The most important point in this vicinity is that sex and gender are not necessarily nor normatively linked. The traditional correlations between sex and gender are merely statistical. Males tend to be masculine, females tend to be feminine. If we fold appearance and mode of dress into the genders (masculine and feminine), then the point is, basically, that some males are feminine and that's ok, and some females are masculine and that's ok too. To insist that Jenner is a woman (i.e. an adult female human) because he now dresses and looks like one is some seriously Neanderthal nonsense IMO. But that line is not only being pushed by the left, it's being insisted on--if you deny this retrograde, bullshit line, then you are an oppressor, jack...
   Of course the conversation is somewhat complicated by the confused attempt to turn man and woman into genders...but that's a different point.
   Anyway, I don't really care so much about this stuff except insofar as it all illustrates what can happen when bad philosophy meets crazy political dogmatism...

Slate: It Isn't Crazy To Compare Rachel Dolezal With Caitlyn Jenner

link
   The conclusion that they are crucially different seems pre-determined, and the arguments aren't stellar...but at least we're seeing a fair number of pieces now that acknowledge the prima facie similarity of the two cases.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Oxford's New Feminist Hit Squad

Worth a read if you like working yourself up into a lather about the stupid/totalitarian left...but sounds pretty overblown to me.
   If you can't stand up to some shrill, scrawny undergraduates, what do you think you're going to do if you ever have to stand up to the Brown Shirts or whatever?
   One reason I no longer think of myself as a feminist, though, is that mainstream feminists so seldom criticize the many crazies in the movement. And those who do stand up to them--e.g. C. H. Sommers--are considered apostates.

Cathy Young: The Pecking Disorder: Social Justice Warriors Gone Wild !!!!! Read It !!!!

This is right smack dab exactly on the money.
Great work by Ms. Young.

Yeah, yeah, I know...I'm all over the left these days...  But I'm mostly all over the right... The emergence of the SJW / neo-PC movements has just put the most outlandishly dopey targets on the left for right now...

Some More Jenner / Dolezal Links

   Here's something from ThinkProgress that flails around among some quasi-psychological speculation about causes of Dolezal's actions. Though I have no faith at all in any of these alleged explanations, lots of them sound directly analogous to so-called "gender dysmorphia," which would make such "transracial" cases analogous to "transgender" cases...  Maybe we will get to have a public discussion about the two cases, despite efforts to shut it down...
   Also: "The Surprising Ways In Which Jenner and Dolezal Are Linked"...which would better be titled: The Not At All Surprising, Perfectly Obvious and Predictable Ways In Which Jenner And Dolezal Are Linked...  Unfortunately, Moyer characterizes perfectly reasonable questions about the two cases as "taunting." (Reasonable questions can be asked with the intention to taunt of course...but obviously needn't be...)
   Another erroneous effort to use the dishonesty issue to suggest that similar principles are not at issue in the two cases.

Dolezal, Jenner, Dishonesty and Thought-Experiments In Philosophy

   The dishonesty issue is gumming up the works with respect to the public discussion of the Dolezal and Jenner cases. Not to go all ad hominem or anything, but in at least a lot of cases, those who want to push the conclusion that the two cases are utterly dissimilar often focus on Dolezal's dishonesty. For purposes of comparing the cases and leveraging each to work toward a more consistent overall view of things, however, we ought to ignore the dishonesty bit. It's just not relevant. It's better to think about a case of "transracialism" that's exactly parallel to the Jenner case.
   Incidentally, many people get frustrated with the philosopher's focus on imaginary cases, especially outlandish science fiction cases. But we tend to focus on such cases precisely in order to highlight what's relevant and push what's irrelevant into the background. In the cases in question, we'd really want to think about--here insert some lame philosophy way of indicated that we're sort of thinking about Dolezal, but not really--Schmolezal...Dolezal Prime...whatever. Then we just stipulate that this person is analogous to Jenner--they are up-front about the whole matter, announcing that they'll be changing races, or whatever. In this case, it'd probably be better to change the Jenner case to make it more typical--a person identifies with the other sex, then starts "passing" and so forth.
   At any rate: to focus on Dolezal's dishonesty is an error. It is to miss the whole point. Even if that gambit worked, it would only work for a couple of weeks until we'd found a different, similar person who hadn't been dishonest.

Sean Davis: No, The Difference Between Dolezal And Jenner Is Not Fraud

   I was basically going to write this very post...but Davis has already done it. (I'd have softened some of the pointier bits probably...e.g. "delusional"...but, though those bits are perhaps a bit on the frank side, I don't think they're false...)

Monday, June 15, 2015

RIP Reality-Based Community?

   Oh, we all had fun with that crazy Rove quote, didn't we? I mean...it just seemed to perfectly capture what was wrong with the contemporary GOP, especially in the selling of Gulf War Episode II: The Phantom Menace...
   sigh
   But recent events seem to suggest that American liberalism may be little-more reality-based than contemporary American conservatism. The rise of the neo-PC / SJW movement, with its attendant irrationalist and antirealist quasi-philosophical orientation, its insistence that everything under the sun is a "social construct," its insistence that we all accept without question conclusions (or...assumptions...) that seem patently false, its demands that certain questions simply not be asked (e.g.: is Islam inherently more violent than Christianity? (previously on this blog...))...and perhaps worst of all, the recent listing of liberalism (or "progressivism") leftward, under the influence of neo-PC nuttiness...none of this bodes well for the view that we are more "reality-based" than the conservatives we rail against...  The Jenner/Dolezal affair is just the most recent episode in all this.
  (In fact, the Rove quote was never quite what we made it out to be...but that's a different story for a different time...)

Khadijah White: Blackness Isn't Something That Can Be Acquired With A Little Bronzer

   More bad arguments for dissociating the Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner Case from the Rachel Dolezal Case. 
   I'm stuck in house renovation hell, so this has to be something of a drive-by...
   White's arguments fail in part because she leans on the always-disastrous "x is socially constructed" jargon, using it both to mean roughly "The word 'x' has meant different things at different times," and "x-ness is constituted by social roles." That terminology basically destroys every discussion it enters into...  Such confusion invites equivocation of the form We've meant different things by 'black,' so being black is merely a matter of fulfilling certain social roles. Which is patently invalid, and which inference White at least flirts with.
  Also, White argues that Dolezal hasn't experienced anti-black discrimination, so isn't "really" black. But that's also true of Jenner. In fact, it's probably more true of Jenner. Women also experience discrimination, and Jenner's had none of that.  
  The "Dolezal was dishonest" claim also makes a prominent appearance... But, first, if that were a legitimate objection, then folks in this sector would have to admit that someone who is transexual/transgendered and passes on the sly is doing something wrong. And they have made it clear that they don't want to do that. Furthermore, the "she's dishonest" point seems to beg the question--it presupposed the very point at issue. Dolezal is claiming that she is black. Arguments deployed in the Jenner case (mutatis mutandis) seem to back her up. So you can't argue that Dolezal is dishonest in order to undermine the claim that the Jenner arguments back up Dolezal. Rather, you have to first show that the arguments are inapplicable. (And that she should have realized that.) Then you can conclude that Dolezal was wrong and/or dishonest. (I might be confused on all this...but damn I'm in a hurry!)  
   It's also worth nothing that, though White makes reference to a consensus among scholars to the effect that race and gender are "social constructs," there simply aren't authorities on these matters like there are in, say, physics, climatology, history, etc. The relevant academic disciplines are highly politicized, and have a strong activist bent. To appeal to such folk is basically to appeal to partisans of one side in these debates. Unlike, say, climatology, an intelligent layperson can master the relevant reasoning in a rather short period of time. And if you do so, you'll see that the reasons in support of the relevant scholarly consensus (in e.g. gender studies) are flimsy at best. So deference to alleged experts is out of place here, I'd argue.  
   That's all really fast and sloppy...
   
   Anyway, I really do think that the most important point here is a meta-point: the relevant sectors of the left started by insisting that we all accept conclusions about Jenner (and all transexual/transgendered folk) that simply seem to be false. That sector also insisted that the conclusions must be accepted without any question. To suggest that they were questionable or in need of discussion was decreed bigoted. Such irrationalist, totalitarian diktats are dangerous and illiberal in the extreme. As I noted, we'd never accept Jenner-type conclusions with respect to race. Then the Dolezal case appears...from the perspective of someone who wants to think rationally about both cases, it's manna from heaven... But the usual suspects are not falling all over themselves to insist that we not seek consistency in our beliefs, but insisting that it's obvious that the Dolezal case has nothing to do with the Jenner case. Which is false. They are, at least prima facie, very similar. Perhaps if we thought about it a lot, we'd conclude that they have nothing to do with each other. But I very much doubt that. A lot of words are being fired at the problem in an effort to obscure the similarities...and it's always possible to throw up a rhetorical smokescreen that will befuddle many people...but the arguments I've seen thus far simply aren't sound. But, however the first-order issues shake out, the most alarming thing here is at the second-order--the full-court press by the left to bully us collectively into not thinking, and simply doing and believing as we're told. 

Bill Mahr Reads Liberal Erotica

Be Still My Bleeding Heart 
(NSFW)
(h/t SkepticHume)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn (Nee Bruce) Jenner

   So...so far as I can tell, these are the liberal (or "progressive") lines on Jenner and Dolezal: 
   Jenner is a woman and that is transparently obvious and if you question it in any way, you are a bigot and an idiot. 
   However:
   Dolezal is not black. 
   (I think this, too, is supposed to be transparently obvious...but it's too soon to tell what the orthodoxy will be with respect to its epistemic modality...)  
   Quite awhile back I noted that the progressive orthodoxy with respect to sex entails a similar conclusion with respect to race. That's pretty obvious. Especially in a case like that of Jenner, who, we're told, still has a penis. If "identifying" as female is sufficient for being female, then "identifying" as a certain race must be sufficient for being a member of that race. I won't go through the arguments again here...and, in fact, I'm too lazy to look up my previous post and link to it...but the cases are obviously symmetrical.  
   Sean Davis at the Federalist makes the same point here.  
   (The normally reasonable (with respect to these issues anyway) Reason goes off the rails with respect to this issue here. The misrepresentation issue is a red herring.)
   I don't have time to go through this in detail...and, let's face it, it's not like I'm getting paid here, nor influencing more than about ten people's opinions, max...so let me make one cut to one of the relevant chases...  
   Progressives and their fellow travelers here have decided that someone like Jenner is a woman, and they don't want to hear any objections. They seem to be on a trajectory to decide that Dolezal is not black, and, if they stay true to form, they won't want to hear any objections to that either. They'll mumble some nearly meaningless nonsense built on some nearly meaningless jargon--"socially constructed" is sure to figure prominently--and when critical mass of groupthink is reached, they'll decree that there is no contradiction between their conclusions...and that anybody who thinks otherwise is...you guessed it...a bigot. And stupid. And ignorant. Etc. Etc.  
   Thing is,  these conclusions have been reached independently of reasoning. The conclusions came first, and then the rationalizations were added. I'm not exactly sure why the left decided to embrace these conclusions...but they did. And they seem to be winning the war to brainwash everyone at least with respect to the Jenner case. If the Dolezal case generates any cognitive dissonance, the fog of lefty quasi-postmodern terminological obfuscation will descend on the discussion until any pangs of intellectual conscience disappear, and any dissent is muffled.  
   In fact, the craziest thing about all this for my money isn't even the mad rush to bully everyone into believing an obvious falsehood about Jenner. The craziest thing is how effectively a false belief has been made orthodoxy, and how effectively dissenters have been shamed into silence. Having accepted Jenner as a woman, we are then forced by similar arguments, mutatis mutandis, to accept that Dolezal is black. If anything, in the eyes of progressives and the far left, Dolezal has a better claim to blackness than Jenner has to femaleness. The view that race is a "social construct" has gained a fair degree of orthodoxy on the left...far more than the claim that sex is a "social construct." (Of course, as I've often noted, you can't have a serious discussion using that radically defective/confused terminology...) (Though there's the confusion with gender gumming up the works, too...) Suggest that race is a biological thing in many circles and you'll basically be categorized as a racist. It's mumble mumble social mumble!  Well...Dolezal has lived many years as if she were black. She kinda looks black. She's made it clear that she thinks of herself as black. For many social purposes, it really is as if she were black. So if race is social and non-biological, then Dolezal's claim to blackness is pretty good. Better than Jenner's claim to be a woman. Of course, in reality, Dolezal isn't black...but Jenner isn't, in fact, a woman, either...  
   But of all the insanity in this sector, the most insane bit is the ban on discussion. It's downright scary to see how easily manipulated and bulled people are. The left has managed to convince people that it gets to decree not only what the answers are, but when discussion is verboten.   
   And that's some downright Orwellian shit right there.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Who Cares What Color Philosophers Are?

   Amen.
   I just hope this will end Coleman's annoying posts to the PHILOS-L list. That freaking list manages to spew out at least one link to nutty-left propaganda every couple of weeks.
   As for myself, I know that the Great Old Ones on my syllabus are white males, because everybody knows about them. As for newer folk, I often don't know and don't care. Oh, you can, of course, often tell from the name whether a philosopher is male or female. But not (reliably, anyway) whether they are white or black. I take it that some people on some of my syllabi are probably Asian, given their names... But I don't care about any of that. I also don't care about their height, weight, hair-color, income, preferences with respect to food, drink, recreation, sex, art, movies or books.
   Silly, unreconstructed liberal that I am, I think such decisions should be color-blind. There are non-foolish arguments against this view, but none of them are strong enough to overcome the reasons in favor of a color-blind philosophy curriculum. Even if I intentionally put more non-whites on the curriculum, how are the students going to know what their race is? I'm certainly not going to make some big deal about it... I think the wide-eyed obsession with race and sex in the academy is confused as hell. I also take it that they get plenty of "diversity" propaganda in many of their other courses...

Northwestern Professor Target of Title IX "Inquisition" For Writing Politically Incorrect Essay

   Laura Kipnis wrote an op-ed (previously) basically saying that things weren't always so bad when professors and students used to be freer to sleep together, noting that she herself had done it, and arguing that PC puritanism on campus may have gone too far.
   As a result, she was slapped with Title IX charges by students with no particular link to the story, and hauled in before an inquisition that, among other things, refused to tell her what the charges were.
   Anybody still think that the neo-PCs / SJWs are harmless?

Friday, June 05, 2015

NCAA Notice of Allegations Against UNC

   Here's what I'd say is the best summary I've seen so far, at the TarheelBlog.
   So far, analyses of the NoA have basically confirmed what I've thought:  no involvement by men's hoops, women's hoops is toast, and Nyang'oro and Crowder were the real culprits.
   This is a horrible, gut-wrenching affair for anyone who loves Carolina. A friend of mine described bursting into tears when she first heard a story about it on NPR while driving home from work. However, it's also been largely a catspaw used by (as we say) ABCers (Anybody But Carolina) to destroy men's hoops. State and Duke fans have been positively giddy since the allegations first emerged. But it still looks like it's always looked: Roy and men's hoops had nothing to do with this. They'll suffer for it--they've already suffered for it, as it destroyed recruiting this year, and will probably destroy it next year, probably preventing us from getting Giles & co., and possibly sending them to Duke or Wake. But, as we all knew, Roy wouldn't do something like this, and he didn't.
   So this has been awful for Carolina, and it will continue to be awful for quite some time. But it still looks like this was an idiotic scheme run by Nyang'oro and Crowder, that some branches of athletics (WBB and possibly MFB) were involved in it, but Roy and MBB weren't. In fact, as we know, Roy asked the advising folks not to encourage hoops players to take AFAM classes. He says he sort of suspected shenanigans, but that it is drilled into coaches that they are not to even consider interfering with academics. So he didn't feel as if he could do anything else.
   Apparently the real innovation in the NoA is that it alleges that UNC "lost institutional control" of the AFAM department. This is apparently a first--apparently always in the past, LoI charges have been to the effect that universities lost control of an athletic program. So who knows how that will all play out...
   Ugh. What a miserable mess...

   [Of course Dan Kane at the Nuisance Observer, the journamalistic arm of NC State, consistently spins everything to make it look as bad as possible for Carolina in general and men's hoops in particular. Here's a DNL link to his hyperventilations today.]