Sunday, September 24, 2017

I Hate Your Blog


You Don't Have To Be A Crazy Leftist To Oppose The Crazy Right

(Also: vice versa.)

It's a really simple thought.

"Is Sex A Dirty Word?": Or: Why You Shouldn't Botch The Sex-Gender Distinction

I didn't agree with all of this, FWIW, but it's pretty good.
   Blurring the sex/gender distinction now seems to be a feature rather than a bug on the PC/SJ left. If you stick to the distinction, then there's nothing much to talk about with respect to transgenderism: e.g. Caitlyn Jenner is a feminine man. End of story. Roll credits. Move along. Nothing to see here. Trying to make him out to be a woman requires that you blur the distinction in order to try to make a change in gender out to be a change in sex.
   But botching the distinction isn't always a political tactic--lots of people just don't know what the difference is supposed to be, and use the terms interchangeably. Basically, 'gender' sounds like a slightly more highbrow term for sex, and that's the way many people use it.

Is The Pope Catholic?

Who would have thought that this would cease to be a rhetorical question?

NYT: "Push For Gender Equality In Tech: Some Men Say It's Gone Too Far"

This is surprisingly objective.
   Though, not to quibble: it's not "gender equality." It's about sex, not gender, and it's about what seems like an artificial balancing of numbers, not about eliminating discrimination.
   Thing is, there just can't be any real doubt that this sort of thing has gone too far--that is to say, become unfair and unreasonable in many ways. Those who continue to pretend that pointing out the obvious reveals or constitutes prejudice can either cut it the hell out and admit the facts, or continue to further alienate those of us who refuse to pretend that the Emperor's duds are the greatest thing ever.
   In general, this has kind of become a battle between people who refuse to pretend that day is night and those who are happy to pretend whatever they're told to pretend.
   I'm interested in addressing the weirdness of sex imbalances--but not by creating even worse, even crazier problems--and certainly not by creating an official public myth that everyone must pretend to believe on pain of accusations of prejudice.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trump Basically Calls American Citizens Exercising Their First Amendment Rights "Sons Of Bitches"

This sonofabitch is trying my patience.

We're Pretty Crazy When It Comes To Politics

Ilya Somin, "An Inconvenient Truth"

Bullshit Watch: "The Google Memo Guy Just Showed Everybody Why He Got Fired"

Wow this is bullshit.
   The PC totalitarians are still trying to get Damore. He twittered (I'm not saying "tweeted" anymore, goddamnit) something like: the Klan, for all it's failings, has some pretty rockin' names for their officers, e.g. "Grand Wizard." Incidentally, this is what we Earthlings call "humor"...
ZOMG IT'S THE MOST HORRIFIC THING E-VAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!111
Look, dumbasses: in grad school, a friend of mine and I had a discussion about what international figure had the coolest name. Bouhtros Bouhtros-Ghali came in second. Slobodan Milosovich came in first. Nobody was idiotic enough to suggest that, by saying he had a cool name, we were endorsing anything he did. This is not a difficult distinction to grasp. Saying that the Nazis were snappy dressers does not entail that the Holocaust was good. 
   So...by saying that Damore "showed why he got fired," does the WaPo mean: he showed that a lot of people non-identical with him are f*cking idiots?

The Resurrection Of Roy Moore

Saints preserve us.
   ...a man who has twice been removed as Alabama’s chief justice for defying federal judges and twice lost the governor’s race in the state—a man who has questioned former President Barack Obama’s citizenship, said “homosexual conduct” should be illegal and suggested the 9/11 attacks were an act of punishment by God—is on the precipice of becoming Alabama’s next U.S. senator.
...
   Moore, an Alabama native and a Vietnam veteran, has been motivated for his whole career by primarily by one belief: that his evangelical interpretation of Christianity should govern society. He eloquently and effortlessly mixes Bible verses and quotes from the Founding Fathers at campaign stops and other appearances. God and the Bible alone are the moral foundation for law and government in America, he often says, and removing God from the equation yields only bad results. Moore, who met his wife 33 years ago while reciting poetry during a Bible study, summed up these views in a poem he wrote in 2007, which begins: “America the Beautiful, or so you used to be/Land of the Pilgrims’ pride, I’m glad they’re not here to see/Babies piled in dumpsters, abortion on demand/Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.”
   I get it. Y'all don't like Luther Strange. But come on, Alabama. This guy is a God damned nut.

John Daniel Davidson: The Confederate Statue Controversy Isn't About Slavery; It's About Ending America

This is hyperbolic, but there's an element of truth in it that should be reflected upon: anti-southernism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Westernism are powerful forces on the extreme left. There's no doubt that a bunch of asinine, incoherent bullshit is helping to motivate anti-Confederate hysteria.
   None of that tells us a lot about what we--we sensible people--ought to think and do about the statues, of course.

Caroline Kitchener: How Campus Sexual Assault Became So Politicized

Not pretty, if true:
   The answer is likely—and unsurprisingly—political. After a devastating 2010 midterm election, Democrats in Congress looked to Senator Michael Bennet’s campaign in Colorado—one of the few bright spots for their party in 2010—as a model. Bennet had relied heavily on identity politics, rallying women, minorities, and millennials. And he had triumphed.
   In the lead up to the 2012 presidential election, Obama campaigned hard on a variety of social issues, including gay rights and support for Planned Parenthood. Some conservatives argue that, politically, it made sense for Obama to position himself as a champion for college victims of sexual assault. “Obama and the Democrats played into this narrative of standing up to campus patriarchy and a conservative view of sex,” The Campus Rape Frenzy’s Johnson said. “The narrative that campuses, which typically are the most gender-progressive institutions in society, were actually indifferent to these rapist animals in their midst was absurd. But there was enough evidence that you could wrap your arms around it.”
   As Obama moved to make college sexual assault one of his administration’s signature causes, Republicans began associating him with the issue.
   Ugh. At the time, I didn't blame Obama for any of this insanity. There's a decent chance I was wrong about that.
   On a more substantial note: I'm not entirely convinced that the preponderance of evidence standard is an unreasonable one in such cases. I'm more concerned about the acceptance of other insane ideas that seem to come from feminism--e.g. the idea that it is plausible that A and B might have a sexual relationship over a long period of time, but that A might only come to realize, after they break up, that one of the first times they had sex was non-consensual. In the sweep of human history, every damn think you can imagine has probably happened at least a couple of times...but without some really substantial and unusual evidence, no one should give credibility to such a story. I'm just not sure how much of the prevailing insanity is actually due to the lowered burden of proof. Without some genuinely extraordinary evidence, a tale like that shouldn't even be able to get anywhere close to clearing the lowered evidential bar. A's word alone, in the face of A's continued relationship with B, isn't enough--it isn't anywhere close to being enough--to meet even a mere preponderance of evidence requirement. I suspect that it's the feminist listen and believe delusion that's responsible for the problem rather than the standard of proof.
   Here's another worrisome thing in the article:
   It is unlikely that universities, unless forced, will change the Obama-era policies. The interim guidance issued Friday generally allows universities to retain the procedures they adopted after the 2011 Dear Colleague letter, and many institutions have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on expanding bureaucracies charged with carrying out those procedures.
   And as liberal institutions, many college presidents want to avoid aligning with President Trump—particularly on an issue like sexual assault. “These are institutions which, on any gender-related questions, are well to the left of the national norms,” said Johnson, the author. “Due-process advocates are not going to stage a campus sit-in in the president’s office, but if a president does anything to create a fairer process on this issue, she could be targeted by accuser’s rights groups. If the impression is that President X is indifferent to rape, President X is probably going to be out of a job.”
(This is a really badly-organized post, but I'm too lazy to fix it...)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Will Donald Trump Destroy The Presidency?

m*th*r f*ck*r...
   Citizens’ trust in American institutions has been in decline for a while. That’s one reason Donald Trump was elected. His assault on those institutions, and the defiant reactions to his assault, will further diminish that trust and make it yet harder to resolve social and political disputes. The breakdown in institutions mirrors the breakdown in social cohesion among citizens that was also a major cause of Trumpism, and that Trumpism has churned further. This is perhaps the worst news of all for our democracy. As Cass Sunstein lamented in his book #Republic, “Members of a democratic public will not do well if they are unable to appreciate the views of their fellow citizens, if they believe ‘fake news,’ or if they see one another as enemies or adversaries in some kind of war.”
   To that depressing conclusion I will add another. The relatively hopeful parts of the analysis offered here—that the Constitution has prevented presidential law-breaking, and that most of Trump’s norm violations will not persist—rest on a pair of assumptions that have so far prevailed but that might not hold in the future. The first is that Trump’s presidency, which has accomplished little, will continue to fail and that he will not be reelected. But it is conceivable that he will turn things around—for example, by pulling off tax and infrastructure reform and putting Kim Jong Un in a box—and win the 2020 election, perhaps in a three-way race. If Trump succeeds and makes it to a second term, his norm-breaking will be seen to serve the presidency more than it does today. If that happens, the office will be forever changed, and not for the better.
   The second assumption is that the country is fundamentally stable. In Trump’s first seven months in office, the stock market boomed and the United States faced no full-blown national-security crisis. But what if the economy collapses, or the country faces a major domestic terrorist attack or even nuclear war? What if Mueller finds evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians—and Trump fires not just Mueller but also scores of others in the Justice Department, and pardons himself and everyone else involved? These are not crazy possibilities. The Constitution has held thus far and might continue to do so under more-extreme circumstances. But it also might not.
Remember when we all hated Jack Goldsmith? Well, anyway...this is a good article, if mostly depressing.

A Shitty Anti-Quillette Post Somewhere

crap...right?

The PC Circular Firing Squad: Frances Lee: "Excommunicate Me From The Church Of Social Justice"

I'm not all that enthusiastic about this sort of argument...but it really is important.
   I'm interested in the fact that PC is wrong--not so much in the fact that it's unsustainable. I say go for the important objections, not the cheap, fast, effective ones. You go for the cheap refutation, you miss the real point. Also (this is the very kind of argument I don't care about...) you are subject to work-around defenses: Somebody dedicated to PC/SJW-ism can reason: What's really important is figuring out a way to avoid this SJW-on-SJW viciousness... When what's really really important is not being an SJW in the first place...
(Though I'm more inclined than I used to be to think that these things may not be entirely separable in fact. Possibly the fact that PC is unstable, plagued by ceaseless internecine war, is some kind of indicator that it's wrong. I dunno.)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Volokh: At The University Of Oregon: No More Free Speech For Professors On Subjects Such As Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation

This is great. The article, I mean. Not the death of free speech in academia. That's very bad indeed.
   Volokh says that professors will likely be hesitant to talk about these subjects...but that isn't right. Professors with PC leftist views won't hesitate to talk about them. But professors with even slightly heterodox views will hesitate--and probably just not talk about them. Which will mean that students will get even more of what they're already getting: one small fragment of one weird, bad perspective on the subjects.

Sesardic: How To See Further Than Others: Four Strategies

Ripped off from the great Neven Sesardic:

(1) “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
— Isaac Newton

(2) “If I have seen further than others, it was because I was surrounded by midgets.”
— Murray Gell-Mann

(3) “If some people have seen further than others, it is because they were midgets standing on the shoulders of a vast pyramid of other midgets.”
— Robert Boyd & Peter Richerson

(4) “If you want to see further than others, socialize with midgets and don’t let anyone stand on your shoulders!”
— Carmen de Macedo

Gary Gutting: Feminism And The Future Of Philosophy

Via the estimable Ph*l*s*phy M*t*bl*g: this, an embarrassment. Feminist philosophy is generally pretty embarrassing, and so is Gutting's hagiographical account of it.
   Somebody explain to me how anyone can take the following seriously:
...Sally Haslanger, in her seminal analysis of gender and race, says, “At the most general level, the task is to develop accounts of gender and race that will be effective tools in the fight against injustice.” She goes on to offer the following definition of “woman”: “S is a woman [if and only if] S is systematically subordinated along some dimension — economic, political, legal, social — and S is ‘marked’ as a target for this treatment by observed or imagined bodily features presumed to be evidence of a female’s biological role in reproduction.”
Haslanger is a hack, and that is hackery of the first water. It's not true...it's not close to being true...it's not interestingly false...it's just bullshit.
   And don't even get me started on the idea that the point of philosophy is to "develop accounts of [anything] that will be effective tools in the fight against injustice." I mean, hey, fighting injustice: groovy. But (a) much of what these people want to fight isn't injustice, and (b) to the extent that's what you aim at, you're not doing philosophy. It's important...in fact, it's way more important than philosophy. But it's not philosophy. But, of course, that's how we get bullshit like Haslanger's: she's not even trying to get at the truth; she's trying to effect some political end. (Though, again, incidentally: whatever that end is, it almost certainly isn't justice.)

   Incidentally, Gutting starts off with this bit about Haslanger:
“There is a deep well of rage inside of me. Rage about how I as an individual have been treated in philosophy; rage about how others I know have been treated; and rage about the conditions that I’m sure affect many women and minorities in philosophy, and have caused many others to leave.” Those words, written a decade ago by Sally Haslanger, a distinguished professor of philosophy at M.I.T., well express the moral energy behind the feminist ferment currently shaking American philosophy.
 Here's the great Neven Sesardic on Haslanger's tribulations in philosophy. It's short and worth the read. tl;dr: Haslanger got a series of sweet-ass jobs despite having almost no publications, and then got hired into one of the world's best departments...but...because she still didn't have enough publications to get early tenure...was forced to...oh God, I can hardly even type it it's so horrible...get twice the ordinary number of letters of recommendation... I, for one, don't know how she's survived...

Laura Kipnis's Endless Trial By Title IX

Yet another sign that liberalism is dead is the lack of outrage about the academy having been taken over by the thought police. Here's something on the latest effort to misuse Title IX to punish the critics of the misuse of Title IX:
   Back in 2015, the first investigation of Kipnis immediately triggered several other complaints. A professor whom Kipnis brought to her interview as her “support person” also had a Title IX retaliation complaint filed against him, after he spoke to the faculty senate about his concerns that the Kipnis investigation threatened academic freedom. An additional Title IX complaint at the same time also accused Kipnis of “involvement in and/or approval of” the faculty support person’s statement to the faculty senate. (Both of those complaints were eventually dropped.)
   Drawing on her experience, Kipnis wrote the book “Unwanted Advances,” which was published in April. After Northwestern terminated Ludlow’s employment, he gave Kipnis access to confidential records in the graduate student’s successful Title IX complaint against him, along with thousands of texts and e-mails between them. Kipnis writes that “the more I learned about his situation, the more I saw his case as a lens through which the excesses and hypocrisies of the current campus hysteria came into focus.” Kipnis devotes a chapter of “Unwanted Advances” to her theory that Ludlow was falsely accused. In a letter to the editor in the Daily Northwestern, the Northwestern Philosophy Graduate Student Association objected that Kipnis “unfairly portrayed our colleague,” the graduate student.
  In May, the graduate student sued Kipnis and her publisher, HarperCollins, for defamation. (A HarperCollins representative told me that the company does not comment on pending litigation.) The suit alleges that the book falsely suggests that the graduate student and Ludlow had a consensual dating relationship, falsely insinuates that her allegation of rape was untrue, and falsely claims that she is a “serial Title IX filer.” It also makes an invasion-of-privacy claim, alleging that Kipnis’s book publicly disclosed private facts, including the plaintiff’s prior relationship with a married professor at another school, and details intimate conversations from her relationship with Ludlow.
   It’s puzzling that the plaintiff is staking part of her lawsuit on the alleged falsehood of the statement that she is a “serial Title IX filer.” Kipnis mentions in the book that the graduate student was a complainant in six Title IX complaints; in the suit, the plaintiff acknowledges two, one against Ludlow and one against Kipnis. But days before filing the defamation suit, in May, the graduate student joined four Northwestern faculty members and five other graduate students as a complainant in yet another Title IX complaint against Kipnis, this time based on the publication of “Unwanted Advances.”
   Kipnis told me that she was surprised when Northwestern once again launched a formal Title IX investigation of her writing. (A spokesperson from Northwestern did not respond to a request for comment by press time.) Kipnis said that investigators presented her with a spreadsheet laying out dozens of quotations from her book, along with at least eighty written questions, such as “What do you mean by this statement?,” “What is the source/are the sources for this information?,” and “How do you respond to the allegation that this detail is not necessary to your argument and that its inclusion is evidence of retaliatory intent on your part?” Kipnis chose not to answer any questions, following the standard advice of counsel defending the court case.
   She did submit a statement saying that “these complaints seem like an attempt to bend the campus judicial system to punish someone whose work involves questioning the campus judicial system, just as bringing Title IX complaints over my first Chronicle essay attempted to do two years ago.” In other words, the process was the punishment. Possible evidence of retaliatory purpose, she learned, included statements in the book that aggressively staked out her refusal to keep quiet, expressed in her trademark hyperbole. Her prior Title IX investigation, she writes, “has made me a little mad and possibly a little dangerous. . . . I mean, having been hauled up on complaints once, what do I have to lose? ‘Confidentiality’? ‘Conduct befitting a professor’? Kiss my ass. In other words, thank you to my accusers: unwitting collaborators, accidental muses.” Also presented as possible evidence was her Facebook post quoting a book review—“Kipnis doesn’t seem like the sort of enemy you’d want to attract, let alone help create”—on which Kipnis had commented, “I love that.”
   If Kipnis did engage in retaliation or violate confidentiality, those infractions would be impossible to untangle from her book’s performance of her protest. “Unwanted Advances” sharply criticizes both the use of Title IX to silence political opponents and the secrecy that can enable abuse and overreach in campus Title IX processes. The latest iteration of Northwestern’s investigation of Kipnis took a month to complete, and again ruled in her favor. The university concluded that she did not retaliate or engage in sexual harassment by discussing mostly public information about pseudonymous students in a book meant to critique the Title IX landscape, including false accusations and the use of Title IX to punish those critical of Title IX. Though she didn’t honor the confidentiality of university investigations, Northwestern recognized that confidentiality is a request rather than a requirement in its sexual-misconduct policy.
   Northwestern’s decision letter did suggest, however, that the dean of Kipnis’s school might still choose to sanction her for possible violations of the university’s policy on “civility and mutual respect.” The evidence: her statements after the book’s publication, in e-mails, on social media, and in talks, in which she questioned the veracity and reliability of the graduate student’s account and hoped that “the book will cause a bit of a shit storm.” The university said that these “behaviors could be interpreted as demeaning and/or intimidating.” Kipnis objected that her statements rebutting charges of inaccuracy in her book could not legitimately be construed as “incivility.” The dean ultimately found that Kipnis did not violate the civility policy, and that was the end of the matter.
Many to most alleged liberals of my acquaintance simply aren't bothered by this. Or they make excuses for it so that they don't have to be looked upon unfavorably for criticizing it. Or they say something on the order of "get back to me when this is as bad as Trump being President." 
   Professors should be rioting on the quad about this.
   I'll say it again: liberalism is dead. 

I Thought The Left Thought That White-Knighting Is Bad...

It's almost as if these guys don't recognize the ambiguity in their name, 'White Nonsense Roundup'...but...that can't be...so really, they are, themselves, kinda trolling...right?
   Actually, I think it's good to help people stave off trolls.
   But it's not good to be a f*cking moron about it, yeah?
   By all means, troll the trolls...and totally troll the racist trolls...because...well f*ck 'em... That's a good enough reason, IMO.
   But honestly, a better name for this organization might be 'PC Jargon Generator'.

Significant Nonsense Watch: "Straight Black Men Are The White People Of Black People"

This sort of bullshit is significant in that it represents a kind of data point that lets us plot the trajectory of political correctness / social justice madness.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Drum: Trump Administration Cheating Re: Costs (And Benefits...) Of Refugees?

link
Yeah, that's a shocker alright.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Global Warming Occurring More Slowly Than We Thought?

Sooo....does this mean that even science is now anti-science?

More Pictures From Mexico City

link
I hope we already got search and rescue teams on the way.
There's no way that the death toll is 100.

Can Centrism Be A Movement?

Marvel's New Idea: No-Escapism

I don't know why so many people make long, rambling YouTube videos to make a point that could be made in two paragraphs of writing...but they do.
   The important point here is that Marvel now thinks that every issue of every title should have some PC bullshit in it. Escapism is patriarchy or whatever. The order of the day is now no-escapism. Because what kind of cult lets people take breaks?

Pictures From Mexico City

God, these pictures and video are horrifying.

Trump Something Something "Totally Destroy" Something Something "Rocket Man" Something Something

I'm going to stop reading the news now. I'd kind of rather just not know what's happening.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Derision For Liberalism And Individual Rights On The Left

What really interests me about this piece by Freddie deBoer is just the beginning--the acknowledgement that (as people paying attention already know) much of the American left has turned anti-liberal, and anti-individual-rights. It's clear that they're against free speech and the right to peaceably assemble, for example. I was on a discussion board not so long ago on which a swarm of lefties was deriding free speech, and denying that free speech was ever an idea that was central to liberalism. They were utterly insane, obviously...but that's what they were claiming. They acted as if they had simply never heard of such a thing as liberals caring about freedom of expression.

Andrew Sullivan: "The Boston Rally Exposed The Left's Intolerance Of Free Speech"

Sully's on the money, as usual.

Transgender Totalitarianism Marches On

Or transtalitarianism, if you will....
California says it can compel you to say what someone else tells you to say if you work in a nursing home.
   Notice that the way the law is written, not using pronouns at all, or not speaking to someone at all, can be prosecuted by a $1,000 fine or a year in jail. It doesn't even merely (lol merely...) outlaw calling someone something they don't want to be called...it outlaws not calling someone something they want you to call them. That's compelled speech. And it's the kind of thing that makes conservatives and libertarians suggest that progressivism's motto should be YOU WILL BAKE ME A CAKE. Though at least the cake-baking question is a tough one. This pronoun nonsense is not a close call at all. It's completely cracked. By trying to force people to call a man 'she', the state is trying to make them say false things, and tacitly accept a completely wacko metaphysics.
   But, since all the liberals seem to have died off or turned into progressive pod people, and no one takes libertarians or conservatives seriously, and Americans generally seem to have been retrained into doing what they're told to do, saying what they're told to say, and believing what they're told to believe...well...here we are. We sure are a compliant lot now, aren't we? We remind me basically not at all of what we seemed to be like in my youth...
   Also, notice how quickly we went from here's a wacky idea you've probably never heard of before to you must believe this or you are literally Hitler to we are going to put you in jail if you don't profess belief in this. And this is one of the creepiest, crazies, scariest things about the contemporary left: it's willing to go full totalitarian on the basis of an obviously ludicrous fad. Oh and, not to mention: it very clear aims to micromanage your actions and control your thoughts. And it's not just fringe wackos anymore--it takes a lot of mainstream Democrats, even in California, to turn some crazy-ass crackpottery like this into law.

Happy Constitution Day!

a link