Monday, January 16, 2017
Social Science and “Microaggressions”
Now, a scholarly article reviews the evidence and takes on the concept. The conclusions:
The microaggression concept has recently galvanized public discussion and spread to numerous college campuses and businesses. I argue that the microaggression research program (MRP) rests on five core premises, namely, that microaggressions (1) are operationalized with sufficient clarity and consensus to afford rigorous scientific investigation; (2) are interpreted negatively by most or all minority group members; (3) reflect implicitly prejudicial and implicitly aggressive motives; (4) can be validly assessed using only respondents’ subjective reports; and (5) exert an adverse impact on recipients’ mental health. A review of the literature reveals negligible support for all five suppositions. More broadly, the MRP has been marked by an absence of connectivity to key domains of psychological science, including psychometrics, social cognition, cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavior genetics, and personality, health, and industrial-organizational psychology. Although the MRP has been fruitful in drawing the field’s attention to subtle forms of prejudice, it is far too underdeveloped on the conceptual and methodological fronts to warrant real-world application. I conclude with 18 suggestions for advancing the scientific status of the MRP, recommend abandonment of the term “microaggression,” and call for a moratorium on microaggression training programs and publicly distributed microaggression lists pending research to address the MRP’s scientific limitations.Of course, it is possible to say dumb and thoughtless things that demean (say) blacks or women or gays. But it’s also possible to do the same for Christians, or men, or whites, or Trump voters. The politically correct crowd that wants to protect politically correct groups are usually the same people who demean (macro aggress) against those latter groups.
Further, the concept is used to silence perfectly legitimate statements that people have a right to make which some politically correct victim group is assumed to resent. At the University of California, an official list of microaggressions outlaws saying “There is only one race, the human race.” A sappy statement (although the sort one would expect from an old-fashioned liberal), but aggressive?
Likewise “America is a melting pot,” and “America is the land of opportunity.”
Aggrieved minorities, if they object to these statements, are free to argue with them. But if they demand they should be punished, they should be told to pound sand.
But on a university campus, with a swarm of bureaucrats committed to petting and pandering to the most aggrieved of politically favored groups, that’s not going to happen.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Milo Yiannopoulos at Western Carolina University
So you should see what he actually says, rather than believe thumbnail descriptions of what he believes from politically correct leftists (or liberals).
Warning: the video contains one distasteful image, and quite a bit of course language.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Obama’s Power Grabs: Soon in the Hands Of Donald Trump
Friday, January 13, 2017
Leading or Following? Democrats and Obama on Israel
So the question arises: are Democrats following people like Barack Obama, whose disdain for the Jewish state has been quite obvious, or does Obama’s disdain for Israel merely reflect a shift among Democrats generally?
Why Democrats should dislike Israel is something that needs to be explained. For most of the 20th century, Jews had the status of a politically correct victim group (although the term “political correctness” wasn’t in general use). Liberals prided themselves on opposing antisemitism.
So what has changed?
Essentially, there is been a shift in the axis of liberal identity politics. In most of the 20th century liberals proudly supported Jews, blue collar workers and Catholics was well as blacks. But blue collar workers and Catholics have moved in a conservative direction. Jews continue to vote Democratic, but now they are much harder to portray as a victim group. They have succeeded too well in American society, and discrimination against Jews is extremely rare.
So what victim group have liberals latched onto? The Palestinians. They can be portrayed as victims, while Israel is a successful, modern, affluent state.
Siding with people who really are victims is certainly a virtue. But liberals have huge trouble dealing with groups whose problems are of their own making. They continue to portray the problems of the black community as the result of white racism. But the things that most afflict black people are a 72% illegitimacy rate and an absurdly high rate of crime by blacks who victimize other blacks. Liberals want blacks to be victimized by other people, and are embarrassed by discussion of how blacks are victimized by the bad behavior of other black people.
Likewise with the Palestinians. Liberals can’t admit that they are victimized by their own unwillingness to accept the state of Israel, their own support of terrorism, and corruption among their own leaders. It can’t be that their own bad behavior is the problem, so somebody must be oppressing them. And that “somebody” is Israel.
Thus the intellectual bad habits of liberals in domestic US politics have spilled over into international relations.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Slap on the Wrist: Trivial Discipline for Marquette Students Who Defaced Anti-Abortion Display
Marquette has failed to explain whether any punishment was meted out to the students guilty of the vandalism. They have not even issued any assurance that punishment would be imposed for an egregious infringement on free expression.
Now we know why.
An AdmissionYesterday, Marquette held a full-day “workshop” titled “Freedom Dreams Now: Whose Lives Matter? A challenge for academics.” Yes, it was as biased and politically correct as it sounds. But one particularly interesting session was a “faculty/student round-table.” One of the students, a black female, admitted she participated in the vandalism.
Actually, it was more than an admission. She outright bragged about her action, and felt it grossly unfair that a minor punishment had been imposed on her. She complained that an officer from the campus Police Department came to question her at her workplace.
Vandalism is a criminal offense, but multiple Marquette faculty intervened on behalf of the students, and there were no criminal charges brought. Rather, Marquette’s own internal student conduct process imposed a minor punishment: the students were required to write a three page paper on how they had acted irresponsibly in defacing the display.
The student on the panel refused to, saying “it’s finals week.” So did one other student. Both were thus put on university probation for a semester. Not suspension, but mere probation.
Marquette, in other words, treated a frontal assault of free expression as a minor peccadillo. If some conservative students had vandalized a “gay rights” display on campus, we can’t imagine any such lenient treatment.
Faculty ResponseRather appalling was faculty response toward this student and her vandalism, which was favorable. One female faculty member described the vandalism as “free speech” and expressed her joy at seeing the vandalized display. Other faculty expressed the hope that the incident would not appear on the permanent record of the student who spoke.
Of course, the expressed opinions of a few faculty may not have represented the views of everybody in the room, and indeed, the people in the room were probably heavily self-selected from among leftist politically correct faculty. But there can be no doubt that a considerable number of Marquette faculty welcome this suppression of politically incorrect opinions.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Palestinians Celebrate Terrorist Attack
Tuesday, January 03, 2017
Monday, January 02, 2017
Letter to the Editor: On Marquette President Michael Lovell
Essentially, fundamentalism is a form of fideistic, a priori conviction that one’s sect alone knows the absolute truth about the true and the good. Only in its confines is salvation to be found. The faithful cement their bond by the use of a special terminology: King James Bible only, which alone is inerrant, the Rapture, a literal six day creation and Sabbath rest, a young earth, of perhaps a very few thousand years, a second blessing, etc. Whatever the religious content, they alone know the absolute truth. Doubters and dissenters are purged through excommunication. In an earlier era, they were tortured into recantation or burned at the stake.
Yet Christian fundamentalism is far from being the only variety. It’s the only variety, however, it’s permissible to publicly mock.
The president of Marquette University, Dr. Michael Lovell, is a true believer belonging to a different, more recently developed fundamentalist cult. This is the dogmatic faith known as political correctness. It’s anthem, if it had one, would be, “Gimme That New Time Religion.”
The flock recognizes its members by Shibboleths bleated by its sheep who safely graze the fields of academia: diversity, multiculturalism, inclusion, welcoming, white privilege, hate speech, offensiveness, insensitivity, social justice, etc. Its priests and prophets are the administrators and elitist faculty of most universities. Its revivalist tents and temples are buildings funded by often out of touch alumni.
At Marquette, a prophetic provost presents the new Thou Shalt Not imperatives inscribed in tablets of stone: homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, heterosexism, sexism, classism, logophobia, eurocentrism, speciesism, lookism, oppression (of select self-identified victim groups), hegemony of Western Civilization, and so on. Here, too, doubters and dissenters are not tolerated. They are excluded as dangerous heretics from whom the faithful must protect their prospective converts. Widespread excommunication isn’t just medieval anymore.
The Cheryl Abbate case at Marquette was a morality play in which she was cast as a martyred Joan of Arc by Dr. Lovell. What heroic virtue, one may reasonably ask, is exemplified by one who silenced free speech in an academic setting? What was supererogatory about condemning the Magisterium’s teaching against homosexual acts as “homophobia”? On a questionably Roman Catholic campus, what was excellent in forbidding discussion of the natural law arguments honed by contemporary philosophers? Abbate corrupted by politicizing the Socratic Method. In this she sinned against philosophy, as did the Department Chair and others who supported her.
A well established, respected and tenured professor came under the ban for protesting this on his private blog. For supporting an undergraduate student wrongly oppressed by Abbate, Dr. John McAdams was condemned as a dangerous dissenter and anathematized. He was blamed for apparently hateful communications Abbate received. In other words, the guilt of others unknown to McAdams was imputed to him. Dr. Lovell ought to have been advised that the imputation of sins was only possible in the case of Jesus Christ. Only he was able to take on himself the sins of others, indeed, of the world.
The fundamentalism of Dr. Lovell and his politically correct cult is reminiscent of the religious zeal that led to the burning of heretics at the stake. It’s troublingly easy to visualize him, with grim satisfaction, setting the torch to the stake. These days, he can only torch the reputation of an accomplished professor. And this, of course, while whistling “Gimme That New Time Religion.”
(McCamy is a 1996 Ph.D. graduate of Marquette’s Philosophy Department)
Sunday, January 01, 2017
Inside Socialist Venezuela
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Not Sure Why a Brit is an Alabama Fan, but Why Not?
Friday, December 30, 2016
Settlements and Peace in the Middle East
Now We Are Going to Get Tough?
Marquette Near Bottom in College Ranking on Free Expression
We are a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities.“Politically diverse” here doubtless means conservatives, libertarians, and old-style liberals and leftists. Remember, it was once liberals and leftists who espoused free expression and a “free market of ideas.” Those days are over, but some of the old-style liberals and leftists are still around, and a few younger liberals and leftists continue to favor free speech.
We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.
To reverse this process, we have come together to advocate for a more intellectually diverse and heterodox academy.
The organization rates schools on “viewpoint diversity.” In practice this means that conservative and libertarian ideas can be expressed on campus. The expression of politically correct leftist ideas is never in doubt, at least not among the schools rated (which are the top 150 colleges and universities as ranked by U.S. News and World Report).
Guess where Marquette ends up? That’s right. Near the very bottom. You can search for Marquette here.
Rankings like this are hardly perfect. The people who put it together may not know that Marquette students are, on net, pretty moderate. But on the other hand, they may not know that Marquette has a Bias Incident Reporting System which means that any even mildly politically incorrect statement by a student may result in a meeting with an administrator. Even if the student is not formally punished, the process is the punishment.
Likewise, the people who put together the list apparently don’t know that feminist students on campus were free to vandalize an anti-abortion display, with no apparent disciplinary consequences.
Thus Marquette fully deserves its low ranking. This supposed “Catholic university” is not merely a secular university, it’s a rather intolerant secular university.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Marquette President Michael Lovell: One of the Scariest People of 2016
Marquette University President Michael Lovell has brought back the Inquisition to Catholic universities.
When political science professor John McAdams criticized Philosophy Department instructor Cheryl Abbate on his blog in November 2014 for not allowing a student to defend Catholic teaching on same-sex marriage in her classroom, Lovell dropped the PC hammer on McAdams by suspending the professor and banning him from campus pending termination.
McAdams’ crime, in the view of Marquette University, was criticizing Abbate publicly because, in addition to being an instructor, she was also a prized graduate student. But what made it worse was that McAdams’ blog post went “viral” and Abbate received hate mail, even though McAdams did not encourage anyone to contact her.
McAdams appealed his termination and was placed in limbo while a faculty committee debated his fate. The suspension continued until April of this year when the panel completed its investigation. It recommended his suspension continue through the end of 2016, but that wasn’t good enough for Lowell.
Lowell said McAdams could not be reinstated until he acknowledged the blog post was “reckless,” accepted the judgment of the faculty committee and expressed regret over the hostile emails Abbate received. McAdams refused, instead demanding that Marquette live up to the promise of academic freedom in McAdams’ contract.
Now McAdams is suing to get reinstated, and the two sides are scheduled to appear in court Feb. 2.
Lovell’s actions have placed Marquette University on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s list of Ten Worst Universities for Free Speech. Meanwhile, McAdams, a nationally respected expert on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is unable to teach students or even visit the campus.
But Lovell continues to govern Marquette, turning a once-proud university into a bastion of political correctness.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
On Transgender Nonsense
No, not at all.
In an essay in a Canadian journal, he skewers the transgender movement. Some key points:
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder affects a very small number of people. Estimates range from 0.1-0.5 percent of the population. If you only consider transsexuals who medically transition from one sex to another, you’re at the extreme lower end of that estimate. The latest data from the U.K. suggests that 20 in 100,000 are transsexual. But the transgender population seems to be significantly larger than that, and growing. It includes an increasing number of children who are convinced, perhaps partly by the ubiquity of the phenomenon in popular culture, that they are growing up in the wrong bodies.. . .
Referrals to gender dysphoria clinics are skyrocketing. The British Guardian newspaper recently reported that “a clinic in Nottingham reported a 28-fold increase in referrals in eight years, from 30 in 2008 to 850 in 2015. It is expected to increase to more than 1,000 referrals in 2016.” Edmonton psychiatrist Lorne Warneke, who has been helping people transition for decades, told the CBC in October that he’s seeing more and younger trans patients than ever before. The internet is awash in videos where trans adolescents tell their stories of transitioning.
Activists are pushing the medical community to offer treatment at earlier and earlier ages. It is not uncommon to start patients on hormone blockers around age 13 to delay puberty, then prescribe cross-sex hormones at age 16, so the child is ready for surgical transition at age 18.
Dr. Frankenstein as pediatrician
There is very little data on the long term effects of hormone blockers but what there is indicates that these drugs may stunt growth and affect bone density. One of the drugs, Lupron, which is manufactured by the U.S. pharmaceutical giant AbbVie, is intended for treating endometriosis and uterine fibroids. AbbVie has never tested Lupron for blocking puberty and has no plans to do so. Adverse events in clinical studies of females included “hot flashes, headaches, emotional lability (uncontrollable laughing or crying), decreased libido, acne, myalgia, reduction in breast size, and vaginal dryness.”
The American College of Pediatricians reports that “puberty-blocking hormones induce a state of disease – the absence of puberty – and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child.” Dr. Lisa Brinkman, a clinical psychologist in Ireland told the Irish Examiner that “cross-sex hormones have irreversible effects on fertility. There’s no going back.”
That’s just the puberty blockers. Cross-sex hormones also have not been studied for their use in adolescents. Dr. Lisa Simons, a pediatrician at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, told the Frontline show on PBS that “we don’t really know how sex hormones impact any adolescent’s brain development,” adding that there are no “specific studies that look at the neurocognitive effects of puberty blockers.” What is known is that some of the physiological changes caused by cross-sex hormones cannot be undone if a child decides to revert back to their original sex.
The lust to overthrow convention has reached new heights of ambition – and absurdity – in the Trans movement. It has succeeded in badgering New York City to recognize 31 different genders in its civic human rights code: Bi-Gendered, Cross-Dresser, Drag King, Drag Queen, Femme Queen, Female to Male, FTM, Gender Bender, Genderqueer, Male to Female, MTF, Non-Op, Hijra, Pangender, Transsexual/Transsexual, Trans Person, Woman, Man, Butch, Two-spirit, Trans, Agender, Third Sex, Gender Fluid, Non-binary Transgender, Adrogyne, Gender Gifted, Gender Blender, Femm, Person of Transgender Experience, Androgynous.. . .
The dating app Tinder worked with the LGBT group GLAAD to add 37 genders to its website, and they have plans to continually update their current list: Agender, Androgyne, Androgynous, Bigender, Female to Male, FTM, Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender Variant, Genderqueer, Male to Female, MTF, Neither, Neutrois, Non-binary, Other, Pangender, Trans, Trans Man, Trans Woman, Transfeminine, Transgender, Transgender Female, Transgender Male, Transgender Person, Transgender Woman, Transmasculine, Transsexual, Transsexual Female, Transsexual Male, Transssexual Person, Transsexual Woman, Two-Spirit.
What’s the way forward? Well, we certainly need more Jordan Petersons, people with a backbone who can firmly challenge this nonsense.Like all identity politics movements, the transgender movement tends toward the totalitarian. Tolerating people involves leaving them alone. If somebody with a penis thinks he’s a woman, he is free to think that. But when he demands that he be called “ze” he is making a demand he has no right to make. And when he insists on running around unclothed in the women’s locker room or sauna, as Adelaide Kramer did at UWM, he is showing intolerance of other people’s sensibilities.
We also need more people who stand up for science. Dr. Kenneth Zucker is one such person. He used to run the Youth and Family Identity Clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. But in December 2015, he was abruptly fired and the clinic was shut. Zucker had enraged trans activists by advising the parents of dysphoric children to hold off on medical intervention because most kids eventually accept their biological reality. Zucker now practices privately and offers an important alternative for parents who are looking for real answers.
Perhaps we can also use some ridicule.
Grant Strobl, a junior at the University of Michigan, decided that his preferred pronoun was “His Majesty.” He told the Washington Post that “When I realized that the university decided to live a fantasy of allowing students to insert words that aren’t actual pronouns into the university online database that updates the rosters, I decided, well, I might as well be the king of that fantasy, and I henceforth shall be referred to as His Majesty.”
Why should his desire to be accepted as a woman trump women’s desire for privacy in a locker room? For the politically correct, because he is a member of a “marginalized group” and is due special privileges. For sensible people, it should not.
Friday, December 16, 2016
Pro-Trump versus Anti-Trump Violence in the Wake of the Election
And worse, they have claimed that newly empowered Trump supporters have gone on a rampage, attacking members of all their favored victim groups. “Reports of Racist Attacks Surge After Trump Win” one headline screamed.
It’s difficult to know how often this has happened, since:
- People who keep track of such things usually have a liberal bias,
- It’s sometimes hard to know whether a real assault was provoked by politics, or something else — there are two examples below.
- Many of these incidents have been faked by people with a liberal agenda, knowing that sympathetic media will eat up their account
First, there have been many faked incidents, committed by anti-Trump people and blamed on pro-Trump people.
Second, there have been many violent attacks by leftists on pro-Trump people.
First, bogus claims of attacks by pro-Trump people:
- Black woman at gas station in Delaware. More on this here.
- Muslim woman lied about being harassed on subway.
- Supposed homophobic attack at North State Park University.
- Northwestern students and swastika.
- Attack on gay man outside bar in Santa Monica. The attack really occurred, but was apparently the result of an argument in a bar that escalated on both sides. It is not clear that the Trump supporters the man argued with are the men who attacked him.
- Muslim woman at the University of Louisiana Lafayette claimed to have been attacked.
- Fifteen hoaxes (supposed pro-Trump hate crimes) that have been exposed.
- High school girl attacked for supporting Trump.
- Black men attack white guy on public street. Note: this incident started with a routine auto accident, but the attackers seemed to believe that the victim voting for Trump justified the beating.
- 15 year-old Trump supporter beaten during Rockville, Maryland protest.
- President of College Republicans at Cornell assaulted.
- A compilation of attacks on Trump supporters from Lifezette.
- Another compilation from the Daily Wire.
- Still more cases from The American Thinker.
- Yet more cases from Breitbart.
- Still more from the Daily Caller.
- Video compilation of anti-Trump people attacking Trump supporters.
Media outlets, of course, report news that fits their favored narrative. This applies to the New York Times and CNN, but it also applies to the conservative outlets we have linked to above. So as noted, there is no hard data on the actual number of pro-Trump assaults as opposed to anti-Trump assaults.
But the reader might ask himself or herself: which side has been most emotional? Which side has staged enraged protests that devolved into riots. Indeed, which side has gone on YouTube expressing extreme emotion about the outcome of the election? The answer to those questions is clear.