Saturday, August 19, 2017

Let’s Forget About All That

Black Lives Matter Lauded Fidel Castro

We are behind the curve on this, but better late than never. From the Huffington Post:
Upon hearing of the passing of Fidel Castro, Cuba’s dictator-emeritus, leftist politicians and celebrities wasted no time taking to social media to sing their sweet elegies for the Western Hemisphere’s most notorious tyrant.

Yet these tribute tweets, brimming with unwarranted admiration, soon encountered fierce resistance. There were those who quite sensibly pointed out Castro’s litany of human rights abuses. To speak approvingly of Castro, to eulogize him through euphemism, is to sanitize the legacy of a man who, in addition to committing egregious human rights violations, also tanked one of Latin America’s most historically prosperous economies.

But the Castro enthusiasts were also rebuked by a different sort of argument: the eruption of pure, unbridled celebration on the streets of Miami, the place where many exiled Cubans now call home.

While headlines and hashtags seemed to center mostly on the remarks of Barack Obama, Enrique Peña Nieto, Narendra Modi, and Justin Trudeau, one of the most benighted responses came from the feed of Black Lives Matter.

On Sunday, the organization published an essay, “Lessons from Fidel: Black Lives Matter and the Transition of El Comandante,” in which the leaders of the movement encourage their own to “push back against the rhetoric of the right and come to the defense of El Comandante” as they “aspire to build a world rooted in a vision of freedom and the peace that only comes with justice.”

Of course, there is much else wrong with Black Lives Matter.

But this whole business raises a question: while conservative politicians are required to renounce white supremacist organizations, and when they do (as Donald Trump did) are hectored for not denouncing them in sufficient feverish language, it’s just fine for liberal politicians to cozy up to Black Lives Matter.

As Barack Obama did.

And of course, the same corporations that engaged in smarmy virtue signalling about the Charlottesville riots (placing all the blame on the white nationalists, and none on Antifa) have pandered to and funded Black Lives Matter.

Of course, the hatred of police that Black Lives Matter engenders among blacks is ultimately harmful to the black community. But the liberal politicians and the corporate panderers don’t care. They have gotten the protection they wanted.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

What Does “Alt-Right” Mean?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Not the Business You Are In

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Lena Dunham: Trying to Get American Airlines Employees Fired Over Private Conversation on Transgenderism

From the Federalist:
This week, famous millennial journaler Lena Dunham was strolling through an airport eavesdropping on a couple of flight attendants. There she was, just a right-thinking individual with fluency in approved language and a desire for a kind and compassionate society, when she heard a conversation that violated her sense of an ideal society.

Then, as any individual principally interested in kindness and empathy would do, she reported the flight attendants’ conversation to their bosses at American Airlines.

Then, filled once more with the compassion and humility that are her hallmarks, Dunham broadcast this conversation, and her reporting of it, to her millions of social media followers. American Airlines is reportedly looking into it.

Because how, pray tell, could the world be a good place if middle-class flight attendants are allowed to talk to their friends at work in any way that gives this rich, famous public emoter a sad? What have we become, as a country, if millionaire, private-school progeny of Brooklyn art-scene families can’t have their exact conception of acceptable conversation reflected back to them during every minute of a flight delay?

Here’s What Lena Dunham Had a Fit About This Time

Hearing this conversation, Dunham wrote, was the “worst part” of her night.

This is the conversation Dunham alleges she heard. They were “talking about how trans kids are a trend they’d never accept a trans child and transness is gross.”
The author, Mary Katharine Ham, goes on to observe that:
This is the sinister side of the liberal “hamburger problem” Josh Barro wrote about. His thesis is Democrats could win a lot more elections if they stop insufferably hectoring everyone about everything— for instance, insisting eating a hamburger is an inherently political act because of the public health consequences and the carbon footprint and the blah, blah, blah. He’s probably right about that, but many liberals go far beyond hectoring.

Dunham isn’t content to publicly lecture about trans issues. She wants to punish people who disagree with her, going after their jobs without so much as a conversation with them, and she expects to be thanked and honored for her good works.
This, of course, is the sort of bigotry that thrives in academia. Marquette University, in an online module on “harassment” had a little scenario where two female employees where talking to each other, and expressed their opposition to gay marriage. An employee who overheard it was offended, and it was was made clear that the women were guilty of harassment, simply by expressing an opinion that somebody overheard and disapproved of.

It’s a cliché, but worth repeating, that the people who talk all the time about “tolerance” are the biggest bigots.

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There Will Be Something

Monday, August 07, 2017

Steve Jobs Favored School Choice

From the Foundation for Economic Education:
Steve Jobs said in a 1995 interview, “The unions are the worst thing that ever happened in education.”

Jobs spoke with Computerworld’s Daniel Morrow in a 1995 interview, which covered a wide range of topics, but frequently delved into Jobs’s views on the American education system. As he said, “I’d like the people teaching my kids to be good enough that they could get a job at the company I work for making $100,000 a year.”

But Jobs blamed teachers unions for getting in the way of good teachers getting better pay. “It’s not a meritocracy,” said Jobs. “It turns into a bureaucracy, which is exactly what’s happened. And teachers can’t teach, and administrators run the place, and nobody can be fired. It’s terrible.”

He noted that one solution is school choice: “I’ve been a very strong believer that what we need to do in education is go to the full voucher system.” Jobs explained that education in America had been taken over by a government monopoly, which was providing a poor quality education for children.

He referenced the government-created phone monopoly, broken up in 1982: “I remember seeing a bumper sticker with the Bell logo on it and it said, ‘We don’t care, we don’t have to.’ That’s certainly what the public school system is. They don’t have to care.”

Jobs said that the main complaint against school choice is that schools would cater only to rich kids, and the poor kids would be “left to wallow together.”

However, he said, “that’s like saying, well, all the car manufacturers are going to make BMWs and Mercedes and nobody’s going to make a $10,000 car. Well, I think the most hotly competitive market right now is the $10,000 car.”
Of course, this ignores the fact that some voucher proposals require that voucher schools accept the voucher for the full price of tuition, and the vast majority of kids would get an education at that price level. And the value of the voucher would be set to buy an education easily as good (and likely much better) than the current public school system
In other words, Jobs said, all students would benefit from more school choice, as the monopoly in education was broken up.

“The market competition model seems to indicate that where there is a need, there is a lot of providers willing to tailor their products to fit that need, and a lot of competition which keeps forcing them to get better and better.”
Of course, being a billionaire tech genius does not make one an all purpose expert on everything. But it does mean one knows a lot about dynamic, radically innovative and creative markets, and how they serve consumers. That is to say, markets very unlike the current educational market.

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Politically Correct Math Education Comes to Springfield

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Bullied Evergreen State Student Speaks Out

Exposing the American Association of University Professors: Politicized Guild

From Campus Reform, an article that deals with our legal battle with Marquette, but also with similar cases nationwide.

A key point: the AAUP is less than forthcoming when the academic freedom of conservative professors is attacked. Some key passages:
“In the aftermath of [Trump’s] election, it has become evident that his election poses a grave threat to the principles that lie at the very heart of the AAUP: academic freedom, shared governance, and economic security for those engaged in teaching and research in higher education,” AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum declared at his organization’s 2017 annual meeting.
So the simple election of a president you don’t like is a threat to academia freedom? Thanks, AAUP, for making your political biases clear.

The article goes on to mention cases where the AAUP defended extreme and inflammatory statements from leftist professors, and notes the lack of support for conservative academics. And further:
The same goes for more politically-neutral professors who simply challenge campus orthodoxy, like the Christakis’s and, even more recently, Evergreen State College Professor Bret Weinstein, who was forced to hold classes off-campus after campus police were unable to protect him from a mob of students who had angrily confronted him for questioning the legitimacy of an event in which white people were requested to leave campus for a day.

The AAUP did not release a single statement in support of Weinstein’s “academic freedom,” even after the student protesters held the school’s president hostage in his own office to demand, among other things, that Weinstein be summarily suspended without pay.

“My thoughts regarding the AAUP are much like my thoughts about the ACLU,” said George Leef, director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. “It avoids battles where it doesn’t like one of the combatants, principle be damned.”

David Randall, director of communication for the National Association of Scholars (NAS), expressed similar sentiments, acknowledging that while the AAUP did play an instrumental role in [conservative Mike] Adams’ lawsuit, “it is easy to find cases in which conservatives on campus have suffered significant infringements of their academic freedom in which the AAUP has been mute.”
The author (Anthony Gockowski) devotes considerable attention to our case. While the AAUP objected to our suspension in December, 2014, it had no problem with Marquette’s attempt to fire us, and with the punishment imposed by a faculty panel.

An AAUP official informed us that we had received “due process” from the faculty panel.
“Their position was that I had received ‘due process’ from the Faculty Hearing Committee, and that was all I deserved,” McAdams told Campus Reform. “They seem to view ‘academic freedom’ as a collective right the faculty have, not a right that each faculty member has. Thus, views unpopular with the faculty generally will get little support from the AAUP.”

. . . McAdams noted that due process—especially on a “contemporary campus”—offers “scant protection to views unpopular among the faculty,” pointing out that “in addition to ideological bias, there is the fact that campus bureaucrats can load committees with people who are keen on currying favor with the administration.”
Worse, however, was the fact that there were several gross violations of due process on Marquette’s part. As we told AAUP official Greg Scholtz:
  1. I was suspended in violation of Marquette's own rules. You have already taken notice of this.
  2. The Faculty Hearing Committee was supposed to issue a report within 90 days of the end of the hearings, but failed to meet that deadline by almost a month, finally delivering a report on January 19, when the deadline was December 23.
  3. One member of the Faculty Hearing Committee had signed a statement attacking me for my blog posts, but declined to recuse herself.
  4. Marquette refused to provide my legal team with evidence, possibly relevant to the case, that my legal team requested.
  5. President Lovell, while claiming to follow the recommendation of the Faculty Hearing Committee, in fact added a proviso that I had to apologize for the blog post, and provide a loyalty oath pledging allegiance to vaguely defined “Marquette Guiding values” and “Marquette’s Mission.”
  6. Marquette could point to no rule that I had violated, but the Faculty Hearing Committee engaged in what [my attorney] called a “multi-part balancing test” to come to the conclusion that I should be disciplined (but not fired). Restrictions on academic freedom (like all restrictions on speech) should be based on “bright line” prohibitions, and not vaguely defined and subjective “balancing tests.”
Scholtz blandly replied that he “never encountered a dismissal process that all parties agreed was entirely free of irregularities.”

Free Speech to Criticize Professors

But going beyond merely defending the right of leftist professors to say extreme and inflammatory things, the AAUP has condemned those media outlets that publicize those extreme and inflammatory things. For the organization, “academic freedom” means a lack of free speech when that speech criticizes leftist professors.

As David Randall suggested, the AAUP has to be viewed as a “politicized guild, and not as disinterested partisans of academic freedom.”

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Out of Gas

Saturday, July 29, 2017

“New Atheists:” In the Doghouse With Liberals For Being Consistent Atheists

From National Review:
Organized religion’s shallowest critics made the mistake of blasting Islam along with Christianity, and the Left crucified them for it.

On Friday, it became official: The New Atheists are no longer welcome on the left. Battered, condemned, and disinvited, these godless and once-favored “public intellectuals” are now homeless, spurned by their erstwhile progressive allies.

Richard Dawkins, the famously skeptical evolutionary biologist, was the last shoe to drop. He was disinvited from a speaking engagement at Berkeley because his “comments about Islam” had “offended and hurt . . . so many people,” according to the event’s organizers.

Dawkins is in good company. His New Atheist compatriots, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, had already been expelled from the party. In both cases, insufficient deference to Islam was the proximate cause. Hitchens remained a committed socialist, but felt a war on Islamic terror and autocracy was needed. For this, he was denounced as a “neocon.” Harris is a liberal, straight and true, but drew the ire of Reza Aslan for refusing to except Islam from his broad critique of religion. “Islam is not a religion of peace,” Harris often says. In fact, he thinks it’s just the opposite. For that, everyone from Glen Greenwald to Ben Affleck has cast him as an Islamophobe and a bigot.

That means that three of the much-acclaimed “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism have been turfed from the left for extending their critique of religion to Islam. The fourth is Daniel Dennett, who also criticizes Islam. The only actual philosopher of the bunch, he is far too boring and ponderous to be noticed, let alone denounced, by anyone. In his place, one can add Bill Maher, a popularizer of New Atheism who has also been barred from Berkeley over criticism of Islam. One by one, these men have been excommunicated from the Left.

Confirmation bias deserves at least a part of the blame. The New Atheists have long harbored an irrational fear of Christianity, but Christophobia doesn’t worry the Left. Combating Islamophobia, however, is a progressive priority, and so it is noticed and addressed when it strikes.

However, the argument that the liberal obsession with Islamophobia stems from a healthy regard for the status of minorities only goes so far. As Michael Walzer, the socialist intellectual, has written in Dissent, “I frequently come across leftists who are more concerned with avoiding accusations of Islamophobia than they are with condemning Islamist zealotry.” There is a reason, after all, why many Democrats stubbornly and proudly refuse to say the words “Islamic terrorism,” preferring to speak of generalized “extremism.”

But these same people who insist that evil men have perverted Islam are usually the first to falsely bring up Timothy McVeigh as an example of a “Christian terrorist.” They present Christianity as a reflection of the actions of its evildoers (and even those who disclaim the faith). But the actions of orthodox Islamic believers, the Left suddenly maintains, are no reflection on the tenets of the peaceful Islamic faith.

Farther left, the defense of Islam becomes a defense of Islamic radicalism and intolerance. Slavoj Žižek sees in Islamism “the rage of the victims of capitalist globalization.” Judith Butler insists that “understanding Hamas [and] Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important.”

In short, the New Atheists have won applause from the wrong side: the anti-Muslim, crusading Right. Christopher Hitchens, an endlessly entertaining writer who could give it to Saddam Hussein as good as anyone, was every right-winger’s favorite radical. Sam Harris started finding agreement with the likes of Douglas Murray and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Rich Lowry’s defense of Harris from Ben Affleck appeared in the New York Post. Bill Maher now delights the Right as much as he infuriates it. And the Left, smelling traitors in its midst, simply cannot tolerate this sort of transgression.

But more attention is needed to the specific nature of the Left’s double standard when it comes to Islam. Why must ardent secularists from the Islamic world like Ayaan Hirsi Ali — the type of people the Left looks to for inspiration in the history of Western secularism — be deemed bigots, while Sharia-supporting conspiracy theorists like Linda Sarsour are cherished? Why has criticizing Islam caused the New Atheists to cross a red line in the progressive imagination?

These positions make no sense if one thinks of the Left as seriously secular, convinced of the need to end the reign of superstition. But American liberals profess neither the passionate skepticism of Hume nor the honest, urgent atheism of Nietzsche. They prefer to embrace a shallow, culture-war atheism instead.

This culture-war atheism provides “evidence,” quick and easy, to support the proposition that America is split into two camps: the intelligent, sophisticated, urbane, righteous liberals and the idiotic, gullible, backward, bigoted conservatives. The former are atheists and the latter are believers, flattering one side and bludgeoning the other. In fact, it is this type of thinking that made progressives fall in love with the New Atheists in the first place.
The author (Elliot Kaufman) goes on to dismantle some of the jejune arguments of the New Atheists, and then concludes:
New Atheism pleased the Left as long as it stuck to criticizing “God,” who was associated with the beliefs of President George W. Bush and his supporters. It was thus fun, rather than offensive, for Bill Maher to call “religion” ridiculous, because he was assumed to be talking about Christianity. Christopher Hitchens could call God a “dictator” and Heaven a “celestial North Korea,” and the Left would laugh. Berkeley students would not think to disinvite Richard Dawkins when he was saying “Bush and bin Laden are really on the same side: the side of faith and violence against the side of reason and discussion.”

None of this New Atheist silliness bothered the Left so long as it flattered the right tribes and battered the wrong ones. It was only once the New Atheists extended their critique of religion to Islam that progressives began to turn on them. Muslims, though largely right-wing before the War on Terror, had become a “marginalized group.” Seen as the victims of Western colonialism, neoconservative aggression, and day-to-day discrimination, they became a part of the coalition of the oppressed, which is to say, they became virtuous. Islam, consequently, became a faith and tradition deserving of respect, not a “mind virus” like Christiniaty, busy infecting fools.

As such, attacks on Muslims or their faith not only appeared to be “punching down” at the innocent, but also became attacks on the left itself. The New Atheists, merely by being consistent and focusing on the most-egregious religious intolerance, in effect surrendered their sophistication and, in the Left’s eyes, joined the ranks of the bigoted, reactionary Right.

There is just one problem: We don’t want them either.
Why don’t we want them? Isn’t the enemy of my enemy my friend? While there are some exceptions (Christopher Hitchens comes to mind) most of them are shallow thinkers motivated by an irrational (indeed often bigoted) hostility toward religion. The fact that they don’t distinguish between Islam and Christianity in their hatred may be consistent, but it is not laudable.

But most off all, we Christian conservatives don’t want to be like liberals: demonizing or lionizing people on the basis of how useful they are in waging the culture wars.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Transgenderism: Emotion Trumps Fact

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Really Racist?

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Really Bad Miscalculation

Monday, July 17, 2017

Women’s March Lauds Terrorist / And So Did Marquette

Yes, these were the women with their badly knitted “pussy hats” who came out the day after the inauguration to protest Donald Trump. The organization is still in business, and tweeting. They recently tweeted this out:
Who is she? The FBI tells the story using Shakur’s real name (Chesimard):
On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, who was part of a revolutionary extremist organization known as the Black Liberation Army, and two accomplices were stopped for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike by two troopers with the New Jersey State Police. At the time, Chesimard was wanted for her involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. Chesimard and her accomplices opened fire on the troopers. One trooper was wounded and the other was shot and killed execution-style at point-blank range. Chesimard fled the scene, but was subsequently apprehended. One of her accomplices was killed in the shoot-out and the other was also apprehended and remains in jail.
Of course, Marquette honored Shakur with a mural in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

And when we publicized the mural, and the Marquette administration ordered it painting over, over 60 faculty members signed a petition protesting the action, and supporting the mural.

Lauding terrorists and cop killers is becoming mainstream on the left, and among Marquette faculty (at least in a few departments).


The “Women’s March” was not the only source of support for this terrorist on her birthday. Black Lives Matter in New York lauded her: So did CNN’s Mark Lamont Hill:

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Climate Change Hysteria Going Overboard

From Jonah Goldberg in National Review:
One of the hallmarks of the “Ugly American” is the habit of thinking foreigners will understand what you’re saying if just shout it louder and louder.

The Ugly Environmentalist does something similar. He exaggerates the challenge of global warming by using ever more hysterical rhetoric, thinking that if the last doomsday prediction didn’t work, this one will.

For instance, Stephen Hawking, the famous astrophysicist, recently said that the consequences of Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord were monumental: “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees (Celsius), and raining sulfuric acid.”

As Nathan Cofnas notes in the Weekly Standard, this is nuts. The share of the atmosphere taken up by that vile gas carbon dioxide (which just happens to sustain all plant life) is 400 parts per million. It’s been much higher than that in the past without boiling the oceans or raining acid from the sky. Cofnas also mentions that Venus is nearly 26 million miles closer to the sun, and that the share of carbon dioxide in the Venusian atmosphere is 965,000 parts per million, or about 2,412 times greater than Earth’s.

And that’s Hawking, a serious scientist (at least in his own field). Journalists, always looking for novelty and drama, can be worse. A recent New York magazine cover story on climate change assured readers that all of the previous climate-change alarmism was too tepid. Basically, by the end of the century, the living will envy the dead and much of the planet will be uninhabitable or a reenactment of a Mad Max movie.

The more you sound like some cowbell-wielding street preacher wearing a sandwich board that says “The End Is Nigh!” the more likely it is that people will ignore you. Particularly if your last few terrifying predictions didn’t pan out.

But this focus on how using scare tactics doesn’t persuade skeptics overlooks another problem. What about the people it does persuade? If you honestly believe that climate change will end all life on earth (it won’t) or lead to some dystopian hell where we use the skulls of our former friends and neighbors to collect water droplets from cacti, what policies wouldn’t you endorse to stop it?

There’s a rich school of journalistic and academic nonsense out there about how democracy may not be up to the job of fighting climate change, and why people who question climate change must be silenced by the state. It’s remarkable how many of the people who rightly recoil in horror at the idea of using, say, the war on terror to justify curtailing civil liberties have no such response when someone floats similar ideas for the war on climate change.

The environment editor for the left-wing British newspaper the Guardian, Damian Carrington, recently wrote a piece fretting about how having kids doesn’t help fight climate change. Jill Filipovic, a feminist writer, endorsed the article. “Having children is one of the worst things you can do for the planet,” she wrote on Twitter. “Have one less and conserve resources.”

I found this interestingly dumb. Filipovic is precisely one of those writers you’d expect to go ballistic if some conservative Christian opined about the reproductive choices women should make. But if it’s in the name of the environment? Let’s wag those fingers, everybody!
But is that really the point? Or worse? Could it be that the “climate change” crowd is so keen on this issue, and so given to hysterics, because deep down they want an excuse to dictate people’s lifestyles? Not only could it be, it is.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Reebok’s Faux Feminism

So Donald Trump says something nice about the figure of a French woman, and an American corporation jumps on the politically correct bandwagon to condemn it.

Except the corporation (Adidas, who make Reebok) are happy to use images of scantily clad (and nude) women in their commercials.


(But is that a warning, or an enticement?)

From the Conservative Treehouse.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

More: Evergreen College as Liberal Hell Hole

The following two segments are from a meeting of the Evergreen State College Board of Trustees. They are two individuals who dissented from the leftist mob that had been terrorizing the campus.

Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that Trustees at Evergreen will be any more effective in protecting free expression on campus than Marquette trustees have been in protecting free expression at Marquette.

One reason is that the forces of intolerant political correctness speak out, and are fully willing to target and punish dissent. You can see that in the video of the full meeting, which is dominated by leftists.

What we see at Evergreen is different a bit in degree, but not in kind, from what we see at most colleges and universities. Intolerant faculty, toady administrators and feckless trustees are all to blame.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Five Clichés Used to Attack Free Speech