Saturday, July 23, 2016
Friday, July 22, 2016
Marian Grotto at Marquette University?
St. Ignatius of Loyola was intensely devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was the impetus of his conversion, his lifelong devotion to Christ and his founding of the Society of Jesus. He was often referred to as a “Soldier of Mary” and “The Holy Knight of Mary.”This, of course, is pure symbolism, and nothing about having a Marian Grotto would prevent Marquette from continuing to be a university where opposition to gay marriage is frowned upon, if not outright forbidden. Nothing would prevent leftist centers of activism like the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center that decorated an entire wall with a fawning mural of Assata Shakur, terrorist and cop killer.
Ignatius knew intimately the incomparable power of the Blessed Mother for captivating souls, protecting them from evil and leading them to Jesus Christ, her Divine Son. For this reason, he consecrated himself and his religious order to “Mary, Queen of the Society of Jesus.”
Marquette University is a Jesuit university entrusted with the formation of the minds and hearts of young men and women. Imparting this most fundamental component of Ignatian Catholic spirituality – Marian devotion – is critical to its mission. The Louis Joliet Society proposes that Marquette do so through the creation of a Marian Grotto on campus as do other Catholic universities (above photo - the Beaudry Shrine at John Carroll University), honoring Our Lady with beautiful spaces dedicated to her likeness where students can pray for her motherly protection, comfort and intercession.
But at least, it would be the right kind of symbolism.
It would very much contrast with the mere symbolism of Marquette designating “gender neutral restrooms.” It turns out that only single use bathrooms on the ground floors of several dorms were designated “gender neutral,” but this was in flat contradiction to Catholic teaching on gender theory. The Church (including the very fashionable Pope Francis) has roundly condemned the notion that you can be any sex you want to be. But Marquette didn’t care.
So we wish the Louis Joliet Society well on this initiative. Moving things in the right direction, even in a minor way, is better than what has been happening.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Secular Activists Trying to Suppress Christian Schools
During the past few years, responding to ever-more draconian codes on secular campuses aimed at constraining free speech, dissenting voices have been raised here and there across the political spectrum, defending free expression and free association for all. This addition of conscientious objection outside conservative and religious ranks is a welcome development. It also brings us to one other large threat to free speech in education these days—one that’s still in the closet.Read the entire essay.
Secularist progressivism claims to champion diversity, but its activists today do not tolerate genuine diversity, including and especially in the realm of ideas, as revealed by today’s legal and other attacks on Christian colleges, Christian associations and clubs, Christian schools, Christian students, and Christian homeschooling.
These are bellwether ideological campaigns that have yet to garner the attention they deserve outside religious circles. Their logical conclusion is to interfere with and shut down Christian education itself—from elementary school on up to religious colleges and universities.
It’s Not An Education If It Includes Christian Ideas?Consider a few particulars. The Christian college club Intervarsity has had its credentials questioned on secular campuses around the country. So have other student groups including Chi Alpha and the Christian Legal Society, the focus of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010), which found that Hastings College had not violated the First Amendment in forcing the CLS to accept members who violated its Christian moral code. During the past ten years, two high-profile Christian colleges—The King’s College in New York, and Gordon College in Massachusetts—have been subjected to accreditation battles. Meanwhile, home-schooling remains an object of attack by leftish pundits, New Atheists, the National Education Association, and other progressive standard-bearers.
Still other authorities want to discredit religious higher education altogether. Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2014, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania called accreditation for any Christian college a “scandal,” adding that “[p]roviding accreditation to colleges like [evangelical Protestant] Wheaton [College] makes a mockery of whatever academic and intellectual standards the process of accreditation is supposed to uphold.” Trinity Western University in Canada has likewise been embroiled for years in a battle to keep its accreditation—because its community members pledge not to have sex outside traditional marriage.
Let’s ask the obvious question: exactly whose schools are being attacked as unworthy, substandard, and undeserving of recognition? Christians’ schools, that’s whose—not progressive flagships like Bennington, Middlebury, or Sarah Lawrence. If religious traditionalists were fanning out to campaign against schools dominated by other canons, cacophony would resound from Cupertino to Bangor. But because the prejudice propelling these attacks has Christianity in its sights, no one outside religious circles objects.
These efforts to impede religious education are also part of an ongoing paradox. It is not Christian colleges that have made a habit of harassing and intimidating speakers who represent different points of view; it is nonreligious campuses. When socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gave a speech in September 2015 at Liberty University, media accounts, including in The New York Times, took note of how courteous and polite the student body was, and how they unfailingly applauded a speaker who acknowledged at the outset profoundly disagreeing with their views.
Contrast their civility with the hostile reception certain other thinkers are guaranteed these days, just by setting foot on secular campuses. Followers of the Cross, especially, are often greeted by an especially bilious class of protester. Thus, for example, University of Tulsa students protested a former self-professed lesbian turned Christian—on the grounds that calling something “sinful” is “thinly veiled hate speech,” as one leader of the protest explained.
Similarly, when Jennifer Roback Morse—a former Ivy League professor and head of the Ruth Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to traditional Christian teaching—appeared at the University of California, Santa Barbara, 20 students interrupted her talk with chants, waving signs inscribed with various obscenities. When Christian speaker Ravi Zacharias spoke at the University of Pennsylvania, a local atheist group handed out bingo-style cards mocking the speaker to every student who entered the hall. The list could go on.
At MarquetteOne might believe that Marquette, a “Catholic” university, would at least be tolerant of Christian teachings about sexuality.
But to believe that, one would have to believe Marquette is really a Catholic university.
At Marquette, the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship was threatened with being kicked off campus for canning an officer who was engaged in a homosexual affair. He made it clear he did not accept Christian teaching about homosexuality, and would continue the affair. Under pressure from alumni, Marquette relented.
This was in 2011. Would Marquette back off today? We doubt it, given that the institution seems to seek out every way possible to pander to the campus gay lobby.
All of this, of course, represents the glaring hypocrisy of the Orwellian phrase “diversity and inclusion.” “Diversity” is interpreted to exclude a large body of ideas, including the ideas that Christians have about sexuality and the ideas that all civilizations have had about marriage until very recently. “Inclusion” means intolerant and exclusionary conduct toward Christians and others who hold to these ideas.
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Not a Lapdog
Restoring Campus Free Speech: The Impossible Dream?
“Safety,” as it happens, is a magic word on campus. It has its own special meaning, well beyond legitimate concerns about robbery, sexual assaults, and coercive threats. Some students have stretched the term to mean “I feel unsafe because I disagree with your ideas. So shut up. Right now.”Lipson then offers his remedies:
In this Bizarro World, you can feel unsafe if someone says fracking is a good idea, or that the Constitution protects gun purchases, or offer the opinion that employers should not have to provide free birth control. Crying “unsafe” is the campus equivalent of pulling the fire alarm—but with no sense of what a fire really is and no penalty for false alarms.
Okay, you say, it’s a free country and anybody can voice a complaint, justified or not. Surely, university administrators who receive silly complaints will gently explain that classrooms are supposed to challenge students, supposed to elicit spirited, informed debate, and occasionally prompt students to rethink their views and offer better reasons for them.
If you need to see a psychological counselor, we have them available. If you face any real dangers, tell us immediately, and we will help. Otherwise, do the assignment, develop your own views, buttress them with logic and evidence, and prepare to deal with alternative perspectives.
Oh, you naïve denizen of Earth.
Few administrators would even consider saying that. Today, dean-of-students offices are devoted to comforting delicate snowflakes and soothing their feelings. If that means stamping out others’ speech, too bad.
The deans are typically helped by small bureaucracies with Orwellian titles such as “the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.” The title is deceptive; these offices are ideologically driven. They are not about “including” Chinese-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Jews who support Israel, or evangelical Christians who may feel themselves beleaguered minorities on campus. The diversity police have zero interest in encouraging diverse viewpoints. Instead, they are university-sponsored advocates for approved minorities, approved viewpoints, and approved grievances. Full stop.
The rot has even spread to schools such as the University of Chicago, which has exemplary principles of free speech. Where Chicago slips—where many schools slip—is translating its worthy principles into practice. This year, for example, Palestinian activists disrupted two pro-Israel events on campus, with no consequences.
That’s standard fare across the country. An administrator, charged with protecting students, actually stopped both events after order had been restored. She simply announced the events were over, even though the student sponsors wanted them to continue. Instead of protecting free speech, she squashed it.
She was not alone. A couple of years ago, her colleagues twice admonished students for advertising ordinary debate topics, one on affirmative action, another on illegal immigration. A student had complained that black students were harmed by even discussing affirmative action. Another said Hispanics were injured simply by seeing the phrase “illegal immigration.”
University administrators duly summoned the debate leaders for “sensitivity discussions.” Remember, this is a debate society, these are prominent public issues, and this is a university, a place where ideas should be contested. No matter. After I complained to senior administrators, they actually defended the sensitivity grilling.
Just for fun, imagine a conservative student complaining about a debate titled “Resolved: We should encourage more undocumented immigration.” Is it remotely possible that administrators would summon the debate sponsors and tell them to be more sensitive to students who think illegal immigration is, well, illegal?
Not a chance. Some administrators told me so directly. That means the whole process is not only ludicrous, it is deeply biased against some viewpoints. That’s what “inclusion and diversity” means in practice, not just at Chicago or Northern Colorado but at universities across the country.
What should the administrators have done? They should have told the complaining student, “I’m sorry you are upset, but alternative views, sometimes disturbing ones, are central to your education and a liberal society. We are absolutely committed to protecting you from physical dangers and imminent threats, but not from ideas you don’t like. Here’s the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s not long. Take 20 seconds and read it. Then, go to the library, read the assigned materials, formulate your arguments, and engage with other students. Who knows? You might learn something.”
That didn’t happen at Northern Colorado. Instead, the complaint went straight to the university’s “Bias Response Team,” and they snapped into action. The teachers, who had done absolutely nothing wrong, were told not to discuss transgender issues again and to avoid stating anyone’s opinions about them, lest it trouble the complaining student.
This was just one of 44 incidents their Bias Response Team handled last year. It is unclear if they want to purchase land in rural China for a much-needed Re-Education Through Labor Camp.
This assault on free discussion is now commonplace on campus. What can be done?
First, university presidents and top administrators must show some intellectual courage. Their boards of trustees should demand to know if free speech is protected on their campuses, in principle and in practice. Then, they should hold the school administrators accountable for results.The problems with Lipson’s prescriptions should be obvious: if colleges were willing to do any of that, they would already have done it.
Second, universities should tell students, beginning with their acceptance letters, that “our school believes in free speech, open debate, and diverse opinions. You will hear different views on controversial topics. You are urged to read, write, and develop your own views, but you may not suppress others.” Stress that core value during orientation week. Urge students who seek shelter from intellectual challenges to go somewhere else.
Third, assign one ranking administrator primary responsibility for ensuring free and open debate on campus. This administrator should have no other responsibilities for student affairs since, experience shows, those other student responsibilities undermine the focus on free speech. He or she should make regular reports to the university president, faculty, and board, just as others do about gender discrimination, physical safety, and other issues.
Fourth, demand that student affairs offices stop suppressing basic academic freedoms and start supporting them. Begin by restoring the rightful meaning of “student safety.” It shouldn’t be distorted to shield students from uncomfortable ideas. In the 1950s, that would have prevented students at Ole Miss from urging racial integration, or even hearing about it in class. Somebody would have been offended.
Finally, let students know that they have every right to protest peacefully. They have every right to hold their own events, opposing what others’ advocate. But they have no right to disrupt others, and they will be punished if they do. Stop coddling rabble-rousers who come to campus specifically to disrupt academic events, as they often do. Universities routinely ignore these problems, despite their corrosive effects.
For example, how about telling students “our school believes in free speech?” Schools already do that. In fact, the University of Chicago already does that. But as Lipson has explained, it doesn’t seem to help.
The same thing applies to “intellectual courage” on the part of top administrators, or oversight by boards of trustees. Are the former all of a sudden going to grow a backbone? Are the latter all of a sudden going to start making “trouble” and disrupt the cozy, clubby ambiance of such boards?
And the idea that any university administration would appoint a bureaucrat whose job was, in effect, to make trouble for all the other bureaucrats who prefer that speech be suppressed is utopian. If any administrator had that official job description, we can be sure he or she would be a toothless tiger.
Get Government InvolvedThe one hope for imposing some tolerance of speech on colleges rests with the Federal government (or perhaps state governments). The Obama Justice and Education departments have been active in bullying colleges to restrict free speech by defining “harassment” so broadly as to cover any statements politically correct types don’t like. It has also bullied schools to restrict the due process rights of males accused of sexual assault.
Justice and Education departments run by conservatives (or those few remaining liberals who believe in free speech) could apply pressure from the opposite direction.
For public universities, the justification is straightforward. Free speech in those places is protected by the First Amendment. In practice, that doesn’t help much, as most students aren’t willing to go to court to vindicate their rights. But Federal regulators could impose punishments (including withdrawal of Federal subsidies) to protect student (and faculty) rights. Whether this would require a change in a statute is a question lawyers have to answer.
The situation with private schools is a bit more complicated, since private colleges have, in fact, a right to restrict speech. Institutions such as Brigham Young and Wheaton College explicitly do that.
Private colleges do not, however, have a right to advertise that they respect free speech, and claim to respect free speech in official documents, and then abridge free speech. Allowing students to complain to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Education when their promised free speech is abridged would be a good idea. Private institutions can have their Federal subsidies withheld.
Can This Happen?Can any of this happen? At the national level, getting government involved to protect speech on campus would require a Republican president, and one who is willing to put people committed to speech in key places in the Education and Justice departments. That Republican president would have to be willing to expend some political capital on the enterprise. And Republicans in the House and Senate would have to be willing to expend political capital.
The odds of this happening are essentially nil.
But what about state governments? That is more likely. We have just seen Scott Walker and Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature challenge and defeat the University of Wisconsin on the budget.
Where are the state legislatures (perhaps in the more conservative states) willing to do the same over speech?
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Following in the Steps of the Colonists
Academic Fascism: Bias Incident Reporting
The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) appears to have investigated two professors for asking students to simply consider all sides of the debate over today’s most controversial political and social issues. The investigations were prompted by student complaints made through UNC’s “Bias Response” system, which encourages students to file online reports of any “offensive classroom environment” to administrators, who may then intervene with the theoretically offending faculty.This is a stunning violation of academic freedom. Campus bureaucrats telling a professor what he or she may say in class is outrageous. It would be out of bounds if a biased professor was told be more balanced. Telling a professor engaged in a balanced discussion to stifle discussion because somebody might hear something they dislike goes beyond outrageous.
The Bias Response Team’s reports are troubling—both in sheer quantity, and substance.
According to UNC documents obtained by Heat Street under Colorado’s Open Records Act, a professor asked his students to read The Atlantic’s “The Coddling of the American Mind” (co-authored by FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff). The piece warns that the growing institutionalization of aversion to presenting views that students may find offensive or disagreeable deprives students of the opportunity to confront views they disagree with. The professor engaged students in a discussion about opposing viewpoints on, among other things, transgender issues, prompting one student to file a Bias Incident Report with university administrators. As characterized in the student’s complaint, the professor argued that “transgender is not a real thing, and no one can truly feel like they are born in the wrong body.”
The Bias Response Team contacted the professor, who responded that he was simply playing devil’s advocate to encourage a discussion amongst his students. University administrators encouraged him to avoid doing so:
A member of the Bias Response Team met with the professor, the report says, and “advised him not to revisit transgender issues in his classroom if possible to avoid the students expressed concerns.” The Bias Response Team also “told him to avoid stating opinions (his or theirs) on the topic as he had previously when working from the Atlantic article.”
The article goes on:
In another incident report, the Bias Response Team noted a “conversation” with a professor who encouraged students to question rhetoric about gay rights, assigning students to take a position and debate it in class. Heat Street summarized the encounter using the Bias Response Team’s notes:This is pure, distilled politically correct intolerance. A gay student claims he has an “underprivileged identity” and therefore should be protected from hearing arguments he does not like. He claims that his “personhood” is being challenged if he merely hears people disputing one of his favored public policies.
“Specifically there were two topics of debate that triggered them and personally felt like an attack on their identity (GodHatesFags.com: is this harmful? Is this acceptable? Is this Christianity? And Gay Marriage: should it be legal? Is homosexuality immoral as Christians suggest?)”
The student, whose name is redacted and who is referred to as “they” in the report, complained that “other students are required to watch the in-class debate and hear both arguments presented.”
“I do not believe that students should be required to listen to their own rights and personhood debated,” the student wrote. “[This professor] should remove these topics from the list of debate topics. Debating the personhood of an entire minority demographic should not be a classroom exercise, as the classroom should not be an actively hostile space for people with underprivileged identities.
In the first place, gays are not an “underprivileged identity” on a modern university campus. They are a petted and pandered to minority, even at a supposed Catholic university like Marquette. But protecting the supposedly tender sensibilities of gays (or any other politically correct victim group) is to educate them poorly. It implies they will never learn to intellectually engage arguments they disagree with, but only whine and complain and demean the people who make those arguments.
This mentality is common at Marquette. It was shown when a Philosophy instructor told a student he could not disagree with gay marriage because that would be “homophobic” and would “offend” any gay students in class. When the student complained to Marquette, he was greeted with hostility. The instructor, one Cheryl Abbate, not only was not admonished or reprimanded for her behavior, she was told that the student was the problem. When we reported this misconduct on this blog, Marquette began trying to fire us.
And when an alumnus named Aaron Ledesma chimed in with an essay insisting that opposition to gay marriage ought to be banned at Marquette, the university “liked” the Tweet.
Marquette’s PolicyIt won’t surprise readers to know that Marquette has a Bias Incident Reporting system. Marquette has everything that politically correct universities have these days. Marquette defines a “bias incident” as follows:
A bias incident is any discriminatory or hurtful act that appears to be motivated or is perceived by the victim or victims to be motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, sex, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran or socioeconomic status. To be considered a bias incident, the act is not required to be a crime under any federal, state or local statutes. [emphasis added]In the first place, an “act” can be a mere expression of opinion, and the mere “perception” that it is motivated by race, ethnicity, etc. is enough to make it a “bias incident.”
The Marquette statement is a bit vague about what happens when such a “bias incident” is reported, but it makes it clear that anybody who is reported could be in trouble.
Of course, real incidents of discrimination and harassment (but not mere differences of opinion) have always been something that could be reported to authorities at Marquette (and at any other university). But the current system resembles nothing so much as totalitarian political systems where authorities encourage citizens to rat out thoughts and ideas contrary to the orthodoxy of the regime.
And no, that is not hyperbole.
Labels: Aaron Jay Ledesma, Aaron Ledesma, Bias Incident, Bias Incident Reporting System, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Marquette University, Political Correctness, University of Northern Colorado
Thursday, June 23, 2016
It Ain’t that Hard to Figure Out, Lady
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Paul Ryan’s “Businessman” Opponent Has Done No Business
Now we find that Paul Nehlen, the “businessman” who is opposing Paul Ryan in the Republican primary, has a web page, but with no contact information. And his “business” appears to have no revenue, and no employees. This according to government records.
The key documents can be found here.
Ryan has angered some conservatives for being, as Speaker of the House, unable to seriously dent Obama policy initiatives. Of course, when you control the House, but lack a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and have a Democrat president, and are convinced that a government shutdown would be politically disastrous, there are limits to what you can do.
Trump supporters are likewise unhappy with Ryan’s tepid (at best) support for their guy. But if Nehlen is the best his critics can do, Ryan has little to fear.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
You Didn’t Hear That!
Do Democrats Really Oppose Gun Violence?
That didn’t take long. Right after Orlando, President Obama promised he would “spare no effort to determine what—if any—inspiration or association” had sent Omar Mateen on his murderous spree.Bottom line: when stopping violence collides with political correctness, Democrats will opt for political correctness.
Now, just one week later, his attorney general, Loretta Lynch, tried to have the Islamist “inspirations” and “associations” Mateen invoked scrubbed from the transcripts of the 911 calls released to the public—before being forced to back down on Monday. No one should be surprised. The impulse to edit out anything that confirms acts of terror are acts of war is fully consistent with standard operating procedure these past eight years.
And if Hillary Clinton is elected in November, it will be the same for the next four.
Like the president, Mrs. Clinton has used Orlando to relaunch the liberal offensive on the “gun lobby.” She promises “to do everything” to take “weapons of war off our streets.” She further calls for an “intelligence surge.”
Tough stuff, right? Unfortunately, the moment any of these efforts run up against political correctness, they will almost certainly collapse under liberal pressure. How do we know? There is no better example than the post-9/11 experience of New York under Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Mr. Kelly began his second stint as New York’s top cop on Jan. 1, 2002, when the city was still clearing debris from the Twin Towers. His charge looked impossible: Prevent another terror attack, and maintain the progress against gun violence begun under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Over the next 12 years the finest police force in America did just that. In so doing, Mr. Kelly pulled off what President Obama and Hillary Clinton now claim are their post-Orlando priorities—a full-fledged assault on gun violence, and “smarter” policies to identify terrorists before they strike.
Here’s the rub. The secret to New York’s success wasn’t just Mr. Kelly. It was also Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Bloomberg was a liberal rarity, a pol who would not throw his cops under the bus when successful policies produced politically inconvenient results.
Start with guns. Under Mr. Kelly, police expanded a tactic known as stop-and-frisk. Here’s a better way to think about it: gun control for bad guys.
Cops would be proactive. When they spotted someone behaving suspiciously, he would be stopped, questioned and sometimes frisked. Often police found an illegal weapon.
The gun control was not limited to the thousands of guns taken off the streets this way. Because the bad guys knew they might be frisked, they started leaving their guns at home. New York became America’s safest big city.
How was this success greeted? The cops found themselves denounced as racists, because the stops of black men were disproportionate to their percentage of the general population (but not disproportionate to suspect descriptions). The activists sued; an anti-cop federal judge egged them on; and Bill de Blasio made “racial profiling” by police a key campaign point in his successful run for mayor in 2013.
Never mind that as a result of the NYPD’s approach, thousands of young black and Hispanic lives were saved.
Alas, it’s the same sad story for the cause of better intelligence. Under Mr. Kelly, police set up a demographics unit. The Associated Press would win a Pulitzer for a sensationalist series of stories falsely implying it was about blanket spying on Muslims. In fact, the unit was about getting smart—learning where, for example, terrorists such as the Tsarnaev brothers might look for shelter had they made it to New York (as they’d planned) after bombing the Boston marathon.
Or what about the 2007 NYPD report called “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat”? Here’s a sentence from the first paragraph of the executive summary: “Rather than being directed from al-Qaeda abroad, these plots have been conceptualized and planned by ‘unremarkable’ local residents/citizens who sought to attack their country of residence, utilizing al-Qaeda as their inspiration and ideological reference point.”
Substitute “ISIS” for “al-Qaeda” and these words today look prophetic.
So how did the liberal world react to this effort to smarten up? In January, the de Blasio administration agreed to pull the report from the NYPD website as part of a settlement with Muslim groups who had sued. Two years earlier the NYPD had disbanded the demographics unit, also after much litigation and pressure.
Indeed, the entire liberal push for gun control is the result of cultural bias. Liberals stereotype “gun nuts” as middle aged white males, living in rural areas, listening to country music, driving pickup trucks and voting Republican. Those are the gun owners least likely to actually shoot a person, but they are “the other” in the minds of the secular urban liberal elites.
On issues like this, liberals will sacrifice the welfare of ordinary black people to pursue an ideological agenda. They don’t like prisons, but their campaign against “mass incarceration” is a campaign to put on the street criminals who will mostly victimize black people. Likewise, their campaign against discipline in the nation’s schools inflicts little harm on kids in affluent suburbs.
This is the sort of thing that happens when the cultural biases of a group, and not sober policy analysis, drives their politics.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Global Warming Crusader Mentality
Today’s news tells of another mistake of exaggerated climate science prediction.One is tempted to say that, regardless of the moralism and intolerance of global warming advocates, it’s still perfectly possible they are right.
I’m not getting in the foxhole with the warriors on either side of the raging climate war. But I think there’s something more alarming going on than the spike in CO2 level charts.
Our global system of air currents, ocean currents, cloud patterns, resonant temperature cycles, energy storage and release mechanisms, and further processes is mind-bogglingly complex.
Presently, the best climate models fall many orders of magnitude short of the power and intricacy needed to effectively predict the long-term climate patterns that emerge from the interactions of all these planetary systems. And that’s not a failure of science; it’s just the reality of how tough the problem is.
Predictions are made by building models using the smartest simplifications we have thought of and running them on the most powerful computers ever built. Basically, it’s the best we can do right now.
But there is a major failure of science going on.
The failure is the lack of transparency and honesty about how feeble these models are and how much we should stake on their all-too-fallible forecasts. Thus the same problem continues: climate science has once again botched a prediction that its models were underequipped to make.
It seems that there can be no moderate and honest discussion of this issue. Skeptics are singled out in creepy enemies lists. Actually, we’re now supposed to call them deniers, as though they were disputing the existence of HIV or the holocaust. Numerous scientists, as well as senators, anti-vaccination Kennedys, and clickbait purveyors have even called for the imprisonment and legal prosecution of those who disagree with them.
Climate science acts like it is fighting a holy war. There are only those who are just and those who must be silenced and stopped at all costs. Anyone who mounts reasonable logical, empirical, or skeptical challenges to the orthodoxy must be ruined, not by counterfactual evidence, but by vicious attack.
Weekly, we’re bombarded with doom-and-gloom future scenarios spit out of these models. The public is supposed to quiver in fear and to disregard and forget the many times that these predictions have failed.
Models told us that the years of 1998-2013 were supposed to show ever-increasing runaway warming. And yet, these years actually exhibited the famous “global warming hiatus.” An article published in Nature says that zero models predicted this.
Numerous modelers have told us that the Arctic polar ice would be completely gone by now. It’s still there. Many models now seem to skew in the opposite direction, predicting more ice than we see today.
Modeler Kerry Emanuel’s widely reported initial correlation of global warming with dramatically worse hurricane seasons has been strongly rebutted by multiple groups, leading him to reconsider.
The scientific failure here isn’t that models are inaccurate — it’s that the models are presented as undebatable apocalyptic predictors, harbingers of certain future catastrophe. Omens that compel us to rethink our lives. If we take issue with that, we’re heretics.
Given how fallible climate models are, why shouldn’t we be skeptical of the scary headlines? How good can your science be if you try to prove your point by ruining your detractors rather than through empirical success?
Climate scientists may win their war in a friendly press and with political parties aligned with their agendas. But they make enemies of those people who make logical and empirical evaluations of their results, those who don’t give in to pressure and political and professional expediency.
The crusader mentality of climate researchers leads them away from the factual debate and empirical accounting of sound science. We really deserve more from our publicly funded scientific establishments.
And indeed, it’s possible.
But when people start acting like crusaders, wanting to punish heresy and silence dissent, they lose all credibility. If the Inquisition believed that by suppressing heresy it was saving souls from the Hell toward which the heretics were leading them, modern global warming crusaders believe they are saving humanity from a climate catastrophe. That sort of thinking is a huge invitation to both intellectual and moral corruption.
Thursday, June 09, 2016
First Transgender Presidential Candidate
Does the Ethnicity of a Judge Matter: Liberal Hypocrisy
Annoyed at federal judge Gonzalo P. Curiel’s persistent rulings against him in the Trump University case (brought by a law firm that has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches by Bill and Hillary), Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that maybe it’s because the judge is a second-generation Mexican immigrant.Pointing out liberal hypocrisy on this issue does not mean Trump was wise to raise it. Bringing up the fiasco that was Trump University is simply a bad tactic. What Trump should be doing is to convince conservatives that he has at least some understanding of policy, and sympathy for at least some parts of their agenda.
The entire media — and most of the GOP — have spent 10 months telling us that Mexicans in the United States are going to HATE Trump for saying he’ll build a wall. Now they’re outraged that Trump thinks one Mexican hates him for saying he’ll build a wall.
. . .
Has anyone ever complained about the ethnicity of white judges or white juries? I’ve done some research and it turns out ... THAT’S ALL WE’VE HEARD FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS.
The New York Times alone has published hundreds of articles, editorials, op-eds, movie reviews, sports articles and crossword puzzles darkly invoking “white judges” and “all-white” juries, as if that is ipso facto proof of racist justice.
Two weeks ago — that’s not an error; I didn’t mean to type “decades” and it came out “weeks” — the Times published an op-ed by a federal appeals judge stating: “All-white juries risk undermining the perception of justice in minority communities, even if a mixed-race jury would have reached the same verdict or imposed the same sentence.”
In other words, even when provably not unfair, white jurors create the “perception” of unfairness solely by virtue of the color of their skin.
Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck’s entire career of springing criminals would be gone if it were generally accepted that we can’t question judges or juries based on race or ethnicity. Writing about the release of Glenn Ford, a black man convicted of robbing a jewelry store and murdering the owner, Scheck claimed that one of the most important factors in Ford’s death sentence was the “all-white jury.”
On the other hand, the evidence against Ford included: His two black friends telling police he’d shown them jewelry the day of the murder, another Ford acquaintance swearing he’d had a .38 in his waistband — the murder weapon was a .38 — and the gunshot residue on Ford’s hand. His conviction was overturned many years later, on the theory that his black friends had committed the murder, then framed him.
So we know 1) the “real killers” were also black; and 2) any jury would have convicted Ford on that evidence.
Here’s how the Times described Ford’s trial: “A black man convicted of murder by an all-white jury in Louisiana in 1984 and sentenced to die, tapped into an equally old and painful vein of race.”
I have approximately 1 million more examples of the media going mental about a “white judge” or “all-white jury,” and guess what? In none of them were any of the white people involved members of organizations dedicated to promoting white people, called “THE RACE.”
Say, does anyone remember if it ever came up that the Ferguson police force was all white? Someone check that.
I don’t want to upset you New York Times editorial board, but perhaps we should revisit the results of the Nuremberg trials. Those were presided over by — TRIGGER WARNING! — “all white” juries. (How do we really know if Hermann Göring was guilty without hearing women’s and Latino voices?)
The model of a fair jury was the O.J. trial. Nine blacks, one Hispanic and two whites, who had made up their minds before the lawyers’ opening statements. (For my younger readers: O.J. was guilty; the jury acquitted him after 20 seconds of deliberation.) At the end of the trial, one juror gave O.J. the black power salute. Nothing to see here. It was Mark Fuhrman’s fault!
In defiance of everyday experience, known facts and common sense, we are all required to publicly endorse the left’s religious belief that whites are always racist, but women and minorities are incapable of any form of bias. If you say otherwise, well, that’s “textbook racism,” according to Paul Ryan.
At least when we’re talking about American blacks, there’s a history of white racism, so the double standard is not so enraging. What did we ever do to Mexicans? Note to Hispanics, Muslims, women, immigrants and gays: You’re not black.
Other than a few right-wingers, no one denounced now-sitting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for her “wise Latina” speech, in which she said “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”
But Trump is a “racist” for saying the same thing.
Six months ago, a Times editorial demanded that the Republican Senate confirm Obama judicial nominee Luis Felipe Restrepo, on the grounds that “[a]s a Hispanic,” Restrepo would bring “ethnic ... diversity to the court.”
You see how confusing this is. On one hand, it’s vital that we have more women and Latinos on the courts because white men can’t be trusted to be fair. But to suggest that women and Latinos could ever be unfair in the way that white men can, well, that’s “racist.”
The effrontery of this double standard is so blinding, that the only way liberals can bluff their way through it is with indignation. DO I HEAR YOU RIGHT? ARE YOU SAYING A JUDGE’S ETHNICITY COULD INFLUENCE HIS DECISIONS? (Please, please, please don’t bring up everything we’ve said about white judges and juries for the past four decades.)
He should be wooing independents with a cogent critique of Obama’s performance, and Hillary’s history, temperament and policies. He soon enough won’t have Bernie Sanders to do that for him!
Instead, the undisciplined and erratic Trump vents about what’s gotten under his skin on any particular day. And, because Hillary is such a poor candidate, Trump might just be the next president.
Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
The Smug Style of Liberalism
Some choice quotes:
There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.And later:
In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.
It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.
The smug style is a psychological reaction to a profound shift in American political demography.
Beginning in the middle of the 20th century, the working class, once the core of the coalition, began abandoning the Democratic Party. In 1948, in the immediate wake of Franklin Roosevelt, 66 percent of manual laborers voted for Democrats, along with 60 percent of farmers. In 1964, it was 55 percent of working-class voters. By 1980, it was 35 percent.
The white working class in particular saw even sharper declines. Despite historic advantages with both poor and middle-class white voters, by 2012 Democrats possessed only a 2-point advantage among poor white voters. Among white voters making between $30,000 and $75,000 per year, the GOP has taken a 17-point lead.
Finding comfort in the notion that their former allies were disdainful, hapless rubes, smug liberals created a culture animated by that contempt The consequence was a shift in liberalism’s intellectual center of gravity. A movement once fleshed out in union halls and little magazines shifted into universities and major press, from the center of the country to its cities and elite enclaves. Minority voters remained, but bereft of the material and social capital required to dominate elite decision-making, they were largely excluded from an agenda driven by the new Democratic core: the educated, the coastal, and the professional.
It is not that these forces captured the party so much as it fell to them. When the laborer left, they remained.
Nothing is more confounding to the smug style than the fact that the average Republican is better educated and has a higher IQ than the average Democrat. That for every overpowered study finding superior liberal open-mindedness and intellect and knowledge, there is one to suggest that Republicans have the better of these qualities.Why does smugness to dominate the liberal culture?
Most damning, perhaps, to the fancy liberal self-conception: Republicans score higher in susceptibility to persuasion. They are willing to change their minds more often.
The Republican coalition tends toward the center: educated enough, smart enough, informed enough.
The Democratic coalition in the 21st century is bifurcated: It has the postgraduates, but it has the disenfranchised urban poor as well, a group better defined by race and immigration status than by class. There are more Americans without high school diplomas than in possession of doctoral degrees. The math proceeds from there.
As we have suggested, liberals are better able to cocoon themselves among like-minded people. They likely had liberal high school teachers, but most certainly had overwhelmingly liberal college professors. They self-select into professions defined by strongly (often monolithically) liberal or left politics (academia, journalism, the government regulatory and welfare state). They segregate themselves into ghettos (like Milwaukee’s East Side) and mostly interact with people like themselves. They get their news from liberal outlets.
While conservatives can isolate themselves to a degree, they cannot avoid the liberal indoctrination in college, nor exposure to the liberal media (whether it be the New York Times or the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). They are more likely to work in settings where politics is a bit peripheral and there is some diversity of opinion.
Thus liberal smugness is not justified by superior knowledge, or superior reasoning ability, or superior open-mindedness. It is simply the result of an intense tribal mentality.
Thus liberals richly deserve to have lost the support of the white working class. But this working class populism can play out in different ways: voting for Reagan or voting for Trump, for example. Not all ways of opposing liberal smugness are equal.