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December 09, 2013

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Sam

Jonah Goldberg:

"After you heard President Obama's call for a hike in the minimum wage, you probably wondered the same thing I did: Was Obama sent from the future by Skynet to prepare humanity for its ultimate dominion by robots?"

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/365606/minimum-wage-and-rise-machines-jonah-goldberg

T.K. Tortch

Silvergate's probably more old-school "Liberal"-liberal than I ever was, but man I know what he means. If I was exactly the Liberal I was, say, twenty years ago, I would still be regarded as a frothing right-winger on way, way too many college campuses today.

And - I can't keep saying it enough - it boggles and disgusts me that the kind of speech-code mental straightjacketing FIRE works against took hold at all, anywhere. I remember when the first speech codes were being proposed, and people laughed at it - including the "Liberals". Now they enforce it, or truckle under it. Including people I knew.

How can you "speak truth" to power, or a kindergarten playground for that matter, if you're consciously or unconsciously looking over your shoulder worried somebody will step on you for tripping over one or another invisible speech-code trip-wires?

Gah.

Patrick Brown

I was once called a right-winger for suggesting a National Legal Service on the model of the NHS as an alternative to Legal Aid. I don't know, I think replacing a marketplace of independent contractors with some crudely-targeted government subsidy with a full-scale government operated, taxation-funded public service that's free at the point of delivery is a left-ish proposal, but YMMV.

the wolf

So much of the left today doesn’t believe in liberty, especially the academic left. There’s something wrong with calling the academic left liberalism – they’re not liberals at all. They’re really leftist totalitarians.

It's good to see a (classic) liberal say this. It needs to be said. The liberals that Silvergate talks about, the ones currently occupying the US administration, don't believe in freedom. They believe in doing good, by any means necessary. They want to use power to enforce outcomes that they like. Not only are they very bad providing such outcomes, their methods typically result in a host of other unexpected, bad outcomes (see the "Affordable" "Care" Act, for example). And if you disagree with them, beware...they will find a way to force you to conform. Because they care.

David

They want to use power to enforce outcomes that they like.

And some like the use (or promise) of power irrespective of the outcome for others. Which is odd, given that a ‘liberal’ might at one time have been defined as someone reluctant to impose on others.

Stuck-Record

Another example of Leftist 'Truthiness'. If you can't get oppressed by evil big business, just dress up and act it out and pretend you did anyway.

http://boingboing.net/2013/12/09/tech-worker-to-san-francisco-r.html

AC1

Also on National Review...

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/365825/british-man-arrested-making-nelson-mandela-joke-charles-c-w-cooke

A SHOP boss was arrested and quizzed by police for eight hours for cracking Nelson Mandela jokes on the internet.

Neil Phillips said he was fingerprinted, DNA-swabbed and had his computers seized.

The 44-year-old was held after posting: “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.”

Another read: “Free Mandela – switch the power off.”

But police swooped after a councillor complained over the gags about the former South African leader, who passed away on Thursday, aged 95.

dicentra

The Arts Council was designed as a short-term expedient

Nothing so permanent as a short-term fix.

dicentra

If I was exactly the Liberal I was, say, twenty years ago, I would still be regarded as a frothing right-winger on way, way too many college campuses today.

When I attended Brigham Young University (the LDS Church's uni), I was considered a left-leaner by comparison. Then I went to Cornell University, and I instantly became a jack-booted Nazi by comparison.

This was in the mid-1990s, before things got REALLY nasty, and still the whiplash was remarkable (though expected).

Biggest commonality? Students at both colleges enjoyed Becoming Publicly Outraged at moral violations, real or perceived. At BYU, those students were always laughed at for their attempts at Holier-Than-Thou Hysterics; at Cornell, they had Absolute Moral Authority.

BYU is also painfully overt about its mission, assumptions, and biases, whereas Cornell feigns intellectual curiosity and scholarly inquiry while it punishes wrongdoers for whatever is politically disfavored that semester.

Henry

Such a crime wave would require nothing less than a state of emergency — Take Back the Night rallies and 24-hour hotlines would hardly be adequate to counter this tsunami of sexual violence... The nation’s nearly 10 million female undergrads would need to take the most stringent safety precautions... None of this crisis response occurs, of course — because the crisis doesn’t exist

Deep down, many must know that they are cherry picking evidence because the cause requires them to. Some don't know - they respond to manipulative message exactly the way Steinem, Dworkin, Greer, etc want them to.

I suppose that is the nature of politics - the laziness of not doing the thinking, but choosing to take sides and then working everything out from the assumption that your side is right.

Feminism spreads dishonesties (such as the "1 in 4" story) in several ways - firstly by appealing to women's sense of solidarity with each other, secondly by scaring or angering women with exaggerations, misrepresentations and outright lies, thirdly a subtle threat directed at those - male or female - who question what they are told to believe. The threat makes even the bloody-minded skeptic apprehensive about holding their hand up and mentioning that the emperor has no clothes

Pellegri

At this point I have just given up and declared myself a gender traitor and misogynist because I do not have the energy to keep up with establishment feminism's manufactured outrage.

Hal

A Very long time ago I noticed that the political reality/ies have settled into the right wing liberal extremists--- Yes right wing liberal---, the left wing liberal extremists, and in between, the conservatives who matter of factly first assess an and every issue and then decide, after having first looked over and considered the facets.

For centuries, political divisions have formed three distinct groups. With the French Revolution and the seating patterns that started with the 1789 National Assembly, these three groups started to acquire the labels they hold today. Two of the groups are merely mirror images of each other, screaming and posturing at each other in perfect unison, always remaining in perfect and complete contrast with the measured thought and decision of the third group. The two groups which waste their time glaring past the center of reason are today known as the right wing and the left wing. Absolutely centered between these right and left wing extremists and permanently in their lead is the conservative.

http://thecuria.com/c-manifesto.html for the long version . . . .

T.K. Tortch

This was in the mid-1990s, before things got REALLY nasty, and still the whiplash was remarkable (though expected).

Dicentra, I finished college in 1990, and I thought I had already witnessed the high-water mark of leftist collegiate lunacy and expected Academia to come down to earth, at least a little. I mean how could they get crazier than their then-craziest expressions? Even the Berlin Wall fell down on them!!

A little later, I worked in D.C. for a Congressman and thought I had witnessed the high-water mark of post-war Democrat lunacy when the Republicans won the House in '94. After 40 years in the minority. I expected that lesson to sink in and cause the Democrats to come down to earth, at least little. And I was working for Democrats!!*

I keep expecting this coming-down-to-earth event but I'm getting worried. But then I'm cursed by naivete optimism.

*To be fair, the lesson did make a distinct behavior-altering impression on one Democrat - the President. Except for interns, anyway.

dicentra

I expected that lesson to sink in and cause the Democrats to come down to earth,

That would mean acquiring humility, which puts a check on one's desire to micromanage society.

You do the math.

dicentra

Deep down, many must know that they are cherry picking evidence because the cause requires them to.

It's far worse than that: postmodernism gives them express permission to disregard the authority of "facts" in favor of the persuasive utility of same.

You see, "facts" and "data" and "proof" were invented by the Straight White Patriarchy to keep Teh Other in chains. Derridà observed that "facts" and "data" — being nothing more than a semiotic system — refer not to any objective reality (as if such a thing existed) but only to more language, in an infinite regress. Hey, when you look up a word in a dictionary, do you find reality or more words to look up?

See?

Language refers to language and facts to facts, and none of them approximate let alone "point to" an objective reality. So this conceit of having Teh TRVTH because you have all that "data" is just your way of oppressing a brotha or a sista or any combination thereof.

You racist.

So when they spout fact-like facts, they justify it to themselves as doing what the other side has done from Aristotle on down: inventing authoritative-sounding speech to justify their hold on (or desire for) power.

There is no TRVTH as such but competing narratives, and the one with the best argument (or an NSA file on you) wins.

In other words, Yet Another Use Of Language To Seize Power

Jeff Guinn

Sixteenth comment in and I'm the first to offer the the bleeding obvious?

I suspect the standards may be slipping here a bit.

Jacob

Followed the link to the post on Alexander Vasudevan and squatting.
http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2011/06/its-protest-so-its-righteous.html

That one's worth a drink on me, Mr Thompson.

David

That one’s worth a drink on me, Mr Thompson.

Cheers, Jacob.

Mr Vasudevan is a striking example of a mindset, one that’s remarkably common among educators. For instance, there’s Jonathan Moses, an English and History teacher who’s also an Occupy booster and an enthusiast of “direct action” and “Black Bloc” tactics. Mr Moses believes that he and his peers are entitled to disrupt other people’s lessons and work, and to fight with police officers, and to break whatever laws he deems “illegitimate” on grounds of “social justice.” Just as he feels entitled to money he didn’t earn, in whatever amount and for whatever purpose he considers fitting. When his occupier comrades were finally removed from campus by police and threatened with suspension for breaching the terms of campus life, he found this outrageously unjust. You see, their actions shouldn’t have consequences, even when those consequences are utterly predictable.

These are people who use the word “democratise” to mean “steamroller the wishes and proprieties of other people,” or “override basic economics,” or just “ignore reality.” People who invoke postmodern theory to justify intimidation and thuggery. And of course Mr Moses likes to tell his “stupid” critics to “grow up,” which suggests a gift for projection. The drama may be presented as radicalism or “social justice,” but it’s really a license for indulging juvenile psychology and some nasty little egos.

[ Added: ]

Incidentally, there’s something similar happening at the local university, where members of several tiny far-left student groups - including the Revolutionary Socialists Society and some self-styled “anarchists” (who want more of other people’s earnings and a bigger, more powerful state) - have “occupied” a building’s lecture halls and foyer, disrupting classes and leaving many staff unable to work. Being fearless defenders of “social justice,” the occupiers are of course wearing masks and balaclavas – international symbols of peace and love. These self-important tools feel entitled to, in their words, “disrupt the running of the university” – which includes the studies of hundreds of students who don’t feel a need to make threats or wear balaclavas in order to look hard. The last I heard, the occupiers were making “demands” as to exactly how many university security staff they would “allow” in the building at any one time.

Despite the incongruous bluster about justice, the basic dynamic is opportunist, self-flattering and non-reciprocal. If you or I were to behave in a similar way to them or their property, using similar excuses, I suspect these self-proclaimed “anarchists” and “revolutionaries” would soon be squealing with indignation.

David

Jeff,

I suspect the standards may be slipping here a bit.

I think they really started slipping about seven years ago.

R. Sherman

For several years, I've been compiling all the various stories of young men wrongfully accused of "sexual oppression" on college campuses. I've put them into a folder and intend to give it to my son when he heads off to university next year with the admonition to avoid romantic entanglements until he's safely away from academe.

rjmadden

Being fearless defenders of “social justice,” the occupiers are of course wearing masks and balaclavas – international symbols of peace and love.

It astonishes me that anyone puts up with this.

David

It astonishes me that anyone puts up with this.

On a student website one supporter said the occupiers had to wear masks to avoid “brutality” because the university’s security staff “film and harass protestors, which could lead to expulsion and/or prison.” So basically they want to obstruct and harass other people for as long as they like without facing any of the consequences of their own behaviour. All while playing at Anarchist Ninja. It’s the mindset of an overindulged ten-year-old.

Henry

hi dicentra,

You see, "facts" and "data" and "proof" were invented by the Straight White Patriarchy to keep Teh Other in chains

The real fanatics believe this stuff, sure - including those who devote their lives to writing about gender issues. I wasn't being clear, but I was referring to the large numbers of people (who are at least approaching something like sanity) who nevertheless refuse to apply proper critical thought to the 1 in 4 claim.

I know a few otherwise normal and nice people, with whom I stay on good terms by not discussing these issues too much - who would hesitate to state that it is false. They know, on some level, that the evidence probably doesn't support it, yet they look angry if the topic comes up. It's as though either I've overstepped some boundary by even talking about the subject, or perhaps it's their sense of solidarity running into reality - an uncomfortable experience, I'm sure.

So there are those who ostensibly accept the 1 in 4 figure, who must be vaguely aware (perhaps very aware) that they're not being impartial. Then also those who know that the stats are probably false but who somehow fail in vast numbers to stand up and say "actually we should make sure our facts are right - or some men and women could suffer as result of policies based on false statistics"

Not a happy thought

Nik White

Incidentally, there’s something similar happening at the local university … [the] fearless defenders of “social justice,” the occupiers are of course wearing masks and balaclavas

Yes, curious that. The masking up I mean.

On the one hand, the usual advice to protestors is being passed around on Twitter, which includes this line:

    You don't have to make it easy for them to photograph you

And another which includes this:

But on the other hand, there's the event's Facebook Page #copsoffcampus: NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION which provides a fairly full list of all 22,896 people who've been invited and the further 2,581 who've signed up saying they will go. Err … all of them, presumably, already have multiple identities on Facebook then?

I find it very frustrating when this more aggressive kind of protest is believed to represent democracy in action. I can't remember where I came across it, but I recently read a newspaper article in which a young guy in his 20s said that he had given up on democracy. When asked to give his reasons, he said that he had tried it and it had failed to produce any results. When pushed further still, what he meant by 'trying democracy' was that he had been on a demonstration following which the government failed to change their policies – or even take much notice at all. Marches and occupations are not democracy in action. If anything, they're the opposite (as has been pointed out in other comments in this thread).

Watching some of these farther left actions unfold reminds me of those stories of lonely Japanese soldiers growing old in dusty bunkers on remote Pacific islands, with absolutely no idea that the conflict they are still dutifully prepared to fight in has long been concluded.

David

I find it very frustrating when this more aggressive kind of protest is believed to represent democracy in action.

In the example above I can’t see that it represents much of anything, beyond the participants’ capacity for cartoonish self-absorption. It seems to me the ostensible issue is essentially a backdrop, a pretext, theatrical furniture. There’s a pattern common to “anarchist” occupations of this kind, one that pretty much gives the game away. For example, in 2009 a group of leftist NYU students occupied a food hall, disrupted classes, fought with staff and police, caused damage and disruption costing $80,000… and then demanded a “full legal and disciplinary amnesty” for all those involved. It was their very first demand, top of the list, the one they thought most important. Which I’d say tells us something about who these moral titans are.

T.K. Tortch

Dicentra said:

That would mean acquiring humility, which puts a check on one's desire to micromanage society.

You do the math.

I looked for some numbers to submit to Math, and there ain't no humility index!!

Anyway, the stratospheric self-regard and utter lack of circumspection in the kinds of folks in question was really rammed home after I left D.C. and lived in NYC for a while. It was there I began to really feel like an apostate from the creed, as it were. I kept hoping to find evidence to back up the presumptions, and couldn't.

I knew a lot of very smart people who were very nice. But when they twinned their presumptions of culture, morality, fact and policy with power and politics, they never noticed when power and politics betrayed their presumptions of culture, morality, fact and policy. They trusted power, when you got down to it.

Which leads to Henry's comment Then also those who know that the stats are probably false but who somehow fail in vast numbers to stand up . . . .

Dead simple. People find it very hard to go against the grain of their social set. They look around and see that a lot of people in that set actually are smart folks, and really do mean well. People they personally know couldn't be bad people, could they? So consciously or unconsciously they look past and minimize the damage their own cadre is causing, or might cause.

I expect that's true of all sets, and just an enduring human tendency there won't be any "Progress" beyond. It's one reason I began to realize that a Conservative critique of power - minimize it and localize it - made much more sense and was safer than the Left's. The Left will always centralize and strengthen power, thereby magnifying power's errors and making its abuses universal and much more catastrophic.

It doesn't matter that you're smart or that you mean well. Given enough power you don't have to be a mustache-twisting villian to cause vast, reckless destruction. All it takes is your humanity and over-confidence.

Hal

I find it very frustrating when this more aggressive kind of protest is believed to represent democracy in action.

In the example above I can’t see that it represents much of anything, beyond the participants’ capacity for cartoonish self-absorption. It seems to me the ostensible issue is essentially a backdrop, a pretext, theatrical furniture. . . .


A thought popped into mind earlier today, and pulls together a number of threads, starting from Tortch and Dicentra . . .

If I was exactly the Liberal I was, say, twenty years ago, I would still be regarded as a frothing right-winger on way, way too many college campuses today.

and then

When I attended Brigham Young University (the LDS Church's uni), I was considered a left-leaner by comparison. Then I went to Cornell University, and I instantly became a jack-booted Nazi by comparison.

And then as well, there is David again,

. . . .Laurie Penny and her groupies are forever romanticising anger and saying they’ve written something that’s “angry,” as if anger were the important thing, the marker of status, as opposed to, say, being coherent or truthful. “It’s getting harder to stay angry,” wrote Laurie. “That terrifies me more than anything.” . . . . . .

---And finally I had David’s comment pop into mind of Wow. You spend enough time online and, sooner or later, the conversation will turn to Star Trek. It’s like internet gravity.


On vaguely somewhat the same tentacle, these screaming extremists, right wing as well as left, equally remind me of the parameters in the Star Wars mythos. We get Palpatine, dear old Darth Sidious, proclaiming at some point that . . . I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

Well, of course out here in reality, where we’ve got dear old Laurie Limbaugh and Rush Penny and their supporters all screaming their nonnegotiable demands and rage and their hatred and . . . . . Oh, wait. No, that's Rush Penny and Laurie Limbaugh, isnt it.

Yes, also out here in reality, I'm afraid I do also keep interchanging the facets of the right and left wing branches of the Judean Popular People's Front because either agenda always has exact same demand of Screw the system and how it works, Give Me My Agenda Right Now!!!!!! . . .

Soooo, yes, children, if you actually do believe in democracy, in taking part in the system, in having the greatest number of processes work the best for the greatest number of people, Then Do Take Part, and show everyone that you have a better practice than just shutting down the government . . . . .

Oh. Oops, that didn’t work for the right wingers either, did that . . . .

David

With typical modesty and understatement, Laurie Penny sides with the oppressed.

lurker

A little something about a recent red-on-red incident that you might enjoy: http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/19628/fuck-liberal-puritans-ted-rall-racism-trial/
A quote:
'Whenever some white celebrity is foolish enough to dress in blackface or whatever, fireworks are going off in the head of The Liberal Puritan. It’s their Super Bowl. They can go through all of the rituals described in the first section. Defining themselves as good, setting themselves in contrast to an entity of pure evil. Never is their virtue more clearly defined, and they have carte blanche to tear into the evil. All in a fabricated world that is only connected loosely to reality.
It’s all cream filling for them.
Plus, they can act out the story again and again. Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Friendster… They’re running free through the chocolate factory of self-righteousness with a bottomless stomach.'

Nik White

I came across this earlier today: "Explaining gender violence in the neoliberal era" by Tithi Bhattacharya

It's quite long (or longish), but I think it makes a very interesting foil to the MacDonald article from City Journal at the top of this thread.

I found the contrast in the approaches taken by each writer to be mutually revealing and it helps that both women are dealing, broadly, with the same subject matter. For instance, here's MacDonald:

    If the one-in-four statistic is correct—it is sometimes modified to “one-in-five to one-in-four”—campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No crime, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20 or 25 percent, even over many years. The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in America, was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants—a rate of 2.4 percent. The one-in-four statistic would mean that every year, millions of young women graduate who have suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience. Such a crime wave would require nothing less than a state of emergency—Take Back the Night rallies and 24-hour hotlines would hardly be adequate to counter this tsunami of sexual violence.

And here's Bhattacharya – citing a Guardian article as opposed to the original source, incidentally:

    … the last four decades of neoliberalism have created a marked escalation in gender crimes in most countries … The first comprehensive study of violence against women from the World Health Organization, published in 2013, assessed that one-third of all women worldwide, 35.6 percent, will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, usually from a male partner. The highest levels of violence against women are in Africa, where nearly half of all women, 45.6 percent, will suffer physical or sexual violence. In low- and middle-income Europe, the proportion is 27.2 percent; and one-third of women in high-income countries, 32.7 percent, will experience violence at some stage in their life.

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