David Thompson


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January 18, 2011



"The University of Illinois system, to the extent that it fires people for offending someone, says the boundary of criticism in debate is wherever the most offended student can persuade the university to put it."

Also known as the Just Shut Up argument.


“Also known as the Just Shut Up argument.”

Another possible shorthand, inspired by a dynamic I’ve seen more than once: “Ow, my feelings are hurt! See how wicked he is. I demand compensation. Now do as I say…”

Though by “feelings” what’s usually meant is ego, dogma or a piss-poor argument.

Peter Risdon

Re-reading The Blank Slate recently, I was interested to see that the Fabians trumpeted selective education as a means for bright poor kids to achieve their potentials. It's a shame they didn't stick with that idea.

Mr Eugenides

Are you familiar with this essay? It's a few years old now, but scarcely dated.




If you haven’t already seen it, Pinker’s TED lecture may amuse.


Mr E,

Thanks for that. Nuggets a’plenty. Rauch captures the puritan mania very well. Also tickled by the idea of “verbal shamanism.”


Here's one about Laurie Penny - "our favourite privately educated revolutionary who learnt about the hard knocks of life at Wadham College, Oxford".



Heh. At some point this “voice for a generation” may confound my expectations. Though not today, it seems.


Thought you'd like.


Althouse seems to believe that being polite and civil is the prerogative of the educated (against plenty of evidence). I find it impossible to avoid parallels between these patronising 'conservatives' and the lefty educationalists I've been exposed to. She even talks like one - all that pretentious academic dressing-up of language: 'privileging', 'cultural style'. I'm deeply suspicious of these people's motives.


I sometimes wish I was rich so I could give a kingly sum to Greg Lukianoff.


One day Laurie Penny will grow up... into Polly Toynbee.


“One day Laurie Penny will grow up... into Polly Toynbee.”

I know it’s shallow but I’ve been following some of the Twitter exchanges regarding Laurie Penny and her latest gaffe. Some of the language is a bit… salty. On her own website, where the offending item resides, Little Radical Laurie has posted the following: “Yet again, I’ve had to turn comment moderation on after an avalanche of abusive and/or trollish posting… So apologies to the vast majority of polite commenters: some fuckwits just spoiled it again. Fuckwits: you get your toy back when you learn to play nicely. I get to decide when you’ve earned it.”

Oddly enough, the words “hypocrite” and “generic cartoon leftist” do not appear in any of the three comments approved for publication.


C'mon, give the girl a break. Perhaps 'exaggeration and rough speech' is part of her 'cultural style'. Wadham's a rough old place.


"One day Laurie Penny will grow up... into Polly Toynbee."

@Anna, Owch! ;D

"I get to decide when you've earned it."

Spoken like a true socialist...


Can't put my finger on exactly why, but these civility arguments put me in mind of the saga of Missy the missing cat:



@WTP, heh.



NASA's Hansen prefers rule by decree to fight 'global warming'

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