Emotional Guidance
Thick Carpeting Should Fix It

Elsewhere (124)

Kevin D Williamson on where Big Government goes: 

In the run-up to the 2012 election, senior IRS executives including Lois Lerner, then the head of the IRS branch that oversees the activities of tax-exempt non-profit groups, began singling out conservative-leaning organisations for extra attention, invasive investigations and legal harassment. The IRS did not target groups that they believed might be violating the rules governing tax-exempt organisations; rather, as e-mails from the agency document, the IRS targeted these conservative groups categorically, regardless of whether there was any evidence that they were not in compliance with the relevant regulations… Also targeted were groups dedicated to issues such as taxes, spending, debt, and, perhaps most worrisome, those that were simply “critical of the how the country is being run.”

An exhaustive archive of IRS-related items can be found here

Stephen Carter on the narrowness and hubris of student ‘radicals’:  

In my day, the college campus was a place that celebrated the diversity of ideas. Pure argument was our guide. Staking out an unpopular position was admired - and the admiration, in turn, provided excellent training in the virtues of tolerance on the one hand and, on the other, integrity. Your generation, I am pleased to say, seems to be doing away with all that. There’s no need for the ritual give and take of serious argument when, in your early 20s, you already know the answers to all questions. How marvellous it must be to realise at so tender an age that you will never, ever change your mind.

And Luke James steers us to the following round-table discussion about the suppression of free speech by self-styled student ‘activists’. If you’ve 30 minutes to spare, the video below is well worth watching, though not exactly encouraging. The participants are Professor of English Janice Fiamengo, whose encounters with such ‘activists’ have been mentioned here previously, Justin Trottier of the Centre for Inquiry, Huffington Post blogger and “community organiser” Rachel Décoste, and Alice McLachlan, Professor of Philosophy at York University, Toronto. The views of Ms Décoste and Ms McLachlan may be of particular interest, though possibly for reasons the ladies didn’t intend.

“I don’t think you get to decide what counts as debate.”

Remember, two of the speakers above are arguing for the righteousness of “debating” like this. And like this. And like these magnificent intellectuals. Because feelings. That such behaviour shows utter contempt not only for the targeted speaker but also for their audience and anyone not protesting is somehow waved aside. 

Over the years, readers will have noticed quite a few leftist academics conjuring titillated excuses for intimidation and thuggery – provided of course the intimidation and thuggery are being aimed at someone else. It is, I think, instructive that so many voices of the left should profess great empathy with the mob dynamic, in which personal responsibility can be dispersed and obscured, allowing participants to indulge more freely in emotional crescendos and some physical emphasis. Mob psychology tends to energise participants precisely because of the sense of physical power and promise of moral anonymity, and the implicit threat that violence may ensue should their wishes be frustrated. And while these “collective protests” may be effective in rousing emotion and inflating egos, they aren’t an ideal forum for mental clarity. Perhaps that’s the appeal for the rote radical.

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments.