» God And Man At Dupont University

Ed Driscoll

God And Man At Dupont University

When 2+2 = 5

April 25th, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

In all of these places, my experience has been that when it suits the ends of power, ideology can be invoked to prove that 2+2 = 5, or 3, or any other number that suits the state, and to demand that all embrace the madness. It is a truly frightening thing to interview a top-ranked nuclear scientist, or a distinguished brain surgeon, or a concert pianist, as I did in China under the sway of Mao, and to hear them, as ideological outcasts, justify with utter conviction the brutalities inflicted on them by their ideology-crazed persecutors — crushed fingers, smashed heads, broken marriages, vilification by their own families.

Elsewhere, the lunacy was of an order that invited a response of laughing mockery, if that were not potentially fatal to the system’s loyalists, or those pretending to be so. In North Korea, while Kim Il-sung was still alive, there was a brand new, high-tech hospital built in his name in Pyongyang, floor after floor laden with tens of millions of dollars in the latest American, Swiss and German equipment, but no patients to be seen. And why not? “As we have explained,” the most senior comrade-physician responded, “the Korean people’s great leader Comrade Kim Il-sung has taken such care for the health of his beloved people that none of his people gets sick.”

Not ever? “No, never,” was the reply.

“The Things I Carried Back,” John F. Burns, the New York Times, April 11th, 2015.

The Columbia University student being called a rapist by members of the media and a woman who has been carrying her mattress around for performance art is suing.

Paul Nungesser was accused by fellow Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz of brutally beating and raping her during a sexual encounter he insists was consensual. Despite a police investigation that failed to charge Nungesser and the university finding him “not responsible,” Sulkowicz and her enablers — including Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, have continued to harass Nungesser by calling him a “rapist.”

Now, Nungesser is suing his university, its president and trustees and the visual arts professor that allowed the mattress project to go forward.

“Columbia student defamed by mattress girl is suing,”Ashe Schow, the Washington Examiner, yesterday.

Left-leaning student activists at Oberlin College hung posters at the Christina Hoff Sommers event earlier this week that identified the students involved in bringing the individualist-feminist and AEI scholar to campus.

Each poster gave the name of a specific student-member of the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians and accused that person of perpetuating rape culture.

Images of the posters were sent to Reason via a source who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. The last names of the students identified by the posters were blurred before Reason received them.

According to the source, a group of approximately 10 student-activists were behind the posters.

They have the right to denounce their fellow students as perpetuators of rape culture, I suppose, though the fact that some students would smear others with this charge for merely bringing a speaker to campus is disappointing. Do students no longer recognize that the entire point of challenge is to grapple with new and different ways of thinking about the world?

“Oberlin Activists Posted Creepy Messages Accusing Specific Students of Perpetuating Rape Culture: Their crime? Bringing Christina Hoff Sommers to campus,” Robby Soave, Reason, April 23rd.

Like my RedState colleague Bryan Pruitt, I feel sorry for these guys: “The gay New York City hoteliers who recently played host to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have their own controversy to deal with: Activists are calling for the boycott of their properties, including a gay hotel and establishments on Fire Island.”  Essentially, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass had a reception where they had Ted Cruz speak to a group on foreign policy, Israel (particularly noting its attitudes on gay rights) – and, shockingly, how Ted Cruz doesn’t think Barack Obama is doing well on either.  Oh, mustn’t forget: Ted Cruz will still love his kids if they turn out to be gay.

And so… for allowing this man to speak to their friends, Mr. Reisner and Mr. Weiderpass must of course be chastised.  In fact, they should consider themselves fortunate that their own side is not calling them to be burned at the stake for heresy. Yet.  The day is still young, after all.

“More on Ted Cruz and the Activist Left’s ‘SHUT UP!’ principle in action,” Moe Lane, yesterday.

After decades of left-wing intellectuals churning out treatises on the evils of “moral panics” and “shame culture,” the same crowd is now using these very tactics for their ends, utterly oblivious to their own hypocrisy.

That they are doing so should be very worrisome to conservatives, because enforcing orthodoxy against heretics is what the winners do to the losers. That is precisely why this phenomena is most powerful on college campuses — because that is where the secular orthodox are at their most powerful.

On campus and off, today’s losers — social conservatives, climate “deniers,” rape-panic skeptics, even supporters of free speech qua free speech — are being told that they must bend to the shaming of the mob. In the long run I don’t think it will work. But there’s no immutable law — of nature, democracy, modernity, morality whatever — that I can point to back up that conviction.

—The “We’re All Shamers” subsection of Jonah Goldberg’s weekly G-File column, online today.

…By continuing to reduce the noxious emissions of state government:

No seriously — if you’re going to make the environmentalist catch-22 argument as Democrats John Kerry and Claire McCaskill have, that a shrinking economy is good for the environment because of less carbon emissions, then you have to agree that the same holds true for shrinking the government as well. Radical environmentalism isn’t my religion, but the Book of Saul demands that its practitioners stay faithful to their own tenets.

“Contra Mother Jones, though: I don’t think that Scott Walker deliberately set out to lay off those folks on Earth Day itself,” Moe Lane posits.

“Instead, I simply think that Scott Walker doesn’t give a flying leap about Earth Day one way, or the other. Which is, frankly, more entertaining.” As Jonthan Chait’s bete noire would say, heh, indeed.™

Certainly, Walker’s doing more for the environment than this plutocratic carbon-destroying One Percenter.



That level of carbon waste is so bad, Hollywood director Joss Whedon is pondering if he would withhold penicillin from the president should, Gaia forbid, he become ill. Particularly since Mr. Obama has been jetting away on “Earth Day” since the very start of his administration:

Update: I don’t think I need to remind most regular Ed Driscoll.com readers of this factoid, but for those newly tuning in:








Notices went out that classes would resume on 24 Dhu al-Hijjah 1435 in the Islamic calendar (or October 18, 2014, in the Western calendar), about four months after ISIS overran the city.

But some subjects would be banned — democracy and political thought, also hotel management and tourism and archaeology.

“The banning of archaeology is not a surprise,” says Al-Tamimi, who is a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, in Israel. “We see that reflected in ISIS destruction of ancient artifacts. ISIS regards pre-Islamic artifacts as relics from the ‘period of ignorance’, jahiliyah. Their main concern with archaeology is that it would become a subject turning to idol worship, which is strictly forbidden in Islam…

Mosul University still has the same professors and teachers, Al-Tamimi says. “But now teachers are subjected to Sharia sessions, to learn what is and what is not acceptable to ISIS. So, they have preserved the prior system but within ISIS Sharia law conditions.”

“ISIS bans archaeology,” CNN, today. Link safe, goes to Hot Air.

In other news from a rapidly reprimitivizing American academia, make sure you’ve taken any necessary high blood pressure medication before reading this, or clicking through to see the photos.

Earlier: No Black Armband Left Behind.

Question Asked and Answered

April 20th, 2015 - 4:26 pm

“When did America forget that it’s America?”

—Natan Sharansky, the Washington Post, today.

“Rule America?Liberal elites ruined Britain as a hyperpower. Could America meet the same fate?”

—Jonathan Last, the Weekly Standard, October 21st, 2005.

We Came in Peace, for All Humankind

April 16th, 2015 - 12:37 pm


Everything’s a Problem, the satirical blog written by Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon, has some fun going into faux-outrage mode over “Calling People ‘Guys,’” and quotes as his “problematic” example, David Gelernter’s March 2008 article in the Weekly Standard on “Feminism and the English Language,” in which Gelernter writes:

How can I teach my students to write decently when the English language has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Academic-Industrial Complex? Our language used to belong to all its speakers and readers and writers. But in the 1970s and ’80s, arrogant ideologues began recasting English into heavy artillery to defend the borders of the New Feminist state. In consequence we have all got used to sentences where puffed-up words like “chairperson” and “humankind” strut and preen, where he-or-she’s keep bashing into surrounding phrases like bumper cars and related deformities blossom like blisters; they are all markers of an epoch-making victory of propaganda over common sense.

We have allowed ideologues to pocket a priceless property and walk away with it. Today, as college students and full-fledged young English teachers emerge from the feminist incubator in which they have spent their whole lives, this victory of brainless ideology is on the brink of becoming institutionalized. If we mean to put things right, we can’t wait much longer.

Our ability to write and read good, clear English connects us to one another and to our common past. The prime rule of writing is to keep it simple, concrete, concise. Shakespeare’s most perfect phrases are miraculously simple and terse. (“Thou art the thing itself.” “A plague o’ both your houses.” “Can one desire too much of a good thing?”) The young Jane Austen is praised by her descendants for having written “pure simple English.” Meanwhile, in everyday prose, a word with useless syllables or a sentence with useless words is a house fancied-up with fake dormers and chimneys. It is ugly and boring and cheap, and impossible to take seriously.

As I said, that was from early 2008. Flash-forward to six years of Hopenchange and the growing influence of the socialist justice warriors, as in this example, as spotted by Kathy Shaidle earlier this week, of a cri de coeur at Medium.com titled “Social Justice Bullies: The Authoritarianism of Millennial Social Justice,” written by someone who describes himself as possessing a “liberal heart,” and who “grew up in a liberal town, learned US history from a capital-S Socialist, and/or went to one of the most liberal universities in the country,” but, like Jonathan Chait of New York magazine, apparently thought he’d be devoured last by the revolution:

[M]illennials are grown up now — and they’re angry. As children, they were told that they could be anything, do anything, and that they were special. As adults, they have formed a unique brand of Identity Politics wherein the groups with which one identifies is paramount. With such a strong narrative that focuses on which group one belongs to, there has been an increasing balkanization of identities. In an attempt to be open-minded toward other groups and to address social justice issues through a lens of intersectionality, clear and distinct lines have been drawn between people. One’s words and actions are inextricable from one’s identities. For example: this is not an article, but an article written by a straight, white, middle-class (etc.) male (and for this reason will be discounted by many on account of how my privilege blinds me — more on this later).

* * * * * * * *

The Newspeak of the millennial social justice advocate is an intricately and powerfully designed mechanism that seeks to eradicate and socially criminalize dissent.

Let’s talk about racism. The mantra of the movement is thus: It is impossible to be racist against white people because racism is the equivalent of prejudice and power. Since white people have social and economic institutional power and privilege (in America), those who are racially oppressed cannot be racist toward whites since those who are racially oppressed do not have power.

Why can’t I simply rebut this with a trip to the dictionary? Because this is laughed at by social justice types. The image of a white person walking to the dictionary to define racism is literally a trope at this point because the millennial social justice advocate finds it so entertaining that a dictionary, constructed by those in power for those who speak the language of power, can possibly give an accurate definition of a word. [It's a link to a Website called DiversityInc (sic) titled, "Ask the White Guy: Is the Oxford Dictionary Definition of Racism Too White for You?" -- Ed]

Do you see where I’m going with this? It is now possible to absolve yourself of guilt by working enough academic nuance into a word to fundamentally change it — in your favor.


You’re never going to change the mind of someone this far gone; but there are ways to, as a wise president once said, “punch back twice as hard,” which we’ll explore right after the page break.

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And praises Common Core, Sean Davis writes at the Federalist:

During her first official campaign event in Iowa earlier this week, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton praised Common Core and referred to children’s education as a “non-family enterprise.” Clinton’s controversial statements about education, which were captured by C-SPAN, came in response to a question from a participant about how to offer a quality education throughout the U.S.

Just a reminder that Hillary’s “It Takes a Village” theme from the 1990s is her polite and folksy way of saying that in her socialist worldview, your children belong to the state, not to you.

In other Hillary news, as she likes to say, she’s exceedingly happy to “take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” And/or her own good. Does that include someone else’s handicapped parking spot?

(Perhaps though, owners of personal exoskeleton suits are granted exemptions under the ADA.)

“Too often, American college students face a one-question test, based not on facts, but on ideology. The test: ‘Are you a liberal, or conservative?’” Michael Munger, the former chairman of Duke’s political science department writes in the Washington Examiner. Guess which is the correct answer — it’s not much of a stretch:

“He who knows only his own side of the case,” Mill wrote, “knows little of that.…if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.”

Students who pass the one-question test find themselves in this position, and no one loves them enough to tell them. They respond to others’ ideas and arguments with anti-intellectual, argument-stopping cliches such as “micro-aggression” and “check your privilege.” They impugn the motives of their interlocutors (“you must be funded by the Koch brothers”) or even impugn entire disciplines (“economists don’t understand the real world”). This is turning academia into a toxic retention pond with a dangerous concentration of ignorance and ideological bigotry. And it is now gradually bleeding its way into mainstream culture.

This is not about liberalism – it is about education. Conservatives who don’t understand liberal arguments are just as brain dead as today’s most closed-minded liberal graduates. It’s just that most conservatives can’t make it through college without heavy exposure to opposing views.

Education requires collision with error. And many students of all ideological persuasions — but especially those on the Left — may finally begin seeing through a system would rather patronize than educate them.

Perhaps reducing the number of stories like this:

Indeed they are; “At U of Michigan, a Muslim Student Unmasks the Hypocrite He Says Vandalized His Apartment: The perpetrator was a liberal activist and decorated campus Muslim leader who said American Sniper promoted violence.” As the InstaProfessor writes, “You know what promotes violence? Leftist social-justice-war ideology.”

Related: Of course, colleges aren’t the only institutes patronizing their customers and advancing the SJW-industrial complex; at Real Clear Politics, Cathy Young explores “The Media’s Believe-the-Survivor Syndrome.”

The Drama of the Not So Gifted Children

April 9th, 2015 - 10:33 am

“When the drama surrounding the showing of a movie is more intense than the drama in the movie itself, something has gone wrong. Especially when a university of all places is involved,” Nick Gillespie writes at Reason:

Yesterday, Reason reported that the University of Michigan pulled a planned showing of the Oscar-winning movie American Sniper after students protested that the Clint Eastwood flick “not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim…rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer.”

Michigian administrators responded by spiking the movie and replacing it with, no sh**, Paddington. Then they semi-relented and announced:

plans to show “American Sniper” in a separate location from the UMix program, in what it said would be “a forum that provides an appropriate space for dialogue and reflection.”

Now comes news that, no, no, the university—generally regarded as one an outstanding academic institution—will now show American Sniper as planned.

As Gillespie writes, “in an era of trigger warnings and micro-aggressions, there comes to a time when, to paraphrase American Sniper director Clint Eastwood in a very different context, an institution’s got to know its limitations and start standing up for free speech and open intellectual inquiry.”

Don’t hold your breath, Nick. The number of university administrators left who actually believe in that are so small, they were profiled by Glenn Reynolds in his USA Today column this week. (OK, that’s likely an exaggeration, but still.)

Instead, for free speech and open intellectual inquiry, look to…the football coach:

I’m sure there are more than a few San Francisco residents who need therapy reading that the former 49ers coach is a fan of American Sniper. I wonder if the York family also reached for their collective smelling salts? Oh, and finally:

Update: Needless to say, the problematics in the story are endless

We Are Ready to Believe You!

April 8th, 2015 - 12:47 pm


During yesterday’s “GLoP” podcast at Ricochet, John Podhoretz of Commentary offered his grand unified theory of how colleges became, as Iowahawk famously tweeted, “If I understand college administrators correctly, colleges are hotbeds of racism and rape that everyone should be able to attend,” and why Rolling Stone suspended all the normal rules of fact-checking to swing into action and blow the lid off this story, Woodward and Bernstein-style. (Rush transcript, as they say in old media as a euphemism for apologies for typos and mis-transcribed words to follow):

JOHN PODHORETZ: You talk about people’s ordinary skepticism, or common skepticism. I would submit to you that once something becomes a hot ideologically-charged topic, that skepticism is not only suspended in most cases, but it is understood by everyone around — on all sides of the debate — that it is dangerous to your reputation, to your sanity, and to the good working order of your day, to even whisper a breath of skepticism.

* * * * * *

JONAH GOLDBERG: I read the entire Columbia report, and there is no allegation that anybody except for “Jackie” lied or purposefully misrepresented the truth. You’re absolutely right John, about people losing their skepticism when they get caught up in the sort of ideological St. Vitas’ Dance of the moment, and we see this on a grand scale with things like global warming and other groupthink problems. But this was a situation where it wasn’t just their skepticism, but it was the mechanisms and procedures that were in place. At time and time again, the rules said, we’ve got to get a second source on this. The rules said, we got to [give] the accused a chance to comment. The rules said, we’ve got confirm the date and the identity of these people. And in each and every step, Jann Wenner and Will Dana and Sabrina Erdely all decided at one point or another to go another way. They all decided to drop the rules that they had in place. That’s why I think this is much more like the Dan Rather stuff. Because this was just something they wanted to be true for ideological and political reasons so badly, that they thought it was worth dropping the normal rules.

And it does get to this other issue, which nobody wants to talk about, which is, what is it about college campuses today that sets up an environment where some many young people feel compelled to lie about their oppression? It’s not just this “Jackie” girl, who lied and lied and lied for months on end to a reporter, and was fine with her story being written, as long as no one fact-checked it. (Which is a kind of dementia in a lot of ways.) But also on college campuses after college campuses, racial hoaxes happen all the time, and administrations shut them down because they don’t like the bad publicity.

It’s a state of hysteria — it’s very much like Salem. There was the one at — was it Oberlin? — where someone came out in a white blanket on a cold day, and the first instinct was: Oh my God, the Klan is here!

ROB LONG: The Klan is at Oberlin! Yeah, they’re at Oberlin.

PODHORETZ: Yeah, they’re taking cello lessons.

GOLDBERG: And they had days of meetings and panic about that, and they wanted to see if accused racist children would float in the horse trough or not! It was just like a total witch trial mentality and this is going on campuses…

LONG: Why is that?

GOLDBERG: …And Rolling Stone suspended the rules, because they believed this girl so much.

PODHORETZ: OK, can I give you my theory about college campuses? We can talk about the professoriate, and we can talk about student activist groups, and all of this. But there is a third force on college campuses. And it is this bureaucracy of counseling. In field after field, in gender, in race, in sexuality, there is now this bureaucracy that has come up to help counsel kids with their problems on college campuses.

And one of the problems is, it’s a classic thing in economics: if you subsidize something, you get more of it. So if you have counseling bureaucracies, one of the things that a counselor in problems involving gender is going to find is more problems involving gender. More discrimination. More hostility. Same with race. Same with LGBT. And when you create a permanently-employed bureaucracy that is in part enriched by these things happening, because of course, then maybe you can hire more counselors and you are more central to the university’s mission, and your center gets more money, and you get raises, and all of that.

And you believe in it! I’m not saying by the way, that counselors don’t believe that there is an epidemic of rape on college campuses, and that if you’re black, your life is a misery at all college campuses. And if you’re gay, terrible things are going to happen to you, because somebody looks at you cross-eyed when you walk across the campus.

They believe all this. But it is also in their innate interest, and it also in the interest in the campus itself to be able say, “Hey, you know what?! Your kids are safe. [Adopts sing-song-y nanny voice] Look, if anything’s wrong they can go to the counseling center!”

LONG: Isn’t it also this weird thing that…I’m now going to say something completely incendiary, without a shred of proof or backup. But it seems to me that these are all white kids running around saying “we have been raped” or [the victims of] “micro-aggression,” and all that stuff.

It’s like they have envy. They get to college after 20 or 30 years of very complicated ethnic and racial diversity training on college campuses. Now the white kids want in, so everyone’s got to be a victim. Everyone arrives in college as this horribly wounded, vulnerable bird. And college is supposed to be place where you’re sort of massaged and you’re padded and this institution of therapy around you. To try to make it OK about the trauma that you’ve suffered to get there, to get to Oberlin.

PODHORETZ: But it doesn’t have to be everybody; that’s partially, I think Jonah’s point. It can be two people, it can be three people, on a campus of 4,000 or 25,000, or 50,000, who can turn the place upside-down. Somebody paints a swastika on his own door, and the entire place revolved around this fact for an entire week. It is very empowering of dangerously deluded or fallacious behavior.

GOLDBERG: We’re in a weird Nietzschian transition moment where victimhood is the way you assert your will to power.

LONG: Yes, exactly right.

GOLDBERG: What this reminds of, because there is something definitely going on in sort of the general left. We’ve talked about this before: All of a sudden, Jonathan Chait is very upset that people are attacking him for being a straight white male. While he was perfectly happy to use that technique against his political opponents to his right, he just thinks it’s a problem when the left starts to eat its own.

Podhoretz’s theory also explains why, as several commenters noted over the past couple of days on Twitter, Columbia’s report on Rolling Stone didn’t spend much time discussing why the publication tossed out all of the basic rules of journalism. Or as Bernard Goldberg writes:

Rolling Stone is guilty of monumentally bad journalism. We can all agree on that. But the media watchdogs are guilty too – guilty of cowardice, a cowardice that is so pathetic that they even pander to liars — as long as the liars are women who make claims against men — no matter how outrageous or false.

If a male college student made up some phony story about how a young woman on campus hit him over the head with a beer bottle, the media, the president of the University, and the police wouldn’t let him get away with it.

But Jackie is off limits.

That’s because in a liberal PC culture, women are seen as victims of male oppression. So what if Jackie wasn’t really raped? A mere technicality. She could have been.  After all, rape on America’s college campuses is a “plague” —  a word used by a former Washington Post ombudsman on CNN.  Except, that’s another lie.  There is no plague.  There is no epidemic of campus rape.  Google “Myth of Campus Rape” and you’ll quickly find serious thinkers, scholars like Heather MacDonald and Christina Hoff Sommers, who put a lie to that piece of feminist propaganda.

What we’re seeing here is how little liberal journalists and liberal presidents of places like the University of Virginia really think about women. They’ll look the other way when they lie. They won’t treat them like grownups who should be held accountable. Because if they did, Jackie would have been told to pack her bags and leave school a long time ago.

And so would plenty of bureaucrats as well, who desperately need to protect their phony-baloney jobs, as a wise 19th century governor once famously exclaimed.

Update: In “Campus Rape and the ‘Emergency’: It’s Always an Excuse for Authoritarianism,” Kevin D. Williamson writes:

Indira Gandhi was considered by some of her admirers — and some of her rivals — to be an incarnation of the goddess Durga. That may sound ridiculous, until one considers that our own republic has its intellectual roots in a much earlier one that ended with the deification of its commanders-in-chief, and that our own national cult — that of celebrity — has been known to sing literal hymns to our inspiring imperators. But gods go astray with remarkably regularity, and that which appears celestial in the darkness often seems to be something rather less impressive in the full light of day. It is for this reason that we protect ourselves with laws — laws that we write down, so as to be able to refer to the text with some precision — and with separation of powers, due process, standards of evidence, presumptions of innocence, and, ideally, with a press that uses its First Amendment protections more honestly and more intelligently than does Rolling Stone.

There are real emergencies. Sometimes, Hitler invades the Sudetenland, or a strain of influenza kills 100 million people. More often, the dean of students — or an insurance salesman, or the president — discovers the godlike powers he might enjoy if not constrained by the boring regular order of American life.

It is hardly fair, from that point of view: When the Almighty spoke creation into existence, He merely said: “Let there be . . .” and there was no pesky lawyer or reporter or skeptical curmudgeon to respond: “Sez who?” But that guy demanding “Sez who?” is our first, last, and only real line of defense. Without him, all of the laws we can write and constitutions we can ratify will avail us nothing at all.

In an emergency, he’ll be the first to go.

Read the whole thing.

Related: “How Deep Is This Education Official’s Involvement In The Rolling Stone Hoax?”

So just to confirm, the left have had a near-lock on Big Journalism since the days when Walter Cronkite and Daniel Schorr smeared Barry Goldwater as a crypto-Nazi on the air at CBS in 1964. And journalists such as Janet Cooke of the Washington Post, Jayson Blair of the New York Times, and ahem, Stephen Glass of the New Republic have all been caught pulling false stories out of their Smith-Coronas. But of course for 24-year old Elizabeth S. Bruenig, that’s all the right’s fault:


Gee, wait’ll she discovers Upton Sinclair.

I’m not sure when blowing up innocent individuals became a “right wing tactic” — after all, in 2013, TNR was urging Obama to roll in the tanks and blow up Congress itself to end the budget sequester:

In a 2013 column in the Wall Street Journal, Marty Paretz, who kept TNR relatively sane under his ownership, bemoaned how badly his publication had fallen since he left…

Like many readers of the New Republic, I didn’t at first recognize the most recent issue of the magazine. The stark white cover was unlike anything the New Republic ran during my 35 years as the owner. Having read the cover story, I still don’t recognize the magazine that I sold in 2012 to the Facebook zillionaire Chris Hughes.

“Original Sin,” by Sam Tanenhaus, purported to explain “Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people.” The provocative theme would not have been unthinkable in the magazine’s 99-year history, but the essay’s reliance on insinuations of GOP racism (“the inimical ‘they’ were being targeted by a spurious campaign to pass voter-identification laws, a throwback to Jim Crow”) and gross oversimplifications hardly reflected the intellectual traditions of a journal of ideas. What made the “Original Sin” issue unrecognizable to this former owner is that it established as fact what had only been suggested by the magazine in the early days of its new administration: The New Republic has abandoned its liberal but heterodox tradition and embraced a leftist outlook as predictable as that of Mother Jones or the Nation.

…And that was before last December’s bloodletting, resulting in the current brainless Vox-BuzzFeed-like iteration of TNR.

Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to Bruenig explaining how that’s all the fault of the right as well.

“Jackie” set us up! “Rolling Stone publisher: U.Va. accuser an ‘expert fabulist storyteller’,” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner:

Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner placed at least some of the blame for his magazine’s failure to accurately report an alleged gang-rape on the accuser, calling her “a really expert fabulist storyteller.”

Wenner, in an interview with the New York Times, said that Jackie, the sole source of information in the now-retracted article, manipulated the magazine, presumably by failing to respond or provide corroboration when asked.

Glenn Reynolds dubs it “The Marrion Barry Defense,” and notes that Rolling Stone is in a Nixonian modified limited hangout mode as it plans its next move “in contemplation of litigation,” with no one fired, Robby Soave writes at Reason:

Erdely’s editor, Sean Woods, decided to put the “shit show” quote in the final article, even though neither of them tried to reach Ryan to confirm that he had indeed said this. If either had contacted Ryan, he would have told them that the quote was a lie—likely unmasking Jackie as a liar with that one basic act of journalistic integrity.

(The article’s mention of two other rapes at Phi Kappa Psi were also exposed as mere conjecture from a single, highly unreliable source… you guessed it: Jackie.)

Despite these mistakes, no one at Rolling Stone thinks their fact-checking process is systematically broken: they just screwed up this one time, they say. While that’s an eye-rolling assertion, I think I know what caused them to take leave of their senses. The source was a rape victim, and the writers and editors were too afraid of appearing unsympathetic to Jackie’s plight to treat her stonewalling with the skepticism it deserved.

Even so, Rolling Stone has decided not to fire anyone. Erdely, a contributor, will continue to write for the publication, according to publisher Jann Wenner.

That doesn’t seem like a strong enough response to an article that defamed Jackie’s friends, the fraternity, and UVA administrators—and mislead not just the campus, but the entire country, about the sexual assault crisis.

The article has been fully retracted, and no longer appears on Rolling Stone‘s website.

Besides, “If RS fired the reporter and editors, what incentive do they have to protect RS? Keeping them on the payroll is a way of buying their silence,” one of Ace’s commenters notes.

In the meantime, “journalist” Sabrina Rubin Erdely (with a past history of alleged fabulism) apologized to everyone but the UVa frat whom she smeared:

And here comes the litigation. Today, Brian Stelter  of CNN tweets, “Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at UVA is moving forward with lawsuit against @RollingStone magazine, source confirms.” At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey adds:

I’d guess that the lawsuit will get settled rather quickly. Rolling Stone’s liability insurer will try to contain the damages to the limit of the policy. One has to assume that they carry a multi-million-dollar policy for this kind of event, so there should be plenty of room in which to work. The insurer will want to limit the damage, plus the magazine will have lots of motivation to stay out of depositions, let alone court:

Since no one at Rolling Stone has apparently yet learned any lesson from this, as Glenn writes, “One person who shouldn’t get off the hook here is UVA President Teresa Sullivan”:

She essentially found the fraternity guilty based on a story in a music tabloid. She could have told the University community that “we don’t convict people based on stories in the media,” that she was going to independently investigate the accusations, and that people named in tabloid stories should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty in the American tradition. She did no such thing. She hastily imposed a group punishment on the entire Greek system, and pretty much stood by while angry crowds mobbed and vandalized the fraternity house. (Faculty members didn’t help by staging their own marches; they may want — especially now — to characterize those marches as “anti-rape” or “pro-woman,” but there’s no getting around the fact that they were perceived at the time, and probably meant, as targeting the accused. In this case, the falsely accused.) As I’ve said before, there’s no place in America today where the authorities are more likely to be found siding with (or at least enabling) a lynch mob than on a university campus, and that’s a disgrace.

The damage from Erdely’s story has already been done. She wanted all of the SJW cliches about shaping the narrative, facts be damned. Well — mission accomplished, sport:

And the hits keep on coming. Shot:


Yesterday’s reminder of Rolling Stone’s hit on the members of a University of Virginia frat late last year comes hot on the heels of  the left attempting to burn down an Indiana pizza parlor and Starbucks’ stillborn efforts to shame its individual customers as racists. Taken together, they illustrate the horrible pathology currently infecting the left. Now that it controls the White House, numerous state legislatures, vast swatches of the culture, the media and big business in general, and has a hammerlock on education, the left is no longer seriously in the business of trying to “reform” large cultural institutions; it’s largely won those battles. Now it’s using the power of large institutions to destroy individuals, as that excerpt from New Republic above unintentionally exclaims.

And an already deformed culture turns increasingly uglier.

Related: Hot Take from the New Republic: ‘Rolling Stone’s Rape Article Failed Because It Used Rightwing Tactics.’

How the West was Lost

April 3rd, 2015 - 7:29 pm

“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators,” – William F. Buckley Jr. wrote in his 1959 book, Up From Liberalism, as Stacy McCain quoted in a 2013 post titled “Kafkatrapping’ and the Left’s Mental Assault Against America’s Future.”

And they’re certainly ushering in a grim Kafkaesque future, as these quotes and the left’s ongoing nuclear assault on small-town pizza parlor owners, florists and wedding photographers illustrate:

For the modern university tries to cater to students regardless of religion, sex, race, or cultural background, even regardless of ability. It is to a great extent a creation of the state and is fully signed up to the statist idea of what a society should be—namely, a society without distinction. It is therefore as dependent on the belief in equality as Cardinal Newman’s university was dependent on the belief in God. Its purpose is to create a microcosm of the future society, just as Cardinal Newman’s college was a microcosm of the gentleman’s world. And since our inherited culture is a system of distinctions, standing opposed to equality in all the spheres where taste, judgment, and discrimination make their claims, the modern university has no choice but to stand opposed to Western culture.

Hence, despite their innate aspiration to membership, young people are told at university that they come from nowhere and belong to nothing: that all preexisting forms of membership are null and void. They are offered a rite of passage into cultural nothingness, since this is the only way to achieve the egalitarian goal. They are given, in place of the old beliefs of a civilization based on godliness, judgment, and distinction, the new beliefs of a society based in equality and inclusion; they are told that the judgment of other lifestyles is a crime. If the purpose were merely to substitute one belief system for another, it would be open to rational debate. But the purpose is to substitute one community for another.

But what is the alternative? If the universities do not propagate the culture that was once entrusted to them, where else can young people go in search of it? Some thoughts in answer to that question were suggested by experiences that began for me in 1979. The writings of Foucault, Deleuze, and Bourdieu were then beginning to make waves at the University of London, where I taught. My students were being told on every side that there is no such thing as knowledge in the humanities and that universities exist not to justify culture as a form of knowledge but to unmask it as a form of power.

—Roger Scruton, “The End of the University,” First Things, April 2015 issue.

Madison was making this case not in the context of arguing for permitting the free exercise of religion but rather in the context of arguing against the establishment of any religion by law. His point was that no one ought to be compelled to affirm as true a religious tenet he took to be false and that no one should be compelled to participate in a religious rite that violated his own understanding of his religious obligations. This is not exactly an extension of the traditional Anglo-American case for toleration. It is a Madisonian correction to the Lockean ideal of religious toleration in a society with an established church.

But this is also the essence of the argument that a wedding vendor who wants to remain free to refrain from participating in a same-sex wedding would advance. The question of the definition of marriage is, for many people, a fundamentally religious question. It is, of course, also a civil question in our country. But some religiously orthodox wedding vendors are finding themselves effectively compelled by the civil authorities to affirm an answer to that question that violates their understanding of their religious obligations. They would like to be relieved of that compulsion, but they are being told they can’t be because the larger society’s understanding of the proper answer to the question should overrule the answer prescribed by their religious convictions, and if they want to participate as business owners in the life of the larger society they must give ground.

They are in this sense more like religious believers under compulsion in a society with an established church than like believers denied the freedom to exercise their religion. Liberals are in this respect right to say they’re not trying to kill religious liberty. They’re trying to take it back to something like the form it had in the Anglo-American world when the Anglo-American world had a formal state religion—except now the state religion is supposed to be progressive liberalism.

“The Church of the Left,” Yuval Levin, NRO, today.

Rape, of course, is an indisputably heinous act; because it forces a woman to engage in something she does not want to do, it must always be roundly decried and despised by all sane people.

But, that being the case, what shall we make of the fact that, for the most part, the very same entities who (disputed “rape culture” claims aside) quite rightly insist that a woman should never, ever be forced to engage in acts against her will, have pivoted toward Indiana to demand that “other” people be forced to engage in acts against their wills?

Should governments, or news agencies, or pundits for that matter, really be positioning themselves over people and telling them that if they do not submit to what is demanded of them — and engage willingly — then they will be forced to take it, and like it?

Doubtless someone will say, “these two issues are not at all the same.”

I’d argue that to the people being shoved down, they look exactly alike.

“How is the RFRA Issue Like the Rape Culture Issue?”, Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress, April 1st, 2015.

As Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest G-File, in 1944, poet W.H. Auden forecast the culture the left would assemble remarkably well:

Reason will be replaced by Revelation. Instead of Rational Law, objective truths perceptible to any who will undergo the necessary intellectual discipline, Knowledge will degenerate into a riot of subjective visions . . . Whole cosmogonies will be created out of some forgotten personal resentment, complete epics written in private languages, the daubs of schoolchildren ranked above the greatest masterpieces. Idealism will be replaced by Materialism. Life after death will be an eternal dinner party where all the guests are 20 years old . . . Justice will be replaced by Pity as the cardinal human virtue, and all fear of retribution will vanish . . . The New Aristocracy will consist exclusively of hermits, bums and permanent invalids. The Rough Diamond, the Consumptive Whore, the bandit who is good to his mother, the epileptic girl who has a way with animals will be the heroes and heroines of the New Age, when the general, the statesman, and the philosopher have become the butt of every farce and satire.

It didn’t happen by accident.

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

If you want to understand why so many Democrats believe it’s okay to circumvent Congress and let international agreements dictate environmental policies—well, other than their newfound respect for monocracy—you don’t have to look much farther than the new poll by Gallup.Since 1989, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming. To put this in perspective, note that the most expensive public-relations campaign in history—one that includes most governmental agencies, a long list of welfare-sucking corporations, the public school system, the universities, an infinite parade of celebrities, think tanks, well-funded environmental groups and an entire major political party—has, over the past 25 years or so, increased the number of Democrats who “worry greatly” about global warming by a mere four percentage points.

During this era, they’ve gone from gentle nudging to stern warnings, to fearmongering, to conflating the predictive abilities of scientists with science itself, to launching ugly campaigns to shame and shut down anyone who deviates from liberal orthodoxy—which includes not only the existence of anthropogenic global warming, but an entire ideological framework that supposedly “addresses” the problem.

“The Campaign To Make You Care About Climate Change Is Failing Miserably: The number of Democrats who ‘worry greatly’ has increased by four percentage points in 25 years,” David Harsanyi, the Federalist, March 26.

And it’s wreaking havoc with the nervous systems of the true believers:

“And so I came to feel miserably conflicted about climate change. I accepted its supremacy as the environmental issue of our time, but I felt bullied by its dominance. Not only did it make every grocery-store run a guilt trip; it made me feel selfish for caring more about birds in the present than about people in the future. What were the eagles and the condors killed by wind turbines compared with the impact of rising sea levels on poor nations? What were the endemic cloud-forest birds of the Andes compared with the atmospheric benefits of Andean hydroelectric projects?”

—Jonathan Franzen, “someone who cares more about birds than the next man,” in the New Yorker. (Link safe, goes to Kate of Small Dead Animals, who adds an appropriate “world’s smallest violin” gif to the quote.)

And as with Indiana pizza parlors, dissent will not be tolerated by the religious left, who must banish heretics to the cornfield at all costs:

Update: “Economics Is a Form of Brain Damage,” Steve Hayward writes at Power Line:

That slogan, which you can see on display in this 1993 full-page New York Times ad nearby, is making a comeback of sorts on the left. A generation ago it was the slogan of the environmental left, which hates the fact that we live in a world of tradeoffs, and which thinks we live in a world where the only unlimited resource is other people’s money. The late David Brower was quoting environmental activist Hazel Henderson in that expensive ad; Henderson said at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 that when the green revolution finally comes, economists would be rounded up and sent to re-education camps.

Where, if the left has their way, they’ll be joined by Indiana pizza parlor owners.

Obama Disses Art History Majors

April 1st, 2015 - 12:42 pm

Virginia Postrel talks with Glenn Reynolds on the Community Organizer in Chief’s slur on his fellow college-indoctrinated leftists and the future of higher education. But then, as Ashe Schow recently asked in the Washington Examiner: what happens when today’s victim mentality-obsessed students — the self-described “survivor class” (!) starts entering the workplace?

The Survivor Class, Then and Now

March 26th, 2015 - 12:32 pm

“The average of soldiers in the Allied divisions poised to cross the Channel” and storm the beaches on D-Day “was 25,” according to this book.

Flash-forward 70 years — to what Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner ironically calls “The survivor class.” What happens when they graduate from the brutal front lines of college and enter the workforce?

In another recent example, New York Times opinion writer Judith Shulevitz described a special “safe space” at Brown University, a room with “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.”

Why is such infantilization of grown college students necessary? Because the students couldn’t handle hearing the opinions of writer Wendy McElroy, who was speaking on campus and criticizing the concept of “rape culture.” (McElroy’s views are not that far off from those of feminist former judge Nancy Gertner, I might add.)

The problem here is that these students are so unable to handle other views or adversity that they must be babied, whether that means mandatory hand-shaking or drawing with crayons.

* * * * * * *

This Survivor Class will be bringing their special brand of anxiety and demands into the workplace. One might joke that those likely outraged by things reasonable people would find mundane are also those most likely to major in Women’s Studies, but one cannot assume.

But first the Survivor Class will have prepare themselves for their job interviews. In 1953, British novelist L.P. Hartley wrote “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” But even he had no idea how radically a culture could transform itself in just a few decades. Trigger warning; James Lileks spots a highly problematic “Pathé doc on the means by which oily beatniks were scrubbed down and converted into civilized women again” from 1963. “Amusing comment on the YouTube page: ‘We’re the beatniks looked down upon?’ It’s as if people think that ‘counterculture’” was admired and revered in its time. No:”

This video would be considered a hate crime in today’s culture on both sides of the Atlantic. (Or perhaps not; after all, the Guardian is deeply concerned that “straight women who wear less-than-feminine clothing are ‘appropriating’ lesbian culture and making it too hard for lesbians to tell who the other lesbians are.”) Though given that in her formative state the girl in the video looks a bit like she’s auditing classes in the Chrissie Hynde school of grooming, it brings to mind this great headline found at Kathy Shaidle’s blog: ‘Punk Scientists Discover Fourth Chord.’

Serious question though: The TV series Mad Men gave us a look (albeit one that was flawed and often inaccurate) at what goes through the minds of 1960s Madison Avenue ad executives. American Sniper took us inside the mind of a crack 21st soldier. Between trigger warnings, privilege checking, jazz hands, uptwinkles, the Bletchley Park-level detections of racism, sexism, gender-ism, -ism, -ism, -ism everywhere, and a hundred other densely packed layers of carbonized horsesh*t, is there a book that takes us inside the worldview of contemporary college students and how they acquired their bizarre and often self-destructive worldview?

Update: And to bring this post full-circle:

Ride the Left-Wing ISIS Mobius Loop!

March 25th, 2015 - 6:20 pm

“My ISIS is the police,” Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers said during a hearing on Friday, Ashe Schow reports at the Washington Examiner. Chambers “added that if he carried a weapon, he’d use it on a cop:”

“I wouldn’t go to Syria, I wouldn’t go to Iraq, I wouldn’t go to Afghanistan, I wouldn’t go to Yemen, I wouldn’t go to Tunisia, I wouldn’t go to Lebanon, I wouldn’t go to Jordan, I would do it right here,” he added. “Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do us daily.”

Nebraska Watchdog recorded the lawmaker’s statements and uploaded the audio to their website.

Chambers wasn’t done ranting at that point. He added that if he carried a firearm, he would shoot a cop.

“If I was going to carry a weapon, it wouldn’t be against you, it wouldn’t be against these people who come here that I might have a dispute with. Mine would be for the police,” Chambers said. “And if I carried a gun I’d want to shoot him first and then ask questions later, like they say the cop ought to do.”

But to the dean of Cornell, ISIS are lovable pussycats whom he’d welcome on campus, the New York Post reports:

This guy is either the dumbest Ivy League bigwig ever or politically correct to a fault — for welcoming offers to bring ISIS and Hamas to Cornell University.

A video sting operation shows Cornell’s assistant dean for students, Joseph Scaffido, agreeing to everything suggested by an undercover muckraker posing as a Moroccan student.

Scaffido casually endorses inviting an ISIS “freedom fighter’’ to conduct a “training camp” for students at the upstate Ithaca campus — bizarrely likening the activity to a sports camp.

Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-“Islamic State Iraq and Syria” group on campus, the undercover for conservative activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas asks.

Sure, Scaffido says in the recorded March 16 meeting.

Scaffido doesn’t even blink an eye when the undercover asks about providing material support for terrorists — “care packages, whether it be food, water, electronics.”

Click over for O’Keefe’s video, although the sadly at this point, the underlying story isn’t all surprising; to paraphrase William F. Buckley, recall the stories of God and Taliban man at Yale, summarized in 2006 by Linda Chavez at Townhall:

I thought I’d lost the ability to be shocked by anything that happened on an American university campus — that is until I read the New York Times magazine this weekend.

In an article entitled, simply, “The Freshman,” author Chip Brown describes a charming tale of a young man come to study at one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the country. He might more aptly have titled his piece “God, Country, and Yale.” Only in this telling, God is the vengeful Allah of Islamist fanatics, and the country to which this student once pledged his allegiance is the Taliban’s Afghanistan, for the first-year Yalie profiled is none other than the former “ambassador-at-large” of the Taliban regime, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi.

Yes, Yale has decided to welcome into its fold a man whose previous visit to the New Haven, Conn., campus in March 2001 was as an official apologist for the misogynistic government that had just blown up the famous Buddhas of Bamiyan, the giant 1,500-year-old statues long considered among the most important ancient sculptures in the world.

This might be just another tale of multiculturalism run amok on campus were it not for the 3,000 dead Americans buried in the rubble of the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and the more than 200 Americans who died fighting to liberate Afghanistan from Rahmatullah’s former paymasters. As it is, this story raises serious questions not just about what’s happening on America’s campuses but whether the student visa program that gave us Mohammed Atta and his murderous accomplices continues to pose threats to American security.

Mark Steyn ran into a spot of bother from the Australian equivalent of Media Matters in 2005 for writing that “With hindsight, the defining encounter of the age was not between Mohammed Atta’s jet and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but that between Mohammed Atta and Johnelle Bryant a year earlier,” but Mark was certainly onto something. “Bryant is an official with the US Department of Agriculture in Florida, and the late Atta had gone to see her about getting a $US650,000 government loan to convert a plane into the world’s largest crop-duster. A novel idea:”

The meeting got off to a rocky start when Atta refused to deal with Bryant because she was but a woman. But, after this unpleasantness had been smoothed out, things went swimmingly. When it was explained to him that, alas, he wouldn’t get the 650 grand in cash that day, Atta threatened to cut Bryant’s throat. He then pointed to a picture behind her desk showing an aerial view of downtown Washington – the White House, the Pentagon et al – and asked: “How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it?”

Fortunately, Bryant’s been on the training course and knows an opportunity for multicultural outreach when she sees one. “I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from,” she recalled. “I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could.”

15 years later, as the clueless multiculti-meets-PC-meets-elitist-bureaucracy mindset that drives such encounters continues to roll on, Bryant is, alas, far from alone.

Elsewhere at Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, “On behalf of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to HBO,” Kevin D. Williamson quips at NRO on “Utopia’s Jailers:”

HBO has a series called Togetherness, a comedy about foundering middle-aged hipsters in Los Angeles, which has turned its attention to the issue of charter schools, and the writers have committed the unforgivable cultural sin of being not entirely hostile to the prospect. The ritual denunciations are under way.

Joshua Liebner, who lives in Eagle Rock, the Los Angeles neighborhood in which the show is set, is among those shouting “J’accuse!” in HBO’s direction, abominating the “white privilege and entitlement and, yes, racism and classism” that surely must be motivating charter-school families who have the audacity to go about “defining what constitutes ‘good’ for them,” and acting on it, as though they were in charge of their own lives and responsible for their own children. “Charter-school dogma has made it to the Big Time,” Liebner complains.

* * * * * *

“Let’s ban private schools,” Gawker cheerily suggests. Writing in that esteemed journal, John Cook argues that “there’s a simple solution to the public-schools crisis.” If people make choices that complicate the Left’s agenda, then ban those choices: “Make Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama’s children go to public schools,” Cook writes. “From a purely strategic and practical standpoint, it would be much easier to resolve the schools crisis if the futures of America’s wealthiest and most powerful children were at stake.”

The Left’s heart is still in East Berlin: If people want to leave your utopia and have the means to do so, then build a wall. If they climb over the wall — as millions of low-income parents with children in private schools (very commonly Catholic schools) do — then build a higher wall. If they keep climbing – and they will — then there are always alternatives.

Homeschooling? That’s basically a crime against humanity so far as our so-called liberal friends are concerned.

And while Gawker wants to ban private schools, Salon wants to ban both privately-owned news media and an independent film system, and the New Republic Christmas tree lights. (No, really.)

By the way, as Williamson writes, “The Democrats haven’t got that Pink Floyd song quite right — in their version, the chorus goes: ‘You don’t need no education.’”

Of course, like the president, it’s lyricist’s chief obsession is banning Israel.

Me? When it comes to education, I’d just like to ban serial liars.

Related: “I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back…The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.”

Chop off your hands, you say?

This request, is of course, highly problematic, not to mention likely racist:

Their Source was the New York Times

March 22nd, 2015 - 9:42 am


The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

* * * * * * *

The confusion is telling, though. It shows that while keeping college-level discussions “safe” may feel good to the hypersensitive, it’s bad for them and for everyone else. People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it. They’ll be unprepared for the social and intellectual headwinds that will hit them as soon as they step off the campuses whose climates they have so carefully controlled. What will they do when they hear opinions they’ve learned to shrink from? If they want to change the world, how will they learn to persuade people to join them?

* * * * * * *

But why are students so eager to self-infantilize? Their parents should probably share the blame. Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, wrote on Slate last month that although universities cosset students more than they used to, that’s what they have to do, because today’s undergraduates are more puerile than their predecessors. “Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity,” he wrote. But “if college students are children, then they should be protected like children.”

“In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas,” Judith Shulevitz, the New York Times, yesterday.


Today is a red-letter day for the New York Times. For the first time, the paper has reported in its news section that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright once uttered the phrase “God damn America.” Wright’s comments were widely reported and widely discussed beginning with an ABC News report six months ago. Barack Obama even had to give a much-publicized speech because of those words, and others. But the newspaper of record has never seen fit to publish Wright’s quote in its news pages. Until today.

If my search of the Nexis database is correct, Wright’s quote first appeared in the Times in a column by Bill Kristol on March 17.  It was mentioned again in a column by Maureen Dowd on March 23.  It appeared in an editorial on April 26.  It appeared in a column by the public editor on May 4, and also in an article in the Week in Review section on that same day.

But never in the front section of the paper. Until now. As with the April 26 editorial, today’s mention of “God damn America” is in the context of reporting on attack ads targeting Obama. But still, it’s there, on page one, for the first time.

Byron York, then with National Review, September 24th, 2008.

Related: News you can use:

More: And speaking of creating safe zones for their readers, at least until it’s too late:


Between feminists, environmentalists, and the Occupy Wall Street crowd, this photo is an endless hate crime to the left. (Shutterstock.com)

Gee, didn’t we resolve this one by the end of the 1970s? I thought even the most strident of feminists eventually came to the conclusion that they liked having doors held open for them by men. Are we going to refight this backwater skirmish in the culture war yet again?

I guess so. First up, the shot:

If you’re the sort of gentleman who holds the door open for a lady – or the sort of woman who expects him to – then be warned.

Such acts of chivalry may actually be ‘benevolent sexism’ in disguise, according to researchers.

Experts say this type of sexism is harder to spot than the ‘hostile sexism’ we are more familiar with – because it often masquerades as gallantry. It is typified by paternal and protective behaviour, from encouraging smiles to holding doors open.

US researchers argue that while women may enjoy being showered with attention, benevolent sexism is ‘insidious’ and men who are guilty of it see women as incompetent beings who require their ‘cherished protection’.

Professor Judith Hall, of Northeastern University in Boston, said: ‘Benevolent sexism is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing that perpetuates support for gender inequality among women.

‘These supposed gestures of good faith may entice women to accept the status quo in society because sexism literally looks welcoming, appealing and harmless.’ [So a variation on the false consciousness trope that socialists have been claiming only they can spot since the days of Friedrich Engels 120 years ago. Gotcha.--Ed]

“Why chivalry may not always be what it seems: Men who hold doors open and smile may actually be sexist, study claims,” the London Daily Mail yesterday, in their Science & Tech(!) department. (Shades of Ace’s recent “I Love Science Sexually” Twitter persona.)

And now the chaser:

Almost every time a pop-feminist critiques science or a scientific study, their argument is built on a strawman. In general, pop-feminists misrepresent published scientific work without providing links to primary sources. Pop-feminist articles (found here and here) are generally put-together wholly from second-hand material – stories about studies – not the studies themselves. Not only is this bad feminist critique; it is bad journalism.

It is ironic that in 2014, the women who confirm Thomas Gisborne’s eighteenth century sentiments are feminists who enjoy the most media privilege. (Academics in gender tucked away in universities all over the world, have used close application to develop nuanced ideas). Pop-feminists have not.

And it is sad that we have reached a point where to criticise anything labelled as “feminist” is to invite a slur on one’s character. Slurs of  “sexism” are ubiquitous. Any disagreement – no matter how sensible – is “trolling,” “abuse” a “backlash” or a “silencing”. Women like me, who simply call for feminism to rediscover Enlightenment principles, are labelled “female misogynists” on Twitter. But the slurs really must stop. Writers who wear their ignorance as a badge of honour are not models of empowerment. News outlets should not have to disrespect women’s intelligence to make their platforms viable.

“Bad Feminism,” Australian blogger Claire Lehmann, March 5th. Always nice to see a bogus study “prebutted” the week before it runs. But if some women want to go through life believing that every man who holds a door for them and/or smiles at them is “insidious” and secretly believes they’re “incompetent,” hey, have at it. Sounds like both a self-fulfilling prophesy and a recipe to go through life in a perpetually miserable mood.

Speaking of which, that last sentence we quoted from Lehmann dovetails well with two items making the rounds on the Blogosphere today, which we’ll explore right after the page break. I’d click the page break for you, but that would be highly problematic on so many, many, multifaceted levels.

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“Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts” is a topic explored by Justin P. McBrayer, who bio states that he’s an associate professor of philosophy at Colorado’s Fort Lewis College. Curiously though, his article is in the New York Times, a odd location given that it’s a newspaper run by children who don’t believe there are moral facts. But responding to the Common Core syllabus, McBrayer writes:

But second, and worse, students are taught that claims are either facts or opinions. They are given quizzes in which they must sort claims into one camp or the other but not both. But if a fact is something that is true and an opinion is something that is believed, then many claims will obviously be both. For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then had this conversation:

Me: “I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a fact or an opinion?”

Him: “It’s a fact.”

Me: “But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an opinion.”

Him: “Yeah, but it’s true.”

Me: “So it’s both a fact and an opinion?”

The blank stare on his face said it all.

How does the dichotomy between fact and opinion relate to morality? I learned the answer to this question only after I investigated my son’s homework (and other examples of assignments online). Kids are asked to sort facts from opinions and, without fail, every value claim is labeled as an opinion. Here’s a little test devised from questions available on fact vs. opinion worksheets online: are the following facts or opinions?

— Copying homework assignments is wrong.

— Cursing in school is inappropriate behavior.

— All men are created equal.

— It is worth sacrificing some personal liberties to protect our country from terrorism.

— It is wrong for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.

— Vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat.

— Drug dealers belong in prison.

The answer? In each case, the worksheets categorize these claims as opinions. The explanation on offer is that each of these claims is a value claim and value claims are not facts. This is repeated ad nauseum: any claim with good, right, wrong, etc. is not a fact.

In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths.

As Allan Bloom wrote 35 years ago at the beginning of The Closing of the American Mind:

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2 + 2 = 4. These are things you don’t think about. The students backgrounds are as various as America can provide. Some are religious, some atheists; some are to the Left, some to the Right; some intend to be scientists, some humanists or professionals or businessmen; some are poor, some rich. They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality. They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality. And the two are related in a moral intention. The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it. They have all been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable natural rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society. That it is a moral issue for students is revealed by the character of their response when challenged – a combination of disbelief and indignation: “Are you an absolutist?” the only alternative they know, uttered in the same tone as “Are you a monarchist?” or “Do you really believe in witches?” The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating. Openness—and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and the various ways of life and kinds of human beings—is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger. The study of history and of culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism and chauvinism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think that you are right at all.

And as McBrayer’s essay today illustrates, that’s now a state-sanctioned policy. Because as Glenn Reynolds writes at Instapundit, “Our ruling class doesn’t like the idea of moral facts because that might limit their flexibility, which reduces opportunities for graft and self-aggrandizement.”

See also: Oceania’s existential struggle with Eastasia and/or Eurasia and the real-life turn-on-a-dime pivot by leftwing intellectuals that inspired it.

Earlier: ‘Let’s Destroy Liberal Academia’