Monday, March 20, 2017

Let the Republicans Deal With It

GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Academic Fascism by Transgender Activists

Something like this seems to happen every few days at some university. From Breitbart:
Students at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, derailed an event featuring University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson on Friday evening.

The event, which Peterson claimed was originally scheduled to feature a panel of three speakers, was whittled down to just himself after the school received threats for hosting the event.

Peterson was thrust into the spotlight after a video of him engaging with students over a controversial piece of Canadian legislation which would have made it a crime to address transgender individuals by anything other than their chosen set of personal pronouns.
That’s right. A crime. The act in fact does not literally say that, but in the hands of enforcement bureaucrats, failing to call a person with a penis “she” or even “ze” if that’s what he wants will quickly be considered “discrimination.” That is already the case in New York City.
As a precaution before the event at McMaster University, Professor Peterson had students guard the fire alarms around the building so that protesters couldn’t set them off in an attempt to derail the event.

On Friday evening, Peterson was unable to speak at his scheduled event McMaster University due to a group of students who shouted and blew horns. The students shouted “shut him down,” and “transphobic piece of sh*t” in unison, with one student leading the cheer through a megaphone, making it nearly impossible for Peterson’s voice to be heard over their noise.

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Talking About Race and IQ

The recent riot at Middlebury College over a speech by Charles Murray was based on some over broad generalizations about his book The Bell Curve. That volume certainly seemed to say that blacks are inherently less intelligent than whites.

So that makes him a racist who should be shut up, according to the politically correct left.

But what is the result of that sort of thinking? A fair number of people, and especially people who don’t just go along with the crowd, are going to be sympathetic to Murray.

Further, if the notion of black racial inferiority can’t be discussed, it takes on the character of a dirty little secret. People generally try to stifle discussion of ideas they consider dangerous, and people have to suspect that the most dangerous ideas are the ones that are disapproved, but true.

Thus, stifling discussion of supposed black racial inferiority actually gives a certain legitimacy to the idea. Further, since most people (at least outside academia) instinctively side with people being bullied (and not the bullies) the sort of thing that happened a Middlebury gives Murray a certain legitimacy. Since evil people hate him, he must be one of the good guys.

Murray is, in fact, a good guy in many ways, but that doesn’t mean his ideas on race and intelligence are valid.

Evading the Issue

Suppose, instead of trying to shut Murray up, people who disagree with him actually debate him? Try to show how his evidence and logic are deficient?

One suspects that, deep down, the campus social justice warriors believe that he might be right, and his beliefs are the “awful truth” that must be concealed, else it undermine their political agenda.

Further, since certain ideas have been ruled “out of bounds” even for discussion, the campus leftists would not begin to know how to refute Murray. So all they have is blind intolerance.

Confronting the Issue

People who are open minded enough to actually look at the evidence are perfectly able to refute Murray’s ideas on race and intelligence with data and logic. Consider, for example, a 2007 article by journalist Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker.

Gladwell points to something known as the “Flynn effect:” human intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, has been increasing markedly for at least the last 100 years. It is implausible that the genetic endowment of humans has changed much during that time, and indeed, the eugenicists of a hundred years ago believed that the “less intelligent” groups were breeding faster than the more intelligent, which would imply the genetic inheritance of humans was degrading over time.

Suggested reasons for this increase have included “improved nutrition, a trend toward smaller families, better education, greater environmental complexity.” Note that all of these factors are environmental. While nothing about this disproves black genetic inferiority, it does prove that environmental factors matter.

More relevant evidence is provided by racial differences in IQ broken down by age. Gladwell discusses a debate between Flynn and Charles Murray:
Murray showed a series of PowerPoint slides, each representing different statistical formulations of the I.Q. gap. He appeared to be pessimistic that the racial difference would narrow in the future. . . .

Flynn took a different approach. The black-white gap, he pointed out, differs dramatically by age. He noted that the tests we have for measuring the cognitive functioning of infants, though admittedly crude, show the races to be almost the same. By age four, the average black I.Q. is 95.4—only four and a half points behind the average white I.Q. Then the real gap emerges: from age four through twenty-four, blacks lose six-tenths of a point a year, until their scores settle at 83.4.

That steady decline, Flynn said, did not resemble the usual pattern of genetic influence. Instead, it was exactly what you would expect, given the disparate cognitive environments that whites and blacks encounter as they grow older. Black children are more likely to be raised in single-parent homes than are white children—and single-parent homes are less cognitively complex than two-parent homes. The average I.Q. of first-grade students in schools that blacks attend is 95, which means that “kids who want to be above average don’t have to aim as high.” There were possibly adverse differences between black teen-age culture and white teen-age culture, and an enormous number of young black men are in jail . . . .
Note the irony here: while the social justice warriors at Middlebury seek to shut Murray up (and ironically, he was not even talking about race and intelligence there) in a debate with a capable opponent, he was successfully refuted.

Gladwell goes on to provide further evidence:
When the children of Southern Italian immigrants were given I.Q. tests in the early part of the past century, for example, they recorded median scores in the high seventies and low eighties, a full standard deviation below their American and Western European counterparts. Southern Italians did as poorly on I.Q. tests as Hispanics and blacks did. As you can imagine, there was much concerned talk at the time about the genetic inferiority of Italian stock, of the inadvisability of letting so many second-class immigrants into the United States, and of the squalor that seemed endemic to Italian urban neighborhoods. Sound familiar? These days, when talk turns to the supposed genetic differences in the intelligence of certain races, Southern Italians have disappeared from the discussion. “Did their genes begin to mutate somewhere in the 1930s?” the psychologists Seymour Sarason and John Doris ask, in their account of the Italian experience. “Or is it possible that somewhere in the 1920s, if not earlier, the sociocultural history of Italo-Americans took a turn from the blacks and the Spanish Americans which permitted their assimilation into the general undifferentiated mass of Americans?”
The answer, of course, is “the latter.” The conclusion has to be that IQ differences of the magnitude of those that separate black and whites can be explained by environmental factors.

Gladwell goes on to explain that people who score poorly on IQ tests are not necessarily stupid. They merely have not been socialized to see the world through what Flynn calls “scientific spectacles.” That is to say, they have not been assimilated into the ways of dealing cognitively with the environment that characterizes advanced industrial and post-industrial societies. But socialization is not heredity.


The bullies at Middlebury are, to the cause of anti-racism, what the Inquisition was to the cause of Christianity. Trying to forceably suppress and shut up bad ideas is ultimately a foolish and counter-productive enterprise. The people who will confront the issue of race and IQ with data and logic play the same role as the great Christian apologists (G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, just to name two) who show that engagement, and not suppression, is the way to deal with ideas one believes are mistaken.

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Much Cheaper Ways to Get That Result

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How White Folks Can Reject Their White Privilege

Going around on Twitter. And if you think this is some fringe or marginal thing, check out the fact that it’s on the Facebook page of the United Church of Christ. This is not to be confused with the Churches of Christ, that are rather conservative.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Indoctrination on Wage Gap: Feminist Instructor Tells Student to Use Only Feminist Sources

The full story about this can be found on the Toronto Sun website. This might seem to be merely one example of intolerant feminist indoctrination. Unfortunately, it’s utterly typical.

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Monday, March 06, 2017

Conspiracy Theories

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Former Stanford Provost: Intolerance a Threat to Higher Education

Former Stanford Provost John Etchemendy, and a speech to the Stanford Board of Trustees, talked about threats to higher education. After briefly discussing threats from outside the academy, he turned to the “The threat from within.”
But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within. Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.

This results in a kind of intellectual blindness that will, in the long run, be more damaging to universities than cuts in federal funding or ill-conceived constraints on immigration. It will be more damaging because we won’t even see it: We will write off those with opposing views as evil or ignorant or stupid, rather than as interlocutors worthy of consideration. We succumb to the all-purpose ad hominem because it is easier and more comforting than rational argument. But when we do, we abandon what is great about this institution we serve.

It will not be easy to resist this current. As an institution, we are continually pressed by faculty and students to take political stands, and any failure to do so is perceived as a lack of courage. But at universities today, the easiest thing to do is to succumb to that pressure. What requires real courage is to resist it. Yet when those making the demands can only imagine ignorance and stupidity on the other side, any resistance will be similarly impugned.

The university is not a megaphone to amplify this or that political view, and when it does it violates a core mission. Universities must remain open forums for contentious debate, and they cannot do so while officially espousing one side of that debate.

But we must do more. We need to encourage real diversity of thought in the professoriate, and that will be even harder to achieve. It is hard for anyone to acknowledge high-quality work when that work is at odds, perhaps opposed, to one’s own deeply held beliefs. But we all need worthy opponents to challenge us in our search for truth. It is absolutely essential to the quality of our enterprise.

I fear that the next few years will be difficult to navigate. We need to resist the external threats to our mission, but in this, we have many friends outside the university willing and able to help. But to stem or dial back our academic parochialism, we are pretty much on our own. The first step is to remind our students and colleagues that those who hold views contrary to one’s own are rarely evil or stupid, and may know or understand things that we do not. It is only when we start with this assumption that rational discourse can begin, and that the winds of freedom can blow.
Nice words, and when Etchemendy was actually serving as Provost, he made some comments that, in context, have to be interpreted as chastising the politically correct leftists on campus.

Unfortunately, your average university President / Provost / Chancellor is craven in the face of demands from intolerant leftists, or Federal bureaucrats demanding that speech be silenced as “harassment” or that males accused of sexual assault be convicted by kangaroo court proceedings. We are not aware that Etchemendy was any better than other university bureaucrats on these issues.

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Saturday, March 04, 2017

The Biggest Oscar Mistake

Finally: New York Times Cares About Anti-Semitism

The media, of course, tends to report things that fit their favored narrative, and the favored narrative of the liberal mainstream media is that the Trump campaign and Trump presidency has empowered the forces of bigotry in American life.

Of course, since they can’t actually quote Trump saying anything anti-Semitic, they have to resort to that evasive verbal formula.

Thus the mainstream media has enthusiastically reported a spate of anti-Semitic attacks and threats against Jewish institutions.

But similar attacks have happened for years under Obama. And they have gone virtually unreported.

Thus the website of the Jewish newspaper The Algemeiner explains how “Making the New York Times Care About Antisemitism” is “Trump’s Big Achievement.”
President Trump has been in office for barely a month, but he already deserves credit for at least one major accomplishment: He’s gotten the New York Times to discover a new interest in intensively covering antisemitism.

What am I talking about?

Consider the following brief recent history of vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and their coverage, or lack of it, in the New York Times.
Then, following, is a long list of ant-Semitic incidents during the Obama Administration that the New York Times failed to report, or reported summarily with no attempt to tie them to any larger theme.
To summarize: Ten Jewish cemetery desecrations, of which two — one of which was outside the US — were covered by the New York Times. Both times the Times bothered to cover the attacks, the newspaper did so in a way that minimized the potentially antisemitic aspect of the attack.

In November of 2016, Donald Trump was elected president.

In February 2017, there were two attacks on Jewish cemeteries. About 200 tombstones were affected at a graveyard near St. Louis, Mo., and about 100 at one in Philadelphia, Pa.

The Times responded in a markedly different way than it did to the earlier, pre-Trump attacks, which it had either ignored or minimized. One Times news article about the Missouri attacks carried the bylines of two Times reporters and was accompanied by two images shot by a Times-commissioned photographer. The article prominently noted that critics said the attacks “were an outgrowth of the vitriol of last year’s presidential campaign and Mr. Trump’s tone during it.” The Times reinforced this point with not just one, but two op-eds commenting on the attack, both of which were accompanied by additional photographs and carried headlines reaching speculative conclusions about the motive: “The New American Anti-Semitism” and “When Hate Haunts a Graveyard.”
Yes, the media report what fits their preferred narrative.

What happens when something radically contradicts their preferred narrative? They minimize or downplay it. Thus when the perpetrator of several of the phone threats against Jewish institutions was discovered to be an anti-Trump leftist, ABC News failed to report that.

And of course, the mainstream media have been little concerned about anti-Semitism where is is most overt, and most mainstream: on college campuses.


Likewise, CNN completely failed to report the leftist, anti-Trump political views of the perp.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

CPAC Speech

CPAC was a hoot! We got to see only a couple of the panels, being involved in interviews most of the time, but we got the Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Award on Friday night. Here is our acceptance speech.

You’ll need to go forward to 41:15 to see Rick Graber read the citation, and 47:36 to see our speech.

Also, an article and interview with James Wigderson of Wisconsin Reporter.

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