Monday, September 17, 2007 45 Comments

Since some people seem to still think I'm exaggerating this stuff

From an essay by Robert Weissberg, professor emeritus of political science at UIUC:
My experience is probably typical and thus the fear of giving "offense" consigns thousands of graduates to incomplete educations. Sort of like proper Victorian sex education. A vicious cycle is created - "safe lectures" beget boredom and this only encourages yet more sleeping and more garbling. This censoring can also have more tragic consequences for those oblivious to awaiting minefields. I had a distinguished colleague - Stuart Nagel - whose tale is worth telling. He taught public policy and one day explained that black businesses in Kenya were uncompetitive against Indian-run enterprises since blacks where too generous in granting credit to friends and family. He had been invited by the government of Kenya to study the situation and suggested better business training for black Kenyans. The topic was indisputably part of the course and thus totally protected by AAUP academic speech guidelines. Stuart was also extremely liberal on all racial issues.

Nevertheless, to condense a long story, an anonymous letter from irritated black students complained of Nagel's "racism" and included the preposterous change of "workplace violence." After a protracted and bungled internal university investigation, two federal trials (I testified at one), he was stripped of his teaching responsibilities and coerced into retirement. Interestingly, having been charged as "racist," his departmental colleagues, save two conservatives, abandoned him. A few years later, partially as a result of this emotionally and financially draining incident ($100,000 out-of-pocket for legal fees), he committed suicide. I can only speculate that he believed that years spent being a "good liberal" (including service in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division) would insulate him from being denounced as a "racist." Nor would he have anticipated that the university would spend the hundreds of thousands in legal fees to punish a famous tenured faculty member who "offended" two students. Nagel's sad saga undoubtedly provided useful lessons to many others. Stupidity can really be dangerous, even in a university. Better keep quiet.
We now return you to the menace of "global warming."

45 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weissberg isn't kidding. It's every bit as bad as he says it is. Trust me. I work at a university.

September 17, 2007 at 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

This isn't just at universities, of course. I've seen it in the military and in the corporate world. Suicide seems a bit extreme, but I've seen careers top out over a poor choice of words.

September 17, 2007 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

That's disgraceful and tragic.

It doesn't make your African-Americans as stasi analogy any more true, though. There's a big difference between arguing that the pendulum has swung too far towards political correctness and claiming that this represents some fundamental restructuring of American power.

September 17, 2007 at 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the problem is one of the favored minorities being the Stasi of the PC/Cultural Marxist regime, but the amazing degree to which even very ordinary people have developed, over time, an internal Stasi that keeps them from thinking forbidden thoughts.

The Fifties "Red Scare" lasted only a few years, but PC thought control has been going on for at least a generation. How long has the SPLC been practicing its neo-McCarthyite intimidation tactics?

September 17, 2007 at 1:27 PM  
Anonymous tggp said...

Did McCarthy go after teachers? I thought it was mostly the State Department and it all blew up in his face when he investigated the Army.

September 17, 2007 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger B. Broadside said...

I'm with the second anonymous on this one ... two decades is a long time for a pendulum to remain pointed in one direction. People who got out of college in the early 1990s may no longer be intimidated by the thought police, but people (students or faculty) who haven't yet been released pretty much have to obey. Academics may have grown out of this stuff but academe never did.

Stuart Nagel's choice was academic dishonesty or professional suicide. He followed up the latter with a literal suicide and that is unbearably sad. The True Believers in progress (or people's democracy, or whatever the leftists call what they are shovelling) are usually the first to get the knife in the back. There is a whole world of Kerenskys out there - they don't know what's coming to them because they believe that their combination of good intentions and erudition will protect them.

The point is that gangsters basically have no use for an intelligentsia, at least not after they take power. The glitter of progressive ideals blinds the best and brightest so they can't see the glint in the eyes of their nominal allies.

(And no, not all of the gangsters are minorities. It's unfortunate that the minorities-as-Stasi thesis was stated that way. The Polygon absolutely does rely on racialist thugs, however. It would be a major undertaking to convince me otherwise.)

September 17, 2007 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Black Sea said...

" . . . he believed that years spent being a "good liberal" (including service in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division) would insulate him from being denounced as a 'racist.'"

If so, regrettable naivete.

This phenomenon has less to do with justice than with the periodic need for human sacrifice, and angry and capricious gods are best appeased by the bloodletting of innocents. How else can we demonstrate to them our unflinching devotion? And is any victim, really, so absolutely spotless after all?

It's a ritualized form of collective purification that we are discussing here, and as such, whatever moral virtues the victim posseses only elevate him in his suitability as an object of sacrifice.

I realize that by framing my comment in this way, I am echoing Mencius' long-standing point about the religious underpinnings of the Universalism. Some might object that the impulse to which I refer is more pagan than Judeo-Christian, but then, what are the stories of Abraham and of Christ, if not the re-working of sacrificial myths?

I would add to this story that of a adjunct law professor in Pennsylvania. Discovering to his frustration that none of his students was familiar with the role of 13th Amendment in abolishing slavery, he sought to stress the importance of the legislation by rather impulsively identifying himself as a "former slave." He was of course speaking in historical terms and referring to his Jewish ancestry.

So far, no problem.

He then went on to say - and this comment was apparently meant as a rebuke to ignorance of this amendment on the part of his black students - "There are other former slaves here among us today."

Problem.

He apologized and he perspired. He smiled and sought to explain himself. He thought surely this was all a simple misunderstanding, and could be resolved by right-thinking people, and when the process was over, he was of course expelled from teaching in whatever Academic Paradise he had once been so fortunate as to inhabit.

I suppose I'm mixing my religous symbology here, so I'll call it quits before I have him hanging on Cross of Gold or something.

Anyway, is Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" still required reading in high schools throughout America? Perhaps it should be mandatory in graduate school as well.

September 17, 2007 at 7:26 PM  
Anonymous PA said...

"He apologized and he perspired."

That's part of the ritual, isn't it? What always bugged me when a public figure made a non-PC gaffe is their subsequent groveling.

This even includes proud men like Don Imus, Larry Summers, or Trent Lott. And in both these cases and others, their remarks were, on the face, too innocuous to warrant the wrath of Universalists, and the groveling encouraged rather than placated them.

September 18, 2007 at 4:59 AM  
Anonymous PA said...

That's disgraceful and tragic.

Yes, it is. But JA's beliefs, as expressed here and on 2BH, are exactly how we got to this point.

September 18, 2007 at 5:01 AM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

B. Broadside:

I'm with the second anonymous on this one ... two decades is a long time for a pendulum to remain pointed in one direction. People who got out of college in the early 1990s may no longer be intimidated by the thought police, but people (students or faculty) who haven't yet been released pretty much have to obey. Academics may have grown out of this stuff but academe never did.

Maybe it's not a pendulum, then. Maybe PCness is here to stay. I still don't see what that has to do with this mythical Polygon or with the "gangsters" you mention.


pa:

Yes, it is. But JA's beliefs, as expressed here and on 2BH, are exactly how we got to this point.

Which beliefs, exactly?

September 18, 2007 at 8:32 AM  
Anonymous PA said...

Maybe PCness is here to stay.

If you're saying this approvingly, then you have just answered your own question.

September 18, 2007 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger B. Broadside said...

jewish atheist wrote:
"Maybe it's not a pendulum, then. Maybe PCness is here to stay. I still don't see what that has to do with this mythical Polygon or with the "gangsters" you mention."

If you're unconvinced by UR, it's perfectly fair to say so. Cause and effect in the matter of ideas, philosophy, historical patterns, etc.* isn't as provable as in other areas. A big portion of this blog is devoted to trying to convince you that the absurdities of progressive-idealism are no accident; they form a pattern, have a momentum all their own.

This is not to say that PI is more absurd (or other negative things) than other 19th/20th Century political religions. It's not. It gave my grandmother the right to vote. The question is, why did machine of progress eat liberalism? Surely liberalism didn't want to be eaten? How could you get from the era of repealing racialist laws (anti-Jim Crow) to passing racialist laws (affirmative action) without a recognizable change of philosophical direction? These "eras" are a matter of a few months or years apart, and no one so much as took a breath.

I submit that the President at the time didn't really care about "philosophical direction". Johnson was a bully. Conservative Presidents who came after may have trashed his ideas, but the worst of his policies remain. Why? Why don't the good ideas displace the bad?

Could it be because people don't look at government policy with clear eyes? Second Anonymous's "internal Stasi" is partly to blame, but I believe it only developed as a way of training oneself to stay out of the way of the thugs. Self-hatred may be painful, it may cause neurosis or whatever, but at least it won't get you fired or Mau Maued.

I've seen your nym on UR comments often enough to know you've done your Moldbug reading. If you're still not convinced maybe we'll have to agree to disagree on these questions. If you approve of affirmative action, racial gerrymandering, hate speech codes, etc., then we're just not reading from the same page philosophically. If you disapprove of those things, and call yourself a liberal, it sounds like you and I have a lot in common, only you may not have taken the next step of recognizing a pattern in Bad Progressive Ideas. (Or maybe you see a different pattern.)

* I really wish I knew the term for "cause and effect in the matter of ideas, philosophy, historical patterns, etc." If there isn't one, there should be.

September 18, 2007 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

pa:

Maybe PCness is here to stay.

If you're saying this approvingly, then you have just answered your own question.


I'm not approving of the excesses, that's for sure. The general principle of being considerate and polite rather than bigoted and rude, I'm a fan of. We're probably talking about two different things anyway, since people on the right tend to have some sort of straw man in mind when they oppose political correctness. What I'm for: encouraging people to use terms like "African-American" rather than terms which have taken on negative connotations. What I'm against: the firings of Larry Summers and the guy in the original post. I supported the firing of Imus, although I would have also supported the right of his company to continue employing him.


BB:

How could you get from the era of repealing racialist laws (anti-Jim Crow) to passing racialist laws (affirmative action) without a recognizable change of philosophical direction?

Affirmative action, at least in the beginning was a corrective measure. The continuing philosophy was that we had to undo the leftovers from the grievous wrongs of the previous era. I think reasonable people can disagree on whether it's outlived its usefulness. I'm a bit ambivalent on the subject myself.

If you approve of affirmative action, racial gerrymandering, hate speech codes, etc.

I think I covered affirmative action. I certainly don't support either of the latter two, but then again, neither does the Democratic party, as far as I know. I'm pretty sure both are unconstitutional anyway.

Which brings me to my chief complaint about the ideas put forward on this blog (which I love, btw, for shaking things up.) This so-called Polygon, or the "Universalist religion," appears to disintegrate upon examination. MM wants us to believe that it's in control of the entire country, but nobody can point out anyone who actually belongs to it other than a few school administrators who let their power get to their heads.

School administrators, as far as I can tell, are always ignoramuses who believe in as few rights as possible for those they manage and the students they supposedly work for. It was as true in my high school as it is at Harvard. Where you guys lose me is when you make the jump from those nuts to this vast left-wing conspiracy that's actually running our country.

I see it just as plausible or even more so to argue that right-wing Christian nuts are secretly running the country. At least I can point to actual human beings in positions of extraordinary power who are right-wing Christian nuts. The closest analogues of them in this Universalist conspiracy are Harvard professors who write the occasional op-ed in the newspaper.

September 18, 2007 at 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect, no one who uses terms like "Right-Wing Christian Nuts" is really in any position to complain about straw men...

September 18, 2007 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

With all due respect, no one who uses terms like "Right-Wing Christian Nuts" is really in any position to complain about straw men...

Why not? At least I can point them out! They're right there on your television and in your government. For example, Regent University claims to have one hundred and fifty alumni serving in the Bush Administration. John Ashcroft, Bush's old Attorney General who had himself annointed with cooking oil when he was appointed ("in the manner of King David") is a professor there. Monica Goodling went there.

Obviously, they are both right-wing and Christian. Are you simply arguing that they aren't nuts? Well, I guess that's in the eye of the beholder. But when I see intelligent people living in the 21st century who believe in young-Earth creationism or that pouring cooking oil over their heads is appropriate when appointed to a government position, I see a nut. When I see three Republican presidential candidates raise their hands to say they don't believe in evolution, I see religious nuts. Maybe that's just me. But I see a lot more evidence for this than I do for the Universalist domination of America.

September 18, 2007 at 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Randy said...

JA,

Re; "MM wants us to believe that it's [Universalism] in control of the entire country, but nobody can point out anyone who actually belongs to it other than a few school administrators who let their power get to their heads.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the progressive idealists, universalists, or what have you, are "the establishment". I just ask myself who it is in this modern world that is making me do things I don't want to do, and I can't think of a single case in which the answer isn't the progressives. Why did people vote for Reagan? Because he was anti-establishment. I.e., anti-big government, i.e., anti-progressive idealist.

P.S. For what its worth, I think that both the Republican and Democratic parties are centrist progressive, and that about the only people who aren't progressives are the Libertarians and the extremists on the Left and Right. The Libertarians because they prioritize the rights of individuals over the good of the "nation", and the extremists of left and right because they prioritize their own agendas over the good of the "nation". The defining characteristic of the progressive is the belief in the meta-community, in this case the "nation", and there are very few non-believers in the America of the 21st century.

September 18, 2007 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

P.S. For what its worth, I think that both the Republican and Democratic parties are centrist progressive

If you're going to make a claim like that, you'd better explain what you mean by "progressive." :-)

September 18, 2007 at 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Randy said...

Okay, JA, what I mean by progressive is a breed of nationalism. Most people in America believe that the needs of the nation take precedence over the desires of individuals - this makes them nationalists. Most also believe that the people of the nation have a responsibility to help out the less fortunate - this makes them progressive nationalists. The fact that there is some difference of opinion as to how much help is warranted vs how much responsibility is required doesn't mean that some are progressives and some are not, it just means that there is some difference of opinion over what specific policies will work best.

Some go even further and give precedence to the needs of an even larger meta-community than the nation. These are the universalists - people who are willing to sacrifice young Americans in the interest of a better world. In this group we can place the likes of Wilson, FDR, Truman, the folks who created the state of Israel, the folks who gave us the military industrial complex and the United Nations, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43.

September 18, 2007 at 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who believes that "Right-Wing Christians" are running this country is living in some sort of alternate reality. Maybe you think that right-wing Christians should have no influence, as opposed to the small (mostly rhetorical) influence that they do have, maybe you think that they should not be allowed to exist at all, but to say that they run the country is akin to the 1950's Birchers saying that Ike was a Communist. It's just nonsensical, and you don't have to subscribe to Mencius's beliefs to see that.

September 18, 2007 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

randy:

Okay, I don't disagree with any of that. But I don't see what the big insight is, either.


Anonymous:

I'm sorry, but anyone who believes that "Right-Wing Christians" are running this country is living in some sort of alternate reality.

I do not believe that. I was just pointing out that there is more evidence for that claim than there is that the country is being run by "the Universalists."

September 18, 2007 at 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

JA,

Big insight? Good point - nothing too exciting about it really. Just pointing out that progressives most certainly are running the country. Also, I do think its useful to maintain some perspective while so many seem so willing to fight over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin... and it makes me feel better about staying home and watching TV on election day...

September 18, 2007 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger B. Broadside said...

jewish atheist wrote:
"Affirmative action, at least in the beginning was a corrective measure. The continuing philosophy was that we had to undo the leftovers from the grievous wrongs of the previous era. I think reasonable people can disagree on whether it's outlived its usefulness. I'm a bit ambivalent on the subject myself."

Okay, we're getting into agree-to-disagree territory here. Fighting fire with fire makes law and justice sound like a shooting war. Has keeping qualified Asians out of colleges and jobs in favor of blacks outlived its usefulness? Affirmative action, despite its stated intent, does not attempt the (probably impossible) quantification of past harm by racism/slavery/internment camps, etc. It simply punishes group success, without ever admitting it.

I have had the affirmative action discussion with my left-leaning friends on a number of occasions, and it always boils down to: what I describe as an important and negative effect they seem to feel is a negligible side effect. The good intentions of Affirmative Action are enough that they, basically, give it a pass. So I guess I'll move on.

"I think I covered affirmative action. I certainly don't support either of the latter two [hate speech codes and racial gerrymandering], but then again, neither does the Democratic party, as far as I know. I'm pretty sure both are unconstitutional anyway."

From 2000: "North Carolina (and the Clinton administration) are arguing to keep the 12th Congressional district racially gerrymandered." It's not the whole Democratic party (I used to be a Democrat and I have never supported any racialist law) but it's worth something, right?

Campus speech codes are harder to discuss because campus politics aren't formally partisan and open like legislative politics are. I'd love to be able to pin down exactly the political leanings of the people who support them. They are not liberals per se (and, in my day, they didn't self-identify as liberals anyway ... saying "I'm a Marxistfeministenvironmentalist" was enough of a mouthful). I would be willing to bet most are registered Democrats. I subscribe wholeheartedly to the thesis that political correctness is Marx's revenge from beyond the grave.

I agree that Christians and rightists have a considerable amount of power right now, particularly in the White House. It also strikes me that their dogma is notably universalist. Is it supposed to be? I don't know; I'm not a Christian and I'm certainly not a Protestant conservative. It's just a little weird that nation-building, UN-loving ex-Trotskyites are now called conservatives. (That little "neo-" on the beginning is worth something, I guess.) Sounds to me like progressive ideals have moved beyond the nominal progressives.

On the whole you sound a little like I was three or four years ago. The difference between me then and me now is, I no longer regard the failures of the left as the kind of thing you can shrug off with an "Oh, the kids got a little overexcited...." They represent a pattern of errors based on a muddled worldview in which every social problem always seems greater than the threat of growing government and growing dependence upon it.

How would it effect the Democratic voter base if they came out flatfootedly against affirmative action and hate speech codes*? Would it help them among the "Vaisyas" (middle America), and if so, why don't they do it?

* An end to racial gerrymandering would help the Democrats immediately and measurably.

September 18, 2007 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Tanstaafl said...

Political correctness is mass brainwashing. "The economy" is a pyramid scheme. Multiculturalism and diversity are inherently anti-white policies. Immigration to the West is hostile and destructive to the natives and perpetrated against their will. It's an invasion. Mostly unarmed and aided by a treasonous fifth-column in positions of the highest authority, but an invasion all the same.

This is clear to anyone who rejects PC. What's also clear is that the lies our politicians and media feed us are deliberate misinformation. We do not have a difference of opinion between two sides arguing in good faith. One side is guilty of treason for profit, the other is ostracized and worse for crimethink.

This is going to end in one of two relatively bloodless ways. Either those of us who reject the PC agenda will remain small in number and end up in gulags. Or there will be a wider awakening and a Moldbug-style reboot. As the days tick by and the invasion goes on both of these paths become less likely. A third more bloody path surely awaits a balkanized Latinized Islamized West.

Which is why I no longer fear the gulag.

September 18, 2007 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

Okay, we're getting into agree-to-disagree territory here. Fighting fire with fire makes law and justice sound like a shooting war.

Again, I'm not arguing that affirmative action is necessarily a good thing. I was just explaining that there was (and is) a consistent philosophy behind it.

From 2000: "North Carolina (and the Clinton administration) are arguing to keep the 12th Congressional district racially gerrymandered." It's not the whole Democratic party (I used to be a Democrat and I have never supported any racialist law) but it's worth something, right?

From your link, it looks like the Court ruled that the district was gerrymandered based on voting patterns, not race. Obviously, this will often cause de facto race gerrymandering, but it's not like the policy was defended on the grounds that racial gerrymandering is okay. Personally, I'd like to see all gerrymandering gotten rid of somehow. (I've heard various suggestions from "impartial" panels to computer-drawn maps, but don't know enough to favor a particular solution.)

I subscribe wholeheartedly to the thesis that political correctness is Marx's revenge from beyond the grave.

The American left has so little in common with Marxism that making the comparison causes more confusion than clarification. Or do you also compare Bush and friends to the Nazis?

It's just a little weird that nation-building, UN-loving ex-Trotskyites are now called conservatives.

"Conservative" and "liberal" have become so twisted as to be useless in America, I agree.

The difference between me then and me now is, I no longer regard the failures of the left as the kind of thing you can shrug off with an "Oh, the kids got a little overexcited...."

As I see it, any overreaching by the left has had either slight negative effects (affirmative action) or has been corrected (welfare.) On the other hand, the benefits of leftist politics (women's suffrage, labor laws, civil rights, education, welfare, etc.) have been enormous.

How would it effect the Democratic voter base if they came out flatfootedly against affirmative action and hate speech codes*?

I think affirmative action will end relatively soon. The courts are starting to move in that direction already. And considering hate speech codes are only relevant on campuses or whatever, I'm not sure it's even relevant to the Democratic voter base.


A third more bloody path surely awaits a balkanized Latinized Islamized West.

And this is why I think the progressive voice is still so important. Conservatives would like us to believe that the age of racism is over, but it is not. Rhetoric such as the above is a far greater threat to America than any form of affirmative action.

September 18, 2007 at 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

JA,

Re; "Conservatives would like us to believe that the age of racism is over..."

I think that for all but the far right extremists the age of racism is over, just as for all but the far left extremists the age of marxism is over. Accuse the average conservative of racism or the average liberal of marxism and you just get tuned out. There's no guilt. They are all progressives.

September 18, 2007 at 6:10 PM  
Anonymous TGGP said...

Bryan Caplan, who attended Princeton and Berkeley, says "PC persecution" is overblown.

September 18, 2007 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

For all but the far right extremists the age of racism is over, just as for all but the far left extremists the age of marxism is over.

For all but the far right, the age of white racism is over. The age of black and brown racism, however, is only beginning, as the once-oppressed gain power and cultural confidence. (Yellow I'm not so sure about, but it's hard to be sanguine about Chinese, Korean, and Japanese "nationalism".) It's past time for the fantasy that only whites (and conservatives) can be racist to be recognized for the disinformation it is.

September 18, 2007 at 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not approving of the excesses, that's for sure. The general principle of being considerate and polite rather than bigoted and rude, I'm a fan of.-JA

Like the idea of being considerate and polite was an invention of post-Sixties leftists. If you investigate the history of, say, the Fifties in the USA you will find a lot of evidence of widespread politeness and civility. For example, even among white racists(which certainly would have been the majority of the population at the time by today's standards) the public use of the "N" word was rare and considered "low-class" in both North and South.

Also, I don't think the period of the rise of PC can be any way be correlated with a decline in rudeness. See Theodore Dalrymple and a host of others I could name if the need arose.

September 18, 2007 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger mtraven said...

Randy said:
Most people in America believe that the needs of the nation take precedence over the desires of individuals - this makes them nationalists.
Evidence? The mythical entity mostpeople believes that individual desires and social needs have to be balanced in some way, with opinions differing on what exactly that way should be. But nopeople believe that one or the other always takes precedence, except maybe anarchist individualists on one side and North Koreans on the other, neither of which is much of a potent force in American politics.

Mencius said:
We now return you to the menace of "global warming."
Let's suppose that PCism is, in reality, twice as bad as the worst reports have it. Then let's suppose that there's a 90% chance that global warming is complete nonsense, a 9% chance that there's something to it but it's not that serious, and a 1% chance that it will lead to environmental disruptions serious enough to cause economic or political upheaveal.

Even adjusting for those odds, that still leaves global warming as a much more imporant issue to worry about than rampant PCism.

BTW I could find no other reference to Stuart Nagel's difficulties and death (other than copies of and references to that singe article). Which doesn't mean it's not true, but I find it suspicious.

September 18, 2007 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Tanstaafl said...

Rhetoric such as the above is a far greater threat to America than any form of affirmative action.

Typical PC boogeyman talk. It doesn't work on me anymore. You can take it and your holier-than-thou attitude Jewish Aethist, and stuff it.

Affirmative action is racism. I'm threatened by it and my children are threatened by it. kelly sees the truth, as do I, and many others. Build your gulags quickly JA, because any other way it works out is not going to be good for you.

September 18, 2007 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger B. Broadside said...

Thanks to Jewish Atheist for this very complete reply:

"Again, I'm not arguing that affirmative action is necessarily a good thing. I was just explaining that there was (and is) a consistent philosophy behind it."

Oh, that's understood. I mean, just because you self-identify as left of center doesn't mean you have to agree with everything the rest do. I am convinced there are a fair number of liberals remaining on the left who despise affirmative action, yet it remains in place, even in places where it is illegal.

"From your link, it looks like the Court ruled that the district was gerrymandered based on voting patterns, not race. Obviously, this will often cause de facto race gerrymandering, but it's not like the policy was defended on the grounds that racial gerrymandering is okay. Personally, I'd like to see all gerrymandering gotten rid of somehow. (I've heard various suggestions from "impartial" panels to computer-drawn maps, but don't know enough to favor a particular solution.)"

Oh, yeah, gerrymandering could easily be ended for all time. No need for competing opinions on this matter. It would be completely feasible to write a program that would create a single solution for every state - the map with the shortest aggregate district perimeters, perhaps with the caveat that it couldn't break up preexisting voting precincts. All other solutions make the districts less compact than they should be.

Is it a little odd that the de facto racial gerrymanders are the ones in the Federal courts? I do think if you asked a whole lot of the PC left "Do blacks deserve to have Congressional districts carved out specifically so that their underrepresentation in Congress can be redressed?" a lot of them would answer an emphatic "Yes," even though it hurts their party.

"The American left has so little in common with Marxism that making the comparison causes more confusion than clarification. Or do you also compare Bush and friends to the Nazis?"

Oh, I compare Nazis to Marxists often enough that it doesn't really matter. I'm convinced by Voegelin's Political Religions thesis.

Bush is no more a Nazi than he is a Marxist. Neoconservatism is fairly original and horrifyingly syncretic. If it were useful, it would pare away the worst of the leftist ideas and leave the best, but affirmative action remains, just as the drug war remained during the Clinton years. That doesn't exactly seal the coffin on democracy as a self-correcting mechanism, but it does give me pause.

American academe (outside the usual revelationist exceptions) is riddled with Marxism. If you're not convinced of that, either our definitions of Marxism or our experiences have so little in common that there's not much to argue.

""Conservative" and "liberal" have become so twisted as to be useless in America, I agree."

Oh, I wouldn't go quite that far. I agree with the UR thesis that conservatives (and just about everyone else) have been coopted by the New Deal and the nation-builders. I have a clear idea of how the terms should be used, and when people call Bush a conservative or Sharpton a liberal I at least try to correct them.

"As I see it, any overreaching by the left has had either slight negative effects (affirmative action) or has been corrected (welfare.) On the other hand, the benefits of leftist politics (women's suffrage, labor laws, civil rights, education, welfare, etc.) have been enormous."

I think there's too much to cover there for this post. The most relevant to this thread is civil rights, which stopped improving more or less when the New Left got a hold of it and decided to move the goalposts. With the progressives in control of thinking on civil rights we can never succeed, and can only continue giving them more power. In The Bell Curve, Herrnstein & Murray show that the battle for equal opportunity was fought and won by the end of the 1950s - average IQs of black college students were about equal to whites at that point. After that point, progress constituted falling IQs for a given demographic. This is pretty much the template for all progressivism.

"I think affirmative action will end relatively soon. The courts are starting to move in that direction already."

Oh gosh, if I were religious I would probably literally pray that you are correct.

"And considering hate speech codes are only relevant on campuses or whatever, I'm not sure it's even relevant to the Democratic voter base."

Oh, well, it doesn't have to election campaign material to be on-topic, in my opinion. If universities have power, then it is important who controls them. If the people who control them are willing to break laws in order to keep out Japanese Americans, and justify that as an attempt to redress past racism, we're pretty deep in the wilderness.

September 18, 2007 at 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Whoa, we're building gulags here, are we? I thought this was a friendly discussion, if I'd known there was going to be manual labor involved, I never would have stopped by. I sunburn easily.

September 18, 2007 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Gideon said...

Paul Graham wrote, some time ago, an essay about what you can't say which you might find relevant.

September 18, 2007 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

Oh, yeah, gerrymandering could easily be ended for all time. No need for competing opinions on this matter. It would be completely feasible to write a program that would create a single solution for every state - the map with the shortest aggregate district perimeters, perhaps with the caveat that it couldn't break up preexisting voting precincts. All other solutions make the districts less compact than they should be.

This is completely off topic, but it happens to be a pet peeve of mine, so here goes self indulgence. There are multiple legitimate criteria for drawing district lines, and the problem of gerrymandering is not as simple as that. For example, it would make a great deal of sense to draw the lines so they encompass whole communities rather than being completely arbitrary, maximum competitiveness, minimum size, regular area, or uniformity. This is not to say the current situation isn't completely FUBARed, but I doubt you could ever solve the problem with single member districts. In the end, I doubt it matters much, in the long run I don't think electoral systems matter as much as people think they do.

September 18, 2007 at 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

Mtraven,

Fair enough. I agree that most people believe that there must be a balance between individual rights and socials needs. But as for evidence that most Americans give precedence to social needs; progressive taxation exists, public education exists, welfare programs exist, the military industrial complex exists, we fight overseas wars and the war on drugs... And if most people truly gave precedence to individual rights over social needs... well, some of these might still exist to some degree.

September 19, 2007 at 2:21 AM  
Blogger B. Broadside said...

studd beefpile wrote: "... I doubt you could ever solve the problem with single member districts."
On that point at least we agree.

September 19, 2007 at 8:56 AM  
Anonymous George Weinberg said...

For example, it would make a great deal of sense to draw the lines so they encompass whole communities rather than being completely arbitrary,

Why? given that, once a law is passed it doesn't matter if "your representative" voted for it or against it, why does it matter what districts look like provided districting isn't deliberately rigged to favor one group over another?

September 19, 2007 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger B. Broadside said...

"Stuart Nagel's choice was academic dishonesty or professional suicide. He followed up the latter with a literal suicide and that is unbearably sad. The True Believers in progress (or people's democracy, or whatever the leftists call what they are shovelling) are usually the first to get the knife in the back."

I wanted to elaborate on this. Theoretically, Nagel's other choice was to truly believe in political correctness. Then he could have stated something along the lines of "Kenyan business practices do not vary along racial lines so this is not worth studying." If he believed it, he could have said it honestly (though I suspected he had good reasons for not believing it). Since he had good progressive credentials in other areas, he probably didn't feel political correctness would be an issue for him. Moynihan and Summers didn't either. So my earlier characterization of him as a True Believer isn't very precise.

Focus for a second on the study that precipitate his end. It seems to me that he (and the Kenyan government) were studying ways in which black businessmen could emulate more successful Indian businessmen. Why not ... surely race is not destiny? A capitalistic sort of progressive might support that, but a Marxist would hate it. There is no path out of the poverty except revolution; emulating the bourgeoisie is a preposterous, reactionary, and decadent notion. Something like that, I think. Did the system support him or not? Does this reflect on the system's basic values?

You really can't believe in all the principles of progressivism and maintain any sort of consistency. Honesty and science clash with political correctness. A lot of people feel like science and honesty are the true principles of progressivism, while political correctness is hogwash. That is a nice position, since it avoids the contradiction, but it leaves you vulnerable to the above treatment. With progressivism, you are better off with doublethink, which is why I jumped ship.

September 19, 2007 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger B. Broadside said...

I read the Caplan piece. "Yes, you've got intolerant leftist ideologues on a lot of campuses. Yes, it's hard to have a civil discussion with them about a lot of topics. But in school as in life, it's not that hard to avoid such people."

Reading that, at first I thought Caplan just inhabits a different reality from me. Now, I'm thinking that maybe the problem is just that his focus is too narrow. Counting events of PC harrassment, maybe he's right that there aren't many. Going from that to the conclusion that PC oppression isn't a bad thing sounds to me like saying that since there haven't been many nuclear wars, nuclear weapons aren't very dangerous.

At a lot of places (other than GMU, probably), confronting the PC gang is assured destruction, more or less. I'm sure he feels like his work has been completely honest and he may be correct, but what if his work led him to agree with someone less PC than himself? Like Rushton, perhaps. My suspicion is that the really controversial fields (anthropology chief among them) are avoided by students who are uncomfortable with the choice of toeing the PC line (defined as agreeing with Gould) and getting pilloried.

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March 2, 2009 at 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

~「朵語‧,最一件事,就。好,你西

March 6, 2009 at 9:06 PM  

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