Leftists freely label poor whites as "redneck," "white trash," "trailer trash," and "hillbilly." At the same time that leftists toss around these racist and classist slurs, they are so sanctimonious they forbid anyone to pronounce the N word when reading Mark Twain aloud. President Bill Clinton's advisor James Carville succinctly summed up leftist contempt for poor whites in his memorable quote, "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find."
[BV adds: Carville's remark was in reference to Paula Jones who had sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment. Carville's innuendo was to the effect that Jones was a piece of 'trailer trash.']
The left's visceral hatred of poor whites overflowed like a broken sewer when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in 2008. It would be impossible, and disturbing, to attempt to identify the single most offensive comment that leftists lobbed at Palin. One can report that attacks on Palin were so egregious that leftists themselves publicly begged that they cease; after all, they gave the left a bad name. The Reclusive Leftist blogged in 2009 that it was a "major shock" to discover "the extent to which so many self-described liberals actually despise working people." The Reclusive Leftist focuses on Vanity Fair journalist Henry Rollins. Rollins recommends that leftists "hate-fuck conservative women" and denounces Palin as a "small town hickoid" who can be bought off with a coupon to a meal at a chain restaurant.
[. . .]
6) I believe in God.
Read Marx and discover a mythology that is irreconcilable with any other narrative, including the Bible. Hang out in leftist internet environments, and you will discover a toxic bath of irrational hatred for the Judeo-Christian tradition. You will discover an alternate vocabulary in which Jesus is a "dead Jew on a stick" or a "zombie" and any belief is an arbitrary sham, the equivalent of a recently invented "flying spaghetti monster." You will discover historical revisionism that posits Nazism as a Christian denomination. You will discover a rejection of the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western Civilization and American concepts of individual rights and law. You will discover a nihilist void, the kind of vacuum of meaning that nature abhors and that, all too often, history fills with the worst totalitarian nightmares, the rough beast that slouches toward Bethlehem.
[Memo to BV: Write a series of posts exploring the common abyss of nihilism at the bottom of both militant Islam, the recent actions of Hamas being a prime isntance of this, and at the bottom of leftism.]
Most of the advocates for open borders agitate from a position of criticism of the U.S. By that I mean we rarely hear La Raza activists explain why they want amnesties for millions of illegal aliens, at least in the sense of why millions have left Mexico to risk their lives to arrive in the U.S.
What is it about America that attracts patriotic Mexican nationals to abandon their own country en masse? That is not a rhetorical question, given much of the immigration debate is couched in critiques of the U.S. The pageantry of an open-borders demonstration is usually a spectacle of Mexican flags. How odd that almost no advocate ever says, “We want amnesty so that our kinsmen have a shot, as we have had a shot, at an independent judiciary, equality under the law, the rule of law, true democracy, free speech, protection of human rights, free-market capitalism, and protection of private property. For all that, millions risk their lives.” But instead there is either nothing, or a continual critique of the U.S. If we were to take a newly arrived illegal alien, and enroll him in a typical Chicano Studies course, he would logically wish to return across the border as soon as possible.
"An academic claims the Radio 4 programme’s regular discussions on soil purity and non-native species promote racial stereotypes." More proof of the willful stupidity of liberals and the alacrity with which they play the race card. (HT: London Karl)
Gardening puts me in mind of spades, as in Wittgenstein's remark, "My spade is turned." Did old Ludwig have a black servant who executed a turn? A linguistic turn perhaps, or perhaps a transcendental one?
My erudite readers will of course know that to which I allude, namely, paragraph 217 of Philosophical Investigations:
217. “How am I able to obey a rule?” – if this is not a question about causes, then it is about the justification for my following the rule in the way I do.
If I have exhausted the justifications I have reached bedrock, and my spade is turned. Then I am inclined to say: “This is simply what I do.”
I am coming reluctantly to the view that the onus probandi rests on liberals. If you self-identify as a liberal, then the burden is on you to show that you are not willfully stupid and morally obtuse.
In general, the liberal principle persists that when Arabs on the offense kill lots of Arabs it is normal, but when Jews in defense kill far fewer Arabs it is reprehensible. If Israel were weak, Hamas would do to it what ISIS is now doing to Christians, and the world would react to the rout and slaughter of the Jews with the indifference that it shows to Christians. Wait, it does that anyway.
I would add that to understand the Left you must understand that lefties typically leap to the defense of the perceived underdog regardless of what the underdog has done to deserve the treatment he receives. Right and wrong don't come into it. The relative weakness of the underdog is taken to justify his criminality while the decent people who defend themselves are urged, quite absurdly, to show restraint. The terrorist entity, Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, understands this, a fact that lends a bit of sanity to their otherwise insanely self-destructive attack on Israel. They seek the sympathy of the morally obtuse Left.
To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance, and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.
In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, Hamas’ depravity begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera — both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity’s worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years which nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.
It’s to the Israelis’ credit that amid all this madness they haven’t lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.
Rather than being what it began as, a “narrowly political strategy for living peacefully in a world of inexorably clashing comprehensive views of reality and the human good,” liberalism has for many become that comprehensive view of reality and the human good. Your neighbor’s ideas are no longer different. They are heretical. Liberalism could become the problem that it was intended to solve.
Left-wing bias at the NYT is nothing new, of course, but the following opening paragraph of a July 8th editorial is particularly egregious. But before I quote it, let me say that the problem is not that the editors have a point of view or even that it is a liberal-left point of view. The problem is their seeming inability, or rather unwillingness, to present a matter of controversy in a fair way. Here is the opening paragraph of Hobby Lobby's Disturbing Sequel:
The Supreme Court violated principles of religious liberty and women’s rights in last week’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, which allowed owners of closely held, for-profit corporations (most companies in America) to impose their religious beliefs on workers by refusing to provide contraception coverage for employees with no co-pay, as required by the Affordable Care Act. But for the court’s male justices, it didn’t seem to go far enough.
This is a good example of the sort of Orwellian mendacity we have come to expect from the Obama administration and its supporters in the mainstream media. War is peace. Slavery is freedom. A defense of religious liberty is a violation of religious liberty. Those who protest being forced by the government to violate their consciences and religious beliefs are imposing their religious beliefs. The Orwellian template: X, which is not Y, is Y.
Every statement in the opening paragraph of the NYT editorial is a lie. The 5-4 SCOTUS decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby defended principles of religious liberty. It did not violate any women's rights. Neither the right to an abortion nor the right to purchase any form of contraception were affected by the decision. The ACA mandate to provide contraceptives was not overturned but merely restricted so that Hobby Lobby would not be forced to provide four abortifacient contraceptives.
I won't say anything about the ridiculous insinuation in the last sentence, except that arguments don't have testicles.
Truth is not a value for the Left. Winning is what counts, by any means. They see politics as war, which is why they feel justified in their mendacity.
The quite narrow question the Supreme Court had to decide was whether closely held, for-profit corporations are persons under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act . "RFRA states that “[the] Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”3 (Ibid.)
If Hobby Lobby is forced by the government to provide abortifacients to its employees, and Hobby Lobby is a person in the eyes of the law, then the government's Affordable Care Act mandate is in violation of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. For it would substantially burden Hobby Lobby's proprietors' exercise of religion if they were forced to violate their own consciences by providing the means of what they believe to be murder to their employees. So the precise question that had to be decided was whether Hobby Lobby is a person in the eyes of the law. The question was NOT whether corporations are persons in the eyes of the law, as some benighted cmmentators seems to think.
Note also that the issue here is not constitutional but statutory: the issue has solely to do with the interpretation and application of a law, RFRA. As Alan Dershowitz explains (starting at 7:52), it has to do merely with the "construction of a statute."
In his latest NRO column, Spencer Case argues that "The feminist left is politicizing philosophy." I would add that this is but a special case of the general truth that the Left politicizes everything.
One of the purposes of this site is to combat the stupidity of Political Correctness, a stupidity that in many contemporary liberals, i.e., leftists, is willful and therefore morally censurable. The euphemism 'undocumented worker' is a good example of a PC expression. It does not require great logical acumen to see that 'undocumented worker' and 'illegal alien' are not coextensive expressions. The extension of a term is the class of things to which it applies. In the diagram below, let A be the class of illegal aliens, B the class of undocumented workers, and A^B the intersection of these two classes. All three regions in the diagram are non-empty, which shows that A and B are not coextensive, and so are not the same class. Since A and B are not the same class, 'undocumented worker' and 'illegal alien' do not have the same intension or meaning. Differing in both extension and intension, these expressions are not intersubstitutable.
To see why, note first that there are illegal aliens who are not workers since they are either petty criminals, or members of organizedcriminal gangs e.g., MS-13, some of whose members are illegal aliens, or terrorists, or too young to work, or unable to work. Note second that there are illegal aliens who have documents all right -- forged documents. Note third that there are undocumented workers who are not aliens: there are American citizens who work but without the legally requisite licenses and permits.
So the correct term is 'illegal alien.' It is descriptive and accurate and there is no reason why it should not be used.
Now will this little logical exercise convince a leftist to use language responsibly and stop obfuscating the issue? Of course not. Leftism in some of its forms is willfully embraced reality denial, and in other of its forms is a cognitive aberration, something like a mental illness, in need of therapy rather than refutation. In a longer post I would finesse the point by discussing the cognitive therapy of Stoic and neo-Stoic schools, which does include some logical refutation of unhealthy views and attitudes, but my rough-and-ready point stands: one cannot refute the sick. They need treatment and quarantine and those who go near them should employ appropriate prophylactics.
So why did I bother writing the above? Because there are people who have not yet succumbed to the PC malady and might benefit from a bit of logical prophylaxis. One can hope.
What follows is an old post from about ten years ago worth dusting off in the light of current events. If 'true' admits of degrees, what I say below is truer now than it was then. Just two of several current examples. Barack Obama, the most Left-leaning president in U. S. history, traded Bowe Bergdahl for five of the worst Gitmo terrorists. Was that a prudent thing to do? Only someone who is blind to a clear and present danger could do something so utterly irresponsible. The second example is the Iraq pullout, the effect of which, whether intended or not, is to make the whole region safe for ISIS. Anyone with his head screwed on right would have seen that coming. But not a leftist insensitive to danger. I could go on, the Southern border . . . .
Conservatives take a sober view of human nature. They admit and celebrate the human capacity for good, but cannot bring themselves to ignore the practically limitless human capacity for evil. They cannot dismiss the lessons of history, especially the awful lessons of the 20th century, the lessons of Gulag and Vernichtungslager. They know that evil is not a contingent blemish that can be isolated and removed, but has ineradicable roots reaching deep into human nature. The fantasies of Rousseau and Marx get no grip on them. Conservatives know that it is not the state, or society, or institutions that corrupt human beings, but that it is the logically antecedent corruption of human nature that makes necessary state, social, and institutional controls. The timber of humanity is inherently and irremediably crooked; it was not first warped by state, social, or institutional forces, and cannot be straightened by any modification or elimination of these forces.
I used the word 'know' a couple of times, which may sound tendentious. How do conservatives know that evil is not a contingent blemish, or that human beings are so fundamentally flawed that no human effort can usher in utopia?
They know this from experience. But although experience teaches us what is the case, and what has been the case, does it teach what must be the case? Here the lefties may have wiggle room. They can argue that failure to achieve a perfect society does not conclusively show that a perfect society cannot be achieved. This is true. But repeated failures add up to a strong inductive case. And these failures have been costly indeed. The Communists murdered an estimated 100 million in their social experiments. They did not hesitate to break eggs on a massive scale in quest of an omelet that never materialized. They threw out 'bourgeois' morality, but this did not lead to some higher morality but to utter barbarity.
I would also argue that experience can sometimes teach us what must be the case. We have a posteriori knowledge of the essential (as opposed to accidental) properties of some things. These are tough epistemological questions that I mention here only to set aside.
The main point I want to make is that the Left is insensitive to danger because of its Pollyannish view of human beings as intrinsically good. Leftists tend to downplay serious threats. They are blind to the radical evil in human nature. This attitude is betrayed by their obfuscatory use of the phrase 'Red Scare'to the very real menace the USSR posed to the USA in the 1950's and beyond. It wasn't that conservatives were scared, but that the Soviets were making threats. This is now particularly clear from the Venona decrypts, the Mitrokhin archives, and other sources. I especially recommend reading Ronald Radosh on the Rosenberg case.
The Left's insensitivity to danger is also betrayed by their attitude toward the present Islamo-terrorist threat. They just can't seem to take it seriously, as witness their incessant complaining about the dangers to civil liberties after the 9/11/01 attacks. There is something deeply perverse about their attitude. They must realize that a liberty worth wanting requires security as a precondition. See my Liberty and Security for an exfoliation of this idea. But if they grasp this, why the unreasonable and excessive harping on individual liberties in a time of national peril? Don't they understand that theliberties we all cherish are worthless to one who is being crushed beneath a pile of burning rubble? How could Katrina van den Heuvel on C-Span the other day refer to Bush's playing of the 'terror card'? Such talk is border-line delusional.
It is as if they think that conservatives want to curtail civil liberties, and have seized upon the 9/11 attacks to have an excuse to do so. In the lunatic world of the leftist a conservative is a 'fascist' -- to use their favorite term of abuse. This is absurd: it is precisely conservatives who aim to conserve civil liberties, including the politically incorrect ones such as gun rights.
Terrorists and the rogue states that sponsor them pose a very real threat to our security, and this threat must be faced and countered even if it requires a temporary abridgement of certain liberties. Thatis what happens in war time. Leftists ought to admit that it is precisely their insensitivity to the threat posed by such Islamo-terrorists as Osama bin Laden that led to the 9/11 attacks in the first place. If a proper response had been made to the 1993 World Trade Tower attack, the 2001 attack might never have occurred. We were attacked because we were perceived as weak and decadent, and we were perceived as weak and decadent because leftists in the government failed to take seriously the terrorist threat.
It must be realized that liberty without security is worthless. Genuine liberty is liberty within a stable social and political order. I may have the liberty to leave my house any time of the day or night, but such a liberty is meaningless if I get mugged the minute I step out my door. So if the Left were really serious about liberty, it would demand adequate security measures.
But, while David has never aspired to put the world right by philosophy, the world for its part has not been equally willing to let him and philosophy alone in return. Quite the reverse. His tenure of the Chair turned out to coincide with an enormous attack on philosophy, and on humanistic learning in general: an attack which has proved to be almost as successful as it was unprecedented.
This attack was begun, as everyone knows, by Marxists, in support of North Vietnam’s attempt to extend the blessings of communism to the south. The resulting Marxisation of the Faculty of Arts was by no means as complete as the resulting Marxisation of South Vietnam. But the wound inflicted on humanistic learning was a very severe one all the same. You could properly compare it to a person’s suffering third-degree burns to 35 per cent of his body.
After the defeat of America in Vietnam, the attack was renewed, amplified, and intensified, by feminists. Their attack has proved far more devastating than that of the Marxists. Lenin once said, “If we go, we shall slam the door on an empty house”; and how well this pleasant promise has been kept by the Russian Marxists, all the world now knows. It is in exactly the same spirit of insane malignancy that feminists have waged their war on humanistic learning; and their degree of success has fallen not much short of Lenin’s. Of the many hundreds of courses offered to Arts undergraduates in this university, what proportion, I wonder, are now not made culturally-destructive, as well as intellectually null, by feminist malignancy and madness? One-third? I would love to believe that the figure is so high. But I cannot believe it.
David did all that he could have done, given the limits set by his position and his personality, to repel this attack. Of course he failed; but then, no one could have succeeded. What he did achieve was a certain amount of damage-limitation. Even this was confined to the philosophy-section of the front. On the Faculty of Arts as a whole, David has had no influence at all—to put it mildly. In fact, when he spoke at a meeting of the Faculty, even on subjects unrelated to the attack, you could always have cut the atmosphere with a knife. It is a curious matter, this: the various ways inferior people have, of indirectly acknowledging the superiority of others, even where no such acknowledgment is at all intended by the inferior, or expected by the superior.
By the end of 1972, the situation in the philosophy department had become so bad that the splitting of the department into two was the only way in which philosophy at this university could be kept alive at all. In this development, David was the leading spirit, as his position and personality made it natural he should be. Of course he did not do it on his own. Pat Trifonoff’s intelligence and character made her an important agent in it. Keith Campbell’s adhesion to our side, after some hesitation, was a critical moment. But while I and certain others were only casting about for some avenue of escape, David never gave up. He battled on, and battled on again, and always exacted the best terms, however bad, that could be got from the enemies of philosophy.
The result of the split was far more happy than could have been rationally predicted at the time. In fact it was a fitting reward for David’s courage and tenacity. For the first twenty years of the new Department of Traditional and Modern Philosophy have been fertile in good philosophy, to a degree unparalleled in any similar period in this or any other Australian university. The department has also enjoyed a rare freedom from internal disharmony. As I have often said, it is the best club in the world, and to be or have been a member of it is a pleasure as well as a privilege.
There will certainly be no adequate official acknowledgment, from anyone inside the university, of what is owed to David. What could someone like the present Vice-Chancellor possibly care about the survival of humanistic learning, or even know about philosophy, or history, or literature? Anyone who did would never have got a Vice-Chancellor’s job in the first place. If there is any acknowledgment forthcoming from the Faculty of Arts, David will be able to estimate the sincerity of it well enough. It will be a case of people, who smiled as they watched him nearly drowning in the boiling surf of 1967–72, telling him how glad they were when, against all probability, he managed to make it to the beach.
But anyone who does know and care about philosophy, or does care about the survival of humanistic learning, will feel towards him something like the degree of gratitude which they ought to feel.
I have often pointed out that there is nothing liberal about contemporary 'liberals.' Kim R. Holmes' Intolerance as Illiberalism is well worth your time. Excerpt:
Hard illiberalism, however, is not the only variant. There are “soft” versions too. They often appear “liberal” and even operate inside democratic systems otherwise committed to the rule of law. But their core idea is that liberal democracy and the constitutional rule of law are insufficient to bring about absolute equality.
It is this form of illiberalism that is gaining traction in America today. It comes in many guises and varying degrees of intensity. It is a campus official countenancing “trigger warnings” and speech codes that censor free speech and suppress debate. It is a radio host shouting that he hopes employees of the National Security Agency get cancer and die. It is politicians and government officials who bend the rules, launch investigations, overturn laws, criminalize so-called “hate” speech, and stretch the meaning of the Constitution to impose their views on Americans. It is the mindset of “us versus them” that leads government officials such as New York’s governor to say that there is “no place in the state of New York” for “extreme conservatives”— by which he meant not fringe or violent groups but anyone who opposes abortion or the redefinition of marriage. And it is the idea that constitutional limits, individual rights, and even due process can be ignored in the “greater” cause of creating income equality.
These people have become not merely intolerant but fundamentally illiberal.
Illiberalism is not just about government denying people the right of free expression and equality before the law. It is also about controlling how people think and behave. It is a threat both to our democratic system of government and to the “liberal” political culture.
Leftists are not concerned with the truth, but with the 'narrative.' The latter concern is animated by the will to power, not the will to truth, a fact that explains what otherwise would be hard to explain, namely, why certain leftists are enamoured of Nietzsche. Here are the liberal narratives with respect to Bergdahl, Benghazi, IRS, Obamacare, VA, and illegal immigration. Excerpt:
For the Obama administration narrative to be accurate about the swap of five Taliban/al-Qaeda-related kingpins for Sgt. Bergdahl, we are asked to believe the following:
1. Sgt. Bergdahl was in ill health; thus the need for alacrity. Surely we will expect to see him in an enfeebled state on his return to the U.S.
2. Sgt. Bergdahl was in grave and sudden danger from his captors; thus the need for alacrity. We expect to see proof of that on his return to the U.S.
3. The five Taliban detainees will be under guard in Qatar for a year. We expect in June 2015 to know that they are still there in Qatar.
5. Sgt. Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction.” We expect to have confirmation of that fact once his intelligence file is released and more evidence is adduced that all of his platoon-mates were wrong (or perhaps vindictive and partisan) in stating that he voluntarily left their unit — deserted — to meet up with the Taliban.
6. Sgt. Bergdahl was captured on the “field of battle”; we expect to have confirmation that he was taken unwillingly by the enemy amid a clash of arms.
7. Sgt. Bergdahl was not a collaborator. We expect to learn confirmation of the fact that he did not disclose information to his captors.
8. Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers in his platoon are either partisan operatives or sorely misinformed, and we will shortly learn that their accounts of Bergdahl’s disappearance were erroneous.
9. The U.S. has traditionally negotiated to bring home even deserters, and did so frequently, for example, both during and after the Korean War when GIs crossed into North Korea.
I have already reported on Brian Leiter's initial unprovoked attack on me. After that 2004 attack, which I chose to ignore, he got in a jab or two which I also ignored, until just the other day when he let loose again with an unprovoked attack. Then I realized that for my own peace of mind, and to teach him a lesson, and to defend all the others, including graduate students, the untenured, and those who are tenured but do not relish the prospect of being slimed by him, that I must mount a defense.
I conclude my self-defense today.
It must be borne in mind that I never launched an unprovoked attack upon him. I am defending myself and others against his attacks. I am giving him a taste of his own medicine, or rather, poison, so that maybe some day he will see that there is no percentage in his brand of scumbaggery. Of course, one cannot appeal morally to a morally obtuse leftist for whom the end justifies the means and bourgeois morality is buncombe, a person who demonizes his opponents and whose modus operandi is the ad hominem.
It would do no good to write to him and say, "Sir, you have attacked me personally and viciously, out of the blue, even though you don't know me at all, when I have done nothing to you, and only because I hold ideas with which you disagree. Doesn't that seem morally wrong to you? Don't you believe in free speech?"
That won't work with someone bereft of moral sense. One has to make a prudential appeal to his self-interest along the lines of: keep this up, buddy, and you will diminish your own status, which is apparently the main thing that concerns you. As a status-obsessed careerist, Leiter is enslaved to the opinions of others. So he must take care that he remains well thought of, at least by those who still think well of him.
This post will respond to Leiter's latest outburst. I will try to keep this brief.
What got Leiter's goat was the following sentence from my masthead:
Selected for The Times of London's 100 Best Blogs List (15 February 2009)
You see, for Leiter I am neither "competent" nor "successful" and so do not deserve any such minor honor as the one bestowed by The Times, even if I were in 100th place. A glance at my PhilPapers page, which lists 50 or so publications in Analysis, Nous, The Monist, etc. should put the question of competence to rest. If I am incompetent, then all those referees and editors must be mighty incompetent to have given me their positive evaluations. Am I successful? Well, I got a tenure-track job right out of graduate school, was awarded tenure, and was invited to teach at Case Western Reserve University for two years as a full-time Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy. I have been awarded four National Endowment for the Humanities grants. And so on. Is that success or failure? After my stint at Case Western Reserve I decided to live the life of an independent philosopher.
It is at this point, presumably, that I went from success to failure in the eyes of the illustrious Leiter. You see, someone as spiritually vacant and given to psychological projection as Leiter cannot comprehend how anyone could not value the trappings and bagatelles, the privileges and perquisites, that he values. If one is not a professor of philosophy, he thinks, one is not a real philosopher. I wonder what Leiter would say about Spinoza and plenty of others, not to mention his hero, Nietzsche. The point is obvious. I needn't go on. Leiter is a shallow and vain man, a grasping and ambitious man, and is widely regarded with disdain in philosophical and legal circles.
At the end of his post, he relates something he got from one of his sycophants:
. . . after teaching at the University of Dayton from 1978-1991, he took a leave of absence because his wife, who teaches art education, got a job at Arizona State University. Unsurprisingly, he could not get another job, and so he simply left academia to follow his wife. The only amusing irony here is that our raving right-wing, racist lunatic appears to be basically a "house husband"!
Here is the truth. I taught at the University of Dayton from 1978 to 1989. Then I took a leave from U. D. and, having been invited, I taught as a Visiting Associate Professor Philosophy at Case Western Reserve University. Now for a long time I had dreamed of becoming an independent philosopher who could devote all his time to his philosophical and spiritual pursuits. Of course, I cannot expect a superficial climber like the Ladderman, who cannot imagine anything higher than being an academic functionary, to understand any of this.
My wife and I both had tenured positions in Ohio, in Cleveland and Dayton, respectively, the distance between the two being roughly 220 miles. So we had a long-distance marriage going for quite a number of years. The solution came when she was offered a great position at ASU. She had me make the decision, and I decided that we should move to the beautiful state of Arizona. Being a very frugal man who had saved and invested a lot of money, I decided to retire from teaching at age 41 and realize my dream. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and my life has been wonderful ever since.
Am I a racist? Of course not. The allegations of Leiter and his sycophant are pure slander. The playing of the race card is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It is a matter of public record that I owned and lived in a house in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, from 1986-1991, a city that is approximately 40% black. Interested in what someone really thinks? Look to their behavior, especially their monetary behavior.
Leiter says I called him an idiot and philosophically incompetent. Another lie on his part. My objection is a moral one: he launches vicious personal attacks on people because he disagrees wth their ideas. He does not respect the principle of toleration.
I do not consider him stupid, nor do I say that he is philosophically incompetent. I assume he is competent. My main objection to him is the he is a leftist thug who smears people because of their views. He has a right to his leftism, but not to his thuggishness.
A secondary objection, one which I would never have made had he not attacked me, is that Leiter is a status-obsessed careerist devoid of spiritual depth. Just as there is no wisdom and decency on the Left, there is no wisdom and decency in Brian Leiter. If there is, it is deeply buried. He should let it shine forth if it exists.
Addendum (9 June)
Frank Wilson at Books, Inq. writes (emphasis added):
Considering that Leiter's characteristic mode of operation is personal attack, it is rather amusing that he doesn't like such when it is directed at himself. In his latest on Bill Vallicella, he has this to say: "an obscure (and right-wing) British journalist with no knowledge of philosophy was asked to recommend 100 blogs in different areas, two of which he identified as philosophy blogs."
Well, this blog is also one of the hundred chosen, and the British journalist referred to is Bryan Appleyard, who is neither obscure nor particularly right-wing. Bryan in fact, didn't choose the 100 blogs himself. I sent Bryan an email when this blog was chosen to thank him and he wrote back that he had nothing to with the final pick. He just submitted a long list of various blogs to his editors. They looked at blogs on the list and made their choices.
So Leiter doesn't know what he's talking about. (I should have added that, from what I have observed, Bryan is quite philosophically fluent.)
I figure that in a week or so we should have the Leiter affair behind us. But there remain a number of lessons and insights to be learned from the Ladderman's bad behavior.
An Attack on Simon Critchley
Let me give you an example (supplied by a reader) of the sort of abuse in which Leiter engages. The trusted reader, an untenured philosophy professor, sent me this: "Leiter regularly attacks Simon Critchley with vitriol, as for example here (probably he was disappointed and enraged that he wasn't asked to moderate the NYT blog himself)."
Leiter describes Critchley as "a complete hack." I haven't read Critchley. But I just now found a popular piece of his in The Guardian, on Heidegger. Since I have published a half dozen articles in refereed philosophy journals on Heidegger, I know something about the German philosopher. What Critchley says here about Heidegger is accurate. 'Hack' denotes someone whose work is substandard and who works for purely mercenary reasons. So Critchley is not a hack, complete or incomplete.
Leiter's Modus Operandi
The attack on Critchley illustrates Leiter's M.O. First comes a highly disparaging label whose application to the target is dubious in the extreme. The target is a "noxious mediocrity" or a "complete hack." That's bad enough, but what makes it worse is that no evidence is provided of the applicability of the epithet. Note that I am not saying that no one is a hack, and I admit the possibility of a few complete hacks abroad in the land, though the qualifier 'complete' seriously limits the extension of the noun thus qualified. The point is that if you are going label someone in a disparaging way, then you had better provide some evidence. If I have tio explain why, then you are morally obtuse.
Finally, if the target responds in kind to the slur, Leiter acts as if an offense has been perpetrated against him.
Call it the Leiter Three-Step: trash your opponent; provide no evidence of your allegations; act offended when the opponent defends himself.
Why Leiter Feels Justified in Abusing Conservatives
There is a clue in the oft-made observation that conservatives think leftists are wrong, while leftists think conservatives are evil. Once Leiter decides that you are evil, then you are fair game: nothing you say need be objectively evaluated in terms of truth value or logical coherence. It suffices to point out that you are, say, "a crazed right-winger."
One could call it refutation by epithet. You are a sexist, a xenophobe, an Islamophobe, a homophobe, a racist, a bigot, not to mention intolerant.
Pointing out to a leftist that he is intolerant does no good. For he feels his intolerance to justified by the fact that you are evil. Surely the principle of toleration does not enjoin that we tolerate evil-doers!
My recent anti-Leiter posts may give new readers the impression that I am doing the same sort of thing he does, namely, hurling abuse and name-calling. Not so. He attacked me out of the blue in November of 2004, and I ignored him. But given his recent attack, it is time to supply the context of my recent responses to him, and to explain that I am engaged in a legitimate defense against an unprovoked series of attacks. My motive is to set the record straight, but also to defend the graduate students, the untenured, and others who fear to respond to Leiter's attacks on them.
It all started when I posted the following on the first version of MavPhil. The entry is dated 4 November 2004 and I reproduce it verbatim:
Theocracy and the Left
Nobody wants a theocracy in the U.S. except the Islamo-fascists, and they want it everywhere. The fear among some leftists that the re-election of G.W. Bush is moving us towards theocracy shows just how delusional their thinking is. The problem with leftists is not so much stupidity as their ideological fixations. The latter prevent their minds from functioning properly. They see threats that aren't there and fail to see the ones that are. They ignore the very real theocratic threat of militant Islam, all the while fabricating a Christian theocratic threat.
Hostility to religion, especially institutionalized religion, is a defining characteristic of the Left. We've known that since 1789. What is surprising, and truly bizarre, is the Left's going soft on militant Islam, the most virulent strain of religious bigotry ever to appear. It threatens all of their values. But their obsession with dissent is so great, dissent at all costs and against everything established, that they simply must denounce Bush and Co. as potential theocrats, all the while cozying up to militant Islam. Their hatred for Bush is so great that they will sacrifice their defining values just to oppose him. In their perversity, they think the enemy of their enemy is -- still their enemy.
The above post got Leiter's goat even though there is no reference to him and no link to his website. But being the sort of vain and self-centered fellow he is, he took it personally as directed against him in particular. So taking it, he replied with a personal attack on me in Paranoid Fantasies of the Right:
In keeping with my general policy of not linking to noxious mediocrities--who, experience has shown, crave any attention--I am just going to quote a posting that is interesting not because of who said it (though he purports to be a philosopher), but because of what it reveals about the right-wing mindset (it resonates with rhetoric one hears from Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and others of that slimy ilk). The author was reacting (badly, it appears) to my reference to Bush & co. as fascist theocrats. Our right-winger comments: [Leiter goes on to quote me.]
Note for starters the man's huge ego: he thinks I am responding to his post. Not so. Second, what I have to say is just "rhetoric" of the sort spewed by Sullivan, Hitchens "and others of that slimy ilk." The suggestion, of course, is that I am of the same ilk. Third, I "purport" to be a philosopher. The suggestion is that I represent myself as being a philosopher when I am not a real philosopher like Leiter. Leiter is a philosopher (in his own mind), while I merely purport to be one. We will have to consider the criteria for being a real philosopher in a separate post.
Fourth, I am one of those who "crave any attention." How could Leiter have known this? (We have never met.) I am an introvert, an INTP in the Myers-Briggs classification and such types do not "crave any attention." To the contrary. Note also how Leiter appears to be engaged in psychological projection: he most assuredly craves attention, he recognizes at some pre-conscious level that this is unacceptable and an indicator of immaturity, and so to prevent this realization on his part he projects the unacceptable attribute into others. Projection is a defense mechanism the purpose of which is to reduce anxiety. So in Leiter's view I am the one who craves attention, which is why my name cannot be mentioned or my site linked to. Having projected his craving into me, he alleviates the anxiety he subconsciously feels at being an attention whore. What's more, Leiter wouldn't want to give me what I "crave" and he wouldn't want any one to be influenced by ideas that are on Leiter's index idearum prohibitarum.
There is apparently a link between psychological projection and bullying, a link we may follow up in a separate post.
Fifth, I am a "noxious mediocrity." In one sense of the term, 'mediocre' is not a pejorative; it just means of average ability. But then we are both mediocrities in philosophy if we are held to a truly rigorous standard. Why then is one of us "noxious"? Because he is not the other? And then there is the question as to how Leiter could know that I am a mediocrity in philosophy. Has he studied any of my papers published in such journals as Analysis, Nous, Philosophy, History of Philosophy Quarterly, The Monist, Dialectica, and numerous others? Has Leiter published in any of these journals? Some of my papers are listed on my PhilPapers page.
To sum up. Leiter is a leftist ideologue first, and a philosopher second, if at all. Philosophy for him is but a means for the advancement of himself and his ideology. This explains the personal nature of his attack on me cited above. A good leftist, he seeks to destroy those who disagree with his ideas. It is all about power and it is all about winning. It is right out of Alinsky and the CP. Don't forget, PC is from the CP. You shout down your opponent; you ridicule him; but if the opponent replies in kind, then you protest that he is a hypocrite who doesn't live up to the standards he professes. Alinsky: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. Another rule of lefties: Always invoke the double standard: Treat your opponents like dirt but then protest the "sick viciousness" of a reply in kind.
I'll end with part of an e-mail from a young philosophy professor:
I hope that you are wearing Leiter's attack on you as a true badge of honor. The fact that Leiter deems you worthy of an attack post means that his grotesque, opportunistic, tyrannical mind is squirming at the fact that you are not assimilating into the proper politically correct hierarchy of contemporary academia. But this why I, and so many others, love your blog. Keep up the great work!
'Racism' and 'racist' are words used by liberals as all-purpose semantic bludgeons. Proof of this is that the terms are never defined, and so can be used in wider or narrower senses depending on the polemical and ideological purposes at hand. In common parlance 'racism' and 'racist' are pejoratives, indeed, terms of abuse. This is why it is foolish for conservatives such as John Derbyshire to describe themselves as racists while attempting to attach some non-pejorative connotation to the term. It can't be done. It would be a bit like describing oneself as as an asshole, 'but in the very best sense of the term.' 'Yeah, I'm an asshole and proud of it; we need more assholes; it's a good thing to be.' The word has no good senses, at least when applied to an entire human as opposed to an orifice thereof. For words like 'asshole,' 'child molester,' and 'racist' semantic rehabilitation is simply not in the cards. A conservative must never call himself a racist. (And I don't see how calling himself a racialist is any better.) What he must do is attack ridiculous definitions of the term, defend reasonable ones, and show how he is not a racist when the term is reasonably defined.
Let's run through some candidate definientia of 'racism':
1. The view that there are genetic or cultural differences between racial groups and that these differences have behavioral consequences.
Since this is indeed the case, (1) cannot be used to define 'racism.' The term, as I said, is pejorative: it is morally bad to be a racist. But it is not morally bad to be a truth-teller. The underlying principle here is that it can't racism if it is true. Is that not obvious?
Suppose I state that blacks are 11-13% of the U.S. population. That cannot be a racist statement for the simple reason that it is true. Nor can someone who makes such a statement be called a racist for making it. A statement whose subject matter is racial is not a racist statement. Or I inform you that blacks are more likely than whites to contract sickle-cell anemia. That too is true. But in this second example there is reference to an unpleasant truth. Even more unpleasant are those truths about the differential rates of crime as between blacks and whites. But pleasant or not, truth is truth, and there are no racist truths. (I apologize for hammering away at these platitudes, but in a Pee Cee world in which people have lost their minds, repetition of the obvious is necessary.)
2. The feeling of affinity for those of one's own racial and ethnic background.
It is entirely natural to feel more comfortable around people of one's own kind than around strangers. And of course there is nothing morally objectionable in this. No racism here.
3. The view that it is morally justifiable to put the interests of one's own race or ethnic group above those of another in situations of conflict or limited resources. This is to be understood as the analog of the view that it it morally justifiable to put the interests of oneself and one's own family, friends, and neighbors above the interests of strangers in a situation of conflict or limited resources.
There is nothing morally objectionable in his, and nothing that could be legitimately called racism.
4. The view that the genetic and cultural differences between races or ethnic groups justify genocide or slavery or the denial of political rights.
Now we arrive at an appropriate definiens of 'racism.' This is one among several legitimate ways of defining 'racism.' Racism thus defined is morally offensive in the extreme. I condemn it and you should to. I condemn all who hold this.
This is a repost, slightly redacted, from 2012 to help stem the tsunami of folderol sure to wash over us from the orifices of the mindless gun-grabbing Left in the wake of the Isla Vista rampage.
Without wanting to deny that there is a 'gun culture' in the USA, especially in the so-called red states, I would insist that the real problem is our liberal culture. Here are four characteristics of liberal culture that contribute to violence of all kinds, including gun violence.
1. Liberals tend to have a casual attitude toward crime.
It is interesting to note that Connecticut, the state in which the Newtown massacre occurred, has recently repealed the death penalty, and this after the unspeakably brutal Hayes-Komisarjevsky home invasion in the same state.
One of the strongest voices against repealing the death penalty has been Dr. William Petit Jr., the lone survivor of a 2007 Cheshire home invasion that resulted in the murders of his wife and two daughters.
The wife was raped and strangled, one of the daughters was molested and both girls were left tied to their beds as the house was set on fire.
The two men convicted of the crime, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, are currently on death row.
Anyone who cannot appreciate that a crime like this deserves the death penalty is morally obtuse. But not only are liberals morally obtuse, they are contemptibly stupid in failing to understand that one of the main reasons people buy guns is to protect themselves from the criminal element, the criminal element that liberals coddle. If liberals were serious about wanting to reduce the numbers of guns in civilian hands, they would insist on swift and sure punishment in accordance with the self-evident moral principle, "The punishment must fit the crime," which is of course not to be confused with lex talionis, "an eye for an eye." Many guns are purchased not for hunting or sport shooting but for protection against criminals. Keeping and bearing arms carries with it a grave responsibility and many if not most gun owners would rather not be so burdened. Gun ownership among women is on the upswing, and it is a safe bet that they don't want guns to shoot Bambi.
2. Liberals tend to undermine morality with their opposition to religion.
Many of us internalized the ethical norms that guide our lives via our childhood religious training. We were taught the Ten Commandments, for example. We were not just taught about them, we were taught them. We learned them by heart, and we took them to heart. This early training, far from being the child abuse that A. C. Grayling and other militant atheists think it is, had a very positive effect on us in forming our consciences and making us the basically decent human beings we are. I am not saying that moral formation is possible only within a religion; I am saying that some religions do an excellent job of transmitting and inculcating life-guiding and life-enhancing ethical standards, that moral formation outside of a religion is unlikely for the average person, and that it is nearly impossible if children are simply handed over to the pernicious influences of secular society as these influences are transmitted through television, Internet, video games, and other media. Anyone with moral sense can see that the mass media have become an open sewer in which every manner of cultural polluter is not only tolerated but promoted. Those of use who were properly educated way back when can dip into this cesspool without too much moral damage. But to deliver our children over to it is the real child abuse, pace the benighted Professor Grayling.
The shysters of the ACLU, to take one particularly egregious bunch of destructive leftists, seek to remove every vestige of our Judeo-Christian ethical traditiion from the public square. I can't begin to catalog all of their antics. But recently there was the Mojave cross incident. It is absurd that there has been any fight at all over it. The ACLU, whose radical lawyers brought the original law suit, deserve contempt and resolute opposition. Of course, I wholeheartedly endorse the initial clause of the First Amendment, to wit, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . ." But it is hate-America leftist extremism on stilts to think that the presence of that very old memorial cross on a hill in the middle of nowhere does anything to establish Christianity as the state religion. I consider anyone who believes that to be intellectually obtuse and morally repellent. One has to be highly unbalanced in his thinking to torture such extremist nonsense out of the First Amendment, while missing the plain sense of the Second Amendment, one that even SCOTUS eventually got right, namely, the the right to keep and bear arms is an individual, not a collective, right.
And then there was the business of the tiny cross on the city seal of Los Angeles, a symbol that the ACLU agitated to have removed. I could continue with the examples, and you hope I won't.
3. Liberals tend to have low standards, glorify the worthless, and fail to present exemplary human types.
Our contemporary media dreckmeisters apparently think that the purpose of art is to degrade sensibility, impede critical thinking, glorify scumbags, and rub our noses ever deeper into sex and violence. It seems obvious that the liberal fetishization of freedom of expression without constraint or sense of responsibility is part of the problem. But I can't let a certain sort of libertarian or economic conservative off the hook. Their lust for profit is also involved.
What is is that characterizes contemporary media dreck? Among other things, the incessant presentation of defective human beings as if there are more of them than there are, and as if there is nothing at all wrong with their way of life. Deviant behavior is presented as if it is mainstream and acceptable, if not desirable. And then lame justifications are provided for the presentation: 'this is what life is like now; we are simply telling it like it is.' It doesn't occur to the dreckmeisters that art might have an ennobling function.
The tendency of liberals and leftists is to think that any presentation of choice-worthy goals or admirable styles of life could only be hypocritical preaching. And to libs and lefties, nothing is worse than hypocrisy. Indeed, a good indicator of whether someone belongs to this class of the terminally benighted is whether the person obsesses over hypocrisy and thinks it the very worst thing in the world. See my category Hypocrisy for elaboration of this theme.
4. Liberals tend to deny or downplay free will, individual responsibility, and the reality of evil.
This is connected with point 2 above, leftist hostility to religion. Key to our Judeo-Christian tradition is the belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God. This image is that mysterious power in us called free will. The secular extremist assault on religion is at the same time an assault on this mysterious power, through which evil comes into the world.
This is a large topic. Suffice it to say for now that one clear indication of this denial is the bizarre liberal displacement of responsibility for crime onto inaminate objects, guns, as if the weapon, not the wielder, is the source of the evil for which the weapon can be only the instrument.
The Left's race-baiting just won't stop. Here Jay Rockefeller plays the race card against Ron Johnson in a manner so egregious that it would in the early 19th century get the Democrat scumbag challenged to a duel. There are so many recent incidents of race-baiting that the thought of laying in the links is a dreary one indeed. So I'll just remind you of the John Derbyshire case which now lies about two years in the past. Around that time I wrote the following. Very instructive, in part about NRO's need to 'go along to get along.'
In case you are not familiar with the word, 'defenestration' is from the Latin fenestra, window. Defenestration is thus the act of literally or figuratively throwing something or someone out of a window, or the state of having been ejected through such an aperture. In plain English, John Derbyshire, 'Derb,' got the boot from NRO's Rich Lowry. (Pardon the mixed metaphors.) Derb's free-lance contributions are no longer wanted there. And all because of Derb's The Talk: Nonblack Version.
Go ahead, click on the link and read the piece. If nothing else, it will hold your interest. It is also a good litmus test of your political affiliation. If it enrages you and strikes you as a racist screed, then you are a (contemporary) liberal. If you accept its advice as sound, though perhaps in need of minor qualification or correction here and there, then you are a person as sane and reasonable and moderate as your humble correspondent. If you think Derb didn't go far enough, then chances are you are an extreme right-wing crazy.
I have just read Derb's talk, very carefully, a second time. What is so offensive about it? Facts are facts. What's true is true. The criterion of truth is not agreement with liberal ideology. Consider this piece of advice:
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
That could use some qualification. If a well-dressed black, alone, were in automotive distress, I might stop to render aid. But if it were a carload of teenaged gangsta rapper types, I'd accelerate. I wouldn't want to catch a stray round in what could be termed an inverse drive-by shooting. But if you are giving advice to your kids, you might say something like the above sans qualification, in the same way you would advise them to avoid biker bars at midnight in bad parts of town without feeling the need to point out the obvious, e.g., that not every biker is a brute out to rape and pillage.
Bill Plaschke of the L. A. Timeslays into Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, for statements like these:
“I mean, we’re all prejudiced in one way or another,” he said. “If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face – white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere – I’m walking back to the other side of the street. And the list goes on of stereotypes we all live up to and are fearful of.”
The word 'prejudice' needs analysis. At a bare minimum, two senses of the term ought to be distinguished.
'Prejudice' could refer to blind prejudice: unreasoning, reflexive (as opposed to reflective) aversion to what is other just because it is other, or an unreasoning pro-attitude toward the familiar just because it is familiar. We should all condemn blind prejudice, or at least blind prejudice of the aversive sort. It is execrable to hate a person just because he is of a different color, for example. No doubt, but how many people do that? How many people who are averse to blacks are averse because of their skin color as opposed to their behavior patterns? Racial prejudice is not, in the main, prejudice based on skin color, but on behavior.
'Prejudice' could also mean 'prejudgment.' Although blind aversive prejudice is bad, prejudgment is generally good. We cannot begin our cognitive lives anew at every instant. We rely upon the 'sedimentation' of past exerience. Changing the metaphor, we can think of prejudgments as distillations from experience. The first time I 'serve' my cats whisky they are curious. After that, they cannot be tempted to come near a shot glass of Jim Beam. They distill from their unpleasant olfactory experiences a well-grounded prejudice against the products of the distillery.
My prejudgments about rattlesnakes are in place and have been for a long time. I don't need to learn about them afresh at each new encounter with one. I do not treat each new one encountered as a 'unique individual,' whatever that might mean. Prejudgments are not blind, but experience-based, and they are mostly true. The adult mind is not a tabula rasa. What experience has written, she retains, and that's all to the good.
So there is good prejudice and there is bad prejudice. The teenager thinks his father prejudiced in the bad sense when he warns the son not to go into certain parts of town after dark. Later the son learns that the old man was not such a bigot after all: the father's prejudice was not blind but had a fundamentum in re.
But if you stay away from certain parts of town are you not 'discriminating' against them? Well of course, but not all discrimination is bad. Everybody discriminates. Liberals are especially discriminating. The typical Scottsdale liberal would not be caught dead supping in some of the Apache Junction dives I have been found in. Liberals discriminate in all sorts of ways. That's why Scottsdale is Scottsdale and not Apache Junction.
Is the refusal to recognize same-sex 'marriage' as marriage discriminatory? Of course! But not all discrimination is bad. Indeed, some is morally obligatory. We discriminate against felons when we disallow their possession of firearms. Will you argue against that on the ground that it is discriminatory? If not, then you cannot cogently argue against the refusal to recognize same-sex 'marriage' on the ground that it is discriminatory. You need a better argument. And what would that be?
'Profiling,' like 'prejudice' and 'discrimination,' has come to acquire a wholly negative connotation. Unjustly. What's wrong with profiling? We all do it, and we are justified in doing it. Consider criminal profiling.
It is obvious that only certain kinds of people commit certain kinds of crimes. Suppose a rape has occurred at the corner of Fifth and Vermouth. Two males are moving away from the crime scene. One, the slower moving of the two, is a Jewish gentleman, 80 years of age, with a chess set under one arm and a copy of Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed under the other. The other fellow, a vigorous twenty-year-old, is running from the scene.
Who is more likely to have committed the rape? If you can't answer this question, then you lack common sense. But just to spell it out for you liberals: octogenarians are not known for their sexual prowess: the geezer is lucky if he can get it up for a three-minute romp. Add chess playing and an interest in Maimonides and you have one harmless dude.
Or let's say you are walking down a street in Mesa, Arizona. On one side of the street you spy some fresh-faced Mormon youths, dressed in their 1950s attire, looking like little Romneys, exiting a Bible studies class. On the other side of the street, Hells (no apostrophe!) Angels are coming out of their club house. Which side of the street would you feel safer on? On which side will your concealed semi-auto .45 be more likely to see some use?
Do you struggle over this question?
The problem is not so much that liberals are stupid, as that they have allowed themselves to be stupefied by that cognitive aberration known as political correctness.
Their brains are addled by the equality fetish: everybody is equal, they think, in every way. So the vigorous 20-year-old is not more likely than the old man to have committed the rape. The Mormon and the Hells Angel are equally law-abiding. And the twenty-something Egyptian Muslim is no more likely to be a terrorist than the Mormon matron from Salt Lake City.
Getting back to Mark Cuban, what he is quoted as saying above makes perfect sense. His prejudices are reasonable prejudgments.
If you walk like a thug, and talk like a thug, and dress like a thug, and are plastered with tattoos and facial hardware like a thug, then don't be surprised if people give you a wide berth.
It is the willful self-enstupidation of liberals that unfits them for the appreciation of such commonsensical points as I have just reiterated.
Go Kirsten! Kirsten Powers has it all: beauty, brains, and the female equivalent of that which I was about to refer to using a word I decided not to use. I think I'm in love. And she stands up to Bill O'Reilly displaying grace under pressure when the pugnacious Irishman becomes obnoxious. She's smarter than O'Reilly and she knows it. Bill does too. But hats off to O'Reilly for giving the young whippersnappers a forum and for speaking truth to power lo these many years. He is an inspiring profile in civil courage.
"Speaking truth to power" is a lefty phrase that we need to co-opt. Leftards use the phrase even when they have power. You see, for a lefty, having power is supposedly bad and so they have to pretend that they don't have it even when they do. It's like money in that respect. They like to posture that they are anti-Establishment when they are the Establishment, and that they are dissenting when they are spouting and toeing the party line. They also think they somehow own dissent as if conservatives are somehow barred by the very meaning of the word from dissenting.
In any case, Miss Powers really hits the nail on the head in her column: Here is some of it and it ought to anger you with a righteous anger:
Don't bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as "a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully" and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a "psychotic mass murderer" and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.
The self-serving capriciousness is crazy. In March, University of California-Santa Barbara women's studies professor Mireille Miller-Young attacked a 16-year-old holding an anti-abortion sign in the campus' "free speech zone" (formerly known as America). Though she was charged with theft, battery and vandalism, Miller-Young remains unrepentant and still has her job. But Mozilla's Brendan Eich gave a private donation to an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago and was ordered to recant his beliefs. When he wouldn't, he was forced to resign from the company he helped found.
Got that? A college educator with the right opinions can attack a high school student and keep her job. A corporate executive with the wrong opinions loses his for making a campaign donation. Something is very wrong here.
As the mob gleefully destroys people's lives, its members haven't stopped to ask themselves a basic question: What happens when they come for me? If history is any guide, that's how these things usually end.
One of the books I am reading is Joachim Fest's Not I: Memories of a German Childhood (orig. publ. in German in 2006 by Rowohlt, tr. Martin Chalmers, New York, Other Press, 2013).
The title alludes to Mark 14:29: "But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I."
WSJ review by T. J. Reed here. I reproduce a sizeable chunk of it in case it ends up behind a pay wall:
The [Fest] family lives under a shadow. Their dissent is no secret. Father had been a member of the Reichsbanner, the organization in which his Catholic Centre Party had joined with liberals and Social Democrats to defend the republic against Communists and Nazis. It's not every school headmaster who gets involved in street fights and comes home bloody, as Johannes Fest did. But after 1933 he was a headmaster no longer, suspended indefinitely by the new political masters. The family's status and income were lost, their lives transformed. Grandfather had to come out of retirement to earn a bit for them. Father never worked again. The Nazis did try to cajole him back into teaching, since any observable dissent was bad publicity. They even offered accelerated promotion if he would outwardly conform. He remained firm.
Family tension became palpable. Mother, bearing the brunt of straitened family circumstances, asks Father if he might not compromise. Weren't lies always the resort of the "little people"? He replies: "We aren't little people." It is one of the maxims that guided the conduct of Fest's father and a few friends. (The title of his son's memoir comes from a Gospel passage that he would often quote, Peter promising Jesus: "Even if all others fall away—not I.") There were some Germans who made sure that they were carrying something in both hands when they went out into the street, the only plausible ground for not giving the required "Heil Hitler" salute to anyone they met. But Fest's father goes out resolutely empty-handed.
"Keep your head down," Johannes [father of Joachim] told his family, "but don't let it make you smaller." Young Joachim didn't always listen. A classmate reports him for carving a Hitler caricature on his desk. (He has been scribbling them on surfaces all over town.) As a consequence, he is removed from the school; his brothers too. The episode is just one instance of an independence akin to his father's.
The friends of the Fests—they now became former friends—and many neighbors and acquaintances fell by the wayside, even without being keen Nazis. Only one of the 12 families in the apartment block was in the party. The rest merely went along as things changed, drifting deeper into acquiescence, making excuses even as stable social and political structures fell apart in the name of a new "people's community." The Nazis, after all, were formally the legitimate government, however brutal their conduct of affairs—from the realm of international diplomacy to the arbitrary laws that replaced justice down to the small changes in everyday life, the swindles and favoritism of party members.
By recording these small changes, Joachim Fest creates a picture of how the one-party state operated on an intimate level, and exerted its unbreakable grip. It recalls the bleak account of incremental misery in Victor Klemperer's diaries of the period. A woman sees a Jewish-looking man in the street not wearing a star, pursues and denounces him. There are first rumors and then reliable evidence of atrocities.
Anti-Semitism had considerably more popular resonance than many other Nazi policies, such as the campaign for "Lebensraum" in the east. How many Germans would have wanted to up sticks and resettle somewhere on the vast Russian plains? As for Jewish Germans themselves, even after Kristallnacht there were those who waited for the Nazi "phase" to pass. Their trust in a culture that had produced Kant, Goethe, Schiller, Lessing and Beethoven, a culture into which they felt they had assimilated, meant that they delayed escape too long.
But was it German culture that produced Kant, Goethe, et al.? Or was it the Graeco-Roman and Judeo-Christian culture that had its sources in Athens and Jerusalem? That is one question. A second question is whether talk of production is anywhere near adequate, whether any culture could produce such geniuses as opposed merely to providing a fertile soil in which they developed themselves.
A third question is whether we are not now drifting toward a totalitarian unculture in which the slightest deviations from politically correct modes of thought and speech bring down drastic punishments on those who think they can speak their minds in private and in public without fear of reprisal from illiberal 'liberals.'
In the Orwellian world of the leftist loon, black is white, so black privilege, which exists, becomes white privilege, which doesn't.
But there is no point in serious discussion with delusional leftards, so the best course of action is mockery and derision either in the moderate style of Kurt Schlichter or the take-no-prisoners style of Jim Goad.
In the interests of full disclosure, I am not now and never have been a redneck or a Southerner and I don't agree with everything Goad says. But I am heartily sick of lying liberal scum and their endless race-baiting, double-standards, and preternatural dumbassery.
A liberal is the kind of person who would extend the right to vote to felons but will not grant the right to life to the unborn. How 'liberal' is that? How 'inclusive'? How respectful of 'diversity'?
Should felons be allowed to vote? The conservative answers with alacrity. "Of course not. Why should those who cannot order their own lives prudently be allowed to have a say in the ordering of society?"
Hendrik makes no mention of the crime, the victim, and her horrible death. Instead, typical leftist that he is, he invests his interest in the perceived underdog without any consideration of why the dirty dog is in his inferior position. Hitchens puts the emphasis where it belongs. Hendrik:
The classic justifications for the death penalty have not changed much over the centuries. There is retribution—an eye for an eye, a life for a life. There is deterrence—this is what awaits you if you transgress. And there is awe—a graphic demonstration of the ultimate power of the state.
No talk of justice, but a shabby suggestion that the principle that the punishment must fit the crime is to be interpreted as a narrow lex talionis injunction, as if the death penalty is in every case like the barbarity of gouging out the eye of the eye-gouger.
There is also something curious about leftists, who are totalitarians from the ground up, the top down, and from side to side, worrying about the ultimate power of the state. These are same moral cretins who want to use the power of the state to force florists and caterers to violate their consciences.
Anyone who doesn't see the moral necessity of the death penalty in certain carefully circumscribed cases, anyone who thinks that it is always and everywhere and in principle immoral, is morally obtuse.
[Senator Joseph] McCarthy in the 1950s became infamous for smearing his opponents with lurid allegations that he could not prove, while questioning their patriotism. Reid has brought back to the Senate that exact same McCarthy style of six decades ago -- and trumped it.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Reid libeled candidate Mitt Romney with the unsubstantiated and later-refuted charge that Romney was a tax cheat. "The word's out that he [Romney] hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years," Reid said.
Later, when asked for proof, Reid offered a pathetic rejoinder: "I have had a number of people tell me that." One wonders how many names were on Reid's McCarthyite "tell" list -- were there, as McCarthy used to bluster, 205 names, or perhaps just 57?
When asked again to document the slur, Reid echoed McCarthy perfectly: "The burden should be on him. He's the one I've alleged has not paid any taxes."
Call this the Reid Principle: The maker of scurrilous and unsubstantiated allegations is presumed veracious. The burden of rebutting the charges is borne by the victim of the smear.
Reid's behavior in this and in other cases makes it clear that Democrats see politics as a form of warfare. Conservatives need to wise up.
On Easter Sunday, it is only fitting that the reliably despicable Ross Douthat should once again rise from the dead with an incoherently dreadful column on Piketty. I will not try to summarize it. As Aristotle observed [I think], shit has no form, and hence cannot easily be apprehended by reason. You may read it for yourself. I take Douthat's column as a good sign, a harbinger of Spring. When the rats on the sinking ship of capitalism pause in their scramble down the hawsers to acknowledge the reemergence of Marx from the dustbin of history [how's that for a mixed metaphor?], there is hope on this annual celebration of resurrection.
Note that Wolff does not address the content of Douthat's essay, though he does have the decency to link to it. What he does is portray Douthat as a reliably despicable zombie and rat, a shill for capitalism, who has penned an incoherently dreadful column, a piece of shit beneath the apprehension of reason.
Well thank you Professor Wolff for this wonderful Easter Sunday illustration of the Central Axiom and for reminding us once again of how dangerous you leftists are, and, indirectly, how important our Second Amendment rights are.
Blind review is a standard practice employed by editors of professional journals and organizers of academic conferences. The editor/organizer removes the name of the author from the manuscript before sending it to the referee or referees for evaluation. My present concern is not whether this is a good practice. I am concerned with the phrase that describes it and whether or not this phrase can be reasonably found offensive by anyone. There are those who think that the phrase is offensive and ought to be banned. Shelley Tremain writes,
For the last few years, I have tried to get the APA [American Philosophical Association] to remove the phrase “blind review” from its publications and website. The phrase is demeaning to disabled people because it associates blindness with lack of knowledge and implies that blind people cannot be knowers. Because the phrase is standardly used in philosophy and other academic CFPs [Calls for Papers], it should become recognized as a cause for great concern. In short, use of the phrase amounts to the circulation of language that discriminates. Philosophers should want to avoid inflicting harm in this way.
Let's consider these claims seriatim.
1. "The phrase is demeaning to disabled people . . . " Well, I am a disabled person and the phrase is not demeaning to me. As a result of a birth defect I hear in only one ear. And of course there are innumerable people who are disabled in different ways who will not find the phrase demeaning.
2. " . . . because it associates blindness with lack of knowledge and implies that blind people cannot be knowers." This is not just false but silly. No one thinks that blind people cannot be knowers or that knowers cannot be blind.
Besides, it makes no sense to say that a phrase associates anything with anything. A foolish person who is precisely not thinking, but associating, might associate blindness with ignorance, but so what? People associate the damndest things.
To point out the obvious: if the name has been removed from the mansucript, then the referee literally cannot see it. This is not to say that the referee is blind, or blind with respect to the author's name: he could see it if it were there to see. 'Blind review' means that the reviewer is kept in the dark as to the identity of the author. That's all!
3. ". . . it should become recognized as a cause for great concern." Great concern? This is a wild exaggeration even if this issue is of some minor concern. I say, however, that it is of no concern. No one is demeaned or slighted or insulted or mocked or ridiculed by the use of the phrase in question.
4. ". . . use of the phrase amounts to the circulation of language that discriminates." One could argue that the practice of blind review discriminates against those who have made a name for themselves. But that is the only discrimination in the vicinity. I said at the top that this post is no joke. What is risible, however, is that anyone would find 'blind review' to be discriminatory against blind people.
5. "Philosophers should want to avoid inflicting harm in this way." This presupposes that the use of the phrase 'blind review' inflicts harm. This is just silly. It would be like arguing that the use of 'black hole' inflicts harm on black people because its use associates blacks with holes or with hos (whores).
In the early-to-mid '80s I attended an APA session organized by a group that called itself PANDORA: Philosophers Against the Nuclear Destruction of Rational Animals. One of the weighty topics that came up at this particular meeting was the very name 'Pandora.' Some argued that the name is sexist on the ground that it might remind someone of Pandora's Box, which of course has nothing to do with the characteristic female orifice, but in so reminding them might be taken as a slighting of that orifice. ('Box' is crude slang for the orifice in question.) I pointed out in the meeting that the name is just an acronym, and has nothing to do either with Pandora's Box or the characteristic female orifice. My comment made no impression on the politically correct there assembled. Later the outfit renamed itself Concerned Philosophers for Peace ". . . because of sexist and exclusionary aspects of the acronym." (See here)
When liberals are up to their usual scumbaggery ought one take the high road with them, patiently making one's case in gentlemanly fashion and rebutting theirs, assuming there is one, all the while ignoring their insults and slanders? In The Liberal Slandering of Paul Ryan Peter Wehner takes seriously and replies earnestly to the mouthings of the race-baiter Paul Krugman and others. But slanderous scum like Krugman are beneath serious reply and it is arguable that replying in measured tones only gives them a credibility they don't deserve.
Once you grasp that it is a war, and that liberals will say anything no matter how absurd, then you will appreciate that mockery and derision are much more effective means of opposing them. But you must also provide solid arguments for the fence-sitters. In Six Arguments Only a Liberal Believe, John Hawkins supplies just the right admixture of mockery and derision to his substantive point-making.
I'm all for civility, but civility is for the civil only.
George Zimmerman felt threatened by a boy almost half his age. When Trayvon Martin couldn’t produce papers proving that he wasn’t a “punk,” Zimmerman felt justified in killing him. The judicial system backed him up.
The verdicts matter. Zimmerman’s acquittal lent legal imprimatur to the understanding that it is open season on young black men; Dunn’s mistrial on the key charge of murder did nothing to discredit that. But these tales go beyond the legal arena: they reflect a violent, racist culture in which the black body, particularly when it is young and male, is considered fair game.
You have to be moral scum to write crap like this. There are certain views the holding of which morally condemns the holder. See my articles below.
Communism as a political force, though not quite dead, is moribund; but one of its offspring, Political Correctness, is alive and kicking especially in the universities, the courts, in the mainstream media, in Hollywood, in the Democrat Party, and indeed wherever liberals and leftists dominate. This is one of the reasons why I am interested in the history of Communism. I want to understand PC, and to understand PC one must understand the CP, for the former is child of the latter.
The great irony of the McCarthy period is that we did almost as much damage to ourselves, in the name of purifying our ranks, as Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover and all the other witch-hunters combined were able to do. One of the most catastrophically stupid things we ever did was to choose this moment to launch an internal campaign against white chauvinism. (125)
'White chauvinism' was the term used in the '50s in CPUSA circles for racism. After singing the praises of the Party for its commitment to racial equality, Healey continues:
However, with the white chauvinism campaign of 1949-1953, what had been a legitimate concern turned into an obsession, a ritual act of self-purification that did nothing to strengthen the Party in its fight against racism and was manipulated by some Communist leaders for ends which had nothing to do with the ostensible purpose of the whole campaign. Once an accusation of white chauvinism was thrown against a white Communist, there was no defense. Debate was over. By the very act of denying the validity of the charge, you only proved your own guilt. Thousands of people were caught up in this campaign — not only in the Party itself, but within the Progressive Party and some of the Left unions as well. In Los Angeles alone we must have expelled two hundred people on charges of white chauvinism, usually on the most trivial of pretexts. People would be expelled for serving coffee in a chipped coffee cup to a Black or serving watermelon at the end of dinner. (p. 126 emphasis added.)
Healey goes on to describe how she herself was brought up on a white chauvinism charge, was forced to admit guilt, sign a statement, etc. She details how it was impossible to criticize even the most incompetent of Black party members. (pp. 126-129)
Not much has changed in this regard. There is nothing a liberal fears more than to be labeled a racist, and, like 'fascist,' 'racist' is a term they apply indiscriminately to their political opponents as an all-purpose smear word.
How can we explain intelligent, articulate, intellectually vigorous people stuck in time, repeating themselves endlessly like robots? Even if the diversity crusade hadn’t become an embarrassment and a sham, the sheer mindless obsession of it suggests a seriously neurotic institution. Yale doesn’t lack diversity, just rationality. Of course it lacks intellectual diversity, but that problem has been solved by shipping “diversity” off to redefinition camp. American English is feeling a lot better, thank you, now that it’s been lobotomized by political hacks. (Covered by Obamacare!)
[. . .]
The good thing about the “diversity” problem is that you can obsess over it forever with no risk of solving it, because it is insoluble—based as it is on a wholly implausible lie. The diversity kingpins aim for group representation in all academic fields based on a group’s numbers in the student population, and in America (eventually the world) at large. But why would anyone suspect that both sexes and all races and nationalities have approximately the same skills at everything? And the same interests in everything? And the same physical qualifications for everything? Doesn’t diversity imply (for lack of a better term) diversity?
No!—and that’s the best thing about the diversity crusade. It is actually an anti-diversity crusade, waged by people who detest diversity. Its goal is to suppress diversity of every sort. Yale women must behave just like Yale men: must major in the same things at the same rates, go out for sports in the same numbers, get the same jobs, make the same money, care to the same extent in the same way about children, family, money, power, sex, and everything else. So why are there “Women’s Studies” departments? Because (dammit!) women and men are totally different! So why is there a diversity campaign? Because women and men are exactly the same!
The United States accomplished the amazing feat of virtually extinguishing race prejudice in a single generation, between the late 1950s and the early ’80s. It was a superb accomplishment, on the order of the Moon landings. But young Americans get no chance to take pride in it: We don’t just suppress the facts, we lie about them. We teach our children from kindergarten up that America still struggles with prejudice against approved minorities and women, when they can see with their own eyes that prejudice in favor of approved minorities and women is everywhere—in education, industry, and government. How are they supposed to learn that it is important to tell the truth? How will they learn what the truth means?
This problem is not keeping the Obama regime up nights. A Hillary administration would be equally indifferent.
War on Truth is the Obama administration’s middle name, and sometimes seems to be its actual goal. Releasing the toxic phrase “War on Women” into the political atmosphere was a risky move for the left—they have got away with it only because Republicans are so timid and lazy. That Republicans are antiwoman is an absurd lie, and what does it say about Republican women? Are they dupes or traitors? Or just dumb broads? (You know how women are about politics. Hopeless.) There was a time when honest Americans of every political type would have exploded at the sheer, filthy dishonesty of the phrase. No more. American culture is changing.
BV: It is indeed. Clear proof is that Obama gets away with his repeated outright lies, his Orwellianisms and his nine-to-five shuck and jive. Something is wrong when even conservative commentators refer to his brazen lies by saying that the POMO prez "misspoke."
While the Obamacrats rave on about the War on Women (believing that abortion poses an ethical question being tantamount, after all, to mowing down young girls in the street as they emerge from the shelters in which they have gathered, cowering, in fear of Republicans)—while they denounce the War on Women, Obamacrats have been merrily waging a war on jobs, a war on small business, a war on the best-by-far health care system in human history, a war on America’s international influence and prestige, a war on economic recovery, a war on energy independence, a war on the Constitution, and many other battles around the edges. But the War on Truth matters most, hurts most, and will be remembered longest.
Do Republicans care about the cultural mainstream’s real prejudice against white boys? Not in the least. Will Republicans challenge the diversity racket, the “affirmative action” con game that still dominates so many important institutional decisions? Americans dislike affirmative action and always have, but Republicans are too scared to speak up. Elections are approaching. Let us at least hear about this war on truth, from every last Republican candidate, for every office, at every level, every day. American culture, society, civilization are at stake. Please.
The chickenshit RINOs are too much enamoured of their perquisites, power, and pelf to take a principled stand on anything. They are go-along-to-get-along, kick-the-can-down-the-road types out for themselves first and foremost, and the Republic be damned. They are as republican as the Dems are democratic.
I read the 17 page American Philosophical Association site visit report on the University of Colorado, Boulder, philosophy department. As a consultant, I wrote many reports like this -- you interview, obtain documentation and data, analyze the information, compare performance to best practices, and then finalize recommendations. Most of the time outside consultants are hired because there is a known problem; the consultant provides an 'objective' viewpoint as someone experienced in the subject area and, importantly, as someone with no personal stake in the outcome.
The troubling thing about the report is that it provides no detail, no who-where-what information that would document the basis for the conclusions. Ostensibly this lack of detail protects confidentiality, but the report was never intended to be made public. As a former consultant, I would say that the conclusions and recommendations are not supported by the content of the report. All of the allegations are vague and without specifics. No one writing such a report should want to provide salacious detail for no reason, but in fact the detail is extremely important. In a criminal trial, no accuser gets away with making vague allegations. Only the reference to 15 complaints filed with the ODH indicates that there may be specific actionable problems, but obviously the UC was already aware of those, so in fact the report contains nothing new that is specific enough to justify the recommendations. Vague comments like "the department has a reputation in the international philosophical community for being extremely unfriendly to women" are not really acceptable, as the authors appear to be merely repeating gossip obtained before their arrival in Boulder.
The 'best practices' reference is just silly. They are making all of this up as they go along, that's plain to see, and the UC philosophy department is the first department to be subjected to this inquisition, so there is no 'best practice' that even exists. The insistence that events must be "family friendly" appears to be based on some theory of academic work (or indeed, any adult work) that is not articulated but that is probably completely unfeasible. At a minimum it should be debated by all concerned, not just presented in passing as the thing that must now be done.
If a junior consultant gave me this report as a first draft, I would make these sorts of comments and would help them understand that that their report did not meet professional standards and could not be presented as is to senior management.
I conclude that the APA CSW should not be doing this sort of thing at all. Referring to the last sentence of my first paragraph above, the CSW ladies are not wholly disinterested; they are gender warriors. They are not objective as a consultant from outside philosophy and academia would be, nor are they subject area experts (they are philosophers!) and they have done a disservice to Mr. Forbes, the department, the University and philosophy in general. They should go back to teaching and writing and complaining on their blog; if this sort of thing is to be done, it should be done by professional, objective outside consultants.
Compare the above with this supine reaction to the Site Visit Report by two faculty members of the philosophy department.
A recurrent theme of mine is that contemporary liberals are extremists. Note the qualifier 'contemporary.' I am not talking about 1960 JFK liberals, let alone the classical liberals of the 19th century. Contemporary liberals are, in my recent coinage, LINOs, liberals in name only. What in fact they are are hard leftists.
So I suppose I should thank Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York and son of Mario Cuomo for saying what he and his ilk think when their normal modus operandi is to hide what they really think and engage in stealth tactics, Obama being a prime practitioner thereof. Cuomo has spilled the beans and shown his true colors if you will permit me a mixed metaphor. Here is what he said:
Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.
Does this deserve a civil response? No, but it does call for a response, of the sort illustrated here.
To liberals, a lot of conservative thinking seems like a failure of logic: why would a conservative be against equal rights for women and yet despise the poor, when to liberate women into the world of work would create more wealth, meaning less poverty? And yet we instinctively understand those as features of the conservative worldview, and rightly so.
This is beneath response.
Here are some critical comments of mine from September 2004 on Lakoff's ideas.
Although the state under leftism is totalitarian and demands conformity and submission in matters of moment, it tolerates and indeed encourages the cultivation of a politically inconsequential individualism of private self-absorption. A people given bread (food stamps and other forms of infantilizing dependency), circuses (mass sporting events), dope (legalization of marijuana), pornography, politically correct propaganda, and such weapons of mass distraction as Twitter and Facebook is kept distracted, enervated, and submissive.
Nowadays it is not religion that is the opiate of the masses, but the dope of Big Government.
According to Ron Radosh, ". . . 'The Hammer Song,' known by most as “If I Had a Hammer,” was written by Lee Hays (not Seeger) as a song to be used in defense of the indicted Communists, and not as a clarion call for brotherhood." May of us were fooled way back when, we who heard it first in the Peter, Paul, and Mary version. The Seeger version.
Back to Radosh for context, and to stem the deluge of uncritical praise (bolding added):
Pete Seeger’s death at the age of 94 has brought forth scores of celebratory tributes. America had long ago showered him with honors, which all but made up for the scorn with which he was once held in the age of the blacklist. Seeger received the National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1994, as well as multiple Grammys. He was named one of America’s “living legends” by the Library of Congress, was asked to sing at the 2009 inauguration of President Obama, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He had become, as a Washington Post story once put it, “America’s Best Loved Commie.”
Without Seeger’s influence and sponsorship of folk music, from traditional Appalachian ballads to slave songs of the Old South, many would never have appreciated folk music, nor would it have become a genre whose influence has spread far and wide. He experimented with “world music” long before anyone had used that term; when abroad, he collected songs and brought them back to the United States. “Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight),” written by Solomon Linda and used in The Lion King, is a major example of a South African song Seeger brought here generations before Paul Simon.
What other artist would receive a statement from the president of the United States honoring him, not to speak of the scores of senators and members of Congress who found inspiration in his voice and his singing?
Yet, an honest appreciation of Pete Seeger cannot be left at what most accolades have done. Indeed, since his political vision, his service over the decades to the brutality of Soviet-era Stalinism and to all of the post-Cold War leftist tyrannies, was inseparable from the music he made, it simply cannot be overlooked. For, more often than not, Seeger’s voice was heard in defense of causes in which only fools could still believe. As Paul Berman put it, “Let us sing ‘If I Had a Hammer,’ then, and, at every third verse, let our hammers bop Pete Seeger on the head for having been a fool and an idiot.”
And calling him a fool and an idiot is, indeed, not too harsh a judgment to make about Pete Seeger. I say that sadly, as a person for whom Pete was a childhood hero. I studied banjo with him, got to know him, and visited him at the legendary home he built from scrap in Beacon, New York.
For years, all that Pete Seeger said about Joseph Stalin, whose regime he served without a blink for decades, was that the Soviet leader was a “hard driver.”
[. . .]
During the Nazi-Soviet Pact (1939-41), Seeger sang antiwar songs that, in effect, called for the support of Hitler. When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, he withdrew the songs he had just recorded and suddenly supported the “antifascist alliance” between the United States and the Soviets. During the Cold War, he supported unilateral American disarmament and backed one Soviet propaganda campaign after the other. “Put My Name Down, Brother, Where Do I Sign?” he sang, calling for signatures on the Stockholm Peace Petition developed by KGB fronts in Europe.
During the Vietnam war, Seeger not only helped lead the antiwar movement, he also sang in praise of the brutal Ho Chi Minh. Lyndon B. Johnson was called “a big fool” in one of his most famous songs, while he sang of Ho Chi Minh: He educated all the people, / He demonstrated to the world, / If a man will stand for hisown land, / He’s got the strength of ten.
In 1999, Seeger traveled to Cuba to receive an award from the Castro regime. The fading Cuban tyrants honored him with their highest cultural award, given for “humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism,” which was in and of itself a travesty. Accepting an award from Fidel Castro should make it clear that Seeger’s would-be humanism and protest was aimed at one side only: his own country, which he clearly thought was led by the world’s sole oppressors.
One cannot hope to be thought of as a defender of human rights and also accept an award from the Cuban police state. That, too, must be taken into consideration when evaluating what Pete Seeger really learned from his own Stalinist past.
In his last years, Seeger, who, in the period when the Soviet Union was briefly pro-Israel, sang songs in both Hebrew and Yiddish (including Israeli songs), gave his support to boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) against Israel, even to the extent that he handed over royalties from “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the movement.
A great folk singer who contributed much to the American story, he was fatally flawed by the leftism he imbibed with his mother’s milk. How telling that a man who sought social justice, peace, and a livable world could, at the same time, believe that serving leftist tyrants was somehow compatible with his dream of universality and solidarity.
'Profiling' drives liberals crazy, which is a good reason to do more of it. No day without political incorrectness. Here is a form of profiling I engage in, and you should too.
You are on the freeway exercising due diligence. You are not drunk or stoned or yapping on a cell phone. You espy an automotively dubious vehicle up ahead, muddied, dented, with muffler about to fall off, and a mattress 'secured' to the roof.
Do you keep your distance? If you are smart, you do. But then you a profiling. You are making a judgment as to the relative likelihood of that vehicle's being the cause of an accident. You are inferring something about the sort of person that would be on the road in such a piece of junk. Tail light out? Then maybe brakes bad.
I don't need to tell you motorcyclists how important automotive profiling is.
You are doing right. You are engaging in automotive profiling. You are pissing off liberals. Keep it up and stay alive. We need more of your kind.
I refer to contemporary liberals as LINOs, liberals in name only. Why? See here:
I couldn’t believe it. I was trying to discuss traditional marriage – and the state was trying to stop me.
Incredible, in a 21st-century European country, but true. I was invited to speak at a conference on marriage last summer, to be held at the Law Society in London. The government had just launched a public consultation on changing the law to allow same-sex marriage. The conference was a chance for supporters of traditional marriage to contribute to the debate. [. . .]
A few days before the conference, someone from Christian Concern, the group which had organised the event, rang me in a panic: the Law Society had refused to let us meet on their premises. The theme was “contrary to our diversity policy”, the society explained in an email to the organisers, “espousing as it does an ethos which is opposed to same-sex marriage”. In other words, the Law Society regarded support for heterosexual union, still the only legal form of marriage in Britain, as discriminatory.
I am hosting the first meeting of The Dead Smokers Society on Monday, January 13th, from 10 a.m. to noon at the stoplight at Scottsdale Community College. I have invited all of my friends to smoke and vape with me on the street on the first day of school. This could be REALLY fun. I am inviting you if you can come.
The only rule is: Membership in the DSS requires use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or vapor devices.
I can only applaud this bit of commonsensical, liberty-affirming activism and I hope to be able to attend despite my quietism. I shall sport an Arturo Fuente 'Curly Head,' a cheap smoke, but a good smoke. Here is some background information and argument and polemic from an old post of mine dated 26 June 2012:
Peter and Mike teach in the Maricopa County Community College system. One teaches at Scottsdale CC, the other at Glendale CC. Over Sunday breakfast they reported that, starting 1 July (if I got the story straight), no smoking of tobacco products will be allowed anywhere on any CC campus in Maricopa County, Arizona. And that includes parking lots and closed cars in parking lots.
Now I would like to believe that our liberal brethren possess a modicum of rationality. But with every passing day I am further disembarrassed of this conceit of mine. The evidence is mounting that liberals really are as stupid and lacking in common sense as many on the Right say they are.
What does common sense suggest in a case like this? Well, that no smoking be allowed in classrooms, libraries, laboratories, restrooms, administrative offices, hallways, etc., and perhaps not even in individual faculty offices during consulation hours or if the smoke will make its way into occuppied public passageways.
This is a common sense position easily buttressed with various aesthetic, safety, and health-related arguments. The underlying principle is that we ought to be considerate of our fellow mortals and their physical and psychological well-being. It is debatable just how harmful are the effects of sidestream smoke. What is not debatable is that many are offended by it. So out of consideration for them, it is reasonable to ban smoking in the places I listed above. But to ban it everywhere on campus is extreme and irrational. For no one but Tom is affected by Tom's smoking in his car and while striding across the wind-blown campus.
You say you caught a whiff of his cigaratte as he passed by? Well, he heard you use the 'F' word while blasting some rap 'music' from your boom box. If Tom is involved in air pollution, then you are involved in cultural and noise pollution. You tolerate him and he'll tolerate you.
You say you smell the residual ciggy smoke on Peter's vest? That's too bad. He has to put up with your overpowering perfume/cologne or look at your tackle-box face and tattoo-defaced skin. Or maybe you are a dumb no-nothing punk wearing a T-shirt depicting Che Guevara and you think that's cool. We who are not dumb no-nothing punks have to put up with that affront to our sensibilities.
But there really is little point in being reasonable with people as unreasonable as liberty-bashing tobacco-wackos. So I think Peter and Mike ought to think about organizing a smoke-in. In the 'sixties we had love-ins and sit-ins, and they proved efficacious. Why not smoke-ins to protest blatantly extreme and irrational policies?
There must be plenty of faculty and staff and students on these campuses -- and maybe even a few not-yet-brain-dead liberals -- who would participate. Hell, I'll even drive all the way from my hideout in the Superstitions to take part. We'll gather in some well-ventilated place way out in the open to manifest our solidarity, enjoy the noble weed, and reason -- if such a thing is possible -- with the Pee-Cee boneheads who oppose us.
By the way, that is a joint old Ben Franklin is smoking in the graphic. In this post I take no position on the marijuana question.
A few days ago I was blissfully unaware of Duck Diversity Dynasty, the reality show on the Arts and Entertainment channel. I still haven't watched even one episode, nor am I particularly inclined to; the antics of rednecks are not my thing. I have gathered, however, that the series falls more on the entertainment end of the Arts and Entertainment spectrum. One of the characters whose reality is depicted, Phil Robertson, shown on the left, has made comments on homosexuality that have drawn attention, to put it mildly. I won't rehearse the details of a brouhaha about which my astute readers can be expected to be familiar. I will simply make a few comments bearing upon the contretemps that strike me as important.
1. To have the homosexual disposition or inclination or proclivity is one thing; to exercise it in homosexual sex acts such as anal intercourse is quite another. You may be born with the proclivity, and stuck with it, but you are free to exercise it or not. The proclivity may be part of 'who you are,' ingredient in your very identity, but the practices are freely engaged in. Acts done or left undone are contingent and thus no part of anyone's identity. Moral criticism of homosexual practices is not criticism of anyone for who he is.
2. It follows that rejection of homosexual sex acts as immoral is consistent with acceptance of homosexuals as people. In a trite phrase, one can hate the sin but love the sinner. The sinful and the immoral, however, are not quite the same, though I cannot expatiate on the distinction at the moment.
It is therefore very bad journalism to describe Robertson's comments as 'anti-gay' for that elides the distinction I just drew. Opposition to homosexual practices is not opposition to homosexuals.
And of course there is nothing 'homophobic' about Robertson's comments. I don't reckon that the good old boy pictured above has any irrational fear of homosexuals. 'Homophobic' is a coinage of leftists to prevent one of those famous 'conversations' that they otherwise call for. It is a question-begging epithet and semantic bludgeon meant to close down debate by the branding of their opponents as suffering from a mental defect. This is why only a foolish conservative acquiesces in the use of this made-up word. Language matters. One of the first rules for successful prosecution of the Kulturkampf is to never let the enemy distort the terms of the debate. Insist on standard English, and always slap them down when they engage in their notorious 'framing.' As for 'gay,' that too is a word we ought not surrender. Use the neutral 'homosexual.' Same with 'queer.' 'Queer' is a good old word. Nominalists think abstracta are queer entities. There is no implication that the analysis of such is in any way proctological.
3. Whether or not Phil Robertson and people like him can cogently defend their opposition to homosexual practices, they have a right to hold and express their opinions in public fora, and a right to be tolerated by those who oppose their views. To tolerate is not approve of, let alone endorse; it is to put up with, to allow, to refrain from interfering with the promulgation of distasteful ideas. Without widespread toleration it is hard to see how a nation as diverse and pluralistic as the USA can remain even minimally united.
4. There are solid arguments based in theology and philosophy for rejecting as immoral homosexual practices. And they are available to Robertson and Co. should they decide to lay down their shotguns long enough to swot them up. These arguments won't convince those on the the other side, but then no argument, no matter how well-articulated and reasonable, no matter how consistent with known empirical fact and free of logical error, convinces those on the other side of any 'hot button' issue.
5. As a corollary to (4), note that arguments against homosexuality needn't presupose the truth of any religion. They can be purely philosophical. The same goes for abortion. If I argue against late-term abortion on the the ground that it is sufficiently like infanticide to inherit the moral wrongness of infanticide, then I argue in a way that makes no use of any religious premise.
6. The A & E Network has every right to fire Robertson and Co. By the same token, a baker or a florist has every right to refuse service to a same-sex couple planning a same -sex 'marriage' and it is simply wrong for government at any level to force the baker or the florist to violate his conscience.
7. In the interests of comity, homosexuals and their practices ought to be tolerated. Whether or not the practices are immoral, they ought to be legally permissible as long as they are between consenting adults. But this right to be tolerated does not translate into a right to be approved or applauded or celebrated or a right to impose their views on others, or a right to change the culture to their liking. In particular, it does not translate into a right to have their 'marriages' legally recognized.
8. Given the obvious distinction made in (1) above, the following sort of argument is invalid. "Tom didn't choose to be homosexual; he was born that way, so his practice of homosexuality via anal intercourse is morally acceptable." That sort of argument obviously proves too much. Pedophiles, sadomasochists, necrophiliacs, and so on down the list of sexual perversions are most of them born with their proclivity, but that fact does not justify their engaging in the corresponding practices.
Pope Francis recently spoke, quite foolishly, of "unfettered capitalism," as if there is any such thing in the world. A more worthy cynosure of disapprobation is the slide toward unfettered regulation and omni-invasive government spearheaded by presumably well-meaning liberal-fascist nanny-staters.
You know things are getting bad when they come after your hot sauce. An Asian restaurant without Sriracha is like, what? A house without a fireplace? Coffee without caffeine? A man without balls?
You see, if these food fascists can go after Sriracha on the ground that it is a raw food, then Tabasco sauce, that marvellous Louisiana condiment from Avery Island, that undisputed king of the hot sauces, recognized as such by true connoisseurs all across this great land, that sine qua non of fine dining, and the criterion that separates, in point of the prandial, the men from the candy-mouthed girly-men, and which is also a raw food -- then, I say, Tabasco sauce is in danger, a state of affairs the only appropriate remedy to which which would be of the Second Amendment variety, if I may be permitted a bit of holiday hyperbole.
David Tran, founder of Huy Fong Foods, fled communist Viet Nam to come to our shores for freedom and a chance at self-reliance and economic self-determination . Unfortunately, the successors of commies, the leftists of the Democrat Party, may drive Tran out of California into a friendlier environment.
When they came for the soda, you did nothing because you don't drink the stuff. When they came for the Sriracha, you did nothing because you didn't know what the hell it was. But if they come after Tabasco sauce and you do nothing, then you deserve to be shot -- figuratively speaking of course.
A few miles from Buckingham Palace, Muslims in London’s East End are now sufficiently confident to go around warning local shopkeepers to cease selling alcohol. In theory, you might still enjoy the right to sell beer in Tower Hamlets or be a practicing Christian in Iraq, but in reality not so much. The asphyxiating embrace of ideological conformity was famously captured by Nikolai Krylenko, the People’s Commissar for Justice, in a speech to the Soviet Congress of Chess Players in 1932, at which he attacked the very concept of “the neutrality of chess.” It was necessary for chess to be Sovietized like everything else. “We must organize shock brigades of chess players, and begin immediate realization of a Five-Year Plan for chess,” he declared.
Six years later, the political winds having shifted, Krylenko was executed as an enemy of the people. But his spirit lives on among the Commissars of Gay Compliance at GLAAD. It is not enough to have gay marriage for gays. Everything must be gayed. There must be Five-Year Gay Plans for American bakeries, and the Christian church, and reality TV. There must be shock brigades of gay duck-hunters honking out the party line deep in the backwoods of the proletariat. Obamacare pajama models, if not yet mandatorily gay, can only be dressed in tartan onesies and accessorized with hot chocolate so as to communicate to the Republic’s maidenhood what a thankless endeavor heterosexuality is in contemporary America.
The gaying of America if you will. One good thing about leftists, though, is that they tend to turn on, and purge, their own ilk.
Liberals spout nonsense about an 'epidemic' of obesity or obesity as a public health problem. True, we Americans are a gluttonous people as witness competitive eating contests, the numerous food shows, and the complete lack of any sense among most that there is anything morally wrong with gluttony. The moralists of old understood something when they classified gluttony as one of the seven deadly sins.
Obesity is not a disease; so, speaking strictly, there cannot be an epidemic of it. There are two separate issues here. One is whether obesity is a disease. Here are some arguments pro et con. But even if it is classified as a disease, it is surely not a contagious disease and so not something there can be an epidemic of.
I know that 'epidemic' is used more broadly than this, even by epidemiologists; but this is arguably the result of an intrusion of liberal ideology into what is supposedly science. Do you really think that 'epidemic' is being used in the same way in 'flu epidemic' and 'obesity epidemic'? Is obesity contagious? If fat Al sneezes in my face, should I worry about contracting the obesity virus? There is no such virus.
Obesity is not contagious and not a disease. I know what some will say: obesity is socially contagious. But now you've shifted the sense of 'contagious.' You've engaged in a bit of semantic mischief. It is not as if there are two kinds of contagion, natural and social. Social contagion is not contagion any more than negative growth is growth or a decoy duck is a duck. 'Social' in 'socially contagious' is an alienansadjective.
Why then are you fat? You are fat because you eat too much of the wrong sorts of food and refuse to exercise. For most people that's all there is to it. It's your fault. It is not the result of being attacked by a virus. It is within your power to be fat or not. It is a matter of your FREE WILL. You have decided to become fat or to remain fat. When words such as 'epidemic' and 'disease' are used in connection with obesity, that is an ideological denial of free will, an attempt to shift responsibility from the agent to factors external to the agent such as the 'evil' corporations that produce so-called 'junk' food.
This is worth reproducing; I came to essentially the same conclusion (emphasis added):
The viciousness with which this book [Mind and Cosmos] was received is, quite frankly, astonishing. I can understand why scientists don't like it; they're wary of philosophers trespassing on their terrain. But philosophers? What is philosophy except (1) the careful analysis of alternatives (i.e., logical possibilities), (2) the questioning of dogma, and (3) the patient distinguishing between what is known and what is not known (or known not to be) in a given area of human inquiry? Nagel's book is smack dab in the Socratic tradition. Socrates himself would admire it. That Nagel, a distinguished philosopher who has made important contributions to many branches of the discipline, is vilified by his fellow philosophers (I use the term loosely for what are little more than academic thugs) shows how thoroughly politicized philosophy has become. I find it difficult to read any philosophy after, say, 1980, when political correctness, scientism, and dogmatic atheism took hold in academia. Philosophy has become a handmaiden to political progressivism, science, and atheism. Nagel's "mistake" is to think that philosophy is an autonomous discipline. I fully expect that, 100 years from now, philosophers will look back on this era as the era of hacks, charlatans, and thugs. Philosophy is too important to be given over to such creeps.
One such creepy thug is this corpulent apparatchik of political correctness:
My title is intentionally hyperbolic and provocative, but not without justification given the outrageously vile (e.g., Martin Bashir) and breathtakingly mindless (e.g., Melissa Harris Perry) commentary encountered at liberal media outlets such as MSNBC. Here is a measured formulation of my question: To what extent does liberal ideology militate against sanity and moral decency in those who imbibe it, people who otherwise are basically sane and decent?
A philosophy doctoral student at an Ivy League institution e-mails,
In a recent post, you wrote:
Can one be both a liberal and a decent and sane human being? Or is scumbaggery as it were inscribed into the very marrow of the contemporary liberal? Or perhaps it is more like this: once liberalism infects a person's mind, the decency that was there is flushed out.
Actually, I have struggled with relatives of these questions for some time, and honestly don't know what to think. Many of the people I rub shoulders with are liberal to the bone. But I know well enough to say they're genuinely nice people--and smart people (some, for instance, are brilliant philosophers). At the same time, I find most of the liberal claptrap so intellectually inane and morally repugnant that I have a genuinely hard time seeing how anyone--much less these seemingly smart and decent people--can believe it. I don't know how to reconcile the two observations. Surely you know at least one intelligent, morally decent liberal. How do you fit their existence into your ontology? Or do we have an argument from queerness motivating us to become liberal error theorists? Would such a creature--assuming they can exist--present a peer-disagreement scenario, or cause you to lower your credence in your own beliefs?
My correspondent poses the puzzle of reconciling
1. Some liberals are genuinely nice and highly intelligent people
2. These same liberals subscribe to intellectually inane and morally repugnant beliefs.
What makes this aporetic dyad truly puzzling is that the limbs are individually plausible but appear collectively inconsistent. Let's consider an example.
I don't know Robert Paul Wolff personally, but I was favorably impressed by a couple of his books and I read his blog, The Philosopher's Stone, despite the fact that he often comes across as a stoned philosopher. He is no doubt very intelligent, and he seems like a nice guy. But he says things so preternaturally moronic that I am left scratching my head. Here is just one of several examples:
Why Do Conservatives Oppose ObamaCare?
Robert Paul Wolff has an answer for us. Ready? The bolding is Wolff's own and is twice-repeated:
Because Obama is Black.
Is Professor Wolff serious? I'm afraid he is. But given that the man is neither stupid nor the usual sort of left-wing moral scumbag, how could he be serious? What explains a view so plainly delusional? How account for an emotion-driven mere dismissal of the conservative position the arguments for which he will not examine? How is it that a professional philosopher, indeed a very good one, can engage in such puerile ad hominem psychologizing? Wolff himself provides an answer in a later post:
My knowledge of the beliefs and sentiments of those on the right is based entirely on things I have read or have seen on television. I have never had a conversation with a committed right-wing opponent of the Affordable Care Act, nor have I even, to the best of my knowledge, met one. You would be quite correct in inferring that I live in a left-wing bubble [called Chapel Hill -- before that, I lived in a left-wing bubble called Amherst, MA, and before that I lived in the right wing bubbles called Morningside Heights, Hyde Park, and Cambridge.] If this strikes you as disqualifying me from having an opinion, you are free to ignore the rest of this post.
Need I say more?
This is a perfect illustration of my correspondent's puzzle. In Robert Paul Wolff we have a man who is intelligent and (I will give him the benefit of the doubt) morally decent, but who maintains a thesis that is both delusional and morally repugnant in that it constitutes a slander on conservatives. What explains this? Wolff himself provides what may be the best explanation: he lives in a bubble. He doesn't know conservative positions, nor interact with conservatives. But isn't it a moral failure in one who is supposedly a truth-seeker simply to ignore whole swaths of opinion that run counter to one's own? Is that not a mark of intellectual dishonesty?
But the best explanation, in terms of his 'bubbly' isolation, is still not very good. How could anyone of his maturity and experience with the world of ideas, even one unfamiliar with conservatism, imagine for even a second that the cheap psychologizing he engages in could be on target?
It is Christmas time, and so, to be charitable I won't accuse Wolff of a moral failing; I'll just say that he and so many of his ilk are topically insane: their leftism has rendered them incapable of rational thought with respect to certain issues, race being a chief one among them.
For further discussion of Robert Paul 'Howlin'' Wolff, see below.