“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen, the power of some men to make other men what they please.”
― C. S. Lewis

Monday, January 22, 2018

Feminists outraged

Well, they ought to be, anyway.

Oxford University extends time for maths and computer science exams in bid to help women get better grades
Because Patriarchy, I guess; and the need for equality of outcome.

An alternate headline could have been, "Most Oxford females 17% slower than most males in math" Sub-head: "Women who can compete equally shortchanged."

It is not clear from the article if males were also given extra time. If males were given equal opportunity, it would be interesting to know if there was any change in males' scores. And, if males improved, and if the grades are on a curve; did male scores improve enough to negate the females' increased scores.
A document obtained by the Times, under Freedom of Information laws, showed that faculty at the university believed the changes could: 'mitigate the... gender gap that has arisen in recent years, and in any case the exam should be a demonstration of mathematical understanding and not a time trial.'
Well, maybe, but time has value in the real world. Say, in how much you get paid. Maybe these women will just have to work 17% more hours.

Finally, what's with "gender gap that has arisen in recent years?" I thought it was the result of centuries of patriarchal oppression.

Collectivism isn't Right or Left

Jordan B. Peterson Is the Furthest Thing from the Alt-Right
Peterson’s claim that identity politics is “genocidal in its ultimate expression” is no exaggeration. Hitler’s military invasions and death camps were the ultimate expression of the racialist and nationalist identity politics that spiritually drove Nazism. And Stalin’s weaponized famines and “gulag archipelago” were the ultimate expression of the class warfare identity politics that spiritually drove Soviet communism.
Identity politics is necessarily collectivist. Alt-right or Ctl-left, Nazi or Communist: “Nothing outside the state, nothing above the state, everything within the state.”

Now shipping

My copy has arrived.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
- Jordan B. Peterson

#1 Best Seller in Popular Applied Psychology
#2 in Books

Still at pre-release pricing. Probably not for long.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Cultural appropriation?

Alternate title: "Leftwing autophagy"

Boston Globe:
Elizabeth Warren’s Native American problem goes beyond politics
There’s a ghost haunting Elizabeth Warren as she ramps up for a possible 2020 presidential bid and a reelection campaign in Massachusetts this year: her enduring and undocumented claims of Native American ancestry...

Some tribe members want her to apologize to Native Americans for claiming heritage without solid evidence. Tribes across America have spent centuries denouncing whites who claim Indian DNA without a clear basis, claims they find deeply offensive.
And some of them don't care.

Full disclosure - My family history is that I'm 1/4 American Indian. Never questioned this, since I knew my grandmother.

Then again, I've never checked any ethnicity box on some form to get hired. Since Warren did, I suspect that's why she's stuck for an apology.

Friday, January 19, 2018

More on Peterson's interview

Some more buzz on Jordan Peterson’s recent BBC interview. Jordan B Peterson, Critical Theory, and the New Bourgeoisie

1,713,144 views of that interview as I start writing. I’m 3 of them. ;)

1,749,983 as I post.

I linked to it yesterday. I should have embedded it. Better late than never:


But, to the article. Progressives hold (and contemporary society ignorantly acquiesces) that equality and liberation are "unquestioned moral good[s] that no reasonable person could disagree with.

Well, as JBP points out, it depends on your definitions. If those definitions are informed by Critical Theory the outcomes are, as Peterson says, “sub-optimal.”

I would say “morally indefensible.” The interviewer was so immersed in prejudice(s) immune to moral distinction that she couldn’t follow Peterson’s points and kept trying to put words in his mouth: To wit, her unthinking, reflexive arguments against positions she imagined he held. This is not the interview she was looking for.

And readers of Christina Hoff Sommers will recognize that she (Sommers) pointed this out - "boys and young men are now becoming increasingly alienated from the educational system” - long ago in The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men (2000).

As Peterson says at 22:10 of the interview, when asked why freedom of speech grants him the lattitude not to use transgender pronouns under force of law: "In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive.”

Peterson has done an interesting one-on-one conversation with Camille Paglia, I think he should also sit down with Sommers and Dr. Steven Pinker.

Afterthought.
A case can be made that the main problem with GOP politicians (they are hardly alone), is an unwillingness to offend. Too agreeable. To the extent this is true, it argues that a Trump is necessary - if still not sufficient. It does not argue that you have to go out of your way to offend everyday, however.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dr. Jordan Peterson

Never fails to impress, and this is even better than most.
Interviewer (hostile): Why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?

Peterson: Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable. […] You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.

... a few seconds pass...

Peterson (chuckling kindly): Ha. Gotcha.

Interviewer:You have got me. You have got me. I’m trying to work that through my head. It took awhile. It took awhile. It took awhile.
Watch the whole beautiful thing. Half an hour well spent.

And, BTW, Peterson has a new book out. My copy will be here next Tuesday.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Public/Pirate partnerships

Friday, I noted Michigan's private marketing bureau rip-off. It just gets worse.

Michigan Senate Bill 97. Emphasis mine:
To give state and local government agencies the power to enter into joint operating arrangements with a particular business for purposes of building a hospital or transportation facilities. The private operator would benefit from tax exemptions and its governmental partner's power to impose property taxes, borrow, take private property using eminent domain and more. The government agency involved could choose the private sector actor without necessarily having to accept the lowest bid. The projects could be proposals from a private developer.
This is just a corporate version of the SEIU dues scam and is no less reprehensible simply because there's a different set of government approved thieves. The Granholm Democrats licensed a union to steal Medicaid dollars from taxpayers. The Snyder Republicans are getting ready to legalize similar looting by Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, and Matty Maroun (owner of the Ambassador Bridge). Of course, it's endorsed by the Chamber of Cronyism.

H/T Right Michigan where you can find out who to call to kill this assault on Michigan taxpayers.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Rent Seekers

Bills Make It Easier For Private Marketing Bureaus To Force Dues on Businesses

This regulatory statist, public/pirate partnership should cease. The parallels (rent-seeking and arbitrary, bureaucratic consumer punishment) to Trump’s trade war impulses are educational opportunities for the economically ignorant.

Update 01/13/17:
It occurs to me to ask how this is different from the SEIU dues-skimming travesty?

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Professor Nancy Hopkinsism

Toni Airaksinen:
Based on interviews with 8 female STEM students, two professors recently concluded that "masculine" norms are to blame for the lack of female STEM graduates.

According to the professors, these masculine norms include “asking good questions,” “capacity for abstract thought and rational thought processes,” “motivation,” “independent” thinking, and a relatively low fear of failure.
The study is titled, Gendered Student Ideals in STEM in Higher Education, by Laura Parson & C. Casey Ozaki

Laura Parson's Ph.D is in "Teaching and Learning (Higher Education), 2016, University of North Dakota," one of her research interests is "- Rigor in the curriculum design and program evaluation process." Apparently, she didn't get the memo from Purdue that "rigor" is a partriarchal scheme and on the list of banned thought.

Dr. Ozaki "...earned her Ph.D in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education in 2009 from Michigan State University... She is specifically interested in the intersection between students' epistemology and meaning-making development in relationship to their decision-making about and strategies for persistence in higher education."

Notice, neither one of them has any direct knowledge of STEM. They're both in Education Departments.

Here's the abstract, with corrections:
Using the framework of feminist standpoint theory,

Starting with our conclusion, we worked backward to find evidence to support it,

...this study explored the everyday work of undergraduate STEM students to identify STEM institutional cultural norms and standards that organize and inform the organization of everyday work for undergraduate women majoring in math and physics.

...this study of 8 (count 'em, 8) female STEM students, who were asked leading questions, is the complete story of 500 years of refining the scientific method. And we said "everyday" twice to make sure you know we think the scientific method is a chronologically challenged crock of patriarchal Western Privilege, irrelevant to today's teaching needs.

Data collection and analysis focused on how the interface between undergraduate women and STEM education was organized as a matter of everyday encounters between students, faculty, and administration through their experiences inside and outside the classroom.

We talked with 8 students and our like-minded colleagues in the Education Faculty. Everyday.

Undergraduate participants reported challenges meeting some of the characteristics of successful math and physics students (e.g., taking risks, asking questions, putting school first) and preferred a collectivistic environment.

We found some females aren't successful math and physics students because they reject common sense behaviors leading to success across all fields and think males should take their tests for them.

These characteristics are evidence of a masculine STEM institution, which also creates a masculine ideal that women students are expected to meet and exacerbates their discomfort in the STEM environment.

Females shouldn't be expected to meet any standards that make them uncomfortable. Like “asking good questions,” “capacity for abstract thought and rational thought processes,” “motivation,” “independent” thinking, or putting school first.
Here's why some Academiot Journal would publish it (University libraries are forced to buy it):
Article Purchase 24 hours access for USD 42.50

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This is not to say that there aren't differences between men and women, though Larry Summers got hounded out of Harvard by female careerists STEM scientists like Nancy Hopkins for suggesting there are, it is to insist that those differences can't be bridged in STEM by disparaging a capacity for abstract and rational thought.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

USBS

While I appreciate President Trump's judgeship appointments, regulatory reductions, foreign policy initiatives, rejection of the global warming hysteria, and many of the new tax policies; this Presidential tweet is an example of why I can't get on the Trump train:
"Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!"
Here's what he should have tweeted:
"Why is Amazon, having a choice of parcel delivery services, paying the bloated United States Post Office the price established by federal regulators, making goods cheaper to Amazon customers? ... Duh! Rhetorical!

USPS should be PRIVATIZED!"
The Postal Service cannot charge "MUCH MORE," or the business would go to UPS and FedEx. Amazon, as a huge customer, should expect to get a volume discount.

The USPS is a part of the swamp, so that formulation should have occurred to someone with business experience and an understanding of free market economics. The President does not possess that understanding, further evidenced by his similar approach to international trade.

It is a major failing. Without economic freedom there is no freedom.

The USPS benefits from protectionism via a monopoly on first class mail. Trump would have them price themselves out of the only market where they make money.

The decline of first class mail is, however, only partially responsible for the decline of the USPS. Other reasons are: Regulatory denial of first class mail increases, the health care and pension liabilities the Post Office has assumed (169% of the fiscal year 2016 revenues), excess real estate, and bureaucratic inefficiencies; all results of a federally mandated monopoly. This is exactly what happens to protected industries; misallocation of capital, mispricing, insensitivity to customer needs, complacency about markets - resulting in inability to innovate or compete.

The President cannot see that the protection of US Steel will have the same result as protection of the USPS, perhaps because his business experience has involved a great deal of government subsidy layered on to inattention during his basic economics classes.

Go Bag

If you're into backpacking (or would like to be), or if you're wondering how you might improve your Go Bag, this Kickstarter project might be of interest:
A Conversational Guide To Backcountry Equipment

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hold the presses!

David Thompson's catalogue of SJW tripe (next post down) is a good start. However, we can't close the list of 2017 SJW nonsense until at least mid-January, to allow time for reporting to catch up with the continuous sludge deluge.

Reconcile this with #MeToo, please:
University of Iowa derecognizes Christian club because of ‘sexual moral conduct’ rules for leaders: suit

The anti-science Professor Millar:
Feminist Professor Praises 'Happy Abortions' in New Book

The aptly named Professor Ponce:
Prof urges 'abolition of white democracy' during lecture

And, for the lifetime achievement award, there's Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D, umb):
'I'm a queen and I demand to be treated like a queen!'

Motes in Left eyes

David Thompson's very partial list of "2017 through the eyes of Social Justice Warriors":
The Year Reheated

TOC mentioned some of these, and others, under the "academiots" tag.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Collusion

If the Steele dossier was used to obtain a FISA warrant against the Trump campaign, and the evidence for that is growing strong, some employees of the FBI and DOJ face serious legal difficulty.

Here is an excellent walk through and timeline summarizing what is known about the Steele dossier: Clinton campaign propaganda appears to have triggered Obama administration spying on Trump’s campaign.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected POTUS, it is doubtful any of this would have become known.

RTWT

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Defenestration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I am pleasantly surprised by the performance of President Trump. I retain major objections to his ignorant trade policies, among other things, but I did not expect him to perform as well as he has in general.

One of the things he’s accomplished is to expose the true intentions of the Progressives. Rather than the insidious slide toward Cultural-Marxism, he’s managed to bring them out of the woodwork all at once. Probably earlier than is good for their agenda.

Like everything, there’s a risky side to this.

I am of two minds about the uninterrupted, screeching hysteria from the Left. At first, Conan the Barbarian’s prospect of “crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women” - one woman in particular - was amusing.

However, I’m increasingly worried that the irrational cacophony is seriously damaging. Given the caterwauling, maybe I’m naive in thinking mutual respect, or at least feigned civility, ever actually existed. Of course, the President shares some blame for it via his puerile Tweeting habit. Still, those who own the protracted frenzy are the ones who control it.

Progressives will blame their actions on the President's supposed racism and narcissism, but nothing he's said is any worse than things said by former President Obama (and arguably not as bad as "typical white person" or "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow").

It is not the President's fault that his opponents are insisting upon a vision of race diametrically opposed to what we learned from Dr. Martin Luther King. How long will it be before there's agitation to tear down King's statues?

What Progressives are doing is teaching ideologues of a different tribe that Dr. King was terribly wrong about character, and that skin color trumps everything:

The Left Doubles Down On ‘Who? Whom?’
What’s interesting to me, though, are indications that the Cathedral — that is, the formal and informal cultural-liberal power structure — is going to double down on demonizing whites as a race…

…here’s what the Cathedral left needs to know: you aren’t going to be able to count on conservative people like me to help you oppose the alt-right, because you are their “respectable” left-wing mirror image

…increasingly fewer people on the right are going to listen to conservatives like me, because they see us as holding to outdated principles that are incapable of stopping the left-wing power grab. The Cathedralized left sees no reason to be fair, so why should they?
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

False choice

Two short articles from Reason and The Weekly Standard:

Authoritarians to the Left and Right
The Nation and the Nazis

Imagine a line with a sliding indicator. On one end is Marxism and Antifa; on the other is Fascism and Alt-Right. Or, call it Black Lives Matter vs Stormfront.

Your job is to slide the indicator along this continuum to your preferred balance between these choices of extreme left and extreme right. Possibly, you choose the center.

What choice are you actually making? The choice of which statist minutiae you prefer.

Sliding the indicator to the center does not minimize your agreement with authoritarian policies. It indicates nothing about how much power you grant the State, that’s a constant. It means the continuum is wrong, so the choice is false.

Here's the way the political spectrum really works:

Looking at it by group:


Update 2:40PM
See also.
Of Course the Alt-Right Is Against Capitalism

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Still running?

Posting to see if the Internet is still here since net "neutrality" was repealed.

Yup, still here. But now you have to read this verrry... ... ... ... ...slooowly.

My only fear is a big invoice from Google for this post, supplying them with free content may no longer be enough.

Looking into the maw of the beast

MSNBC political analyst Elise Jordan:
"And I think it's unfortunate that we are designing — that we are designing public policy in a way that, you know, comes down to how you voted in an election,”
I think it’s unfortunate that we live in a democratic Republic where “those people” can vote.

There, fixed that for her.

Well done, Fighting Illini!

A hopeful sign from the University of Illinois.

University of Illinois cracks down on 'heckler's veto'
—Adam Sabes
“An unyielding allegiance to freedom of speech—even controversial, contentious, and unpopular speech—is indispensable to developing the analytical and communication skills of our students and empowering all members of our university communities to be active and informed citizens,” the document asserts before outlining measures designed to safeguard that freedom.
It will be interesting to see how well this is applied.

While we're talking about free speech on campus, the blogroll sites under "Academia" are worthy of your attention. Don't miss Heterodox Academy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Rigorous ideologues

Rigor: From Old French, from Latin rigor (“stiffness, rigidness, rigor, cold, harshness"), from rigere (“to be rigid").

When we think of academic rigor, most of us will think that it means an uncompromising attention to important standards regarding a challenging intellectual exercise. We expect doctors and engineers to be rigorously trained, for example, since their mistakes can kill us.

Not all of us see it that way, though, including some engineering professors.

Prof: Academic rigor reinforces 'power and privilege'
-Toni Airaksinen
A Purdue University engineering professor recently lamented the emphasis on academic "rigor," calling it a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege.”

Donna Riley calls for doing away with the notion of academic rigor entirely, suggesting that higher education pursue "other ways of knowing" in order to "build a community for inclusive and holistic engineering education."
I anticipated this stupidity in a post referencing Yale’s abandonment of academic rigor by granting degrees to English majors who have never studied Chaucer or Shakespeare. I wondered how long it would be before we saw degrees in Mechanical Engineering for students who never took a course in the Behavior of Engineering Materials, because Henry Bessemer was white and male. It’s worth reading that post to appreciate how standardized the language of these academiots has become.

Donna Riley, the Prof in the link above, is head of Purdue’s School of Engineering Education. The important word there is “education.” Her job is not teaching engineering, it’s deciding how engineering should be taught, and while that’s bad enough, at least she isn’t teaching students how to “uphold” bridges or skyscrapers.

According to Riley, rigor “has a historical lineage of being about hardness, stiffness, and erectness; its sexual connotations—and links to masculinity in particular—are undeniable,” and “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing,” engineering is “inherent[ly] masculinist, white, and global North bias[ed]...all under a guise of neutrality.
To fight this, Riley calls for engineering programs to “do away with” the notion of academic rigor completely, saying, “This is not about reinventing rigor for everyone, it is about doing away with the concept altogether so we can welcome other ways of knowing. Other ways of being. It is about criticality and reflexivity.”

“We need these other ways of knowing to critique rigor, and to find a place to start to build a community for inclusive and holistic engineering education,” she concludes.
This is straight out of the postmodernist catechism, which actually goes farther than Ms. Riley directly reveals, by rejecting truth and knowledge in favor of emotion and group identity. Reason itself is merely a tool of oppression. For it to be applied rigorously merely compounds the offense.

My opinion of academic rigor is somewhat different than that of this embarrassment to the Boilermakers. I understand that the “Studies,” Humanities, Social Sciences, and English Departments would by now collapse entirely if exposed to logical thinking, much less rigorous logical thinking; because they "know differently."

"So what?", you might say, English majors not reading Shakespeare doesn’t put you at risk of a bridge falling apart while you’re on it. True. But it leaked from those former disciplines into Engieering.

Now, a highly paid leader in the Purdue Engineering Department explicity calls for professors of Engineering to eschew rigorous training or be labelled sexist, racist, and homophobic. Do they now have to issue a trigger warning before saying “hardness?”

What is “another way of knowing” the Mohs scale of mineral "hardness." Isn’t the idea of a hard material penetrating a soft material inherently phallocentric? How does one discuss tensile strength, which measures the resistance of “loads” tending to “elongate?” How does one calculate the stresses in structural “members”, such as beams, “columns”, and “shafts?”

Well, maybe shafts is OK; viewed correctly. Women can be mining engineers, where shafts are obviously feminine.

Maybe it’s just a problem with solid materials. Here’s Katherine Hayles explaining French postmodernist doyen Luce Irigaray's thoughts on fluid mechanics; an example of “another way of knowing:”
The privileging of solid over fluid mechanics, and indeed the inability of science to deal with turbulent flow at all, she [Irigaray] attributes to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids... From this perspective it is no wonder that science has not been able to arrive at a successful model for turbulence. The problem of turbulent flow cannot be solved because the conceptions of fluids (and of women) have been formulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders.
— Hayles, N. K. (1992) Gender encoding in fluid mechanics: masculine channels and feminine flows. Differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies. 4 (2), 16 - 44.

Geez, it wasn’t long ago that I was reading postmodernist claims that standing while peeing gives boys an unfair advantage in physics - so boys aren’t exactly ignorant of turbulent fluids. Besides, the postmodernists insist there are no biological differences between males and females.. Apparently, inanimate objects and equations missed that memo.

The real reason why turbulent flow is a “hard” problem: Navier-Stokes equations are difficult to solve. They require academic rigor, which the postmodernists say oppresses women and minorities. Or, put another way, of which women and minorities are incapable. Who is sexist and racist? Who is ideologically petrified?

Who is rigorously incoherent?

They see you when you're sleeping, They know when you're awake

Abusive Behavior on Twitter will enable the company to remove your verified status according to the new Guidelines
“Included in the new verification guidelines was this: “Twitter maintains the right to remove verification at any time externally any notice. Reasons for removal may speculate behaviors on and off Twitter that include…”
“May speculate…”??

This means “may guess at,” based on an algorithm. Twitter has a right to do this, but does that make it a company you want using you as its product?

Whether you imagine Barack Obama or Donald Trump as evil incarnate, can you imagine what the Feds might do with such a list? Add you to NICS as "prohibited"? Trigger an IRS audit? Identify who uses the term "undocumented migrants?" Well, that last wouldn't be on Twitter's list, of course.

Continuing (emphasis mine):
That was actions both on and off Twitter.

With a single verdict, Twitter has saddled itself with an incredible responsibility. It not only plans to police its users while they’re using the aid. Now it has to police them when they’re not on Twitter, too.

That’s a remarkably tall order for any company. It’s unclear how Twitter will do this, or how effective it will be in searching for violators.”
Does it include attending a rally in real space? Facial recognition software makes that quite conceivable.

More from a different section of Twitter policies, where they explicitly invoke guilt by association, The Twitter Rules;
You also may not affiliate with organizations that — whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform — use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.
See, this is why defining speech they dislike as literal violence is so important to the SJWs. Note that it appears to be OK to promote violence against the military or police.

As to the author’s question in that first link about how Twitter will accomplish this, here’s how Facebook does it, Data Policy:
“We collect information when you visit or use third-party websites and apps that use our Services (like when they offer our Like button or Facebook Log In or use our measurement and advertising services). This includes information about the websites and apps you visit, your use of our Services on those websites and apps, as well as information the developer or publisher of the app or website provides to you or us.”
Every time you click on one of those ubiquitous buttons,
...you give the amoral profiteers more psychological leverage.

It isn’t hard to imagine a version of Google Glass that tracks eye movement, pupillary diameter, and even heart rate from the blood vessels in your eye - then they’ll be guessing your thoughts.

Given Facebook’s unethical experiments in psychological manipulation, and the drive to convince us that speech is literally violence, tell me more about what these Progressive funders see in “net neutrality?”

And then check out gab.ai.

Monday, December 11, 2017

You keep using that phrase. I don't think it means what you want us to believe it means.

From the New York Times, a load of illogical, self-serving tripe:
What Facebook Taught Me About Net Neutrality

A few examples where Andrew McCollum destroys his own argument:
"Some colleges didn’t like Facebook, and because they functioned as their students’ internet providers, they would simply block the site.

While those blocks were always rolled back — often after sustained student outcry — they acutely demonstrated the power of providers to limit the freedom and openness of the internet at whim."
“Always rolled back.” So, you could say it’s acutely demonstrated that we don’t need government regulation to maintain free access, or to decide what innovation is permitted. And that consumers have power.
"The internet has spurred innovation precisely because it has been an open, level playing field, where barriers to offering new products and services have continually come down over time."
Yes, precisely as it was for 20 years BEFORE Obama’s imposition of “net neutrality” in 2015. Crediting Obama’s regulation with the innovation which preceded it is breathtakingly dishonest. Freedom is slavery.
"If an internet provider slows or blocks a site that you want to look at, it is denying you the right to freely choose the content that’s important to you."
Exactly what Facebook, Google, Youtube and Twitter do right now, every f*&king minute, by treating users like rats in a Skinner box; banishing speakers whose politics they disagree with; “demonetizing” sites for the same reason; and skewing search results their Progressive principals' principles don’t match. For profit. In secret.
"But we shouldn’t stop fighting to make our voices heard. If Mr. Pai’s proposal is adopted, we must take the fight to Congress and the courts until we regain a neutral internet that ensures consumer choice without constraint and innovation without barriers.”
I'm on board with that: As soon as Twitter is banned from banning people; when Google is required to make algorithms that don’t censor - and that don’t favor their own products; when Facebook is made into a public utility; when they all are required to pay YOU for using you as a product and conspiring to track your every interaction. I.e., when they are forced to provide the unfettered access they purport to champion.

Who is it that secretly conducted several unethical experiments in psychological manipulation? Facebook.

Who is it that showed the Russians a way to manipulate voters? Facebook.

Who is it that’s been massively fined for skewing search results? Google.

Who is it that bans normal speech? Twitter.

Who is it that demonetizes educational video channels? Youtube.

Who spies on you and sells your data? All of them.

And most of it is done in secret. You can't even have a “sustained outcry” if you don’t know they’ve done it. ISPs can’t get away with that.

Here’s what net neutrality is actually about: Getting the government to point guns at what Schmidt and Zuckerberg find inconvenient to their amoral, exploitive business model.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Are words the same as sticks and stones?

My hope is that this post will encourage some to further investigate the philosophy of postmodernism.

It’s dangerous, it’s dominating our campuses, and it has infiltrated our primary schools. It's why Antifa, Social Justice Warriors and 90% of English and Humanities professors can say in all seriousness that speech and violence are the same.

No matter how ridiculous it seems, there is a case to be made that postmodernism contains some truth, going back to the Counter-Enlightment philosophers and especially Immanuel Kant.

Complacence, because of the laughable internal inconsistency and overall incoherence of postmodernism, is a luxury we cannot afford. Postmodernism wears inconsistency and incoherence as a badge of honor.

It's the indoctrination being visited upon your children. It's envirostatism, social justice uber alles, and Title IX rejection of due process by university adminstrators.

Postmodernism has many strains, and the ability to actually believe they mean what they say requires extensive study. I’ve begun that study, having read several books and hundreds of articles on the internet. So, I’m pretty sure that not more than a tenth of one percent of those reading this would be interested in a long explication. You can get that elsewhere, and I’ll include some suggestions at the end.

Keep in mind, postmodernists mean what they say. It's not metaphor. They're quite sincere.

I want to focus on how postmodernists can claim that speech (they don’t like) is literally violence. To start, here’s a brief prerequistite look at PoMo:
Postmodernism, the school of "thought" that proclaimed "There are no truths, only interpretations" has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for "conversations" in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.
-Dr. Daniel Dennett
In sum, postmodernism rejects truth and knowledge in favor of intention and emotion. Reason itself is merely a tool of oppression. Postmodernism elevates group identity and victimhood to the status of religion and denigrates individualism.

Postmodernism, in the forms where it is not simply banal, is a nihilistic doctrine where, because there’s no objective reality, nothing you do can actually matter. This allows its adherents to free themselves of responsibility for their own actions, thoughts, intentions and emotions. Being free of responsibility is attractive.

Even as it drains all meaning from life, freedom from responsibility seems very safe. Though you can’t accomplish anything good, nobody can blame you if you do something bad. “Good” and “bad” are just figments in the imagination of Western Culture, in any case. Praise and blame are merely social constructions.

The postmodernist meta-argument that speech is violence posits the very concept of free expression as a Western, scientific, individualist, colonial, cisnormative, male, white, capitalist conspiracy to prevent the oppressed from being heard. Not prevent them from speaking, mind you, the oppressed are allowed to speak in order to maintain the illusion of free expression; but the opressors not only don’t listen, they’re incapable of listening - because “privilege.” A corollary here is that the speech of the oppressed can never be violence, because who cares about speech they can’t hear? This is parallel to the idea that only whites can be racist.

To buy into that you have to accept a number of assumptions, the primary of which is that there is no objective reality. From that follows absolute cultural relativity and complete moral equivalency. Except for Western culture, which is evil.

Did I mention incoherence and inconsistency?

Notwithstanding their rejection of Western science (One postmodernist-feminist writer, Dr. Luce Irigaray, claimed that the formula E=Mc2 "privileges the speed of light." See also my posts Lysenko’s handmaid, Connecting the dotty and Academiot roundup), the PoMoists don’t mind attempting a ‘science-based’ argument to advance their narrative if they think they can get away with it. It’s like taqiyya.

Here is a postmodernist case from the New York Times for equating speech with violence. I’m not going to quote from it, you can read the whole thing if you want to, but the summary is that speech can cause stress and stress can damage your body. So, some speech - whatever speech makes you uncomfortable - is literally violence.

From this, it is easy to conclude that the principles our society uses to deal with physical violence should also be applicable to speech, so violence against “speakers I dislike” is self-defense.

Therefore, it is important to train students that anything that upsets them is a form of violence.

Then:
   a-Students' emotional reactions are a direct result of others'
      speech, and automatically make students victims.
   b-Physically silencing upsetting speech is morally justified,
      even required.
   c-Questioning a or b proves you are an oppressor by definition,
      and you commit violence when you question.

What’s missing from this stress argument is this: In the case of physical violence, damage to your person is controlled by another; but in the case of stress caused by speech you can assert control by taking responsibility for your reaction, by logically refuting that speech, or by simply avoiding exposure to it. Since responsibility and logic are not available to postmodernists, they can only choose 'avoid exposure' - but they won't do that because they have to make you act as if cultural relativism and moral equivalency are absolutes in a universe where truth cannot be known.

Did I mention incoherence and inconsistency? But, remember, it isn't silly - it's being taught to your children.

In conclusion, a real world example: This doctrine of “speech as violence” would fully justify the massacre by sufficiently offended (they decide, and they did) Islamists at Charlie Hebdo as 'self defense.'

Related:

The best introductory book on postmodernism I’ve read so far is Dr. Stephen Hicks' book Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault.

Violent Phrases That Are Used In Everyday Speech
This one is just silly, but it demonstrates the insidious reach of incoherent postmodernism.

Freedom of Speech under Assault on Campus

40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities

The Sordid Origin of Hate-Speech Laws

If Speech is Violent, What Next?

Professors Refer to Conservative Criticism as 'Violence'

Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism | Jordan B Peterson (44min)

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Stockholm syndrome regret syndrome

UNL profs complain of 'sustained attack' by lawmakers
Hundreds of University of Nebraska, Lincoln professors have signed a letter urging state officials to stay out of university affairs after an August incident put the school in the national spotlight.

As Campus Reform reported, several professors harassed and bullied the president of the school’s Turning Point USA chapter while she was recruiting on campus, even flashing her the middle finger and calling her a “neo-fascist.”…
These are same the people who equate failure to use made up pronouns with literal violence and, if their victim-group meta-narrative is questioned, retreat to their safe spaces gibbering about the lack of safe spaces in order to avoid any actual debate. And they do this in an institution originally intended to foster intellectual diversity. It goes without saying that use of the word “irony” must be preceded by a trigger warning lest they melt into puddles of Social Justice goo.

Some UNL professors feel threatened enough by the Nebraska legislature to pen a letter minimizing their colleagues’ zealous Newspeak doublethink:
Now, 300-plus professors from across a variety of university departments have responded, accusing the senators of leveraging “a single campus interaction into a sustained attack on the university that has greatly surpassed the scope and import of the initial incident.”
The incident is neither initial nor single, it represents the submerged part of the postmodernist academic iceberg. Which, by the way, is an avowed attack on universities that’s been sustained for 50 years.

The professors glide right past the legislators’ point that UNL’s English department mission statement excludes “…words such as “classical literature studies,” “writing,” “poetry,” and “novel”… while generic statements like “pursuing social justice” and “affirming diversity” are included.” And they ignore other signs of this decay, such as Yale removing classes on Chaucer and Shakespeare from requirements for a degree in English. It’s not only not a single incident, it’s a pandemic.

Despite their pompous disingenuity, the professors recognize potential real world consequences:
“We fear that financial hostage-taking by members of the state government will result in changes by the administration in the intellectual offerings of the University and opportunities for our students,” the letter reads.
Changes by administrators seem like a great idea, second only to a change of administrators.

In any case, they were financial hostages the very second their University decided to accept government funding. Legislative interference is just a consequence of the fact they volunteered for it.

The professors continue (italics mine) with a breathtaking display of self-unawareness:
“Their [legislators'] lack of consistency in protecting and respecting students’ political views, particularly those that diverge from their own, reveals the political nature of this manufactured crisis,” it continues, saying government interference with the university has put both the value of a degree from the school and “intellectual freedom” at risk.
They’ve badly misread their situation, or they wouldn’t argue for the existing consistent policy of humiliating anyone who doesn’t agree with them about the political crisis they manufactured. It’s not like having professors call students names and flipping them off for their ideas would signal prospective students about the educational content they deliver, or their Orwellian definition of “intellectual freedom.” No, it's the fact that legislators drew attention to it.

And that hardly exhausts the lack of self-awareness being demonstrated:
Professor John Bender, one of the signatories, told Campus Reform that while he believes “it is appropriate for state legislators to be interested in and aware of what is going on at all publicly funded institutions, including universities, it is not appropriate for them to be involved in matters of hiring, firing, disciplining, and other administrative matters.”
It’s exactly those administrative policies which created and perpetuate the hive mind, so how else can Professor Bender defend his “University Privilege?”

And, let's not forget the utter contempt in which universities hold their own hostages. Student loans are a big topic today, and the cost of a university education has caused them to explode. Where is the money going? Well, even the Huffington Post:
In all, from 1987 until 2011-12—the most recent academic year for which comparable figures are available—universities and colleges collectively added 517,636 administrators and professional employees, or an average of 87 every working day, according to the analysis of federal figures, by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting in collaboration with the nonprofit, nonpartisan social-science research group the American Institutes for Research.

“There’s just a mind-boggling amount of money per student that’s being spent on administration,” said Andrew Gillen, a senior researcher at the institutes. “It raises a question of priorities.”

Universities have added these administrators and professional employees even as they’ve substantially shifted classroom teaching duties from full-time faculty to less-expensive part-time adjunct faculty and teaching assistants, the figures show.

“They’ve increased their hiring of part-time faculty to try and cut costs,” said Donna Desrochers, a principal researcher at the Delta Cost Project, which studies higher-education spending. “Yet other factors that are going on, including the hiring of these other types of non-academic employees, have undercut those savings.”

Part-time faculty and teaching assistants now account for half of instructional staffs at colleges and universities, up from one-third in 1987, the figures show.

During the same period, the number of administrators and professional staff has more than doubled. That’s a rate of increase more than twice as fast as the growth in the number of students.
…and the New York Times:
[P]ublic investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher…

[A] major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.
…get it* - it's going to those administrators whose activities Dr. Bender says are outside the purview of the legislature:
“They can set overall policies, but they should not be engaged in what are essentially administrative functions. This is the principle of separation of powers,” he added, suggesting that the August incident has been “played out of proportion by people with a political agenda.”
Here Dr. Bender seems to confuse UNL with branches of actual government and conflate them with religious institutions, which, while they may have political agendae, aren’t funded by the government - and are prohibited from proselytizing political views at risk of losing tax exempt status. And it's cute that he excoriates someone else's "political agenda" in defense of a political act.

What's the overall policy of a University, anyway? Safe spaces for Social Justice Warriors, or a place promoting intellectual curiosity about "dangerous" ideas?

If “universities” want to be treated like universities, they need to act like universities instead of re-education camps.


*Note, the Huffpo and NYT articles are from 2014 and 2015. The problem is only worse today.

Friday, December 01, 2017

The Right hand knows full well what the Left hand is doing

In an ongoing effort to demonstrate the terms "Right" and "Left" amount to little more than a political taxonomy quibble, I enlist Dr. Stephen Hicks' book Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Highly recommended. Italics mine.
Counter-Enlightenment politics: Right and Left collectivism

After Rousseau, collectivist political thinking divided into Left and Right versions, both versions drawing inspiration from Rousseau… [M]y purpose in this chapter is to highlight developments in collectivist Right thinking and to show that in its essentials the collectivist Right was pursuing the same broadly anti-liberal-capitalist themes that the collectivist Left was.

What links the Right and the Left is a core set of themes: anti-individualism, the need for strong government, the view that religion is a state matter (whether to promote or suppress it), the view that education is a process of socialization, ambivalence about science and technology, and strong themes of group conflict, violence, and war. Left and Right have often divided bitterly over which themes have priority and over how they should be applied. Yet for all of their differences, both the collectivist Left and the collectivist Right have consistently recognized a common enemy: liberal capitalism, with its individualism, its limited government, its separation of church and state, its fairly constant view that education is not primarily a matter of political socialization, and its persistent Whiggish optimism about prospects for peaceful trade and cooperation between members of all nations and groups... While the details are messy the broad point is clear: the collectivist Right and the collectivist Left are united in their major goals and in identifying their major opposition…

By the early twentieth century, accordingly, the dominant issues for most Continental political thinkers were not whether liberal capitalism was a viable option—but rather exactly when it would collapse—and whether Left or Right collectivism had the best claim to being the socialism of the future. The defeat of the collectivist Right in World War II then meant that the Left was on its own to carry the socialist mantle forward. Accordingly, when the Left ran into its own major disasters as the twentieth century progressed, understanding its fundamental commonality with the collectivist Right helps to explain why in its desperation the Left has often adopted “fascistic” tactics…

The rise of National Socialism to political prominence during the 1920s brought the abstract debate to particular focus, as the National Socialists, the Communists, and the Social Democrats all argued variations on the same themes and competed for the votes of the same constituencies.
Right and left are cosmetic distinctions serving to mask the necessities of totalitarianism. Whoever rises to the top of an aspiring collectivist utopia will face the same forced choices. Across time, across cultures and embodied in dozens of fearless leaders, we have irrefutable evidence that collectivist state ideology results in economic disaster and human misery.

Because of the practical and moral failure of Marx's "scientific socialism," and since its predictions of economic class warfare have not been realized, the socialists have switched the game to promote victim identity-group warfare.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Right or Left? Wrong question.

RTWT
Socialist Academics Contributed to the Rise of the Third Reich

Indeed they did.

Can anyone offer a single consequential difference between Fascism/Nazism and Communism/Socialism/Marxism?

Specifically, please explain the claim that Nazis are right wing, but Communists are left wing. If you really want to assist me, tell me how Antifa can possibly be anti-Fascist.

Seems to me those various labels just cover minor squabbles among the Totalitarianists. Cosmetic distinctions.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dystopia and Dsyphoria

Gender Dysphoria in Children
American College of Pediatricians – June 2017
Primary author: Michelle Cretella, MD

This is a long, clearly written, scientific paper examing the evidence for letting children as young as 11 decide whether to undergo sex-transition hormone therapy and radical sex-change surgery. It is interesting, and does not require highly specialized knowledge to understand. I recommend it if you have any interest in this topic, or want to understand the relationship of legally forcing* the use of invented pronouns to post-modernism's rejection of objective reality
“Advocates of the medical interventionist paradigm… are also post-modernists but hold a subjective view of “First do no harm.” Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, an adolescent medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and leader in pediatric gender transitioning, has stated that “[First do no harm] is really subjective. [H]istorically we come from a very paternalistic perspective… [in which] doctors are really given the purview of deciding what is going to be harmful and what isn’t. And that, in the world of gender, is really problematic.”7 Not only does she claim that “First do no harm” is subjective, but she later also states that it should be left to the child decide what constitutes harm based upon their own subjective thoughts and feelings.7”

…In 2007 Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric endocrinologist and founder of the nation’s first gender clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital, launched the pubertal suppression paradigm in the United States.41 It consists of first affirming the child’s false self-concept by instituting name and pronoun changes, and facilitating the impersonation of the opposite sex within and outside of the home.”
The paper speaks to the (deliberate) confusion of “gender” with “sex,” and provides evidence that supporters of childhood gender reassignment protocols are pursuing an anti-scientific political agenda when they deny biological sex and subject children to medical experimentation.

If this were about the experience of sexual activity rather than the idea that children are trapped in bodies of a biological sex different from their perceived biological sex, we would call it statutory rape, against which we have laws for the very good reason that pre-pubescent children are not capable of consent.

Gender reassignment therapy for 11 year olds is rape in a far deeper sense, violating both psychological and physical boundaries of those who clearly lack the relevant life-experience to make such decisions. I’d call it mind-rape, but it also permanently alters the body.

Nonetheless, there are advocates, in and out of some 40 American sex change clinics, for applying potentially dangerous (psychopathology, sterility, death) and irreversible therapies to children based on the whimsical nature of the child’s current opinion.

Future generations will look on this and wonder if we were insane.

*As has happened in Canada, California and New York City.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

What is "woke?"

"Woke" is when Feminists suddenly realize that the clear message they sent in 1998: "If a powerful Progressive man sexually assaults you - you're on your own," was a less than optimal choice.

I would be happy to give him [Bill Clinton] a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.
- Nina Burleigh, 1998
It sucks to be someone promoting Monica Lewinsky envy.

"If all the sexual allegations now swirling around the White House turn out to be true, President Clinton may be a candidate for sex addiction therapy. But feminists will still have been right to resist pressure by the right wing and the media to call for his resignation or impeachment."
- Gloria Steinem, 1998
Part of the 'swirling' was a allegation of rape. Steinem couldn't distinguish the fish of convenience from the bicycles of feminist betrayal.

Skipping forward a decade, Feminism still was not woke...

Polanski was not guilty of 'rape-rape', says Whoopi Goldberg - 2009
Whoopi had a point. Polanksi was guilty of rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape.

Actress defends Weiner, says 'everyone lies about sex' - 2011
Maybe that's why Janeane Garofalo also thinks, "Sex is the quickest way to ruin a friendship."

Skipping forward another decade (just this week), Feminism may be woking...

Liberals 'move on' from defending Bill Clinton's sexual conduct - 2017

Chelsea Handler apologizes to Bill Clinton accuser Juanita Broaddrick: 'I believe you' - 2017

Feminist Wokeness to its own principles only took two decades and the political necessity to purge the Clintons from public life before the next Presidential election. But they're starting to pretend to get it ("get it" is the phrase "woke" is replacing).

So. When can we expect an apology from Hillary? She can't possibly run in 2020 without one.

That's not funny!

Bill Clinton: A Reckoning by Caitlin Flanagan
  "Feminists saved the 42nd president of the United States in the 1990s. They
  were on the wrong side of history; is it finally time to make things right?"


Now, Caitlin Flanagan is despised by “Real Feminists,” see here and here, so she cannot exemplify a sea-change in the Feminist Industrial Complex hypocrisy quotient.

Her lack of "Real Feminist" credentials may be why she can see that driving Bill Clinton’s getaway car was a Feminist mistake women are still paying for today.

While it would have been too late to deter Roy Moore, maybe a more principled “Real Feminist” reaction to the Clintons’ abuse of women would have given Harvey Weinstein pause, or caused Al Franken to act differently:
Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It

There was never anything humorous about Al Franken, but it’s still hard to believe he allowed someone to take a picture of him grinning while committing sexual assault.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It's just sex

Hillary stood by her man when he was dallying with Gennifer Flowers, and she ranted about vast right-wing conspiracies after he played hide-the-cigar with Monica Lewinsky. The Feminist Industrial Complex stood by them both. Throwing Monica, Kathleen, Juanita and Paula under the bus wasn’t about sex, it was about power.

Rationalizing this massive betrayal of fundamental principle would cause most people to experience some severe cognitive dissonance. Not the Feminists.

If you wonder “Why are so many Progressive men now being exposed as long time sexual predators?,” it’s significantly because the Church of Feminism long gave indulgences to anyone who supports abortion on demand - exemplified by Nina Burleigh, who said she’d be “happy to give [Bill Clinton] a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.” Monica Lewinsky was just collateral damage. As are the women who were molested by Harvey Weinstein. They knew Feminism didn't have their backs, so how could they possibly stand up to Weinstein's power?

Possibly excepting the DNC, what other group could be such effective allies in promoting the defilement of women? Whatever happened to their Clinton defense that “it’s just sex?” That shouldn't have excused Bill Clinton any more that it could excuse Roy Moore. Now, some Feminists are starting to turn their gimlet gaze in Slick Willie's direction. Time for an accounting? Of whom, Slick or his enablers?

I don’t think I’ve ever linked to Politico before, but this is worth a read, though the fact that the headline mentions Roy Moore rather than Harvey Weinstein (or Anthony Weiner, or a dozen other Progressive scions) is an indication the Left isn’t quite self-aware even yet:

How Roy Moore’s Misdeeds Are Forcing an Awakening on the Left

Too late. Way too late.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Real communism

Revelations from the Russian Archives

A note from the Library of Congress speaking to the idea that if Lenin had lived the Soviet Union might have achieved its utopian objectives. Telegram from Lenin, August 11, 1918:
Translation of Exposing Imperialist Policies

11-8-18

Send to Penza

To Comrades Kuraev, Bosh, Minkin and other Penza communists

Comrades! The revolt by the five kulak volost's must be suppressed without mercy. The interest of the entire revolution demands this, because we have now before us our final decisive battle "with the kulaks." We need to set an example.

  1. You need to hang (hang without fail, so that the public sees) at
      least 100 notorious kulaks, the rich, and the bloodsuckers.
  2. Publish their names.
  3. Take away all of their grain.
  4. Execute the hostages - in accordance with yesterday's telegram.

This needs to be accomplished in such a way, that people for hundreds of miles around will see, tremble, know and scream out: let's choke and strangle those blood-sucking kulaks.

P.S. Use your toughest people for this.

TRANSLATOR'S COMMENTS: Lenin uses the derogative term kulach'e in reference to the class of prosperous peasants. A volost' was a territorial/administrative unit consisting of a few villages and surrounding land.
Here is a discussion of how this document came to be in the Library of Congress.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thank you for your service

A moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Sorrowful centenary

One hundred years ago today, an armed insurrection in Petrograd, Russia, marked the beginning of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Seventy-four years later, on December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved.

For every one of the 27,077 days in between, at minimum and on average, 739 (up to 2,216 by some estimates) Soviet citizens died at the hands of the Soviet government*. On average, a minimum of 31 (to 92) were killed every hour of each of those days. What drove this twisted disregard for human life? In one word: Marxism. Remembering Communism's Bloody Century
Karl Marx envisioned a new era of freedom and plenty, and its precondition was destroying the “wage slavery” and exploitation of capitalism. As he and his collaborator Friedrich Engels declared in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, our theory “may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”
Following Marx’s simple dictum, Soviet industry was owned and managed by the state, and agricultural land was divided into state-run collective farms. All the products of individual labor belonged to the State. All wages were determined by the State.

Money, Method, and the Market Process - Ludwig von Mises:

In such a socialist universe everything will be planned by the supreme authority and to the individual “comrades” no other sphere of action will be left than unconditional surrender to the will of their masters. The comrades will drudge, but all the yield of their endeavors will be at the disposal of the high authority. Such is the ideal of socialism or communism… The individual comrade will enjoy what the supreme authority assigns to him for his consumption and enjoyment. Everything else, all material factors of production, will be owned by the authority…

If one does not permit individuals to keep as their property the things produced…, one removes any incentive to create such things… Thus the anti-property (i.e., socialist or communist) authors had to construct … a society in which all men are forced to obey unconditionally the orders issued from a central authority…
The irony of using the term "wage slavery" was apparently lost on Marx.

The sine qua non property right is ownership of one’s self, including the right to the product of one’s own labor and the right to one’s own thoughts. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that “abolition of private property” includes rejection of self ownership. Marxist State property necessarily includes individual human beings.

Across time, across cultures and embodied in dozens of leaders, it is precisely from the rejection of private property that the miseries of Marxism, communism and socialism flow.

Directly as a result of Marx’s prescription, ninety-four million, and counting, people died at the hands of their own governments. It is this long and bloody record - of the Soviet, Chinese, Cambodian, North Korean, Vietnamese, Cuban and Venezuelan Marxists - against which capitalism must be measured by anyone who desires to replace it with Marxism.

It is fashionable, in fact it’s the last refuge, for the defenders of Marxism to claim its depradations are due to flawed implementation. “Stalin’s Soviet Union didn’t have real Communism.” “Mao’s China didn’t have real Marxism.” Etc.. How many times do we have to run this sick experiment before the lesson sticks?


Whoever rose to the top in any of these aspiring utopias would have faced the same choices. An ideology that denies self ownership compels substantially similar, abominable decisions, no matter the personal virtue (if such a thing can even be said of anyone who desires such power over others) of the rulers.

It’s not the messengers, it’s the message.

Edit: Soviet death figures modified to account for the range of estimates (20-60 million). 11:50AM

*

  • The Black Book of Communism (20,000,000)
  • Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago
    Intro to Perennial Classics Edition by Edward Ericson: Solzhenitsyn publicized an estimate of 60 million. 
  • Page 178: citing Kurganov, 66 million lives lost between 1917 and 1959
  • Sunday, November 05, 2017

    Lamenting free exchange

    As Wildfires Raged, Insurers Sent in Private Firefighters to Protect Homes of the Wealthy
    "Consumer advocates lament that the programs mean the rich can get better fire protection.

    "Do we like the idea of a two-tier system for wealthy individuals and people with less means? No," said Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a national insurance-focused consumer nonprofit based in California.

    "But do we want to see their approaches work? Yes," she added."
    Let me translate,
    "Ignoramuses lament that people are allowed to PAY for useful services.

    "Do we like the fact that some people have more money than others? No," said a clueless spokesperson for a non-profit, "because we don't understand the meaning of 'for-profit.'

    But do we want to see their approaches work? Yes," she added, "but only if everyone has very expensive homes.
    ""

    This is what Amy Bach is complaining about:

    A- Some people PAID for a service on the open market they thought beneficial to them.
    B- The sellers delivered the service as contracted.
    C- This arrangement resulted in 1) saving houses from conflagration, 2) reducing costs otherwise to be born by the seller of the service.

    Anybody can start a business offering the same service, if they so desire. How can these fools be called consumer advocates unless they do start such a business? AND give the service away, presumably using slave labor and other peoples' money.

    Friday, November 03, 2017

    Lysenko’s handmaid

    Sara Giordano, mentioned in an earlier post, is a Women’s Studies professor at UC-Davis, and recent author of Those who can’t, teach: critical science literacy as a queer science of failure, in which she argues that science, as and because it is defined by Western civilization, is a tool of racism and sexism. Along the way, she displays a Women’s Studies professor’s nebulous grasp of philosophy and economics by insisting capitalism is an economic system enabled by “Western science,” as opposed to some handwavingly defined “feminist science,” which apparently would favor Marxism.

    Capitalism, to Giordano, is a colonialist tool; part of a conspiracy to define some people as “non-human.” She takes a long winded path to recast the standard Marxist complaints about worker exploitation as oppression of women and minorities:
    “At the root of the justification for social inequality then is Western science (together with philosophy and other modern disciplines). By producing the categories of human/nonhuman as forms of natural (yet flexible) racial difference, capitalism becomes justified as a natural (yet flexible) economic system (Melamed, 2015).”
    The suggestion that colonialism was not purely evil will attract death threats. I mention this not to contend colonialism wasn't very often rapacious and immoral, but to demonstrate its invocative power. This is why Professor Giordano feels the need to make colonialism morally equivalent to science and capitalism: Untrue.

    And even if it were true, it would not justify rejection of 21st century science, nor dismissal of the precept of individual liberty inherent in Western ideals.

    Professor Giordano is convinced that by encouraging scientific illiteracy (and nowhere does she qualify this call for willful blindness with the word ‘Western’) we can initiate a better world:
    “…not knowing science may lead to a more just world,…” ““A transfeminist technology will value illiteracy for its improductiveness for industry, as a way of finding paths unimagined by speed and productivity.””
    The fact is, we don’t have to imagine it. Stalin, Mao, Castro, Kim Jong-un, Pol Pot, Chavez, et. al. have already shown us the outcome.

    Ms. Giordano’s identity politics have blinded her to what capitalism actually is. Dr. Richard M. Ebeling provides a view of capitalism she would likely embrace, if it didn’t preclude her prerogative to remake society as a feminist autarchy. What Is "Capitalism" Anyway? Read the whole thing, but here’s a salient bit.
    The bedrock concept behind an explanation of “capitalism” is private property. That is, the idea that an individual has a right of ownership and exclusive use of something. For the classical liberal, the most fundamental property right possessed by an individual is his own person. In other words, an individual owns himself. He may not legally or informally be treated as the slave of another person. The individual has ownership over his mind and his body. Neither may be controlled or commanded by another through the use of force or its threat.
    Now, I’m sure Professor Giordano would reply that even if that is the ideal, it isn’t how it’s worked in practice. This is true, but since she is arguing in favor of a utopian solution demonstrated to be the deadliest, most oppressive set of social experiments ever performed, it is also irrelevant. At best.

    Thursday, November 02, 2017

    Nefarious

    Commenting on my Academiot roundup post, below, a friend wrote:
    This one excerpt reminds me of the tax law ...
    Write so as to permit the greatest number of interpretations possible.....Obscurity may “protect from serious scrutiny” (Ellis 1989: 148). The idea is “to create a text without finality or completion, one with which the reader can never be finished”
    Which instantly reminded me of other writings on the same concept. I replied:
    And it would remind you of Tocqueville, I’d suspect.
    After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

    And Ayn Rand.
    “Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”
    The Looters aren't mysterious, their poisonous ideas have been around forever. They've been called out, but a large proportion of our young people haven't heard about it, and they are being trained by nefarious academics.