“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

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.

    Wednesday, November 01, 2017

    Academiot roundup

    Feminist prof says 'traditional science' is rooted in racism
    Sara Giordano, Women’s Studies professor at UC-Davis, is quoted in that link as follows:
    “At the root of the justification for social inequality then is Western science,” she says, claiming that science’s distinction between “humans and non-humans” has allowed “capitalism [to become] justified as a natural economic system…”
    That quote is a bit confusing out of context. If you read the whole paper, you'll see that the key idea is not that animals in their natural state reject capitalism. Or, that there's no distinction between humans and, say, banana slugs. It's that "the colonial and capitalist roots and development of the sciences have produced “man,” thoroughly embedded in a racial hierarchy, through … the “Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom.”"

    That is, racism (and sexism) is reinforced by science because the practices and definitions of science were established by colonialism and white male 'privilege,' not objective reality. Capitalism is really just along for the guilt by association ride.

    Professor Giordano came to Women's Studies via a PhD in neuroscience, a sort of science apostasy, so she may be motivated by feminist resentment. She hopes her essay “opens up questions about what kinds of scientific illiteracy we might embrace to destabilize science and remake knowledge production… In part, science maintains a special status because its products are not accessible to a wide range of people.

    Given the specialized jargon and SJW in-group assumptions, this paper is an example of something not accessible (nor of interest) to a wide range of people. It seeks special status. Its title, Those who can’t, teach: critical science literacy as a queer science of failure, should have been - How to (further) politicize science

    Giordano goes on: “We need to disrupt the epistemic authority of Science…[and] the assumption that science = truth,” [by implementing a] “feminist science practice that explicitly unsticks Science from Truth.

    Science and truth are, indeed, different things, but promoting scientific illiteracy is not going to improve anything. In fact, it will make the differences between voodoo and particle physics much harder to discern. But, maybe that's intentional.
    I use the word queer to suggest not only a challenge to capitalism but also a challenge to the categories of human/nonhuman and normal/abnormal that science has enforced and drawn on for success. Halberstam argues that we can read a history of successes and failures under capitalism in multiple ways and suggests reading the history of failures as “a tale of anticapitalist, queer struggle” (2011, p. 88).”…

    “Independent artist, filmmaker, and activist Lucía Egaña Rojas writes in “Notes on a Transfeminist Technology” (2013) that “A transfeminist technology will value illiteracy for its improductiveness for industry, as a way of finding paths unimagined by speed and productivity.” Rojas advocates creating new worlds by being gender illiterate and acknowledging how the positive relationship between epistemic power/authority and literacy devalues the knowledge of many of the world’s poorest inhabitants.”
    She wrote - sitting in a major American University, publishing with trivial ease a document written on a computer powered by electricity conducted on copper wires made in complex factories from ore mined by machines designed by engineers proficient in bending reality to their will - and all of which scientific miracles cost her a pittance from the salary she’s paid by skimming from the labor of other humans. Maybe the world would be more evenly just in the transfeminist Medieval world she happily contemplates, but it seems as if that world would be able to afford far less actual justice.

    And, by the way, I have no idea why the word 'queer' is a challenge to capitalism. In-joke, I guess.

    Yale ‘decolonizes’ English dept. after complaints studying white authors ‘actively harms’ students
    "[A] student could graduate from the program without ever reading either [Chaucer or Shakespeare}."

    If Yale will grant a degree to an English major who has never studied Chaucer or Shakespeare, how long will it be before they grant degrees in Mechanical Engineering to students who never took a course in the Behavior of Engineering Materials because Henry Bessemer was white (not to mention English)? Would you want such a graduate designing bridges? Well, that's like an English teacher who doesn't know Shakespeare.

    Get On the Bus or Get Under It: Shouting Down Free Speech at Rutgers
    “[M]any intersectional activists… view speech as a form of literal violence. For that reason, it is justifiable to shut down opposing voices before they even speak, a tactic called “no-platforming”…

    [T]he Rutgers protesters settled for a shouting campaign with the dual goals of rattling the panelists and, more importantly, keeping the rest of us from hearing what they had to say. Tellingly, it was usually when a speaker was in the middle of making a compelling – and potentially damning – point that the protesters suddenly became most determined to drown him or her out…”

    The protesters were particularly antagonized by Foster’s contention that police violence against African-Americans has been statistically exaggerated. When he started explaining the methodological research behind his claim, the audience exploded. “Facts?! Facts?! Don’t tell me about facts!” one person screamed. Foster tried to finish as five or six people shouted at him. “Do facts matter?” Foster asked, and repeated it several times in mounting frustration. “Do facts matter? Do facts—

    The resounding, devastating answer was no, facts do not matter…

    Intersectionality is a strange kind of essentialism that professes to hate essentialism. It assumes people are determined by inherited characteristics, which is exactly what racists also think.”
    Postmodern Creationism in Academia: Why Evergreen Matters
    “[A] comprehensive search reveals widespread acceptance of notions that oppose the conclusions of research on human evolution, particularly regarding the migration and dispersal of early cultures that came to populate the New World. This opposition has now become the dominant view in many departments of American Indian Studies, Indigenous Studies, Multicultural Education, Ethnic Studies, and allied fields (a broad umbrella, henceforth referred to as Cultural Studies).

    The most important recent impetus for the surge in creationist ideology–within the institutions of higher learning–can be traced to the brazen attack on the theory of evolution in Red Earth White Lies by Vine Deloria Jr.2 The backdrop to the evolution-denial arguments is the politicized dismissal of the advances of modern science that are cast as “Western,” leading to, for example, creation myths being held up as contradicting the findings of evolutionary anthropology, population genetics, and archaeology…

    If the findings of empirical research are not confirmed or disconfirmed by objective criteria of evidence, but instead are socially constructed by the dominant classes, which, as claimed, scientists serve, then our knowledge of the natural world cannot advance. From this point of view, knowledge is forever relative, dependent on the confrontation of ideological and political interests. Belief systems and political programs of social groups compete, each with their own knowledge system, each “epistemology” with its own equally valid interpretation of facts.”
    This occultist repudiation of science is the politics of 2+2 equals 5. American colleges and Universities are awash in it, especially in the social 'sciences,' but hard science is increasingly in danger.

    How does it come to pass that such claims can unabashedly be put forward as "truth?" Pauline Marie Rosenau can help us understand: Post-Modernism and the Social Sciences

    I have not yet read started reading (11/06) this book, but I've ordered a copy because the reviews and excerpts I've found are positive. I think this bit from the Amazon description is accurate: "Serving as neither an opponent nor an apologist for the [Postmodernist] movement, she cuts through post-modernism's often incomprehensible jargon in order to offer all readers a lucid exposition of its propositions."

    I've excerpted some of Rosenau's observations from a University of Alabama overview of Postmodernism.
    Postmodernism and Its Critics

    Rosenau’s Guidelines for Deconstruction Analysis:
    • Find an exception to a generalization in a text and push it to the limit so that this generalization appears absurd. Use the exception to undermine the principle.
    • Interpret the arguments in a text being deconstructed in their most extreme form.
    • Avoid absolute statements and cultivate intellectual excitement by making statements that are both startling and sensational.
    • Deny the legitimacy of dichotomies because there are always a few exceptions.
    • Nothing is to be accepted, nothing is to be rejected. It is extremely difficult to criticize a deconstructive argument if no clear viewpoint is expressed.
    • 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” (Wellberg, 1985: 234).
    • Employ new and unusual terminology in order that “familiar positions may not seem too familiar and otherwise obvious scholarship may not seem so obviously relevant”(Ellis 1989: 142).
    • “Never consent to a change of terminology and always insist that the wording of the deconstructive argument is sacrosanct.” More familiar formulations undermine any sense that the deconstructive position is unique (Ellis 1989: 145). (Rosenau 1993, p.121)...”

    “Pauline Rosenau (1993) Rosenau identifies seven contradictions in Postmodernism:
    • Its anti-theoretical position is essentially a theoretical stand.
    • While Postmodernism stresses the irrational, instruments of reason are freely employed to advance its perspective.
    • The Postmodern prescription to focus on the marginal is itself an evaluative emphasis of precisely the sort that it otherwise attacks.
    • Postmodernism stress intertextuality but often treats text in isolation.
    • By adamantly rejecting modern criteria for assessing theory, Postmodernists cannot argue that there are no valid criteria for judgment.
    • Postmodernism criticizes the inconsistency of modernism, but refuses to be held to norms of consistency itself.
    • Postmodernists contradict themselves by relinquishing truth claims in their own writings.
    Also useful:
    How to speak Postmodern

    Thursday, October 26, 2017

    Connecting the dotty

    To most people I think University of Illinois professor Dr. Rochelle Gutierrez’ (PhD, Education) claim would seem to be not just ludicrous, but dotty:
    Prof: Algebra, geometry perpetuate white privilege
    “On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White,” Gutierrez argued.
    Gutierrez also worries that algebra and geometry perpetuate privilege, fretting that “curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.

    Perhaps an investigation into the origin of the word Algebra ("al-jabr”) would make Dr. Gutierrez happier. Or, maybe she'd feel better if she thought about all those Asians who have so much trouble with the whiteness of math, that they have to be discriminated against in the admissions process.

    In any case, mathematics since about the 15th century has largely been developed by Europeans (some of whom were Hispanic, FWIW) and their descendants, so is the point that we should culturally disappropriate?

    As for the Greeks, Pythagoras was one; and the first method for rigorously calculating π was devised by Archimedes around 250BC, which is why we use a Greek letter for it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that's hardly the only Greek symbol you have to comprehend to do much in the way of math.

    The claim that use of the Greek names and symbols perpetuates white privilege over 2,000 years later is, um… interesting. Math curricula should be modified, and the entire symbolic canon should be revised, because Greeks are white?

    I guess people who can’t do, teach; and people who can’t teach design curricula focusing “on equity issues in mathematics education,” rather than worrying about actually calculating the area of a circle.

    It’s as if someone insisted there is no biological basis for distinguishing between female and male human beings:

    Dr. Nicholas Matte, professor of gender studies at University of Toronto, is claiming that biological sex differences are an error in perception which only arises because of the way we’ve been socialized. Sexual identity is, therefore, whimsical. Never mind the 99.7% correspondence between physical characteristics and how people identify as men or women; they’re deluded, it’s just words and experience, nothing objective whatsoever. Never mind the science relating to, for just one example, in utero exposure to testosterone. Here. Here. Here. And Here.

    Yet, as we’ve seen, the denial of biological difference between men and women is a dogma seriously argued by credentialed academics. (I want to know, if your biological sex is whatever you think it is moment by moment, what’s the point of women’s studies?)

    This isn’t merely an academic conceit: James Damore was fired by Google for suggesting that recognizing such differences might improve profitability. Social Justice ideology cost him his job, and, if it hasn’t already, it’ll eventually turn its attention to you.

    So, what’s denial of biological sex got to do with claiming mathematics reinforces "White privilege?"

    The denial that there are biological differences between men and women springs from the same philosophy which brings us racist mathematics; Postmodernism, and its incoherent adjunct, intersectionality. Postmodernism tells us we can’t know objective reality, everything we think is socially constructed delusion. On the other hand, all that stuff we can’t actually know intersects oppressively at the corner of Western and Civilization - aka the Phallological Patriarchy.

    Fortunately, most of us are not Postmodernists - we don’t insist that ideas like ‘mathematics is racist’ are essential to our core beliefs. Unfortunately, most of us are therefore unaware of the extent of the Postmodernist cancer, and don’t routinely subject it to the unrelenting mockery it so richly deserves.

    Postmodernism enables a person with pretensions to intellectual aptitude to deny biology or to say out loud that:

    "mathematics itself operates as Whiteness"
    If you can’t grasp the concept of “the square root of minus one,” it’s because of white people. Sorry, “White” people, speaking English: I'm sure there's some problem with that, if Gutierrez would just think about it. After all, it implies our very ability to communicate comes from Europeans. Maybe it's even why English profs don't get as many grants as Math profs.

    "algebra and geometry perpetuate privilege"
    “Privilege” as used here demeans our admiration for people who are better than someone else at anything, not just math. Besides, it’s double plus ungood to suggest people who are good at something deserve admiration. Since Postmodernism teaches us there’s no actual meaning to anything, how can being good at something justify privilege admiration? What difference, at that point, does it make?

    "If one is not viewed as mathematical, there will always be a sense of inferiority that can be summoned,"
    All of us, perhaps excepting Donald Trump, can “summon a sense of inferiority” about something. Very often, it's about math. How could it be otherwise? So all of us are oppressed in some way or another. Some are just more oppressed than others.

    Still, being able to carry a tune, paint a picture, write a poem, repair an internal combustion engine, build a house, or install a plumbing system command different levels of status, respect and compensation. Certainly, a “math education professor at the University of Illinois” has ‘privilege.’ She has the privilege to imply that individualistic Western capitalist culture is corrupt beyond redemption, because math is “White.” And male.

    Rochelle Gutierrez has the privilege to be resentful. She wonders, "why math professors get more research grants than “social studies or English” professors."

    Perhaps it’s just supply and demand. I’d suggest math professors are rarer because a PhD in Mathematics is much harder than a PhD in Education, so fewer people can do it, minority or otherwise. And math professors work is not, despite Ms. Gutierrez' ministrations, yet buggered up with all the politically correct crap Education majors apparently carry around - so the mathematicians are actually doing something useful.

    Maybe she should, instead, ask why plumbers get paid more than math education professors who push Orwell’s words onto their own discipline:
    “In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. … The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” – “1984”
    That’s Postmodernism he’s describing.

    If you want to understand what’s going on with the college cry-bullies and their pronoun idiocy; to see why there is an alliance of gay rights activists and gender feminists with homophobic and misogynist Islamic fundamentalists; to apprehend what is really meant by “white privilege” in mathematics; to see how Progressive intellectuals can still promote Marxism despite damning evidence from Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez… you need to understand what Postmodernism preaches. Without that understanding you may continue to think that outbursts calling mathematics patriarchal-racism are isolated and silly, and that gender studies professors who reject biology can safely be ignored.

    Just as I went to post this, this popped up:
    Prof: punishing protesters promotes 'white supremacy'
    A University of Southern California professor recently argued that punishing protesters who disrupt conservative speakers can reinforce “white supremacy.” Charles H.F. Davis, a professor of education at USC, argued in an essay for Inside Higher Ed that punishing protesters contributes to white supremacy because it can unfairly “suppress and criminalize” students, especially in light of protesters’ valiant goals.
    Translation: Don’t even think about punishing riotous thugs who have the privilege of being USC students, because this creates “an unsafe and threatening environment” for the privileged, riotous, thugs and may inconvenience them while they’re physically intimidating others and obstructing speech.

    Another Education major. Can they see anything that does not make them squeal, "white supremacy!" A term they are using because their overuse of "racist" for the last decade desensitized the country to "racist." Megan McCardle has a worth reading piece on that, but I fear her advice is too late: Be Careful Who You Call a 'White Supremacist.

    I recommend reading Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen R.C. Hicks, but here is an excellent summary.

    For a video tour of postmodernism here’s Dr. Jordan Peterson, also mentioned in a post below. He's a gem.

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017

    It's FIB, not FBI

    Hillary's campaign and the DNC paid for the fake, Russian-sourced, Trump dossier, and the FBI was going to continue...:
    It was an astonishing turn: the nation’s top federal law enforcement agency agreeing to fund an ongoing opposition research project being conducted by one of the candidates in the midst of a presidential election.
    ...

    Before that, Hillary's Russian reset involved accepting 'contributions' from foreign sources seeking approval for a major uranium sale:
    As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

    [S]hortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

    ...

    Meanwhile the FBI was less than forthcoming about Bill and Hillary's windfall from selling 20% of our uranium to Russia. The FBI didn't tell Congress about this for years:
    The collusion Trump & Co have been accused of is chickenfeed compared to twenty percent of U.S. uranium ending up in Putin's hands under the aegis of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, the latter two members of CFIUS (the inter-agency committee that reviews the transfer of U.S. companies to foreign entities…)

    [A] 2009 FBI investigation of this possible nuclear deal uncovered kickbacks, money laundering, and bribes from the Russian company involved (Rosatom) and yet it still was given the go-ahead by the Obama administration is -- I can think of no better word -- appalling.

    ...

    It wasn't just Obama and senior Cabinet officials:
    The investigation was ultimately supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, an Obama appointee who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, now the deputy FBI director under Trump, Justice Department documents show…
    ...

    Major players at the FBI assisted:
    Robert Mueller was head of the FBI from Sept 2001-Sept 2013 until James Comey took over as FBI Director in 2013. They were BOTH involved in this Russian scam being that this case started in 2009 and ended in 2015.

    Mueller, of course, is the Special Prosecutor leading a team of Hillary supporters in investigating whether Trump colluded with the Russians.

    Friday, October 20, 2017

    So much winning

    What if you could simultaneously:

    1. Reduce gun deaths,
    2. Institute major sentencing reform,
    3. Meaningfully make black lives matter,
    4. And reduce the rapid increase in deaths from opioids?

    The best single policy to advance all these causes would be to end the War on Drugs.

    Drug related homicides in Progressive strongholds such as Washington D.C., Chicago and Philadelphia would decline, so a major cause for the deaths of black men involving firearms (nearly 6,000 gun deaths annually, or 31.7 homicides per 100,000 black men) would be eliminated. The need for drug related police intervention, and the friction between blacks and police because of it, would be decreased.

    The disproportionate sentencing of blacks for the sale and use of drugs would be reduced. Inner-city neighborhoods would be safer and other crimes would decline.

    On black lives and firearms, from the Brookings Institution:
    “The vast majority (77 percent) of white gun deaths are suicides; less than one in five (19 percent) is a homicide.

    These figures are nearly opposite in the black population, where only 14 percent of gun deaths are suicides but 82 percent are homicides:”
    Without the War on Drugs, older white men might still commit suicide at high rates (nearly 16,000 annual gun deaths, or 16.3 suicides per 100,000 white men), but to some of the SJWs out there, this is a benefit.

    Annual gun death data from here, a good place to interactively apply demographics to gun death stats.

    Another benefit of ending the War on Drugs would be that doctors who prescribe, and patients who truly need the pain relief provided by, opioids would be be better off.
    “the overdose death rate from opioids hit a record high of 33,000 in 2015 — but the majority of deaths were from heroin, and deaths from fentanyl doubled over the previous year. Overdoses from prescription opioids, however, are stabilizing or even receding.”
    There is also evidence that where marijuana is legally available, Jeff Sessions notwithstanding, the use of more dangerous drugs declines:
    State Medical Marijuana Laws Linked to Lower Prescription Overdose Deaths
    -Johns Hopkins
    “In states where it is legal to use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where medical marijuana remains illegal, new research suggests.”
    Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?
    -RAND Corporation
    “We study the impact of medical marijuana laws on problematic opioid use. Based on standard differences-in-differences models, event study analyses, and synthetic control models, we find that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths. The mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries.”
    Medical marijuana reduces use of opioid pain meds, decreases risk for some with chronic pain
    -University of Michigan
    “Patients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications known as opioids, a University of Michigan study finds.”
    So, the expansion of marijuana dispensaries looks like it might drive down the social and monetary costs for emergency medical intervention. Ending the War on Drugs can start there. And we get the bonus titillation of thwarting Jeff Sessions.

    Quality control applied to the most dangerous drugs, such as heroin and Fentanyl, would make self administration safer through accurate dosage of unadulterated drugs.

    Finally, over a relatively short time, the number of overdose deaths would decline because most of those prone to overdose would have succumbed.

    This last may seem cynical and cruel, but those are the people who will overdose, or die from hepatitis, etc. in any case. At least they will not have been shot.

    Thursday, October 19, 2017

    Dr. Jordan Peterson

    The video clip below is about 5 minutes of a longer interview I recommend to you. It’s a segment discussing the difference between scientific truth and religious truth. On the way it touches on the balancing of order and chaos, moral action, Darwin, heroism, the meaning of music and the fundamental idea of Western Civilization.



    This snippet is just one bit of evidence that University of Toronto Psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson has long been devoted to understanding the meaning of being by investigating the nature of truth. He is a man Diogenes the Cynic would have been happy to find.

    Dr. Peterson has posted a huge volume of work (hundreds of hours of audio/video - television programs, interviews, and lectures going back many years); 90% of it is apolitical. I highly recommend browsing through it: Peterson is intelligent, articulate and very, very interesting. He was pretty much unknown up until the time politics became interested in him.

    Those segments of his work which touch on politics do so when he discusses the relationship of good and evil to truth and lie; or references philosophies like those of Jacques Derrida, whose postmodernist theories provide a basis for the SJW political attack on Western Civilization. Here is an example:



    Peterson’s thoughtful concerns about this threat should be taken very seriously.

    Peterson has become an internet celebrity because of videos he recently posted challenging a Canadian law which compels certain forms of speech. This attracted virulent and gratuitous defamation from the usual leftist suspects. Among other similarities to Mark Steyn’s travails, the Star Chamber of the Ontario Human Rights Commission looms.

    I hold Mark Steyn in the highest regard, not least because of his forthright defense of free speech. Steyn is joined in that defense by Peterson. In some ways Peterson is Sir Thomas More to Mark Steyn’s Martin Luther. If you’re in the mood for more Peterson, here’s a Mark Steyn interview involving the hornet’s nest Peterson inadvertently kicked. Pronoun Trouble ~50 minutes.

    Since that interview the City of New York and the State of California have passed pronoun laws similar to Canada’s.

    Saturday, October 14, 2017

    Self-awareness is not her strong suit

    Hillary says:

    "I commend the women who've been willing to come forward and tell their stories [about Harvey Weinstein]."

    Like you did with Gennifer, Juanita, Paula and Monica?

    "There's a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office."

    That's way different from "My husband committed sexual assaults in the Oval Office." It's OK, though; Those assaults were 'litigated,' and are 'in the past.' What difference, at this point, does it make?

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017

    Bury My Start at Wounded Knee

    Jerry Jones says Cowboys players ‘disrespecting the flag’ won’t play

    The NFL will discuss in an upcoming meeting the nationwide dispute over whether players must stand during the National Anthem

    Forcing players to stand is not exactly going to make them more patriotic, but, as I pointed out on September 25th, it's up to NFL owners.

    Lots of people have to act according to employers' rules so as not to alienate the customers. NFL players are no exception.

    Saturday, October 07, 2017

    Dystopian Sweepstakes III

    OUR CRAZY LEGAL SYSTEM
    ADA requires two "tactile interpreters" so a blind and deaf man can "experience" a movie, in this case Gone Girl.

    So, what happens if he wants to see Deep Throat?

    Thursday, October 05, 2017

    No one sane

    Not the NRA; not people who voted for Donald Trump; not people who own guns, who like country music or pickup trucks: No one* wants it to be possible for a Stephen Paddock to murder even one person with a gun. However, none of the political policies put forward to ban or restrict weapons and ammunition actually address the problem. No one proposing them is able to say what set of laws could have prevented the Las Vegas massacre. They appeal to magical thinking.**

    There's a good reason for that. From the Washington Post:
    I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

    Leah Libresco is a person who dislikes guns, but she follows the evidence instead of the cynical talking points.
    By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.
    I don't expect this article will change the calculations of politicians and anti-Second Amendment types who can't bear wasting any fundraising crisis, but any reasonable person - especially including those who dislike firearms - will gain from reading it.

    Thank you, Leah Libresco, for your courage and honesty.

    Read the whole thing, and the links there are also worth checking out.

    Update, 1:25PM
    *Maybe I spoke too soon, but I did say "sane":

    **Democrats Have No Idea How To Prevent Mass Shootings

    Tuesday, October 03, 2017

    Saturday, September 30, 2017

    Identitarian Politics: Distinctions without a difference?

    I recommend this Claremont Review of Books discussion of fascism’s origins and the comparison to communism, including points about Black Lives Matter and Antifa. It’s well worth reading the whole thing: Fascism in America?

    But I have some reservations.
    Fascism... first emerged in Italy under Benito Mussolini, then spread to many other corners of Europe and Latin America. It took numerous forms, the most virulent of which was German National Socialism, which can be lumped into the overall fascist phenomenon, but only in certain respects. In others, it must be considered distinctly…
    I think what follows to justify this distinction is hair splitting.
    Mussolini... ultimately found communism’s collectivist obsession with class less satisfying than a collectivist obsession with nation, defined in group terms as the (Italian) people. National socialism offered an extreme version of this view, focused on an elaborate racial theory in which “Aryans” were good, superior, and entitled to rule, while others were inferior… Nazism was virulently anti-Semitic, more so than most other versions of fascism. Altogether, fascism was a politics based on accident of birth and on group membership. Individual identity, not to mention individual worth or individual rights, had no place…
    A difference of looking inward to exalt vs looking outward to vilify. The in-tribe is still the volk. Professor Busch seems to agree;
    It is not difficult to see a number of similarities between fascism and communism. Both... employed violence and intimidation to gain and keep power. Both grounded themselves in a version of collectivist identity politics. Both led in practice to all-powerful dictators supported by cults of personality. Both were enemies of liberty, hostile to the free market, property rights, limited government, and independent civil society. Both saw themselves as “revolutionary” and sought to displace God with a secular religion of totalitarian ideology... Indeed, one might easily conclude that fascism and communism were two versions of the same thing engaged in a bitter family dispute—two overlapping branches of the left wing rather than two opposite things.
    On the merits, I do so conclude. See my post of August 18: Cosmetic Distinctions.
    Nevertheless, two cardinal theoretical distinctions can be made. Where fascism fixated on race and ethnicity as the basis of collectivism and dehumanization, communism fixated on economic class. Where fascism adopted an explicitly oppositional attitude toward rational discourse, communism purported to be based on scientific principles, even though communists in practice made a mockery of such pretensions.
    As to the first point, one might reasonably note that the difference is based on tribal identity. A group promoting racial privilege is temporarily allied with a group espousing privilege based on class; both wishing to commit the crimes delineated above. The differences between Antifa and Alt-Right, between the KKK and BLM – and between BLM and Antifa - are subtle points of doctrine; boiling down to a dispute over which collective will dominate the other at Statist gunpoint. If Antifa and BLM combine to “fundamentally transform” the United States, we can expect a replay of the Menshevik/Bolshevik, Trotskyite/Stalinist denouement.

    The second point of differentiation is, if one takes the word “rational” seriously, actually not a difference at all. Theoretical, indeed.

    While Antifa openly embraces violence, the Black Lives Matter movement does not. Nevertheless, BLM protests have featured chants calling for violence against police—“pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon”—and several have turned violent in reality, including in Baltimore, St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, where a shooter inspired by (though not affiliated with) BLM killed five police officers at the end of a BLM demonstration. Some members of the movement have also been implicated in attempts to silence critical speakers through intimidation and physical force.
    As to the embrace of violence as a difference between BLM and Antifa, “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” seems to me to qualify BLM as a promoter of violence. Maybe I’m missing something, but I doubt this sounds like a rendition of Kumbaya to police officers. Further, Professor Busch goes on to recount the disruption (by the threat of violence) of Heather Mac Donald’s speech (contra BLM orthodoxy) at Claremont. Perhaps too much heavy lifting is being required of the words “openly” and “affiliated.”

    Professor Busch is generally correct in his assessment of Facism/Nazism and Communism, but seems overly concerned about the fine particularities of Statist branding, and too willing to excuse BLM violence compared to Antifa.

    YMMV, and I reiterate my recommendation to read the piece.

    Update 12:20PM Oct 7 17
    FBI terrorism unit says 'black identity extremists' pose a violent threat

    Thursday, September 28, 2017

    This thing is not like the NFL thing

    U.S. Army and West Point both respond about ‘official socialist organizer’ and Army officer Spenser Rapone who is espousing Communism

    Distinct rules have been violated.
    Penalties are clearly spelled out.
    No question it is, at the least, disrespectful.

    Trump hasn't Tweeted about it.

    Rapone's next move will have to be applying for gender reassignment surgery, perhaps from Leavenworth.

    Scroll down to the comments at the link for better pictures.

    Monday, September 25, 2017

    NFL - Who cares?

    There has been speculation that the statue protests would expand from Robert E. Lee, Columbus, et. al., to include Jefferson and Washington. Worse, however, it's escalated to treating the Stars and Stripes as equivalent to the Stars and Bars: Both are apparently racist to a certain subset of NFL players.

    On the other side we have the President injecting comments in his inimitable, distempered fashion. Despite my distaste for President Trump's gratuitous bullying, I would boycott NFL games. If I watched any in the first place. As the player protests against the National Anthem continue, I suspect my indifference is a better outcome than the NFL might expect from its fans.

    A third party, NFL owners, is looking clueless. One is reminded of ESPN's descent into political activism. Professional football is supposed to be entertaining. Not any more.

    Multi-millionaire, has-been quarterbacks have a Constitutional right to publicly protest, but let us not pretend that they must be allowed to promote Black Lives Matter on someone else's stage; acting as if they were marching from Selma to Montgomery. The league has control over the "take a knee" Kaepernicki (emphasis mine):
    2017 NFL RULEBOOK
    ...RULE 5. PLAYERS, SUBSTITUTES, EQUIPMENT, GENERAL RULES...
    ARTICLE 8. PERSONAL MESSAGES
    Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or otherwise conveying personal messages either in writing or illustration, unless such message has been approved in advance by the League office. Items to celebrate anniversaries or memorable events, or to honor or commemorate individuals, such as helmet decals, and arm bands and jersey patches on players’ uniforms, are prohibited unless approved in advance by the League office. All such items approved by the League office, if any, must relate to team or League events or personages. The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns. Further, any such approved items must be modest in size, tasteful, non-commercial, and non-controversial; must not be worn for more than one football season; and if approved for use by a specific team, must not be worn by players on other teams in the League.
    I conclude that player protests during the National Anthem are either expressly approved by the NFL, or the NFL is ignoring them.

    The owners are making a statement here, and they've made some in the recent past which should cause you to wonder about their commitment to their entertainment product.

    NFL rules out player's patriotic cleats
    Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson earlier in the week said he would wear specially-designed patriotic cleats when he lines up against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

    The special red, white and blue cleats include stars, an American flag-inspired Nike logo and the words "Never Forget" printed on the heel, according to photographs posted on Williamson's verified Twitter account.

    But that would violate NFL rules, which stipulate each player's shoes must be either black or white, with team colors serving as allowable dominant or secondary colors on the shoes.

    The NFL rule book says unapproved shoes are allowable only if "the player tapes over the entire shoe to conform to his team's selected dominant base color
    This took place shortly after the league ignored Kaepernick's decision to practice in socks depicting police officers as pigs.

    In addition to the 220 words of Rule 5, Article 8, of the 2017 NFL Rulebook; the league has another 3,231 words proscribing how players may express themselves through how they appear, including a prohibition on being seen smoking and "facial makeup". So, any appeal to free speech is governed by the rules of employment. How those rules are enforced is obviously a decision made by the league, and the owners are aligned with Kaepernick: A player they refuse to employ.

    Further, while contractual language is subject to modification, here is language from a generic NFL contract:
    4. PUBLICITY AND NFLPA GROUP LICENSING PROGRAM.
    ...Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, the fore- going grant does not confer, during or after the term of this Agreement, any right or authority to use Player’s Publicity Rights in a manner that constitutes any endorsement by Player of a third-party brand, product or service (“Endorsement”)...
    So, yes, Mr. President, the NFL are a bunch of hypocrites who are damaging their brand with their core constituency. While your puerile provocations do lead them to ever more outrageous behavior, you're damaging the brand of the Presidency.

    They are making a mistake. Let them do it without your assistance. Just like John McCain should keep his prissy nose out of baseball and boxing, you should practice a touch of discretion.

    Update 1:55PM
    ‘Sunday Night Football’ Ratings Down Again On Day Of Player Protests

    Thursday, September 21, 2017

    Some environmental news

    In case you missed these.

    Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy
    Supporting wind power is virtue signaling, but it should be called virtue noise.

    The real strike price of offshore wind
    If you oppose nuclear power, you don't care about the planet.

    Climate scientists admit they were wrong on climate change effects
    Thank you, Captain Obvious. It's been clear the models are wrong for quite some time. I guess it's time to start walking back the credibility destroying apocalyptic predictions.

    IS THE EARTH’S CLIMATE HISTORY LARGELY A FRAUD?
    Fudging the numbers?

    Annnd... we have to visit the hurricane claims:
    New book: ‘Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed On Global Warming ‘
    Since we've had 12 years without any, there's a pent up need to blame 'climate change' when we get some.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017

    Good speech, Mr. President

    President Trump followed in the tradition of previous Presidents when he noted in yesterday's speech to the United Nations that aggression by North Korea would result in its destruction.

    Trump is hardly the first president to remind North Korea of America’s ability to obliterate it.

    He also lifted a page from Margaret Thatcher in calling out socialism for the grinding poverty it creates.
    "The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented," he said in front of the United Nations General Assembly, which was greeted with a long pause and then some applause.

    "From the Soviet Union to Cuba, Venezuela — wherever through socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish, devastation, and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime."

    Tuesday, September 19, 2017

    Areopagitica Lost

    The current state of the country and the current state of political and intellectual conversation depresses me in a way that it never has before. You have to understand — I’m never happy with the state of the country — that’s the inevitable fate of holding an ideological position that rarely gets any traction — I’m a classical liberal who’d like government to be dramatically smaller than it is now...

    Maybe it’s paranoia but it’s been a long time since I felt the thinness of the veneer of civilization and our vulnerability to a sequence of events that might threaten not just the policy positions I might favor but the very existence of the American experiment.

    The main way I’ve been dealing with this feeling of despair is to stop paying close attention. I don’t know what depresses me more — the stupidities and dishonesty and tolerance of darkness that come out of the President’s mouth or the response from those that oppose him. Given that I don’t like the President, you’d think I find the response of his enemies inspiring or important. But the responses scare me too, the naked hatred of Trump or anyone who supports or likes him. And of course, it goes way beyond Trump and politics. The same level of vitriol and anger and unreason is happening on college campuses and at the dinner table when families gather to talk about the hot-button issues of the day. Everything seems magnified.
    Read the whole thing, it's very good. Russ Roberts: The World Turned Upside Down (and what to do about it)

    I agree 100% with Roberts' intro, it feels like he wrote for me. He doesn't mention some things that cause my angst, why "it's different this time," but I think he'd agree with them.

    I suppose I shouldn't be, but I'm surprised at the durability of the vehement response to Donald Trump. I get that Progressives are angry and depressed, but it's hard for me to imagine they're more angry and depressed than I was at Barack Obama's re-election. That was a very dark day and an excruciating 4 more years. You can examine this blog for my criticisms of Barack Obama, but you'll find nothing like what we hear daily from CNN, MSNBC, or (?) ESPN, or from the hegemony of far left celebrity Twitterers.

    I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed at the contrast in the treatment of Antifa with that of the tea party. When the tea party left one of its demonstration sites, the area was cleaner than when they arrived. No fires, little to no profanity, no smashed windows, no beaten Obama supporters. Still, the tea party people were vilified by the media and Democrats, including the charges of racism and Nazism they've raised lately to screaming rants. It's not just free speech, but freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and petitioning for redress of grievances that is under attack - with the implicit support of the very press who wish to preserve their First Amendment right. Apparently, as the only remaining First Amendment right.

    When Donald Trump appointee Betsy DeVos comes out in favor of due process, it's a sexist apocalypse. When Trump rejects the Paris Climate Accord, "we're all gonna die!" When he removes a few draconian regulations, we can see the Four Horses on the horizon. When Trump turns responsibility for Obama's unconstitutional DACA executive order over to Congress, it's Nazism, racism, white supremacism, patriarchal and traitorous. Dial it back people. But they can't.

    Back to Russ Roberts. Given the above, his prescription:
    1-Don’t be part of the positive feedback problem. When someone yells at you on the internet or in an email or across the dinner table, turn the volume down rather than up. Don’t respond in kind to the troll. Stay calm. It’s not as much fun as yelling or humiliating your opponent with a clever insult, but it’s not worth it. It takes a toll on you and it’s bad for the state of debate. And you might actually change someone’s mind.

    2-Be humble. Shakespeare had it right: There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. You’re inevitably a cherry-picker, ignoring the facts and evidence that might challenge the certainty of your views. The world is a complex place. Truth is elusive. Don’t be so confident. You shouldn’t be.

    3-Imagine the possibility not just that you are wrong, but that the person you disagree with could be right. Try to imagine the best version of their views and not the straw man your side is constantly portraying. Imagine that it is possible that there is some virtue on the other side. We are all human beings, flawed, a mix of good and bad.
    ...suffers from the fact that the center and the right have been more polite and civil than the left for decades - and see where that’s gotten us.

    Donald Trump is crass, undisciplined and devoid of principle; but it is primarily the exquisite sensibilities of the intersectionality cadre who blame America for every evil that make his actual content inflammatory. They say they can identify “dog whistles” in Trump’s rhetoric, forgetting that it’s only the dog who can hear the whistle.

    Is Trump complicit in this? Certainly. His comments on Mexican illegal immigrants are similar to this:
    "You cannot go to a 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian Accent."
    "I mean you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking guy."
    -Joe Biden
    ...but "that's just Joe." Still, Trump’s a piker compared to the rest of Democrat leadership:
    "Republicans… [would] rather take pictures with black children than feed them."
    -Donna Brazile

    "I'll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."
    -Lyndon Johnson

    "[T]ypical white people,”
    "clinging to their guns and religion."
    -Barack Obama

    “basket of deplorables"
    "You f*cking Jew b@stard."
    -Hillary Clinton
    Those aren't distant historical examples, which would be far worse (Woodrow Wilson, for example, the Progressives' Progressive). Those aren’t dog whistles, they’re fog horns; but, on the left, nobody's knickers got twisted. That rhetoric is how we got Trump.

    As far as the hoi polloi are concerned, on one side of protest demonstrations we see a marginalized group promoting white supremacy, who have with very few exceptions been non-violent except in self defense. On the other, we see a larger group, promoting black supremacy, that uses violence regularly and indiscriminately. Criticizing the latter group either brings charges of being a “Nazi sympathizer” from mainstream Democrats, or silence, as classical liberals attempting to exercise freedom of speech are under physical attack at our nation's universities; in collusion with university administrators and local governments who order police to “stand down."

    Which group is actually a threat to freedom? The group trying to use their right to free speech, or the group routinely using violence to shut down free speech?

    I’m reminded of this passage from Alan Bloom’s (1987) The Closing of the American Mind: “I have seen young people, and older people too, who are good democratic liberals, lovers of peace and gentleness, struck dumb with admiration for individuals threatening or using the most terrible violence for the slightest and tawdriest of reasons. They have a sneaking suspicion that they are face to face with men of real commitment, which they themselves lack. And commitment, not truth, is believed to be what counts.

    Bloom is writing about people avoiding the messy distractions of understanding their own ‘ideas,' because "[C]commitment, not truth, is believed to be what counts.” Their rhetoric is excused by their commitment to no more than having unexamined good intentions.

    Ronald Reagan had sub-human intelligence. Barry Goldwater was called a Nazi 50 years ago. The KKK is blamed on Republicans when, in fact, it was the action arm of the Democrats. Similarly, racial discrimination by the State: It was, in fact, outright eugenicists and open racists like Woodrow Wilson who reversed integration in the civil service. Even the far left editors at Vox admit this.

    Culturally, we’re debating whether your biological sex is dispositive regarding bathroom facilities, while the left insists that any discussion of differences between men and women is absolutely not allowed. Facebook gave up when the number of “gender” choice check boxes available in your profile reached 58, but men and women are indistinguishable.

    If you write a polite, scientifically factual memo questioning Google’s discriminatory hiring practices, you get fired. Meanwhile, Google downranks results from websites not fitting their political views.

    Meanwhile, we waste blood and treasure half-heartedly defending poppy farmers in Afghanistan, because “homeland security," while the territory you can visit in Europe is continually eroded by “no-go” zones and our courts plunk down on the side of unrestricted immigration.

    And now I’m back to agreeing with the author’s intro, but you can’t remain silent in order to get along. That’s a complete oversimplification of Roberts' advice, but it’s hard to remember that when some antifa thug is spraying spittle.

    This is how you get more Trump. If that isn’t depressing, what is? Well, the thought of Hillary as President may be one thing.

    Monday, September 18, 2017

    Why he was called Mr. Whizzard

    Standing Up to Pee Gives Boys an Unfair Advantage in Physics

    The authors note that "there is no simple way to provide girls with the same opportunities for exploring projectile motion that boys have in playing with pee." Nonetheless, they make a feeble attempt: "However, we can make a change: it’s not necessary for physics curricula to begin with projectile motion. Other topics, such as energy conservation, which is more central to physics, could be taught first instead."

    This abjectly weak proposal shows a decided lack of imagination, especially given the novelty of their "discovery." It fails to address the issue; females must eventually confront a topic in which they are hopelessly deficient. You know this to be true if you've ever tried to mansplain to a female how the gearing works on a 10-speed bicycle. Women have difficulty visualizing 3D schematics and, particularly, parts in motion. This problem goes beyond physics to engineering, chemistry and the programming of computer games.

    Now we know why: Sitzpinkling is biologically determinative. Females lack the early ballistics and fluid dynamics training natural to males, and cannot, therefore, be successful in STEM disciplines. From this, we can conclude that Marie Curie had the advantage of countless hours playing with hoses when she was little. Judith Curry's success is explained by the near rhyme of her surname, but we cannot expect thousands of parents to change the family name in order to get female offspring an MIT scholarship.

    All is not lost. As a public service I suggest five ways in which the cosmic unfairness of this patriarchal oppression may be mitigated by the State.

    1- Population-wide forced gender reassignment surgery (male to female)

    Advantages:
    1. Would resolve the raised toilet seat debate
    2. Would cost far less for surgery (than female to male surgery), since there are more females than males, and since female to male surgery is more expensive per individual
    Disadvantages:
    1. Would slow advances in physics
    2. Would vastly increase bathroom lines at Tupperware parties
    3. Extinction of the species
    2- Population-wide forced gender reassignment surgery (female to male)

    Advantages:
    1. Would resolve the raised toilet seat debate
    2. Would decrease bathroom lines at football games
    3. Would speed advances in physics
    Disadvantages:
    1. Would cost much more for surgery than Option 1, since there are more females than males and since female to male surgery is more expensive per individual
    2. Extinction of the species
    As noted, the surgery could swing both ways, so to speak, and absent the cost and effectiveness issues, I'd pick advancing physics and shorter lines to pee for everyone.

    But the clear choice is male to female:
    As a solution to being able to aim your urine the female to male surgery is problematic: "Extending the urethra to allow standing urination has proved to be perhaps the most difficult part of the process..."

    Also, "converting part of the colon into a vagina" is easier than building a penis.

    But I can't choose either option. On the merits, human extinction makes me reject both Option 1 and Option 2.

    3- Forced catheterization of females

    Advantages:
    1. Would speed advances in physics
    2. Would vastly decrease bathroom lines at Tupperware parties
    3. Would resolve the raised toilet seat debate
    Disadvantages:
    1. Would require significant remodeling of existing female facilities to add urinals
    2. Would be uncomfortable for females
    4- Require males to sit down

    Advantages:
    1. Would resolve the raised toilet seat debate
    Disadvantages:
    1. Would require significant remodeling of male facilities to remove urinals
    2. Would increase bathroom lines at football games
    3. Would slow advances in physics
    5- Mandate a certain amount of time and frequency (five times a day) for girls to play with hoses (increasing time spent and reducing flow and accuracy as they age, in order to match the effects of enlarging prostates)

    Advantages:
    1. Would speed advances in physics
    2. Would increase business for hose manufacturers
    3. Would add to the time females spend on government mandated activities (to some this is a drawback)
    Disadvantages:
    1. Would require building indoor hose practice facilities in cold climates
    2. Would add to the time females spend on government mandated activities (to some this is a benefit)
    I invite comments regarding advantages and disadvantages, and suggestions for any options I may have missed. I'll be happy to pass them on to our elected representatives for urgent action.

    Update, 4:57PM It occurs to me upon re-reading this, that we need not force catheterization upon women. It can be a choice, which I'm told they like. In fact, choice of catheterization could become a female admissions requirement at elite STEM educational institutions. From the State's POV, this would be more efficient.

    Update, 5:13PM Oops. Maybe the entire question of sex bias in STEM is a tempest in a teapot. The Gender Gap in STEM is NOT What You Think