Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘Accused Gets His Say In Columbia Rape Case’

Full piece here.

An accounting of the facts of the case and the current lawsuit against Columbia.

McArdle doesn’t think the suit will get too far:

But perhaps winning the suit is not the point. I wonder if many of the men in question aren’t simply rebelling against the system, determined to get their side of the story on the record somewhere — for much the same reason that Sulkowicz said she filed a complaint against Nungesser. He can’t silence her, and he shouldn’t have that power. But he can force the media to pay a little attention to his side of the story, something that didn’t happen during the many long months of Sulkowicz’s campaign to name and shame him.’

Some details here (pretty graphic and pretty sad).

Cathy Young At The Daily Beast-‘Columbia Student: I Didn’t Rape Her’ Cathy Young At Minding The Campus: ‘The Brown Case: Does It Still Look Like Rape?

Anglo-Relations, ISIS And ‘Mattress Artists’

John Bew At The American Interest: ‘Pax Anglo-Saxonica

‘The failure of Wilsonianism, the collapse of the peace movement, and the weakness of the League of Nations in the interwar years are usually presented as evidence of the utter impracticability of a liberal world order. For Tooze, this misses the point. Such efforts were indeed deeply flawed, not least because of Wilson’s own uncertainty about America’s superpower status. But the outbreak of World War II proved not that liberal international order was impractical but that it was absolutely necessary, albeit in a more realistic form. As Tooze puts it, “The restless search for a new way of securing order and peace was the expression not of deluded idealism, but of a higher form of realism.”


Michael Totten at World affairs: ‘Under The Black Flag:’

Totten reviews ‘ISIS: Inside The Army Of Terror

‘Like all good historians, they start at the beginning. ISIS began its life as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) after the United States demolished Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003. The Bush administration saw Arab democracy as the solution to the Middle East’s woes, and Syria’s tyrant Bashar al-Assad didn’t want to be the next Saddam. Assad waged a proxy war to convince Washington that participatory politics in the region would be perilous. Weiss and Hassan quote former Syrian diplomat Bassam Barabandi, who says candidly that “[Assad] started to work with the mujahideen.” He dispatched Syria’s homegrown jihadists to fight American occupation forces, and most of those jihadists would sign up with AQI. Assad pulled off a win-win scheme, purging Syria of potential enemies while teaching both the American government and citizenry a lesson they still haven’t forgotten: Occupying and democratizing an Arab land is a far messier and bloodier business than most in the West are willing to stomach.’


Unfortunately, a girl with problems amplified those problems into becoming a ‘mattress artist’ (not a real artist), an arch victim (the ideology rewards it), a cause celebre, and a prime example of why ideologues and activists really shouldn’t be running their own kangaroo campus courts.  Rape, of course, still remains a serious crime and moral horror despite the efforts of such activists and confused people to make it less so.

These are not people who act as though they want to live in a civilized society.

Such bad logic and bad incentives go not only to the top of Columbia, but much higher at the moment…

Some details here (pretty graphic and pretty sad).

Cathy Young At The Daily Beast-‘Columbia Student: I Didn’t Rape Her’Cathy Young At Minding The Campus: ‘The Brown Case: Does It Still Look Like Rape?

Let’s You And Me Plan A Society

Joseph Heath from ‘In Due Course:’ ‘Response To Tabarrok

Interesting piece.

‘To all these charges I plead guilty. Substantively, the book is actually a work of profound pessimism. The key point of chapters 6 and 7 was to show that rationality does not just come and go (or as Jonathan Kay suggested, “these things move in cycles”), but that there is actually a hazardous dynamic at work in our culture that tends to crowd out rationality. The real model for my thinking here is addictive substances, the accumulation of which is clearly directional, and the net effect of which is to create an environment more hostile to rational life-planning.’

Any thoughts are welcome.


The below paragraphs are worth the price of admission, and a ramble through the bramble:

I tend to look at much post-Enlightenment rationalism as dealing with the same stuff of human nature that the major religions have for millennia.  Even very smart people I’ve known (great hardware, quick and ready acquisition of knowledge, powerful and precise memories) usually know more than everyone else about a one or two things, a little about a lot of things (albeit a wider range), and virtually nothing about most everything under the sun.

Some have been people of great and admirable character while many others, simply put, have not (with a few cranks and crackpots thrown in for good measure).  Even decent men can end-up in a bad way given a few bad choices, but a man making clear arguments for well-reasoned positions in full possession of his faculties is a thing to behold. As for final judgment, this is, alas, a blog, dear reader, so I trust you have your grain of salt ready.

Now, we’ll always need smart people where it counts, in some combination of nature/nurture (natural gifts + experience + hard work + decent incentives + character) making important decisions, or as part of institutions which often have to make the hardest decisions, but I tend to look skeptically at the lone architect, the ‘best and brightest’ and skeptically at positions of power (I positively bristle when all are combined).

The lone architect often desires recognition, or at least critique, challenge, and understanding of his work, not necessarily power and/or acolytes, but it can come to that.  The ‘best and brightest’ simply need to step out into the real world and see what endures (there is so much we all know that just ain’t so).  Bright, decent people can easily be ground under and put into service of poorly functioning institutions, for like all of us, they want some regularity, to know their place, a paycheck, a house, kids, respect and a vacation every now and then.  Power still seems to enhance what was already in a man, giving him greater scope, and so should be limited and checked often.

Perhaps it’s a good that some post-Enlightenment rationalists have gotten far enough to say:  ‘I recognize that ‘liberal democracy’ is an ideal and likely ‘pure democratic representation’ as well.  Man is often no good and it’s questionable how much he can be made to use his reason and the American system is falling apart.’

This is more soothing to my ears than ‘man will yet be made better when the ideas I hold and which are clearly universally true are put into practice.’

***Further afield beyond the rationalist/anti-rationalist debate, this blog remains not only skeptical, but proactive against most of those pursuing political activism upon post-Enlightenment political doctrines which advocate radical and revolutionary change.

Feel free to let me know just how much I’ve got wrong.

***Addition: I should add that I don’t necessarily believe ‘man is no good,’ but it’d be nice if more people, in lieu of championing the latest causes, were to admit that after the promises, this is what remains in their pursuit of power and advocacy in the real world.  How the leaders often act, not what they say.

Related On This Site:  Sunstein’s got to create some space between the Bloomberg backlash and the totalitarians on the Left: Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

Kant is a major influence on libertarians, from Ayn Rand’s Objectivism to Robert Nozick’s ‘night-watchman’ state:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper: The Objectivist Attack On KantRepost-Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom’…Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader

Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge

New liberty away from Hobbes…toward Hayek…but can you see Locke from there?: Repost-From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’

Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

William Logan At The New Criterion: ‘Pound’s Metro’

Full piece here.

Logan takes a look at one of the most important modern poems:

In a Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Ezra Pound


‘The minor vogue and rapid extinction of Imagism, a movement whose influence we still feel, has been hashed over by literary critics for a century. Its rehearsal here is merely to bring the poem into focus within the slow progress toward the densities of language, the images like copperplate engraving, that made Pound Pound’

Thorough and well done.

The result would echo back to the States years later:

The Great Figure

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.
This blog tends to look cautiously at many of the ideas of the Romantic poets, and the break to modernism, but not necessarily the poems themselves.  The echo ripples outwards:

Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout

Down valley a smoke haze
Three days heat, after five days rain
Pitch glows on the fir-cones
Across rocks and meadows
Swarms of new flies.

I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.

Gary Snyder

Once we start arriving at ‘ecological’ appreciations of nature, and the postmodern, confessional altar of Self and the turn inwards to the Self a subject for the art, and the desperate search for meaning, I get more and more turned off, for my own reasons.  Such good poems will carry on.
Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Repost-Islamism, Immigration & Multiculturalism-Melanie Phillips Via Youtube

Here’s Briton Melanie Phillips speaking about Muslims in Britain, and also finding excessive fault with multiculturalism (~15:00 min):


Phillips wrote a book called Londonistan, and perhaps she’s the British equivalent of a neo-conservative, having been ‘mugged by reality’ to some extent, for which she draws special ire from her former fellow travelers. As a columnist who started out for the British Left-Of-Center Guardian, and moved to the Daily Mail, Phillips targets that unholy marriage of Islamism and multiculturalism.

In the case of Britain, civil society has managed to create a space which shelters a number of Muslism immigrants operating outside of British law, sometimes bringing tribal customs and Sharia courts with them. Obviously, this is a problem.

Islamism and Islam, for Phillips, are two different creatures. There are Muslims who subscribe to the faith, and emigrate from their home countries. They come to the West for economic opportunity, political stability and all the other reasons people immigrate to the West. In the case of America, for example, they are particularly free to practice their religion, and perhaps have their religion insulted by South Park or the likes of Terry Jones.

Islamists, on the other hand, are a different matter. They range from the radicalizing Tsarnaevs, to Al Qaeda, to Anwar al-Awlaki and the Muslim Brotherhood. They subscribe to a form of Islamic ideology that sees itself in a global struggle against the encroachment of outside ideas, particularly the freedoms, culture, and influence of the West at the moment.  Islamists are reactionary, ideological, and often advocate violence. They have serious issues with modernity, demanding and seeking solidarity and soldiers for the front lines against all enemies. Islamists seek to re-establish the kinds of laws and society that would enforce strict and impossibly ideal and narrow Islamic codes. This form of Islamic idealism has many wings and various sympathizers. It’s the kind of idealism we’re battling both abroad and on our soil, sometimes effectively, sometimes not very effectively at all. Some Islamists have even imported Western fascistic and socialist ideology and fused them with their own Islamism.  A toxic brew.

Islamism is a major force throughout the Middle East and Muslim world right now, and at the very least, perhaps we can recognize that the Islamists mean harm to other Muslims as well.

So, how does Phillips think Britain should handle Muslim immigration? By highlighting terms which Britons should be quite clear about:  There are laws to follow, forms of government to understand, a language to master and traditions which they might one day be expected to defend.  This means locking horns with the multicultural Left.

The West is not merely a stop on the global benefits welfare chain.  We’re not necessarily here to offer asylum or student visas to those who don’t particularly care to be here, nor those Islamists who travel from mosque to mosque, calling for jihad.  Of course this is closer to the melting-pot approach that was once dominant in the U.S., which has since been on a slow decline due to the rise of multiculturalism here as well.   I doubt this is a coincidence.

I’d add that America is obviously more than just a well-educated university faculty, or the talking heads on T.V.  There are many other ideals, beliefs and virtues besides those like the new atheism, environmentalism, feminism and multiculturalism etc.  Such secular ‘-isms’ tend to have universal aspirations, and many of their followers believe in these ideals with a kind of secular faith, rallying around these ideas and often presuming them to be universally true. As in Europe, universities and the media are natural draws for people who want to pursue such idealism, eventually influencing the culture and politics.

If Britain can show us anything, it’s that allowing the secular ‘-isms’ to be the highest things around, right alongside Muslim immigration and Islamism, is asking for serious trouble.

Now, I don’t think Phillips has everything right (nor obviously do I have everything right, for that matter) but her voice, like that of Christopher Hitchens, and Lars Hedegaard, are interesting voices of dissent tracing paths out of the Marxist, socialist and multiculturalist European Left.  They have important truths to tell us.


Sayyid Qutb isn’t a bad place to start to understand a little more, I’ve been told.

Michael Totten’s various interviews over the years with the Muslim Brotherhood are not inspiring.  They’re Islamist lite, perhaps, and not likely the kinds of people we can do much business with.

A great piece here: Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’

Also, check out that sophisticated link between the Brotherhood, Muslim world and multiculturalist Europe, Tariq Ramadan.  He sure knows how to speak the language:


***Inevitably, criticism comes from the Left that highlights Phillips’ Jewishness.  “She’s a shill for Israel” etc.  Well, there you go.  Anti-American, anti-semitic victimhood is all the rage in many quarters in Europe these days.  Where’s that getting them?

Ever closer to the ideals which they hold aloft, and which move forever out of view.

Related On This Site:  Why Lars Hedegaard Still MattersUpdate And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’…Morality away from a transcendent God, but back toward Hume through the cognitive sciences?: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

People think I’m crazy, but NPR is the manifestation and mainstreaming of 60’s idealism.  This idealism will always need money, and gravitates towards the public purse. Foundations which served other ideals naturally attract idealists. A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

You know it’s getting bad when even a former NPR exec says it’s getting out of hand: Jack Shakely At The Los Angeles Review Of Books Reviews Ken Stern’s ‘With Charity For All’

From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism…From The Middle East Quarterly Via A & L Daily: Europe’s Shifting Immigration Dynamic

Kenan Malik In The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Twenty Years On: Internalizing The Fatwa’-Salman Rushdie

Theodore Dalrymple argues that France has the potential to handle Muslim immigration better because of its ideological rigidity, which can better meet the ideological rigidity of its Muslim immigrants…Theodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain

How do you reasonably deal with relativism anyways?: From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon Blackburn

Repost-Eugene Volokh At The National Review: ‘Multiculturalism: For or Against?’

What Are Our Interests? Chattering Away In Washington-A Few Iran Links

I’ve heard it described this way: America used to be like a bouncer at a club (thanks, Britain), and it seems now after signaling to everyone in the club we’re not showing up for work anymore, we’re trying to negotiate with a particular group of pretty powerful, pretty bad group of guys in the club. These guys do bad things, and operate much like a cartel, running guns, militias, terror squads and such in their part of the club.  In fact, some of these guys are some of the worst guys in the club, and unsurprisingly they want to be in charge of the club (unsettling to catch sight of a ‘Death to America’ tattoo close-up amongst the 1979 crowd).

These guys (Shia, Iranian regime) fought a horrific turf war years ago against a guy (Saddam, Sunni, Ba’ath) in whose business many years later, for various reasons, the bouncer got involved.  We went in and took Saddam out (admittedly one of the worst guys in the club..yet…this decision has failed on many basic premises and promises, and left behind a huge mess and a lot of suffering).  The turf war is still going on in various forms, and on a larger scale now.

Our current representative keeps telling us we MUST do business with this group of guys (generally ignoring a lot of other people in the club…Kurds…various other Sunnis and a few semi-allies…and a strong ally and a decent fellow we know well whom everyone else would kill if they got the chance), because, yes, these are the people we can do business with. Other allies, semi-allies, frenemies, but mostly adversaries, are watching the drama unfold and making moves accordingly.We are being told this deal is a moral imperative because, well…peace or bust.

And that’s where a lot of people are looking.

Is it worth having sacrificed American treasure, wealth, time and opportunity costs on removing economic sanctions from the Iranian regime and bringing them a step or two in from the international wilds…for a deal that hasn’t even materialized yet?

***When you think about it, the analogy fails on a number of levels, but I thought I’d share it with the below links, because the ‘club’ is a real mess:

From The Daily Beast: ‘There is No ‘Good’ Shia Militia In Iraq

‘Yet, if the priority is to counter Iran while fighting ISIS, an American modus vivendi with Sadr may be necessary. Certainly the modus vivendi between Sadr and Tehran is not going well. The Iranians have built up numerous Sadrist splinter groups that put pressure on the leader. At the same time, Sadr’s criticism of the actions of Iranian-controlled militias and his more nationalistic tone—going so far as to suspend his group’s activities after the slaying of an Iraqi Sunni tribal leader—certainly demonstrates a shift.’

Michael Totten: ‘Iran’s Goal Is Middle-Eastern Hegemony

‘Iran’s ability to disrupt the Middle East is unmatched by any other state in the region, but it couldn’t conquer and rule the whole area even if it did have nuclear weapons. It can, however, foment fragmentation, chaos, terrorism, and war, and will continue to do so whether or not its government signs and adheres to an agreement with the US. A deal that allows Iran to grow stronger through sanctions relief without addressing any of that, alas, will almost certainly make the Middle East a worse place than it already is.’

Repost-George Johnson Reviews “The Drunkard’s Walk” In The NY Times

Full post here.

Well, you probably know that people rarely make rational decisions, but did you realize how easy it is to be wrong?

the additional information skews the odds, and with Cardano’s method you can make a rational, though counterintuitive, decision.

We have all probably “trusted our intuitions” in crucial moments but haven’t had rational explanations for why we did so, or for that matter, we probably don’t have a good definition of what intuition is either.

The Nikzor site has some good fallacies and Marilyn Vos Savant’s (of Parade and Jarvik fame) page has some as well.

*Check out Johnson’s garage band science page if you’re interested in simple experiments, especially to do with electricity.

See AlsoMarilyn Vos Savant:  The Game Show Problem

Ideology On Campus-Some Links

From The New Criterion: ‘Campus Inquisition:’

‘McAdams ended by observing that, “like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And, when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university.’

From The FIRE blog: ‘Student Accused Of Sexual Assault Sues Brandeis For Alleged Due Process Violations’

‘Of course, how could anyone defend themselves against charges without knowing precisely what those charges are?’

As previously posted:

Camille Paglia’s piece ‘The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil’

Well, I don’t know about the whole campus, but with freedom comes responsibility.

Addition: Or as a friend puts it: Some ideologues on campus want to hermetically seal their place within it, and the campus itself, into a ‘zone’ under which they have influence, where reality and many parts of human nature can’t enter.  This is not practicable long-term.

Some people are trying to erode common sense until it becomes less common:

‘The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light.’

Well, that’s quite a worldview, but like me, you probably agree that there are bad, possibly evil, crazy, and dangerous people among us. The kinds of extreme badness and goodness one can find in war aren’t really ever that far away.  Our knowledge and our civilization are often assumed to be less fragile than they are.

Related On This Site: Cathy Young At Minding The Campus: ‘The Brown Case: Does It Still Look Like Rape?…The Personal Ain’t Political-Holding The Line Against Rape Ideologues-Conor Friedersdorf On George Will

Christina Hoff Sommers (wikipedia) is trying to replacing gender feminism with equity feminism. She also wrote The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.

Are You Man Enough? Nussbaum v. MansfieldFrom The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

Defending Eliot Spitzer…as a man who ought to be free of prostitution laws…but didn’t he prosecute others with those same laws?: Repost: Martha Nussbaum On Eliot Spitzer At The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A very Harvard affair: The Spelke/Pinker debate-The Science Of Gender And Science

Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?

From’Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide’

Greg Lukianoff At FIRE.Org: ‘Emily Bazelon And The Danger Of Bringing “Anti-Bullying” Laws To Campus’

Tuesday Poem-Wallace Stevens

Not Ideas About The Thing But The Thing Itself

At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside
Seemed like a sound in his mind.

He knew that he heard it,
A bird’s cry, at daylight or before,
In the early March wind.

The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow…
It would have been outside.

It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep’s faded papier-mache…
The sun was coming from the outside.

That scrawny cry–It was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,

Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.

Wallace Stevens