Sherlock Holmes & Speech-Two Links

If it’s free, you’re the product.  If the large company offering free services, making you a product, has a board full of ‘trust and safety’ types, well, you’ve been warned.

As I see things, because many secular ideals are becoming the highest things around (at least within many institutions), then many secular idealists and true-believin’ radicals, even, are pretty much okay deciding what you should be looking at.

At the WaPo (Democracy Dies In Darkness!), owned by Jeff Bezos, utitlizing the latest Amazon engineering…:

Michael Dirda writes about Sherlock Holmes (sorry, behind a new and improved AI paywall).

As posted: Michael Dirda at the Washington Post: ‘Sherlock Holmes May Not Have Been A Real Crime-Fighter, But His Creator Was

Of note:

‘In 1908 the wealthy Gilchrist kept lots of expensive jewelry in her home but feared robbery so much that she installed three locks on the entrance door to her apartments. Nonetheless, one afternoon the family residing below heard loud crashing sounds above, followed by three knocks.’


by Colin Angus Mackay

“I must take the view, your Grace, that when a man embarks upon a crime, he is morally guilty of any other crime which may spring from it.”

-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A discussion of deductive and inductive reasoning here, as it might relate to solving crimes (which is highly dramatized in our culture, perhaps partly due to Holmes).

Strange Maps has this.

221B Baker Street page here.

Perhaps thefire.org is something like the new ACLU:  You must keep building new firewalls against illiberal ideas and people.  Greg Lukianoff has five suggestions on what university Presidents can do:

‘With the targets constantly shifting, what are some effective steps college presidents can take right now to fight censorship, regardless of where it originates? Presidents like to say they are in favor of free speech, but few have presented a plan of action that would improve the state of free speech for their students and faculty members. ‘

As posted, here’s what at least one of them has done:

From Adam Falk’s letter to Williams students:

‘Today I am taking the extraordinary step of canceling a speech by John Derbyshire, who was to have presented his views here on Monday night. The college didn’t invite Derbyshire, but I have made it clear to the students who did that the college will not provide a platform for him.

Free speech is a value I hold in extremely high regard. The college has a very long history of encouraging the expression of a range of viewpoints and giving voice to widely differing opinions. We have said we wouldn’t cancel speakers or prevent the expression of views except in the most extreme circumstances. In other words: There’s a line somewhere, but in our history of hosting events and speeches of all kinds, we hadn’t yet found it.

We’ve found the line. Derbyshire, in my opinion, is on the other side of it. Many of his expressions clearly constitute hate speech, and we will not promote such speech on this campus or in our community.

We respect—and expect—our students’ exploration of ideas, including ones that are very challenging, and we encourage individual choice and decision-making by students. But at times it’s our role as educators and administrators to step in and make decisions that are in the best interest of students and our community. This is one of those times.’

John Derbyshire raised quite a stir after publishing ‘The Talk: Nonblack Version,’

‘There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following.

Of course, what better place than a liberal arts college to talk these matters out?

Sigh.

Read up. Get your reasons and arguments together. Show up at the debate, alone or with friends. Listen to the other fellow. Think. Respond. Think some more. Debate.

Publishing and disseminating the thoughts and ideas of others is not necessarily an endorsement of those thoughts and ideas, but it is absolutely vital in maintaining a free and open society:

Out of principle alone, here’s Derbyshire discussing his general worldview:

Trying To Club Your Club To Death, Fictional British Towns & Mars-Some Links

Imagine trying to ban all the Moose Lodges, Elks’ Clubs, Little Leagues, and Girl Scout Troops across the nation in the name of fairness (if these clubs and civil associations can’t be ‘equal’ according to the loudest voices demanding ‘equality’, then nobody’s going to have any clubs).

Of course, many of the same individuals and orgs seeking to influence everyone’s behavior at Harvard are also seeking to do so through the Federal Government.

Some people seem locked in [a] kind of slavish ideological dependency on the institutions they seek to either control or destroy.

From FIRE.org: ‘Harvard’s Steven Pinker on proposal to ban social clubs: ‘This is a terrible recommendation

‘Members of the Harvard University community are reacting to news yesterday that a faculty committee recommends the Ivy League institution eliminate all exclusive social clubs. The ban would effectively shutter any Harvard-connected off-campus clubs, including all fraternities and sororities, by the year 2022 — despite Harvard’s continued promises of unfettered freedom of association for its students.’


Via kottke.org: ‘Fictional Names For British Towns Generated By A Neural Net

Two miles from Brumlington, as the crow flies, deep in the moor past Firley Binch, lieth Fuckley….

I recommend Simon’s blog for photos and text of the English Countryside.

Mick Hartley’s blog is pretty good, too.


Five years on Mars can be boiled down to 1 1/2 hours of discussion.  The data is telling a story, so how is that story being told?:

Did Mars harbor life?

Could it have harbored life?

What does this new data mean for Earth and our story?

From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

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

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

Harvey Mansfield At The City Journal: ‘Principles That Don’t Change’

Via Youtube: ‘Curiosity’s First Year On Mars’

With Less Liberty And More Injustice For All-A Sad Spectacle At Yale

Erika Christakis, whose husband can be seen below, in the middle of a shame-circle..:

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is now leaving Yale of her own accord, because she had the temerity to write the following, which is the offense that purportedly incited the shame-circling, to students who had accused her of racial insensitivity:

‘Nicholas says, if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society.

But — again, speaking as a child development specialist — I think there might be something missing in our discourse about the exercise of free speech (including how we dress ourselves) on campus, and it is this: What does this debate about Halloween costumes say about our view of young adults, of their strength and judgment?

In other words: Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? It’s not mine, I know that.’

Greg Lukianoff at F.I.R.E had this pegged from the get-go, because it’s what he does for a living.

When a mob comes calling, administrations usually don’t have your back:

‘However, there is something conspicuously missing from their otherwise strong statement: an explicit promise that neither Erika nor Nicholas Christakis will be forced or pressured to resign or otherwise punished in any way. Throughout my career, I have seen countless instances where university administrators pressured faculty to resign for controversial expression.’

I humbly submit that many truth and knowledge claims behind the total-equality seekers, the activists and planned-society-seekers, the safe-spacers and injustice warriors ends up…right here.

Perpetual grievance and victimhood theater, with new victims.

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As for Yale…

Full post here.

Reason post here.

NY Times piece here.

Christopher Hitchens on re-printing the cartoons that incited Islamic violence:

‘According to Yale logic, violence could result from the showing of the images—and not only that, but it would be those who displayed the images who were directly responsible for that violence.’

See Also:  If you thought the cartoons were bad, more on the Fitna movie here.  From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”  Libertarians love this issue:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant 

Ever more inclusion until we can’t any longer. On this site, see: Louis Menand At The New Yorker: ‘Live And Learn: Why We Have College’..

Once you take apart the old structure, you have to criticize the meritocracy you’ve helped create: David Brooks At The NY Times: ‘Why Our Elites Stink’

The anti-intellectual’s intellectual: Repost-Via Youtube: Eric Hoffer-’The Passionate State Of Mind’

Leo Strauss:From Darwinian Conservatism By Larry Arnhart: “Surfing Strauss’s Third Wave of Modernity”

A deeper look at what education “ought” to be, which is remarkably like it is now: A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.

How dare he?: Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?From The Harvard Educational Review-

Still reliving the 60′s?: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”

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 trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal: Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

What Would Hitchens Say? Via The NY Times: ‘Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo’

Camille Paglia At Time: ‘The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil’

Full piece here

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.

This blog continues to support civil libertarian feminists, often ex-feminists, or even continuing feminists who criticize feminist ideology in good or bad faith because they are free to do so. They are free to bring-up the often shoddy use of statistics by many feminists, the cultural Marxism and troubling tendencies of victimhood/oppressor theories, the controlling impulses on display in the video below.

Via David Thompson, from Canada via the Agenda with Steve Paikin, notice how two panelists just can’t bring themselves around to the idea of other people speaking their minds, thinking differently and critically, and pursuing ideas freely in an open debate.

They really don’t seem to see a problem with where the logic of their own ideology leads:  To silence and shout-down opposing points of view, to constantly try and control the speech and thoughts of others.

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So, how do you teach the arts and tilt the culture? Camille Paglia has some ideas, including the idea that George Lucas has taken root in more 20th-century minds than anyone else with his space opera:

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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 FIRE.org-’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’

Some Wednesday Links On Free Speech & Ideology, Also Some Cool Photos

Julian Sanchez at CATO@Liberty on the Hobby Lobby reaction:

‘The ruling seems to provoke anger, not because it will result in women having to pay more for birth control (as it won’t), but at least in part because it fails to send the appropriate cultural signal. Or, at any rate, because it allows religious employers to continue sending the wrong cultural signal—disapproval of certain forms of contraception—when sending that signal does not impede the achievement of the government’s ends in any way.’

In lieu of other sources, when the personal becomes political, adherents can derive meaning, identity and purpose from Supreme Court decisions without really even understanding the decisions. This can devolve into a lot of tribal in-group/out-group outrage and identity-marking.

Since the 60’s Left-liberal counter-culture now is the culture in many parts of academia, and higher-ed is larded with a lot of administrative waste, the FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights In Education) is going on the offensive with lawsuits for what it sees as unconstitutional campus speech codes:

They’ve filed four free-speech lawsuits in one day.

From Reason:

‘Lukianoff explained that FIRE would not hesitate to expand the suits until all universities abandon their speech codes, which were ruled unconstitutional decades ago but have endured at more than 50 percent of colleges, according to the foundation’s research.’

If you find yourself sympathetic to religious liberty and/or conservative, limited government principles, broad definitions of free-speech, libertarian definitions of individual liberty and responsibility, or heck, maybe you’re just apolitical but find yourself getting tired of many organizing principles that lead to rather closed, poorer, top-down societies with more incentives for people to often neither think nor act for themselves…this isn’t a bad cause to support, if just with a nod of your head as you sit in front of your screen.

On that note, dear reader. via David Thompson’s excellent blog, here are some photos of the world’s northernmost biggest city, Norilsk, Russia:

It’s like a living game of Tetris.

Cathy Young At Minding The Campus: ‘The Brown Case: Does It Still Look Like Rape?

People who see the world through an ideological lens of power relationships and victims may not be the people you want with extra-judicial power, but it’s what many campuses are getting:

Young takes a look at one particular case:

‘No attempt was made to independently verify any of Sclove’s claims. Most publications made no attempt to get Kopin’s side of the story. No one thought to ask such basic questions as: If Sclove was indeed violently raped and strangled, why didn’t she go to the police? Would Brown officials really readmit a known violent rapist after a brief suspension and run the risk of him reoffending?’

The sensitive nature of the subject allows it to be claimed by some people who have only ideology, not necessarily facts or standards of evidence.

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FIRE (The Foundation For Individual Rights In Education) has its hands full, intelligently pushing back against the coalitions of activists that have taken root in our colleges and universities for some time now, but which find special expression through White House task-forces under this administration:

Who needs due process when you’ve got one judge, jury, and executioner?:

‘Perhaps most worryingly, the Task Force appears to be enthusiastic about essentially eliminating hearings altogether for students accused of assault and harassment. The Task Force is exploring a “single investigator” model, where a sole administrator would be empowered to serve as detective, judge and jury, affording the accused no chance to challenge his or her accuser’s testimony.’

Remember those anti-bullying campaigns a while back?:

Yes, feminists and anti-rape activists make moral claims, and they take them very seriously, so seriously in fact that they can work themselves into a frenzy:

Greg Lukianoff:

‘If those of us who defend civil liberties had to name our greatest historical adversary, the leading candidate could be summed up in two words: moral panic. Moral panic is a sudden, powerful, and often highly exaggerated perception within a society that people or their values are facing a dire threat.’

It’s tough to pursue justice when you can’t even identify injustice to meet a basic legal standard.

elated LinksChristina 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 The NY Times: ‘Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity’

Activism At Home & Abroad-Some Wednesday Links

Walter Russell Mead has been pushing for a new Russia policy, and a foreign policy reboot with an eye towards Asia. As for some of his thoughts on the current administration: ‘Obama Tip-Toes Past The Graveyard Of His Foreign Policy:’

‘That the President and a top aide offered a defense of the administration’s international agenda that tip toed past the misreading Russia issue suggests that despite their evident discomfort and concern, the President’s foreign policy inner circle hasn’t yet come up with a strategy for national much less international leadership in our increasingly tumultuous world’

Another piece over at the American Interest has Richard Haass at the Council On Foreign Relations speaking out: “U.S. Foreign Policy In Troubling Disarray:”

‘The Obama Administration cannot escape its share of the responsibility for what has gone wrong with U.S. foreign policy. And the result is unwelcome news both for the world, which largely depends upon the United States to promote order in the absence of any other country able and willing to do so, and for the United States, which cannot insulate itself from developments beyond its borders’

I’m guessing many in the Obama administration already know themselves to be in possession of many of the right ideals and far as peace and democratic activism go, so we’re not going to be seeing much change.

The world just wasn’t ready for it.

***As posted previously-It might be worth revisiting that Cairo Speech to see how rhetoric is meeting reality.

I’ve also been referred to Obama’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech to show the framework upon which he hangs his foreign policy. He’s been called a realist, or one who generally deals with the world as it is, not as he’d like it to be.  In the speech, Obama sets an expectation of using force against evil in the world if necessary. He’s willing to part company with Gandhi and MLK in the face of a genuine possible evil and the grim choices events may require.

According to this view, Obama has rejected the Hillary Clinton/Samantha Power wing of humanitarian interventionism as idealists to his realism. He split the difference in Libya to the operation they wanted (like Bosnia) because of his realism. He later thought Syria wasn’t worth the risk because of his realism (it has since devolved into a near worse-case scenario into which Putin had to step-in). He approved, then withdrew, the surge in Afghanistan after he didn’t see the gains he wanted because of his realism.

No further comment….

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What about activism at home?: Well, FIRE (The Foundation For Individual Rights In Education) has its hands full, intelligently pushing back against the coalitions of activists that have taken root in our colleges and universities for some time now, but which find special expression through White House task-forces under this administration:

Who needs due process when you’ve got one judge, jury, and executioner?:

‘Perhaps most worryingly, the Task Force appears to be enthusiastic about essentially eliminating hearings altogether for students accused of assault and harassment. The Task Force is exploring a “single investigator” model, where a sole administrator would be empowered to serve as detective, judge and jury, affording the accused no chance to challenge his or her accuser’s testimony.’

Remember those anti-bullying campaigns a while back?:

Yes, feminists and anti-rape activists make moral claims, and they take them very seriously, so seriously in fact that they can work themselves into a frenzy:

Greg Lukianoff:

‘If those of us who defend civil liberties had to name our greatest historical adversary, the leading candidate could be summed up in two words: moral panic. Moral panic is a sudden, powerful, and often highly exaggerated perception within a society that people or their values are facing a dire threat.’

Here’s a further example of Left activism leading to potentially extra-judicial, quasi-official task-forces and councils and suspect bodies that can interfere with 1st amendment protections, Perhaps we can take a note from Canada, which has no such protections:

Ezra Levant’s opening statements during a lengthy investigation after he published those Danish cartoons of Mohammed:

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Levant was fighting what he saw as an infringement upon his freedom of speech by the Human Rights Commission of Alberta.  As editor of the Western Standard, Levant published the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, and found himself investigated by, in his words, “a kangaroo court.”

Originally, a letter was written by Syed Soharwardy, an imam living in Alberta, to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.  Soharwardy claimed that the cartoons were morally offensive to the religion of Islam.  Levant believed his decision to publish the cartoons was protected by Canadian law, and that Soharwardy found a path to legal action (at the expense of Canadian taxpayers) through the Human Rights Commission because no one else would take Soharwardy’s claims seriously.

One of Levant’s main concerns seems to be the the way in which someone like Soharwardy, (with unchallenged religious beliefs, and illiberal ideas of social freedom), has infringed upon his freedoms through an institution like the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

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Admit it, even if you came to learn that Christopher Hitchens started out a Marxist materialist, and ended up a contrarian, eventually tethering himself to the New Atheists, you probably enjoyed it when he defended freedom of speech against its erosion by the politically correct multiculturalists, or perhaps when he wrote his polemics supporting the Iraq war.

I don’t believe that we can appease Islamic extremists, which is the whole premise of this administration’s approach…blunt American power and incentivize Muslim societies to drive the extreme elements out through international cooperation: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Dave Barry Speaks College Campus Speech Codes For THEFIRE.org

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More On The FIRE here. (Foundation For Individual Rights In Education).

Barry, from the video:

‘I just don’t know what has happened to the universities, I mean it’s certainly not an original observation on my part.  The least free area of thought left in the United States seems to be the universities.  The one place where you’d think free thought and free speech and conflict of ideas would be most encouraged has somehow become the most restricted, and constricted and intellectually constipated area of American life.’

Arguments I’ve heard claim that 60’s idealism, the heated confrontations between civil rights activists of all stripes and professors, and the rise of the New Left on our college campuses couldn’t long hold-up a model of self-sustaining liberty without taking serious liberties as well.

Add to that the rather cloistered, rarefied air on campus and unique economic circumstances, and it’s easy to see how some interests have holed up there.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m reminded of a fundamental change I think happened during the Boomer generation, here represented by Tom Wolfe, referring to Californians in this piece by Michael Anton:

‘Noyce was like a great many bright young men and women from Dissenting Protestant families in the Middle West after the Second World War. They had been raised as Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, United Brethren, whatever. They had been led through the Church door and prodded toward religion, but it had never come alive for them. Sundays made their skulls feel like dried-out husks. So they slowly walked away from the church and silently, without so much as a growl of rebellion, congratulated themselves on their independence of mind and headed into another way of life. Only decades later, in most cases, would they discover how, absentmindedly, inexplicably, they had brought the old ways along for the journey nonetheless. It was as if . . . through some extraordinary mistake . . . they had been sewn into the linings of their coats!

The old ways stay with you, but they are no longer necessarily the lining of the public square, only the linings in coats of those passing through the square.  That seems to have left the door open for other ideas:

Addition:  Of course the progressive tradition goes way back, and a return to organized religion is a non-starter for many people (Charles Murray made the argument much better), but it seems a little naive of Barry to think many of the drivers of change in our universities during the 60’s have ever been respectful of liberty.  Now they’re just more deeply institutionalized since then, which is part of the Boomer legacy.

—-Dave Barry’s blog. A serious man.

“That’s the difference between governments and individuals. Governments don’t care, individuals do.”

Mark Twain

“Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”

H.L. Mencken

“The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.”

P.J. O’Rourke

Related On This Site: I’m drafting on Charles Murray: The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

and Walter Russell Mead: Repost-Via Youtube: Conversations With History – Walter Russell Mead

A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

The Disruption Of Education-From AVC: ‘Video Of The Week: Mark Suster Interview of Clayton Christensen’

From FIRE.org-’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’

From FIRE.org-‘Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide’

Full post here.

Sure it’s fun to mock the p.c. crowd, but this is p.c. on steroids. Greg Lukianoff, founder of FIRE (Foundation For Individual Rights In Education) sees a new threat on the doorstep:

“In 2011, the Department of Education took a hatchet to due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct. Now the Department of Education has enlisted the help of the Department of Justice to mandate campus speech codes so broad that virtually every student will regularly violate them.’

The kind of corruption we saw coming out of the IRS is of a piece, too.

More from the article:

‘Among the forms of expression now punishable on America’s campuses by order of the federal government are: 

  • Any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person. This leaves a wide range of expressive activity—a campus performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” a presentation on safe sex practices, a debate about sexual morality, a discussion of gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita—subject to discipline.

  • Any sexually themed joke overheard by any person who finds that joke offensive for any reason.

  • Any request for dates or any flirtation that is not welcomed by the recipient of such a request or flirtation.’

This blog would like to make a brief appeal:

Without glossing too much over the historical record nor the clear moral wrongs of this country’s legacy and institutions to black folks:  The above approach is closing doors you might want to keep open.  No one can take away the civil rights ethos of your elders that’s been passed down to you.  It’s been vital in carving out space for freedom, inclusion under the law, truth, wisdom, safety, dignity and common purpose.  It’s your legacy.

That said, the playing field has changed and will continue to change.  Activists and progressive political coalitions like the ones we have in power will by their nature churn out bad, restrictive laws that tend to favor a few (usually themselves and their cronies) in the name of all.  Every law that can be used to favor your interests, can be used against your interests.

To appeal further, hopefully beyond the typical libertarian argument (freedom vs. coercion, the individual vs. the State) I would say such progressive activism can harm the soil out of which future generations will grow:  The church through onerous regulations and laws which contradict church doctrine, the neighborhood through a weakened and stagnant economy, the healthy bonds that can unite different groups society-wide by encouraging political favoritism and corruption which erodes the public trust.

What am I missing?

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

From Volokh: ‘Conservatives, Libertarians, and Civil Rights History’Libertarianism In The Mainstream?: Rand Paul In The Spotlight…Thomas Sowell archives here.

Race And Free Speech-From Volokh: ‘Philadelphia Mayor Suggests Magazine Article on Race Relations Isn’t Protected by the First Amendment’

What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

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

Full review here.

FIRE: The Foundation For Individual Rights In Education.  Lukianoff is the founder.

‘If those of us who defend civil liberties had to name our greatest historical adversary, the leading candidate could be summed up in two words: moral panic. Moral panic is a sudden, powerful, and often highly exaggerated perception within a society that people or their values are facing a dire threat.’

Bullying was the cause celebre for a while, especially amongst those looking for another group of victims to rally around.  Bazelon seems to have taken a more sober and reasoned approach.  This blog is generally supportive of those who aim to protect our civil liberties by battling swells of sentiment which can surge into bad law.

That’s right, gun control advocates, give your politicians better signals, please. 

‘Bazelon emphasizes “bullying, wherever it takes place, isn’t on the rise. It feels more pervasive only because the Web is pervasive,” and that “Though bullying is a problem that cuts across lines of class, race, and geography, the reality is that most kids aren’t directly involved — either as perpetrators or as targets.” She also repeats that punishing bullying often is not the best answer. I was pleasantly surprised to see her acknowledge that there “is truth in the old sticks-and-stones chant,” for which the book is named.’

***Apparently, according to an email, it’s not ‘conservative’ enough to support libertarians in their fight against progressivism, or to support liberals who use J.S. Mill’s harm principle to challenge further Left rationalist totalitarian-types

Nor to give Glenn Greenwald’s civil libertarian tendencies a hearing when it comes to drones and the rule of law, or support Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa’s libertarian and slow change tendecies which blossomed out of the Leftism of his youth, all too standard in Bolivar’s South America.

Admit it, even if you came to learn that Christopher Hitchens started out a Marxist materialist, and ended up a contrarian, eventually tethering himself to the New Atheists, you probably enjoyed it when he defended freedom of speech against its erosion by the politically correct multiculturalists, or perhaps when he wrote his polemics supporting the Iraq war.

Keep the back flap of the tent open, and let people come have a look around.  Civil libertarians are a lot better to have around than intolerant Leftists.

Related On This Site: On Mario Vargas Llosa-Adam Kirsch At The City Journal: ‘The Dream Of The Peruvian’

Christopher Hitchens At Slate: ‘Reflections on Political Violence’

Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘Drone Wars’

Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on ConservatismFrom Becker And Posner: Posner On The Future Of ConservatismFrom Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The Evolution of Mind and Mathematics: Dehaene Versus Plantinga and Nagel’

A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’From Volokh: ‘Conservatives, Libertarians, and Civil Rights History’