URLs du Jour

2017-09-21

insight

■ Your mileage may vary, but I kind of like the poetic imagery of Proverbs 20:5:

5 The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
    but one who has insight draws them out.

It's a little ambiguous whether the "insight" is into (a) someone else's purposes, or (b) one's own (we could all use a little more self-reflection). Could be both, I suppose.


■ Pun Salad looked at Laura Kipnis's book about abusive and intrusive Title IX investigations, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, here. Among other things, she described the investigation she went through at her school, Northwestern. Was she accused of rape? Sexual harassment? No. Her crime was writing an article about Title IX in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Now it turns out that Prof Kipnis underwent another Title IX investigation, this in response to her book. The details are summarized at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: Laura Kipnis’ second ‘Title IX inquisition’.

The month-long investigation was sparked by complaints about “Unwanted Advances” from four Northwestern faculty members and six graduate students. As with her first investigation, Kipnis was ultimately found not responsible for violating university policy.

However, reviewing Gersen’s report, it’s easy to see how the investigations themselves function as punishment, to say nothing of the threat they pose to academic freedom: in the most recent investigation, Kipnis was asked to respond to at least 80 written questions about her book and to provide her source material. She was also urged to keep the investigation confidential.

I try not to get outraged at my age. But this is outrageous. Prof Kipnis should have some sort of legal recourse against this frivolous abuse.

But it's easy to speculate that the the real chilling message being sent here is to any other would-be critics of "Progressive" university dogma: keep your mouth shut and your head down.


■ For another example of what happens to dissenters in higher ed, Power Line's Scott Johnson brings us up to date on the case of Professors Amy Wax (Penn) and Larry Alexander (San Diego), who said That Which Must Not Be Said. Specifically, they wrote a column for the Philadephia Inquirer extolling the bourgeois culture and virtues of mid-20th century America. Oh oh!

Johnson quotes Heather MacDonald's WSJ column describing the reactions. For example:

None of the professors’ high-placed critics have engaged with any of their arguments. [USD Law President Stephen] Ferruolo’s schoolwide letter was one of the worst examples. The dean simply announced that Mr. Alexander’s “views” were not “representative of the views of our law school community” and suggested that they were insensitive to “many students” who feel “vulnerable, marginalized or fearful that they are not welcomed.” He did not raise any specific objections to Mr. Alexander’s arguments, or even reveal what the arguments were.

It isn't the first time we've trotted out the Underground Grammarian essay titled "The Answering of Kautski", which quoted Lenin:

Why should we bother to reply to Kautski? He would reply to us, and we would have to reply to his reply. There's no end to that. It will be quite enough for us to announce that Kautski is a traitor to the working class, and everyone will understand everything.

The UG wrote this back in 1979, so it's not that this sort of thing is new. The current Leninists just announce that heretics are "creating a hostile environment" and everyone will understand everything.


■ We seem to be on a higher ed rant today. Marc A. Thiessen writes at the American Enterprise Institute: In Berkeley, Shapiro spoke but Antifa won. Yes, Ben Shapiro, "a smart, clever, mainstream conservative", managed to speak. After the school allegedly spent $600K on security arrangements.

That is why Antifa won. Without breaking a single window, or smashing a single head with their shields that say “No Hate,” these radical leftists succeeded in imposing a $600,000 tax on conservative speech at Berkeley. Just the threat of neo-Communist violence was enough to force the school to spend more than half-a-million dollars to protect Shapiro and the students who wanted to listen to him.

Worrisome.


■ And Ben Shapiro himself writes at NRO on College Students vs. Free Speech. He notes the dismal attitudes reflected in that Brookings poll we looked at yesterday, and speculates on what's changed:

[T]oday’s Americans have abandoned that image of America [where individuals are responsible for their own success]. Instead, they’ve substituted a vicious America, a Howard Zinn caricature in which hordes of evil bigots stand between individuals and success. We are supposedly a society plagued with the terrifying and unalterable specters of institutional racism and sexism, of bigotry and brutality. None of this is curable.

And so we have been taught to find meaning within. True freedom doesn’t exist in the outside world, with its soft, unspeakable tyrannies. True freedom exists only in our own self-definition, our subjective sense of ourselves. Solipsism becomes an animating motive.

He's onto something.


■ Enough about higher ed. Here in New Hampshire, we've got bigger fish to fry, like putting Keno screens in local watering holes: Keno to go on Somersworth ballot.

And, yes, it rang our LFOD Google Alert:

Councilor Jonathan McCallion said New Hampshire is the Live Free or Die state and the reality is people are going elsewhere to play Keno now and towns around Somersworth will offer it.

Yes, you really can use LFOD to justify anything.


■ Or desperate writers can use LFOD to pump up their word count, For example: Before You Name That New Baby, Check Out the Most Popular Baby Names in Every State

Live Free or Die” New Hampshire broke ranks with the rest of the country and picked Charlotte as its top baby name for girls. (Emma was second place in New Hampshire.)

Note that nothing there actually depends on LFOD. It's not as if new NH parents looked at the name statistics and said "Screw all those other liberty-hating states with their Emmas and Olivias! We're going with Charlotte!"

The most popular male-baby name in New Hampshire was… Noah. As it was in the rest of the country. So what's the lesson here? Live Free or Don't?