URLs du Jour

2018-11-04

[Amazon Link]

  • Samuel J. Abrams is a "Politics" prof at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY; a couple weeks back he wrote a New York Times op-ed: Think Professors Are Liberal? Try School Administrators.

    I received a disconcerting email this year from a senior staff member in the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement at Sarah Lawrence College, where I teach. The email was soliciting ideas from the Sarah Lawrence community for a conference, open to all of us, titled “Our Liberation Summit.” The conference would touch on such progressive topics as liberation spaces on campus, Black Lives Matter and justice for women as well as for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and allied people.

    As a conservative-leaning professor who has long promoted a diversity of viewpoints among my (very liberal) faculty colleagues and in my classes, I was taken aback by the college’s sponsorship of such a politically lopsided event. The email also piqued my interest in what sorts of other nonacademic events were being organized by the school’s administrative staff members.

    What Prof Abrams' research into the issue revealed will shock you! Or, if you're acquainted with an institution of higher learning, probably will not shock you: departments tasked with interfacing with students are self-appointed proselytizers for the Progressive gospel.

    Our own University Near Here, for example, hosts the "Office of Multicultural Student Affairs" (OMSA), which stakes out broad categories as "Our Mission":

    OMSA creates opportunities for people to participate in an inclusive community and to explore and understand diversity, social justice, inclusion, and equity via educational presentations, workshops, professional development and leadership opportunities, retreats, brown-bag discussions, etc. We serve all members of the UNH community through these various opportunities and beyond.

    Our work is grounded in an understanding of diversity that includes people of all abilities, ages, ethnicities, genders, nationalities, races, religions, spiritual traditions, socio-economic classes, and sexual orientations.

    Providing support, advising, advocacy, and student development for African American/Black/African/Caribbean, Hispanic/Latino/a, Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islanders, Native American/Indigenous/First Nations, Arab/Middle Eastern/Middle Eastern American, Biracial/Multiracial students, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning students, and First Generation College Students, as well as Ally students is at the heart of our work.

    There's a lot to roll your eyes at here. I'll just note that it's interesting how the multi-dimensional "inclusiveness" implied in the first two paragraphs gets sharply limited in the third. If I were "oppressed" because of my age, disability, religion (or "spiritual tradition"), or socio-economic class, I'd be kind of put out that they forgot to mention me in paragraph three.

    OMSA, if you are going to relentlessly chop up and pigeonhole people "intersectionally" on multiple categories of possible oppression, is it too much to ask that you maintain those categories intact throughout your mission statement?


  • But back to Samuel Abrams: Reason's Robby Soave notes what happened to him after his op-ed: Sarah Lawrence Professor's Office Door Vandalized After He Criticized Leftist Bias.

    After penning an op-ed for The New York Times decrying the ideological homogeneity of his campus administration, a conservative-leaning professor at Sarah Lawrence College discovered intimidating messages—including demands that he quit his job—on the door of his office. The perpetrators had torn down the door's decorations, which had included pictures of the professor's family.

    In the two weeks since the incident, Samuel Abrams, a tenured professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence, has repeatedly asked the college's president, Cristle Collins Judd, to condemn the perpetrators' actions and reiterate her support for free speech. But after sending a tepid campus-wide email that mentioned the importance of free expression, but mostly stressed her "commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence," Judd spoke with Abrams over the phone; according to him, she accused him of "attacking" members of the community.

    At many schools, all the prattle about "inclusion", "diversity", and "equity", doesn't apply to how you think. On that score, you better toe the line.


  • Did you remember to fall back? Are you sure you got all the clocks? You might be primed to read Zuri Davis's plea at Reason: Let Daylight Saving Time Die Already.

    Everyone not named Franklin D. Roosevelt hates Daylight Saving Time. The constant back and forth is confusing, especially for those who have an early Sunday morning commitment. The Standard Time Act of 1918 gave the federal government power to oversee national time zones. That power was extended with the passage of the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which allows the Department of Transportation (DOT) to set Daylight Saving Time for the entire country. Why DOT? Because "time standards are important for many modes of transportation," or something like that. Despite decades of observance, however, more and more Americans are rebelling against the pointless concept.

    I'm considerably more radical than Reason even dares to be. My five-year-old screed on the issue: The Right Number of Time Zones is Zero.

    It Is No Accident that Federally-Mandated timezones and DST arose in the eras of crony capitalism and liberal fascism, respectively. (Yes, that's kind of rantish, sorry.)


  • Bryan Caplan muses on Socialists Without a Plan.

    Don’t get me wrong; most of the socialists I’ve met seem like nice people. But they radiate incompetence. I doubt their families would trust them to plan a simple trip to Sea World. So what on Earth convinces these socialists that people like themselves should run not only the government, but the economy as well?

    I’d like to offer a charitable resolution of this puzzle, but have none to offer. The socialists of today aren’t experienced logisticians who fail to see the disanalogies between running an organization and running a whole society. They’re dreamers who want to lead before they learn to follow. So while I’d gladly give a socialist general a lecture on the economics of socialism, today’s typical socialist needs to hear a simpler message: They should learn to make solid mundane plans for their own lives before they think about imposing grandiose plans on the rest of the world.

    Related, I think: my local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat is full of editorial pontifications about how to run the government. But they can't seem to figure out how to get their own newspaper delivered reliably to my box in the morning.

    Yeah, maybe I'm grumpy this morning. I blame Woodrow Wilson's DST.


  • Finally, at City Journal, Harry Stein has a sports note: Curt Schilling has been Bloodied Again.

    All but unremarked upon in the wake of the Boston Red Sox’s demolition of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the recent World Series was a move by Boston’s ownership that, even in this moment when everything is political, should prompt outrage on all sides: the exclusion of 2004 World Series hero Curt Schilling from the on-field celebration commemorating that landmark event, for the sin of being an outspoken conservative.

    For all my Red Sox fanhood, I am disgusted by their memory-holing.