URLs du Jour

2019-08-12

[Amazon Link]

  • At the WSJ (possible paywall) Williamson M. Evers reports in an op-ed: California Wants to Teach Your Kids That Capitalism Is Racist. Well, not my kids. But:

    California’s Education Department has issued an “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” and is soliciting public comments on it until Aug. 15. The legislatively mandated guide is a resource for teachers who want to instruct their students in the field of “ethnic studies,” and was written by an advisory board of teachers, academics and bureaucrats. It’s as bad as you imagine.

    Ethnic studies is described in the document as “the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with an emphasis on experiences of people of color in the United States.” But that’s not all it is. “It is the study of intersectional and ancestral roots, coloniality, hegemony, and a dignified world where many worlds fit, for present and future generations.” It is the “xdisciplinary [sic], loving, and critical praxis of holistic humanity.”

    The document is filled with fashionable academic jargon like “positionalities,” “hybridities,” “nepantlas” and “misogynoir.” It includes faddish social-science lingo like “cis-heteropatriarchy” that may make sense to radical university professors and activists but doesn’t mean much to the regular folks who send their children to California’s public schools. It is difficult to comprehend the depth and breadth of the ideological bias and misrepresentations without reading the whole curriculum—something few will want to do.

    "Xdisciplinary" is explained in a (Microsoft Word) doc at the link above:

    Ethnic Studies is xdisciplinary, in that it variously takes the forms of being interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, undisciplinary, and intradisciplinary. As such, it can grow its original language to serve these needs with purposeful respellings of terms, including history as herstory and women as womxn, connecting with a gender and sexuality lens, along with a socioeconomic class lens at three of its intersections. Terms utilized throughout this document, which may be unfamiliar to new practitioners of the field, are defined in the glossary.

    Oh, good. I recommend our Amazon Product du Jour for any student unfortunate enough to be in an xdisciplinary Ethnic Studies class. Wear it to the first session; with any luck, you'll be asked to leave, and maybe you can take something useful instead, like wood shop.


  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson has discomforting news: Job Security Is Not Coming Back. His upfront example is from an unexpected class:

    Shed a single tear, if you haven’t gone entirely dry, for America’s beleaguered, struggling, and anxiety-ridden law-firm partners.

    Sara Randazzo, writing in the Wall Street Journal, chronicles the lamentations of the lawyers: “Being named a partner once meant joining a band of lawyers who jointly tended to longtime clients and took home comfortable, and roughly equal, paychecks. Job security was virtually guaranteed and partners rarely jumped ship. That model, and the culture that grew up around it, is all but dead. Law firms are now often partnerships in name only.” Equity-owning partners still share in the profits of the firm, but the second-class “partners” — nominal partners — are unpropertied salarymen, taking home a mere few hundred thousand dollars a year or so in comparison to the millions paid out to the real partners.

    You can practically hear that awful Sarah McLachlan song wailing in the background, and one begins to glance around for Sally Struthers. I’ll give you a second to regain your composure.

    Well, I kinda like Sarah's song, Kevin, so nyaah. I know the commercial to which you refer, though, and you're right that it's hard to watch. (Are they trying to say those puppies are drug addicts?)

    But seriously, folks: Kevin's point is that capitalism has always involved dynamic economic and social shifts, painful for many involved. And the pace of that dynamism is picking up. He encourages us to face it with open eyes.


  • We posted the other day about AOC musing that she had a "lot of common ground with many libertarian viewpoints". Brad Polumbo, at the Washington Examiner, begs to differ:

    If only this were true. While yes, the far-left socialist does hold somewhat libertarian positions on issues such as military spending, immigration, and criminal justice, her overall political philosophy is the very antithesis of libertarianism. Ocasio-Cortez’s worldview is collectivist and statist, putting her in opposition to libertarian pro-freedom principles.

    Take Ocasio-Cortez’s economic worldview [please — your blogger], for instance. She’s a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America, who unabashedly oppose capitalism, free markets, and private profit. Libertarians, on the other hand, understand that profit is what makes society work, and the only thing that can make society work. It induces us all, from the junior janitor in your building to the nearest small business owner to the wealthiest CEO on Wall Street. It implores us to spend our time, energy, and resources serving others and providing them with something they find useful enough to pay for.

    Yes, sorry AOC, this is a deal-breaker.


  • The American Council on Science and Health provides an article by Christopher J. Ferguson debunking Four Myths About Mass Shootings. For example, saying either that "mental illness definitely is, or is not, to blame" is going way beyond the evidence.

    Some people suggest mental illness is completely unrelated to crime, but that claim tends to rely on mangled statistics. For instance, I’ve seen the suggestion that individuals with mental illness account for just 5% of violent crimes. However, that assertion is based on research like one Swedish study that limited mental illness to psychosis only, which is experienced by about 1% or less of the population. If 1% of people commit 5% of crimes, that suggests psychosis elevates risk of crime.

    It’s also important to point out that the vast majority of people with mental illness do not commit violent crimes. For instance, in one study, about 15% of people with schizophrenia had committed violent crimes, as compared to 4% of a group of people without schizophrenia. Although this clearly identifies the increase in risk, it also highlights that the majority of people with schizophrenia had not committed violent crimes. It’s important not to stigmatize the mentally ill, which may reduce their incentive to seek treatment.

    As "solutions" go, "lock up the psychos" is as bad as "let the psychos loose."


  • And our Google LFOD alert rang for a Voice of America article: Hong Kong Demonstrators Turn to Flash Mob-Style Protests. Reporting on the weekend action:

    It didn’t seem to matter that police barred several protest marches Saturday, citing the fear of violence. Thousands of residents, furious with government indifference and harsh policing, fought battles throughout the city as they tried frenzied, urban guerrilla tactics to block roads, occupy the airport terminal, march en masse, participants shrugging off rounds of tear gas.

    And Granite Staters can't help but feel affinity for "Jack", who's apparently noticed our license plates:

    “Even if the government won’t let us legally protest, we’ll come out,” said Jack, a 25-year-old auditor standing near the front line in Tai Po. “For us, it’s like, ‘live free or die.’ We don’t want to live in a world like China now.”

    Here at home we deploy LFOD reflexively, and often mindlessly, to argue for or against practically any political issue. Jack knows what it really means.