URLs du Jour


We have a more coherent than usual theme running through today. I bet you can find it.

  • Jonah Goldberg wrote Liberal Fascism all the way back in 2009; it seems he'll need to write a second, expanded edition to deal with recent events. Today's first example is from David Harsany, writing at National Review: Leftists Cancel Professor for Criticizing BLM.

    The long march through the institutions ends in the university economics department. The digital mob, led by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and Michigan professor Justin Wolfers, has arrived at the University of Chicago, where it is pressuring the school to remove Professor Harald Uhlig from his position as editor of Journal of Political Economy, after he criticized Black Lives Matter.

    The left-wing economists were triggered (or, more likely, are pretending to be triggered) by an Uhlig tweet contending that BLM “just torpedoed itself” by supporting “defund the police.” Uhlig went on to argue that it was time “for sensible adults to enter back into the room and have serious, earnest, respectful conversations about it all.”

    Imagined dialog:

    "But," he sputtered, "I thought you wanted a conversation! That's what you said!"

    "Idiot," came the response. "What we mean is what we always meant by 'conversation': we talk, you shut up, listen, occasionally nod."

  • At Reason, Robby Soave detects The 1793 Project Unmasked. Robby mentions Uhlig, but leads with…

    Anyone who still doubts that woke progressives can pose a material threat to the pursuit of truth should consider the case of David Shor. A week ago, as protests over the unjust police killing of George Floyd took place in major cities across the country, Shor—a 28-year-old political scientist at the Democratic consulting firm Civic Analytics—tweeted some observations about the successes and failures of various movements. He shared research by Princeton University's Omar Wasow, who has found that violent protests often backfire whereas nonviolent protests are far more likely to succeed. The impulse behind Shor's tweet was a perfectly liberal one: He feels progressive reforms are more palatable to the public when protesters eschew violence.

    But many progressive activists on social media didn't care whether the impulse was liberal, or even whether it reflected reality. They denounced Shor as a racist for daring to scrutinize the protesters, even if his aim was to make them more effective. One activist accused Shor of using his "anxiety and 'intellect' as a vehicle for anti-blackness." Then she tagged Civis Analytics, and invited the company to "come get your boy."

    Get him, they did. Civis Analytics promptly fired Shor.

    An NR piece to which I linked yesterday contained the French aphorism "l’appétit vient en mangeant." Which (in the proud tradition of the magazine's founder) they left untranslated. "Look it up, peon."

    So I did. The rough translation is "Appetite comes with eating." The point being, in this case, obvious. And examples keep coming…

  • As noticed even by eyes-open leftist Matt Taibbi, who says The American Press Is Destroying Itself. ("And that's a bad thing?" Yeah, probably.)

    Taibbi mentions David Shor, but then moves on to…

    Probably the most disturbing story involved Intercept writer Lee Fang, one of a fast-shrinking number of young reporters actually skilled in investigative journalism. Fang’s work in the area of campaign finance especially has led to concrete impact, including a record fine to a conservative Super PAC: few young reporters have done more to combat corruption.

    Yet Fang found himself denounced online as a racist, then hauled before H.R. His crime? During protests, he tweeted this interview with an African-American man named Maximum Fr, who described having two cousins murdered in the East Oakland neighborhood where he grew up. Saying his aunt is still not over those killings, Max asked:

    I always question, why does a Black life matter only when a white man takes it?... Like, if a white man takes my life tonight, it’s going to be national news, but if a Black man takes my life, it might not even be spoken of… It’s stuff just like that that I just want in the mix.

    Shortly after, a co-worker of Fang’s, Akela Lacy, wrote, “Tired of being made to deal continually with my co-worker @lhfang continuing to push black on black crime narratives after being repeatedly asked not to. This isn’t about me and him, it’s about institutional racism and using free speech to couch anti-blackness. I am so fucking tired.” She followed with, “Stop being racist Lee.”

    The public apology was demanded and was delivered to the American chapter of the Red Guard, now firmly ensconced in, and encouraged by, Twitter.

  • At Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux looks at the landscape and sees Scary Signs.

    Underway now is something far more extreme than a mere loss of nuance. The world is now painted exclusively in the darkest black and brightest white. (Please, do not interpret my use of “black and white” as referring to anything other than the traditionally used example of the starkest of distinctions.) Failure to blame all problems suffered by minorities on racism – failure to denounce loudly and angrily American bourgeois society’s allegedly inherent bigotry, greed, and rapaciousness – failure to acknowledge that America today is a brutal and cruel place for all but the elite, and hellish especially for blacks, women, and gay, bi, and transgender people – is frequently interpreted as sympathy for dark-ages-like superstition and prejudices.

    Equally bad, in the eyes of the Virtuous, are attempts at offering historical perspective. Even if accompanied by a sincere and express acknowledgement that serious problems remain, the mere suggestion that at least some of these problems were more widespread and worse in the past – the slightest hint that over time there’s been some real improvement for anyone but white, heterosexual, high-income Christian males – is treated as evidence of blindness or malignant bias.

    Don concludes: "Seldom have I been as distraught as I am now." I'll add: never have I been so grateful to have escaped my employment by the University Near Here without getting into some sort of imbroglio myself.

  • We try to avoid psychoanalyzing our opponents here at Pun Salad. There's been way too much of that going on for decades, most of it aimed at (roughly) our side. But it's difficult to disagree with this NR Corner post from Kevin D. Williamson, where he looks at efforts to cancel Tucker Carlson:

    There are plenty of valid criticisms to make of Tucker Carlson as a practitioner of the forensic arts. But if Tucker had always behaved with perfect intellectual probity and had treated his opponents and their arguments with absolutely perfect charity, the same people would be trying to destroy him, using the same tactics and the same arguments, for the same two reasons: The minor reason is that they think that this will help them to hold political power, and the major reason is that they enjoy hurting people and will take any opportunity to do so.

    To be clear: They do not desire to hurt people because they hate them — they hate them because they desire to hurt people. What we call “cancel culture” is very little more than free-floating sadism in search of a target. Nobody gets up in the morning hating Justine Sacco or some obscure data analyst nobody’s ever heard of. Sadists get up in the morning wanting to hurt people as a form of recreation, and they find targets, and construct reasons to hate those targets, retrofitting the moral justification onto the sadism, because sadism with self-righteousness is much more enjoyable than sadism on its own — it’s bacon and eggs. These are people who don’t get enough of a kick out of pulling the wings off of flies but who don’t have the stomach to torture stray cats or cannibalize hitchhikers or whatever it is that more ambitious sadists did before there was Twitter.

    You think he's wrong? Prove it.