URLs du Jour


Michael Ramirez detects birds of a feather:

[Forgetting History]

  • At American Consequences, P. J. O'Rourke suggests we Ignore the Signal and listen to the noise:

    The protesters, while rebelling against government, aren’t intent on overthrowing it. Yes, they’d like to be rid of some of the people who govern us (and who wouldn’t?), but only – it seems – to replace them with people they like better. And, at least at a city and state level, who protesters would like better isn’t clear, either.

    The meaning of widespread protests in a democratic nation is different from the meaning of widespread protests in an authoritarian state. Under dictatorship, people are protesting against a system forcefully imposed on them by a self-selected elite. Under democracy, we the people form the system, determine how and with what degree of force the system will be imposed upon us, and elect our own elite to do the imposing. Widespread protests in a democratic nation mean that we’re mad at ourselves.

    As well we should be…

    Peej is usually amused, and hence amusing. Not this time.

  • Writing at the Daily Signal, David Harsanyi bids us Welcome to America's Cultural Revolution.

    We’re in the dawn of a high-tech, bloodless cultural revolution, one that relies on intimidation, public shaming, and economic ruin to dictate what words and ideas are permissible in the public square.

    “Words are violence” has always been an illiberal notion meant to stifle speech and open discourse. Popularized by a generation of coddled and brittle college students, it now guides policy on editorial pages at newspapers such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, and most major news outlets.

    The Times can claim that a harsh tone and a small factual error in Sen. Tom Cotton’s recent op-ed was the reason the entire paper had a meltdown, but the staffers who revolted initially claimed that Cotton’s argument for bringing the National Guard into cities put black lives in “danger.”

    None of the Times’ editors, all of whom are apparently comfortable with running fabulist histories or odes to communist tyrannies, pushed back against the caustic notion that engaging in debate was an act of violence. They bowed to the internal mob and pleaded for forgiveness.

    Maybe the subject of Michael Ramirez's next cartoon. Assuming he's not canceled before then.

  • Over the years, I've linked to the New Republic only a handful of times. Er, two handfuls, I guess. Assuming one of your hands has an extra finger. And this article by Ari Schulman is definitely written from the left: The Coronavirus and the Right’s Scientific Counterrevolution. Still, he's getting at something here:

    This is a problem with a long and troubled history in infectious disease outbreaks, including Ebola and SARS. The risk communications researcher Peter Sandman describes this mode as “don’t scare the children.” Princeton scholar Laura H. Kahn, in her instructive book Who’s in Charge?, argues that political and intellectual leaders who draw on the authority of scientific expertise are perennially tempted to treat adult citizens in the contagion zone as heedless children. The perverse result of passing a political judgment off as a neutral interpretation of expertise is that it actually undermines the legitimacy of the judgment and damages the credibility of the experts.

    The problem is not limited just to disease outbreaks, but pervades our discourse about science. On a remarkably broad array of issues—nuclear power, genetically modified foods, vaccines, climate change, education, the ethical implications of emerging biotechnology—the public has been offered a narrative that depicts scientific expertise as capable of adjudicating the most difficult political questions. This was the thrust of the unfortunate “March for Science,” of President Obama’s promise to place science above politics. Is it any wonder that public trust in scientific expertise has declined?

    Long, but worth a read, especially if you've been wondering why "leaders" and "experts" seem to be talking down to you. It's intentional.

  • John McWhorter at Quillette on: Racist Police Violence Reconsidered

    Tony Timpa was 32 years old when he died at the hands of the Dallas police in August 2016. He suffered from mental health difficulties and was unarmed. He wasn’t resisting arrest. He had called the cops from a parking lot while intoxicated because he thought he might be a danger to himself. By the time law enforcement arrived, he had already been handcuffed by the security guards of a store nearby. Even so, the police officers made him lie face down on the grass, and one of them pressed a knee into his back. He remained in this position for 13 minutes until he suffocated. During the harrowing recording of his final moments, he can be heard pleading for his life. A grand jury indictment of the officers involved was overturned.

    Not many people have seen this video, however, and that may have something to do with the fact that Timpa was white. During the protests and agonizing discussions about police brutality that have followed the death of George Floyd under remarkably similar circumstances, it is too seldom acknowledged that white men are regularly killed by the cops as well, and that occasionally the cops responsible are black (as it happens, one of the Dallas police officers at the scene of Timpa’s death was an African American). There seems to be a widespread assumption that, under similar circumstances, white cops kill black people but not white people, and that this disparity is either the product of naked racism or underlying racist bias that emerges under pressure. Plenty of evidence indicates, however, that racism is less important to understanding police behavior than is commonly supposed.

    Here's the video:

    Further suggested reading is Jacob Sullum at Reason: 7 Race-Neutral Solutions to Racially Skewed Law Enforcement.

  • And Power Line's Steven Hayward describes "How I Ran Afoul of Campus Cancel Culture" at Commentary:

    Way back in the pre-Trump era of 2015, an anonymous academic published an article on the Vox website entitled “I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me.” He wrote: “I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me—particularly the liberal ones. … I once saw an adjunct not get his contract renewed after students complained that he exposed them to ‘offensive’ texts written by Edward Said and Mark Twain. His response, that the texts were meant to be a little upsetting, only fueled the students’ ire and sealed his fate.”

    Variations of this story are spreading rapidly in the academy. The deepening of campus dogmatism is having a chilling effect on students and faculty across the board. As Vicky Wilkins, the dean of American University’s School of Public Affairs, told the Washington Post recently, “Something that we’ve noticed with our students, especially over the past five years that I’ve been there, is this reluctance to get into tough conversations. … They would rather walk away from hard topics than to actually engage.”

    Hayward's story is pretty sad, especially as it turns out his dean was unexpectedly spineless.

Last Modified 2024-02-02 4:53 AM EDT