URLs du Jour


Via Weekend Pundit: A Reminder. It's far from new, but:


I should probably print that out, and tack it up somewhere near my computer screen. Maybe read it out loud to myself before every post.

  • Jillian Kay Melchior at the WSJ reports on Yet Another Cancellation: A Twitter Mob Takes Down an Administrator at Michigan State

    ‘We are scientists, seeking truth,” Michigan State University physicist Stephen Hsu wrote in a 2018 blog post. “We are not slaves to ideological conformity.” That might have been too optimistic. Last week MSU’s president, Samuel L. Stanley Jr., yielded to a pressure campaign, based in part on that post, and asked Mr. Hsu to resign as senior vice president for research and innovation.

    The trouble began June 10, when MSU’s Graduate Employees Union composed a lengthy Twitter thread denouncing Mr. Hsu as, among other things, “a vocal scientific racist and eugenicist.” The union claimed Mr. Hsu believes “in innate biological differences between human populations, especially regarding intelligence.”

    Mr. Hsu says these accusations “were made in bad faith.” Take that 2018 blog post, which responded to New York Times articles that, in his words, linked “genetic science to racism and white supremacy.” In it, he wrote: “All good people abhor racism. I believe that each person should be treated as an individual, independent of ancestry or ethnic background. . . . However, this ethical position is not predicated on the absence of average differences between groups. I believe that basic human rights and human dignity derive from our shared humanity, not from uniformity in ability or genetic makeup.” Mr. Hsu doesn’t work in this field but rejects the idea that scientists should categorically exclude the possibility of average genetic differences among groups.

    Dr. Hsu and I share an alma mater, undergraduate major, and college dorm, apparently. He's about nine times smarter than I, though.

    But guess what I knew that he didn't? There are things you can't say and expect to keep your university job. Because spineless administrators will wilt when the mob comes for you.

  • At Patterico's Pontifications, JVW writes on Stalin’s Revenge. Five case studies, here's one from Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts:

    Example 2
    In the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, MIT’s Tech Catholic Community chaplain Father Daniel Moloney (disclosure: my alma mater, and I spent a bit of time with TCC during my undergrad days and donate money to them annually as an alumnus) sent out a rather ill-advised email message to TCC members which reminded the community that Mr. Floyd “had not lived a virtuous life” (this is largely true, if perhaps a harsh thing to say as the body cools in the morgue) and asserted that we could not yet say definitively that his death was an act of police racism or that police departments have an inherent problem with racism. Fr. Moloney did point out that nothing Mr. Floyd may have done was enough to justify taking his life, and reminded TCC members of Church teachings on the evil of racism and the need for solidarity with our fellow man. Once upon a time in an academic setting like MIT we might have expected Fr. Moloney’s controversial message to have spurred a great and vigorous debate across students, faculty & staff, alumni, and the greater campus community, but here in 2020 agitated parties cried out about the pain and fear that a Catholic priest’s email message had engendered within them, and prevailed upon the historically incompetent Archdiocese of Boston (with a significant assist from the cowardly MIT administration) to remove him as chaplain. Fr. Moloney resigned his position a few days later, almost certainly at the behest of the Archbishop.

    "Largely true" ain't a defense against the mob, Father.

  • Legal analysis at Law & Liberty from John O. McGinnis on a couple of recent SCOTUS cases; John finds Errors of Will and of Judgment.

    The law can be marred by both results-oriented decisions and honest, intellectual mistakes. Both kinds of distortions were on display at the Supreme Court last week. An example of the first kind of error was Homeland Security v. Regents of California. That case held that the Trump administration’s rescission of the Obama administration’s policy of not deporting certain young aliens here illegally and permitting them to join our labor force was “arbitrary and capricious.” The majority opinion contains self-contradictory reasoning and seems a transparent effort to avoid an unpopular ruling on the legality of Obama’s relief to a sympathetic group of young people, now routinely referred to as the “dreamers.” The opinion does not prevent the Trump administration from trying to rescind the Obama program again with different reasoning, but undoubtedly any such effort will be held up by the review of lower courts until after the election.

    Bostock v. Clayton County exemplifies the second kind of error. That case held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act made employment discrimination against homosexual and transgender individuals illegal. This decision embraces a desiccated literalism over a common-sense understanding of a text’s public meaning. Its author, Justice Neil Gorsuch, is sincerely mistaken because he has shown some such tendencies before. Bostock is just a particularly extreme example.

    The Judicial Branch is an unreliable defender of the Constitution.

  • As is the Legislative Branch. The Federal ‘Anti-Lynching’ Bill Sacrifices Justice for Symbolism

    A few days ago, someone spray-painted "BHAZ" (for "Black House Autonomous Zone") on the pillars of St. John's Episcopal Church, the site of President Donald Trump's notorious June 1 photo op during protests against police brutality in Washington, D.C. Under the D.C. Code, that act of vandalism, assuming the damage costs less than $1,000, is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail. But under an "anti-lynching" bill that is part of the police reform packages backed by House Democrats and Senate Republicans, the same act could qualify as a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

    Unsurprisingly, legislation proposed in times of irrational panic, distrust, and showboating is poorly thought out.

    And how about the Executive Branch? Don't get me started. We'll leave trashing it for another day.

  • But on to more serious matters. Granite Geek notes a new study that finds our fair state to be Fast and furiously deadly!

    A higher percentage of traffic fatalities in New Hampshire involved speeding than was the case in any other state in recent years and the state’s death rate from speeding-related accidents was 50% higher than the national average, according to a new report.

    The analysis by CoPilot, a firm that creates analytic software for the automotive industry, said that 52% of road fatalities in New Hampshire from 2014 to 2018 involved speeding, more than any other state. In Massachusetts, 28% of crash fatalities were speeding-related; in Vermont, 40% and in Maine, 32%.

    The study may be found here. How do they tell if a fatality is "speeding-related"?

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers a crash to be speeding-related if one of the drivers is cited for a speeding-related offense or if an officer determines that driving too fast for conditions, racing, or exceeding the speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash.

    That cracks the door open slightly to the possibility that the fatality difference could be due to different standards for reporting.

    The Geek notes that this doesn't mean that we're more dangerous (or endangered) when we're on the road; compared to other states, our fatality rate is in the middle of the pack. His recommendation is (predictably) statist: "cracking down on speeders".

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