URLs du Jour

2021-03-12

[Amazon Link]

  • Smith College is about 111 crow-files miles southwest from here, and the University of Vermont is 145 miles to the northwest. But they are both too close for comfort. Jerry Coyne has the latest about-to-be-victim. “Dear University of Vermont”: a Jodi Shaw equivalent at a different school.

    It's about Professor Aaron Kindsvatter; there's a tweet and video at the link, but here's Jerry's summary of the story:

    Kindsvatter’s plaint mirrors that of [Jodi Shaw's about Smith College]: he’s calling out “discrimination against whiteness” at the University of Vermont, a stance adopted by some “desperate persons who need a group to hate.”  He’s worried that this ideology will find its way to hate groups, who will adopt its methods. I’m not sure what methods he’s referring to, however.

    At any rate, Kindsvatter finds it hard to see how it became possible for people to denigrate anybody by their race “on such a progressive campus.” This was, he says, instantiated by a recent teach-in on “whiteness” in which “a number of social ills were associated in a causal way with people of a particular race” (he means white people).

    He also learned that pushing back against anti-whiteness was “not okay”, and has learned that his University is instituting policies that will chill dissent, like adopting the official definitions of racism and antiracism from Ibram X. Kendi. He concludes that he would be considered a “racist” according to those definitions, which makes it difficult to dissent from University policy.

    I only hope that the backlash makes people at the University Near Here think twice before giving a UNH dissident/heretic ground for making similar complaints.


  • And the WaPo breaks the latest news from down there: Georgetown terminates law Professor Sandra Sellers after statements about Black students.

    A Georgetown law professor was terminated and a second was placed on leave after a video clip showed a conversation between the pair that included what an official called “reprehensible” statements about Black students, officials said Thursday.

    "Reprehensible". But are those statements…


  • Hans Bader asks and answers the important followup question ignored by the WaPo: Georgetown law professor fired for telling the truth.

    A law professor at Georgetown University has been fired for pointing out that black students got lower grades in her classes. This was not due to racism. Black students get lower grades at selective colleges because they are admitted with lower grades and test scores than their non-black classmates, due to racial preferences in admissions at schools like Georgetown.

    Democracy dies in darkness, WaPo.


  • Veronique de Rugy has some advice for policy makers: Stop Trying To Create a Zero-Risk Society.

    A lot has been said about the harm to people resulting from government lockdowns imposed in the name of fighting COVID-19. However, lockdowns aren't the only misguided policies that we've had and continue to endure because of this pandemic. In fact, we will suffer many tragic effects from the pandemic-induced changes long after lockdowns are lifted and the coronavirus is endemic.

    The case against lockdowns is pretty well established. In fact, contrary to accusations issued by lockdown advocates, one doesn't have to believe that COVID-19 isn't a serious disease to oppose lockdowns. Nor does one have to make the claim that doing nothing would have worked wonders in controlling this nasty virus. All you have to show is that lockdowns do not control the spread of the virus any better than less-draconian alternatives. In fact, when all costs are considered, such as the short- and long-term health, educational and psychological harms the lockdowns caused, their costs far exceed their benefits.

    Here's a shocking proposal: government should provide citizens with accurate information about risk and uncertainty. And then let people, businesses, and local governments make their own decisions about whether to stay at home, whether open or close their doors, whether to require patrons to mask up, etc.

    In short, treat people as rational adults.

    This is the kind of policy that President Wheezy deems "Neanderthal".


  • Hans von Spakovsky saith: H.R. 1 Is a Threat to American Democracy. Period.. Period? How about exclamation point!

    There are many vulnerabilities in the American election system. These vulnerabilities need to be fixed. Unfortunately, H.R. 1—the “For the People Act of 2021,” which recently passed in the House without a single Republican vote, and is now before the Senate—is not the way to do it. Indeed, H.R. 1 would make things much worse, usurping the role of the states, wiping out basic safety protocols, and mandating a set of rules that would severely damage the integrity of the election process.

    "Other than that, though, it's fine!"

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't think fraud tilted the November election to Biden.

    But fraud exists, and weakening protections against fraud ain't moving things in the right direction.


  • Finally, Glenn Greenwald notes that some erstwhile defenders of a free press shed their principles pretty readily when their oxen are being gored: Journalists Start Demanding Substack Censor its Writers: to Bar Critiques of Journalists.

    On Wednesday, I wrote about how corporate journalists, realizing that the public’s increasing contempt for what they do is causing people to turn away in droves, are desperately inventing new tactics to maintain their stranglehold over the dissemination of information and generate captive audiences. That is why journalists have bizarrely transformed from their traditional role as leading free expression defenders into the the most vocal censorship advocates, using their platforms to demand that tech monopolies ban and silence others.

    That same motive of self-preservation is driving them to equate any criticisms of their work with “harassment,” “abuse” and “violence” — so that it is not just culturally stigmatized but a banning offense, perhaps even literally criminal, to critique their journalism on the ground that any criticism of them places them “in danger.” Under this rubric they want to construct, they can malign anyone they want, ruin people’s reputations, and unite to generate hatred against their chosen targets, but nobody can even criticize them.

    Greenwald is an unabashed lefty, but he's honest enough to recognize a dangerous trend.