URLs du Jour

2022-06-07

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  • i feel this headline should be in lowercase. To homor "el gato malo" (come on, you know that much Spanish), who doesn't ever touch the shift key. He has a long article on the mindset of public health bureaucrats: we've reached the "we're not even going to pretend to prove this works, just do as you're told" stage of the pandemic. Key observations:

    consider:

    • we have a large group of highly unqualified people with generally technocratic/authoritarian mindsets that have failed up into positions of power for which no one, much less they are really suited.

    • in a crisis, the emotional drive to “do something” is overwhelming. everyone clamors for action.

    • so they did things, visible things, bold things, wrong things.

    • then it all blew up and went wrong and by then, they were too emotionally invested to own the mistakes so they doubled and tripled down and blamed everyone but themselves for “not pandemicing hard enough.”

    • and they all got trapped.

    • and their cognitive dissonance and selection bias took over to protect their mental states.

    and so in their minds they did not lose the debate. “you were too too benighted and dim to see that they won” is just the low energy pathway to preserve sense of self and self-worth.

    they sincerely believe that you just cannot see the facts.

    The cat has a point.


  • Meanwhile, on the intellectual diversity front… Another self-imposed wound for academia, as Ilya Shapiro describes: Why I Quit Georgetown.

    After a four-month investigation into a tweet, the Georgetown University Law Center reinstated me last Thursday. But after full consideration of the report I received later that afternoon from the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action, or IDEAA, and on consultation with counsel and trusted advisers, I concluded that remaining in my job was untenable.

    Dean William Treanor cleared me on the technicality that I wasn’t an employee when I tweeted, but the IDEAA implicitly repealed Georgetown’s Speech and Expression Policy and set me up for discipline the next time I transgress progressive orthodoxy. Instead of participating in that slow-motion firing, I’m resigning.

    IDEAA speciously found that my tweet criticizing President Biden for limiting his Supreme Court pool by race and sex required “appropriate corrective measures” to address my “objectively offensive comments and to prevent the recurrence of offensive conduct based on race, gender, and sex.” Mr. Treanor reiterated these concerns in a June 2 statement, further noting the “harmful” nature of my tweets.

    But IDEAA makes clear there is nothing objective about its standard: “The University’s anti-harassment policy does not require that a respondent intend to denigrate,” the report says. “Instead, the Policy requires consideration of the ‘purpose or effect’ of a respondent’s conduct.” That people were offended, or claim to have been, is enough for me to have broken the rules.

    More at the (free) link above. Shapiro notes the disparate treatment given to (for example) Carol Christine Fair of the School of Foreign Service, who claimed during the Kavanaugh confirmation ordeal that "entitled white men" deserved "miserable deaths" and their corpses should be castrated and fed to swine.

    That's inclusion.


  • But for more on that topic… Scott takes us Inside the Title IX Tribunal.

    The details of my story are banal—I criticized feminism and feminists in a national speech. Strong nations, I argued, cannot exist without strong families. Strong families in turn need respectable men capable of providing, and women interested in having children. Neither of these things happen automatically. Much of our culture, informed through feminist ideology, undermines or dishonors male achievement, while it promotes a vision of womanhood that discounts motherhood. Universities, which I called the “citadels of gynocracy,” contribute to this problem by treating male-dominated majors like engineering as problems to be solved. I also claimed that women shaped by feminism will more likely be unhappy, or, as I put it at the time, “medicated, meddlesome, and quarrelsome.”

    These sound bites gave my critics ammo. A swarm formed, mostly through social media, in the weeks following the speech. It started with a trickle, but eventually led to a full-on cancellation attempt. Creepy, threatening phone messages arrived daily for months. I received streams of vulgar and hateful emails. National media coverage began—I was even asked to appear on the Dr. Phil show to work out my issues. Letters to the editor appeared in our local papers. People tried to hack my accounts. Emails tempting me with intimate photos and pornography began to arrive at my university email. Many wanted me fired. 

    Boise State University (BSU), my home institution, made a show of defending free speech as the swarm gathered. At the same time, but under the public radar, the university began to solicit discrimination and harassment complaints from students. University spokesmen shared contact information for students to use if they felt harassed or ill-treated. 

    Seven days after my speech went quasi-viral, BSU charged me with six civil rights violations.    

    Yenor eked out a victory against the inquistors, but you have to wonder how much he'll enjoy his future at BSU.


  • Makes me want to restrict my investment portfolio to gun manufacturers and defense contractors. Chris Stirewalt recounts an increasingly popular way for the state to browbeat companies they dislike: Hot Nerd Summer: ESG Comes to Washington.

    The hot topic for policy nerds in Washington these days is “ESG,”  which refers to environmental, social, and governance standards for corporations. Like I said, nerds.

    Progressive nerds in D.C. are excited about the possibility that scores for companies on policies related to climate change and social justice particularly will provide a new tool to push companies leftward. Conservative nerds are afraid of exactly that, while nationalist nerds are looking for ways to replicate the technique for themselves.

    […]

    The idea of ESG scores is a California-via-Wall Street concept born in the 1990s out of the conscience pangs of progressive investors, including some very big fish in the tech and hedge fund worlds. If ratings firms could evaluate companies for profit potential, how about do-goodery? The reasoning then followed that since high standards on carbon emissions, diversity and inclusivity, and executive pay (the “G” for governance) would produce strong companies of great longevity, that these were actually good for the bottom line, too. Or that was the idea.

    Senator Ted Cruz comes in for a bashing. So it's an equal opportunity thing for cynics.


  • And maybe you should avoid those walks where you keep stepping on rakes. Jonah Goldberg has some advice for advocates desirous for government Doing Something™: Walk, Then Run.

    As I’ve written before, perhaps the most fatal flaw of Democrats is that they take it as a given that government can do the normal stuff well. As a result, they focus on evermore ambitious goals for government. Many progressives like to blame all of their failures to achieve their more ambitious aspirations on the right’s “anti-government ideology.” I’m not saying they’re entirely wrong to do so, but what I think they fail to appreciate is that most voters, even most Republicans, aren’t anti-government ideologues. They’re just skeptical of new initiatives when the government has so much trouble—and charges so much—with the stuff it’s supposed to do.

    If progressives really wanted to restore faith in government, they’d concentrate all of their energies on tackling the stuff already on the government’s plate. If you’ve ever been a boss or a manager, or frankly a coach, parent, mentor, teacher, or any other person in a supervisory or advisory role, you understand the basic principle. Want to climb Mount Everest? Show me you can climb some smaller mountains first. Want to be the starting forward on the basketball team? Show me you can be a great substitute player first. Want to be a professional boxer? Let’s see how you do as an amateur first. Do the job. Demonstrate basic proficiency. Execute the job you’ve been given well, and then we’ll talk about giving you more responsibility. Walk, then run, and then we’ll get into a fun argument about whether it’s stupid you think you can fly.

    That's real good advice.