Bari Weiss writes on Campus Cowardice and Where the Buck Stops. After she recounts recent episodes of university faculty, students, and staff getting in big trouble for various heresies:
None of these people actually did anything wrong. But according to the prevailing ideology that rules American college campuses, violent acts include “misgendering” and “harmful language,” and so these acts must be condemned publicly in the strongest possible terms, the perpetrators punished.
When it comes to the mass slaughter of Jews in Israel by a genocidal terrorist organization, however, such condemnations and consequences are curiously absent.
Contrast what colleges will tolerate with what they won’t. Microaggressions are met with moral condemnation. Meanwhile, campuses will tolerate—even glorify—the wanton murder of Jews—actual violence. Indulge in this at UCLA and you can get extra credit.
She points to the solution offered by the chair of UPenn's Wharton School's Board of Overseers, Mark Rowan: University Donors, Close Your Checkbooks.
Also of note:
All you need is a little moral clarity and a lot of courage. At the NR Corner: [University of Florida] President, Ben Sasse, Shows All Other Universities How to Write Public Statements.
I will not tiptoe around this simple fact: What Hamas did is evil and there is no defense for terrorism. This shouldn’t be hard. Sadly, too many people in elite academia have been so weakened by their moral confusion that, when they see videos of raped women, hear of a beheaded baby, or learn of a grandmother murdered in her home, the first reaction of some is to “provide context” and try to blame the raped women, beheaded baby, or the murdered grandmother. In other grotesque cases, they express simple support for the terrorists.
This thinking isn’t just wrong, it’s sickening. It’s dehumanizing. It is beneath people called to educate our next generation of Americans. I am thankful to say I haven’t seen examples of that here at UF, either from our faculty or our student body.
James Dean, current president of the University Near Here, should go ahead and plagiarize Sasse's straightforward statement.
Moving on… Martin Gurri writes On Having Children. He's for it, and looks with dismay at recent "hedonistic" trends pointing to a "barren world".
Sporadic attempts have been made to understand what life will look like under the conditions of a population crash: see, for example, “Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline,” or alternately, “Decline and Prosper!: Changing Global Birth Rates and the Advantages of Fewer Children.” These are futile exercises. We have never been there before. While we can guess where most of the pieces will be positioned at the start, we have no clue how the game will play out. All that follows, therefore, is speculation — and from where I stand, speculatively, things look grim.
For instance, the welfare state requires an endless supply of young people to produce more, consume more, and generate ever more taxes for bureaucrats to distribute. A prolonged shortage of young bodies will stress the social safety net to the breaking point. Expensive retirement and health insurance schemes are likely to collapse. The marginal will slip into poverty — the poor will grow desperate — but government will lack the funds to do much about it. The political consequences are unfathomable. My guess is that crime and turbulence will be a constant background noise but not revolution, since the minimum levels of testosterone needed for that kind of venture will be lacking.
For the record, I just finished a book, Fewer, Richer, Greener by Laurence B. Siegel that's considerably more optimistic about the "fewer" part.
Cheer up! Matthew Yglesias says The "Deaths of Despair" narrative is wrong.
Over the past few years, Anne Case and Angus Deaton have unleashed upon the world a powerful meme that seems to link together America’s troublingly bad life expectancy outcomes with a number of salient social and political trends like the unexpected rise of Donald Trump.
Their “deaths of despair” narrative linking declining life expectancy to populist-right politics and to profound social and economic decay has proven to be extremely powerful. But their analysis suffers from fundamental statistical flaws that critics have been pointing out for years and that Case and Deaton just keep blustering through as if the objections don’t matter. Beyond that, they are operating within the confines of a construct — “despair” — that has little evidentiary basis. The rise in deaths of despair turns out to overwhelmingly be a rise in opioid overdoses. This increase is not happening in European countries that have not only been buffeted by the same broad economic trends as the United States, but are also seeing the rise of right-populist backlash politics.
The obvious explanation is that the US and Europe have very different laws governing pharmaceutical marketing.
Well, I'm skeptical about that "obvious explanation", but there's a wealth of data and it's sliced-and-diced in different ways. It's an interesting take.
Yglesias notes (1) the "bottom tenth is doing badly". And also (2) that a lot of those "despair" deaths involve tobacco and heroin.
My question: why is it those poor people seem to have enough money to buy cigarettes and heroin?
Consequences will be minimal. I don't know how this is being spun by the mainstream Fauci-is-God folks, but Jon Miltimore thinks this is pretty damning: NIH's Letter to Wuhan Lab Confirms Rand Paul Was Right and Fauci Was Wrong about Gain-of-Function.
"Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially," said the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director. “I totally resent the lie you are now propagating.”
"Officially." How does that differ from, y'know, just saying it? Well, never mind. Miltimore displays this tweet:
HHS letter to Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), 09/19/23: "NIH determined that..WIV conducted an experiment that violated the terms of the grant regarding viral activity, which possibly did lead..to..unacceptable outcomes" https://t.co/EO7H6kHxRy pic.twitter.com/oTQ9XsnR6m— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) September 20, 2023
As someone is wont to say: "Big, if true." And as near as I can tell, it's being ignored by everyone.