Not To Be Confused With the World's Oldest Profession

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Jason L. Riley casts a critical eye on Black Lives Matter and the World’s Oldest Hatred.

Many who rushed to support Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd—professional sports leagues, Fortune 500 companies, placard-waving suburbanites—now seem shocked at how BLM reacted to the Oct. 7 terror attack in Israel. Yet nothing could have been more predictable.

During the previous round of major violence between Israel and Hamas, in May 2021, BLM made its position clear. “Black Lives Matter stands in solidarity with Palestinians,” it tweeted. “We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation.”

After Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilians, the same activists were just as unambiguous about which side they were taking and why. While the body count was still being tallied, BLM groups in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington issued statements supporting Hamas’s tactics. “Their resistance must not be condemned but understood as a desperate act of self-defense,” BLM Grassroots in Los Angeles wrote on Instagram. “As a radical black organization,” the post continued, it sees “clear parallels between black and Palestinian people.” BLM Chicago tweeted an image of a Hamas paraglider with a Palestinian flag attached to his parachute and the caption “I stand with Palestine.”

Riley relates the unabashed antisemitism that's plagued the more militant factions of black activism for decades.

Not that it matters, but I recently attended a concert down at the Community Church of Durham (NH). I had a good excuse: Pun Son was performing. A big-ass "Black Lives Matter" banner overhung the Fellowship Hall where the concert took place. The church prides itself on its "progressive" stances, including (of course) "Palestinian Solidarity". And (also of course) links to the innocuously-named "Apartheid-Free" movement.

There was no explicit Hamas-cheerleading that I noticed, however.

[Update 2023-11-04: I may have spoken too soon about that cheerleading thing.]

Also of note:

  • Doubling down on a corrupt ideology. Dan McLaughlin looks at another manifestation of progressivism flirting with murder: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Reparations, and the ‘Decolonization’ Mind-Set. It's a long article, focusing on the 1619 Project huckster and her longtime sycophancy for Hamas. Bottom line:

    It should not surprise us that, like [Ta-Nehisi] Coates, Hannah-Jones has followed the straight logical line from reparations to decolonization. Ibram X. Kendi, unsurprisingly, can be found on the same path. Once you accept the logic of reparations regardless of where Americans came from or what they personally did, it is a short step to backing decolonization of Israel even at the cost of defending those who massacre Jews, and insulating those people from any effort to prevent a recurrence. When your North Star is the grievances of the past, you divide the world into groups without regard to individuals, and you don’t care who pays for the real or imagined sins of the past, you are handing power to man’s most brutal impulses.

    (McLaughlin looked at Ta-Nehisi Coates' "moral rot" here.)

  • On the Chanda watch. Jerry Coyne notices: Alan Sokal critiques a bizarre paper from Chandra Prescod-Weinstein. (Prescod-Weinstein is on the physics faculty at the University Near Here, which is why I pay more attention to her than other woke crackpots.)

    Jerry rehashes his thorough trashing of CPW's 2020 paper "Making Black Women Scientists under White Empiricism: The Racialization of Epistemology in Physics", and links to/quotes Alan Sokal's more recent criticism in the "Journal of Controversial Ideas", "'White Empiricism' and 'The Racialization of Epistemology in Physics': A Critical Analysis" That paper is long and detailed, but here's Sokal's summary:

    That detailed engagement is the purpose of the present article. I will argue that the reasoning, both scientific and philosophical, in Prescod­Weinstein (2020) is deeply flawed. I will also argue that the article’s main contention – that “race and ethnicity impact epistemic outcomes in physics” – is valid, if at all, only in an extremely limited sense. I will finally argue that the flawed reasoning in this article, together with its uncritical acceptance in many progressive educational circles, threaten to have negative practical consequences both for science and for science education, and in particular for the goal of attracting more women and Black people (and especially Black women) to scientific careers. For all these reasons, I believe it is of some value that the reasoning in this article be openly and rigorously debated.

    Asking "why does it matter", Sokal invokes a line from George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language: "[Language] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."

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    What are English Majors good for? Well, one of them is Virginia Postrel, and she performs a useful service: An English Major Reads the Techno-Optimist Manifesto. (Pun Salad endorsed the The Techno-Optimist Manifesto a few days ago.)

    You should RTWT, so I will just quote this wonderful paragraph:

    Complaining that a manifesto is choppy or lacks nuance is like griping that Pride and Prejudice needs more kung fu action. Manifestos are literature and advertising. They are not philosophy. They aren’t even essays.

    Note that Pride and Prejudice's lack of zombie action is a problem that's already been addressed. Paid Amazon link at your right.

  • Voters bravely say "Do Something". Eric Boehm seems inordinately impressed with a recent Poll: Voters Say Ignoring Social Security's Approaching Insolvency Isn't an Option.

    That perception might need some reconsidering. A new poll shows that the vast majority of Americans believe policymakers should make changes as soon as possible to extend the life of America's two old-age entitlement programs and avoid possible benefit cuts that will hit in the early 2030s if nothing is done.

    That poll, which was shared with members of Congress and staffers at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday morning and obtained by Reason, found that only 5 percent of voters say Congress and President Joe Biden should do nothing to address the looming benefit cuts that will hit Social Security when insolvency hits.

    I was somewhat too snarky in my "Do Something" comment above. The pollsters did run a few "reforms" past their respondents. Surprisingly, the most popular were "Limit benefits for higher income and wealthier beneficiaries"; "Cut spending on other federal government programs"; and (even) "Eliminate benefits for higher income and wealthier beneficiaries".

    Totally unpopular: "Raise the retirement age to access full Social Security benefits by a few years"; "Increase taxes on Social Security benefits"; and (by far the least popular) "Do nothing and allow automatic cuts to be made to individuals' Social Security benefits".

    My guess on what will actually happen: "Do nothing until those automatic cuts are imminent, then panic and do something stupid."

Last Modified 2024-01-10 7:19 AM EDT