A note on Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn features in a couple of the links which will appear soon in a 14th Anniversary post for this blog, but I’m not waiting for February 19th to post this bit.

This Just In!
A Cockwomble Reaches for The Hockey Stick

Steyn could use your help defending himself, and the First Amendment, against both Michael “Hokeystick” Mann and Cary “Crazy” Katz.

Punitive lawfare is a preferred weapon of the anti-freedom-of-speech elite, and Steyn is at the forefront of these fights because he wouldn’t abase himself.  Under the US justice system, the process has become the punishment.

The Mann case has dragged on for 8 years.  Katz, who definitively lost a suit he initiated against Steyn (and refuses to pay up), is a very rich guy who… well you’d have to read about what an evil looter he is, and we don’t have space here.

Support Mark Steyn.  Buy a book, a mug, a t-shirt, a CD, or, better yet join The Mark Steyn Club.

His fight is your fight.

Crickets

It’s a Leftist mantra that free speech does not include “hate speech,” which is anything they don’t want to hear. The actual test for prohibited speech is incitement to violence.

I think arson and bomb threats qualify. I think urging others to punch or shoot 15 year olds does, too. So does Kenton County prosecutor Rob Sanders.

Kentucky Prosecutor Vows to Hold Culprits Accountable for Threatening Covington Catholic Teens

All that’s needed now is a raging tsunami of criticism from the Left.

Dressing like that is ‘asking for it’

I see some “conservatives” telling the Covington boys, “Don’t wear MAGA hats so you can avoid confrontation.”

That is teaching the wrong lesson on so many levels it’s sickening.

But let’s only deal with the free speech implication:
“Your freedom of speech is subservient to confrontational, subjective, racist, fake, hate-filled, collectivist-mob tropes. Even if you don’t say anything. And even if you maintain a calm demeanor.

You should cover your face and kneel, or some adults might Tweet threats to kill you and your family based on their subjective interpretation of your state of mind in a video deceptively edited by people who hate you on sight.”

And an addendum from their own school leadership:
“We not only won’t help, but we’ll castigate you. Because we have accepted that white males have their own peculiar, indelible original sins.”

And what were the Black Hebrew’s chants if not “hate speech?”

And, sorry, I can’t just leave it at free speech. One other implication is, “Dressing like that is ‘asking for it’.” Well, I guess that’s free speech, too.

The Great Loyalty Oath Campaign

I oppose BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions – of and against Israel). It is conducted on behalf of lawless, racist tyrants against the Middle East’s only democratic government. Nonetheless, this strikes me as unconstitutional.

A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States — so She Lost Her Job

It’s certainly repugnant.

I think the headline would be more accurate if it said “Refused to Abandon Her 1st Amendment Rights.”

A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation…

[The oath] would bar Amawi not only from refraining from buying goods from companies located within Israel, but also from any Israeli companies operating in the occupied West Bank (“an Israeli-controlled territory”). The oath given to Amawi would also likely prohibit her even from advocating such a boycott given that such speech could be seen as “intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel.”…

The bill’s language is so sweeping that some victims of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Southwest Texas in late 2017, were told that they could only receive state disaster relief if they first signed a pledge never to boycott Israel…

This required certification about Israel was the only one in the contract sent to Amawi that pertained to political opinions and activism. There were no similar clauses relating to children (such as a vow not to advocate for pedophiles or child abusers)…

How is this different from legally compelling teachers to use made-up pronouns?

In order to obtain contracts in Texas, then, a citizen is free to denounce and work against the United States, to advocate for causes that directly harm American children, and even to support a boycott of particular U.S. states, such as was done in 2017 to North Carolina in protest of its anti-LGBT law. In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the U.S., or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.

I’m reminded of Chapter 11 of Heller’s Catch-22. Captain Black conducts the Great Loyalty Oath campaign:

““The important thing is to keep them pledging,’ he explained to his cohorts. ‘It doesn’t matter whether they mean it or not. That’s why they make little kids pledge allegiance even before they know what “pledge” and “allegiance” mean.’ To Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren, the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a glorious pain in the ass, since it complicated their task of organizing the crews for each combat mission. Men were tied up all over the squadron signing, pledging and singing, and the missions took hours longer to get under way. Effective emergency action became impossible, but Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren were both too timid to raise any outcry against Captain Black, who scrupulously enforced each day the doctrine of ‘Continual Reaffirmation’ that he had originated, a doctrine designed to trap all those men who had become disloyal since the last time they had signed a loyalty oath the day before. It was Captain Black who came with advice to Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren as they pitched about in their bewildering predicament. He came with a delegation and advised them bluntly to make each man sign a loyalty oath before allowing him to fly on a combat mission.””

The First Amendment especially applies to speech you don’t like. I would agree that a speech pathologist’s duties should exclude political advocacy; but that is an HR matter, and not in evidence here.  It is not something to be applied to her personal shopping decisions or off-duty speech by state law.

Margaret Sanger would be disappointed

Progressive Creationism: A Review of ‘A Dangerous Idea’

[D]o they genuinely think that equal rights are contingent on environmental determinism? Not just politically, because it’s easier to persuade people to embrace equal rights if they believe humans are born as blank slates, but logically? Are they the stupid ones?

Whatever the explanation, the energy the Social Justice Left devotes to denying basic scientific truths puts the persecutors of Galileo to shame.

Read the whole thing.  And then read Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate.

The beast is slouching toward hard science

When the SJWs come for scientists, it gets ugly fast

This was predictable based on what SJWs have done to History, Psychology, Anthropology, and Geography. Sociology, of course, surrendered at the first opportunity and all the “Studies” were founded on the idea of intersectional relativism. The pronoun wars were just the opening salvo on reality.

Math will be last, after Chemistry and Physics, but 2.00+2.00 = ‘a spectrum between 3 and 5’ is waiting in the wings.

Lots of stuff you won’t like there

And some you will.

Email received from GAB.  Don’t use it much, but I’m glad they’re there.

GAB

Gab Community Members,

Gab.com operates according to one principal rule: if speech is allowed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and our User Guidelines, it is allowed on our site. This is because, per Sir Stephen Sedley in the seminal English free speech case DPP v. Redmond-Bate, “freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.”

We are proud to have recently met our fundraising goal of $1.07m raised directly from The People. We have made considerable progress this month making Gab the home of free speech, free association, and the free market online. This includes an update to our mute system that gives more control to individual users to shape their own experience. Unfortunately we still have not been able to get a new payment processor, although we are accepting checks to our PO Box and will be integrating bitcoin as a payment option shortly.

On a daily basis, our company uses the protection afforded by the First Amendment, federal data privacy law, and American global hegemony to provide a utility for users all over the world, wheresoever they might be, to publish their innermost thoughts and engage in open dialogue without fear of recrimination from unfriendly and repressive governments. Put another way, we structure our affairs to afford all our users the full measure of due process rights available in the United States.

As a result, Gab is now the fastest-growing social media platform in the world. We have acquired over 800,000 users and new Gabbers are joining the site at a rate of nearly 100,000 a month from across the planet. Gab has over 10.6 million visits a month and is quickly becoming a home for those who wish to think, speak, and express themselves freely.

One unintended consequence of our moderation policy is that Gab has attracted, shall we say, a colorful user base. Most if not all of the team, from the CEO down to our external contractors and service providers, can find an enormous amount of content on the site which we each find morally or politically objectionable, even personally hateful.

However, we understand that adopting a moderation policy that mirrors the First Amendment will result in users of our site expressing views with which we disagree, including “the thought that we hate.” See Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. ___ (2017). We do not, unlike virtually every other social media company in existence, think we have any right to try to change what our users think.

The mainstream media strongly implies that Gab’s provisioning of a forum for this speech runs the risk of encouraging expression “(escalating) from online speech to real-world action.” We dissent. Hateful speech may be found on every platform with millions of users, including Twitter and Facebook; Gab is not alone in this regard.

Furthermore, we actively monitor the site for speech that crosses the line from the merely outrageous into the truly threatening or unlawful. Where criminal activity is brought to our attention, we act swiftly to curtail it and, where possible, cooperate with law enforcement to ensure our users’ safety – real, physical, safety, not wishy-washy millennial “safe space” safety – is secured.

When one creates a space where controversial speech is permitted, controversial speech should be expected. This is only news for anyone who doesn’t understand what “free speech” actually means. And today, Gab stands as the largest social network in the world that willing to take the heat involved in standing by this oldest and most classically liberal principle of liberal democracy.

Much has been made recently of social media companies’ moderation policies seeking to strike balances between civility and liberty. Civility-oriented moderation strategies are referred to as the “European tradition” and liberty-oriented strategies are referred to as the “American tradition.”

We follow the American tradition to the letter. We will continue to do so as long as the company exists.

Yours sincerely,
Gab.com

Thanksgiving advice

You’ll find all kinds of advice on the web about how to avoid political arguments around the Thanksgiving table.  In the time of Trump and Antifa, that seems like an aid to calm digestion.

TOC, of course, is here to do the opposite:

“It is necessary for the welfare of society that genius should be privileged to utter sedition, to blaspheme, to outrage good taste, to corrupt the youthful mind, and generally to scandalize one’s uncles.”
― George Bernard Shaw

“The attempt to boil down fascism to ‘anything I don’t like’ is simply idiotic. Which is more fascist: Christina Hoff Sommers coming to speak about the lies of the feminist movement, or the people who are suggesting that they should actually be able to shut down her lecture by use of force?
That seems a little more fascist to me.”
― Ben Shapiro

“If we conceive of free speech as promoting the search for truth—as the metaphor of “the marketplace of ideas” suggests—we should be troubled whether that search is hindered by public officials or private citizens. The same is true of democratic justifications for free speech. If the point of free speech is to facilitate the open debate that is essential for self-rule, any measure that impairs that debate should give us pause, regardless of its source.”
― Thomas Healy

“Those who claim to be hurt by words must be led to expect nothing as compensation. Otherwise, once they learn they can get something by claiming to be hurt, they will go into the business of being offended.”
― Jonathan Rauch

“First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of the truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.”
― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

“And what doe they tell us vainly of new opinions, when this very opinion of theirs, that none must be heard but whom they like, is the worst and newest opinion of all others, and is the chief cause why sects and schisms doe so much abound and true knowledge is kept at distance from us ; besides yet a greater danger which is in it.”
― John Milton, Areopagitica

Free speech is not just another value. It’s the foundation of Western civilization.
― Jordan Peterson

You certainly don’t have to go out of your way to start a fight, and remember to listen, but don’t let your relatives get away with shaming you into silence, whatever their political views.  It’s not a good habit to get into, and it teaches the wrong lesson about freedom of speech.

Update 1:35PM.  Here’s Jim Treacher with an example.

Update 9:37AM, Nov 22
Turn on your sarcasm detector:
Stop pretending you don’t love Thanksgiving
Now, turn it off:
Media advice

The selected zero-sum victims cult

Conflate the ideas in the following 3 articles, and ponder.
1) Selection effects

To take a more provocative example [of selection effects], consider the “____ studies” fields in academia. Even if they don’t explicitly require professors to have left-wing ideas, they select for such professors by making uncomfortable anyone with a different point of view. In other fields, this is less the case. But I fear that in those other fields, any lack of diversity along gender or racial lines will be used as a wedge to make them to come up with selection criteria that have the effect of pulling in people with a left-wing viewpoint. In economics, I call this the “road to sociology watch.”

2) Does the Zero-Sum Nature of Academic Success Contribute to the Left-wards Bias of Academia?

For a while now, I have had a theory that the zero-sum nature of academic success (competition for a fixed and perhaps shrinking number of tenured positions) affects the larger world-view of academia. (This article that compares academia to a harmful cult demonstrates this zero-sum thinking pretty well.)

3) The Free Speech Crisis on Campus Is Worse than People Think

We’ve heard about microaggressions, said to be small slights that over time do great harm to disadvantaged groups; trigger warnings, which some students demand before they are exposed to course material that might be disturbing; and safe spaces, where people can go to be free of ideas that challenge leftist identity politics. We’ve heard claims that speech that offends campus activists is actually violence, and we’ve seen activists use actual violence to stop it —and to defend this as self-defense—when administrators fail to do so…

[T]he new culture of victimhood combines sensitivity to slight with appeal to authority. Those who embrace it see themselves as fighting oppression, and even minor offenses can be worthy of attention and action. Slights, insults, and sometimes even arguments or evidence might further victimize an oppressed group, and authorities must deal with them. You could call this social justice culture since those who embrace it are pursuing a vision of social justice. But we call it victimhood culture because being recognized as a victim of oppression now confers a kind of moral status, in much the same way that being recognized for bravery did in honor cultures…

Victimhood culture is a new moral culture, not simply a variant of dignity culture. Its adherents and defenders still use much of the language of dignity, as when writer Regina Rini describes the goal of microaggression reporting as “a culture in which no one is denied full moral recognition.” This sounds like dignity culture, except that the implication is that even minor and unintentional slights deny people full moral recognition. The break with dignity culture is more fundamental, though. Dignity culture fights oppression by appealing to what we all have in common. Our status as human beings is what’s most important about us. But victimhood culture conceives of people as victims or oppressors, and maintains that where we fall on this dimension is what’s most important about us, even in our everyday relationships and interactions. And this means that victimhood culture is ultimately incompatible with the goals of the university. Pursuing truth in an environment of vigorous debate will always involve causing offense—and one of the shibboleths of victimhood culture is that it’s okay to offend the oppressors but not the oppressed. Many campus activists, realizing this, have attacked the ideals of free speech and academic freedom. One of these visions will have to prevail—either dignity culture and the notion of the university as a place to pursue truth, or victimhood culture and the notion of the university as a place to pursue social justice.

The first article ends with the passage I quoted, and there’s more there to think about. “Making uncomfortable anyone with a different point of view” is a very nice description of why our campuses have become so anti-free speech. RTWT. I also highly recommend perusing the comments.

The second article makes a wonderful point about capitalism. The comments there are also worth a look.

The third article is fairly long, but it does an excellent job making the case that “Victimhood culture is a moral culture, and the activists who embrace it are moral actors, not part of a “snowflake generation” that can’t cope with disagreement.” In other words, victimhood culture is much more of a threat to classical liberal values than you might think if you dismiss it as a silly, passing phase of young naifs surrounded by mentors who view 1984 as a “How to” guide.

This new culture is abetted by social media; where qualifications for oppressed tribal membership are continually redefined, identitarian scoring systems are maintained, and virtue signaling shaming rituals are fueled.

Further reading:

Rule by internet mobs.
Narrow Roads of Bozo Land: How We Came to Be Governed by Online Mobs

Crowdsourced anonymous Kafkaesque accusations.
How An Anonymous Accusation Derailed My Life

The value of victimhood.
Collision with Reality: What Depth Psychology Can Tell us About Victimhood Culture

And what should we fear?
Western Civilisation “Not Welcome Here”

Finally, see if you can connect these dots to Jordan Peterson’s popularity.
Harvard Study: 20% Of College Students Consider Suicide; 9% Attempt It

Victim culture activists truly are as afraid of words as they say they are. It’s not posturing, it’s mental illness posing as a moral code; producing fragile people whose stifling nihilism becomes their only real psychological defense.

Jordan Peterson on why university safe spaces are absurd and crippling:

The Mental Health Crisis | Jonathan Haidt:

In sum:
Strictly select your collective for matching ideology.
View every game as zero-sum.
Create hundreds of victim groups.
Convince students that rights trump responsibilities.

Then teach them they are oppressed by culture outside the ivory towers, and they will demand dignity free safe spaces from within which to plot its destruction.