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.

Jared Loughner was NOT a feminist…

…so don’t blame them.

I do not read the Huffington Post, but I was asked by a close friend to read this and then tell her what I thought. 

Do not bother to read it, I will summarize: The missing element in the dialog about why Jared Loughner shot a congresswoman is that nobody is blaming it on his misogyny. Also, guns are bad and men are violent. 

To give you a flavor of how truly bad this is, I give you a few selected bits (Yes, I have suffered on your behalf.) Keep in mind that this was written a full 9 days after the shootings:

…mental illness itself has critical gendered dynamics…

While it is obviously necessary to resist drawing premature conclusions based on a still-incomplete picture…

One only hopes that among the many Americans [Sheriff] Dupnik has inspired by his fearless calling out of right-wing bullies will be many more middle-aged and older white men…

Is it possible that if the congressperson in his district had been a man, Loughner would still have shot him? From what we know today, it’s impossible to say.

You are probably laughing already, but this howler takes the prize:

When the shooter is identified as mentally ill, much of the serious sociological or political dialogue shuts down. In this case the right has an obvious self-interest in depoliticizing the killings, attributing them to the crazed acts of a deranged lunatic, and accusing progressives of opportunistically using the tragedy as a stick with which to beat conservatives.

Why, one might wonder, is the “right’s” collective “self”-interest more obvious than say, deranged people’s self-interest? Is it not even more obvious that everyone has an interest in depoliticizing the killings? The identification of any particular group in this context presumes that group is responsible, why else is their self-interest notable compared to anyone and everyone’s self-interest?

Once accused, however, defending yourself is a further sign of culpability. The reason the “right” accused progressives of opportunistically politicizing the tragedy is because that is exactly what happened. Pointing this out is unfair and incivil.

I can think of at least one

RTWT:  EEOC Warns Employers: If You Don’t Want to Hire Felons, You Need a Good Reason

I was especially impressed by this bit: “This is, the EEOC says, because blacks and Hispanics are over-represented among felons.”

I have noted that the term “felony” has been pushed to such an extent that it’s often a joke, or should be. I am aware that young inner-city males are more prone to crime and typically have a higher epidermal melanin content than the general population.  I do not see how these facts should affect an employer’s decision to hire in a positive way. 

I mean, I get why the EEOC promulgates this PC stupidity, but the logic they claim to be using to justify it escapes me. 

The felons committed the felonies even if the definition of felony has been over-extended.  This is a problem of the legislature.  

Many of those felonies were committed against fellow high-melanin content persons in the course of drug commerce.  This is a problem of the convicted on both sides of the transaction.

Neither should be a problem of the prospective employer, who, in any case, is legally prohibited by the EEOC from asking the kinds of questions which might otherwise reveal character.

“Over representation” can occur only if the justice system is totally corrupt. That’s what the EEOC is actually saying.

Soft bigotry in Ann Arbor

James Taranto mentioned this in his Wall Street Journal Best of the Web Today column, making many of the obvious (except to Ann Arbor’s Dicken Elementary School Principal Mike Madison) observations.

Taranto (he uses the Royal “we”):

We don’t doubt Madison’s good intentions, nor do we think it was a “wasted venture.” It seems to us an excellent idea to expose black youngsters to accomplished black adults, for just the reasons he states.

But why only black youngsters? We are forever hearing that white Americans continue to harbor “racial resentment,” derogatory stereotypes, even flatly racist attitudes toward blacks. In this column’s opinion, that problem is overstated. But it certainly couldn’t hurt to show pupils of pallor that rocket scientists don’t necessarily “look like them.”

Further, who’s to say an accomplished black adult can’t be a role model for a white child, or vice versa? The multicultural mindset is impoverished inasmuch as it sees people primarily as members of a subpopulation, rather than as Americans or human beings.

During our childhood, we once read a book about Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave who made a career of rescuing other slaves. It never occurred to us that because Tubman was black, her story was “black history” and therefore not of interest to us. We were inspired by her heroism in the cause of freedom–universal human themes.

Similarly, the laws of physics do not discriminate. Anyone with the aptitude and the interest can become a rocket scientist. That’s a worthy lesson to teach children of any color–and that ain’t rocket science.

The field trip reminds me of the blacks-only graduation ceremonies at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan (and others, see here and here). The people organizing such things would be shocked, shocked, that their “reaching out” is actually teaching that blacks and whites being together necessarily denigrates one race or the other. Or both at once. Mike Madison is training them to it.

Taranto did miss the question of what this field trip causes these students to think about each other, and the direct, if subtle, contribution it therefore made to turning out future racists of all pigmentation. So sad that young people are in the hands of idiots whose intentions are good.

When society’s preponderant meme, like Madison’s, is that people are perfectable if we just shelter them from competition, force them to have the right experiences, make them obey the proper regulations and shovel enough money at their personal problems – this racial profiling is what results. Accomplishing it means you have to be in charge of their lives. Unfortunately, society has decided to put such people as Mike Madison in charge of our most impressionable members. We should be ashamed.

The other obvious question, of course, is what firestorm would have been visited upon Mr. Madison if it had been a whites only field trip. He never even thought about that, because he was too busy condescending to the black children mistakenly placed in his care.

A chronic condition

This is how Canadian-style human rights commissions have been implemented in the United States.

A student teacher who uses a service dog for his epilepsy has had to leave his position early after a Muslim student harassed the animal, and worse. Tyler Hurd needs the dog for his protection and for emergency supplies for first-aid responders, but apparently Technical High School in St Cloud believes that Hurd’s needs are secondary to providing a dog-free zone for its Muslim students. Hurd says he feels threatened by the action, as well he should — because the student threatened to kill the dog:

And this.

It’s telling that these institutions are government schools, typical government schools.

It’s worse that there are thousands of examples.


Yesterday, James Taranto had this observation about Bull Clinton trying to tie Barack Obama to race-based looter Jesse Jackson. Emphasis mine:

Best of the Web Today – January 28, 2008

Invidious Bill

Hillary Clinton had her head handed to her by Barack Obama in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, and her husband was quick to minimize the loss, Jake Tapper of ABC News reports:

*** QUOTE ***
Said Bill Clinton [Saturday] in Columbia, SC: “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.”

This was in response to a question from ABC News’ David Wright about it taking “two Clintons to beat” Obama. Jackson had not been mentioned.

Boy, I can’t understand why anyone would think the Clintons are running a race-baiting campaign to paint Obama as “the black candidate.”
*** END QUOTE ***

Yet while Tapper and many other observers are put off by Mr. Clinton’s evident appeal to racial prejudice, Jackson himself professes not to be, according to the New York Times:

*** QUOTE ***
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said late Sunday that he was not offended by comments on Saturday by former President Bill Clinton, who brought up Mr. Jackson’s name in response to a question about Senator Barack Obama.

Mr. Clinton had noted that Mr. Jackson had won South Carolina in the Democratic contests in 1984 and 1988. Pundits and many in the blogosphere interpreted Mr. Clinton’s mention of Mr. Jackson as an attempt to diminish Mr. Obama . . . because Mr. Jackson had not gone on to win the Democratic nomination.

But Mr. Jackson said he did not see it that way.

“I don’t read anything negative into Clinton’s observation,” Mr. Jackson said in a phone conversation late Sunday night. . . . Still, Mr. Jackson said that he had spoken to Mr. Obama on Saturday night and to Mr. Clinton a few days earlier and that he had appealed to both to “take it to a higher ground.”
*** END QUOTE ***

In Mr. Clinton’s defense, it may be said that Obama has some things in common with Jackson as a presidential candidate. Like Jackson (at least in South Carolina), he won an overwhelming number of black votes–78%, according to CNN exit polls–presumably in part because of ethnic pride. As for the white vote, one can argue that Obama’s glass is half empty (less than 1 in 4 whites went for him) or half full (Obama’s 24% was much better than the estimated 5% to 10% Jackson got in the 1988 caucuses, according to the New York Times ). Also, in this columnist’s opinion, Obama, like Jackson, is too liberal and too inexperienced to make an ideal president.

Given all this, and given that Jackson himself is taking the high road, shouldn’t we refrain from making a big deal of Mr. Clinton’s remark?

Absolutely not. Jackson is impossibly compromised in this matter, because at the root of Mr. Clinton’s comment is the recognition that Jackson stands for something loathsome–something that Obama has repudiated.

Jesse Jackson is not a racial healer but an ambulance chaser. He has made his career exploiting black insecurity and white guilt, seizing on racial disputes and misunderstandings to profit financially and enhance his own status. If racial disharmony disappeared tomorrow, Jackson would be out of a job.

In this sense–the sense that is most important to Jackson’s political identity–Obama is Jackson’s opposite. He has emerged as a national political figure, and a plausible prospective president, by calling for unity, not by seeking to take advantage of division.

When Mr. Clinton likens Obama to Jackson, the clear message to white voters is that a black candidate cannot be better than Jackson, cannot be relied upon to put the interests of the country above those of his race or himself. This is a truly bigoted notion–and it is one that Jackson cannot protest, for to protest it would be to acknowledge the truth about himself.