All posts by Rand Simberg

The “March For Science”

Derek Lowe explains why he won’t be marching. I agree.

[Update a while later]

Arthur Lambert isn’t attending either:

…there’s no denying this march is political. It is a mistake to position the scientific method against the Trump administration or any other one, for that matter. That would serve only to undermine a central premise of the march: that scientific knowledge is apolitical. Organizers argue that the march is “nonpartisan.” While this may be the official line, I’m skeptical of whether anything approaching it can actually be achieved, especially on the heels of a divisive election. For example, I recently spoke with a colleague who was organizing a poster-making session for the march. She proudly described her design as an “I’m With Her” arrow pointing toward planet Earth.

I was also “with her” last November, but that should be beside the point. I fear that, contrary to its mission of inclusion, the march may actually alienate many of those it seeks to convince. Scientists are highly educated, the academic version of the 1 percent Wall Street class. They are also overwhelming Democratic. I can assure you that this has little to no impact on their science or for the potential public impact of their findings. But it would not be unreasonable for a rural blue-collar worker, watching the marches from afar, to perceive them as yet another attack from the condescending elite. We cannot drum up the broad support for science that the march seeks by aggravating a deep divide already present in this country.

Want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

[Update a while later]

Bill Nye is the perfect talking head for a march against science:

March organizers have paid lip service to critical thinking and “diverse perspectives” in science. However, Nye is a good example of someone who promotes science as a close-minded ideology, not an open search for truth.

He attacks those who disagree with him on climate change or evolution as science “deniers.” He wouldn’t even rule out criminal prosecution as a tool. Asked last year whether he supported efforts to jail climate skeptics as war criminals, he replied: “Well, we’ll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail the guys from ENRON?”

Real science encourages debate. It doesn’t insist that scientists march in lockstep. Or that they speak with one voice. In fact, scientists disagree on far more issues than the March organizers admit.

Bill Nye the lock-up-the-heretics guy.

[Update mid morning]

Bob Zimmerman says that the march against science is a Democrat Party operation.

[Update a while later]

“I love Neil de Grasse Tyson, but he’s wrong on climate.”

I don’t find him all that lovable, myself.

[Sunday evening update]

Judith Curry has a lot of links to “untangle the March for Science.”

[Bumped]

[Monday-morning update]

Bill Nye the Constitutional-Ignorance Guy.

[Update a while later]

Nye freaks out when schooled by an actual scientist on CNN. Just like his meltdown with Tucker Carlson.

Chelsea Clinton

This is just beautiful. I wish I’d written it.

[Sunday-afternoon update]

Kevin Williamson refuses to be outdone by T. A. Frank:

…as the poet said, there ain’t no cure for love, and Democrats just can’t quit the Big Creep.

So they’ve turned to the Little Creep.

Chelsea Clinton, most recently lionized on the cover of Vanity Fair, is a 37-year-old multi-millionaire who has never uttered an interesting word about any subject at any time during the course of her life. Judging from the evidence of her public statements, she has never had an original thought — it isn’t clear that she has had a thought at all. In tribute to her parents, she was given a series of lucrative sinecures, producing a smattering of sophomoric videos for NBC at a salary of $600,000 a year. She later went more formally into the family business, leaving her fake job at NBC for a fake job in her parents’ fake charity. She gave interviews about how she just couldn’t get interested in money and bought a $10 million Manhattan apartment that stretches for the better part of a city block. And, since her mother’s most recent foray into ignominious defeat, she has been inescapable: magazine covers, fawning interviews, talk of running her in New York’s 17th congressional district.

The Democrats are doing their best to make Chelsea happen. And, who knows, it might work. It would be tempting to write her off as a know-nothing rich kid who has made a living off her family connections while operating one of the world’s most truly asinine Twitter accounts, but . . . well, you know.

But, for Pete’s sake, stop it. Have a little self-respect, Democrats. Build Bill Clinton a statue or . . . whatever. Send him your daughters like a bunch of bone-in-the-nose primitives paying tribute to the tribal chieftain. But stop trying to inflict this empty-headed, grasping, sanctimonious, risible, simpering, saccharine little twerp on American public life.

They won’t stop. They can’t help themselves.

It Wasn’t Hillary’s Fault

It was a sickness of campaign strategists in general:

What Allen and Parnes captured in Shattered was a far more revealing portrait of the Democratic Party intelligentsia than, say, the WikiLeaks dumps. And while the book is profoundly unflattering to Hillary Clinton, the problem it describes really has nothing to do with Secretary Clinton.

The real protagonist of this book is a Washington political establishment that has lost the ability to explain itself or its motives to people outside the Beltway.

In fact, it shines through in the book that the voters’ need to understand why this or that person is running for office is viewed in Washington as little more than an annoying problem.

…Reading your employees’ emails isn’t nearly the same as having an outsider leak them all over the world. Still, such a criticism would miss the point, which is that Hillary was looking in the wrong place for a reason for her 2008 loss. That she was convinced her staff was at fault makes sense, as Washington politicians tend to view everything through an insider lens.

Most don’t see elections as organic movements within populations of millions, but as dueling contests of “whip-smart” organizers who know how to get the cattle to vote the right way. If someone wins an election, the inevitable Beltway conclusion is that the winner had better puppeteers.

The other problem was this:

Stumped for months by how to explain why their candidate wanted to be president, Clinton staffers began toying with the idea of seeing how “Because it’s her turn” might fly as a public rallying cry.

This passage describes the mood inside the campaign early in the Iowa race (emphasis mine):

“There wasn’t a real clear sense of why she was in it. Minus that, people want to assign their own motivations – at the very best, a politician who thinks it’s her turn,” one campaign staffer said. “It was true and earnest, but also received well. We were talking to Democrats, who largely didn’t think she was evil.”

“Largely didn’t think she was evil” is a powerful endorsement.

This was what sunk Ted Kennedy’s campaign in 1980, when he couldn’t articulate in an interview why he wanted to be president. Of course, Roger Mudd was a real journalist (no, really, that was his name). Hillary didn’t make the mistake of setting up an interview with anyone who would ask her such a penetrating question. There’s an old saying that some people want to be something, while others want to do something. Reagan wanted to do things. And to be fair, so did Obama, even though they were mostly terrible things in his case. But the Bushes and the Clintons just wanted to be president.

No, Howard Dean

There is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment:

Of course, one can certainly argue that First Amendment law should be changed to allow bans on hate speech (whether bigoted speech, blasphemy, blasphemy to which foreigners may respond with attacks on Americans, flag burning, or anything else). I think no such exception should be recognized, but of course, like all questions about what the law ought to be, this is a matter that can be debated. Indeed, people have a First Amendment right to call for speech restrictions, just as they have a First Amendment right to call for gun bans or bans on Islam or government-imposed race discrimination or anything else that current constitutional law forbids. Constitutional law is no more set in stone than any other law.

But those who want to make such arguments should acknowledge that they are calling for a change in First Amendment law and should explain just what that change would be, so people can thoughtfully evaluate it. Calls for a new First Amendment exception for “hate speech” shouldn’t rely just on the undefined term “hate speech” — they should explain just what viewpoints the government would be allowed to suppress, what viewpoints would remain protected and how judges, juries and prosecutors are supposed to distinguish the two. And claiming that hate speech is already “not protected by the first amendment,” as if one is just restating settled law, does not suffice.

These people are idiots.