Category Archives: Social Commentary

Personhood For Non-Humans

Elizabeth Price Foley is appalled at some recent court decisions, and the trend.

I’ve got mixed feelings on this. I agree that they shouldn’t be given full human rights, but I do think we should make distinctions as a function of intelligence, and perhaps even recognize some degree of moral agency (e.g., dolphins). It also raises the issue of how we would treat extraterrestrials as a function of those things.

Military Morale

If you wonder why it’s low, it’s because of things like this:

“Attendance is mandatory and if we miss it we get a negative counseling and a ‘does not support the battalion sharp/EO mission’ on our CDT OER for getting the branch we want. So I just spent $16 on a pair of high heels that I have to spray paint red later on only to throw them in the trash after about 300 of us embarrass the U.S. Army tomorrow,” one anonymous cadet wrote on the social media sharing website Imgr, IJReview reported Monday.

What has this country come to?

[Afternoon update]

Katherine Timpf points out the real problem with the march: How offensive it was to the trans community.

[Friday-morning update]
a sharing website Imgr, IJReview reported Monday.

What has this country come to?

[Afternoon update]

Katherine Timpf points out the real problem with the march: How offensive it was to the trans community.

[Friday-morning update]

It was female officers who made the cadets march in high heels. Seems like sexual harassment to me.

Also, Alinsky wears high heels.



…is just another way to shut down debate on campus.

[Update a while later]

When and where did this “Ideas I disagree with make me feel ‘unsafe'” thing start?

This is a huge threat to the future of free speech nevertheless. Today’s college students are going to be tomorrow’s judges, and if they truly believe that “safety” means “never having to deal with opinions that disagree with one’s cherished beliefs,” then censorship has a good chance of gaining the upper hand over freedom of speech. After all, public safety can be a justification for suppressing speech, as with the “fighting words” doctrine.

It’s almost as if it’s all part of a plan to control speech.

[Update mid afternoon]

This seems related: An interview with Andy Levy:

It’s embarrassing now, but I have to admit that what started my change from a liberal to a libertarian (as a freshman in college) was reading “The Fountainhead.” (And I still think it’s a good book, unlike most of the rest of Ayn Rand’s stuff.) If nothing else, reading Rand got me to seek out other libertarian and libertarianish writers like Murray Rothbard, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman to learn more about it.

I also have to give credit to the core curriculum at Columbia, particularly the philosophy class (Contemporary Civilization). That class exposed me to a lot of great stuff: classical thinkers like Plato and Aristotle, people like Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke, and Marx; and books like Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia.”

And beyond that, it was a great class because being exposed to a whole range of different ideas forces you to learn how to really think, something I think is being lost at a lot of colleges these days, where they seem more concerned with keeping students “safe” from ideas they might not like.

…To me the greatest danger facing America (and Western Civilization in general) is the attacks on free speech that we’re seeing on what seems like almost a daily basis in European countries and on college campuses here at home. We’re seeing people in Europe being thrown in jail for speech that’s deemed offensive, we’re seeing a generation of college students here who are convinced that they should never have to engage ideas or thoughts or speech that they don’t like.

I’ve said on Red Eye that I believe this is a far greater existential threat to America than ISIS or al-Qaeda could ever hope to be. Along those lines, the idea that Garry Trudeau can give a speech calling “free-expression absolutists” “childish, unserious” fanatics while accepting a journalism award – and then be defended *by journalists* – is disgraceful. The idea that he can basically say “Well, of course the people at Charlie Hebdo didn’t deserve it, but man, did you see how short their skirts were” – and then be defended *by journalists* – is obscene. If you’re not “fanatical” about free-expression, you shouldn’t be a journalist.


[Thursday-morning update]

The closing of the Millennial mind on campus:

A successful college education replaces ignorance with insight, and insularity with confidence and engagement. With the escalating price and debt loads from tuition becoming a crippling fiscal burden to young adults, delivering on those values becomes more important than ever to their economic survival.

Unfortunately, most of our universities and colleges end up promoting ignorance, insularity, fear, and infantilism. Rather than seek out heterodox opinions, the faculties and student bodies of these schools attempt to insulate themselves from opponents through speech codes, demands for “trigger warnings,” demagoguery and shouting down of alternate views. Instead of education producing open minds, these institutions end up indoctrinating young adults on how best to keep their minds closed, limited to the boundaries of groupthink rather than freed to pursue truth.

What’s worse, they borrow tens of thousands of dollars, in undischargeable debt, for the privilege. This may be the biggest scam in American history. It’s a tragedy and a travesty.

“Deniers” And Ideologues

Judith Curry’s warning to Bjorn Stevens: “In my quest to objectively evaluate the IPCC’s attribution argument and stand up for research integrity post Climategate, I was not ‘pulled’ away from the establishment community by ‘deniers'; rather I was ‘pushed’ away by scientists who were IPCC ideologues and advocates. Watch out.”


is a fraud.

This is terrible. More thoughts from Instapundit:

When I was in college, I interned for a criminal defense attorney who told me that although most people, including defense lawyers, assumed that the FBI lab was a gold standard, he always sent stuff to an independent lab for verification, and half the time it came back with a different result from the FBI lab. He said he didn’t understand why more lawyers didn’t do that, since a different result in itself might produce reasonable doubt.

The amount of injustice in our “justice” system is increasingly disturbing. And there are rarely any consequences for it, except to those unjustly punished.