Category Archives: Education

Political Correctness And SJWs

A long but useful essay:

Academic freedom is viscerally important: it guarantees the individual liberty to say what you want; and assumes your agency to hear what you don’t, or, choose to ignore. Censorship and self-censorship only disempower. In universities, it disempowers an individual from saying what they want in a place that should be a crucible for experimentation and discovery. More critically, it disempowers the people it wants to empower; assuming minorities can’t manage the condition that accompanies a free and open society – being offended by something. Political correctness is anathema to the values that constitute a free society. What’s more, it visibly undermines these values in places that should cherish them most – universities and academia.

Another distinctive feature of political correctness is the hodgepodge of critical race theory and identity politics. Discrimination is excused under the banner of liberation. Discrimination is not only being excused, but also conferred an attractive righteousness. Thus, individuals can say “kill all white men”, or declare white people are trash, or argue white people should be banned from events, without anything resembling compunction. Their justification is simple: their prejudice against whites isn’t racist, and doesn’t carry the peculiar stigma of racism, because racism is prejudice married with power. With an ugly sleight of hand, they pollute the conventional meaning of a term to absolve themselves from the scrutiny this term rightly merits. It doesn’t actually redress power balance, but reverses it. By suggesting power is an inherent feature of whiteness, where it ultimately resides, political correctness removes the possibility of non-white people exercising power and being fully responsible for their own actions: the concept of moral autonomy is undermined. This means that the non-white advocates of political correctness are free to act however they please without the moral scrutiny that attends white people – and should, in fact, attend every human.

The power-powerless concept is toxic because power is more fluid than assuming to be brown is too be powerless; a brown Islamist may be more powerless than a Jew because his skin is visibly darker, but when he murderously re-enacts the oldest hatred of our civilisation on the streets of Europe, who dares dilute the significance of his racism?

This power-powerless concept is faulty because it enables someone like Bahar Mustafa to assert she can’t be racist, after saying and endorsing perfectly racist things. It enables articles after articles after articles to be written that invert reality and reproduce something that should be consigned to history: one set of standards for one group of people, another set for another. The way to challenge inequality is not by reproducing the conditions of inequality – but, rather, by proceeding from an egalitarian basis: viewing each individual as deserving of equal dignity. The identity politics of Bahar Mustafa are a consequential challenge to this premise because they separate rather than stress our common humanity. Political correctness is a fundamentally anti-egalitarian movement.

The term ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ captures an important truth: an effective way to leverage power is by assuming the status of a victim. A culture of victimhood is inherent to political correctness. It is through this victimhood, ultimately, that the tribal hatred of its advocates are nourished, and the dignity of its opponents are undermined.

Yep. Don’t let them get away with it. As someone once said, punch back twice as hard.

“Useless” Liberal Arts Degrees

Aren’t necessarily useless in tech:

“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting in his office in San Francisco’s South of Market district, a neighborhood almost entirely dedicated to the cult of coding. “I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true–like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces–until they realized that it wasn’t true.”

I’ve never opposed liberal arts per se. As Glenn says, it can be a very valuable education if taught with rigor (but that also traditionally included math, and logic). But it’s mostly not, these days. And certainly not at all in the “studies” departments.

Live In NH, NV, NY Or MO?

Give your senators hell:

The first panel features four senators — Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. All four were original sponsors of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act introduced in 2014, and all four are sponsors on the updated version introduced earlier this year.

CASA will surely be the focus of their panel, which is a shame because the bill is devoid of due process protections for accused students. When the bill was first introduced in 2014, I sent six questions to each of the original sponsors. Of the four sitting on the panel this Wednesday, only Ayotte’s office responded — and the response ignored a question about due process. A series of follow-up questions were never answered.

Neither Heller nor McCaskill’s office ever responded to the original questions. A staffer from Gillibrand’s office called me back but was uninterested in answering questions; instead, the staffer merely gave me an overview of the bill. . . .

Those are the eight people who will be addressing campus sexual assault on Wednesday. It is highly unlikely that even one of them will suggest that the draconian measures being thrust upon universities are fundamentally unfair and biased. Not one person is there to suggest that maybe colleges shouldn’t be adjudicating felonies. Not one person is there to suggest that if colleges do continue to adjudicate felonies, then they need to provide students the same protections an actual court of law would provide.

If you wanted to destroy academia, you couldn’t do a better job of what these people are doing. I expect this kind of thing from the Democrats, but it’s sad to see that, apparently, neither party gives a damn about actual justice or due process.

All But Dissertation

…and happy with it:

Grad school became a financial burden after I took my full-time job in industry. Although my salary tripled and I’m a frugal and financially responsible person, my school expenses became too much for me to handle without taking on student loans, something I hadn’t done since undergrad. I managed to avoid student loans by depleting my savings.

After I left my university department’s employment as a graduate research assistant, I was responsible for my tuition payments. I was only enrolled in 3 credits per semester for a doctoral research course, basically, a symbolic class for the privilege of calling myself a doctoral student. Unfortunately, once I left my department’s protection, the university saw me as a dollar sign instead of a person. They used a loophole to unfairly charge me over triple the tuition rate, and even my protest to the university president landed on deaf ears because universities are all about profit (and I attended a public university!).

Had I been charged a fair tuition rate, I would have been able to afford to stay enrolled in grad school indefinitely and may have eventually finished. The greed of the university forced me to make my decision to quit when I did, which may have been a good thing in the long run because I didn’t drag it out too long. To this day, I regret paying that last semester’s tuition, as that money would have served me much better in my savings account.

The current higher-educational system, fueled by the student-loan system, has become, with exceptions, a massive scam.

The New Puritans

The “sexual consent” brigades get more whack by the day:

The contract states in big red letters: “YES! We agree to have SEX!” (emphasis original), and asks participants to take a photo together holding the contract. If a camera can’t be found, then the participants would need to fill out the form included on the back of the contract.

The group provided the Washington Examiner with an image of the form, which simply states that on this date (fill-in-the-blank) “We agree to have consensual sex with one another.” The form also provides spaces for two parties to sign and print their names.

Even that probably wouldn’t be enough of a defense against an accusation, when all an accuser has to do is say she was too drunk to consent to the photo or the sexual activity. And remember, if the handwriting on the back is noticeably slurred by both parties (meaning the accused was also too drunk to consent) it doesn’t matter, only the accuser’s word matters.

Also, the word “sex” seems far too vague to me. It seems like they’ll need specific subforms for oral (him on her, her on him, him on him), anal, rough stuff, etc.

Media Bias

It’s gotten so bad that even Howie Kurtz is starting to notice it. See, if you think that the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman, you’re a bigot. Toss gays off buildings? Who are we to judge?

And this exchange between Ben Smith and Hugh Hewitt was in fact very enlightening:

Elsewhere, John Nolte of Big Journalism listens to Hewitt’s interview with Smith and spots this juxtaposition: “BuzzFeed Pledges Allegience to Gay Flag — Editor Ben Smith Won’t Call Shariah Evil.”

Or as Ace notes, “it is quite obvious that [Smith] has never even thought about the questions Hugh Hewitt poses before. Simple, obvious questions everyone even pretending to be a thinker must ask himself, like ‘Why is it I feel comfortable declaring there are no two sides on gay marriage, and yet I cannot bring myself to criticize Shariah law?’”

Which dovetails well with this observation from Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller, when as a (more or less) conservative, he debates leftists: “I’ve noticed an uptick in the following phenomenon: I go on a TV debate show, and the people I’m talking to fail to grasp my points. I don’t mean they disagree with me — I mean they don’t comprehend what I’m saying.“

Why, it’s as if the left and right are speaking an entirely different language — as Insta-guest blogger John Tierney noted here yesterday.

Yes. And that’s partly a difference in world views, and partly a deliberate attempt to obfuscate and Newspeak the language.

Chelsea Clinton Too Expensive?

Hire Ashe Schow instead!

For those who like to get the most for their money, here’s an itemized menu of what you can get if you hire me instead:

• Bargain basement price of $200 per minute (limit of three-hour event)

• $10 per person for a handshake (light grip but not limp)

• $15 per person for a photo with me*

• $20 per person for a handshake and a photo

• $25 per person for a photo in which I appear enthusiastic

• $30 per person for a hug**

• $5 per person for a minute of light conversation

• $10 per person for a minute of light, enthusiastic conversation

• $15 and speaker will call your mom on your cell phone

• $25 per person for a lengthy, deep conversation with your mom in which I tell her we’re best friends***

Seems like a much better deal to me. I like the a la carte plan, particularly the hug.

But as Ed Driscoll notes, that doesn’t allow them to contribute to the Clintons’ personal slush fund.

Senator Gillibrand

She thinks there is no such thing as an innocent man being falsely accused:

She’s suggesting that the criminal justice system isn’t easy enough for accusers. Police and juries won’t throw someone in jail based on nothing but an accusation. Therefore, a kinder, gentler justice system needs to exist to do just that. It is that kind of thinking that has prompted more than 70 male students to sue their universities after being expelled and treated like criminals without evidence — and sometimes with evidence that points to a false accusation.

Ashe Schow is doing yeowoman’s work in continuing to spotlight these Kafkaesque anti-male fascists.