Obama tells students, hey, don’t sweat this tyranny stuff. Big Brother Barack loves you!
As others point out, this experiment in self government was born from a justified fear and rejection of tyranny. Yeah, what would George Washington, John Adams or James Madison know about tyranny? And then there’s this wingnut:
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and those will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
Man, that black guy, Fred Douglas, must be one of those crazy militia types.
Jonah has more thoughts:
I like America’s instinctual fear of tyranny. It is single best bulwark against, you know, tyranny. It’s a bipartisan tendency by the way. Conservatives tend to fret most over government exceeding its Constitutional authority to encroach on civil society. The left tends to fret over excesses in the government’s constitutional obligation to protect our citizens from crime and foreign threats. Libertarians have an abundance of both concerns. Not surprisingly, I tend to find the left’s excesses more annoying than the right’s (“Oh no, the state is trying too hard to fight our enemies!”) but both instincts are healthy and shared to one extent or another by all Americans. It is the fundamental dogma of Americanness and I for one would hate to see it erode further.
It’s just another facet of the president’s lack of understanding of the founding principles, and his deep aversion to limited government and Constitutional principles.
50 to 1 cuts across all the noise and fury surrounding the ‘climate debate’ and gets right to the point: Even if the IPCC is right, and even if climate change IS happening and it IS caused by man, we are STILL better off adapting to it as it happens than we are trying to ‘stop’ it. ‘Action’ is 50 times more expensive than ‘adaptation’, and that’s a conclusion which is derived directly from the IPCC’s own predictions and formulae!
Here’s a link to the Indiegogo site.
Megan McArdle has an excellent piece on the nature of the discipline and its perverse incentives:
The system was rewarding a very, very specific thing: novel but intuitively plausible results that told neat stories about human behavior. Stars in that field are people who consistently identify, and then prove, interesting but believable results.
The problem is that reality is usually pretty messy, especially in social psychology, where you tend to be looking for fairly subtle effects. Even a genius will be wrong a lot of the time: he will invest in hypotheses that sound convincing but aren’t actually true, or come up with data that is too messy to tell you much one way or another. Sadly, the prestige journals aren’t looking to publish “We tested this interesting hypothesis, and boy, the data are just a mess!” They want a story, the clearer, the better.
Academics these days operate under enormous pressure to churn out high volumes of these publications. Hitting those targets again and again is the key to tenure, the full professorship, hopefully the lucrative lectures. Competition is fierce for all of those things, and it’s easy to get knocked out at every step. If getting good results is somewhat random, then all those professors are very vulnerable to a string of bad luck. The temptation to make your own luck is thus very high.
Again, I do not excuse those who resort to cheating. But as the consumer of these publications, we should be worried, because this system essentially selects for bad data handling. The more you manipulate your data (and there are lots of ways to massage your data so that it shows what you’d like, even without knowing you’re doing it), the more likely you are to come up with a publishable result. Peer review acts as something of a check on this, of course. But your peers don’t know if, for example, you decided to report only the one time your experiment worked, instead of the seven times it didn’t.
It would be much better if we rewarded replication: if journals were filled not only with papers describing novel effects, but also with papers by researchers who replicated someone else’s novel effects. But replicating an effect that someone else has found has nowhere near the prestige–or the publication value–of something entirely new. Which means, of course, that it’s relatively easy to make up numbers and be sure that no one else will try to check.
Most cases are not as extreme as Stapel. But if we reward only those who generate interesting results, rather than interesting hypotheses, we are asking for trouble. It is hard to fake good questions, but if the good questions must also have good answers . . . well, good answers are easy. And it seems that this is what the social psychology profession is rewarding.
What I found fascinating about this is that you can substitute the phrase “climate science” for “social psychology” and (say) “Mann” for “Stapel,” and it makes just as much sense.
This is probably worth a PJMedia piece.
[Update a few minutes later]
One other phrase that would have to change: “that told
neatpolitically appealing stories about human behaviorhumanity’s impact on the environment.”
Is it caused by the government?
Yes. Next question?
I think that she underestimates the effects of regulatory uncertainty and the war on business that started rhetorically in 2008, and for real in 2009. I also think that she’s missing another problem — the huge mismatch between skills and employers’ needs, which are themselves a result of terrible government education policies.
[Update early afternoon]
One other point. We also have a labor mobility problem, due to the housing crisis, in which many are still unable to sell their homes and move to where the jobs are. That too was caused by government policies.
Why did they get it so wrong?
Almost without exception, law professors dismissed the possibility that the Patient Protection and Affordable Act Act (“PPACA”) might be unconstitutional — but something went wrong on the way to the courthouse. What explains the epic failure of law professors to accurately predict how Article III judges would handle the case? After considering three possible defenses/justifications, this essay identifies five factors that help explain the erroneous predictions of our nation’s elite law professors, who were badly wrong, but never in doubt.
It’s because they live in a leftist ivory-tower academic cocoon, where their idiosyncratic theories are rarely challenged or tested, until they collide with the real world, as they did with SCOTUS.
[Via Nick Rosenkranz]
Larry Correia righteously and brutally smacks down the idiots who continue to believe that the Nazis are “right wing.” OWS is collateral damage. Or maybe it’s not collateral. Anyway, read the whole thing.
I found this to be telling, and typical:
Should an organization that is largely composed of UNC professors be involved with participants in such a vicious political smear campaign as the one suggested by Blueprint N.C.? Perhaps it is within their legal rights, but the title “scholar” implies a higher standard than the down-and-dirty program planned by Blueprint.
To be a “scholar” means to adhere to a high level of objectivity. It also suggests that one uses terms with precise meaning. But there was little objectivity or precision at the Duke event, and given the lack of professionalism exhibited by some of its leaders, Scholars for a Progressive North Carolina and Blueprint NC are a natural pairing.
In one instance, UNC-Greensboro history professor Lisa Levenstein described Republicans as “ideology-driven” whereas liberals are “not driven by ideology” but are instead motivated by “the common good.” This is intentionally misleading and false; the liberal concept of “common good” in itself implies an ideology of sorts. (Unless of course, she does not comprehend the meaning of “ideology,” which would be cause for great concern about her ability to teach history at the university level.)
My emphasis. This is the century-old Leftist trope/tripe that they are “pragmatic” while those who disagree with them are “ideological,” and of course, ideology is bad (except, apparently, when it masquerades as a religion that justifies suicide bombings). I’ve been meaning to write a piece about the irony that the people actually had a choice last fall between an ideologue who claimed to be a pragmatic empiricist, and someone who had no actual political principles, but just wanted to be president and try to make the country actually work better. They went for the ideologue.
…and the historians’ rush to judgment:
The animus that scholars have directed toward Bush has at times made a mockery of the principle of academic objectivity. At the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in January 2009, a panel on the Bush-Cheney years organized by a group called Historians Against the War featured scholars from Columbia, Yale, Trinity College, New York University and Yeshiva University. They compared the Bush “regime’s” security practices to those of Joseph McCarthy and various “war criminals.” The cover illustration of the roundtable’s report showed Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, seated on a pile of human skulls.
All of this overheated rhetoric and fear-mongering has come from academics who profess to live the life of the mind. In their hasty, partisan-tinged assessments of Bush, far too many scholars breached their professional obligations, engaging in a form of scholarly malpractice, by failing to do what historians are trained to do before pronouncing judgment on a presidency: conduct tedious archival research, undertake oral history interviews, plow through memoirs, interview foreign leaders and wait for the release of classified information.
I was no big fan of George Bush, but he was better than the available alternatives, and the fact that these hacks and mediocrities have such irrational hatred for him only increases my own respect for him. He must have done something right to get their leftist panties in such a twist.
As I said, people of a certain age remember this history. For those that don’t, Robert Redford is kindly about to release a movie recounting the Rockland robbery (albeit relocated to Michigan). By all accounts, the film lionizes the Weather Underground terrorists, Boudin and her accomplices.
Perhaps to bring it full circle, Professor Boudin can soon guest-lecture at a film class at Columbia when the Redford movie is screened.
Other than the passage of time, one can find no real distinction between the cowardly actions of last Monday’s Boston murderer and the terror carried out by Boudin and her accomplices. Yet today we live in a country where our leading educational institutions see fit to trust our children’s education to murderers and Hollywood sees fit to celebrate terrorists.
The Web site of Columbia’s School of Social Work sums up Boudin’s past thus: “Dr. Kathy Boudin has been an educator and counselor with experience in program development since 1964, working within communities with limited resources to solve social problems.”
“Since 1964” — that would include the bombing of my house, it would include the anti-personnel devices intended for Fort Dix and it would include the dead policeman on the side of the Thruway in 1981.
We have a sick culture, particularly in Hollywood and academia.
And they can’t even see their own problem:
Perhaps we should not be surprised that Ivy League and other top-notch schools practice such ugly discrimination. After all, they had similar practices in the 1920s to ensure their schools did not have “too many” Jewish students. Today, they just want to make sure they don’t have “too many” Caucasians or Asians on campus. All they have done is change the groups targeted for discrimination.
Suzy Weiss and many other high-school seniors across the United States are being discriminated against because of their skin color or because they have an epicanthic fold in their eyes. Such racial and ethnic discrimination is morally wrong, and neither “diversity” nor anything else can justify it.
And yet they continue to attempt to do so, while calling us racists.
Obviously, if Beaudry et al right, this is ferociously depressing news. It suggests that we’re pushing more and more people into (more and more expensive) college programs, even as the number of jobs in which they can use those skills has declined. A growing number of students may be in a credentialling arms race to gain access to routine service jobs. Or maybe the productivity of our nation’s wait staff is spiking as more skilled workers flood into these jobs.
And as evidence, McDonald’s is now requiring a college degree to be a cashier. And it’s positively destroying the low-skilled workers. This isn’t going to end well.
[Update on Friday]
OK, so it turns out that the McDonald’s help-wanted ad was erroneous. But the fact that it was believable should concern, and it may in fact be a sign of things to come.
The students I contacted were angry about the walkout and embarrassed for Vassar. The protesters, on the other hand, tweeted a proud picture with a poster they’d ripped down. These students may fancy themselves courageous, but hiding behind masks and refusing to risk public contradiction by questioning a political opponent is cowardly.
As for the talk itself, you can watch it on video. The walkout comes at about 29 minutes into the tape. You can hear students criticizing the protesters as they leave. (A brief video with a better camera angle on the walkout can be found here.) But the real takeaway from the video is that, agree or disagree, the dreaded Epstein laid out a perfectly reasonable case for the importance of fossil fuels and the dangers of putting the industry that produces them out of business without an economically viable substitute. The notion that a talk like this is out of place at a an institution of higher education is pernicious. If anything, students desperately need to hear Epstein’s side of the story.
I asked Vassar’s administration for a comment on the walkout, the ripping down of ads for the talk, and on the threat by a student to harm himself at the talk as a protest. Acting Vassar College President, Jonathan Chenette has so far addressed only the walkout. Chenette’s statement, forwarded to me by Vassar, emphasizes that Epstein took the walkout in stride (true), yet added that the students who “[exited] rather than engaging” had “lost an opportunity for exchange and questioning.” (I have some serious concerns about this statement, but I’ll raise them when I reproduce the full text in a follow-up post.) My first response to Chenette’s statement is that it won’t do much to address the underlying problems at Vassar, which run deep.
There may be faculty at Vassar who still respect the ideals of liberal education as classically understood. Notwithstanding that, Vassar appears to have passed a tipping point beyond which these ideals no longer meaningfully operate where they’re most needed. Classes filled with courteous and respectful discussion don’t mean much if students dare not raise questions that half the country might ask.
If only the problem were just at Vassar.
And always remember, it’s a right-wing war on science.
This administration has grand ambitions to grow government but little interest in running it. The result, according to polling, is the highest mistrust in government in years. And rightfully so. We’ve willy-nilly added bureaucracy, deepened the debt, perpetuated cronyism, slowed economic entrepreneurialism and gotten few, if any, of the promised benefits.
It’s not exactly a new problem, but more people are starting to notice it. Too bad they didn’t do so a year ago.
Ah, the utopian fantasies of the loony left:
Fittingly, the same day Egan’s hymn was published, the California State Auditor reported the state’s net worth – its assets minus its liabilities – at negative $127.2 billion. Also reported were $167.9 billion in long-term obligations, not including $60 billion in unfunded liabilities for retiree health care, or those for state employees’ future pensions. These are not just “bills.” These are benefits for public employees and services for the poor that won’t be delivered as promised.
California’s public school system, both one of the most expensive and one of the poorest performing in the country, is not improving. The state’s prison system is both so overcrowded and underfunded that the US Supreme Court deemed conditions “cruel and unusual punishment.” And despite 9.8 percent unemployment (tied for highest in the country), tax, regulatory, and zoning policies make blue-collar job creation in manufacturing and real estate development next to impossible.
But other than that, things are great.
Egan and other turquoise dreamers seem to look at tenured teachers, happy prison guards, and fleeced one-percenters and believe conditions are promising enough to move on to romantic dreams of the future. Over the heads of undereducated kids, the chronically unemployed, and the poor, they see a high-speed train zooming along the sparkling coast. This is not how progressives used to think.
What constitutes actual “progress” is, of course, subjective.
Thoughts on their backing off:
…in January, they gave up on the global climate treaty approach, and are now acknowledging the many nuances inherent to climate modeling. This is a sign that the global intellectual and political establishment is gradually distancing itself from the climate radicals and taking a more thoughtful and balanced approach. We also hope it’s a sign that they’re beginning to realize a more fundamental truth about the politics of climate change: that green hysteria and doom-mongering are leading causes of climate skepticism.
I’ve always been appropriately skeptical about the modeling:
I guess I am a denier. Here’s what I deny.
I deny that science is a compendium of knowledge to be ladled out to school children like government-approved pablum (and particularly malnutritious pablum), rather than a systematic method of attaining such knowledge.
I deny that skepticism about anthropogenic climate change is epistemologically equivalent to skepticism about evolution, and I resent the implications that if one is skeptical about the former, one must be similarly skeptical about the latter, and “anti-science.”
As someone who has done complex modeling and computer coding myself, I deny that we understand the complex and chaotic interactions of the atmosphere, oceans and solar and other inputs sufficiently to model them with any confidence into the future, and I deny that it is unreasonable and unscientific to think that those who believe they do have such understanding suffer from hubris. To paraphrase Carl Sagan, extraordinary policy prescriptions require extraordinary evidence.
The world seems to be catching up to me.
…learn that elections have consequences:
That mean old company won’t throw extra cash at them so that they can live the New York City lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed! Dear Dudes: Companies are in business to stay in business and employ people. Obamacare regulations are making that increasingly more difficult; the costs are staggering and burdensome. That whole “you can keep your plan” deal? Obama lied.
And anyone with half a brain would have known that. But they’re products of the public educational system, and universities.
That was the goal, of course. Obedient sheep, many of whom can’t even read and write. But they vote.
The lawsuit filing provides a troubling description of how fraud was used to impose draconian environmental regulations on California enterprises, which is one of the many reasons why California is deemed by CEOs nationwide as the “worst place to do business”.
As he notes, “liberals” only like whistleblowers when they blow the whistle on conservatives.
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