Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Professor offers ‘American Whiteness’ course

original article: Professor offers ‘American Whiteness’ course which describes ‘whiteness’ as ‘a very bad idea’
August 21, 2017 by Jeffy Fisher

A professor at an Iowa college is teaching a class called “American Whiteness” this fall that will explore the “historical expansion” of white people in the U.S. as well as “challenges to whiteness.”

Professor Karla Erickson is offering the course, which will look at “whiteness as a specific racial formation with a distinct history, proactive and defensive politics, and institutional and personal investments,” Campus Reform reported.

Students will learn about the “historical expansion” of whiteness; “formal and informal advantages that accrue to whiteness”; and potential “challenges to whiteness.”

On this week’s episode of “The Jeff Fisher Show,” Jeffy Fisher thought the title “American Whiteness” sounded like a TV series available to stream.

He pointed out that college and university campuses are tumultuous places where students protest in order to feel “safe.”

“What we need more of is people finding ways to divide us on college campuses,” Jeffy said sarcastically.

To see more from Jeffy, visit his channel on TheBlaze and listen live to “The Jeff Fisher Show” Saturdays 9 a.m.–noon ET, only on TheBlaze Radio Network.

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More social justice math, it’s “discriminatory”

original article: Math is ‘unjust and grounded in discrimination,’ educators moan
August 23, 2017 by Toni Airaksinen

  • Two national organizations of math teachers are on a mission to prove that math education is “unjust and grounded in a legacy of institutional discrimination.”
  • In a joint statement, the groups complain that making students “master the basics” leads to “segregation and separation,” and call on math instructors to adopt a “social justice stance” in the classroom.

Two national mathematics organizations are on a mission to prove that math education is “unjust and grounded in a legacy of institutional discrimination.”

The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and TODOS: Mathematics for All “ratify social justice as a key priority in the access to, engagement with, and advancement in mathematics education for our country’s youth,” the groups declared last year in a joint statement, elaborating that “a social justice stance interrogates and challenges the roles power, privilege, and oppression play in the current unjust system of mathematics education—and in society as a whole.”

Next month, NCSM and TODOS, along with a few other membership societies for math teachers, will host a free webinar drawing upon the principals noted in their joint statement, inviting any interested members of the public to join in hearing “A Call for a Collective Action to Develop Awareness: Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education.”

[RELATED: Teachers learn to use math as Trojan horse for social justice]

The president of NCSM, Connie Schrock, is a math professor at Emporia State University, and multiple professors serve on the board of TODOS.

While the organizations hope that math can be used as a tool for social justice in the future, they also believe that math has historically perpetuated “segregation and separation,” asserting in their joint statement that “mathematics achievement, often measured by standardized tests, has been used as a gatekeeping tool to sort and rank students by race, class, and gender starting in elementary school.”

Citing the practice of “tracking,” in which pupils are sorted by academic ability into groups for certain classes, NCSM and TODOS argue that “historically, mathematics and the perceived ability to learn mathematics have been used to educate children into different societal roles such as leadership/ruling class and labor/working class leading to segregation and separation.”

[RELATED: Michigan colleges drops math, considers diversity course instead]

“In practice, children placed in ‘low’ groups experience mathematics as an isolating act consisting of fact-driven low cognitive demand tasks and an absence of mathematics discourse opportunities,” the statement contends, attributing the condition to “a pervasive misguided belief that students must ‘master the basics’ prior to engaging with complex problems [sic] solving.”

The groups also bemoan the “white and middle class” workforce of math teachers, fretting that it may not appropriately “reflect” the demographics of the communities in which they teach, such as immigrant or racial minority communities.

Social justice could be the key to solving these issues, they say, calling on math teachers to assume a “social justice stance” that “challenges the roles power, privilege, and oppression play in the current unjust system of mathematics.”

[RELATED: Prof finds ‘no evidence’ sexism is behind gender gap in STEM]

NCSM and TODOS even provided detailed strategies that math teachers can use to promote social justice, such as advocating for increased “recruitment and retention of math teachers from historically marginalized groups” and challenging “individual and societal beliefs underlying the deficit views about mathematics learning and children, with specific attention to race/ethnicity, class, gender, culture, and language.”

But social justice work is nothing without accountability, they warn, declaring that “we must hold the profession and our organizations accountable to making a just and equitable mathematics education a sustainable reality.”

Campus Reform reached out to NCSM and TODOS for more information. TODOS did not reply, and NCSM President Connie Schrock declined to schedule an interview.

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Social Justice Math: hiding progressive propaganda in class lessons

original article: Lesbian: I use math class to teach young kids about homosexuality so I can ‘hide’ it from parents
April 24, 2017 by Pete Baklinski

A lesbian teacher ‘married’ to another woman revealed at a pro-gay teachers’ conference earlier this month how she teaches grade 4-5 students to accept homosexuality through what she called “social justice” math.

Alicia Gunn, an elementary public school teacher in Mississauga, Ontario, told attendees at the April 10 conference in Toronto’s City Hall that injecting LGBTQ issues into the classroom, especially in math, helps students as young as nine “disrupt the single story that many of our kids have about LGBTQ families.”

“Social justice math happens when students are solving problems using real, engaging, and meaningful numbers. Social justice issues happening in their school, community, or even globally become the context for the math that the students are doing,” she said.

The conference, hosted by the homosexual activist organization Jer’s Vision — now called the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity — focused on the implementation of Bill 13 in Ontario classrooms. Bill 13, called by critics the homosexual bill of rights, passed in June 2012, giving students the right to form pro-gay clubs in their school, including Catholic ones, using the name Gay-Straight Alliance.

When asked by one of the workshop attendees if she first asks parents’ permission before bringing homosexual issues up in class, Gunn responded that she does not, but she makes sure to teach her students about numerous social justice issues so that no parent can accuse her of focusing on homosexuality, which she said she likes to “hide” in her lessons.

“I find if you teach all the ‘isms,’ it kind of backs you,” she said. “If I teach all the isms, and sometimes I can hide it a little bit in the math, and what I mean is I can say, ‘I’m just teaching your kid about division. I’m so sorry that you, you know, feel that way,” she said, causing the room of educators to break into laughter.

LifeSiteNews attended the event and was asked at one point to stop filming, but captured the discussion on a back-up audio recorder.

Conversations about ‘gay stuff’

Gunn told attendees in her workshop, titled “Equity & Inclusion in Curriculum,” how she used the situation of students one day name-calling a young female student “lesbian” as a springboard to introduce the class into what she called “conversations” about “gay stuff.”

Gunn, who has received awards for her teaching methods and who is featured in a teacher resource put out by the government agency ServiceOntario, related how she first spoke with the female student, telling her that it was “OK to be gay.”

“And when I spoke to her about it, what she kept saying to me was, ‘Mrs. Gunn, I swear I’m not gay. I’m not gay,” Gunn told attendees. “And I kept saying back to her, ‘I don’t care if you’re gay. It should be OK to be gay.”

In an attempt to “give this girl her dignity back” Gunn made a presentation to the class of the lives of famous people who have identified as ‘gay,’ including basketball player Jason Collins, Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas, and TV host Ellen DeGeneres.

“So, we came back to the carpet to talk about what do these people have in common. And [the students] were saying, ‘They’re awesome, they’re so cool, they’re famous. We’d love to meet them,’” Gunn told attendees.

Video from 2008 of Gunn teaching children about homosexuality:

Gunn then said when she broke the news to the students that all these people were gay, instead of them reacting positively as she had hoped, the students began to shout out “‘gross’ and ‘disgusting’ and ‘these people are sick.’”

At this point Gunn said she realized she would have to come up with a more creative way to get her students to think differently. That’s when she and a few like-minded teachers held a meeting to determine how they could weave the promotion of homosexuality into the curriculum, beginning with math.

Pink Triangles

Gunn showcased at the workshop her math lesson on triangles. She designed it around the pink triangle which the Nazis used in WWII concentration camps to identify sexual offenders including rapists, paedophiles, zoophiles, as well as homosexuals.

Image
Student-made poster of beauty queen contestant ‘Jenna’ Talackova.Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

“The pink triangle was a badge of shame that the Nazis made gay men wear during the holocaust. So what we did is take a look at all the different badges of shame that people would have been wearing,” she told attendees.

“Now mathematically where we were is looking at different types of triangles. So, looking at angle-inside measurements to be able to tell is it isosceles, is it equilateral, is it scalene. So, that was the math aspect. But more importantly was the [pro-homosexual] thinking that went into it.”

Related: Teacher reveals how he convinced his Catholic school board to go pro-LGBTQ

Following the pink triangle math lesson, Gunn related how she had her students create “badges of pride” to turn the narrative on its head, “because that’s what the pink triangle has become, it’s become a symbol of pride.”

She related how one student made a badge with a pink heart, writing, “The pink heart shows that I am proud of who I love. I chose the color pink to make the badge, because of the badges of shame the Nazis made pink to make gays feel bad about being gay. So, I use it to show that you can love whoever you want.”

Gunn said she was pleased with the students’ headway.

“Already I’m feeling that the story is being disrupted. The original story of gay people being gross and disgusting, slowly we’re getting there.”

“So, I keep going,” she told attendees.

‘Pretty and Proud’

Her next classroom project consisted of having the students research famous LGBTQ Canadians and the contributions they’ve made.

Image
Sticky note LGBTQ projectPete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

One such person the class focused on was ‘Jenna’ Talackova, a biological male who in 2012 successfully campaigned to participate in the Miss Universe Canada contest. Talackova, who underwent “gender reassignment” surgery at the age of 19, was originally barred from the contest because of a rule requiring the contestant to be a “naturally born woman.”

A poster-board display created by the students titled “Pretty and Proud” showing photos and magazine clippings of Talackova falsely claims he “won the pagent [sic]” when in fact he was one of the final 12 contestants.

Gunn said the students learned from the lesson that “you really need to stand up when things are wrong. You need to have a voice.”

‘Does it matter if someone’s LGBTQ?’

Gunn related how on another occasion, she wrote on the board, “Does it matter if someone’s LGBTQ?” asking her students to write their answer on a sticky note, which, when collected, were sorted into ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’

She told workshop attendees that the children’s answers showed the fruit of her work. “You’ve got to remember, these are grade 4-5 students and some of them really get it,” she said.

One student wrote, “No, it should not matter who you love, what gender you are, your race or sex, or what you look like.”

Another wrote: “I think it doesn’t matter if someone is LGBTQ, because they are just like us.”

Related: Lesbian teacher: How I convince kids to accept gay ‘marriage’, starting at 4-years-old

“And that’s what we’re after,” Gunn said. “We are the same.”

Image
Pride Dolls the students play with and used as a fundraiser to support Russian LGBTQ people.Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

Gunn related how she then used math to examine the rates of discrimination against people who identify as gay or lesbian from a chart put out by the homosexual organization Egale.

“What I had students do in groups is take a look at one of the graphs, and tell the class the story that the graph tells. What’s happening in our schools right now that makes it still matter if someone is LGBTQ,” she told attendees.

One group of students went on to examine a graph of those “feeling upset by homophobic comments” compared to those who do not.

“My one group was really upset by people not being upset,” Gunn related. “They were saying, ‘The fact that only 5.6% of non-LGBT kids care when they hear these things, that upsets me.’ One of my boys put up his hand and said, ‘I’m one of those people, and I’m extremely upset.’”

Gunn related how after one pro-LGBT lesson she asked her students what they were going to do to make a difference. On top of deciding to be “kind” to LGBTQ people, the students decided to run a fundraiser selling Pride Dolls to raise money for Russia’s LGBT community by supporting the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA). Gunn praised the dolls to attendees as an asset to the classroom, saying how students loved to play with them. “They’re nesting dolls. The kids love taking them apart and playing with them,” she said.

One conference attendee asked Gunn what to do about parents who do not support the LGBTQ movement, mentioning how parents once told her not to involve their child in the pro-homosexual ‘Day of Pink.’

Gunn mocked the parents for failing to realize just how extensive are pro-LGBTQ issues in the classroom and curriculum.

“And it’s not one day a year,” she said. “If you don’t want to send your kid to school on the Day of Pink, that’s OK. But they’re going to get it all the days before. They would have got it in September, and they’re going to get it after. So, one day? We’re not about one day.”

Gunn’s workshop partner Hiren Mistry, Instructional Coordinator for Equity & Inclusive Education in the Peel District School Board, put it this way: “Equity is not an add-on, it is the foundation of everything.”

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Trans revolution: Public schools are only the beginning

original article: The Trans Juggernaut Wants Your Kids, And Public Schools Are Just The Beginning
August 17, 2017 by Joy Pullmann

If you had argued pre-Obergefell that de-sexing marriage would lead to drag queens leading preschool storytime in public libraries and public schools hounded into hiding their mandatory sex ed curriculum from parents after a settlement requiring trans-friendly “education” starting in kindergarten, you would have been called an unhinged bigot. How could what two consenting adults do privately have any effect on whether five-year-olds are told they should consider cutting off their penises? Preposterous. Fear-mongering. Wild-eyed insanity.

Or not. Rod Dreher’s “Law of Merited Impossibility” strikes again: “It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it.” As I’ve written beforeObergefelland related caselaw, which are still developing, are turning out not to be aboutwhat consenting adults do privately. They are the spear tip of a wholesale shift in law that is already negatively affecting children, because at its heart is the principle that sexuality is genderless.

As theologian N.T. Wright pointed out to the Times of London last week, “Nature…tends to strike back, with the likely victims in this case being vulnerable and impressionable youngsters who, as confused adults, will pay the price for their elders’ fashionable fantasies.”

This is likely why the transgender movement is targeting the young: They are vulnerable and impressionable, prepuberty pose better as either sex and therefore look less terrifying than adult transgenders, and once locked into the trans body morph will never truly be able to escape. Devastated people are prime candidates for exploitation by their pretend advocates. Also, locking in trans-policies now is a way to preclude debate before more extensive data and personal experience can fuel the inevitable backlash.

Of course this is bad for kids, but it’s not about kids. They’re just pawns, as usual. It’s about politics. Pushing transgenderism not only destabilizes a key component of a child’s identity but also contributes to early sexualization that is linked with mental illness and risky behaviors. Early exposure to and lack of clear parental direction about sex is also linked with increased gender confusion, which is precisely what we’re seeing as clinics for cutting and pasting children’s hormones and body parts explode inside a media environment that glamorizes this form of child abuse.

Parents are facing fewer and fewer ways to protect their children from being used as guinea pigs inside an experiment constructed by unelected bureaucrats. Here we’ll discuss two recent examples: one specific and one more general.

You Can’t Know What We’re Teaching Your Kids About Sex

Kelsey Harkness recently reported on the brewing situation at a public charter school in Minnesota. Charters are public schools often created and run by a board of a coalition of local parents and community leaders. Everyone who attends has to choose to do so rather than be assigned to attend automatically through geographic attendance zones, like most public schools. They usually provide a safe haven for families looking for a sound alternative to traditional schools, which are on average of lower academic quality because they do not have to compete for students.

Saint Paul’s Nova Classical Academy is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the top Minnesota high school. But it has been transformed into a rainbow Trojan horse after Dave and Hannah Edwards sued Nova for not including pro-transgender materials starting in kindergarten to accommodate their five-year-old son, whom they claim is transgender. Parents began transferring their kindergarteners out of the child’s class when they came home saying things like, “Mom, I think you can choose if you want to be a boy or a girl,” according to interviews with The Daily Signal.

The little boy began wearing a female uniform and accessories, and classes began to include pro-trans picture books endorsing gender fluidity. This month’s settlement after 16 months of litigation requires the school to make all uniforms available to both sexes, pay LGBT organizations to “train staff” in politically correct behavior every three years, and “not adopt any gender policy that allows parents to opt out of requirements in the gender inclusion policy because of objections based on religion or conscience.” This lawyer and Federalist contributor, after reviewing the settlement, said it appears to ban the school from even notifying parents of its sex policies.

The circumstances are even more suspicious and shocking than a prohibition on telling parents what their children will be learning about human biology: Dave Edwards is an academic in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychology, whose pending PhD is being funded by a taxpayer-funded grant and who specializes in transgender education. As a school consultant and trainer on gender identity, he now personally profits from doing “training” of the kind his family’s settlement forces on Nova. Here’s from his website, GenderInclusiveSchools.com.

There are more curiosities in the family’s case. Edwards’ LinkedIn profile lists him as a “founding staff member of Venture Academy Charter School,” also in Saint Paul, a high-profile school funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which uses its deep pockets to seed “education reform” with far-left ideas and personnel. Edwards started his career in a heavily Gates-funded teaching fellowship known for its politically progressive staff.

Rather than enroll his son in the school Dave helped create, the Edwardses chose to apply for Nova at approximately the same timeDave stopped working at Venture Academyand began pursuing his doctorate with a focus on transgender school compliance. This was almost three years after the family decided the child was gender-fluid when he began emulating Beyonce’s dancing at two years old. In March 2016, after their son had attended Nova for seven months, the Edwardses withdrew him, but continued to press their lawsuit.

“The daily influence of this little boy, who very much looks like a girl, all the accessories … they’re really doing it up with him,” said a mother whose six-year-old was in kindergarten for those few months with the Edwardses’ son when he was five. Since lawsuit-induced policies have been adopted, Nova has lost a tenth of its students.

Nova Is Just a Tip of the Spear

Nova is a test case for what trans activists want to perpetuate nationwide — and not just in public schools, but also in private and home schools. An 8-year-old drag queen groomed by his parents says “If you want to be a drag queen and your parents don’t let you, you need new parents,” the underlying, totalitarian belief of the movement he represents. The easiest initial access point is private school choice programs, but activists are also targeting all private schools through accreditation bodies. The accreditation attack is currently most visible in higher education, but it’s spreading to K-12.

Since President Trump appointed school choice proponent Betsy DeVos as education secretary, Democrats have demanded to know why she supports giving parents freedom to choose their kids’s schools when so many hinterland bigots will choose schools that don’t let boys shower with girls or lie to developing minds about basic biology and its implications for their identity.

These questions led to a media divebomb this summer on a Christian school in Indiana that accepts voucher students and whose policies reflect the Ten Commandments’ prohibition against sexual immorality. Subsequently, Indiana outlets have begun investigating which in-state private schools are “anti-LGBT,” meaning require students to adhere to centuries-old prescriptions for chastity that apply to those of all sexual attractions.

Through reviews of publicly posted handbooks and phone calls, journalism nonprofit Chalkbeat Indiana found 27 “anti-LGBT” schools and created a comprehensive database of in-state private schools’ sexuality and admissions policies. Just in case, you know, rainbow protesters wanted to show up at a few, or know where to enroll their gender-dysphoric kindergarteners and then sue.

It also quoted a professor who says “allowing some schools to discriminate against LGBT students on the basis of religion is no different than racial discrimination.” You read that right. Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are morally equal to racists. It’s not surprising, then, that in this political environment about 80 percent of Indiana private schools keep their sex policies off the Internet and don’t return reporters’ phone calls to reveal them.

In Indiana, private schools must be accredited by either the state or one of seven private accreditors approved by the state board of education to accept students through one of the state’s two private choice programs. Chalkbeat, another Gates Foundation grant recipient, singled out the Association of Christian Schools International, an organization with 3,000 member schools, for offering a sample sexual ethics policy that repeats standard Christian teachings about the proper use of sexuality — within marriage between two opposite-sex people.

Discrimination Based on Behavior Is Not Like Racism

Chalkbeat referred to sex-specific policies and safeguards as “discrimination,” implying an equivocation between racial discrimination and behavior expectations. But race is an immutable fact, not a behavior. This is one of the reasons discrimination on its basis is so unjust. Yet we as a society discriminate based on behavior all the time, and we must to stay civilized, as well as to preserve our constitutionally guaranteed rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of association.

We sometimes treat the sexes distinctly, and create special, sometimes separate, environments for those who are emotionally troubled. There are sensible reasons for these that are not in the same ballpark as racism. The leftists harping on this topic are essentially demanding a religious litmus test — the adoption of the moral belief that every sexual practice must be affirmed — as a precondition for educating children. It is starting with public and private schools, but will eventually encompass “outliers” such as homeschoolers. None of us are safe unless we band together and stop this crazy train in its tracks.

A key problem is that Republican-led statehouses are the ones guarding school choice programs, and these same statehouses can barely muster the votes to protect children in public schools from being forced into unisex shower and sleeping quarters. Just two days ago Texas Speaker Joe Strauss torpedoed a special session that was set to consider both a bathroom bill and a school choice bill, and the state is in desperate need of both. Despite the lack of federal laws banning sexuality-based policies even when rational, such as in public showers and sports competitions, courts are already busy writing this religious (and antiscientific and inhumane) litmus test into existing sexual-privileges laws for women.

Chalkbeat put its recent set of articles on these topics under the heading “Choice for Some.” It’s an ironic slogan given that the logical end of their rhetoric is choice for none. Eradicating all social and ethical policies based on the distinctions between the sexes herds everyone into an Potemkin genderless society whether we consent to that arrangement or not. Some may feel that’s progress; others may call it totalitarianism.

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Progressives Eat Another One of Their Own

original article: Progressives Eat One of Their Own in the Latest Campus Controversy
May 8, 2017 by DAVID FRENCH

Every single time I think the academy has reached peak intolerance and peak insanity, it proves me wrong. There is no argument that is too stupid for academic radicals. There is no lie that these “scholars” aren’t willing to tell to advance their agenda.

Just ask liberal-feminist philosophy professor Rebecca Tuvel, the latest victim of the ritual “two minutes hate.” Her crime was serious: She had the audacity to write a paper exploring the arguments “for and against transracialism” and argued that “considerations that support transgenderism extend to transracialism.” In other words, she took the question that millions of Americans asked when Rachel Dolezal was exposed — if a man can “really” be a woman, why can’t a white person “really” be black? — and explored it through a liberal, feminist lens.

Judging from the reaction, you would have thought she burned a cross in the quad. A fully woke University of Tennessee professor named Nora Berenstain fired the first shots. Her (now-private) Facebook post reads like an Onion parody of political correctness. It’s worth quoting at length:

Tuvel enacts violence and perpetuates harm in numerous ways throughout her essay. She deadnames a trans woman. She uses the term “transgenderism.” She talks about “biological sex” and uses phrases like “male genitalia.” She focuses enormously on surgery, which promotes the objectification of trans bodies. She refers to “a male-to- female (mtf) trans individual who could return to male privilege,” promoting the harmful transmisogynistic ideology that trans women have (at some point had) male privilege. In her discussion of “transracialism,” Tuvel doesn’t cite a single woman of color philosopher, nor does she substantively engage with any work by Black women, nor does she cite or engage with the work of any Black trans women who have written on this topic.

For those who don’t know, “deadnaming” is the practice of using a transgender person’s “old” name. In this case, she had the audacity to type the name “Bruce Jenner.” This, friends, is deemed to constitute actual violence. As is the notion that Bruce — when he was an Olympic champion and featured on cereal boxes from coast to coast — could have ever enjoyed male privilege. That’s violence. All of it. Perhaps now you can see why radicals riot. They’re not committing crimes, they’re engaging in acts of collective self-defense.

Berenstain was hardly alone in her anger. Furious philosophers penned an open letter to Hypatia, the peer-reviewed journal that published Tuvel’s paper, accusing her, among other things, of using “vocabulary and frameworks not recognized, accepted, or adopted by the conventions of the relevant subfields,” mischaracterizing “various theories and practices related to religious identity and conversion,” and failing “to seek out and sufficiently engage with scholarly work by those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions (women of color) in [her] discussion of ‘transracialism.’”

These critiques — in addition to their typically intolerant intersectional incoherence — were plainly false, as New York Magazine’s Jesse Singal pointed out: “All in all, it’s remarkable how many basic facts this letter gets wrong about Tuvel’s paper. Either the authors simply lied about the article’s contents, or they didn’t read it at all.” The only word I’d quibble with here is “remarkable.” It’s entirely normal for radicals to either refuse to read work they purport to hate or to lie about its contents. Just ask Charles Murray.

Rather than defend Tuvel, Hypatia’s board of associate editors responded with one of the most craven and cowardly statements in the history of craven academic cowardice. It begins:

We, the members of Hypatia’s Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused.

“Harms”? Are “transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color” really so delicate that they can’t withstand the publication of a paper they don’t even have to read? Apparently. But back to the letter, which gets better (or worse, depending on how you look at it):

In addition to the harms listed above imposed upon trans people and people of color, publishing the article risked exposing its author to heated critique that was both predictable and justifiable.

“Predictable,” yes, but “justifiable”? At this point, “scholars” are threatening Tuvel’s future in the profession, and she’s been deluged with hate mail and denunciations. How is any of that “justifiable”?

In all of this madness, there are — perhaps — some seeds of hope. There has been a backlash to the backlash. Singal’s excellent piece in New York unequivocally condemned the attacks on Tuvel as a “witch hunt.” Vanderbilt philosophy professor Kelly Oliver wrote a thoughtful essay calling for “critical debate and philosophical arguments instead of cyber-shaming and personal insults.” Other academics have weighed in on Twitter and elsewhere in Tuvel’s defense.

But in reading these pieces, a troubling subtext becomes apparent: It seems that the outrage isn’t only the attack on free expression and academic freedom, it’s that it was directed at a liberal in good standing. For example, in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece called “Academe’s Poisonous Call-Out Culture,” writer Suzanna Danuta Walters begins with this:

We are in the midst of the Trumpian apocalypse. Actual bigoted provocateurs like Charles Murray and Ann Coulter throw flames in the academy. Hate crimes against trans people and people of color and Muslims are on the rise; women’s reproductive rights are on the line, as are just about every other aspect of bodily autonomy and gender justice. So what’s making scholars hyperventilate in outrage? A feminist academic whose body of work is clearly on the side of progressive social justice.

Is she even aware of the irony? I suppose the “call-out culture” is only poisonous when directed at progressives. Otherwise, Charles Murray is fair game. Otherwise, hyperventilation is fine. After all, abortion and “just about every other aspect of bodily autonomy and gender justice are on the line.”

Academic freedom cannot and will not flourish if its alleged defenders reserve their outrage only for when their ideological allies fall victim to the online mob. If progressives feel they have to torch conservative straw men before mustering up the courage to defend free inquiry, then academic freedom has a dark future indeed. Conservatives will be walled out entirely, and progressive discourse will be jammed into ever-tighter ideological spaces as a brave few liberals fight a desperate rear-guard action against the true radicals.

One hopes that professor Tuvel’s ordeal will serve as yet another wake-up call, teaching professors that there is no safe space from social-justice warriors. But if the Left’s defense against the far-Left is limited to calls for unity against the true enemy (men such as Charles Murray, apparently), then it’s just disguised intolerance. “We should want academics to write about complicated, difficult, hot-button issues, including identity,” Singal wrote. “Online pile-ons cannot, however righteous they feel, dictate journals’ publication policies and how they treat their authors and articles.” One wonders how many campus progressives are likely to agree with his sentiment.

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No, GOP’s Obamacare Update Doesn’t Make Rape A Pre-Existing Condition

original article: No, GOP’s Obamacare Update Doesn’t Make Rape A Pre-Existing Condition
May 8, 2017 by Robert Tracinski

The American Left is finishing its sixth straight month of losing it. They have been pegged at “total freakout” for so long now that it is impossible to tell when anything they say is valid or wildly exaggerated.

Take the headline you undoubtedly saw, or had forwarded to you on social media if you interact much with people on the Left, which proclaimed that the American Health Care Act—House Republicans’ Obamacare tweaks—makes sexual assault a pre-existing condition.

AHCA_preexisting

What’s actually going on here? The House bill, which mostly just tinkers with Obamacare instead of actually repealing it, still contains a requirement that insurers have to cover people with pre-existing conditions. But a late addition, the MacArthur Amendment, gives states the ability to ask the federal government for a waiver that would allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher rates.

The amendment itself—and I had to search around for a while to find its actual text rather than somebody’s short-stroke summary of it—makes no mention of sexual assault or rape.

Ah, but somebody realized that rape victims sometimes suffer medical problems as a consequences of the assault and that these problems would count as “pre-existing conditions” under the law. They would count as such because they have always counted as pre-existing conditions. But so would any number of other conditions resulting from other tragic and unfortunate events. In other words, this headline is so misleading that even PolitiFact rates it as “Mostly False.”

The new law does not “make” sexual assault a pre-existing condition. The medical consequences of rape have always been considered a pre-existing condition, because that’s what the phrase “pre-existing condition” means. It refers to a condition that existed previously.

“Pre-existing condition” is not a value judgment. It does not imply that the pre-existing condition is the patient’s fault, or that this person is somehow unworthy of receiving medical treatment. It is a merely factual description, but one that has special relevance when talking about insurance. When you require insurance coverage for a pre-existing condition, it’s no longer insurance. Insurance is a financial mechanism for hedging against an unknown future risk, not a way of seeking compensation for damage that has already occurred.

If that seems like a nitpicking distinction, it’s one with very big real-world consequences. Telling insurance companies that they have to cover pre-existing conditions and can’t charge more for that coverage breaks the actuarial calculation behind insurance and contributes to the “death spiral” of escalating premiums, which we could already see under Obamacare. So you can understand why there’s a rational argument for not requiring pre-existing conditions of any kind to be covered under the heading of “insurance.”

So are Democrats making this claim about sexual assault because they want to lobby for free medical treatment for victims of sexual assault—a worthy cause they just discovered five minutes ago? No, they’re doing it because evoking sexual assault victims, as opposed to sufferers of any other kind of pre-existing condition, packs a special emotional wallop. Then when somebody responds by carefully and rationally explaining what’s really going on and why pre-existing conditions can’t be covered if health insurance is going to function properly—as I just did above—that person suddenly looks like a callous heel. How can he approach the issue with such cool logic? How can he be so insensitive to the victims?

In short, it’s a raw appeal to emotion, specifically designed to make rational analysis of the issues look not just inappropriate, but positively immoral.

The Appeal to Emotion is a fallacy that’s thousands of years old, but what makes this particular case a microcosm of today’s style of argument is one extra twist. If the purpose of the Appeal to Emotion is to make logical analysis seem insensitive, the purpose here is to make the user of logic seem insensitive specifically to women. This fits right in with the target audience’s prejudices. Of course those evil people on the Right, those old white men reveling in their patriarchal privilege, would be callously indifferent to the suffering of women. Of course they want women to bear the blame for their own sexual assaults. It’s just like “The Handmaid’s Tale.” We knew it all along!

That’s what makes the headline “too good to check” and ensures its entry into the natural life cycle of a “fake news” story: blaring viral headlines, followed by low-key, surreptitious corrections in the more reputable outlets, followed by the cementing of the headline as an established fact that will never be dislodged from the minds of its target audience. We’ll still be hearing about it 30 years from now.

This fits into a larger problem with how the Left tends to interact with everyone else while they’re in Perpetual Rage Mode. As someone who attempts to interact with the other side pretty regularly on social media—and not always just to score rhetorical points—I’ve begun to notice a distinct pattern. People on the Left will interact with someone on the Right just long enough to be able to find some sign, some slip of the tongue, some violation of accepted speech codes (like not being a prig about Cinco de Mayo) that allows them to dismiss that person as racist, sexist, homophobic, or just insensitive—which provides an excuse to ignore anything he has to say. The conclusion is always the same: all arguments from the Right can be dismissed without consideration because they come from bigots.

They need to stop doing this, and not for our sake—if you’re on the Right, you’re probably used to coping with an omnipresent background radiation of political hostility—but for their own sake. It is a spectacularly unconvincing method of argument that drives people back into their own social media “filter bubbles.” It doesn’t convince anyone. It just convinces them not to talk to you any more. Then you end up on an evening in November, stunned at the fact that so many people voted for a candidate whose sole political function is to stick a finger in your eye.

The Left is already paying the price for making “race, class, and gender” into a substitute for argument and persuasion. They might want to consider not digging that hole any deeper.

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Documentary promotes euthanasia

original article: Doctors agreed to euthanize this depressed woman. Moments before her death, everything changed.
November 16, 2015 by Jeanne Smits

The poignant story of a young and healthy Belgian woman, “Laura”, 24, who obtained permission for legal euthanasia earlier this year because of “unbearable psychological suffering,” has come to an unexpected conclusion. Her last months and days before obtaining a lethal injection were filmed by The Economist in her hometown of Bruges. The documentary has been online since November 10 and – spoiler! – it has a happy end. “Laura”, whose real name is Emily, chose life in what would have been her last hour.

This is of course good news. A young life has been saved. Hopefully, Emily will be able to get on with her life and be fully liberated of her profound despair. But the documentary, with its dramatic and also complacent portrayal of a suicidal young woman, is above all a plea for legal euthanasia in cases like hers.

The gist of the argument goes like this: as long as this deeply depressed young woman felt there was no way out, she desired death more than anything else in the world. But once it was within reach, legal euthanasia freed her of her most terrible anxieties. Knowing it is there, at her fingertips as it were, has given her some peace of mind.

This is an obvious fallacy. When Emily obtained permission to be euthanized from a team of three doctors and psychiatrists, the whole idea was that her condition would not and could not improve, and that no treatment whatsoever was available that would rid her of her mental illness or give her even the slightest hope. Now the fact that she was facing death certainly triggered something in her mind, helping her to find reasons to live. If that means anything, it shows that her despair was not so deep-rooted as to be utterly beyond help. The resources were in her own mind – and, probably, in the sympathy, the listening, the support of her mother and her friends who are shown in the 20 minute film, who were in turns supportive of her decision and devastated by it.

STORY: Disability activist: I was struck by would-be Belgian suicide-girl’s self-absorption

So her illness was not untreatable after all, and even though at the end of the documentary Emily does not seem to be entirely freed of her death wish, she obviously considers life worth living.

Arguably, the doctors and psychiatrists who have been taking care of her for the last three years have failed, not because there was no solution, but because they found no way to give Emily hope. In the film, the young woman shows the reporter her drawer-full of antidepressants and other medication which did not relieve her of her incessant bouts of self-hate and self-harm, much less heal her. Medication is certainly indicated when mental illness creates such a terrible imbalance in the mind – but in this case it was not enough, to say the least.

Emily’s story starts with a video she shot of herself a few years ago expressing her death wish openly for the first time, before being approached by The Economist’s reporter. “It keeps feeling empty, whatever I do,” she says, cringing in a corner, her arms scarred and bandaged where she cut herself. She remembers thinking she “shouldn’t be here” when she was three – Emily was born in a dysfunctional family. Her mother had no other choice than to live apart from her father, a violent alcoholic, and Emily spent most of her time with her maternal grandparents. Aged six, she was already dreaming of killing herself.

In an interview she gave last spring, Emily, under the assumed name of “Laura,” said she was convinced her family troubles were not linked to her death wish. She started harming herself, but those who surrounded her did not realize the gravity of the situation. After high school, she embarked on a theatrical career and moved in with a girlfriend in what she called a “very agreeable amorous passion.” The relationship was to end because of problems caused by Emily’s ongoing depression.

At this point a psychiatrist challenged her to apply for internment in an institution. Emily agreed to let go of the theatre; from that point onwards, episodes of self-harm became more frequent and more intense. In the documentary, she explains that she wanted to get rid of the “evil monster” she felt was trapped in her rib cage: cutting herself would give her the feeling the evil was leaving her body but only for a few minutes; she would bang her head against the wall in an effort to free herself of her inner pain.

The documentary does not underscore what she said during her interview last spring about her difficult childhood, nor does it say her anger and aggressiveness were so bad she was regularly sent home to give workers at the psychiatric institution a rest.

It was at the institution that she met another psychiatric patient, a woman she names “Sarah,” who was organizing her own euthanasia. The two would often talk about death and it was the “example” of her friend that pushed Emily to request for a lethal injection – not doctor assisted suicide, which is also legal under Belgian law. In the documentary, she says she would have killed herself but that it would have been “an awful, painful and lonely death.” “Without the option of euthanasia, I would have committed suicide,” she says.

But would she?

The three doctors who authorized Emily’s euthanasia – as the Belgian law requires when psychological suffering is given as the reason for the request – decided, after several months of consultations, that her suffering was indeed unbearable and that no amount of treatment could offer her hope of getting over her depression. Among them, Lieve Thienpont is a psychiatrist who specializes in assessing euthanasia requests. She authored a book about euthanasia and psychological suffering, Libera me. For her, this is fully a part of the question of “death with dignity” and euthanasia is an acceptable answer from her point of view. Calling her a proponent of euthanasia in these cases does not seem unfair.

She appears several times in the documentary to comment on Emily’s situation. The reporter even filmed the moment when three doctors, including Thienpont, explain the death process to Emily, insisting that she should feel absolutely free to pull back even at the very last moment, without being afraid that her “credibility” would be any less because of that.

In one interview, Thienpont explains that Emily’s suffering is so bad that it is “not compatible with life,” saying only prolonged and profound discussions with the patient can let one become sure of this. She adds that her life does not have a “sufficient quality” for her to go on.

The documentary also shows Emily’s mother and two friends coming to terms with Emily’s death: they are filmed less than two weeks before Emily’s “due date.”

The reporter was also present during those last hours before that day when Emily was to have received a lethal injection at 5 p.m. At the very end, she decided not to go on. “Very rationally, I said: ‘I cannot do it’, because the last two weeks before that Thursday when it should have happened were relatively bearable. There were no crises. And it was very unclear to my why that was so. Was it because the serenity of death was so close? Because we were saying goodbye and that I was feeling OK because of that? Or has something changed?”

What is certain is that Emily’s story is being used to promote euthanasia as a possibility for all who want it, and even as a solution that can, ultimately, help some people choose to go on living. But in Belgium, even if a number of these cases have been documented, others do die at the hands of their doctor while physically in good health, like Emily.

Notably, the filmed documentary does not bring up the subject of Emily’s troubled childhood, nor of her lifestyle. It just notes that she is not a believer, and has no idea whether there is an afterlife.

Did she need spiritual help and support above anything else? The question deserves to be asked, in the same way that the validity of her psychiatric treatment could also have been questioned, but never was in the documentary. At a time when so many young people are struggling with their own identity, not least because of school methods that encourage them to imitate others rather than to gain consciousness of their individuality – so many young people today are not even able to distinguish between the subject and the object in an ordinary sentence – Emily’s case should be a wake-up call rather than being used to lobby for euthanasia.

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Pence reveals a triple standard, and you should care

Imagine if you will two men, public officials in American politics (so we’re dealing with only two big political tents). These officials each belong to opposing sides of the political isle. The issue of sexual harassment is of particular significance to both.

For one, let’s call it the Gentleman’s standard. This official is accused of sexual harassment by one woman. She can’t keep her story strait, so the allegation is difficult to corroborate. But the public narrative is not deterred. We are told the following:

  • character matters
  • women don’t lie about this sort of thing
  • the nature of the evidence doesn’t matter, only the seriousness of the charge
  • the allegation itself should be treated as evidence
  • therefore, the accused man is disqualified from public office on ethical grounds

For the other, let’s call it the Politician’s standard. There is no pretense of integrity in this scenario. This official is accused of sexual harassment and assault by numerous women. Some of them produce significant evidence to support their claims. But the public narrative is not deterred. We are told the following:

  • character does not matter
  • a man’s personal life has no affect on his professional life
  • bimbo eruption (women lie about this sort of thing all the time)
  • vast rightwing conspiracy
  • when damning evidence is finally recognized (despite dismissing previous damning evidence) we are told it doesn’t matter anyway
  • therefore, the accused man is not disqualified, leave him alone, move on

These two men are both confronted with allegations of sexual harassment and they are treated with opposite standards. Some of you are old enough to know exactly who is being described here. The Gentleman’s standard was applied to Clarence Thomas during his supreme court confirmation hearings. The Politician’s standard was applied to president Bill Clinton throughout his two terms.

To those of us who have the stomach to actually pay attention to politics, this is no surprise. Republicans and Democrats are treated very differently regarding scandals. For Republicans, allegations of sexual misconduct are serious matters; sexual harassment is sexual harassment. For Democrats, allegations of sexual misconduct are often no more than amusement; sexual harassment is nothing more than a meaningless sex scandal. If you defended Clarence Thomas, you didn’t care about women. If you failed to defend Bill Clinton, you didn’t care about women.

Enter Mike Pence. Pence knows politics works this way. He knows Democrats will be defended when sex scandals are made public, and he knows Republicans will be crucified. So he adopts a very reasonable policy to avoid putting himself in a situation where he can be too easily accused of such things. This has the twofold result of protecting his career and that oh-so-minor detail of guarding his marriage.

So what is the political left to do when it turns out Pence hasn’t provided enough room for them to manufacture an empty sex scandal? Easy – find a way to misconstrue anything else.

Pence’s recent admission that he doesn’t go to dinner alone with women he works with has caught the liberal left by storm. Instead of acknowledging the obvious political reality of the situation, they simply contorted the logic into some other form of scandal.

PenceProtest1

This photo, borrowed from Campus Reform, is a microcosm of the objection. The statement reads “Because women are people, not weird demons who you can’t be trusted to enjoy a meal with #NotMyCommencementSpeaker”.

If you haven’t heard, the fake scandal drummed up by liberals is that Pence is discriminating against women, making it more difficult for them to advance their careers by not giving them an opportunity to schmooze with him after hours. Does the notion of performing well AT THE JOB count for anything? On the other hand, has the political left completely forgotten about Rape Culture, the notion all men are predators and potential rapists? Does “Duke LaCrosse Team” mean anything to anyone? The fact Pence has often declined to dine with men after hours conveniently escapes mention in the criticism.

Notice, also, the swipe at Pence’s religious beliefs: the comment about demons is obviously meant to suggest he is some sort of religious extremist, given the well known fact Pence is Christian. Ah, gratuitous religious intolerance added onto the fake scandal. What’s cherry picking worth without the cherry on top? Douglass Gibbs at Canada Free Press has a good take on this fake scandal.

So the double standard is not available for those who want to attack Pence. But making up a fake scandal is always a valid option. Simply by being smart about defending himself, Pence is faced with a logical distortion only politically correct feminists could invent. This is the triple standard: it really doesn’t matter what happens, if a way can be found to make Republicans look bad, that becomes the official narrative of the day.

But if you think about it, you already know this. We all do. The main stream media has an obvious preference for the Democrat perspective on any and all subjects. That’s precisely what we see with Judge Thomas and President Clinton. There was a way to construe Anita Hill’s allegation against Thomas to make it appear more legitimate, and the main stream media ate that line hook, line, and sinker. And they delivered that line to the people with enthusiasm. There was also a way of defending Bill Clinton in which the women he abused were made to look like liars. While the mere allegation of impropriety was enough to convict Clarence Thomas in the eyes of his critics, suddenly the mere allegation of sexual misconduct was not enough by itself for Bill Clinton’s defenders (the same people who condemned Judge Thomas a few years earlier).

Even if you can’t stand Trump (and I sympathize with you), please defend his administration against this hypocrisy. Partly because of his high dislikability, Hillary Clinton’s hypocrisy wasn’t called out in the main stream press when she pretended to be a defender of sexual assault survivors. She had the exact opposite attitude as first lady when she defended her philandering husband by attempting to destroy any woman who made an allegation against him. Also partly because of his high dislikability, Trump was not defended on the matter of his past treatment of women when the media applied the Gentleman’s standard to him. They could just as easily have applied the Politician’s standard. They opted to attack him, rather than to defend him the way they defended Bill Clinton.

If you don’t want to defend Trump, at least hold liberals to their own standards. “But they don’t have any standards” some might retort. They claim they do. But their supposed standards are quite fickle (such as claiming to value free speech when they want to say something, but are eager to restrict other people’s right to speech). Please don’t let them get away with that. It does none of us any good to let the political left lie to us. Yes, one can say it does us no good to let Trump lie to us either, and you’re right (some of us said the same of Obama for eight years). But if you’re willing to call out Trump’s lies, why would you let other lies from the media, Hollywood culture, and Democrats go unchallenged? Don’t play that game. If you act like you care about truth and justice when Trump says something absurd, you can at least act like you care about truth and justice when other people lie about Trump, Pence, Jeff Sessions, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. You don’t have to like any of those names to be intellectually honest. Truth works for the betterment of all of us. Play that game.

Keep in mind, there was a time when all politicians were expected to act like gentlemen.

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Western feminism now defends restrictive, intolerant patriarchy

original article: Upside-down Down Under
April 12, 2017 by Kay S. Hymowitz

Here’s a riddle for our politically twisted times: when is a black woman a white supremacist? Answer: when she speaks out against female genital mutilation, sharia law, and jihadism.

This is the tortured logic of the feminist Left in Australia, which helped stop a lecture tour by the human rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Anonymous protestors warned venues and insurers not to have dealings with the Somali-born, anti-radical-Islam activist if they wanted to avoid “trouble.” The “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia, Inc.” accused Hirsi Ali of being part of the “Islamophobia industry . . . that exists to dehumanize Muslim women.” Another group, “Persons of Interest,” took to Facebook to describe her ideas: “This is the language of patriarchy and misogyny. This is the language of white supremacy. This is the language used to justify war and genocide.”

Hirsi Ali canceled her trip in early April, only days before she was due to speak in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Auckland, New Zealand. In Australia, as in the UK, the costs of security have to be borne by event organizers, not the government, as is the case in the U.S. Perhaps there were disagreements between the speaker and her sponsors about security. In any case, Hirsi Ali travels with armed guards, but it was still too dangerous for her to speak in public. Yes, in Australia.

Anyone familiar with Hirsi Ali’s personal and ideological history is doubtless picking their jaws up off the floor at the Orwellian nature of these goings-on. She “dehumanizes” Muslim women? But it was Hirsi Ali who was dehumanized when as a girl she was subjected to a clitoridectomy, a barbaric and horribly painful ritual still visited upon girls in many Islamic countries to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure. She speaks “the language of patriarchy and misogyny?” But as a vocal opponent of the forced marriage of young girls to older men, which she describes as “arranged rape,” Ali vehemently attacks the patriarchy in its most oppressive manifestation. The Muslim feminists who seek to silence her are the ones linking arms with misogynists.

How has Western feminism come to a point where up is down, and a restrictive, intolerant patriarchy must be defended? Hirsi Ali blames it on the naïveté of liberals, besotted by political correctness in the face of religious extremism. “In liberal societies, those on the left [are] in the grip of identity politics,” she said after announcing the cancellation. “This fascination is not caused by the Islamists, but the Islamists exploit it.” Radicals know the social-justice drill—minority identity is good, regardless of any of the actual precepts of that identity, and its critics are by definition white supremacists. Within this mental universe, accusations of “Islamophobia” are a cudgel for silencing moderates and advancing the cause of radicals.

It’s worth recalling that the feminist Left’s silence on the Islamic treatment of women precedes the advent of microaggressions and race and gender obsessions. In fact, it goes back as far as the early days of second-wave feminism. Sent to Iran to cover the revolution in 1978, the French philosopher Michel Foucault, an intellectual godfather of contemporary leftism, was enchanted by what he viewed as the religious revolutionaries’ anti-globalist authenticity and “political spirituality.” When Ayatollah Khomenei took power after the fall of the Shah, he reintroduced polygamy, reduced the age of marriage for women from 18 to 13, and restored the punishment of flogging for those who violated compulsory veiling laws. Neither Foucault nor his comrades in the anti-colonial, feminist-influenced Left were troubled by this dramatic retreat from women’s most basic rights.

Over the years, some feminist organizations have protested female genital mutilation, but for the most part the sisterhood has focused its ire on a mythical Western patriarchy rather than the real thing making headlines in Muslim countries and immigrant enclaves at home. Now that feminists have adopted an updated form of anti-colonialism called “intersectionality,” there’s virtually no chance that the principle of basic rights will prevail over special pleading for medieval cultural norms. Intersectionality refers to overlapping and self-reinforcing marginalized identity-group identity; hence a black woman suffers two levels of oppression, while a black gay woman struggles with three. Intersectionality leads directly to the conclusion that Muslim women must be protected from a racist and sexist West. Any hint that Muslim culture could be a source of oppression against its women is tantamount to a colonialist war on native identity.

That this latest example of feminist Orwellianism comes from generally moderate Australia is not entirely surprising. The country’s Muslim population is small; as of the last census in 2011, Muslims made up only 2.2 percent of the population. But over the past several years, the country has endured a number of stabbings, thwarted attacks, and a shooting by a radicalized 15-year old. The most infamous Islamist attack, in which three people died, took place in a 2014 siege of the Sydney Lindt chocolate cafe by a lone-wolf gunman, who brandished a black flag emblazoned with the Muslim statement of faith.

Stirring up tension has been the Trumpian figure of Pauline Hanson, a senator from Queensland and a founder of One Nation, Australia’s populist party. As her party’s name hints, Hanson has been hostile to immigration. In recent years, she has taken an aggressive rhetorical posture toward Islam, calling it “an evil faith.” One Nation suffered a decisive defeat in Western Australia in March, but populist victories abroad have put many Australians, both Labourites and Liberals (conservatives, in our parlance), on edge.

In a feedback loop similar to that existing in other Western countries, including the United States, One Nation’s populism is in part a reaction to political correctness but winds up prompting more of it. Conservatives are a rare breed at Australian universities, whether as professors or speakers. Meanwhile, accusations of racism, sexism, hate speech, and Islamophobia are becoming almost as commonplace in Australia as marsupials. One of the biggest political contretemps these days involves Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, which includes prohibitions on any speech that might “offend, insult, and humiliate” on the basis of race. Alert to potential dangers to free speech, Liberals want to tone down the language of the provision, while Labourites argue that it serves as a vital protection against hate speech.

Labour might want to look more closely at the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In a country where the woman who speaks out against forced marriage and jihadism is an extremist and the people who threaten her are praised as virtuous representatives of diversity, who exactly requires protection?

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When anti-science hides behind science

original article: The Left’s New Cure-All: ‘Science’
April 12, 2017 by HEATHER WILHELM

Ah, science. If you’re even loosely engaged in the wild and dark art that is politics these days, you know by now that “science,” as a word, has taken on an almost mystical meaning. “Science,” in many of its modern incantations, now serves as a form of code, as vague and fuzzy as a Wiccan chant. For a growing number of political activists, the meaning is simple: Science, you see, is a lively mix of standard progressive hobbyhorses, tossed wild-eyed and cranky into one cantankerous bag.

Witness the upcoming March for Science, scheduled for Saturday, April 22. This also happens to be Earth Day, which is nice enough — and hey, who could object to a good old-fashioned rah-rah session for science? I, for one, always welcome a refresher on string theory, or the confounding conflict between the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, or that long, troubling episode in our planet’s history when a few impertinent continents apparently traipsed all the way over to the other side of the globe and no one was there to panic about it.

Alas, this March for Science does not appear to be largely about science, or about people who know a great deal about science, or even about people who want to know a great deal about science. (It would be kind of fun, in fact, to quiz earnest potential attendees about the details of the scientific method, or whether Johannes Kepler should finally win that well-deserved Oscar.) Keeping up with today’s hottest trends, the March for Science has wrapped itself in identity politics, cranked up the oven to “scorch,” and potentially set things on track to unceremoniously collapse into one giant intersectional soufflé.

The troubles brewing within the March for Science surfaced in January, marked by a now-deleted official tweet: “Colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues.” Since then, the addled march has torn through four different diversity statements, shellacked by critics on both sides. (Harvard’s Steven Pinker bashed the march’s “anti-science PC/identity politics/hard-left rhetoric,” while others complained the statement didn’t go far enough.) The march’s latest set of “Diversity and Inclusion Principles,” when paired with its more shame-faced and apologetic sibling, the “Statement on Diversity and Inclusion,” tops out at over 1,000 words.

You might think that this amounts to a protest march protesting too much. But the hits keep coming. When Bill Nye, the children’s TV personality-turned-science-advocate, was announced as an honorary chair of the march last week, critics bemoaned his status as a white male. Oddly, no one seemed particularly riled up about the fact that Nye is not an actual “scientist” at all. “I was born a dorky white guy who became an engineer,” Nye told BuzzFeed, reportedly “baffled” at the brouhaha. “I’m playing the hand I was dealt. We can’t — this march can’t solve every problem at once.”

But “science,” at least according to the new dogma, can. Since the election of Donald Trump, a trendy new sign has popped up in yards across America: “In this house, we believe black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, no human is illegal, science is real, love is love, kindness is everything.” People of various political leanings could talk for hours about some of the tenets of the sign — which specific “women’s rights” are we referring to, for instance? — but the “science is real” line confuses me every time. What, after all, can it mean? Most likely, the line refers to anthropogenic climate change, and a beef with the Trump administration’s approach to that contentious issue. But if that’s the case, why not just have your sign say “Manmade climate change is real”? There’s clearly something else afoot, and it strikes deep into the heart of progressive politics today.

What, after all, can it mean? Most likely, the line refers to anthropogenic climate change, and a beef with the Trump administration’s approach to that contentious issue. But if that’s the case, why not just have your sign say “Manmade climate change is real”? There’s clearly something else afoot, and it strikes deep into the heart of progressive politics today.

Of course science is real. Earnest scientists are busy sciencing it up, right now, all over the world. In some cases, as the BBC recently reported, they’re accidentally growing chickens with actual dinosaur faces, a terrifying activity that I sincerely hope they stop. But science is not a doctrine or a dogma. It’s a method — a method of questioning, gathering facts, developing hypotheses, and testing them to get a better understanding of the world.

But here’s the thing about science: Sometimes, it’s a method that reveals answers you’d rather not know. Science might, for instance, make you think about human life, and certain facts about human life, and specific policies that end human life. It might, in fact, turn a few of the most passionately held dogmas of the supposed “party of science” — and the progressive left — completely upside down.

But never mind. Today’s march for science is apparently for the science that affirms our priors. That, after all, is much more fun.

bias, corruption, culture, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, science, supply and demand

Filed under: bias, corruption, culture, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, science, supply and demand

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