Bias-tinted Glasses

Dennis Prager loves acronyms. In fact, you might even say he’s biased in favor of acronyms. Some years ago, he came up with “NARWIPDE” which stands for (an adverb I don’t remember) Assuming Racism Where It Probably Doesn’t Exist.

Now Time Magazine says colleges are teaching NABWIPDE; B = “Bias”. Or more precisely, NABWIRDE; R = “Really”.

 

Source: How Colleges Teach Students to See Bias When There Is None | Time

….
The key feature of academic diversity ideology is the assertion that to be a member of an ever-growing number of favored victim groups at a college today is to be the target of pervasive bigotry on campus — despite, well, being favored. Taught by a metastasizing campus-diversity bureaucracy to believe that they are subject to an existential threat from circumambient bias, students equate nonconforming ideas with “hate speech,” and “hate speech” with conduct that should be punished, censored and repelled with force if necessary. This victimology fuels the efforts to shut down speech that challenges campus orthodoxies. Dozens of times in the past several years alone, classrooms have been invaded; professors, accosted and even assaulted; and outside speakers, silenced.

While these tactics have famously been directed at conservatives, that is not exclusively the case, as senior fellow at the Public Policy Center Stanley Kurtz has documented for National Review Online. It has happened year after year, recently.

In October 2017, protesters at Columbia University temporarily occupied a class and accused a professor who is an LGBTQ rights advocate and one of the school’s premier proponents of the idea that campuses are pervaded by rape culture of creating a “dangerous environment for students, including queer students.”

That same month, shouting activists prevented University of Oregon President Michael Schill from delivering his State of the University Speech. Schill’s merely pro forma support for free speech was enabling “fascism and white supremacy,” according to the student protesters.

[snip]

The belief that college campuses today pose an existential threat to females and students of color is just as lunatic as the belief that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a murderer or that an Establishment lawyer was signaling her white supremacy affiliation on live TV. American universities are among the most tolerant environments in history towards humanity’s traditionally oppressed groups. Far from discriminating against what admissions officers call “underrepresented minorities,” or “URMs,” every selective college today employs large racial admissions preferences to engineer what they call a “diverse” student body — and they twist themselves into knots to hire qualified minority staff members who haven’t already been snapped up by better-endowed schools. Professors want all their students to succeed, particularly females and “underrepresented minorities.”

But the resulting campus culture often coaches students to see bias where none exists. That delusion continues once they leave school. The result is a growing society-wide intolerance for speakers and ideas that fail to conform to an increasingly exacting code of political correctness, on the ground that such non-conforming speech harms favored victim groups.

The right has its shrill manias— whether the unseemly obsession with Hillary Clinton and her emails, the corrosive Trump-fueled calumny that federal law enforcement agencies have been corrupted by political bias, and the dangerous Trump-induced crusade to turn those agencies into instruments of political revenge. But until now, the notion that silencing non-conforming speech is a legitimate response to disagreement has come overwhelmingly from campuses and other progressive institutions — from Google to the New Yorker. Were Trump to seize the same weapons, arrogating to himself the power to define and punish “hate speech,” the danger of such precedents might become clearer to all.

The new censorship is an outgrowth of the twin ideas that race and gender are the most important features of a human being, and that American society is one long assault on various identity groups defined by race and gender. Until these key tenets of academic identity politics are rebutted, we can expect to see more of the hysteria that characterized the Kavanaugh hearings — and less ability to talk across ideological divides.

Shylock the Dog

Andrew Klavan commented on the sex scandal in the Catholic Church. In his ongoing courtship with the third rail, he points out that it’s also a homosexuality scandal — the majority of victims were males under the age of majority.

There’s another point he raises, about bigotry.

Myself, I believe that bigotry creates the problem in the first place. When people are excluded from society, they are excluded from its moral structures and tend to become estranged from them. They say to themselves, “Well, if you hate me, your rules don’t apply to me.” This is likely to transform some members of the despised class into the very image of the cliche the haters hate. Shakespeare’s villainous Jew Shylock addresses the effects of anti-semitism when he snarls: “Thou call’dst me dog before thou hadst a cause; But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs.” In the excluded gay community, being sexually “wicked” or “evil” was often perceived as a positive thing. Why not, when the “good” people despise you?

This in no way lets the doers of evil off the hook. Rather the opposite. It means that when mores change and bigotry passes, excluded people should not only be welcomed into the majority community, they should also be held responsible to its values. It is no good to say, “Yes, we were bigoted against black people, so now we will not only welcome them in, we’ll ignore the high crime in their neighborhoods to show how un-bigoted we’ve become.” No. You have to say: “We were wrong. You’re part of our community now. Act like it.” Then you have to listen to CNN and the Twitter mob call you a racist. Then you have to say what you said again. And again.

So with gays. Instead of hiding this problem, the media should name it and address it. And instead of persecuting a cake baker who has the full and perfect right to disapprove of them, gay activists should work to purge their community of those who abuse the young. Instead of re-opening scars and feeding anger, this would begin the unification of gay culture with the majority straight culture.

And in addition, Thomas Sowell points out the cultural ills that are associated with “black ghetto” culture trace back to the redneck culture of the American south. Blacks in the north were very aware that they needed to be on their good behavior, and that any transgressions on the part of any black would reflect on all blacks.

Nowadays, we see more of an antinomian fallacy – blacks and other minority groups declare themselves to be not bound by the laws of the majority culture. They then complain when they are seen as lawbreakers.

There’s another aspect of bigotry to beware of. Shylock says, “beware my fangs”. When the majority is slapped with the labels of Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, and Bigoted, they will eventually tire of being called dogs. It’s one thing when a minority bares its fangs, it’s another thing entirely when the majority does so.

Raping Statistics

Source: Lies, Damned Lies, And Campus Sexual Assault Statistics | Ashe Schow

A potential draft of new federal campus sexual assault policies was leaked this week, so expect a new round of false and misleading statistics to be shared by those who claim due process “protects rapists” and “hurts victims.”

Rape and sexual assault are serious offenses, and shouldn’t be watered down to create a narrative that America is somehow the rape capital of the world, nor should we pretend that non-offenses are offenses. That hurts real victims.

I’ve taken down every one of these statistics before — sometimes many, many times — but it’s time to debunk them all in one place. So here we go.

1-in-5 (or 1-in-4 or 1-in-3) Women Will Be Sexually Assaulted During College

Studies purporting to find such an astronomical amount of sexual violence on college campuses (numbers thousands of times higher than war-torn Congo or Detroit, America’s most dangerous city) suffer from many of the same flaws. They are often not nationally representative, are produced by women’s organizations determined to find women as oppressed victims in America, and are self-reported — a notoriously unreliable form of data.

[snip]

The Majority Of Campus Rapes Are Committed By A Small Number Of Men

Sometimes known as the “serial predator” study, this one from David Lisak has been around for decades and was debunked just a few years ago. It claims that “90%” of rapes on campus are perpetrated by a few men.

For starters, Lisak didn’t conduct the study himself but used data from studies conducted by his former grad students, who didn’t limit their data to college students. As in the 1-in-5 stat above, this one was also not nationally representative, as the surveys were conducted near a commuter college with participants who didn’t live on campus and may not have even been students.

The surveys were anonymous, yet Lisak has claimed he conducted follow-up interviews with men who admitted to committing multiple rapes (one questions whether such admissions would be so freely given to a stranger in the first place). Lisak did conduct 12 interviews during his dissertation research three decades ago, but he then combined those cherry-picked interviews into a single character — called “Frank” — which he used to tell school administrators how dangerous their campuses were. No such monster as Frank actually exists, nor is he a common problem across the country.

False Accusations Are Rare

The truth is, we don’t know how many accusations are truly false, and even if we did, one can’t walk into an investigation assuming they already know the answer.

We’re often told that “just” 2% to 10% of rape accusations are false. College administrators are told this when “trained” on how to handle accusations of sexual assault. The implication is clear: Women just don’t lie about rape, so nine times out of ten, you’d be safe in assuming the accused is guilty.

But that statistic is wildly misleading, as it only applies to accusations made to police that are proven false. Proving a negative is often impossible, especially in a “we had sex but it was consensual” situation. On college campuses, there is no punishment for a false accusation and thus no fear, as there is with lying to the police.

Further, the proven false statistic is one category of sexual assault classifications. The other categories do not all equate to “true,” so implying that 90% to 98% are true is downright false and prejudicial. Other categories include “baseless,” wrongly reported as sexual assault, cases without enough evidence for an arrest, cases with enough evidence but for some reason outside police control an arrest is not made, and cases where there is enough evidence for an arrest. Of the cases that lead to an arrest, a small percentage actually go to trial and result in a “guilty” finding.

Using the same logic as the peddlers of this statistic, one would only be able to say that 3% to 5% of rape accusations are true, since that’s how many return a “guilty” finding.

It’s Bad That 91% Of Colleges And Universities Said They Received No Rape Reports

I include this one because while one would think it would be a good thing that reports of sexual assault aren’t rampant on college campuses, the “scholars” at the American Association of University Women think it’s a bad thing. Because they’ve thoroughly bought into the debunked statistics above, no reports must mean that schools are somehow discouraging victims from coming forward or are sweeping reports under the rug. It’s hard to believe either of these is the case when the media, lawmakers, federal institutions, and Hollywood are constantly claiming huge swaths of the female population are sexually assaulted on college campuses and begging people to come forward.

1-in-3 Men Would Rape If They Could Get Away With It

This statistic was quickly debunked as soon as it appeared in 2015. A woman who admitted to me at the time that she was seeking grant money (a good motive for finding alarming statistics in one’s survey) claimed her study found that a whopping one-third of surveyed men had “intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse.”

Wow, right? Except, as I’ve pointed out with previous misleading statistics, this one suffers from many of the same flaws. It’s not nationally representative, and the answers of just 73 men were used to arrive at the 1-in-3 number blasted out by the media and women’s groups. Of those 73 men, 23 were found to have those intentions, based on the researchers own definition of what constituted bad intentions. Just nine guys said they would actually rape a woman. Nine guys do not an epidemic make.

These guys may not have been taking the survey seriously or they were answering a question from Plato’s Republic: How many people would commit a crime if they knew they wouldn’t be caught? One would believe many people would answer affirmatively to such questions about various laws, but that doesn’t mean they’d actually commit them. One can never know if they will get away with it.

Why History Sometimes Needs Revision

Sometimes it’s because, as David Bernstein says,

Something is Amiss in the History Profession

While I’m sure there are many excellent historians around, I found that the historians I interacted with not only tended to reason backwards from their political priors, but that their standards of how one makes an appropriate inference from existing evidence are such that they would be laughed out of any decent philosophy or law school academic workshop.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.

(1) MacLean begins her book with a chapter on John Calhoun, in an effort to link Calhoun’s thought to Buchanan’s. The problem is that she doesn’t actually present any evidence that Buchanan was influenced by Calhoun, and there is evidence to the contrary. I was told in response that my criticism is unwarranted. MacLean is an intellectual historian. Intellectual historians read lots of stuff about an era, and then reach conclusions. People who are not trained intellectual historians can’t properly judge these conclusions, they just have to accept the end-result.

(2) While MacLean doesn’t quite go so far as to assert that James Buchanan was racist in supporting school vouchers in Virginia in the late 1950s, some of her defenders do. I pointed out that he gave entirely non-racist reasons for his support of school vouchers, and there is no direct evidence that he preferred segregation to integration. In response, a historian noted that Ernest Van den Haag, a conservative writer, made similar non-racist arguments for school vouchers at the same time, but later became an overt supporter of Jim Crow segregation. This, he argued, shows that Buchanan was also a Jim Crow segregationist. When I teach Evidence, I always struggle for examples of something that almost seems on point but doesn’t quite meet even the incredibly lax relevancy standard of Federal Rule of Evidence 701. I’m going to use this one. I also joked on Facebook that whenever I need a good non sequitur in response to a question I don’t want to respond to, I’m just going to say “Ernest Van den Haag.”

(3) Several historians asserted more generally that James Buchanan was a segregationist. I noted that MacLean presents no evidence that he favored segregation, and that others have presented at least suggestive evidence that he did not. The response was that calling Buchanan a segregationist doesn’t mean that he actually favored segregation, even though that’s how every dictionary defines the word “segregationist.” Rather, historians of the segregation era have their own definition of segregationist, which in essence means someone who didn’t support the NAACP’s strategy for combating segregation. (So one could personally and politically be against segregation, but still be a “segregationist” if a historian decides that you didn’t oppose segregation in the way the historian thinks you should have.) I should note that I’ve done my own historical research on the era, and I don’t agree that there is any sort of historical consensus that “segregationist” has that definition.

(4) A big theme of MacLean’s book is that Buchanan inspired an effort to promote an anti-democratic putsch by the Koch Brothers. As Ilya Somin has explained, her conception of democracy doesn’t make any sense, at least if one assumes that she supports standard limits on democracy widely supported by progressives. But other historians have come to the rescue, arguing that the United States is a democracy when it follows the will of the people, as opposed to the will of organized reactionary interest groups. The U.S., for example, was democratic in the 1930s and 1960s, but not in the 1950s or 1980s. Democracy, in other words, means “progressive politics are winning out.” Lack of democracy means “progressive politics are not winning out.” Because in a true democracy, the will of the people wins, and the will of the people is naturally liberal-democratic-socialist. So Roe v. Wade is a “democratic” decision, even though it overturned the abortion laws of almost every state, because progressives approve of it. I kid you not.

(5) Relatedly, one problem for those on the left who suddenly proclaim that democracy is the be all and end all is that they love anti-democratic decisions* such as Brown v. Board of Education. The response I received when this was pointed out is that Brown was in fact democratic despite being a Supreme Court ruling invalidating legislation, because black people couldn’t vote in the segregated South, and therefore the South didn’t really have democracy. When I pointed out that Brown itself arose in Topeka, Kansas, where black people could in fact vote, the basic answer was that if a democratic legislature did something that harmed minorities, it was really being undemocratic, because all working class people would recognize they have common interests if it wasn’t for the evil reactionary interests manipulating them. In other words, if we see policies enacted that the left sees as reflecting class solidarity, we know it’s democracy at work. If we see majoritarian racial solidarity, that’s not democracy.

The historians I’ve discussed and debated with are not fringe-y. One of my interlocutors is a chaired professor at a major state university. Others are junior professors or grad students or post-docs or think tank fellows with degrees from some of our most reputable history programs.

Again, I’m not saying that these folks represent all historians, all American historians, or even all intellectual historians who speciaize in the U.S. Nevertheless, the fact that all of these arguments (and more) have been made with a straight face by well-credentialed historians suggests something is amiss in the profession.

*UPDATE: Just to be clear, I understand that Brown can be squared with various versions of “democratic theory.” But MacLean’s basic normative thesis is that the Kochs, using Buchanan’s “intellectual software,” and understanding that libertarian ideas are unpopular and can’t be enacted via ordinary majororitarian processes, seek to undermine democracy as defined in majoritarian terms. Given that, one has to either concede that Brown is an example of “anti-democratic” constraints on majority rule, or concede that sometimes constraints on majority rule are a good thing, and can even enhance “democratic politics.” But the latter concession would undermine any cohrent defense of MacLean’s thesis that Buchanan and the Kochs should necessarily be condemned for seeking to put “democracy in chains.” Instead, we’d have to have a debate on what sorts and in what contexts constraints on majoritarian democracy are sound, which is a good part of Buchanan’s life work.

My correspondents, not wanting to make either of the concessions noted above, instead bypased them by essentially arguing that “democratic” means “producing policy outcomes that I approve of,” and that we can therefore evade the counter-majoritarian basis of Brown by asserting the opinion’s essential rightness. If we accept that assumption, then MacLean could have written a much shorter book, consisting of a few sentences showing how she disagrees with libertarianish philosophy, and then concluding, “Buchanan and the Kochs are anti-democratic because they support(ed) policy outcomes I don’t approve of.”

Colleges: Trump Wants College Women To Be Raped! — Stately McDaniel Manor

As regular readers know, I’ve often written about the campus rape hoax. I don’t suggest rapes don’t occur on college campuses. Clearly, every crime that occurs elsewhere can occur on a campus. However, during the Obama Administration, rape, like virtually everything else, was politicized, and a “guidance” letter was issued to ensure progressive narratives would be […]

via Colleges: Trump Wants College Women To Be Raped! — Stately McDaniel Manor

Who Would Google Vote For?

Study: Google bias in search results; 40% lean left or liberal

Source

[snip]

In order to assess how fairly search engine results portray political candidates and controversial issues, we collected over 1,200 URLs ranking highly in Google.com for politically-charged keywords such as “gun control”, “abortion”, “TPP”, and “Black Lives Matter”. Each URL was then assessed for political slant by politically active individuals from both the left and right. Finally, we used CanIRank’s SEO software to analyze how each URL compared in dozens of different ranking factors to determine whether Google’s algorithm treated websites similarly regardless of their political slant.

Among our key findings were that top search results were almost 40% more likely to contain pages with a “Left” or “Far Left” slant than they were pages from the right. Moreover, 16% of political keywords contained no right-leaning pages at all within the first page of results.

Our analysis of the algorithmic metrics underpinning those rankings suggests that factors within the Google algorithm itself may make it easier for sites with a left-leaning or centrist viewpoint to rank higher in Google search results compared to sites with a politically conservative viewpoint.

[snip]

In our sample set of over 2,000 search results, we found that searchers are 39% more likely to be presented information with a left-leaning bias than they are information from the right.

But for some keywords, the search results are even more egregious. Does it make sense, for example, that someone researching “Republican platform” should be presented only the official text of the platform and seven left-leaning results highly critical of that platform, with zero results supporting it?

For other controversial keywords like “minimum wage”, “abortion,” “NAFTA”, “Iraq war”, “campaign finance reform”, “global warming”, “marijuana legalization”, and “tpp”, no right-leaning websites are to be found among the top results.

Search results for keywords like “Hillary Clinton seizures” and “Hillary Clinton sick”, on the other hand, were dominated by right-leaning websites and YouTube footage.

The proportion of results with a left-leaning bias increased for top ranking results, which typically receive the majority of clicks. For example, we found that search results denoted as demonstrating a left or far left slant received 40% more exposure in the top 3 ranking spots than search results considered to have a right or far right political slant.

[snip]

Lots of really good comments, and the author hangs around to respond.

Instapundit » Blog Archive » KEVIN WILLIAMSON ON THE EXQUISITE SENSIBILITIES OF THE OUTRAGE INDUSTRY: If only there were some ea…

I have a couple of friends who seem to run into people who hate them and are determined to make life hell for them. I haven’t had the heart to tell them that if all those people are absolute bastards, what is the one thing they have in common?

Source: Instapundit » Blog Archive » KEVIN WILLIAMSON ON THE EXQUISITE SENSIBILITIES OF THE OUTRAGE INDUSTRY

 

If only there were some easy way to distinguish between the decent and well-intentioned and the callous and hateful. Perhaps we should consider the philosophical maxim of Raylan Givens: “If you get up in the morning and you meet an a**hole, you met an a**hole. If you meet nothing but a**holes all day, you’re the a**hole.”

Social-justice warriors take note.

Two people are thinking of moving into a small town. They ask one of the locals how the people are. He asks them how the people are in the place they’re leaving. Then he tells them the people in his town are just the same.

 

Southern Poverty Law Center: ‘Essentially a Fraud’ | National Review

It had to happen sometime. The Southern Poverty Law Center has made so many vile, unjustified, hysterical, and hateful accusations over the years, it was bound to pay a price. When it did, the bill due was $3.375 million. Such was the amount the SPLC agreed to pay the British Muslim Maajid Nawaz and his think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, after smearing them in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” Nawaz, a former Islamist radical turned whistleblower who calls for the modernization of Islam in columns for the Daily Beast and on London talk radio, had threatened to sue the SPLC for defamation — traditionally and properly a difficult case to make in U.S. courts. Yet the SPLC caved spectacularly.
[snip]
The Nawaz settlement was the most damaging episode yet in what has become an increasingly dire situation for the SPLC’s floundering image. Image, painstakingly built since its founding in 1971, is its chief asset. Image is what keeps the dollars flowing in. The Right has long been calling attention to the SPLC’s questionable tactics, but these days even Politico, The Atlantic, and PBS are running skeptical pieces about the saints of the South. Politico wondered whether the SPLC was “overstepping its bounds” and quoted an anti-terrorism expert, J. M. Berger, who pointed out that “the problem partly stems from the fact that the [SPLC] wears two hats, as both an activist group and a source of information.” David A. Graham of The Atlantic wrote that the “Field Guide” was “more like an attempt to police the discourse on Islam than a true inventory of anti-Muslim extremists, of whom there is no shortage, and opened SPLC up to charges that it had strayed from its civil-rights mission.” PBS interviewer Bob Garfield suggested to its president that the SPLC is increasingly seen “not as fighting the good fight but as being opportunists exploiting our political miseries” and that this was tantamount to killing “the goose that lays the golden egg.” In 2015 the FBI dropped the SPLC from its list of resources about hate groups.

Lately the SPLC has taken on an increasingly desperate, self-parodying tone, denouncing such mainstream figures as the psychologist, author, and PJ Media columnist Helen Smith and the American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, calling them “anti-feminist female voices” and adding them to its double-secret-probation list under the catch-all term “male supremacy.” Former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain, who is black, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the group had “smeared” her after she questioned the SPLC’s “misguided focus.” Mark Potok, then the SPLC’s national spokesman, de­nounced her as “an apologist for white supremacists” in a story published on the front page of Swain’s local news­paper, the Tennessean.

To sum up recent events: The SPLC has been crazily denouncing highly respected writers who are Muslim, black, and female for being anti-Muslim, anti-black, and misogynist. All of these contrived charges are in the service of the SPLC’s core mission, which is to separate progressives from their dollars.

Founded in 1971, the Alabama-based SPLC, dubbed “essentially a fraud” by Ken Silverstein in a blog post for Harper’s back in 2010, discovered some time ago that it could line its coffers by positioning itself as a scourge of racists. Silverstein reported that in 1987, after the SPLC sued the United Klans of America, which had almost no assets to begin with, over the lynching murder of Michael Donald, the son of Beulah Mae Donald, the grieving mother realized $52,000 from the court case — but the SPLC used the matter in fundraising appeals (including one that exploited a photograph of Donald’s corpse) that raked in some $9 million in donations. Today the SPLC typically hauls in (as it did in 2015) $50 million. In its 2016 annual report it listed its net endowment assets at an eye-popping $319 million. It’s now quaint to recall that, when Silverstein called the SPLC the wealthiest civil-rights group in America, it had a mere $120 million in assets. That was in 2000. President Richard Cohen and co-founder–cum–chief trial counsel Morris Dees each raked in well over $350,000 in compen­sation in 2015.

There’s more…

Source: Southern Poverty Law Center: ‘Essentially a Fraud’ | National Review

Regulate immigrants like guns?

I’ve seen articles describing what it would be like if we regulated cars the way we regulate guns. (Hint: car drivers would riot.)

I’ve seen articles describing what it would be like if we regulated guns the way we regulate cars. (Hint: gun control activists would have strokes.)

Now, a piece on LifeZette describing what it would look like if the Left treated immigrants the way they do guns.

Any horrific shooting that makes national news brings a predictable cacophony of calls from progressives for gun control. But what if the Left applied that logic to immigration?

We’d be hearing a lot more demands for “immigrant control” and “common-sense immigration restrictions.”

[snip]

There would be calls for banning immigration. Banning all immigration into the United States in response to crimes committed by some illegal immigrants would, indeed, be radical. And irrational. No serious person has suggested that sealing the border and allowing no more immigrants ever again would be a reasonable approach to immigrant crime.

Yet, the most radical of gun control advocates demand that approach for guns. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) called for reinstatement of a ban on so-called assault weapons, along with aggressive measures to remove existing weapons.

[snip]

Liberals would highlight sensational crimes by immigrants. The culprit is clear anytime someone shoots up a school or a workplace, according to liberals — guns. Progressives are far more circumspect whenever an illegal immigrant commits a high-profile crime, such as the recent murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts.

The blame in those cases, liberals preach, rests with the individual murderers; don’t dare suggest that all immigrants or immigration policy bear responsibility.

[snip]

There would be calls to close the immigration background check loophole. Liberals for years have demanded that Congress close the “gun show loophole.” This is shorthand for people being able to buy firearms at a gun show without having to undergo a criminal background check.

But it is not really a gun show loophole at all. The “loophole” has to do with people who sell their personal guns. Federally licensed firearms dealers must run the background check whether the sales takes place in a store or at a show.

The federal background check requirement does not apply to people who do not have firearms businesses but want to sell from a personal collection. (Some states do require background checks even for those people).

[snip]

Liberals issue no similar calls to close the immigration background check loophole, however. The United States admits roughly 1 million people legally each year, both through permanent immigration and on nonimmigration visas, such as those allowing foreigners to work or study in America. All of those foreigners undergo some type of background check.

But foreigners who come across the border illegally, by definition, evade all background checks. In fiscal year 2017, border and customs agents apprehended 415,191 illegal immigrants. Experts estimate that for every foreigner apprehended, one makes it through to the interior of the country.

 

Capitalism and Racism

From the Volokh Conspiracy:

A program at UC-Davis looks at the relationship between capitalism and racism.

The website Campus Reform points to a multi-year academic program, Racial Capitalism, hosted at the UC-Davis Humanities Institute that explores the links between racism and capitalism (tip to Glenn Reynolds). Among the questions that were asked at the event launching the program are:

    • “Which came first, capitalism or racism?”

“Can there be capitalism without racism?”

“Is capitalism always racial?”

IMO, the answers to these questions are fairly obvious:

1. Racism came first. Every inhabited continent had slaves, and ethnic out-groups were among the most likely to be enslaved. It is the abolition of slavery that is particularly Western, as Orlando Patterson explains his books Freedom and Slavery and Social Death.

2 (and 3.) If there can be any economic system without racism (I suppose it depends on how high one’s standards are), then capitalism is not always racist and there can be capitalism without racism. Capitalism is easier to square with a reduction in racism than most ideologies because (a) it is individualistic, (b) it is not built on envy for despised groups, and (c) in the United States at least, pro-capitalists tend to be less racist personally than anti-capitalists.
Indeed, in the general public it is the opposition to capitalism and the desire for redistribution that are positively associated with racism and intolerance.

I explore this relationship in “Redistribution and Racism, Tolerance and Capitalism,” which analyzes data from 20 nationally representative surveys of the general public.

[snip]

The more interesting question (than whether you can have capitalism without racism) is whether you can have socialism without racism. The answer is yes, but the reason is an enlightening one.

In the long run, a robust socialism (that dominates most of the economy) tends to lead to the scapegoating of demonized out-groups, because there must be someone to blame for economic failure. Thus, the Soviet Union began with hating the Kulaks and the ownership class more generally, but once these were destroyed, they needed someone else to blame. Though it took many decades, the Soviet Union went beyond targeting “counter-revolutionaries” to add Jews to the list. So the demonized out-groups under socialism don’t have to be defined by race or ethnicity; they could instead be defined by economic class, religion, or nationality. Accordingly, socialism doesn’t have to be racist, but when it dominates the economy almost inevitably there must be some group to despise.

It would be good if the academy in general–and the UC-Davis Racial Capitalism program in particular–were ideologically diverse enough to reflect some of the substantial evidence from the last few decades on the relationship of capitalism and racism in the views of the general public, evidence that tends to point to a negative association between racism and support for capitalism.