He Fights

Evan Sayet writes:

My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.” Here’s my answer:

We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency. We tried statesmanship. Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain? We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney? And the results were always the same.

This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.

[snip]

The Left has been engaged in a war against America since the rise of the Children of the ‘60s. To them, it has been an all-out war where nothing is held sacred and nothing is seen as beyond the pale. It has been a war they’ve fought with violence, the threat of violence, demagoguery and lies from day one – the violent take-over of the universities – till today.

The problem is that, through these years, the Left has been the only side fighting this war. While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in their way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety.

With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end. Donald Trump is America’s first wartime president in the Culture War.

During wartime, things like “dignity” and “collegiality” simply aren’t the most essential qualities one looks for in their warriors. Ulysses Grant was a drunk whose behavior in peacetime might well have seen him drummed out of the Army for conduct unbecoming. Had Abraham Lincoln applied the peacetime rules of propriety and booted Grant, the Democrats might well still be holding their slaves today. Lincoln rightly recognized that, “I cannot spare this man. He fights.”

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.”

Does Welfare Subsidize Employers?

Source: The Pitifully Low Wages of Economic Illiteracy – Cafe Hayek

Leo Gertner (Letters, August 27) repeats a favorite trope of the left – namely, that welfare payments received by low-wage workers are really subsidies to employers who allegedly reduce workers’ pay by the amount of government welfare benefits received by these workers. There are several flaws with this trope.

First, it’s backwards. By reducing the economic burden of being unemployed, welfare payments not tied to work requirements reduce the supply of low-skilled labor and, thus, raise – rather than lower – the wages that employers pay to such workers.

Second, it’s at odds with readily observable labor-market realities. If workers reduce their wage demands because they have outside income, then whenever two highly paid professionals marry each other, one of them over time would come to be paid no more than the minimum wage. (Mr. Gertner and other Progressives would then argue that employers of these low-paid physicians, lawyers, and other professionals are “subsidized” by the employers of these employees’ high-paid spouses.) But of course we observe no such thing.

Third, if this trope were indeed correct, then the most direct way to protect taxpayers from having to subsidize employers would be to abolish the government welfare programs. When their welfare benefits disappear, low-wage workers will demand, and receive from their employers, higher pay to replace the lost benefits. But because Mr. Gertner and others who repeat this trope surely oppose abolition of the welfare programs that they assert are subsidies to employers, it’s unlikely that even they really believe this trope.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

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

Pith

Source: Watcher of Weasels

Bookworm is cleaning out her closet, and came across, among other things, some pithy sayings from her Contracts law class….

“Watch out for chameleon words. They change with the context.”

“The absolute best defense is a counter-claim.”

“Stay with something simple . . . like logic.”

“Always look to see what the reason for the rule is. If the reason isn’t applicable, then maybe the rule isn’t applicable.”

“It’s tooth fairy time. You are departing from reality.”

“Common sense says that’s crazy.”

“The peasants are restless. Let’s promise them a circus.”

“It’s not the village idiot you have to be worried about. It’s his attorney.”

“Put yourself where you were the day before you entered law school: intelligent and common sensible.”

“It’s like shopping for drapes to match the towels.”

“Article 9 comments [I assume it was the Restatement of Contracts, 2nd] were written by some cockroach flinging itself at the typewriter.”

“You can’t legislate common sense, but you can legislate lunacy.”

“To a litigator, perjury is just emphasis of different facts.”

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.

Sometimes “his-story” needs to be revised

Conventional wisdom holds that the Republicans had a “southern strategy” by which they won over the Racist South™, or at least all the racists in the South. Anything presented to the contrary is called “revisionist history”. But maybe it’s the conventional wisdom that needs to be revised?

A friend of mine referenced this video, saying “Dennis Prager paid a black woman to say it, so it must be true”. Either he has a strange criterion for assessing truth, or he believes black women can will say anything for money. I’m sure he’d call it “revisionist history”.

 

This is from The Hill:

The myth of Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’

BY DINESH D’SOUZA, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 08/23/18

The Democratic Party’s claim to be the party of the good guys, while the Republicans are the party of the bad guys, hinges on the tale of Richard Nixon’s so-called Southern Strategy. According to this narrative, advanced by progressive historians, Nixon orchestrated a party switch on civil rights by converting the racists in the Democratic Party — the infamous Dixiecrats — into Republicans. And now, according to a recent article in The New Republic, President Trump is the “true heir, the beneficiary of the policies the party has pursued for more than half a century.”

Yes, this story is in the textbooks and on the history channel and regularly repeated in the media, but is it true? First, no one has ever given a single example of an explicitly racist pitch by Nixon during his long career. One might expect that a racist appeal to the Deep South actually would have to be made, and to be understood as such. Yet, quite evidently none was.

So progressives insist that Nixon made a racist “dog whistle” appeal to Deep South voters. Evidently he spoke to them in a kind of code. Really? Is it plausible that Nixon figured out how to communicate with Deep South racists in a secret language? Do Deep South bigots, like dogs, have some kind of heightened awareness of racial messages — messages that are somehow indecipherable to the media and the rest of the country?

This seems unlikely, but let’s consider the possibility. Progressives insist that Nixon’s appeals to drugs and law and order were coded racist messaging. Yet when Nixon ran for president in 1968 the main issue was the Vietnam War. One popular Republican slogan of the period described the Democrats as the party of “acid, amnesty and abortion.” Clearly there is no suggestion here of race.

Nixon’s references to drugs and law and order in 1968 were quite obviously directed at the antiwar protesters who had just disrupted the Democratic Convention in Chicago. His target was radical activists such as Abbie Hoffman and Bill Ayers. Nixon scorned the hippies, champions of the drug culture such as Timothy Leary, and draft-dodgers who fled to Canada. The vast majority of these people were white.

Nixon had an excellent record on civil rights. He supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was an avid champion of the desegregation of public schools. The progressive columnist Tom Wicker wrote in the New York Times, “There’s no doubt about it — the Nixon administration accomplished more in 1970 to desegregate Southern school systems than had been done in the 16 previous years or probably since. There’s no doubt either that it was Richard Nixon personally who conceived and led the administration’s desegregation effort.”

Upon his taking office in 1969, Nixon also put into effect America’s first affirmative action program. Dubbed the Philadelphia Plan, it imposed racial goals and timetables on the building trade unions, first in Philadelphia and then elsewhere. Now, would a man seeking to build an electoral base of Deep South white supremacists actually promote the first program to legally discriminate in favor of blacks? This is absurd.

Nixon barely campaigned in the Deep South. His strategy, as outlined by Kevin Phillips in his classic work, “The Emerging Republican Majority,” was to target the Sunbelt, the vast swath of territory stretching from Florida to Nixon’s native California. This included what Phillips terms the Outer or Peripheral South.

Nixon recognized the South was changing. It was becoming more industrialized, with many northerners moving to the Sunbelt. Nixon’s focus, Phillips writes, was on the non-racist, upwardly-mobile, largely urban voters of the Outer or Peripheral South. Nixon won these voters, and he lost the Deep South, which went to Democratic segregationist George Wallace.

And how many racist Dixiecrats did Nixon win for the GOP? Turns out, virtually none. Among the racist Dixiecrats, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was the sole senator to defect to the Republicans — and he did this long before Nixon’s time. Only one Dixiecrat congressman, Albert Watson of South Carolina, switched to the GOP. The rest, more than 200 Dixiecrat senators, congressmen, governors and high elected officials, all stayed in the Democratic Party.

The progressive notion of a Dixiecrat switch is a myth. Yet it is myth that continues to be promoted, using dubious case examples. Though the late Sens. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and John Tower of Texas and former Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott all switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP, none of these men was a Dixiecrat.

The South, as a whole, became Republican during the 1980s and 1990s. This had nothing to do with Nixon; it was because of Ronald Reagan and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” The conservative appeal to patriotism, anti-communism, free markets, pro-life and Christianity had far more to do with the South’s movement into the GOP camp than anything related to race.

Yet the myth of Nixon’s Southern Strategy endures — not because it’s true, but because it conveniently serves to exculpate the crimes of the Democratic Party. Somehow the party that promoted slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and racial terrorism gets to wipe its slate clean by pretending that, with Nixon’s connivance, the Republicans stole all their racists. It’s time we recognize this excuse for what it is: one more Democratic big lie.

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.