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.

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.”

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

Listen to the hypocritical Evangelicals while you’re at it

Why was support for Trump so high among Evangelicals? Do they not care about [name the scandal the media was hyping]?

Maybe, but they care about other things a lot more.

…Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told Politico, “We kind of gave him — ‘All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here.’ ” Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, told CNN that Trump is a “changed person.” He rationalized, “These alleged affairs, they’re alleged with Trump, didn’t happen while he was in office.”

There are two ways to view this: Either evangelicals like Perkins are rank hypocrites or, in the spirit of their faith, are simply very, very forgiving.

Many lean toward the former interpretation, and I get the temptation.

But it willfully leaves out a lot of recent history. As the left and liberal media try to “figure out” Christian America during this latest, complicated moment, it’s instructive to understand where they’ve recently been.

Two years into Barack Obama’s first term, I wrote a book on the liberal war on Christianity. When “Losing Our Religion” came out, folks on the right got it immediately. “Of course the left is attacking Christians,” was the general refrain.

Many on the left, however, were incredulous. One far-left radio host had me on to tell me he had no plans to read the book, but that my premise was absurd on its face. Christianity’s the biggest religion in the country; it can’t possibly be an oppressed class, they insisted.

OK, ask one — just one — evangelical Christian why they voted for Trump.

Perkins spelled it out. Evangelical Christians, he says, “were tired of being kicked around by Barack Obama and his leftists. And I think they are finally glad that there’s somebody on the playground that is willing to punch the bully.”

It wasn’t just Obama’s condescension toward the faithful, who he famously said “cling to guns and religion” when angry or scared. It was eight years of policies that trampled on their religious values, from expanded abortion rights and decreased regulation, even in the face of horrific cases like Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s, to continued efforts to chip away at religious employers’ rights.

It was a smugness from the liberal media, which talked about Christian America as if it were a vestigial organ of some extinct, diseased dinosaur.

Liberal television hosts mocked Sarah Palin for banal things like praying, and reporters wrote that her faith — Pentecostalism — was fanatical, kooky and bigoted. Liberal networks and newsrooms were windowless cocoons of secularism that only deigned to cover Christianity to dismiss its relevance or spotlight its perceived backwardness.

And it was decades of concerted cultural elitism that marginalized Christians as not cool enough to cater to. Movies like “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” were blockbuster hits in spite of dismissive Hollywood film critics who refused to believe there were enough Christians to go see them. Celebrities called them fanatics; comedians made fun of them.

Many evangelicals I talk to say they grew tired of turning the other cheek. In Trump, they finally found someone who was willing to voice the anger and resentment they had been holding in.

They could overlook his personal foibles — after all, let he who is without sin cast the first stone — and his evangelical illiteracy, in exchange for getting someone who would tell off all their past tormentors.

It’s worth noting, there’s also Trump’s record. From tapping Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court to acknowledging Jerusalem is the capital of Israel to following through on his pro-life rhetoric, the President has delivered on a number of promises he made to evangelicals. But that’s not why they voted for him.

So while the willingness to forgive and even defend Trump’s alleged sins seems anathema to many, the fact is evangelicals, like many Trump voters, had good reason to pull the lever for him — and now to stand by him.

About those judges

I’m seeing posts on Facebook declaring that at least some of Trump’s judicial picks lack requisite experience.

Not so fast…

Consider the ABA’s “not qualified” rating of Leonard Steven Grasz, a Nebraska attorney nominated to the appeals court. The ABA claims Grasz is unfit because of his “deeply held social agenda.” During his 11 years as Nebraska’s chief deputy attorney general, he defended many of the state’s laws, including a ban on partial-birth abortion. Defending that law was his job.

Opposing any limit on abortion is enough to outrage pro-choice activist Cynthia Nance, the law professor who led Grasz’s recent ABA review. She stooped to grilling him on why he sends his children to religious schools — an out-of-bounds question — instead of sticking to probing his legal philosophy. Apparently, being religious is disqualifying.

Grasz reiterated his “solemn obligation” to put aside personal views and “faithfully apply” Supreme Court precedent. Astonishingly, that’s an assurance the left rejects. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), argues “there’s simply no way to prevent a judge’s … personal beliefs from influencing” rulings. The conclusion is obvious. To Democrats like Whitehouse, only nominees with left-wing agendas are acceptable.

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Another nominee rated “unqualified” by the ABA is Brett Talley, Trump’s nominee for a federal district court in Alabama. Last Thursday, Talley won Senate Judiciary Committee approval despite the ABA’s claim that Talley lacks “requisite trial experience.”

In truth, Talley is superbly qualified — with a law degree from Harvard, clerkships at the trial and appeals court level, litigation experience in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and a stint as Alabama’s deputy solicitor general. He’s got about as much trial experience as Justice Elena Kagan, rated “well qualified” by the ABA when President Obama nominated her to the highest court.

What’s Talley’s real problem? His political views and Trump connections. (His wife is chief of staff to the White House counsel, a fact he should have disclosed sooner.) Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) grilled Talley about abortion, gun control, gay marriage and his disdain for Hillary Clinton — whom he once dubbed “Hillary Rotten Clinton” on Twitter.

Imprudent maybe, but hardly in the league with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comment to The New York Times that she couldn’t “imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president.”

Talley assured senators he would “never allow personal opinions or experiences to justify a departure from the law.” When Whitehouse said courts need judges who empathize with what it’s like to be a teenage mom, African-American, gay or poor, Talley shot back that everyone appearing in front of a federal judge deserves empathy.

Back in 2013, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) chastised Senate Republicans for opposing Obama’s female nominees, arguing the court needs more women. But hypocrisy is on display now, with Warren and fellow Democrats attacking Trump’s female nominees.

Amy Barrett, nominated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, got hammered for her Catholicism. Feinstein suggested Barrett’s religion “lives loudly within” her, making her unfit. The University of Notre Dame’s president warned that “it is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge.”

Millions voted for Trump because he pledged to appoint judges who would uphold the Constitution, not invent law to advance a social agenda. Twenty-one percent of Trump voters called it their highest priority. But the ABA and other activists aren’t surrendering their grip on the courts without a fight. Remember that when you hear the smears about “unfit” nominees.

Bourgeois Culture

An editorial linked from Tax Prof Blog:

Too few Americans are qualified for the jobs available. Male working-age labor-force participation is at Depression-era lows. Opioid abuse is widespread. Homicidal violence plagues inner cities. Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock, and even more raised are by single mothers. Many college students lack basic skills, and high school students rank below those from two dozen other countries.

The causes of these phenomena are multiple and complex, but implicated in these and other maladies is the breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture.

That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime. …

Would the re-embrace of bourgeois norms by the ordinary Americans who have abandoned them significantly reduce society’s pathologies? There is every reason to believe so. Among those who currently follow the old precepts, regardless of their level of education or affluence, the homicide rate is tiny, opioid addiction is rare, and poverty rates are low. Those who live by the simple rules that most people used to accept may not end up rich or hold elite jobs, but their lives will go far better than they do now. All schools and neighborhoods would be much safer and more pleasant. More students from all walks of life would be educated for constructive employment and democratic participation.

But restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture will require the arbiters of culture — the academics, media, and Hollywood — to relinquish multicultural grievance polemics and the preening pretense of defending the downtrodden. Instead of bashing the bourgeois culture, they should return to the 1950s posture of celebrating it.

These basic cultural precepts reigned from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. They could be followed by people of all backgrounds and abilities, especially when backed up by almost universal endorsement. Adherence was a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains, and social coherence of that period.