1. Baraboo hangover. Apparently the Wisconsin male high school students who gave a Nazi salute in an off-campus photo will not be punished. The superintendent overseeing Baraboo High, Lori Mueller of the Baraboo School District, said in the letter that the district was “not in a position to punish the students for their actions” because of their First Amendment rights. That’s right from a Constitutional viewpoint, and something good will come of the incident if it means that schools will stop punishing students for what they post on social on their own time. Here is the photo, in case you have forgotten…
The Times article sure is full of dissembling and nonsense, however. Peter Gust, the jerk who took and posted the photo, claims that it had been modified by “malevolent behavior on the part of some in society.” Sure. Jordan Blue, the boy in the upper right hand corner in the red tie, has embraced the role of ethics hero in the media, and is grandstanding and virtue signaling like mad, saying that he didn’t have time to leave the photo but that he didn’t raise his arm because “I knew what my morals were and it was not to salute something I didn’t firmly believe in.” Uh, that should be “firmly didn’t believe in,” Jordan. Then there is Brock Turkington, also in the photograph, whose story is that “As we were about to take that photo, the photographer instructed the boys to give a ‘high-sign.” The photographer instructed us to extend our arms out, no one knew what a ‘high-sign’ was. I asked another student next to me ‘What are we doing?’ He responded, ‘Stick your arm out.’” But that’s not a “high-sign.” That’s a Heil-sign.
2. I won a bet with myself! Cracked, the list and pop culture commentary website that evolved out of a cheap Mad Magazine rip-off from the Sixties, has a feature called “5 Laws From Other Countries (The USA Should Totally Steal).” Cracked is dominated by smug, if clever, social justice warriors, so I made a bet with myself that the list would contain several concepts that were unconstitutional or that would advance the Left’s dream of perpetual power. (By the way, you can’t “steal” a law.) Sure enough, the tally was three out of five. I win!!!
Cracked wants voting to be mandatory. That’s a sneaky way of allowing low-information, disinterested and lazy voters easily swayed by slanted news media coverage to dominate elections, leading to government by the stupid, naive and easily deceived. Cracked also likes the laws in some Asian countries that punish celebrities for “endorsing shitty products.” In other words, they punish speech. Here’s Cracked’s idea of good public policy:
“If you want to up the ante, look no further than China. If a celeb there is found hawking shoddy wares, they can be banned from advertising anything else for up to three years (along with a host of other restrictions). And it’s hard to convince Nike to give you that big international ad campaign if you’re not allowed to show your face to 20 percent of the entire human population.”
Asking your Facebook friends if they like this idea is a neat way of identifying which ones will be happy to send you to a re-education camp once President Ocasio-Cortez is in the White House.
Then there is another Chinese government policy Cracked endorses (liking Chinese policies is signature significance), which is to prevent the public from knowing who wins state lotteries. A citizen wins tens of millions of dollars, but that’s not news, because the public knowing about something it has an interest in knowing might cause some problems for the newsmaker. Nah, that’s not a free press slippery slope!
Cracked should stick to features like 5 Hollywood Happy Endings That Weren’t So Happy In Real Life …you know, articles that don’t require a basic respect for civil rights and democracy.
3. AhA! It was HER fault! Ramona Ripston died at the age of 91, and from her obituary we can glean how the ACLU gradually stopped doing its job and became just another liberal agenda advocacy group, albeit one the pretends to be non-partisan. She was the first woman to head the Southern California chapter of the ACLU, and stayed for four decades. “She served in that post until 2011, except for a period of 18 months beginning in 1986, when she was in charge of the western region for People for the American Way, the liberal advocacy group,” we learn. Well, People For The American Way was and is a hard left, partisan, doctrinaire lobby, and no head of what presents itself as a neutral protector of the rights of all Americans should be affiliated in any way with such an extreme group on either side of the political spectrum. Ripston was an activist, not a lawyer, and protecting our rights is a matter of law, not passion. Once Ripston and others like her began prioritizing which rights were worth protecting for which groups, the ACLU’s mission was effectively poisoned.
4. I’ve decided that most of the commentators and activists In the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck, aka. #MeToo, don’t have the ethics literacy or the critical thinking skills necessary to clarify the real issues. For example, Blanche Gardin is described in a New York Times piece today as, “The Woman Who Still Finds Louis C.K. Lovable/The French comedian Blanche Gardin is taking on all of feminism’s orthodoxies:”
Ms. Gardin defended Louis C.K…. “[T]he fact that we put a producer who rapes actresses in the same bag as a guy whose fetish is to masturbate in front of women, after asking if he can do it, means our modern society has a big problem with nuance.” She argued that it’s hypocritical to shun Louis C.K. His humor, she noted, “explored his dark side, his perversions, and deciphered the darkness of the human soul. People loved him for that… because it made them feel better about their own dark sides.”…
He IS in the same bag, and belongs there: powerful men who abuse their power to mistreat women for their own purposes and enjoyment. Gardin’s argument is essentially Rationalization #22, The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”
Sure, making women in your field watch you masturbate because you’re a star and they are afraid of crossing you isn’t as bad as making them have sex with you to keep their film career alive. The latter is a crime; the former is just a horrible, exploitative, disrespectful abuse of power and position. Nonetheless, they are both grounds for shunning, distrust and serious negative social consequences. This woman is arguing, “Oh, come on, at least he didn’t rape them!” That’s not “nuance.”
5. And coming full circle: Rutgers University history professor James Livingston, who stated in a Facebook post that he hated all white people and wanted them out of his neighborhood, was cleared in an investigation by the school and will receive no sanctions or penalties after a ruling had initially come down against him. He had written that the white people he saw in a burger joint as “little Caucasian assholes who know their parents will approve of anything they do. I hereby resign from my race. Fuck these people…OK, officially, I now hate white people. I am a white people, for God’s sake, but can we just keep them—us—us out of my neighborhood?” Livingston was initially found to have violated the university’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment by Rutgers’s Office of Employment Equity. In this, the problem was a bit like the Trump Administration banning Jim Acosta: Rutgers didn’t have a policy in black and white that fit the offense. [My policy: “Employees who engage in public conduct or speech that reasonably would lead any students to believe that they would not be treated equitably, fairly and with respect in the course of their studies or activities on campus will be subject to discipline, including suspension or termination. University employees are expected to behave in a manner that is a credit to the institution at all times, on or off campus.”] Jonathan Turley writes,
“The decision is the correct one. These were statements made outside of school and expressed Livingston’s political and social views with what he claimed was an element of sarcasm. Yet, what if this were a professor speaking of his hate for black people or other minorities and wanting them out of his neighborhood? Would the result be the same? We do not know because Rutgers is not clear on where that sanctionable line is drawn.”
Sure we do. The line is drawn when a white professor like Livingston describes persons of color as “little black assholes who know their parents will approve of anything they do. Fuck these people…OK, officially, I now hate black people. Can we just keep them—us—us out of my neighborhood?”
Turley isn’t being honest, or he’s incredibly naive.