The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is a peer-reviewed journal that claims to publish “only the highest quality scientific research.” Now, the authors of a 2019 PNAS article are disowning their research simply because I cited it.
Psychologists Joseph Cesario of Michigan State and David Johnson of the University of Maryland analyzed 917 fatal police shootings of civilians from 2015 to test whether the race of the officer or the civilian predicted fatal police shootings. Neither did. Once “race specific rates of violent crime” are taken into account, the authors found, there are no disparities among those fatally shot by the police. These findings accord with decades of research showing that civilian behavior is the greatest influence on police behavior.
In September 2019, I cited the article’s finding in congressional testimony. I also referred to it in a City Journal article, in which I noted that two Princeton political scientists, Dean Knox and Jonathan Mummolo, had challenged the study design. Messrs. Cesario and Johnson stood by their findings. Even under the study design proposed by Messrs. Knox and Mummolo, they wrote, there is again “no significant evidence of anti-black disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by the police.”
My June 3 Journal op-ed quoted the PNAS article’s conclusion verbatim. It set off a firestorm at Michigan State. The university’s Graduate Employees Union pressured the MSU press office to apologize for the “harm it caused” by mentioning my article in a newsletter. The union targeted physicist Steve Hsu, who had approved funding for Mr. Cesario’s research. MSU sacked Mr. Hsu from his administrative position. PNAS editorialized that Messrs. Cesario and Johnson had “poorly framed” their article—the one that got through the journal’s three levels of editorial and peer review.
Mr. Cesario told this page that Mr. Hsu’s dismissal could narrow the “kinds of topics people can talk about, or what kinds of conclusions people can come to.” Now he and Mr. Johnson have themselves jeopardized the possibility of politically neutral scholarship. On Monday they retracted their paper. They say they stand behind its conclusion and statistical approach but complain about its “misuse,” specifically mentioning my op-eds.
The authors don’t say how I misused their work.
This drama, reported by Campus Reform, exemplifies so much about what’s so wrong about so much and so many, that it boggles the mind. My mind, anyway. You may have a higher boggle threshold.
Act I: Once distinguished Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, recently crippled by Trump Derangement, was among the signers of a letter addressed to Biden, urging the ex-Vice President to choose Sen. Elizabeth Warren as his most qualified running mate.
Observations: The letter, signed mostly by aging old-school liberals like Tribe, but also socialist Robert Reich and flat-learning curve activist Jane Fonda among others, is a depressing commentary 1) on the qualifications of Biden’s likely VP pool and 2) the reasoning ability and absence of integrity among its signatories, “100+ progressive former public officials, authors, actors, activists,advocates and scholars.” Their theory is that Warren is ready to become President by virtue of her experience and accomplishments. Nothing in the letter explains why a former academic with literally no leadership experience at all should be considered for President or Vice President. Nor does the letter acknowledge that at 71, Warren would be the oldest Vice President in history, backing the oldest man to be elected President (and showing it). This is not surprising, I suppose, since the list of signers appears to have an average age of at least 71.
The gang lauds her policy skills, then cites among her brilliant policy nostrums reparations for slavery, and as evidence of her judgment, urging Trump’s impeachment after the release of the Mueller Report, which contained no valid justification for impeachment whatsoever, which Warren, as a legal scholar, undoubtedly knew.
Risibly, the letter says, “As you saw, she ran among the best-organized and well-funded presidential campaigns in history.” If it was so well-funded and well-organized, and Warren is so terrific, why was the canpaign a failure, failing even to win the primary in Warren’s own state, Massachusetts?
“Imagine her on stage debunking Mike Pence or needling ‘President Tweety’,” the letter says. There it is: the tell. It’s one more expression of mass anti-Trump fury. That’s Warren’s big plus for these angry Lefties: she would call the Bad Orange Man a poopy head with brio.
One would think many of the one-time luminaries would be bothered by Warren’s habitual dishonesty and demagoguery, especially Stephen Gillers, the renowned (77 year-old) legal ethics guru. Nah! What’s most important is to have a quick-witted speaker who can needle President Tweety’.” Warren’s years of faking being a “person of color” to advance via affirmative action at Harvard and elsewhere? Her documented venal hypocrisy?
Warren asked a crowd, during the campaign this year, “How could the American people want someone who lies to them?,” thus using rhetoric to try to erase
- Her decades-long Cherokee charade, her DNA test fiasco,
- Her false claim that her children only attended public schools,
- Her lie about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant,
- Her false claim of to being first woman to take the New Jersey Bar while breastfeeding,
- Her cruel slander of a dead past employer, saying he “chased her around a desk” who, it turned out when her story was checked, not only had polio, and couldn’t chase anyone, he was also a friend and mentor whom Warren eulogized at his funeral.
- Warren’s endorsment, knowing well it is a lie, of the “Mike Brown was murdered by a racist cop” fantasy,
- Her claim to have represented women harmed by defective breast transplants when she represented the defendant, Dow Corning, in those cases,
- …and more.
Thus does bias make you stupid. All these are accomplished and supposedly trustworthy people, and none of them apparently believe that cynical obfuscating at every turn is a disqualification for the Presidency unless the obfuscater is Donald Trump. The letter is one giant, embarrassing, epistolary Jumbo.
Act 2, Scene I: Asked by the Washington Post if African-Americans would accept a non-black running mate for Biden, Tribe said it would be “symbolic” to choose an African American running mate, but that “African Americans above all would be the first to say they are more interested in results than cosmetics.”
Observations: This launches the popular game show so often played here: “Dumb or Lying?” Tribe’s answer is an amazing assertion now, of all times. The George Floyd Freakout is fueled by demands that there be mandatory quotas for African-Americans among faculties, corporate boards, committees, sports team owners. scientific advisory committees, artistic award nominees and winners—pretty much everything, with skin color the primary criteria and not ability, with the only “result” mattering being…more blacks in positions of power and influence.
Act 2, Scene 2: Tribe’s statement to the Post and the pro-Warren letter made Tribe the target of the progressive Twitter mob. Some critics claimed that Tribe was overlooking the accomplishments of other black female candidates like Kamala Harris. Bakari Sellers, former South Carolina state representative, tweeted that Tribe made “snide remarks about the preparedness of the black women being vetted for VP.” Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Vermont governorHoward Dean said the letter and Tribe’s comments typify white peoples’ “clueless racism.”
Observation: By any rational standard, Kamala Harris is even less qualified to be President than Warren. Her only asset is that she’s black. She’s an affront to #MeToo and feminists, having literally slept her way to the top; she has boasted of being a tough prosecutor, which spits in the face of the BLM “mass incarceration” grievance. She ran an even worse campaign for the nomination than Warren, having to drop out early despite heavy hype from the media.
And Tribe’s arguments for Warren weren’t “snide” or racist, except in the new race-bullying USA where anything not explicitly pro-African American objectives and individuals is evidence of bigotry.
Act 3. Tribe resorted to weasel words and gibberish to avoid being “cancelled”; as a lawyer, he has plenty of facility with both. He tweeted,
“I apologize for my choice of words…I’ve never doubted that racial identity is a significant variable in American governance. It should count heavily in favor of previously excluded groups as part of a person’s full record of background, skills, and values. I’m FOR Warren, not ANTI-excellent others.”
Well, Larry used to be better at weasel words and gibberish in his prime.
- He’s a lawyer: words are his stock in trade. Lawyers don’t get to use the “poor choice of words” excuse.
- I literally don’t know what “racial identity is a significant variable in American governance” means.
- The argument is over qualifications, not “variables.”
- The proposition that race constitutes “skills and values” is bigotry and an argument for black supremacy in this context.
- “I’m FOR Warren, not ANTI-excellent others” should condemn Tribe to wearing a paper bag over his head. This is a binary choice, Professor; be definition being for one candidate is being against the others.
Finally, all of the media and blog reports on this fiasco say that Tribe “apologized.” He backtracked, tap-danced, and humina humina-ed, but he did NOT apologize, despite his use of the word “apologize.” He did not apologize for the letter, and he did not retract his opinion.
The above tweet was posted two days ago by Karen Attiah, the Washington Post global opinions editor. After it was immediately and legitimately attacked for what it was—yes, this is res ipsa loquitur— she took it down, but not before her position had been captured in hundreds of screenshots like the one above. Later she tweeted, “Non, je ne regrette rien,” French for “No, I do not regret anything.” (Apparently Attiah believes the foes of unethical journalism are too primitive and uneducated to understand French, or too dim to use an online translator.)
The Washington Post should have given her reason to regret, but it hasn’t, and unless its readers and media critics force the paper to act, it won’t. Since the deleted tweet, the Post has refused to comment on its editor’s outburst, and other than her snotty Gallic tweet of defiance, so has Attiah. Continue reading
The Kennedy Center embarrassed itself in 2010, giving an affirmative action (gender division) honor to Tina Fey. She received its Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which the Center has awarded every year since 1998 to individuals who have “had an impact on American society in ways similar to” Twain…you know, like Tina Fey.
The Center realized that it was short on female honorees (because humor, historically and now, is a field dominated by men), and because it can only give the award to the living, so it settled on Fey as a weaker than weak addition to the pantheon. I compared the award at the time to Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize and added,
If she vanished tomorrow, Tina Fey would at best be a footnote in the history of American comedy. Her qualifications for the Mark Twain Prize in 2010 appear to be 1) she is a woman, and there aren’t many women in comedy 2) she is a comedian, though not an especially funny one, 3) she is a writer, though neither of the screenplays she has authored would be called deathless classics, unless you think “Mean Girls” is on par with “Adam’s Rib,” and 4) she looks like Sarah Palin, which allowed her to do a popular impression mocking Palin during the 2008 campaign, and the people who give out the award really, really dislike Sarah Palin.
In short, she didn’t deserve the award in the first place, and the Mark Twain Prize lost its integrity and credibility by her receiving it. Thus there is some condign justice in that decision coming back to bite the Kennedy Center now, along with a second bad decision eight years later.
That year, the Kennedy Center decided to rescind Bill Cosby’s Mark Twain Prize, which the Cos had more than earned in 2009. Cosby did have impact on culture and humor comparable to Twain, and his achievements dwarf those of Fey like “War and Peace” dwarfs “Valley of the Dolls.” Again virtue-signaling to feminists, the Kennedy Center revoked Cosby’s honor after his conviction for sexual assault (which was just accepted for appeal this week).
I didn’t write about it at the time, I guess because there was nothing new to say that I hadn’t said in this post, where I observed,
[L]ast I heard Bill Cosby was still recognized as a major trailblazer in stand-up, TV comedy, and television integration (remember “I Spy”?), an important positive cultural force for race relations and black community self esteem, and a spectacularly talented comedian with a unique voice and presence. None of that has changed. Those were the achievements that prompted Cosby’s bust’s inclusion in Disney’s Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza, along with celebrities such as Lucille Ball and Oprah Winfrey who, like the Cos, have been inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. O.J. Simpson is still honored in the College Football Hall of Fame, because he was one of the greatest college stars ever. His post-career hobby as a murderer, like Bill’s extra-curricular activities as a serial rapist, have nothing to do with the honor, just as Cosby earned and still deserves, his honor for what he achieved on stage and screen.
That still applied in 2018, and it is true today.
But Bill was deemed unworthy nonetheless. Now, in the midst of the George Floyd Freakout, the frenzied statue-toppling, cancelling-happy, race-offense vengeance-obsessed mob has targeted Tina Fey. During her acclaimed NBC show “30 Rock,” which she created, often wrote, and appeared in, blackface was used for comic effect four times. This week, always seeking to follow the crowd, Fey said her mea culpas and had Hulu pull the shows from circulation, thus putting herself in the cross hairs. (I must note that this censorship, like all censorship, impedes knowledge and reflection, since it is impossible to assess what the use of blackface was. I never watched the show because mega-ass Alec Baldwin was a regular, and I would prefer chewing off my fingers than supporting anything he’s involved in.) Continue reading
Humble Talent was moved by the ongoing disgrace of the Washington Post’s handling of the two-year old “scandal” involving an ill-designed Megyn Kelly costume to consider the The Society for Professional Journalism’s (SPJ) Code of Ethics, which you can (and ought to) read here.
Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethical Quote, Fair Quote, Unethical Quote, Share Quote…”:
The Society for Professional Journalism’s (SPJ) Code of Ethics. Believe it or not, it’s actually a pretty good document. If journalists actually even pretended to give it lip service, I think we’d all be better off. A couple of choice snippets (although, really, read the whole thing);
Principle 1: SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT (If only).
- Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.
- Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
- Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.
- Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant
Principle 2: MINIMIZE HARM (This seems counter-intuitive given the weaponisation of journalism, but que sera sera)
- Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.
- Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.
Principle 3: ACT INDEPENDENTLY
- Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility
Principle 4: BE ACCOUNTABLE AND TRANSPARENT (HAHAHAHAHahahahahahahaha!)
- Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.
- Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations. Continue reading
A professor (allegedly) at the University of California in Berkeley is being praised on social media and conservative websites for the letter below, which the claimed member of the History department distributed to the faculty, and has been subsequently re-posted elsewhere.
The writer won’t get any praise here. “I am worried that writing this email publicly might lead to me losing my job, and likely all future jobs in my field,” the message says. Well, tough. Anonymous arguments and declarations of principle are cheap, easy, and ineffective. People in positions of influence and authority have an obligation to take stands when stands are required, and to do so openly and boldly. They also risk the enmity of the mob and others by doing so, which is what makes their stands legitimate and powerful.
Anonymous sentiments like the one below are a particularly wan form of grandstanding, allowing the writer—the courageous rebel!—to feel like he or she (heck, this could be an articulate spaniel) is resisting societal pressure and peer manipulation and trying to persuade others to do likewise, when in fact the message is dead on arrival. Why should anyone respect such a cowardly iconoclast? We can assume, can we not, that this professor, if it is a professor, will nod and agree with all race-baiting, police-bashing, America-denigrating colleagues until escaping into the safety and privacy of a private office.
Such people fueled Joe McCarthy’s reign of terror. Such people allowed Hitler to take over Germany. They are worse than sheep; they are sheep who imagine themselves as something better, and they are not.
It’s a powerful, tough, persuasive and much-needed letter, or would be, if the author had the guts to put his name on it. Here, for example, the letter lays out what I have been longing to see or hear expressed:
“As a final point, our university and department has made multiple statements celebrating and eulogizing George Floyd. Floyd was a multiple felon who once held a pregnant black woman at gunpoint. He broke into her home with a gang of men and pointed a gun at her pregnant stomach.
He terrorized the women in his community. He sired and abandoned multiple children, playing no part in their support or upbringing, failing one of the most basic tests of decency for a human being. He was a drug-addict and sometime drug-dealer, a swindler who preyed upon his honest and hard-working neighbors.
And yet, the regents of UC and the historians of the UCB History department are celebrating this violent criminal, elevating his name to virtual sainthood. A man who hurt women. A man who hurt black women. With the full collaboration of the UCB history department, corporate America, most mainstream media outlets, and some of the wealthiest and most privileged opinion-shaping elites of the USA, he has become a culture hero, buried in a golden casket, his (recognized) family showered with gifts and praise. Americans are being socially pressured into kneeling for this violent, abusive misogynist. A generation of black men are being coerced into identifying with George Floyd, the absolute worst specimen of our race and species. I’m ashamed of my department. I would say that I’m ashamed of both of you, but perhaps you agree with me, and are simply afraid, as I am, of the backlash of speaking the truth. It’s hard to know what kneeling means, when you have to kneel to keep your job.”
Wow. Too bad that it’s worthless, except to alert us to how many enablers there are who will let our society and our values rot and express their objections in whispers.
Dear profs X, Y, Z
I am one of your colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley. I have met you both personally but do not know you closely, and am contacting you anonymously, with apologies. I am worried that writing this email publicly might lead to me losing my job, and likely all future jobs in my field. In your recent departmental emails you mentioned our pledge to diversity, but I am increasingly alarmed by the absence of diversity of opinion on the topic of the recent protests and our community response to them.
In the extended links and resources you provided, I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system. The explanation provided in your documentation, to the near exclusion of all others, is univariate: the problems of the black community are caused by whites, or, when whites are not physically present, by the infiltration of white supremacy and white systemic racism into American brains, souls, and institutions.
Many cogent objections to this thesis have been raised by sober voices, including from within the black community itself, such as Thomas Sowell and Wilfred Reilly. These people are not racists or ‘Uncle Toms’. They are intelligent scholars who reject a narrative that strips black people of agency and systematically externalizes the problems of the black community onto outsiders.
Their view is entirely absent from the departmental and UCB-wide communiques. The claim that the difficulties that the black community faces are entirely causally explained by exogenous factors in the form of white systemic racism, white supremacy, and other forms of white discrimination remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians. Instead, it is being treated as an axiomatic and actionable truth without serious consideration of its profound flaws, or its worrying implication of total black impotence.
This hypothesis is transforming our institution and our culture, without any space for dissent outside of a tightly policed, narrow discourse.
A counternarrative exists. If you have time, please consider examining some of the documents I attach at the end of this email.
Overwhelmingly, the reasoning provided by BLM and allies is either primarily anecdotal (as in the case with the bulk of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ undeniably moving article) or it is transparently motivated. As an example of the latter problem, consider the proportion of black incarcerated Americans. This proportion is often used to characterize the criminal justice system as anti-black. However, if we use the precise same methodology, we would have to conclude that the criminal justice system is even more anti-male than it is anti-black.
Would we characterize criminal justice as a systemically misandrist conspiracy against innocent American men? I hope you see that this type of reasoning is flawed, and requires a significant suspension of our rational faculties. Black people are not incarcerated at higher rates than their involvement in violent crime would predict. This fact has been demonstrated multiple times across multiple jurisdictions in multiple countries. And yet, I see my department uncritically reproducing a narrative that diminishes black agency in favor of a white-centric explanation that appeals to the department’s apparent desire to shoulder the ‘white man’s burden’ and to promote a narrative of white guilt.
If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans? This is a funny sort of white supremacy. Even Jewish Americans are incarcerated less than gentile whites. I think it’s fair to say that your average white supremacist disapproves of Jews. And yet, these alleged white supremacists incarcerate gentiles at vastly higher rates than Jews. None of this is addressed in your literature. None of this is explained, beyond hand-waving and ad hominems. “Those are racist dogwhistles”. “The model minority myth is white supremacist”.
“Only fascists talk about black-on-black crime”, ad nauseam. These types of statements do not amount to counterarguments: they are simply arbitrary offensive classifications, intended to silence and oppress discourse. Any serious historian will recognize these for the silencing orthodoxy tactics they are, common to suppressive regimes, doctrines, and religions throughout time and space. They are intended to crush real diversity and permanently exile the culture of robust criticism from our department.
Increasingly, we are being called upon to comply and subscribe to BLM’s problematic view of history, and the department is being presented as unified on the matter. In particular, ethnic minorities are being aggressively marshaled into a single position. Any apparent unity is surely a function of the fact that dissent could almost certainly lead to expulsion or cancellation for those of us in a precarious position, which is no small number.
I personally don’t dare speak out against the BLM narrative, and with this barrage of alleged unity being mass-produced by the administration, tenured professoriat, the UC administration, corporate America, and the media, the punishment for dissent is a clear danger at a time of widespread economic vulnerability. I am certain that if my name were attached to this email, I would lose my job and all future jobs, even though I believe in and can justify every word I type.
The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people. There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution.
Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is. No discussion is permitted for nonblack victims of black violence, who proportionally outnumber black victims of nonblack violence. This is especially bitter in the Bay Area, where Asian victimization by black assailants has reached epidemic proportions, to the point that the SF police chief has advised Asians to stop hanging good-luck charms on their doors, as this attracts the attention of (overwhelmingly black) home invaders. Home invaders like George Floyd. For this actual, lived, physically experienced reality of violence in the USA, there are no marches, no tearful emails from departmental heads, no support from McDonald’s and Wal-Mart.
For the History department, our silence is not a mere abrogation of our duty to shed light on the truth: it is a rejection of it.
The claim that black intraracial violence is the product of redlining, slavery, and other injustices is a largely historical claim.
It is for historians, therefore, to explain why Japanese internment or the massacre of European Jewry hasn’t led to equivalent rates of dysfunction and low SES performance among Japanese and Jewish Americans respectively. Arab Americans have been viciously demonized since 9/11,as have Chinese Americans more recently. However, both groups outperform white Americans on nearly all SES indices – as do Nigerian Americans, who incidentally have black skin. It is for historians to point out and discuss these anomalies. However, no real discussion is possiblein the current climate at our department. The explanation is provided to us, disagreement with it is racist, and the job of historians is to further explore additional ways in which the explanation is additionally correct. This is a mockery of the historical profession.
Most troublingly, our department appears to have been entirely captured by the interests of the Democratic National Convention, and the Democratic Party more broadly. To explain what I mean, consider what happens if you choose to donate to Black Lives Matter, an organizationUCB History has explicitly promoted in its recent mailers. All donations to the official BLM website are immediately redirected to ActBlue Charities, an organization primarily concerned with bankrolling election campaigns for Democrat candidates. Donating to BLM today is to indirectly donate to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. This is grotesque given the fact that the American cities with the worst rates of black-on-black violence and police-on-black violence are overwhelmingly Democrat-run. Minneapolis itself has been entirely in the hands of Democrats for over five decades; the ‘systemic racism’ there was built by successive Democrat administrations.
The patronizing and condescending attitudes of Democrat leaders towards the black community, exemplified by nearly every Biden statement on the black race, all but guarantee a perpetual state of misery, resentment, poverty, and the attendant grievance politics which are simultaneously annihilating American political discourse and black lives. And yet, donating to BLM is bankrolling the election campaigns of men like Mayor Frey, who saw their cities devolve into violence. This is a grotesque capture of a good-faith movement for necessary police reform, and of our department, by a political party. Even worse, there are virtually no avenues for dissent in academic circles. I refuse to serve the Party, and so should you. The total alliance of major corporations involved in human exploitation with BLM should be a warning flag to us, and yet this damning evidence goes unnoticed, purposefully ignored, or perversely celebrated. We are the useful idiots of the wealthiest classes, carrying water for Jeff Bezos and other actual, real, modern-day slavers. Starbucks, an organisation using literal black slaves in its coffee plantation suppliers, is in favor of BLM. Sony, an organisation using cobalt mined by yet more literal black slaves, many of whom are children, is in favor of BLM. And so, apparently, are we. The absence of counter-narrative enables this obscenity. Fiat lux, indeed.
There also exists a large constituency of what can only be called ‘race hustlers’: hucksters of all colors who benefit from stoking the fires of racial conflict to secure administrative jobs, charity management positions, academic jobs and advancement, or personal political entrepreneurship.
Given the direction our history department appears to be taking far from any commitment to truth, we can regard ourselves as a formative training institution for this brand of snake-oil salespeople. Their activities are corrosive, demolishing any hope at harmonious racial coexistence in our nation and colonizing our political and institutional life. Many of their voices are unironically segregationist.
MLK would likely be called an Uncle Tom if he spoke on our campus today. We are training leaders who intend, explicitly, to destroy one of the only truly successful ethnically diverse societies in modern history. As the PRC, an ethnonationalist and aggressively racially chauvinist national polity with null immigration and no concept of jus solis increasingly presents itself as the global political alternative to the US, I ask you: Is this wise? Are we really doing the right thing?
As a final point, our university and department has made multiple statements celebrating and eulogizing George Floyd. Floyd was a multiple felon who once held a pregnant black woman at gunpoint. He broke into her home with a gang of men and pointed a gun at her pregnant stomach.
He terrorized the women in his community. He sired and abandoned multiple children, playing no part in their support or upbringing, failing one of the most basic tests of decency for a human being. He was a drug-addict and sometime drug-dealer, a swindler who preyed upon his honest and hard-working neighbors.
And yet, the regents of UC and the historians of the UCB History department are celebrating this violent criminal, elevating his name to virtual sainthood. A man who hurt women. A man who hurt black women. With the full collaboration of the UCB history department, corporate America, most mainstream media outlets, and some of the wealthiest and most privileged opinion-shaping elites of the USA, he has become a culture hero, buried in a golden casket, his (recognized) family showered with gifts and praise. Americans are being socially pressured into kneeling for this violent, abusive misogynist. A generation of black men are being coerced into identifying with George Floyd, the absolute worst specimen of our race and species. I’m ashamed of my department. I would say that I’m ashamed of both of you, but perhaps you agree with me, and are simply afraid, as I am, of the backlash of speaking the truth. It’s hard to know what kneeling means, when you have to kneel to keep your job.
It shouldn’t affect the strength of my argument above, but for the record, I write as a person of color. My family have been personally victimized by men like Floyd. We are aware of the condescending depredations of the Democrat party against our race. The humiliating assumption that we are too stupid to do STEM, that we need special help and lower requirements to get ahead in life, is richly familiar to us. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to deal with open fascists, who at least would be straightforward in calling me a subhuman, and who are unlikely to share my race.
The ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations and the permanent claim that the solutions to the plight of my people rest exclusively on the goodwill of whites rather than on our own hard work is psychologically devastating.
No other group in America is systematically demoralized in this way by its alleged allies. A whole generation of black children are being taught that only by begging and weeping and screaming will they get handouts from guilt-ridden whites.
No message will more surely devastate their futures, especially if whites run out of guilt, or indeed if America runs out of whites. If this had been done to Japanese Americans, or Jewish Americans, or Chinese Americans, then Chinatown and Japantown would surely be no different
to the roughest parts of Baltimore and East St. Louis today. The History department of UCB is now an integral institutional promulgator of a destructive and denigrating fallacy about the black race.
I hope you appreciate the frustration behind this message. I do not support BLM
I do not support the Democrat grievance agenda and the Party’s uncontested capture of our department. I do not support the Party co-opting my race, as Biden recently did in his disturbing interview, claiming that voting Democrat and being black are isomorphic.
I condemn the manner of George Floyd’s death and join you in calling for greater police accountability and police reform. However, I will not pretend that George Floyd was anything other than a violent misogynist, a brutal man who met a predictably brutal end.
I also want to protect the practice of history. Cleo is no grovelling handmaiden to politicians and corporations. Like us, she is free.
I had a long day yesterday, and then had trouble sleeping because I was so annoyed about last night’s Atlanta Wendy’s shooting—which should not have happened for many reasons, and the mass stupidity necessary for it to happen is staggering—so I’m not sufficiently alert and awake for too substantive a post. This I can handle though…
In an interview on two days ago, director Spike Lee said,
“I’d just like to say Woody Allen is a great, great filmmaker and this cancel thing is not just Woody. And I think when we look back on it… we are going to see that — short of killing somebody — I don’t know that you can just erase somebody like they never existed.”
Then, after the predictable reaction by the social media mob, Cancel Culture division, Spike did a sudden reverse-backflip with a twist, added a grovel, and tweeted,
I Deeply Apologize. My Words Were WRONG. I Do Not And Will Not Tolerate Sexual Harassment, Assault Or Violence. Such Treatment Causes Real Damage That Can’t Be Minimized.-Truly, Spike Lee.
Less than a month ago, I wrote this post, explaining why, despite the near complete ethical bankruptcy of and rejection of democratic values by the Democratic Party and its allies, I would nonetheless refuse to vote for President Donald J. Trump in November. I wrote,
Absent my professional and public assessments as a professional ethicist, I would have no difficulty at all in officially concluding that Donald Trump is the preferable, indeed essential, choice to lead the country in the next four years when the alternative is a party that has revealed the corruption and antagonism toward American ideals as has the Democratic Party. But President Trump, as I pointed out repeatedly in 2015 and 2016, is the antithesis of the kind of leader my knowledge and expertise indicates should ever be placed in a leadership position of any kind, or in a position of power and trust.
For me to vote for such an individual would render my credibility in my profession, and what is more important, my personal and professional integrity, void.
An ethicist cannot, in my view, support or vote for Donald Trump as President, nor can an ethicist, at least this ethicist, have any position but the rejection of the current iteration of the Democratic party as antithetical to American values.
I have not reached the point of reversing myself on this crucial decision for me personally, professionally, and as an American. Not yet. I feel, however, that the time may be approaching where my case of ethics zugswang cannot be honestly addressed by refusing to take a side. This week, in particular, has forced me to consider that a tipping point may be at hand.
As I have written before, whatever cosmic script-writer came up with the harebrained idea that someone as personally repellent and ethically inert as Donald Trump should be thrust into the position of being this great nation’s crucial last defense against the rising totalitarianism and fascism of the left is a sadist with a sick sense of humor. It is increasingly difficult to deny, however, that this is the ethical conflict that America finds itself in. At the point, fast approaching, when I have to confront the conclusion that defeating the Democrat/”resistance”/ mainstream media collective is the only way to ensure that the United States and its values remain viable and intact, refraining from making a noxious choice will no longer be an option.
Three stories today accelerated the likelihood of my having to face that tipping point:
I. Writing at the Washington Post, staff cultural reporter Alyssa Rosenberg argued that the networks should cancel all the cop shows on television. You can read the thing here; if I have to explain what is frightening about her argument, then you are already too far gone to be cured. This, it is increasingly clear to me, is the agreed-upon modus operandi of the American Left. Since they cannot advance their agenda by logic, arguments, civic debate and persuasion, they will accomplish it by intimidation, mind control, indoctrination, and censorship. We must like what they like, hate whom the hate, and believe what they believe, and every aspect of the culture, including entertainment, must advance that objective.
This is, of course, how Orwellian cultures operate, and we have witnessed a steady and barely opposed drift toward this as the preferred path to power by the Democratic Party. Rosenberg believes that citizens should not be allowed to see TV programs that don’t comport with the Left’s now mandatory view that police must be regarded as racist villains and law enforcement be seen as a malign force. The Post op-ed follows on the heels of the New York Times capitulating to its “woke” staff’s demand that non-conforming (to the Times’ world view) opinion pieces be rejected for publication. The news media’s activist agenda is out of the shadows and indisputable. Continue reading
The first two stories pushing me to a tipping point are discussed in Part 1, here.
This is the third.
3. Brown University issued embarrassingly rote agitprop in support of the George Floyd protests, and Brown Professor of Social Sciences and Economics Glen Loury, an African American, searingly called them on it. The letter is a template for the indoctrination virtually all students now receive at elite institutions of higher learning; it could have issued from any one of a thousand schools. Like Twinkies or Lucky Charms cereal, the letter is devoid of nutrition, though of the intellectual variety. Loury published a rebuttal. He’s an ethics hero. Here is Loury’s letter: Continue reading
In an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Joe Biden said he had no recollection of Reade, but said she “has a right to be heard but then should be vetted, and the truth ultimately matters. And I give you my word, it never ever happened.”
Then O’Donnell asked what he would say to women who were “eager to vote for Joe Biden but this gives them serious pause because they do believe Tara Reade.”
“Well, I think they should vote their heart,” Biden replied. “If they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn’t vote for me. I wouldn’t vote for me if I believe Tara Reade.”
What is that? Continue reading