Colleges Have Become An Existential Threat To Free Speech, Thought, And Democracy. They Have To Be Opposed And Reformed [CORRECTED]

From the cover of Ben Shapiro’s book. Of course, most campuses won’t allow Shapiro to speak there, and explain how students are being brainwashed…

And that will take determination, character, and guts.

Two horrifying stories from our campuses illustrate the urgency of concerted, relentless opposition.  Warning: the second is even worse than the first:

1.University of Connecticut

The president and vice president of the University of Connecticut’s Undergraduate Student Government rejected the will of the students who voted them them into their positions four months ago, and announced that they were resigning. The reason, they said, was that it was inherently racist for white people to lead. Of course, it is racist by definition to claim that one race or another is more qualified to do anything, but this is the apparent quality of a UConn education on display.

VP Alex Ose , according to The Daily Campus,  quit while citing “the climate and incidents of racial injustice across the country and at the university,” and added,

I feel that it is my duty to step down from my position to make space for BIPOC (black, indigineous and people of color) voices to truly rise and be heard. It is my responsibility to make space, not to create an echo.

Fascinating. The fact that she is so devoid of critical thinking skills as to state something like this publicly is, ironically, a good reason for her to resign, but wanting to “make space” for “black, indigineous and people of color”—she misspelled indigenous—regardless of their qualifications, intelligence, judgment ability and experience is not.

As noted here earlier, this is the emerging “answer” to Question 13 (“What is the “systemic reform regarding race in America” that the George Floyd protests purport to be seeking?“): installing a color-based system that excludes merit, and designating whites as a subordinate class. UConn has apparently done an excellent job indoctrinating white students into accepting that second-class status. Go Huskies!

President Joshua Crow’s explanation for his resignation was slightly less idiotic, but still entirely based on race rather than any rational distinction. He said, “It is important in this time to ensure that marginalized groups have the platforms they need.”

Whatever that means. Need to do what? President of the student government isn’t a platform, it’s a job. What does “ensure” mean? Apparently it means ignoring the votes of students, and deciding what is “needed” by edict. If white people are marginalizing themselves, does that still make marginalizing unethical?

To be fair, college students have the excuse that they are young, inexperienced, prone to being influenced by emotion and peer pressure, and, as this nauseating display of virtue-signaling shows, badly educated. College administrators and faculty, however, have no such excuse, which is why the next account is even worse. Continue reading

Ethics Grab Bag: 6/18/20: Absolutism, DACA, Cancel Culture And Pancakes

1. Oh, I’m sure that will help a lot. Quaker announced yesterday that the Aunt Jemima brand would be rebranded and renamed “to make progress toward racial equality.” Yeah, I’m sure the pancake box design and hearing that demon name “Jemima” has retarded the progress of racial justice for decades.  I couldn’t care less what pancake mix is called and I doubt that anyone else does, but  if any portion of the market claims to find the logo offensive, that’s a good reason to ditch it, which I assume means that Uncle Ben’s Rice will be called “U.B.R.” soon. Nonetheless, Quaker’s move isn’t substantive. It’s virtue signaling, and at this point, more historical airbrushing. Getting rid of Aunt Jemima will cost Quaker millions of dollars, and probably raise the price of the product. It won’t affect racial equality one iota.

Meanwhile, cultural context and history is lost. The R. T. Davis Milling Company hired former slave Nancy Green as a spokesperson for the Aunt Jemima pancake mix in 1890, and she continued in that role  until her death in 1923. Green appeared as Jemima beside the “world’s largest flour barrel” while operating a pancake-cooking display at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. After the Expo, Green was given a lifetime contract to  promote the pancake mix. Aunt Jemima was Nancy Green’s one link to immortality.

2. Today’s SCOTUS decision on DACA. Here’s how NPR put it: “A narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court extended a life-support line to some 650,000 so-called DREAMers on Thursday, allowing them to remain safe from deportation for now, while the Trump administration jumps through the administrative hoops that the court said are required before ending the program.”

The President called this a political decision in his inimitable, meat-axe way:

This is an especially stupid tweet. Every time SCOTUS doesn’t back the administration isn’t a political decision, and lumping apples and kumquats together, which is what generalizing about decisions as diverse as the gay discrimination decision and this one is, just shows that the President doesn’t read the opinions he’s complaining about, and only cares about the results. (Of course, in this he is like most Americans, sad to say.)

After wading through as much of the assorted opinions in the case as I can stand (Great thanks, once again, to valkygrrl for sending me the link), I think that’s unfair.

Chief Justice Roberts, again the swing man, joined with the four liberal Justices and authored the majority opinion. This sentence says it all: “The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.” That means that the decision isn’t about substance or policy, but rather process. Process decisions are not, or shouldn’t be, political. This note also undermines the idea that the Justices were just acting in partisan lockstep:

ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to Part IV. GINSBURG, BREYER, and KAGAN, JJ., joined that opinion in full, and SOTOMAYOR, J., joined as to all but Part IV. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed an opinion concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part anddissenting in part, in which ALITO and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., and KAVANAUGH, J., filed opinions concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part.

If the President paid attention, he would see that a majority of the Court found that his actions regarding DACA were not motivated by “animus,” thus denying Big Lie #4.

I am unalterably opposed to DACA, for reasons stated frequently here. The short version: it is incompetent and irresponsible law-making to provide an incentive for people to break the law. DACA is fueled by emotion and sentimentality (“Think if the children!”) and is an incremental step toward open borders. However, other than some dicta among the concurrences and dissents, there is no reason to see the decision as either favoring or disfavoring the law. Continue reading

An Update On The Professor Jacobson Controversy At Cornell

Last week Professor William Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School who writes a well-respected conservative blog, announced that there was a movement afoot among some faculty and students to get him fired. (Ethics Alarms discussed it here.) Here are Jacobson’s posts since then regarding the ongoing effort to have him dismissed for being critical of Black Lives Matter:

In a related development, the similarly politically incorrect (but so far anonymous) Berkeley history professor I criticized here is now being condemned by the university.

On this development, Professor Turley writes in part, Continue reading

Afternoon Ethics Warm-U…OH MY GOD I JUST SAW THE “I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY” VIDEO AND MY BRAIN IS CRAWLING OUT OF MY SKULL!!!!!

1. This thing above. How can anyone take these people, or the entire industry they represent, seriously? Was someone challenged to come up with the most nauseating, self-indicting example of narcissistic grandstanding and virtue-signalling imaginable? Among the more recognizable celebrities are Kristen Bell, Kesha, Aaron Paul, Stanley Tucci, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Debra Messing, though I’m sure I would have recognized more if I hadn’t been retching so violently. This PSA is supposed to launch  a new project by entertainment production company Confluential Content, in partnership with the NAACP. So earnest (and as performed, manifestly phony) that it hurts, the stars—I’m assuming they are all stars—take turns reading a wildly hyperbolic and deceitful script:

“I take responsibility for every unchecked moment, for every time it was easier to ignore than to call it out for what it was. Every not-so-funny joke. Every unfair stereotype. Every blatant injustice no matter how big or small. Every time I remained silent. Every time I explained away police brutality or turned a blind eye. I take responsibility. Black people are being slaughtered in the streets. Killed in their own homes. These are our brothers and sisters. Our friends. Our family. We are done watching them die. We are no longer bystanders; we will not be idle. Enough is enough.”

Who is it who will decide what’s a stereotype, an unfunny joke (what if the joke is funny?), or a blatant injustice? You silly people? Right. Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren’s Brazen Breast Implant Lie

This story, which was just breaking through the Mueller fiasco yesterday, literally woke me up. If I’m ever going to get any sleep, I have to write this post now, because it simultaneously disgusts me and brings me great satisfaction.

I  decided long ago that Elizabeth Warren was a principle-free demagogue and a liar. The first clue was her tap-dancing around the uncomfortable fact that she had been practicing law without a valid license in Massachusetts. Then there was her cynical use of a Cherokee heritage she didn’t have to gain diversity benefits when she was seeking positions on law school faculties, and her long, long, stubborn resistance to coming clean about the fact that she was not, in her words, a “woman of color” despite posing as one for decades.

This last should have permanently made a run for the Democratic Party 2020 nomination futile, but Warren threw her war bonnet into the ring anyway, counting on her considerable talent for demagoguery  and her willingness to say anything and espouse any extreme position  to make her candidacy viable in a shockingly weak field.  She is, when you think of it, the closest equivalent to Hillary Clinton that the Democrats have, and as this story demonstrates, in all the worst ways.

Warren has been claiming for years that as a lawyer she fought for the women who were victims of dangerous silicon breast implants. Not only is that not accurate, it’s an audacious  and calculated lie.

The truth was initially exposed by Professor William Jacobson, the proprietor of the conservative blog,  Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion when Warren was running for the Massachusetts Senate in 2012, though it was largely ignored then: the news media was too invested in getting Democrats control of the U.S. Senate. Then she brazenly continued the false narrative in 2019, prompting Jacobson to tell Tucker Carlson about it this week on Fox news, but more importantly, inspiring the Washington Post to resort to actual journalism even though it harms a sweetheart of the “resistance” and a relentless critic of President Trump. [Why would it do this? I suspect because the Post favors Kamala Harris.] From the Post on July 15: Continue reading

Saturday Afternoon Ethics Stimulus, 5/26/2018: The Sad Part Is That None Of This Is A Surprise

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

1.  From the “Bias makes you UNBELIEVABLY stupid, especially, apparently, if you’re a journalist” files: Ann Althouse posted this screen shot of memeorandum, an excellent  news aggregator page:

I wrote earlier about how many of the anti-Trump mob, in the news media and out of it, appeared to be actively rooting for the President’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea to fail, and how his Negotiation 101 move of symbolically walking away from the planned summit would probably be misunderstood and misinterpreted because of the current toxic combination of bias and ignorance, but this is ridiculous. Writes Althouse—who despite multiple polite requests refuses to put Ethics Alarms in her links despite its covering a lot of parallel territory, despite the many frivolous or largely inactive blogs she does link to, and despite the multiple plugs and links I give her, but hey, I’m not bitterContinue reading

The Media’s Unethical Reporting On Trump’s Refugee Pause Order: Does Telling The Whole Story Fairly And Accurately Even Matter To These Hacks Any More? Does Their Trump-Hating Audience Even Care?

How many of these protesters have read the Executive Order they are protesting? My guess; none of them.

How many of these protesters have read the Executive Order they are protesting? My guess: none of them.

I didn’t intend this to become Outrageously Unethical Journalism Sunday, but that’s how it is turning out. Not my fault. Don’t blame the messenger.

Here, for the sake of organization and clarity, are some things that you may not have been told about the Trump refugee order that all the Sunday Morning TV shows are and the news sources yesterday were going nuts over. I couldn’t watch all of the former, of course, and some are going on as I write this. Maybe some responsible journalism snuck in, and if it did, please let me know who was responsible, in both senses of the word. So far, however, the mainstream news media is doubling down on its determination not to allow facts to get in the way of its 24-7 effort to demonize President Trump, and my increasingly bats Facebook friends, and yours, I assume, are taking it all as the Utter Truth…

I. Calling the Trump Executive Order a “Muslim Ban” is a lie. Nothing less.

II. In 2011, President Obama ordered a halt to the acceptance of refugees from Iraq for six months (that’s twice the three months of the Trump order yesterday) with no adverse reaction from the news media whatsoever.

III. The seven nations targeted in Trump’s order were not his administration’s collection, but Obama’s, with the addition of Iran.

IV. All of this had to be included in any competent, fair and truthful report about yesterday’s order. As of yesterday, none of it was, at least in major news sources, or the information was buried deep in the reports under hysterical headlines.

Got all that?

It is 100% true. If you were not aware of it before, you are misinformed. If you or your family, friends or acquaintances were on social media proclaiming that the order proves Trump is Hitler, just as you suspected, without knowing the above, you are spreading fake news. If you did this while knowing the above, you are deliberately misrepresenting reality to press your misguided false narrative. Or, in the alternative, you are a rationalizing fool.

Remember, no ethical analysis can proceed without accurately establishing the answer to the question, “What’s going on here?” If one does not have the facts, one cannot perform the analysis. Answering the question incorrectly, as in “What’s going on here is that a xenophobic madman just violated the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion!!!! ARGGGHHH!” also guarantees a flawed analysis.

You will note that the best sources for establishing the shockingly biased and unethical reportage of this event are conservative sources. This is because this right-biased alternative to the left-biased news media developed specifically for situations like this, in which the truth is deliberately skewed by political bias from the exact same people the public has been taught to trust to keep it informed. As the previous post also demonstrates, that trust is no longer warranted.

Right up front, I want to credit Prof. William Jacobson of Cornell Law School. Every single news source had an obligation to include the information he researched and posted on his blog, but none did.  Now, some details:

1. Read the order itself. Scroll past it if you want to my commentary, but as the professor says, “You should read the actual EO, because most of the media and leftist pundits either have not or are lying if they have.” It is long; I have formatted it for easier reading, but it is long. Nonetheless, the news media have proven beyond, not just a reasonable doubt but the shadow of a doubt that its journalists cannot be trusted to digest this kind of document and relay it truthfully.

Res ipsa loquitur: CNN, from which I obtained the text, headlines the order,

Full text of Trump’s executive order on 7-nation ban, refugee suspension

But there is no ban! That headline is fake news. If you don’t read the order yourself, and yet start ranting on Facebook about the suspension of freedom of religion or some other non-factual nonsense, then you are irresponsible, and you are spreading disinformation. Read it yourself, ascertain what it means if you are uncertain, or shut up about it.

And welcome the era of biased, untrustworthy, partisan journalism.

Here is the EO: Continue reading

Ethics Indictments And Observations On “The Greatest Race Hoax Since Tawana Brawley.”

Hey Oberlin! Can't you take a joke?

Hey Oberlin! Can’t you take a joke?

On  February 2013, the small, elite, ultra-liberal arts (both ultra liberal and ultra-arty) campus of Oberlin College was horrified by a series of racist and anti-Semitic posters, graffiti and anonymous emails. The classes were cancelled for intense self-examination and soul-searching; the news media reported on the shocking episode with dire reflections upon the increasing racial tensions in the U.S. Progressive pundits went further, flogging the story as proof of the assault on minority rights from the right, sparked by their rejection of a black President. From BET’s commentary on the Oberlin incidents:

“The sad truth is that the infection of intolerance is pervasive in American society in the age of Obama. We’re living in an era when Supreme Court justices consider the right to vote for African-Americans to be a form of “racial entitlement.” We’re in a period where Republican candidates for president cavalierly refer to the nation’s first Black commander-in-chief as the “food stamp president.” This is the period in American history that has seen the most highly orchestrated assault on minority voting since the end of Reconstruction. And in the midst of it are Republican elected officials boasting about it.in which two students made seemingly racist and other such for the purpose of getting a reaction on campus, not because they believed the hostile messages.  At least one of the two was an Obama supporter with strong progressive, anti-racist politics.”

It has now been conclusively confirmed by investigative reporters and bloggers that the perpetrators of the wave of apparent racial hate were two students, inseparable friends, who were not conservatives, Republicans or racists, but “pranksters” and provocateurs, who engaged in the conduct to see how the campus would “over-react.” One of the students, Dylan Bleier, had organized a voter drive for President Obama in 2008. His Facebook page announced him as a supporter of the ACLU, a Democrat, a member of the Green Party, and someone who placed “civil rights” at the top if his  interests and priorities. This means that there was not an outbreak of racism on one of the most liberal college campuses in America, but that two progressive students set out to make it seem that way—it was essentially a prank. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Prof. William Jacobson

“The incessant attempt to turn race-neutral phrases into racial testing grounds is part of a larger political war in which race agitators seek to turn everything into a discussion of race all the time in every sphere of life…Equating the race-neutral phrase “brown bag” used in the context of bringing lunch to work with some esoteric past-practice of inter-black skin tone testing is so ludicrous that it may have revealed a chink in the armor of the language police, which can be exploited by the vast majority of Americans of all races and colors who just want to get on with the conversation.”

—–Prof. William Jacobson, deriding yet another outbreak of mind-numbingly ridiculous political correctness word-censorship, an edict against using the term “brown bag” in Seattle, and the unwelcome return of one of the all-time silliest imaginary offenses, a CNBC reporter being criticized for using the phrase “chink in the armor.”

My family thanks you, Prof. Jacobson. This could have been me. And might yet...

My family thanks you, Prof. Jacobson. This could have been me. And might yet…

I (and my loving family, which really, really likes me) need to thank Professor Jacobson, the author of the blog Legal Insurrection, for writing his post about this topic—one I truly hate—-before I learned myself about the “brown bag” memo and especially the unwelcome sequel to the Jeremy Lin “chink in the armor” controversy. For one thing, after a long and infuriating day of traffic jams and car trouble, had I read the reports of these embarrassments to the human species in straight news accounts, some aneurism deep in my brain might well have popped, killing me on the spot. For another, he invested such obvious contempt and exasperation in his excellent post that I don’t have to risk death by working myself into a head-exploding rant-producing fury to do this continuing outrage justice. Jacobson pretty much knocks this hanging curveball right out of the park.

Among other things, he links to his discussions of previous examples of perfectly good, innocent and useful words, idioms and phrases that have been attacked by political correctness fanatics (which, unfortunately, includes a disturbingly large percentage of U.S. Democrats), including such “offensive” terms as black list, “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” rejigger, Providence Plantations, Black Friday, gobbledygook, illegal immigrant, undocumented immigrant, and master bedroom. Inexplicably, the professor left out the grandaddy  of them all and my personal favorite, “niggardly,”  the perfectly good word meaning “stingy” the use of which  once got a supervisor in the D.C. government fired, and which spawned Ethics Alarms’ indispensable Niggardly Principles, 1 and 2. He also chose to omit the long list of various words and phrases MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has declared as racist, including urban, “monkeying around,” welfare, food stamps, and even Chicago, but these are cynical “gotcha’s,” devised to show that every opponent of President Obama is secretly motivated by racial hate. Continue reading

Jury Summation: 20 Conclusions Regarding Elizabeth Warren’s Law License Controversy

1. Elizabeth Warren may have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Massachusetts at various times.

2. It is not as clear that she has done so as her primary accuser, Prof. Jacobson, appears to believe, nor is it as certain that she has not done so as her reflexive defenders assert.

3. If she did practice Massachusetts law without a license, it is very unlikely that she did so intentionally.

4. It is also likely that at this moment, she herself is unsure whether she did or not.

5. I very much doubt that if she did as Prof. Jacobson asserts,  that would lead to discipline by the Massachusetts Bar. The discussion of the issues surrounding Warren’s situation make it clear that a) the whole area of unauthorized practice when it involves state and Federal law is relatively unresolved and murky, with even  legal ethics experts in disagreement, b) it would be impossible to separate the professional regulation of the matter from its political content, and 3) any time members of the disciplinary committee slap their foreheads and say, “Damned if I know!” when the discussion turns to what the rules require, discipline is unlikely, and properly so.

6. The fact that Warren may have blundered into UPL between the varying requirements of her two bar memberships and her intermittent practice in Massachusetts does not make her unfit to practice law.

7. It may, combined with her unwillingness to candidly and thoroughly reveal all documents that bear on the issue, call into question her fitness to be a U.S. Senator, especially one running on the proposition that regulations on another profession (the financial sector) need to be strictly followed and tightly enforced. It definitely is worth exploring and explaining to voters, which the mainstream media clearly does not intend to do. Continue reading