Category Archive 'Left Think'
25 Apr 2017

Civil War Skirmishing in South Burlington, Vermont

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Ethan Allen (a rebel) demands the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga, “In the Name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”

It’s easier to understand why South Carolina and other Southern States desired to secede and get away from ideologically-crazed crybully left-wing Abolitionists. The Civil War has been over for more than a century and a half. The North won. Slavery was abolished. The South was invaded, burned, conquered, occupied and forcibly Reconstructed.

The Secessionists are dead, ask a college student about the Battle of Gettysburg and he’ll say: Huh? but today, the Left has resumed fighting. Monuments to Southern heroes are being removed, the Confederate Battle Flag (now, really just an amorphous symbol of undefined Southern geography, Redneck identity, or unfocused rebelliousness) is being outlawed, and even the high school in South Burlington, Vermont, land of Bernie Sanders, has become a New Civil War battleground.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

In 1961, when education leaders in South Burlington decided that a newly built high school should be nicknamed the Rebels, nobody batted an eyelash. After all, this community was founded when it split from greater Burlington about 150 years ago.

Yet this city on the shores of Lake Champlain has never seen anything quite like the current revolt under way. Three months ago, the Board of School Directors decided the Rebels moniker had offensive connotations and, therefore, needed to go.

Those Vermonters who didn’t agree with the decision reacted like, well, Vermonters.

“I don’t think constantly caving in to political correctness is appropriate in this day and age,” says Linus Leavens, a 1972 South Burlington High School graduate and the father of a student there. “I think a lot of America feels that way; there was an election recently that showed that.”

In the opinion of Mr. Leavens, a gallery manager for a fine-arts auctioneer, “Vermont has been full of rebels for a long time.”

To protest the decision, local opponents have twice helped vote down the nearly $50 million school district budget. Signs saying, “Be a Rebel. Vote No” dotted yards. Plans for a third vote on the budget are in the works.

“I can’t remember anything that has caused this much emotion and division.” says Diane Bugbee, 52 years old. She has a son who is a senior at South Burlington High and backs a new school nickname. Rebels, she says, has too much baggage: “There are just some things that can’t be rebranded.”

17 Apr 2017

HuffPo Removed Column Urging White Men Be Disenfranchised

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“Shelley Garland” — Not a real person

Not surprisingly, the recent HuffPo South Africa editorial calling for white men to be denied the vote was pulled, Milo Yiannopoulos reports, apparently because HuffPo finally figured out that Google turned up no such person and the alleged photo of “Shelley Garland” didn’t look like a real human being at all.

The Huffington Post has retracted a column suggesting white men should not be allowed to vote, claiming the piece’s author “appears not to exist.”

…[T]he original article (archived here), titled “Could It Be Time To Deny White Men The Franchise?” was credited to a HuffPo contributor by the name of Shelley Garland.

Garland’s profile – which has since been deleted – described her as an “activist and feminist” who is “working on ways to smash the patriarchy.”

Her article suggested denying “toxic white males” the right to vote for 20 to 30 years as a means of “seeing a decline in the influence of reactionary and neo-liberal ideology in the world.”

Describing the article as “extremely sexist and racist,” Breitbart’s Oliver JJ Lane states that it quickly received backlash from several people. …

Huffington Post SA [South Africa] has removed the blog ‘Could It Be Time To Deny White Men The Franchise?’ published on our site on April 13, 2017,” it reads.

“We have done this because the blog submission from an individual who called herself Shelley Garland, who claimed to be an MA student at UCT, cannot be traced and appears not to exist.”

The statement goes on to declare that the Huffington Post has now “strengthened” its standards related to identification.

HuffPo goes on to state that it will be submitting the problematic article to an ombudsman for analysis of its opinion.

The statement also includes an excerpt from the South Africa Press Code decrying the use of “discrimination and hate speech,” although the Huffington Post’s statement does not explicitly describe the problematic article as such.

“We apologise [sic] for the oversight,” the statement concludes. “We welcome further discussion. Please email blogs@huffpostsa.com.”

This retraction comes following Huffington Post South Africa’s Editor In Chief Verashni Pillay actually defended the article’s place on the site.


Verashni Pillay, Huffington Post South Africa’s Editor In Chief

Pillay stated, “we hope, as reads continue to rack up on this blog, that those who are tempted to fire off an angry email to us would first engage with the underlying analysis in Garland’s blog.”

Pillay also declared that “Garland’s underlying analysis about the uneven distribution of wealth and power in the world is pretty standard for feminist theory.”

Despite SA HuffPo’s Editor-in-Chief’s agreement with the editorial’s thesis, my own guess is that the editorial was written by some Alt-Right troll to pull HuffPo’s chain.

17 Apr 2017

Would “They” Go There?

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The Wall Street Journal reports that the Brown Admissions Office has lost its marbles.

Brown University in Providence, R.I. houses one of the country’s most selective undergraduate colleges. The Brown Daily Herald, a student-run newspaper, cites Dean of Admission Logan Powell in reporting that the school received a record-high 32,724 applications this year, and admitted just 8.3% of applicants.

Among those lucky few is the daughter of a Journal reader who is still trying to make sense of a letter the family received this week from Mr. Powell. Our reader’s bright daughter had already received news of her acceptance when a letter arrived that was addressed to her “Parent/Guardian.”

Oddly, the note referred to the accepted student not as “she” but as “they.” Dean Powell’s letter also stated that our reader’s daughter had no doubt worked hard and made positive contributions to “their” school and community. Our reader reports that his perplexed family initially thought that Brown had made a word-processing error. That was before they listened to a voice mail message from the school congratulating his daughter and referring to her as “them.”…

It turns out that the errors were intentional. Brown spokesman Brian Clark writes in an email that “our admission office typically refers to applicants either by first name or by using ‘they/their’ pronouns. While the grammatical construction may read as unfamiliar to some, it has been adopted by many newsrooms and other organizations as a gender-inclusive option.”

RTWT

15 Apr 2017

Clemson: Expecting Punctuality is Racist

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The Daily Wire reports that one university is now teaching people that expecting punctuality in the workplace is racist.

According to diversity training materials being disseminated at publicly-funded Clemson University, expecting people from other cultures to show up on time is racist.

Yup, racist.

The university spent nearly $27,000 on diversity training materials from a company called Workplace Answers. …

One of the online slides depicted two groups, which included foreign professors and students, showing up to a scheduled event at 9 a.m.; one group came 15 minutes early and the other came 10 minutes late. The slide made the assertion that it would not be the inclusive thing to do to chastise the group that was late, since people must “recognize cultural differences that may impact the meeting and adjust accordingly.”

The Daily Caller reports:

    One slide features a guy named Alejandro who plans a meeting between two groups. Each group contains foreign professors and students. One group shows up 15 minutes early. The second group shows up 10 minutes late.

    A question-and-answer section then instructs Clemson’s professors that Alejandro would be insufficiently “inclusive” if he were to “politely ask the second group to apologize.” Alejandro would also be wrong to advise the straggling, late people who aren’t respecting everyone else’s time that “in our country, 9:00 a.m. means 9:00 a.m.”

    The “inclusive” thing for Alejandro to do, the taxpayer-funded diversity materials instruct Clemson professors, is to “recognize cultural differences that may impact the meeting and adjust accordingly.” Alejandro must understand “that his cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.”

In other words, some foreigners are incapable of being on time and Americans need to shut up and accept it in the name of diversity, or something. Of course, such low expectations of those from other cultures is truly infantilizing stuff, but this is how the Left views any minority group.

These ingenuous and expensive slides were reportedly approved by Clemson Chief Diversity Officer Lee Gill. It’s unclear what a “chief diversity officer” actually does, but Gill apparently gets paid big bucks for the position, raking in over $185,000 in tax-payer funds annually.

RTWT

15 Apr 2017

Alleged South African Grad Student Proposes Disenfranchising White Men

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“Shelley Garland” looks like a transgender specimen to me.

The South African edition of Huffington Post recently featured an interesting editorial proposal offering a glimpse of just where the radical left will be going in the future internationally.

Some of the biggest blows to the progressive cause in the past year have often been due to the votes of white men. If white men were not allowed to vote, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would now be the President of the United States, and it is unlikely that the Democratic Alliance would now be governing four of South Africa’s biggest cities.

If white men no longer had the vote, the progressive cause would be strengthened. It would not be necessary to deny white men indefinitely – the denial of the vote to white men for 20 years (just less than a generation) would go some way to seeing a decline in the influence of reactionary and neo-liberal ideology in the world. The influence of reckless white males were one of the primary reasons that led to the Great Recession which began in 2008. This would also strike a blow against toxic white masculinity, one that is long needed.

At the same time, a denial of the franchise to white men, could see a redistribution of global assets to their rightful owners. After all, white men have used the imposition of Western legal systems around the world to reinforce modern capitalism. A period of twenty years without white men in the world’s parliaments and voting booths will allow legislation to be passed which could see the world’s wealth far more equitably shared. The violence of white male wealth and income inequality will be a thing of the past.

This redistribution of the world’s wealth is long overdue, and it is not just South Africa where white males own a disproportionate amount of wealth. While in South Africa 90 percent of the country’s land is in the hands of whites (it is safe to assume these are mainly men), along with 97 percent of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, this is also the norm in the rest of the world. Namibia has similar statistics with regard to land distribution and one can assume this holds for other assets too. As Oxfam notes eight men control as much as wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population. In the United States ten percent of the population (nearly all white) own 90 percent of all assets – it is likely that these assets are largely in the hands of males. Although statistics by race are difficult to find from other parts of the world, it is very likely that the majority of the world’s assets are in the hands of white males, despite them making up less than 10 percent of the world’s population.

It is obvious that this violent status quo will not change without a struggle, and the only way to do so will be through the expropriation of these various assets and equitably distribute them to those who need them. This will not only make the world a more equitable place, but will also go some way to paying the debt that white males owe the world. Over the past 500 years colonialism, slavery, and various aggressive wars and genocides, have been due to the actions of white men. Redistributing some of their assets will go some way to paying the historical debt that they owe society.

It is no surprise that liberalism – and its ideological offshoots of conservatism and libertarianism – are the most popular ideologies among white males. These ideologies with their focus on individuals and individual responsibility, rather than group affiliation, allow white men to ignore the debt that they owe society, and from acknowledging that most of their assets, wealth, and privilege are the result of theft and violence.

Some may argue that this is unfair. Let’s be clear, it may be unfair, but a moratorium on the franchise for white males for a period of between 20 and 30 years is a small price to pay for the pain inflicted by white males on others, particularly those with black, female-identifying bodies. In addition, white men should not be stripped of their other rights, and this withholding of the franchise should only be a temporary measure, as the world rights the wrongs of the past.

A withholding of the franchise from white males, along with the passing of legislation in this period to redistribute some of their assets, will also, to a degree, act as the reparations for slavery, colonialism, and apartheid, which the world is crying out for to be paid.

RTWT if you can stand it.

11 Apr 2017

Face It, The Red Gods Hate Minorities

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Writing in Everyday Feminism, “Raging Bisexual” Emily Zak explains that Googles and Yahoos do not recreate themselves in the out-of-doors as much as white folks, and it’s all your fault!

Ambreen Tariq runs Brown People Camping, an Instagram account that promotes diversity in public lands. She says she can feel like an outsider hiking and camping as a Muslim woman of color and immigrant.

“I felt like I had to establish myself – ‘Yeah, I’m a camper, I’m a hiker’ – that other people don’t do as much because they don’t have to question their belonging in that space,” Tariq tells Outside.

“Not only did I not have an authentic background doing activities in the outdoors, but my family didn’t do it, and I don’t have the legacy of being connected to a piece of land because we were always moving.”

We need to acknowledge outdoor recreation’s lack of diversity and inclusion.

Without understanding what’s keeping folks home, we blame oppressed individuals for “not taking initiative,” rather than addressing what may be preventing them from participating in certain activities.

To encourage people to take their own adventures, we might say well-meaning things like, “Anybody can do this if they’re motivated enough.”

This can be inspirational to someone who has the resources and leisurely time to explore the outdoors and needs a kick in the butt to do so. However, the message can be draining for folks who are raring to explore, but can’t.

We forget that society’s hierarchies of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, body size, and economic class don’t magically disappear in the forest. We deny that society actively discourages millions from playing outside, possibly stopping budding conservation activists.

As Tariq notes, “The more of us who can connect to it, the more we can protect it together.”

Here are a few barriers that marginalize people have to overcome to experience nature.

1. You Need Equipment

Our society treats nature as something we can enjoy independent of capitalism.

Theoretically, we go there to escape, and all we need are some sturdy shoes and maybe a sleeping bag.

The reality is more complicated. In the United States, outdoor recreation is a $646 billion industry. Open the pages of outdoor magazines, and you’ll find $150 trail running shoes, $500 tents and $4,000 mountain bikes.

We’ve created a culture of elitism around the outdoors, led by wealthy gear heads.

The Minnesota Land Trust’s Hansi Johnson, who’s white, recalls how he used to see people wearing jeans and flannel cross-country skiing growing up – a rare sight today.

Even if folks push past mainstream narratives and seek more affordable gear, cost is still a factor for low-income people.

If deals on used equipment or borrowing from a friend aren’t feasible in someone’s area, gear for a no-frills camping trip can still cost $500. Forget the cost of a car and gas to get to the campsite.

While do-it-yourself fixes for gear do exist – anybody else try cooking on a beer can camp stove? – they’re not universally known outside of backpacking circles. Ditto on cheap gear websites.

Those who make outdoor activities cheap often have a support system behind them.

As a freelancer with a college education, I’m perpetually broke, not poor. I couldn’t camp comfortably if I didn’t have the gear my parents gifted me back in high school.

No wonder 40% of participants in outdoor activities make $75,000-plus salaries a year.

The paradox that being poor is expensive is true: If you want to participate in a no-cost outdoor activity, you need to have money to invest in the gear initially.

This system reveals deeply entrenched classism. Ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away.

2. Outdoor Gear Doesn’t Fit Everyone

Cost is just one hurdle. Outdoor gear needs to fit.

Fitness culture overall reeks of fat-shaming, for one, which is reflected in workout clothing offerings.

Ultra-marathoner and cross-country coach Mirna Valerio says on Fat Girl Running that she struggles to find functional, flattering outfits that don’t pinch or cost a lot. In fact, most sportswear goes up to just a size twelve.

For those who’d prefer cycling: Only last year did anyone think to build a bike for someone who’s heavier than 300 pounds.

As with disability access, if the equipment isn’t readily available, people aren’t as likely to think that the outdoors are theirs to explore.

If we truly believe that everyone should be outside, we need to hold companies accountable for their limited views on body size.

3. Access to Natural Spaces Is Tangled in Historic Privilege and Oppression

In principle, public lands belong to all of us. In reality, select people get to enjoy it.

Carolyn Finney, geographer and author of Black Faces, White Spaces, explains about how national parks contribute to a larger story about who we are as a country, which historically excludes Black folks.

On Tavis Smiley, a PBS show hosted by Tavis Smiley, Finney reminds us that people of color do have a connection to natural spaces, but some of that land was stolen from them:

    ” …whether it’s the 400,000 acres of land that were originally given to freed enslaved Africans and then taken away, whether it’s all the native people that had to be removed from land in order for the Homestead Act to make sense, and then give it to European immigrants so that they could have their own plot of land.”

Finney continues, “This is part of the legacy of who we are and our issues of land and ownership and connection.”

Today, 80% of communities of color live “in areas where the proportion of remaining natural area is lower than the state average.” According to a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, low-income neighborhoods are four and a half times less likely to have recreation facilities like parks in some states.

Furthermore, what we consider “untouched wilderness” is anything but.

As Kimberly Fanshier notes for Everyday Feminism, this concept centers around white people’s perspective and erases Indigenous populations who lived there for centuries before.

Many national parks and public lands were built on colonized lands. Even US National Parks reflect colonialism, where white leaders ignored Indigenous people in the area to establish.

Our society leverages natural spaces as a tool for capitalism and colonialism, while at the same time touted them as apolitical, free, and pure.

It goes on.

Personally I thought urban minorities do a pretty good job of stealing other people’s bicycles, so why wouldn’t they be adequately equipped for mountain biking?

05 Apr 2017

Facts

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31 Mar 2017

Universities “Full of Passionate Intensity”

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Flagg Taylor, taking the riots at Middlebury over a proposed talk by Charles Murray as an example, discusses how training in activism and applause for passion and commitment have replaced the quest for truth and the cultivation of the mind as goals for the modern (post-Gramscian Long March) university.

Training in politically correct opinions is designed self-consciously to churn out activists or silence dissenters. One must display one’s passionate commitment to these correct opinions; subjects like race and inequality are not really up for discussion, notwithstanding the omnipresent talk of “dialogue” and ceaseless self-congratulatory paeans to diversity.

But the praise of passion and engagement has another less noticeable but pernicious consequence. The loud, confident voices are applauded, but the quiet students are presumed not to be “engaged.” At best they are called apathetic, at worst they are “part of the problem.” Thus what institutions of higher learning have done with this fetishization of passion is to destroy the space for intellectual modesty. Some students might think, very naturally, “I really don’t know enough about that topic to have a strong opinion.” But the general atmosphere tells them to get committed, get passionate; there is no time to waste! For those who, perhaps instinctually, turn away from the politically correct opinions to which they are supposed to give their passionate embrace, what is left is most often a cynical distance from anything that smells of politics. So the destruction of the space of intellectual modesty leaves a desiccated field strewn with impassioned fanatics, knowing cynics, and careerists willing so say whatever provides the path of least resistance.

Read the whole thing.

25 Mar 2017

“Friends in Safe Spaces”

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19 Mar 2017

One More Reason We Should Carpet-Bomb American Colleges & Universities

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Real article by Howard Rachlin, Emeritus Research Professor of Psychology, Stony Brook University and Marvin Frankel, Professor of psychology, Sarah Lawrence College:

It may be objected that parents’ desire to have their own biological children is so strong that they would be blind to the public good, that they would have babies and bring them up in secret. But those babies would not have birth certificates, they would not be citizens, they could not vote, serve in public office and so forth. If discovered, the children might be taken away after the strong bonds of psychological (as opposed to biological) parenthood had been formed. Few Americans would risk these penalties. …

Genetic chauvinism lives on very strongly in our culture. Modern fiction and cinema often present adoptees’ searches for biological parents and siblings in a highly positive light. The law in child custody cases is biased towards biological parents over real parents. You might claim that this bias itself is ‘natural’. It is so common as to seem part of our biological makeup. But subjugation of women was also common in primitive human cultures and remains so in many cultures today. Unnatural as it sounds, social mixing promises many advantages. If we are not willing to adopt it, we should consider carefully why. And if naturalness is the key, we should ask ourselves why on this matter, ungoverned nature should trump social cohesion.

17 Mar 2017

Inevitable

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Hat tip to Stephen Green.

08 Mar 2017

“Don’t You Dare Say There’s No Free Speech!”

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The Telegraph has a humor item from one of the more advanced educational Gulags across the pond.

A student union has banned a university Conservative society from using its social media accounts – because they challenged its position on free speech.

Lincoln University’s Conservative Society has been censored by its student union after it posted an image online showing that the university had been ranked “very intolerant” on free speech in a recent survey.

In response, the Students’ Union swiftly suspended the society’s social media accounts, on the grounds that highlighting the university’s ranking had brought it into disrepute.

However, the decision has been met with widespread derision from social media users and Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, who said that union officials should be “ashamed”.

“This intolerant, illiberal and totalitarian response is akin to something out of the Soviet Union or North Korea rather than a place for learning and debate,” he said.

Read the whole thing.

26 Feb 2017

Math for the Social Justice Major

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Yale Classmate Seattle Sam writes:

I created a course that I think will be in next year’s Yale course catalog.

Math for the Social Justice Major

Mathematics was devised by old white men who sought to oppress the uneducated masses. In this course we will explore a more empathetic approach to the subject.

The course will explore questions such as:

How does the number 6 make you feel?

If John has 6 marbles and Sue has 2, isn’t that unfair?

How can there be any “incorrect” answers?

Isn’t identifying a number as “positive” or negative” stereotyping?

If you identify with 5 more than 4, why shouldn’t that be a solution to 2+2=?

What did Euclid know and when did he know it?

Isn’t a null set non-inclusive?

What should you do if the solution to an equation make you feel unsafe?

Shouldn’t we just deem the Parallel Postulate proved?

What’s the point of carrying pi out to more than two decimals?

Aren’t < and > judgmental symbols?

Who are you to determine that a fraction is improper?

Why do you think prime numbers have only a token even member?

Why shouldn’t an inverse tangent have the same value as a cosine?

Aren’t right angles reactionary?

Are there really any absolute values?

Why should binomials and polynomials be considered deviants?

Isn’t a Real Number just your perception?

Just because a number can’t be expressed as a ratio of integers, why should it be called irrational?

07 Dec 2016

First Snowflake

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