Category Archive 'Left Think'
19 Mar 2017
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.
08 Mar 2017
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
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?
01 Dec 2016
Still an irredentist Communist himself, philosopher/clown Slavoj Žižek nonetheless refuses to join the rest of the Left in worshiping Fidel.
We all remember the classic scene from cartoons: a cat walks over the precipice and magically goes on, floating in the air—it falls down only when it looks down and becomes aware that it has no ground under its feet. In the same way, one can say that, in the last decades, Cuban “socialism” continued to live only because it didn’t yet notice it was already dead. …
One gets tired of the conflicting stories of the economic failure and human rights abuses in Cuba, as well as of the twins of education and healthcare that are always trotted out by the friends of the revolution. One gets tired even of the really great story of how a small country can resist the biggest superpower (yes, with the help of the other superpower).
The saddest thing about today’s Cuba is a feature clearly rendered by the crime novels of Cuba’s literary icon Leonardo Padura, which features detective Mario Conde and are set in today’s Havana. Padura’s atmosphere is the one not so much of poverty and oppression as of missed chances, of living in a part of the world to a large extent bypassed by the tremendous economic and social changes of the last decades.
All of the above mentioned stories do not change the sad fact that the Cuban revolution did not produce a social model relevant for the eventual Communist future. I visited Cuba a decade ago, and on that visit I found people who proudly showed me houses in decay as a proof of their fidelity to the revolutionary “Event”: “Look, everything is falling apart, we live in poverty, but we are ready to endure it rather than to betray the Revolution!” When renunciations themselves are experienced as proof of authenticity, we get what in psychoanalysis is called the logic of castration. The whole Cuban politico-ideological identity rests on the fidelity to castration—no wonder that the Leader is called Fidel Castro! …
So what about pro-Castro Western Leftists who despise what Cubans themselves call “gusanos/worms,” those Cubans who emigrated to find a better life? With all sympathy for the Cuban revolution, what right does a typical middle-class Western Leftist, like too many readers of In These Times, have to despise a Cuban who decided to leave Cuba not only because of political disenchantment but also because of poverty? In the same vein, I myself remember from the early 1990s dozens of Western Leftists who proudly threw in my face how, for them, that Yugoslavia (as imagined by Tito) still exists, and reproached me for betraying the unique chance of maintaining Yugoslavia.
To that charge, I answered: I am not yet ready to lead my life so that it will not disappoint the dreams of Western Leftists. Gilles Deleuze wrote somewhere: “Si vous etes pris dans le reve de l’atre vous etez foutu!”—If you are caught in the dream of the other you’re ruined. Cuban people paid the price for being caught into the Western leftists’ dream.
05 Aug 2016
Michael Dirda discovers that the lumpen-intelligentsia today has not read Kipling, but has so thoroughly imbibed all the stereotypes and prejudices of the radical left’s ideology that even mere mention of The Jungle Books provokes outrage and animosity toward their author.
Earlier this summer I was on a panel at a literary conference where I happened to say that Rudyard Kipling was a wonderful writer. Immediately, a number of people in the audience began to boo and hiss. Two of my fellow panelists nearly shrieked that Kipling was utterly beyond the pale, being at once racist, misogynist and imperialist. Not entirely surprised by this reaction, but nonetheless flabbergasted by its vehemence, I made a flustered attempt to champion the author of “Plain Tales From the Hills,” “The Jungle Books ” and “Kim.” I declared what many believe, that he is the greatest short-story writer in English. This only made things worse. Finally, with some desperation I blurted out: “How much Kipling have you actually read?”
A short silence followed, and, without any answer to my question, the discussion moved on to other, less heated topics.
Read the whole thing.
10 Jul 2016
Charles Nash notes that comic book sales are dropping after Marvel and DC sold out to the Social Justice Warrior crowd.
“Thor? Are you kidding me? I’m supposed to call you Thor?” Marvel villain The Absorbing Man yells at the new “female Thor” during a vicious street brawl in an issue published last year. “Damn feminists ruining everything!”
The dialogue mirrored most sane reader’s thoughts during the issue, but we’re not all monsters. We are just loyal, long-time readers who are sick of our favorite characters being butchered by nose-ringed lesbians for the sake of diversity, and at the apparent expense not just of dialogue, story and creativity but also, it now appears, the commercial success of Marvel’s comic books line. …
Increasing customer frustration at obscure third-wave feminism preoccupations shoehorning their way into Marvel’s comic books is starting to have an effect on sales. It turns out you can’t bully people into caring about “microaggressions.” …
Marvel isn’t getting the message. Its latest comic book character is — wait for it — a fifteen year-old black female Iron Man. That’s right. Tony Stark, the badass, billionaire playboy businessman who has represented the quintessential white American male since the 1960s is to be replaced by a fifteen year-old black girl with an Afro and hooped earrings.
Other comic book publishers are hardly saints, of course. In an issue of DC’s Wonder Woman last year, the popular female superhero complained about a villain “mansplaining” to her before an ally punched him in the face for the crime. “The lasso compels truth, but it can’t stop mansplaining,” declared Wonder Woman as the “bad guy” had his teeth knocked out of his mouth.
The new social political styles seem a weird choice for publishers who have a predominately apolitical — and disproportionately male — audience. …
“We’re seeing the worst falloff of Marvel and DC sales in the store’s 38-year history,” complained one comic book store owner in an industry forum. “Both companies are losing established readers who no longer feel that the company’s output reflects the sort of comics they enjoy.”
Read the whole thing.
21 Jun 2016
We learned yesterday that parks are for white people. Today, Katherine DM Clover explains that travel is a privilege and that talking about travel is classist.
When the topic of travel comes up amongst friends or acquaintances, I either try to change the subject, or I try to convince everyone (myself included) that I don’t travel more because I’m just a homebody, OK?
I’m just more focused on trying to make this place the sanctuary of my dreams, rather than going other places.
Friends, if I have ever tried to sell you on that idea, hear me now: That is a lie.
I don’t travel much because I’m poor.
I’m more only “more focused on my home” in the sense that, well, my money has to be focused toward paying my rent so I don’t get evicted. My money also ends up getting focused toward buying groceries because I like eating food, and also, as a mammal, need it to survive.
Being able to travel great distances, just for the sheer joy of it, is actually an enormous privilege, one that has been out of most people’s reach, historically.
Air travel has made it somewhat more accessible, but the modern travel obsession still requires advanced technology, leisure time, and — critically — the expendable income to pay for it.
And while technology has certainly made it easier to get from place to place, in some ways things, haven’t changed much.
While the middle and upper classes may celebrate the many advantages of a life filled with travel (“It’s educational! It makes you a more well rounded person!”), on the other end of the spectrum, there are still plenty of low-income people who rarely have the chance to leave their neighborhood, let alone their city.
And what does that look like for the global poor? I don’t have the stats on this, but I have a hard time imagining people who live on $2 a day taking vacations.
Aside from money, being able to travel safely and easily is still often dependent on privilege. For people with disabilities, any form of travel can pose myriad potential problems. For folks who aren’t white or are visibly LGBTQIA, travel can mean opening oneself up to harassment and even the very real risk of violence.
I’m not saying travel can’t be lovely and educational; it certainly can be. I’m also not claiming there aren’t less expensive ways to get from place to place; there undoubtedly are.
What I am saying, though, is that travel is complicated and it is often dependent on a certain amount of privilege.
I don’t get out much — and it’s not because I’m boring or don’t have a sense of adventure or don’t care about learning about the larger world: It’s because I’m broke.
And when you hold travel up on some kind of pedestal, you sound classist as hell, and I wish you would stop that.
In the final analysis, isn’t being currently alive and not a member of “the great majority” the biggest “privilege” of all? And, yet, we can rely upon perfect equality being achieved eventually for all of us.
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