Category Archive 'Left Think'
20 Nov 2020

Sustainability at Yale is Bloody Expensive

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I get press release emails from Mother Yale pretty much every day.

This morning in came a triumphant notice boasting that Yale, this year for the first time, earned a gold rating via STARS, The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, “a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance”.

Now “Sustainability” is one of those major shibboleths constituting obsessions and the foci of ersatz-religious devotion for the contemporary elite community of fashion.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Sustainability is a superstition, based essentially on the fallacious theory of Malthusianism, which contended that an ever-expanding human population would inevitable out-grow the food supply and other essential resources.

We have all lived through decades of constant media propaganda about the imminent apocalyptic crisis produced by excess population, peak oil, exhaustion of availability of this or that, despite Norman Borlaug, Fracking, and (most hilariously) the Simon-Erlich Wager. No evidence, no factual refutation will ever suffice to dispel this nonsense.

As Oil Company Executive Don Huberts observed in 1999: “The Stone Age did not end because the world ran out of stones.”

The ability of human ingenuity to innovate and create new solutions and to multiply existing resources is consistently and reliably wildly underestimated by our Grand Establishment Pseudo-Intelligentsia.

I think their real underlying motivation is a religious one. The elite community of fashion has long since abandoned Judeo-Christianity, but its members still are afflicted by guilt and a profound sense of their own unworthiness of the privilege and prosperity they enjoy. They subconsciously feel a need to propitiate some higher power. They yearn to find some way to sacrifice and flagellate themselves and hanker to perform some kind, any kind of penitential acts.

Thus, Gaia has replaced the Puritan Jehovah. So the Yale Administration, for instance, confirms its own membership among the Elect by gravely immolating large sums of cash and by public testimony.

It’s all really the recrudescence of the ancient Manichaean heresy: there is this wonderful, good, natural stuff over here, and there is this awful, naughty, intrisically violative stuff over there. The former is the natural world, and the latter is anything man-made, anything and everything connected to human economic activity.

There is also an imaginary past or current state constituting the only perfect and legitimate set of conditions. Any change or modification of this alleged ideal represents a disaster, a crime, and a tragedy. If some obscure mugwort, insect, or rodent happens to go extinct, mankind is to blame, and no possible expense or inconvenience can be spared to preserve every single species and subspecies, and they’ve got the taxonomists ready to promote any subspecies to species status.

Yale, of course, is fully committed to the good fight. Yale has even built its own shrine to Gaia, Kroon Hall, a $33.5 million dollar Rube Goldberg exercise in spending several thousand dollars to save a nickel, in deploying top-level expertise and engineering to find dazzlingly innovative work arounds for trivial items available at any Ace Hardware Store.

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Sustainability, Mr. Salovey? How’s this for your Sustainability?

Yale College
2020–2021 Tuition and Fees

Tuition $57,700
Room $9,750
Board $7,450
TOTAL $74,900

Yale Health Hospitalization & Specialty Care Insurance $2,548
Student Activities Fee $50

Total: $77,498

When I arrived at Yale in September of 1966, the total cost was $3000 a year.

Why does the cost of attending Yale rise so much more rapidly than the rate of inflation? It probably has a great deal to do with the proliferation of special imaginary problem/bad idea offices filled with administrators burning incense in front of false idols.

Yale “Sustainability” Office has no less than eight left-wing academic bureaucrats disseminating nonsense, perpetually grasping at unwarranted powers (“Ask me about” World Governance”), and wallowing in undeserved prestige. And this ridiculous and nonsensical office has been operating, and wasting pots full of money, for fifteen years!

Just imagine how many similar Offices of Empty Superstition and/or Terrible Ideas are cluttering up the landscape all over Yale’s campus.

There is undoubtedly a well-staffed Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Yale, devoted to pandering to Snowflakes of Color’s amour propre and enforcing political correctness.

02 Nov 2020

Don’t Let These People Win

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24 Sep 2020

Liberal Supreme Court Victories No More

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In the liberal stronghold of the Atlantic, Minnesota Law Professor Alan Z. Rosenshtein warns his fellow lefties that the time of liberal goals being legislated from the bench is drawing to an inevitable close.

[T]he Warren and early Burger Courts painted a vivid, alluring picture of what justice by judiciary could look like. And even if liberals understood, deep down, that those two decades were an aberration in American legal history, the Court has given them just enough victories since then to keep the dream alive. For lawyers and law professors, there is also the simple matter of professional vanity: If the Supreme Court is the vanguard of American justice, then judges, and thus the lawyers who argue before them and the scholars who analyze (and, when necessary, chastise) them, are the nation’s most important profession—the priests and elders of the civic religion that is American constitutionalism.

Fundamentally, though, many liberals loved the Supreme Court for the same reason they loved the law: a vision of universal harmony and justice brought about by reason and persuasion, not the brute forces of political power. Victory in the political arena is always incomplete and uncertain, not to mention grubby. Politics appeals to our baser instincts of greed and fear and competition—which, of course, is why it is so powerful. By contrast, law—whether through “neutral principles” or “reasoned elaboration” or elaborate moral theories, to name a few of the core organizing ideas of 20th-century legal theory—holds out the promise of something objective, something True. To win in the court of the Constitution is to have one’s view enshrined as just, not only for today but with the promise of all time.

But eventually liberals lost faith that the Court would interpret the Constitution in their favor. What started as a trickle of disillusionment grew throughout the 1980s and ’90s and became a torrent when Roberts became chief justice in 2005 and led the conservative wing to undermine a number of liberal legal priorities, from gun control to campaign-finance law to voting rights. Although many liberal lawyers still dutifully fight in federal court to protect rights where they can, they do so with the increasing understanding that they are simply delaying the inevitable. And legal scholars have gradually given up on the Court as a guarantor of constitutional values, advancing theories of popular constitutionalism or progressive federalism to serve as a counterweight to the Court’s conservative transformation. Whatever was left of the Court’s sacred aura as above partisan politics was ripped away by Mitch McConnell’s denial of a vote to Merrick Garland in 2016 and the bitterness of the confirmation hearings over Brett Kavanaugh two years later.

The clearest sign that many liberals are giving up their remaining idealism about the Court is that, for many moderate Democrats (not to mention those on the progressive left), court packing has gone from a fringe theory to not just a viable option but a moral imperative if Joe Biden wins in November and the Democrats take back the Senate.

RTWT

15 Sep 2020

Defund the Police!

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09 Sep 2020

Kyle Rittenhouse Viewed For the Left’s Topsy-Turvy Perspective

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Fuzzy, but Rittenhouse is identifiable.

The liberal Chicago Tribune strokes its chin, and pondering Kyle Rittenhouse’s chances in court, leans heavily in the direction of conviction.

Could prosecutors show that Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, committed an unlawful act that provoked attacks on him? If so, the law holds that he would have to show he exhausted his chances to flee or otherwise avoid being harmed before shooting, attorneys said. And whomever was the aggressor, Rittenhouse would have to show he reasonably believed he had to shoot to prevent his death or serious injury. …

Videos show that Rittenhouse was among numerous civilians armed with rifles who interjected themselves into the protests, property destruction and looting that followed Blake’s shooting. Kenosha County prosecutors have charged Rittenhouse with murder, first-degree reckless homicide and four other counts. …

Liberal commentators have argued that Rittenhouse needlessly killed two people after wading heavily armed into unrest over police violence against African Americans. New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote that, “Rittenhouse should not have been there, and we should agree — all of us — that the shooting should not have happened.”

It is interesting that liberals consider Rittenhouse agreeing to protect a friend’s business and property from looting and destruction amounts to “interjecting himself” and “[he] should not have been there,” while they seem to see no problem at all in persons rioting and committing arson being there. All the culpability for the “shooting [that] should not have happened” belongs to Kyle Rittenhouse, not to the rioters who attacked him.

Once again, we find that Leftism constitutes a systematic inversion of values and of reality.

RTWT

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Wisconsin Right Now has an interesting report bearing on the issue of provocation.

The criminal complaint charging Kyle Rittenhouse with two counts of homicide leaves out a key point: Why Joseph Rosenbaum, a convicted sex offender, was chasing the 17-year-old in the first place.

Two eyewitnesses interviewed by Wisconsin Right Now say Rosenbaum was enraged because Rittenhouse, and others, were using fire extinguishers to put out an arson fire in a dumpster that Rosenbaum, and others, were trying to push toward police squad cars.

They also believe that Rosenbaum may have been determined to rob Rittenhouse because the teenager seemed like the “weak” member of the herd and had walked off by himself. They think this because they say Rosenbaum, 36, “intricately” tied his shirt around his face, they believed to conceal his identity. Whether that would have been the case is obviously an unknown, but it was their perception.

The two eyewitnesses, Justice and Dylan Putnam, were willing to put their names to it. Videos also back up pieces of what they told us. There’s video of Rittenhouse with the fire extinguisher, video of Rosenbaum pushing the burning dumpster, and, of course, video of Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse down and cornering him behind a car before Rittenhouse opened fire.

“Kyle took a fire extinguisher from someone,” said Justice Putnam, who added that she saw him trying to put out the arson fire in the dumpster. “That started the altercation.”

RTWT

Wouldn’t it be hilarious to listen to a prosecuting attorney trying to argue that Rittenhouse “provoked” his attackers by trying to put out an arson fire?

08 Aug 2020

Unusual Atrocities and Insanities of the Left: 3. “Stop Marginalizing Roundworms!”

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Caenorhabditis elegans.

The Daily Beast reports on academic activists rallying to the defense of the latest recognized marginalized minority.

Michael Eisen, editor of eLife—a well-regarded open access scientific journal for the biomedical and life sciences—made a joke about a humble roundworm, thereby cracking open the seventh seal and ushering forth… wormageddon. …

Most people took the joke in stride, or used it as an opportunity to spread the good word about nematodes. But the worm gang runs deep. Multiple researchers were not amused by Dr. Eisen’s joke, and their responses spiraled off in increasingly disproportionate directions. Some of these were scoldings about the propriety of using the word “fuck” in a public context, and whether “Academic Twitter” upholds appropriate levels of professionalism by accepting “frat boy” humor. One team went so far as to publicly reconsider submitting a paper to eLife. Others complained that the editor of a journal was publicly disparaging a study species. …

[A] day after Eisen had opened the can of titular worms, and amid the flood of C. elegans jokes washing around Twitter—things had escalated in a bizarre direction. As mystified observers raised the question over whether C. elegans researchers were taking the whole thing a bit seriously, a small handful of researchers responded by arguing that jokes about worms were in some way equivalent to jokes about women and people of color. …

By far the most prolific poster in this vein was Ahna Skop, associate professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and previous recipient of a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion-based award in 2018. Dr. Skop—who did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Beast—argued extensively that making jokes about worms was merely the tip of the iceberg when it came to making jokes about marginalized identities, or an example of a ‘bystander effect’, a psychological theory arguing that individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim in a crowd. (For is it not said: First they came for the worm people, and I said nothing, as I was not a worm person?)

In the resulting threads, Dr. Skop—who identifies as “part Eastern Band Cherokee” and “disabled with EDS”—and others consistently failed to publicly respond to Black scientists like herpetologist Chelsea Connor, who tried to point out that this was a ridiculous conflation. In a private communication Connor shared with The Daily Beast, Skop doubled down, arguing that as she had previously been harmed by entrenched sexism, her concerns regarding the worm joke were justified.

RTWT

05 Jul 2020

A Modest Proposal

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Nebal Maysaud

Now here is something downright exceptional from last year.

Nebal Maysaud (a Lebanese composer of the Sodomitical persuasion) complains that Western Classical Music oppresses persons of color and colonizes Third World cultures operating as an agent of cultural change. All this is the fault of Capitalism. (Personally, I thought most of the really good Classical Music was created by the patronage of pre-capitalist monarchs and aristocrats. Prince Esterhazy did not engage in trade.)

There comes a point in some abusive relationships where the victim wakes up out of their Stockholm syndrome and learns that they need to plan an escape. As you communicate with others and you get a taste of freedom, you learn that the force you thought was protecting you is in truth keeping you in danger.

For those who haven’t encountered abusive relationships, you may support the abuser, or wonder why the victim doesn’t just leave. But you don’t know what it’s like to live in a world where you can’t tell truth from myth.

For the victims who aren’t ready, you may have an urge to push away those of us seeking to help you and stay with your abuser, believing them to be a source of protection.

Unfortunately, not everyone can escape. But having the knowledge that your abuser is an abuser itself can be freeing. It can help you find the next step in your journey towards liberation. But you need a community to fall back on. You need people to talk to so that they can keep you safe, so that they can help you understand the truth, and so that they can teach you the abuser’s techniques and how to fight them.

My fellow musicians of color: it is time to accept that we are in an abusive relationship with classical music.

In my previous articles, I laid out my experiences and reasoning for coming to this conclusion. I started with “Am I Not a Minority?” to explain the everyday racism people of color experience and how it manifests on an institutional level. If you haven’t read it already, I encourage you to explore how institutions uphold their power by choosing which minorities to give access to.

The few scraps given to minorities are overwhelmingly white–occupied by white cisgender women or LGBT+ individuals. The few PoC who are given access to institutional space are most often light skinned and non-Black while also exoticised and tokenised.

And that led me to my second article, “Escaping the Mold of Oriental Fantasy“–a personal history of isolation and colonization, of how Western classical music participates in the act of destroying culture and replaces it with its own white supremacist narrative.

Finally, I shared my attempts at reviving my culture and my tradition, along with the barriers I faced on this journey. My third article, “I’m Learning Middle Eastern Music the Wrong Way,” chronicles the difficulties (and the near impossibility) of engaging with my own cultural musical practices in a proper, authentic way.

From three angles I shared my attempts at being an authentic composer. These articles bring to light the many ways in which the dreams of low-income people of color are obstructed in the Western classical tradition.

Western classical music is not about culture. It’s about whiteness. It’s a combination of European traditions which serve the specious belief that whiteness has a culture—one that is superior to all others. Its main purpose is to be a cultural anchor for the myth of white supremacy. In that regard, people of color can never truly be pioneers of Western classical music. The best we can be are exotic guests: entertainment for the white audiences and an example of how Western classical music is more elite than the cultures of people of color.

RTWT

After the Revolution, you see, a benevolent Central Committee will see to it that persons of color, like Nebal here — and whites as well (!) –, are amply funded to produce music in their native cultural traditions. Everyone will be liberated!

Unless, of course, the State is having production problems, and all those aspiring creatives are marched off to labor camps to mine salt.

16 Jun 2020

The Thomas Piketty of Milwaukee

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17 Dec 2019

Collectivist Statism Rejected in British Election

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Jeffrey Tucker sees the recent Tory landslide victory as strong evidence that the main portion of the voting public has had it with the Progressive Left.

Voters throughout the developed world have been getting wiser through the decades. When politicians attack the rich, decry the holes in the safety net, demand controls on business, rail against financial markets, and demand more free things for everyone, there is a missing piece in the rhetoric: enacting all these things puts more power in the hands of the state. Here is the fundamental choice that no amount of fancy language can change: we either trust society and markets to manage themselves or we give more power to the state to use compulsion against the population. This is finally the reality that unmasks every proponent of socialism. Left-wing collectivism is not, in the end, about making society better off; it is about transferring power from the people outside of government to those inside of government.

RTWT

Let’s hope he’s right. All this “progressive” infatuation with Statism, Collectivism, and the supposed superiority of decision-making by scientific experts is a 19th Century fantasy that really hit its peak influence a century ago. Thereafter, it left a spectacular record of economic failure and atrocity. The mystery is: why is it taking the pseudo-intelligentsia so long to recognize the obvious?

01 Nov 2019

Arguing With Liberals Doesn’t Work

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Facebook political arguments with liberals prove, again and again, that the consensus of the community of fashion is built largely upon class marker signifying. In democratic society, the stupid and inferior eagerly adopt establishment-sanctioned opinions in order to identify themselves as “superior and intelligent.” They are too dumb to realize that intellectual conformism is anything but a sign of high intelligence.

And, of course, these educational failures simply do not recognize that the consensus they value so highly is nothing other than the mass culture of our time, and they have never learned enough to understand that mass culture consists primarily of popular delusions, fads, and temporary bouts of mass insanity.

13 Oct 2019

Third World Nation Needs American Assistance

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Don Surber alerts us to the human tragedy:

Last month, American missionaries went to clean up a village in a Third World nation. The volunteers picked up 50 tons of garbage in this backward land. Nowhere is the gap between the rich and the poor greater. The poor live in tents, while the rich reside in the most expensive houses in the world.

The poor face typhoid and other debilitating diseases that were eliminated in civilized nations. People poop in the street for lack of indoor plumbing.

Instead of meeting the basic sanitation needs of its cities, the corrupt, one-party government squanders billions on an unneeded high-speed train. It will never be built but contracts are awarded to political insiders for work that will never be done. Because of this corruption, President Donald John Trump wants to curtail U.S. aid to the land.

Elsewhere in this nation state, electricity is a luxury as the power has been cut off to hundreds of thousands of citizens in preparation for a natural disaster.

What is maddening is this land has the world’s fifth largest economy. It could easily take care of its needs without outsiders coming in to save them out of pity.

And sadly, the 50 tons of trash are small compared to the 22 million pounds of trash in one pile alone.

Something must be done to save this land from itself. Taking over this backward Third World nation would be easy. We already have troops stationed there. Its army consists of a national guard and police.

But that would mean spending trillions on another foray into nation building.

California sadly has very little hope.

RTWT

01 Oct 2019

Inevitably

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Dr. Bastiat pictures the scene, immediately after Republicans win control of the House of Representatives.

Mitch McConnell strides into the press conference, exuding that air of masculine confidence that made him, inevitably, a leader of men. He taps the microphone, clears his throat, and begins his presentation to the assembled reporters: “Good afternoon, everyone. I have an important announcement to make. In fact, one of historical significance.” Before the murmur in the room can die down, he declares, “Republicans of both houses of Congress are officially launching an impeachment investigation of the next Democratic President of the United States.”

After 10-15 seconds of stunned silence, the questions begin:

REPORTER 1: “But, the next Democratic President hasn’t even been inaugurated yet.”

MCCONNELL: “Neither had President Trump, when his impeachment investigation started. One example of the bipartisan nature of this investigation is how closely we are modeling it on the admirably effective techniques of our esteemed Democratic colleagues. After all, it’s all about the children.”

REPORTER 2: “Ummm… But shouldn’t you at least wait until you find out.

RTWT

Liberal politics is invariably accompanied by an infantile sense of self-entitlement that immunizes its possessor from any fear of establishing a precedent that could be injurious later on to himself. Liberals, Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today!

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