Recently in Academia Category
Officials at the University of California, Berkeley reversed course Thursday and announced they will allow conservative commentator Ann Coulter to speak at the school next month.I'm not a fan and won't be going to Berkeley for the event. I called Ms. Coulter "cringe-inducing" on this blog some time back, and nothing since then has changed my view. Even so, it is central to freedom of speech that we protect the cringe-inducing right along with the erudite and the eloquent. I hope that U.C. Berkeley has sufficiently robust protection on hand to deal with the anti-free-speech "activists." It is unfortunate that resources must be diverted for this purpose, but protection of freedom of speech is a priority, and the blame belongs squarely on those who would deny that freedom to people they simply disagree with.
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said the April 27 event was canceled because the school had received "very specific intelligence regarding threats that could pose a grave danger to the speaker, attendees and those who may wish to lawfully protest the event."
But after a search beyond "the usual venues" Dr. Dirks said in a statement that the school "identified an appropriate, protectable venue that is available the afternoon May 2."
Rather than being locked away to rot, bad actors could be employed productively in the workforce. The gains of that employment could be transferred to victims and governments, while simultaneously serving as a deterrent cost. And to the extent that monetary transfers cannot achieve optimal deterrence, humankind is capable of inventing alternative nonmonetary sanctions to fill the gap.
James Taranto at the WSJ and Jonah Bennett at the Daily Caller report on how easy it was to "troll" journalists with a fake story merely by providing a supposed connection between Donald Trump and white supremacists. Bennett quotes one of the hoaxers:
This is why it is so important to have a diversity of viewpoints in both journalism and academia and why it is so dangerous and harmful that both of these professions have a badly skewed distribution. Claims need to scrutinized whichever side of the aisle they serve, and we would have more thorough and complete scrutiny if we had a better balance of viewpoints.
"Basically, I interspersed various nuggets of truth and exaggerated a lot of things, and sometimes outright lied -- in the interest of making a journalist believe that online Trump supporters are largely a group of meme-jihadis who use a cartoon frog to push Nazi propaganda. Because this was funny to me," Swift told TheDCNF.
"The idea that every major Trump supporter online is secretly a neo-Nazi, for one. I mean, it's just not true. But it's the kind of thing that a journalist will readily believe."
Capital punishment has generated an incredible amount of public debate. Is the practice constitutional? Does it deter crime? Is it humane? Supporters and opponents of capital punishment disagree on all of these issues and many more. There is perhaps only one thing that unites these two camps: the belief that the death penalty is society's most severe punishment.
In this Article, I argue that this belief is mistaken. Capital punishment is not at the top of the punishment hierarchy. In fact, it is no punishment at all. My argument builds from a basic conception of punishment endorsed by the Supreme Court: for something to qualify as a punishment, it must be bad, in some way, for the person who is punished. By drawing upon the philosophical literature regarding death, I show that this is not the case. Contrary to our intuitions, the death penalty is not bad, in any way, for a condemned criminal.
This conclusion should not be understood to suggest that death is never bad. In most circumstances, death is bad. There are, however, situations in which it is not, and capital punishment, as employed in the United States penal system, is one such situation. By showing that capital punishment is not bad for the condemned criminal, I provide a strong constitutional objection to the practice.
Gads, why hasn't the ACLU thought of this? Capital punishment is unconstitutional because being put to death is "no punishment at all"!!!
[P]olice called to the scene discovered William Bennett's body, but [defendants] Roberts and Bowman had moved Cynthia Bennett, then 55, behind a fence and she lay unconscious for 45 minutes before she was spotted. Howard David Reines, a trauma surgeon at Inova Fairfax Hospital, testified in 2011 that Cynthia Bennett suffered cuts and broken bones in her face and around her eyes, one ear was partially torn off, she had a severe injury to her pelvic area and she lost more than five quarts of blood through the wound in her lower body before doctors could halt the bleeding. "In 30 years, I don't think I've ever quite seen anything like it," he said.
Several years ago, the American Journal of Political Science published what became an oft-cited study showing a correlation between conservative political ideology and authoritarian/psychotic tendencies. It now turns out that the authors had their codings for liberals and conservatives "exactly reversed," to quote their language. In other words, it's the liberals who are (per the study) more likely to be authoritarian nuts.
For those of us accused of being conservative, authoritarian headcases, this was the laugh of the day.
The full story is here.
...engages in "community organizing around housing access, social movements for trans justice and prison abolition, and queer anarchist anti-war activism." Naturally, he is also the faculty adviser to GMU Students Against Israeli Apartheid."
Adler lays out well why the controversy is ridiculous, and I recommend his discussion. I was particularly struck by this statement:
Faculty from unaffiliated departments, such as art history, "cultural studies," and others (notably excluding economics, mathematics, and the physical sciences), began a campaign in the Faculty Senate to pass a resolution urging the university administration and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to delay acceptance of the gifts.Why this striking difference by department? It tends to confirm what I have long suspected. There is a negative correlation between the extent to which a field of study is tied to objective reality and subject to experimental verification or falsification (i.e., real science, whether physical or social) and the degree of loony leftism in the faculty. Lefty loons are attracted to subjects where they can't be objectively proved wrong. It's easier to spread B.S. in such subjects. (And no, I don't mean Bachelor of Science).
Erik Wemple, media blogger for the WaPo, reports:
Melissa Click, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Missouri, has been charged with third-degree assault by the city of Columbia prosecutor's office, an assistant at that office confirmed today to the Erik Wemple Blog. The arrest comes months after Click was captured on video asking for "some muscle" to counter a student journalist at a November protest at the university. She also pushed the student journalist's camera.
The puzzle is why these progressives are so intent on denying that such depolicing is occurring and that it is affecting public safety.The fact that spin from an ideologically driven organization like the Brennan Center has gotten as much credence as it has in the press is a symptom of a major problem in American society. There is a gross imbalance in the number and funding of nonprofit organizations interested in crime issues. The Manhattan Institute (where MacDonald works) and CJLF are outnumbered and outspent by the Brennan Center, the Marshall Project, the Urban Institute, the Pew organizations, the Death Penalty Information Center, and on and on. [Hint: If an organization is named for one of the two most pro-criminal Supreme Court Justices in American history, it is not a neutral source of information.] The capacity of these organizations to pump out reports that seem to support the leftist agenda but do not hold up to examination exceeds the capacity of organizations of contrary viewpoints to make and publicize the examinations.
The answer lies in the enduring commitment of antipolice progressives to the "root causes" theory of crime. The Brennan Center study closes by hypothesizing that lower incomes, higher poverty rates, falling populations and high unemployment are driving the rising murder rates in Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans and St. Louis. But those aspects of urban life haven't dramatically worsened over the past year and a half. What has changed is the climate for law enforcement.
In addition, both the press and academia are populated by people whose spectrum of viewpoints is shifted at least one sigma left of the American median, if not two. Assertions that fit with the general set of assumptions of the left simply do not get as much scrutiny as those that run contrary to those assumptions.
This combination of factors produces a dangerous situation where spin goes insufficiently challenged. If such spin leads to wrong policies in matters of life and death, the potential consequences are grave indeed.