pageok
pageok
pageok
An Example of a Certain Academic Mindset:

Guest-blogger Kathy G. at Crooked Timber, protesting Washington University's plan to award an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly, manages to express a certain academic mindset (all emphases added):

Nor do I believe that conservatives should never receive honorary degrees. There are conservative scholars who do work that is respected within academia—many economists, for example—and they would not be inappropriate candidates for such an honor. Nor would I have a problem with conservative pundits, so long as they're sane and genuinely distinguished (which these days admittedly narrows the field to practically zero), such as the late William F. Buckley. I'll even grudgingly accept the reality that conservative Republican elder statesmen are regularly awarded these things. Though even here there are limits—while personally I wouldn't protest the awarding of a degree to George H.W. Bush, even though I find him pretty hateful, far-right lunatics like Cheney, Dubya, and Jesse Helms should be entirely out of bounds.... as much as conservatives may whine and scream to the contrary, liberalism and conservatism are not moral equivalents. Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.

Not that this mindset is limited to academics, of course, nor, do most academics have such juvenile ideas regarding politics, but it's sufficiently common in academia that it's little wonder that bright young conservatives will think twice before going into the academy and potentially putting their career fates into the hands of those who think that they are presumptively "hateful," "lunatics," who are not "sane" and are attempting to thwart all that is good and just.

Happyshooter:
I think that we are a few short years away from the public universities (the ones that have their own laws and police forces) executing people for the crime of being conservative.

There was a case here in Michigan where a student protested the U 'hiring' a democrat who is running for congress to teach a weekly discussion seminar, at a full plus salary.

The school charged him with public discussion of the salary issue, and when he attended a meeting the university VP hit him. He was taping the assault so they charged him with illegally taping an assault.

But Happy, you say, those can't be real charges. They are when left wingers own the police force.
5.12.2008 11:39am
mga (mail):
Phyllis Schlafly was my seat mate in the civil rights class at Washington University School of Law in the mid-1970's. I did not and do not agree with everything she stood for, but she was a smart and effective advocate for her positions. One day, the professor arranged a debate between Ms. Schlafly and a prominent ACLU attorney in St. Louis. She wiped the floor with him. Based on her abilities and her career, Ms. Schlafly is certainly worthy of an academic honor.
5.12.2008 11:42am
Snarky:
It is nice that you have come to this conclusion about Academia based on something more than an isolated anecdote.

I guess you are facing a lot of abuse for being a libertarian at George Mason.

Finally, you do realize you are not a conservative, right?
5.12.2008 11:42am
Guest101:
So many liberals think that liberalism is intellectually and morally superior to conservatism. So? This is news? Are there not many conservatives who believe the opposite?
5.12.2008 11:45am
rarango (mail):
Unfortunately there are probably people who think a whole lot like Ms. Kathy G. With any luck they do not hold positions of power.
5.12.2008 11:46am
Inda Know (mail):
I'd like to read about the Michigan incident... do you have a link?
5.12.2008 11:48am
bobolinq (mail):
Is the problem that you think there's no such thing as a "far-right lunatic"? Presumably you would object to a school presenting an honorary degree to Farrakhan (as would I). Wouldn't you also object to giving David Duke, or any other overt neo-Nazi, an honorary degree? And if so, what's wrong with a person's objecting to giving an honorary degree to someone that person classifies in the same category as Farrakhan and Duke?

I agree that the moral distinction between liberalism and conservatism is drawn too starkly, but it's not an entirely false distinction -- liberalism is animated by the desire to help the weak; conservatism is animated by the desire to let people sink or swim on their own. That's just true.
5.12.2008 11:48am
Oh, well:
It would probably help the conservative argument here if it was someone other than Phyllis Schlafly at issue.
5.12.2008 11:48am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Imagine that! I'm not a conservative, yet I go out of my way to point out unfair attacks on conservatives. You might think that there's some principle involved or something.
5.12.2008 11:49am
DavidBernstein (mail):

Is the problem that you think there's no such thing as a "far-right lunatic"?
Nope. But if George W. Bush is a "far-right lunatic," that means that probably one-third or so of the U.S. population is beyond "far-right lunatic" (far-far-far right lunatic)? Calling Bush a far-right lunatic shows tunnel vision akin to calling Bill Clinton a far-left lunatic.
5.12.2008 11:53am
glangston (mail):
I take it this blogger would protest "gun freaks" like Dave Kopel too despite the fact that Dave is trying hard to present all the candidates fairly.....maybe too fairly.
5.12.2008 11:54am
Volokh Groupie:
@snarky

too bad study after study by author after author have confirmed this bias..then again, the little hit and run comment with nothing substantial to add was very effective

@Guest101

lets give the commenter a hand for reading comprehension--in a post where a purported academic admits they find those on the opposite end of the political spectrum 'hateful' and characterizes them as 'far right' (which is just lazy) and uses that to justify excluding them from a facet of the academic world, all you see is that differing ideologies disagree?

The sad part is that these people still try to say that academia is a sanctuary for free debate with a straight face.
5.12.2008 11:55am
DavidBernstein (mail):
liberalism is animated by the desire to help the weak; conservatism is animated by the desire to let people sink or swim on their own. That's just true.
That's just a caricature.
5.12.2008 11:56am
rarango (mail):
Gogoling: I think your caricature of both liberalism and conservatism is quite simplistic--even for a caricature.
5.12.2008 11:57am
Cornellian (mail):
So she'd be ok with awarding an honorary degree to someone "genuinely distinguished" like William F. Buckley, or some conservative economist who's done something distinguished (a Milton Friedman type perhaps) or even George H.W. Bush but she draws the line at George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or Jesse Helms.

And why is this news? If you read the whole quote instead of just the categorical stuff at the end it doesn't strike me as particularly unusual or surprising. I doubt that the term "conservatives" in her quote refers to all conservatives or she wouldn't have had the list of conservatives she'd be ok with awarding a degree to at the start of her quote.

I don't see many people around here trying to argue that GW Bush is genuinely distinguished, quite the opposite. Anyone here think Jesse Helms would be a good candidate for an honorary degree? That Dick Cheney is a champion of advancing liberty?
5.12.2008 11:58am
Volokh Groupie:
wow.

so david duke = dubya or cheney


then i'll throw in the stalin = gore/carter comparison

as for those simplistic definitions of liberal/conservative bobolinq, youre really just projecting your biases when you say that

for example what i imagine you would call 'fundies' are pretty well known for their altruistic efforts--they just prefer to do it through private means as opposed to public coercion--maybe that's a better way to distinguish it
5.12.2008 11:59am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The school charged him with public discussion of the salary issue

I call bullshit on Happyshooter. I assume he is talking about the University of Michigan, which of course is a public university. And in Michigan, like most states, the salaries of public employees, including teachers and professors at state universities, are in the public domain.

In fact there is a website where you can look up the salary of any employee (teaching staff included) at the UM.

Happyshooter, why don't you provide a link to your fantastical stories about these horrible liberals who are going to start executing conservatives?
5.12.2008 11:59am
TerrencePhilip:
I remember a college history textbook with the line, "Eisenhower was conservative, but he certainly was no fool" and thinking the guy who wrote that line must've thought he was bending way over backwards to be fair.
5.12.2008 11:59am
Snarky:

I think that we are a few short years away from the public universities (the ones that have their own laws and police forces) executing people for the crime of being conservative.


I agree that liberal public universities SHOULD set up there own court system, prosecutors, and prison system to supplement their police systems and they should use these minor extensions of power to execute people for the crime of being conservative.

But you know, these pussy liberals just don't have the stomach for it. They fail to recognize that conservatives are not just wrong, but evil. In fact, so evil that while liberals rightly oppose the death penalty for mass murderers who decide to rape the corpses of their victims (and who are surely nothing more than misguided souls who did not get healthy school lunches as children) conservatives should be the exception to any opposition to the death penalty that we may have.


The school charged him with public discussion of the salary issue...


Now I know you are full of it. Ther.e is no crime of "public discussion." The crime is "conservative advocacy." A crime that you have rightly pointed out, deserves the death penalty.


and when he attended a meeting the university VP hit him. He was taping the assault so they charged him with illegally taping an assault.


More conservative propaganda. The VP was merely using reasonable force to stop the dangerous crime of conservative advocacy. I personally think the VP should have straight out whipped out his samurai sword and executed your boy on the spot. I am all for due process, but when it comes to terrorism (also known as the crime of "conservative advocacy") I think we should realize that a different sort of due process is called for.


But Happy, you say, those can't be real charges. They are when left wingers own the police force.


Now, if only these universities could go farther and set up their own judiciary and prison systems they would not have to rely on the prosecutorial discretion of county district attorneys to prosecute these crimes. See, the problem with county district attorney offices is that they are often infiltrated by terrorists (i.e. those who engage in the crime of "conservative advocacy") I mean, what is the point of having your own police force without your own court system and prison system complete with execution chambers for terrorists.
5.12.2008 11:59am
Anderson (mail):
I frequently see similar remarks by self-professed conservatives about Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, so I'm not really gathering what this illustrates about anyone other than the blog poster.
5.12.2008 12:00pm
Volokh Groupie:
@cornellian

she's probably willing to award an honorary degree (despite her criteria) because she knows nothing of him

I bet you if she watched early Firing Line or checked out one of the Vidal debates she's change her stance on that
5.12.2008 12:02pm
Snarky:

Imagine that! I'm not a conservative, yet I go out of my way to point out unfair attacks on conservatives. You might think that there's some principle involved or something.


Not really. If you were at all familiar with politics, you might be aware that conservatives and libertarians have formed some sort of alliance based on their shared desire to screw the poor.
5.12.2008 12:03pm
Happyshooter:
I'd like to read about the Michigan incident... do you have a link?

This is the blog for the group opposed to the do-nothing job for the dem: http://petersreport.blogspot.com/

It is one sided but a good start.
5.12.2008 12:03pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Nope. But if George W. Bush is a "far-right lunatic," that means that probably one-third or so of the U.S. population is beyond "far-right lunatic" (far-far-far right lunatic)? Calling Bush a far-right lunatic shows tunnel vision akin to calling Bill Clinton a far-left lunatic.

Gee David, apparently Obama is a Nazi, Socialist, closet Muslim, seeks the destruction of Israel, Hamas supporter, probably has a commie flag tacked up in his garage and has gone so far as to peel 'W' bumper stickers from cars (to paraphrase Charlie Daniels).

You manage to find one hyperbolic quote and tar mythical liberal academia as being incredibly hostile to all conservatives.
5.12.2008 12:03pm
Snarky:

Happyshooter, why don't you provide a link to your fantastical stories about these horrible liberals who are going to start executing conservatives?


Actually JF Thomas, what I think we should do is not try to get Happyshooter to reveal the truth of these stories to mainstream society. That might threaten our bastion of academia. Instead, I think we should lure Happyshooter to come to campus to speak, and then arrest him for "conservative advocacy" and execute him on the spot.

What we don't want is the truth getting out there. Shh... I mean, liberal universities have their own police forces, but the public hasn't been paying attention...
5.12.2008 12:06pm
Volokh Groupie:
@anderson

really? by conservative academics? saying they're so hateful they don't deserve an honorary degree or shouldn't be given a voice through the academy?

I'd love to see it. If its true I'd be pretty repulsed--though to be fair squelching other points of view isn't just endemic to partisan lefties.
5.12.2008 12:07pm
Happyshooter:
Happyshooter, why don't you provide a link to your fantastical stories about these horrible liberals who are going to start executing conservatives?

That is funny that you thought it was Michigan I was talking about. They do have a pretty bad free speech code.

I think now that left wing despots that rule the Us are writing the laws and they own the armed police, the next step after this current one...bogus academic and legal cases to punish belief...is prison sentences and camps. Then comes the Crystal Night.
5.12.2008 12:07pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Cornellian, she didn't say W. wasn't distinguished enough to receive an honorary degree (a pretty hard argument to make re a president), she said he should get an honorary degree because he's a "far right lunatic."

JFT, your reference to "mythical liberal academia" discredits anything else you might have to say on the topic.
5.12.2008 12:08pm
Michael B (mail):
It's good to know Kathy G. does not believe "conservatives" should never receive honorary degrees, it speaks to a certain "open mindedness" on her part.

What goes uncommented upon here is what might be thought of as the obverse side of the same coin she's trading in - i.e. the ready facility with which she elbows her way in to arbitrate the matter, the self-appointed quality, the halo of presumptive moral superiority she awards herself, and all of it without the slightest self-doubt on evidence.

She also needs to review her history better and more conscientiously. Pol Pot, to take a salient example, when he studied on the Left Bank in Paris, wasn't studying Locke and Montesquieu.
5.12.2008 12:09pm
Tom952 (mail):
Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.

That is a stunningly conceited, self-centered, narrow-minded viewpoint, appropriate only for a policial pundit. Is Kathy G supposed to be a serious thinker?
5.12.2008 12:14pm
Snarky:

That's just a caricature.


It also happens to be a true caricature.

Last time I checked, libertarians advocated for price gouging.

Basically, libertarians and conservatives are united in thinking that the poor deserve to be poor.

Remember, the conservative and libertarian answer to every economic problem is "personal responsibility." That is, the poor deserve to be poor because they are such screw ups.

See, the conservatives and libertarians realize something that liberals do not. If you end up living in a ghetto with a bunch of other poor people, you will learn your lesson and take "personal responsibility" in the future. So, it is not indifference to the poor that leads conservatives and libertarians to joyfully tolerate ghettos, usurious interest rates, predatory lending, price gouging and the like. It is the realization that the only way poor people learn is through pain. It is not that conservatives and libertarians hate the poor. It is that conservatives and libertarians understand that the poor are like Pavlov's dog.
5.12.2008 12:14pm
DiverDan (mail):

I agree that the moral distinction between liberalism and conservatism is drawn too starkly, but it's not an entirely false distinction -- liberalism is animated by the desire to help the weak; conservatism is animated by the desire to let people sink or swim on their own. That's just true.


No, Boboling, that is NOT "just true." That is just your own conclusion, reached from your own observations, through lenses which are admittedly warped by your own political and philosophical beliefs. Isn't it just possible that the real differences between many liberal positions and their counterpart conservative positions are arguments about effective means, rather than desireable ends? For example, the knee-jerk liberal reaction to someone who opposes race-based affirmative action programs is that that person must be a racist, intent on maintaining an oppressive status quo, when in fact the person opposing race-based affirmative action just MAY be firmly in favor of eliminating racism, but trying to argue that: (a) race-based affirmative action programs almost inevitably help only those who are least in need of the help -- they almost NEVER assist the persistent black underclass; (b) when they DO reach members of the persistent black underclass,the programs often do more harm than good, by placing an ill-prepared individual into a position where failure is the most likely option; and (c) the social backlash engendered by race-based programs directly undermines the ultimate goal of eliminating (or at least marginalizing) racist attitudes. When liberals assume a moral superiority and refuse to listen to or address these arguments about the efficacy of liberal programs in reaching mutually desired results, it reinforces conservatives' beliefs that liberals are just ignorant and impractical.
5.12.2008 12:15pm
Sk (mail):
Aside from the specifics of this particular comment and this particular author, it is interesting to note the downward slide of Crooked Timber in general. Kathy G. fits in quite well at the site; she is probably a bit more harsh than the regular posters, but not more extreme in her views.

And it wasn't always like this. Crooked Timber, and, for example, Matt Yglesias (and perhaps others) have, over the last half decade or so, evolved from left-wing folks who are trying to engage in a battle of ideas to left wing folks who are simply engaging in polemic. Whether its due to Dubya, or the frustrations of actually attempting to engage in ideas with whom they disagree, or something else, I don't know. But it was only a few years ago that Crooked Timber and Yglesias were leftwingers that were interesting to read. Now, Crooked Timber is reasonably well represented by Kathy G (a guest blogger), and Yglesias* is just a spaghetti cook: vomit out an idea and see if it sticks ('sticks' = 'produces lots of commentary').

Maybe rightwing sites have done the same thing, though this one and Instapundit certainly haven't done so. Free Republic? I think Free Republic has always been the rhetorical equivalent of what Crooked Timber has become (which is sad, both for Free Republic, and for Crooked Timber).

Sk

*To Yglesias' credit, he doesn't censor views he disagrees with, unlike the academically based Crooked Timber.
5.12.2008 12:15pm
Michael B (mail):
"Are there not many conservatives who believe the opposite?"

Obviously so, for that is in the very nature of one ascribing to one set of views vs. another. But to ascribe to a set of views does not preclude, in presumptive and insinuating mode, more genuine forms of tolerance than is often evidenced on the Left.

And in that vein, I could be wrong - I'm relying upon a remote memory from some article read long-ago - but I believe Schlafly does have some substantial academic and related (e.g., influential books) bona fides.
5.12.2008 12:15pm
Snarky:

JFT, your reference to "mythical liberal academia" discredits anything else you might have to say on the topic.


I don't think you want to advocate the position that one or even many really flawed positions discredits everything else you have to say. Because, in that case, everything you say would be discredited. I have read quite a few crazy things from Bernstein...
5.12.2008 12:17pm
Dave N (mail):
J.F. Thomas, the wonders of the Internet and Google make it quite easy to check out stories, even if there no links. For example, that such a controvery exists is easily verified. For example, here is the CBS News link to a story on it. Here's an admittedly more biased blog entry.

By the way, this herculean research effort took all of 10 minutes.
5.12.2008 12:20pm
byomtov (mail):
Based on her abilities and her career, Ms. Schlafly is certainly worthy of an academic honor.

Perhaps you should read the actual post at CT. David didn't provide the link, so here it is.

It might change your mind about Schlafly's intellectual "achievements" and insights.

Michael B. criticizes Kathy G. for, "the halo of presumptive moral superiority she awards herself, and all of it without the slightest self-doubt on evidence." That sounds like a good description of Schlafly to me.
5.12.2008 12:23pm
Snarky:

For example, the knee-jerk liberal reaction to someone who opposes race-based affirmative action programs is that that person must be a racist, intent on maintaining an oppressive status quo, when in fact the person opposing race-based affirmative action just MAY be firmly in favor of eliminating racism, but trying to argue that: (a) race-based affirmative action programs almost inevitably help only those who are least in need of the help -- they almost NEVER assist the persistent black underclass; (b) when they DO reach members of the persistent black underclass,the programs often do more harm than good, by placing an ill-prepared individual into a position where failure is the most likely option; and (c) the social backlash engendered by race-based programs directly undermines the ultimate goal of eliminating (or at least marginalizing) racist attitudes.


Query: What is the conservative plan for fixing the underrepresentation of certain minorities in obtaining a higher education?

Oh wait. I remember. The plan is to blame the victim. And to say that people should sink or swim, totally ignoring their individual background.

A conservative is someone who is stupid enough to think that the children of Harvard professors and someone who grows up in South Central Los Angeles are playing on an even playing field.

A liberal is someone who is smart enough to realize that individual success is to a large degree a social product, in addition to a product of individual initiative.

End of story.
5.12.2008 12:24pm
alias:
Kathy G's entitled to her opinion. I'm not sure what's so objectionable about this. She's wrong, of course, and she probably wouldn't be a great colleague for a conservative academic, but so what?
5.12.2008 12:27pm
Bender (mail):
Happhshooter:

Thanks for the link. This is useful substantiation. I'm going to repost your link, because it shows how fascistic higher education in this country has become. Any who don't believe check out:

http://petersreport.blogspot.com/
5.12.2008 12:29pm
Guessing (mail):
There is perhaps a meta-observation to be made here: the VC bloggers often will enter the fracas in the comments fairly early on. However, their participation quickly ends.

I attribute this common pattern to the fact that many discussions (like this one) quickly devolve into fruitless finger pointing.

But, by all means, let's all go on believing that they're just too busy or have been rendered speechless by our logic and evidence. Or, perhaps they are cowards. However, before I lay blame on a VC blogger, I would do well to remember that I came to them.

Thoughtless rhetoric bears about as much resemblance to real argument as masturbation does to sex.
5.12.2008 12:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Snarky, wrong again. Doesn't that get boring?

The amazing thing about this is not that Kathy G might think like this, but that she thinks it's just fine to tell the world.
So either she doesn't think there's a thing wrong with this--living in an academic diving bell--or she doesn't care how nuts she looks to normal people.
5.12.2008 12:37pm
Volokh Groupie:
Good job Snarky--you buttressed your claim it wasn't a caricature by developing that same caricature even further.

Did you know liberals eat babies?
5.12.2008 12:40pm
john w. (mail):
liberalism is animated by the desire to help the weak; conservatism is animated by the desire to let people sink or swim on their own. That's just true.

No. Liberalism is motivated by the desire to pretend to help the weak (using somebody else's money) so that the liberal can 'feel good about himself/herself.' Conservativism is motivated by the desire to teach people how to swim so that they don't have to sink.
5.12.2008 12:42pm
Deoxy (mail):

Last time I checked, libertarians advocated for price gouging.


No, libertarians advocate for strong property rights, beleiving that government control of stuff that is supposedly yours is WORSE than any private "price gouging" might ever be. If you can come up with a solution to "price gouging" that does not involve the government (for all proactical purposes) claiming ownership of people's stuff, I suspect the vast majority of libertarians would be interested.


Basically, libertarians and conservatives are united in thinking that the poor deserve to be poor.


I'm a conservative, and I do NOT think most of the poor "deserve to be poor", and I know many others who feel this way as well.

But I haven't yet seen a solution to the problem. All the claimed solutions I have seen are at best very, very short-term, and most are actively counter-productive immediately (not just in the long term).

This doesn't mean that I think the poor deserve to be poor - indeed, it means I don't want to make their situation WORSE, which is what many government actions do.

But, since I disagree with liberals on the MEANS to cure poverty, it just means that I think people deserve it, eh?

As the old saying goes, "Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."

OK, and I refreshed before I submitted this, so here's one more thing:


A conservative is someone who is stupid enough to think that the children of Harvard professors and someone who grows up in South Central Los Angeles are playing on an even playing field.

A liberal is someone who is smart enough to realize that individual success is to a large degree a social product, in addition to a product of individual initiative.

End of story.


Thanks for the perfect example of what I'm talking about.

You see, I don't think those two are on a "level playing field", and I'd LOVE to see a solution to that problem! But I haven't seen a real solution that actually works, short of taking all children away from their parents and having the government raise them (do we really need to discuss why this is bad?).

Yes, I've looked. What I said earlier about solving poverty applies well here.

So, to restate what you said:

A liberal is someone who is stupid enough to believe that their chosen method of solving a problem is perfect and wonderful and only an idiot would deny it.

A convervative is someone smart enough to actually check the results of attempted solutions.

"End of story."

See, we can both play that game! But it's really not very helpful. Of course, that's the usual treatment (hence the quote earlier), so I don't know why I bother anymore.
5.12.2008 12:43pm
Randy R. (mail):
About the comment that conservatives try to limit liberty -- well, that's true isn't it? At least for religious conservatives, such as Shafly.

They oppose any sort of gay rights, or gay marriage. They believe a women's place is in the home. Until fairly recently, conservatives, at least in the south, weren't exactly marching in the streets to give blacks civil rights. Was it the liberals who opposed interracial marriage in the 60s? Nope, it was, you guessed it, conservatives! Who is always trying to stop people from having sex? Who is it that wants to stop the sale of sex toys in Georgia and Texas? Who is always trying to eliminate the teaching of evolution in schools in favor of creationism or it's stupid twin, ID? Who is always trying to push religion on people who don't want it?

Yup, always the conservatives.

Now, I realize that many conservatives see themselves as champions of rights and liberty, especially when it comes to gun rights. And they see enviromentals as trying to limit rights (I disagree, but I understand their viewpoint).

But on many of the big issues of the past, and today, conservatives are the one who are saying no. They might have their reasons, but in the above examples, they are on the wrong side of history. And then you wonder why the younger generation thinks you are against liberty? It may be an *unfair* characterization, but it's certainly not entirely without basis.

Oh, and let's not forget hypocracy, which is the real award that Schafly should get. She is the leader of the anti-gay movement in America, yet her own son is openly gay. That's a fact that she finds rather uncomfortable.
5.12.2008 12:44pm
DiverDan (mail):
Congratulations, Snarky, you've demonstrated through your post precisely the kind of smug, self-righteous, presumption of moral superiority that I was trying to address. You have successfully convinced many conservatives (myself included) that trying to have a meaningful discussion with liberals is largely a waste of time.
5.12.2008 12:44pm
Michael B (mail):
byomtov,

Are you suggesting Kathy G. does evidence even a whisper of a hint of self-doubt? Is so, I'd like to see that supported.

The issue here is the awarding of an honorary degree, something variously awarded to people ranging from sit-com stars to world leaders and including all manner of dubious notables. The issue is not abortion or any number of other policy issues.
5.12.2008 12:49pm
Meh (mail):
I second what DiverDan said.
5.12.2008 12:50pm
SIG357:
liberalism is animated by the desire to help the weak

Not at all. Liberalism is animated by a desire to increase the power of liberals. The weak, or global warming, or civil rights, or any other justification, are merely excuses. The justification may vary but the "solution" is always the same - surrender power to the wise and good liberals. It's a branch of socialist thought.
5.12.2008 12:50pm
Volokh Groupie:

Query: What is the conservative plan for fixing the underrepresentation of certain minorities in obtaining a higher education?

Oh wait. I remember. The plan is to blame the victim. And to say that people should sink or swim, totally ignoring their individual background.

A conservative is someone who is stupid enough to think that the children of Harvard professors and someone who grows up in South Central Los Angeles are playing on an even playing field.

A liberal is someone who is smart enough to realize that individual success is to a large degree a social product, in addition to a product of individual initiative.

End of story.


hahaha

you do realize that there are black sons and daughters of harvard grads right (in fact some of them could be in the white house soon enough)

how does your myopic view of affirmative action work at all when it's the kid who's parents make 100k+ but happens to be black or native american who benefits at the expense of some kid in appalachia struggling in a family at the poverty line who is too privileged?

Bush actually advocated a more socio economically sensible 'affirmative access' program back in texas http://www.newsweek.com/id/62914?tid=relatedcl

but then again i doubt crooks and liars or dkos ever featured that
5.12.2008 12:51pm
anon252 (mail):
The one glimmer of hope in all this is that Kathy G is blogging anonymously, so perhaps she realizes how infantile she sounds even to her academic colleagues (perhaps that's because she's in economics, which is relatively balanced ideologically).
5.12.2008 12:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
I can't believe that anyone would actually defend Schafly's receiving an honorary degree, and thankfully, no one has. Instead, this thread to a turn to discussing whether conservatives oppose liberty.

But what has this woman done to deserve this honorary award? Just because she is famous? She's a crackpot and a looney tune, and frankly, if I were a conservative, I would be embarrased to call her one as well.

So far, I haven't seen anyone defend her -- thank goodness. So I guess we all agree that she doesn't deserve it?
5.12.2008 12:53pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
What's amazing is not that Snarky thinks like this, but that he has no problem letting the world in on it.
Either he thinks he's perfectly right, or he doesn't care how many normal people think he's nuts.
Wow.
5.12.2008 12:55pm
SIG357:
About the comment that conservatives try to limit liberty -- well, that's true isn't it?

No. Conservtives try to limit certain liberties and maximise others. Liberals do the exact same thing, only the specific liberties in question vary.

Who is it that opposes freedom of contract? Who is it that opposes freedom of association? Who is it that opposes free speech? Who is it that opposes economic freedom? You guessed it, liberals.

They oppose any sort of gay rights, or gay marriage.

What does "gay marriage" have to do with liberty?
5.12.2008 12:56pm
Deoxy (mail):
hypocracy: rule by hypo? heh - hypocrisy, OK? (sorry, pet peeve).

While I agree that religious converatives often try to restrict some rights (the "teaching of creation vs evolution" thing is a different issue, actually), I see the left as at least as bad.

Environmentalism, for example (but you said you see that one) - if you want MY property used differently, BUY IT FROM ME.

Speech? Yeah, sure... if it isn't one of many "beyond the pale" topics.

How about freedom of association? Trashed to combat racism (in such a manner that it promotes racism, no less).

I could go on. BOTH sides are fairly strongly against liberty... which is why "libertarians" don't fit into the "conservative/liberal" specitrum at all.

I call myself a convervative, and that's largely correct, but I have a strong libertarian streak... which, in the current environment, pushes me further into the "conservative" camp, as they are the ones pushing fewer liberty restrictions (though they aren't remotely perfect in this area, of course).
5.12.2008 12:56pm
Michael B (mail):
Essentially, this is being discussed with a pronounced Leftist mindset that can't so much as bring itself to demand that someone like a Walter Duranty be dispossessed of his Pulitzer. And Walter Duranty positively knew he was aiding and abetting a genocide - for the sake of the proletariat.

That's a fact that has been documented, but perhaps it falls within Kathy G.'s conception of "progress," so is to be given a pass.
5.12.2008 12:56pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):

Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.


Too easy.
5.12.2008 12:57pm
Jiminy (mail):
The source of Kathy's discontent; Ms. Schafly, leaves a little to be desired in terms of honorarium...

Whoa
5.12.2008 12:57pm
darelf:
Randy, are you saying that there were no conservatives, let's say as an example Abraham Lincoln, who weren't willing to do everything in their power, and even place their careers and very lives on the line, in order to give blacks the same rights as everyone else? (Just to grab one example from your list)

Have you even touched a history book?
5.12.2008 12:58pm
Volokh Groupie:
@Randy R

The discussion that is occurring is completely legitimate as 'Kathy G' used Schafly's case to make more general points
5.12.2008 1:00pm
Adam J:
darelf- I'm not going to argue in any way that Kathy G. is correct, because she obviously is making a sweeping and ludicrious generalization of conservatives, but I wouldn't call old Abe a conservative, the Republican party back then was a different animal then it is now.
5.12.2008 1:02pm
pmorem (mail):
What I want to know is...

How is a commie-loving pinko statist like George W. Bush a "far right" anything?

There's a clear difference in perspectives here.
5.12.2008 1:02pm
SIG357:
Kathy G

"Do you enjoy the ugly and vicious character of political discourse in George Bush’s America—the way conservatives cast aspersions at everything from their opponents’ patriotism to their gender identity? The way every political issue under the sun becomes fodder for cheap and sleazy sensationalism? Well then, you would just love Phyllis Schlafly."



And you'll REALLY love Kathy G.
5.12.2008 1:02pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Anderson - it has revealed a lot about some commenters as well.

Nick
5.12.2008 1:04pm
rarango (mail):
I suppose Burkean Conservatism has gone the way of Millsian Liberalism. Damn shame for both.
5.12.2008 1:06pm
SIG357:
How is a commie-loving pinko statist like George W. Bush a "far right" anything?

Is this a serious question? I mean, the man says "nukular"! Case closed!

"Far right", to the left, is a cultural marker. It has almost nothing to do with actual policy positions. Nixon was one of the most liberal Presidents in American history, but they hated him with an undying passion because he was "not on of us".
5.12.2008 1:06pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
I actually agree with the bulk of the substance of DavidB's post for once! He's completely right that he post he's criticizing characterizes conservatives as presumptively not "sane," unworthy of honorary degrees due to their political positions, etc. Where I disagree is with the characterization of this as an "academic" mindset. It's more the mindset of the hyper-ideological and/or hyper-partisan—the left-wing analogue of the people who characterize Barack HUSSEIN MOHAMMED [1] Obama as a far-left "socialist."

I'll admit that left-wing academics of this type are a lot more common, and more accepted in academia, than their right-wing counterparts, who are relegated to think tanks and the like. I'll agree that this is disturbing, but this attitude is hardly characteristic of academics.

[1] Apparently without concern for the fact that "Mohammed" is not even part of his name.
5.12.2008 1:07pm
Volokh Groupie:
@Elliot

I agree with you that this isn't symptomatic of liberals. I think the disconcerting part is that the liberal analogues tend to be in positions which are then falsely accorded respect (academia) whereas on the right I can just simply choose not to watch the O'Reilly factor or visit free republic/atlas shrugs or whatever
5.12.2008 1:13pm
SIG357:
the left-wing analogue of the people who characterize Barack HUSSEIN MOHAMMED [1] Obama as a far-left "socialist."


A few problems there, but we can start with the one that the "people who characterize Barack HUSSEIN MOHAMMED Obama as a far-left "socialist" are non-existent in higher ed. So your attempted parallel fails at the first hurdle.
5.12.2008 1:13pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Kathy seems to think she's okay with her colleagues when she says something like this.
If true, this says something about her colleagues which some, or many, have been at pains to deny.
5.12.2008 1:19pm
jazzed (mail):
Level playing field? You might as well believe in the tooth fairy and Officer Friendly. There's no such thing, and in trying to create a level playing field, the only real result I can fathom is the redistribution of inequities (or iniquities, if you prefer). I would never advocate that we simply accept without reflection the societal factors that retard a person's success. I would suggest, however, that some of the so-called "solutions" that have been implemented have caused other problems that are abhorrent and damaging in their own right, and that some people value those effects just as poorly as the initial problem that was being "corrected."

I guess my frustration is just with the fact that people are under the delusion that (a) you can actually have a level playing field that's fair to everyone, (b) that you can create one without damaging anyone else, and (c) that everyone is entitled to one.
5.12.2008 1:21pm
Thoughtful (mail):
So many comments, so little time:

1. I agree with Bernstein that Kathy G's comments are worthy of note and discussion. I'm guessing, from what he italicizes, that it's not merely her unwillingness to grant honors to the likes of Bush, Jr. and Cheney—an unwillingness I share—it's the underlying assumptions of her position: "It's not that conservatives should NEVER get academic honors". How nice, just not frequently, because of course they don't deserve them very often. And the end line which quite explicitly (and with little understanding of economics or history) links modern liberalism with advancing freedom and (perhaps somewhat less unreasonably)modern conservatism with thwarting it. I find these underlying assumptions, far more than the claim that Cheney is a "far-right lunatic", disturbing.

2. I'm not sure why Bernstein subsequently claims that if W. is a far-right lunatic then a large percentage of the American public must be "far-far-far right lunatics". Is it because they voted for him? Doubtful, since voting for the lesser of two evils doesn't prove much. And many Americans didn't vote. Is it because Bernstein sees Bush as not very much to the right, in terms of his huge expansion of non-military spending? This is certainly true, but I'm guessing that Kathy G was thinking about those little matters of invading Iraq and pushing the PATRIOT Act. And here I don't think Bernstein would have any evidence to suggest that the majority of Americans want even more of this sort of thing than Bush does.

3. Bernstein claims he's a man of principle, which explains why he, a libertarian [not a conservative] is highlighting an unfair attack on a conservative. This is certainly plausible. I await his highlighting of an unfair attack of a liberal by conservatives, and even more breathlessly his condemnation of an unfair attack of a Palestinian by an Israeli. Please note the latter may be either an academic or actual attack.

4. Snarky, who may wish to consider changing his handle to "Doesn't Read Much" wonders what free-market types want to do about the plight of the inner cities, and education of the underclass. It's as if he never heard of school vouchers, tax-credits for education, ending the drug war that is destroying the inner cities, a negative income tax for the poor, to name just some ideas, all of which were discussed in Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom, published over 50 years ago. This was the same "conservative" Friedman who was the #1 intellectual advocate for the successful ending of the military draft, responsible in the 1960s for the deaths of so many black draftees. Liberals at the time were strong proponents of the military draft, the Vietnam War being a liberal war (Kennedy, Johnson).
5.12.2008 1:21pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Randy R.,

I fail to see how the teaching of evolution vs. creationism is a question of liberty, but rather a question of whether or not the curriculum is gettting the science right.

The curriculum is determined at some level, either by the teacher, department head, school board... In a public school this is an agent of the state. I guess I don't see how "the decider" choosing evolution increases or diminishes liberty any more than choosing to teach creationism.

Now, having the curriculum be set by an agent of the state, I see how that impacts liberty, regardless of the choice that is made.

I do agree with your broader point about religous conservatives often being opposed to liberty, but I don't know if it happens more often than it does in liberal circles. There's a continuum of statism for every issue, and both conservatives and liberals fall on the statist side of many issues.
5.12.2008 1:22pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Randy, are you saying that there were no conservatives, let's say as an example Abraham Lincoln, who weren't willing to do everything in their power, and even place their careers and very lives on the line, in order to give blacks the same rights as everyone else? (Just to grab one example from your list)."

Not at all. I'm saying that many conservatives have in fact been on the wrong side of history. Not all, of course. But when it comes to advancing liberty, conservatives at the least have an image problem, like it or not. It was conservatives who opposed women the right to vote back a century or so ago. That's just the baggage you have to live with.

If you don't like it, then do something to change the image. And you can start that by repudiating religious right wingnuts who are the scourge of much of conservatism.

What has gay marriage to do with liberty? When two people who are in love are prohibited from marrying each other, that's a denial of their liberty to get married. You may state that there are reasons to oppose this type of liberty, but it certainly is a denial of liberty. As for the gay movement overall, conservatives again have been at the forefront of denyings gays any rights at all. For instance, the amendment in Michigan that was just interpreted to deny not only marriage rights, but even domestic partner benefits to gays was not lead by the liberals in the state.
5.12.2008 1:27pm
KWC (mail):
DavidBernstein:

(1) Everyone knows that most conservatives don't go into academia not for fear of persecution, but for fear of poverty. Most conservatives view law school as a necessary evil to advancing their ultimate goal of getting rich. Nowhere in that plan does academia fit. Your comment also ignores the obvious: If more conservatives went into academia, it wouldn't be dominated by liberals, and presumably discrimination wouldn't exist.

(2) By definition conservatives are not forward thinkers. They desire preservation of the status quo and long for the good ol' days before non-whites and sexual minorities started asserting their rights. They value "hard work," even though most of them don't know what it means to work hard to get where they are (see, e.g., G.W. Bush).

Indeed, the rich in the group are the masterminds. They play on intolerance and subtly suggest to the white poor masses who are willing to listen that they are better than their black or gay neighbor, even if they are poor. That is, they have something better -- moral superiority. And so the poor "Chrisitians" vote for people who ultimately don't represent them at all and end up penalize them for being poor while favoring the ourtageously wealthy. All with the hope that one day they will achieve the American dream that their "lazy" black neighbors or "morally bankrupt" gay people or "illegal" Mexicans will not.

By definition, liberals are progressive. They attempt to advance thought to fight against the status quo. To evolve. This is the essence of academics.
5.12.2008 1:28pm
Volokh Groupie:
Randy R--you mean like the dems who opposed civil rights legislation in the 60's?

if you want to make such a blanket statement, pointing out one or two anecdotes won't help
5.12.2008 1:32pm
harsh pencil (mail):
One commenter writes:

So many liberals think that liberalism is intellectually and morally superior to conservatism. So? This is news? Are there not many conservatives who believe the opposite?


Exactly. Conservatives think liberals are stupid or incorrect. Liberals think conservatives are evil.

Second, it was commented that no one will defend Phyllis Schlafly receiving a doctorate. I will. What other woman of her generation (she is 83) has had as much of an impact on American politics? Like it or not, she's a pioneer. She was instrumental in changing the Republican party from being controlled by East Coast banker types to a more populist, conservative, grass-roots party.
5.12.2008 1:33pm
SIG357:
When two people who are in love are prohibited from marrying each other, that's a denial of their liberty to get married. You may state that there are reasons to oppose this type of liberty, but it certainly is a denial of liberty.

It's a denial of liberty as you concieve it. Not everyone sees it as the role of the state to faciliate such notions.
5.12.2008 1:33pm
hawkins:

liberalism is animated by the desire to help the weak; conservatism is animated by the desire to let people sink or swim on their own. That's just true.

No. Liberalism is motivated by the desire to pretend to help the weak (using somebody else's money) so that the liberal can 'feel good about himself/herself.' Conservativism is motivated by the desire to teach people how to swim so that they don't have to sink.


Jon W - please just ignore Starky. Countering with equally ignorant accusations does nothing but lend credence to his argument.
5.12.2008 1:34pm
KWC (mail):
The problem re: libertarian thought is that it isn't about true liberty. Libertarians want minimal government only NOW that the entire infrastructure is set up in favor of rich and rich white people. This country (nad most of the West) could not have been built on those principles. It required taking liberty from individuals (blacks, native americans, chinese, mexicans, etc.).

How many libertarians would be willing to get rid of all this infrastructure built on the backs of slave labor in order to REALLY start from stratch. Let's start over on an island somewhere. With equal tools and true liberty. Let's see who would survive.
5.12.2008 1:36pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Darelf asks Randy if he is aware that Abraham Lincoln and people like him were "willing to do everything in their power, and even place their careers and very lives on the line, in order to give blacks the same rights as everyone else?" and concludes by asking Randy if he ever reads any books.

Darelf is referring to the same Abraham Lincoln who famously said, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

Thus does Darelf's comment about reading books become a self parody.
5.12.2008 1:37pm
Volokh Groupie:

Indeed, the rich in the group are the masterminds. They play on intolerance and subtly suggest to the white poor masses who are willing to listen that they are better than their black or gay neighbor, even if they are poor. That is, they have something better -- moral superiority. And so the poor "Chrisitians" vote for people who ultimately don't represent them at all and end up penalize them for being poor while favoring the ourtageously wealthy. All with the hope that one day they will achieve the American dream that their "lazy" black neighbors or "morally bankrupt" gay people or "illegal" Mexicans will not.


Yeah because liberals never suggest they are 'better' than their counterparts.

Liberals also never ever write books like 'what's the matter with kansas' and then echo it in posts like yours where they point out they're just trying to advocate what's best for those red staters in the hinterlands who for some reason are more concerned with the 'moral values' they seem to hold dear as opposed to the extra welfare services they could reap if they only signed onto liberal platforms.

Liberals certainly don't facetiously quote terms like 'christian' that indicate they are the only ones that understand true definitions of religious/cultural movements/beliefs.

Liberals also don't stereotype their opponents for apparently doing the same thing and in one fell swoop conflate issues of prejudice, legality and morality in order to make a squeamishly intellectually bankrupt accusation.

Did you seriously make that post as an attempt to be taken seriously? All I've seen so far is stereotyping and biased claims.
5.12.2008 1:38pm
SIG357:
By definition, liberals are progressive. They attempt to advance thought to fight against the status quo.

How does liberal opposition to the war in Iraq correspond with this self-image? What about liberal opposition to changes in Social Security, or welfare, or the power of the central government?

Liberals in many respects are the most reactionary people in America. They want to preserve a lot of the status quo, and only change those bits of it they dislike.
5.12.2008 1:39pm
KWC (mail):
So, in other words liberty is only that which SIG357 is willing to give us. Well, let us know when we can get married.

According to SIG357, slavery is not a deprivation of liberty, so long as some people believe that the state shouldn't facilitate notions of personal freedom for black people.
5.12.2008 1:39pm
Meh (mail):
KWC, was your comment a joke?
5.12.2008 1:41pm
Connecticut Lawyer (mail):
"[L]iberalism is animated by the desire to help the weak; conservatism is animated by the desire to let people sink or swim on their own."

I think it would be more accurate to say that liberalism is animated by moral vanity, by the desire to take other people's money and give it away in a manner that will make the person directing the taking and giving feel morally superior.
5.12.2008 1:41pm
SIG357:
If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves I would do it

Of course that was political spin. Lincoln was elected as the abolitionist candidate, and his election was what sparked the Civil War.
5.12.2008 1:42pm
Meh (mail):
Wait, I just refreshed the page, KWC's comment at 12:28pm wasn't a joke? Those are some comical "definitions" he has. I wonder what dictionary he's using.
5.12.2008 1:45pm
byomtov (mail):
Michael B.,

I made no statement about Kathy G. I merely said that your description of her fits Schlafly quite well.
5.12.2008 1:47pm
SIG357:
So, in other words liberty is only that which SIG357 is willing to give us.

So, in other words liberty is only that which KWC is willing to give us. Everyone believes in ordered liberty. Different people have differing notions as to what principles liberty should be ordered on. "Liberals", so called, downplay many sorts of liberty, such as freeom of association and contract, in order to elevate other sorts of liberty which are more to their liking. I notice you managed not to address this point at all in your obnoxious diatribe.


According to SIG357, slavery is not a deprivation of liberty

I bet you had to get a university education in order to learn to lie about what other people have said so expertly. How about an apology?
5.12.2008 1:49pm
Latinist:
I agree with you that this isn't symptomatic of liberals. I think the disconcerting part is that the liberal analogues tend to be in positions which are then falsely accorded respect (academia) whereas on the right I can just simply choose not to watch the O'Reilly factor or visit free republic/atlas shrugs or whatever

Now hold on: are you seriously claiming that O'Reilly's opinions are more easily avoided, and less widely respected, than Kathy G.'s?

Anyway, I don't really like Kathy G.'s arguments here either; but before we go off on how this reveals that the academy is full of liberal fascists who want to execute conservatives, it's worth noting that Kathy G. does not, in fact, get to decide who gets honorary degrees. In fact, her whole gripe in that post is that Schlafly is going to get a degree. So this isn't really overwhelming evidence that liberals are denying conservatives respect in academia: just that at least some liberals would, to some extent, like to.

I would also point out that it is absolutely commonplace among conservative critics of academia to claim that all mainstream liberal academic work in the humanities is utterly worthless at best and fraudulent at worst (I mentioned this in the comments on that Alan Kors piece posted at VC a few days ago). Which does slightly weaken complaints about liberals not respecting conservative ideas.
5.12.2008 1:52pm
Meh (mail):
SIG357, I don't agree with everything you've said, but if KWC isn't just trying to appear crazy for some reason, he's not someone with whom a rational conversation is possible.
5.12.2008 1:54pm
SIG357:
byomtov

I made no statement about Kathy G. I merely said that your description of her fits Schlafly quite well.


I make no statement about Schlafly, but "Kathy G"s comments about Schlafly fit Kathy G quite well. Except that the wretched Kathy G has already been awarded an actual degree, proving that intellectual disability is no handicap to graduation.
5.12.2008 1:55pm
Kathi Smith (mail):
Encouraging to see that the blogger agrees that social justice and human rights are "good". But I think the blogger over-reads the protester's complaints: "not-sane" is not a generalization about all conservatives, but rather, is a debilitating characteristic.
5.12.2008 1:57pm
rarango (mail):
KWF: your island/tool thing describes "the state of nature," about which Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau--among many others-- most famously wrote about. In very brief summary: trading off some absolute liberty for some benefits that the individuals derive from that trade-of because their states of nature sucked.
5.12.2008 1:59pm
SIG357:
Of course, in "the state of nature", individuals don't exist at all.
5.12.2008 2:02pm
josh:
DB says: "JFT, your reference to "mythical liberal academia" discredits anything else you might have to say on the topic."

Why post then? This is about as childish a response as I've ever seen from DB. Believe it or not, people don't all agree on the liberal academia conspiracy. Ad hominem or other attack-your-opponent comments don't prove your case.

DB also said "Calling Bush a far-right lunatic shows tunnel vision akin to calling Bill Clinton a far-left lunatic."

Um, Sadly, no. Bush has an approval rating hovering just about 25%. The data suggest that these 25-30% of Americans would continue to approve of him whether he pranced through the Rose Garden naked or shot someone in the face (oops, wrong guy)

On the other hand, Clinton was immensely popular at the end of his presidency. From a strictly Philip K. Dick-ean measure of lunacy/normalcy, it is not the same to call each a lunatic.

Not unless all you want to accomplish is partisan argument.
5.12.2008 2:03pm
Volokh Groupie:
@Latinist

I should be clearer when I say something like 'accorded respect'. What I mean with that has nothing to do with which views are more popularly heard or respected (O'Reilly does probably reach over a million people or so, far more than I imagine Kathy G does) but instead refers to the objective standing they're accorded. O'Reilly is not deemed a scholar in the formal sense and is known as a partisan commentator. He is the ideological analogue of a chris matthews or olbermann--a known quantity. Kathy G however hold an official academic standing wherein she's been qualified as an expert in some subset of an academic field. In so far as this isn't inherently a position she earned because of her political leanings, she is accorded more objective respect. That's why Joe Schmo can send his kids to be taught by Kathy G as opposed O'Reilly.

As for the second paragraph, I think you're correct if youre saying in this instance there is no danger of a liberal group denying a conservative anything. However, the sentiments expressed by Kathy G, which were in fact more general than just in this case, suggest that (along with a number of academic studies and countless hiring committee controversies) some of this ideological stubbornness does in fact effect the overall nature of the academy.

As for conservative critics disrespecting humanities work--that's a weird contention to me. Things like the sokal hoax and similar criticisms are more often the work of scientists (a wacky and varied bunch) as opposed to conservatives.
5.12.2008 2:05pm
SIG357:
are you seriously claiming that O'Reilly's opinions are more easily avoided, and less widely respected, than Kathy G.'s?


Are you seriously claiming that O'Reilly's opinions are in some sense equal and opposite to Kathy G's? I don't watch the man, but I'm pretty sure that he's never described liberals as evil and insane and the enemies of all that is pure and good.
5.12.2008 2:06pm
Volokh Groupie:
wow josh

first you critique JB in your first line and then make yourself look like a childish partisan in your second statement

then you have to gall to rail against partisans
5.12.2008 2:07pm
john w. (mail):
When two people who are in love are prohibited from marrying each other, that's a denial of their liberty to get married.

The whole 'gay marriage' thing is a red herring. The State should not have any role in deciding who can marry whom in the first place. Marriage (involving consenting adults) should be a private contract and/or a religious sacrament only; Big Brother ought not be telling *anybody* who they can or can't marry, and He also should not be granting people special privileges and financial incentives based on their marital status.
5.12.2008 2:12pm
Meh (mail):
Volokh Groupie, you're right about Josh. It was funny to see him argue that "attack-your-opponent comments don't prove your case" and then seen him write that "Americans would continue to approve of [Bush] whether he pranced through the Rose Garden naked or shot someone in the face (oops, wrong guy)" and "[n]ot unless all you want to accomplish is partisan argument."

Josh belongs with KWC in the unserious department.
5.12.2008 2:13pm
SIG357:
Um, Sadly, no. Bush has an approval rating hovering just about 25%.

It takes an Olympian leap of faith to get from there to the conclusion that Bush is a "far right-wing lunatic". Congress has an approval rating lower than Bush's. Is Congress also populated by far right-wing lunatics? What are Reid and Pelosi?
5.12.2008 2:13pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
When two people who are in love are prohibited from marrying each other, that's a denial of their liberty to get married.
So you say, but I would bet that most recipients of honorary degrees in the last 20 years were against same-sex marriage. Bill and Hillary Clinton opposed same-sex marriage. Wash. U. gave an honorary degree to Jesse Jackson while he opposed same-sex marriage. If the same-sex marriage issue is so important, why not protest all the other honorary degrees?

Wash. U. defends its decision here.
5.12.2008 2:14pm
Michael B (mail):
byomtov,

That's fine and I won't rip on what that seems to tacitly imply for Kathy G.

But I will note you miss the larger issue, which "is the awarding of an honorary degree," not setting policy via diktat. Schlafly was an advocate, others from other sides have been advocates, and I'm not aware that Schlafly (I honestly and simply do not know) has ever advocated that a college or university should be precluded from awarding an honorary degree to someone simply because that someone held an opposing policy position concerning a vital and controversial issue.
5.12.2008 2:15pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I don't watch the man, but I'm pretty sure that he's never described liberals as evil and insane and the enemies of all that is pure and good.

Apparently you don't ever watch the man, because that is exactly how felafel boy describes people he disagrees with. The only caveat I would put on it is that O'Reilly is not a pure conservative but kind of a Buchananish populist.
5.12.2008 2:16pm
SIG357:
Marriage (involving consenting adults) should be a private contract

The word "contract", in its legal sense, denotes a non-private arrangement to which the state is a party. In that sense marriage is not and cannot be a private contract.


Big Brother ought not be telling *anybody* who they can or can't marry

Why not? Especially if they are seeking state sanction?
5.12.2008 2:17pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Randy R--you mean like the dems who opposed civil rights legislation in the 60's? if you want to make such a blanket statement, pointing out one or two anecdotes won't help"

True, soime dems opposed civil rights legislation, but most approved it. That's why it became law, over the objections of the conservatives.

One or two anecdotes? I've provided quite a few, actaully. But here's a few more. Joe McCarthy was a conservative, and no one tried harder to limit free speech, and actually succeded, than he did. AND he is praised by today's conservatives, such as Schafly, and Ann Coulter.

The KKK -- loaded up with conservatives or liberals? You decide. Anti-immigration? Conservatives again. (Even though in this instance, I agree with their position about illegal immigrants, but sometimes this position looks often like anti-hispanic)

Look, I'm a liberal, but I also know that conservatism has a lot to offer as well, and I respect a lot of conservative positions. But the image that conservatives have built up for themselves over the past century is that they do oppose rights for lots of groups. And yes, opposing gay marriage and/or domestic partnershiop benefits is a restriction upon my liberty to get married. Spin it any way you like, but that is the goal of most conservatives.

As I said, if you don't want to be tarred and feathered as a party that opposes rights and is on the losing side of history, then you have to admit that a) the conservative movement was wrong, wrong, wrong to oppose voting rights for women, civil rights for blacks, employment and housing rights for gays, pushing Christianity into the public arena, pushing creationism in our schools, opposing environmentalism and conservation on principle, and so on, and b) that the religious right wing nuts, such as Schafly, do not speak for real conservatives.

This younger generation is shunning the Republican party because of this problem. A large majority reject the label of conservative. Argue all you like with me, but if you don't want to find yourselves in a permanant minority for the next generation, you should do something to address these issues.
5.12.2008 2:18pm
SIG357:
Apparently you don't ever watch the man, because that is exactly how felafel boy describes people he disagrees with.


I'm afraid I'm not going to take the word of an anonymous commenter for that. Cite, please.


The only caveat I would put on it is that O'Reilly is not a pure conservative but kind of a Buchananish populist.

What would the Founders have thought of "populism"? I'm pretty sure they were populists too.
5.12.2008 2:21pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I'm afraid I'm not going to take the word of an anonymous commenter for that. Cite, please.


There are entire websites devoted to Bill O'Reilly's lies and outrageous statements but sweetjesusihatebilloreilly.com (an organization of hope) is my favorite.
5.12.2008 2:27pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Joe McCarthy was a conservative, and no one tried harder to limit free speech, and actually succeded, than he did. AND he is praised by today's conservatives ...
McCarthy has been dead for 50 years. Can you even name one person whose free speech rights were limited by Sen. McCarthy?

These are really some bizarre and farfetched arguments against conservatives getting honorary degrees.
5.12.2008 2:27pm
SIG357:
True, soime dems opposed civil rights legislation, but most approved it. That's why it became law, over the objections of the conservatives.


Dishonest mixing of terms. You use "dems" and "conservatives" as if they are antonyms.

the conservative movement was wrong, wrong, wrong to oppose voting rights for women

Can you offer any evidence that there was some "conservative movement" which opposed voting rights for women?


And yes, opposing gay marriage and/or domestic partnershiop benefits is a restriction upon my liberty to get married.

Your "liberty" ends at the point where it starts making demands on other people. And "gay marriage" is an example of your "liberty" presuming to tell everyones else what they have to do.

You're a communist, you have merely swapped "liberty" for "equality" as an justification for your desire to control everyone else.
5.12.2008 2:28pm
Paul Schofield (mail):
Another interesting point that has been largely ignored (and in some posts completely contradicted) is that Kathy G explicitly states that she does not oppose giving such people a voice in accademia. She notes that she would not have a problem with Schlafly coming to give a talk. She has a problem with her being rewarded by an institution the aims of which are largely seen as polar opposite the aims of Schlafly.

The examples listed in the article are pretty decent as far as that goes. While cutting the woman out of academia as a whole might be totally out of line, institutions should not reward those who have worked for decades against their own mission.
5.12.2008 2:28pm
MXE (mail):
Wow, lots of class warriors trolling this morning. Guess this thread hit a nerve somehow.

I hear conservatives also burn needy children to power their gigantic SUVs. What's up with that, anyway?
5.12.2008 2:31pm
mischief (mail):

Query: What is the conservative plan for fixing the underrepresentation of certain minorities in obtaining a higher education?

Oh wait. I remember. The plan is to blame the victim. And to say that people should sink or swim, totally ignoring their individual background.


Because blacks never got any degrees from college before the civil rights movement!

In fact, blacks were earning more and more degrees steadily before and after the movement. There was no change in the rate of increase until affirmative action came along -- at which point the rate decreased.

Please note, BTW, that a lot of affirmative actions have been put into place, around the world. Untouchables in India. Malays in Malaysia. It's had the same effect in those places, too.
5.12.2008 2:32pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
And "gay marriage" is an example of your "liberty" presuming to tell everyones else what they have to do.

As far as I know, none of the gay marriage proposals would actually require anyone to marry someone of the same sex, so I don't see what you are getting at. It's not like you are going to go in to get your hair done and get forced into a gay shotgun marriage.

Or maybe that is the nefarious plot.
5.12.2008 2:35pm
KWC (mail):
Yes, I am crazy. Just like scientists who believed the world was flat were crazy to their narrow-minded contemporaries.

The Republican party is destined to crack. It's glued together by such weak links. The libertarians, the moral conservatives, and the "patriots" will soon realize that they are different groups and will split. When this happens these fringe groups will be seen for what they are: radical opinions held by relatively few people.
5.12.2008 2:36pm
Jim Hu:
It may be easier on average to avoid Kathy G than O'Reilly (thankfully, I don't have to deal with either). But since she is described as an academic, it's much harder for her students to avoid her than it is to avoid O'Reilly or Schlafly.

One thing to note - they're giving her an honorary degree, not inviting her to be the commencement speaker. The commencement speaker is that noted right winger Chris Matthews.

Would I have nominated her for an honorary degree? Probably not. I do wonder if it's part of a deal to soothe conservative donors about the extent to which past honors have gone to lefties.
5.12.2008 2:36pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
In fact, blacks were earning more and more degrees steadily before and after the movement. There was no change in the rate of increase until affirmative action came along -- at which point the rate decreased.

Can you please provide a cite for this. Because


According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the year 2005 blacks earned 136,122 four-year bachelor’s degrees from American colleges and universities. The number of blacks earning bachelor’s degrees increased nearly 4 percent from the previous year. In that year the number of African Americans earning bachelor’s degrees reached the highest level in this nation’s history. It was more than double the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by blacks in 1990.


Now it's hard to imagine that the number of bachelors degrees earned by blacks doubled in any 15 year period (except maybe during the nineteenth century when it probably went from a handful to a couple hundred) pre-civil rights act and affirmative action.
5.12.2008 2:43pm
Tern (mail):

I can't believe that anyone would actually defend Schafly's receiving an honorary degree, and thankfully, no one has. Instead, this thread to a turn to discussing whether conservatives oppose liberty.


I'm not going to make a stab at defending Schafly's worthiness to receive an honorary degree, or even the others, because that's a red herring. The problem with Kathy G is her apparent claim is that most conservatives, by virture of their ideological beliefs, are inherently unworthy of receivning such an honorarium. Or, in her words, they are "hateful."
5.12.2008 2:47pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I hear conservatives also burn needy children to power their gigantic SUVs. What's up with that, anyway?

I'm sure they would if there were any conservative scientists. Unfortunately, as we all know, scientists are all left wing socialists who dreamed up global warming to destroy the economy of the U.S. They are hardly going to invent a cheap alternative fuel for SUVs.
5.12.2008 2:47pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Snarky wrote:

Query: What is the conservative plan for fixing the underrepresentation of certain minorities in obtaining a higher education?

Before we worry about getting minority kids into college, we should be preparing them to succeed in college. I (and many other conservatives) would say that the first step would be to improve K-12 education in what is euphemistically referred to as "inner city" schools. Care to make a WAG as to who has been in charge of the dysfunctional Detroit, DC, NYC, Los Angeles, Philly, Baltimore. etc...education establishments?
5.12.2008 2:47pm
Volokh Groupie:
@Randy R

w/regards to a perception problem I'll generally agree with you especially considering the republican/democrat and conservative/liberal alignments haven't been consistent through out history.

I will take exception with some of your examples though. Breaking the civil rights opposition down to conservative/liberals it was conservatives who were in general against it. This is also generally true with the women's rights movement.

However some of your other examples are less clear. There's likely a greater intersection of the kkk with populists (and in fact with opposition to the civil rights movement as well), a group that isn't necessarily one or the other.

Joe McCarthy is not the plainly evil and always in the wrong character that is often portrayed by the media and in earlier textbooks. In fact, he did help to expose many communist elements. The entire interpretation of McCarthyism has been changing over the past 25 years as newer evidence (eg venona cables) has came out (in fact, liberals like Radosh have been punished for opposing the establishment view.)

Anti-Immigration is again a complicated issue which has many non racist/prejudical motives behind the position. In fact, many of the attempts to brand those who oppose illegal immigration or further legal immigration as racists are done by opponents who otherwise do in fact lack substantive arguments.

As for that last sentence, it comes across as somewhat unhinged. You admit that there weren't neat division between those who opposed civil rights but use it in your claims. You then somehow lump in pushing conservatism into the public arena and pushing for creationism as an alternative theory in our schools as limitation of rights (while this maybe an overextension of religion there are certainly meritorious arguments for both of those views, and none of them inherently limit the rights of others)?

Finally you're veering into snarky territory with that 'opposing environmentalism/conservation' on principles. That is a caricature and is akin to somebody saying that NARAL prefers to kill babies on principle.

As for your broader point, I do agree that younger generations are getting liberal in some areas, but they're also remaining conservative in others. Becoming more liberal isn't an inherently positive thing in every area (especially since what the true liberal positions in some areas are isn't that clear).

And you also neglected to mention that rights which liberals continuously try to limit, namely right like the freedom to contracts, right to bear arms, freedom of speech (would you describe canadian and european conceptions of free speech as liberal?), etc.

The irony is that the rights you believe liberals do protect along with the rights I mentioned which they oppose all point to the fact that many liberal conceptions of what is just hinge upon allowing more authoritarian control--unsurprisingly at the hands of enlightened liberals
5.12.2008 2:49pm
SenatorX (mail):
liberalism and conservatism are not moral equivalents. Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.

The main problem I have with this statement is that from my perspective Social Justice runs opposite to human rights and freedom. You can have equality before the law but anything past that any attempt for social justice will cause the state to reduce individual freedom and citizen rights. There is no method of achieving "social justice" that doesn't have the state taking from one citizen and giving to another. I guess this is one of those things that people on the right see that people on the left don't. The right has come to grips with the fact that you can have freedom or equality but not both.

She has turned truth on its head. She is right that there is no moral equivalence, the right has a superior argument and the left is stuck in ignorant idealism. Idealism which under their mistaken belief in doing good they do much harm.
5.12.2008 2:51pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
And you also neglected to mention that rights which liberals continuously try to limit, namely right like the freedom to contracts, right to bear arms, freedom of speech (would you describe canadian and european conceptions of free speech as liberal?), etc.

Is "freedom to contract" a euphamism for being anti-union? against consumer protection laws? Where on earth are there liberals who are against freedom to contract? Being for laws that require credit card companies to openly, truthfully, legibly and understandably reveal terms and conditions of something that is tantamount to an adhesion contract is hardly being against "freedom of contract".

I'm not even going to touch the right to bear arms on this thread because I know where that leads. As for differing concepts of freedom of speech, obviously if the speech is something you disagree with (say being a member of the communist party), you don't have a problem limiting it.
5.12.2008 3:00pm
pmorem (mail):
I wrote:
How is a commie-loving pinko statist like George W. Bush a "far right" anything?

SIG357 responded:
Is this a serious question? I mean, the man says "nukular"! Case closed!

1. It was an over-the-top expression of my real sentiment. See references V. Putin, "economic stimulus", "compassionate conservatism", medicare expansion, ad nauseum.
2. So does Jimmy Carter.

"Far right", to the left, is a cultural marker. It has almost nothing to do with actual policy positions. Nixon was one of the most liberal Presidents in American history, but they hated him with an undying passion because he was "not on of us".

Agreed. That's probably the answer to my question, even.

As for "lunatic", I think I've heard of nations where people who didn't hold correct political views were called lunatics. It seems to me that they had .. uhmm.. rather high "excess mortality" rates...

Some people are into that.
5.12.2008 3:05pm
AndrewK (mail):
I DO see a good argument that there ought to be a relationship between the academic degree awarded and the recipient: Schlafly certainly shouldn't get an honorary M.P.H. She is being awarded a "Doctor of Humane Letters" and so far as I'm aware that is a degree with purely honorary significance.

If the argument is that Schlafly is a public figure and that the degree has some academic prerequisite, she might be unworthy, but so too Martin Luther King, Jr. would be.

At the end of the day, this Kathy G. provides no criterion by which to judge Schlafly against GWB against Al Gore aside from her own ex cathedra pronouncements. She doesn't warrant any wasted brain-time except insofar as Leiter, left-wing axe-grinder that he is, has posted her all over his blog. Until she says something with intellectual merit, I'd just as soon not read about her at all.
5.12.2008 3:07pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Phyllis Schlafly holds despicable opinions, and why she is being honored by a mainstream university (Regent can pick whom it chooses) is a mystery to me.
5.12.2008 3:10pm
Volokh Groupie:
If you believe differing concepts of freedom of speech hinge on speech you disagree with, you've already buried Mill.

As for freedom to contract--there are legitimate arguments with regards to this w/regards to lochner through to impetus for the court packing episodes of FDR. You would think on a libertarian law blog you would recognize that as opposed to parroting the idea its an euphemism for legitimate academic arguments.

I also haven't mentioned freedom to property which I'm sure will find many defenders here.
5.12.2008 3:10pm
pmorem (mail):
As for differing concepts of freedom of speech, obviously if the speech is something you disagree with (say being a member of the communist party), you don't have a problem limiting it.

I have a problem with limiting it. Calling you an idiot is not "limiting" your free speech, it's exercising mine.

I don't consider acting on behalf of foreign powers for the purpose of overthrowing the government to be an exercise of free speech. Saying "The government is evil" is fine. Advocating Communism is fine, but stupid. Taking money from a foreign power for the purpose of ending my freedom may be an act of war. Marching through the country under foreign flags might be an act of war.

I know I'd be "first against the wall", so I take it kinda personally, like it's solicitation or conspiracy to commit murder.

I've seen what happens. No matter how pure you think your thoughts might be, the bloodlusters still end up being the ones in power.
5.12.2008 3:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Joe McCarthy is not the plainly evil and always in the wrong character that is often portrayed by the media and in earlier textbooks. In fact, he did help to expose many communist elements. The entire interpretation of McCarthyism has been changing over the past 25 years as newer evidence (eg venona cables) has came out (in fact, liberals like Radosh have been punished for opposing the establishment view.) "

Yet because of McCarthy, we had a blacklist, and many people lost their jobs and livelihoods because of him. Freedom of speech was under attack. Is that an unfair assessment of Joe? perhaps. But no one should regard this as a shining moment in our democracy.

"As for that last sentence, it comes across as somewhat unhinged. You admit that there weren't neat division between those who opposed civil rights but use it in your claims. You then somehow lump in pushing conservatism into the public arena and pushing for creationism as an alternative theory in our schools as limitation of rights (while this maybe an overextension of religion there are certainly meritorious arguments for both of those views, and none of them inherently limit the rights of others)?"

How is that unhinged? Liberals aren't pushing for prayer in schools or teaching creationism. It may not be a matter of rights, but it is something a majority of Americans reject, and these same Americans will equate prayer in schools with conservatism. See, Ronnie Reagan, who supported it.

"Finally you're veering into snarky territory with that 'opposing environmentalism/conservation' on principles. That is a caricature and is akin to somebody saying that NARAL prefers to kill babies on principle."

When you have the VP saying that 'conservatism is a personal virtue' and then opposes any sort of environmental regulation, when you have a administrator of the EPA, James Watts, oppose most environmental laws, then we move from caricature to reality. It isn't the liberals who are trying to drill for oil in Alaska. It is conservatives who say that climate change is a hoax. Now maybe they are correct, but it hardly burnishes their environmental credentials. Even today, something as innocuous as Earth Day is mocked regularly by the likes of O'Reilly and Co. If you don't want to be labeled as a caricatures, then you shouldn't act like it. (And, please I'm not saying YOU are. But as long as these people claim to be the leaders of conservativism, then you can hardly complain when people say this is what conservatism is all about.)

"And you also neglected to mention that rights which liberals continuously try to limit, namely right like the freedom to contracts, right to bear arms, freedom of speech (would you describe canadian and european conceptions of free speech as liberal?), etc.."

Absuletly agreed. Which is why conservatives have fared much better in public opinion when they seek to expand rights or protect existing ones, rather than limite or roll back rights for others.

"The irony is that the rights you believe liberals do protect along with the rights I mentioned which they oppose all point to the fact that many liberal conceptions of what is just hinge upon allowing more authoritarian control--unsurprisingly at the hands of enlightened liberals."

Perhaps in some issues, but not in others. We need no authorian control to allow women or blacks the right to vote, or to support 'women's lib" as in the 70s, or gay rights today. It is precisely these issues that conservatives have failed in their opposition and which have tarnished their image.

Hell, even the southern baptists recently have apologized for opposing civil rights in the 60s. So did George Wallace. So there is indeed hope for everyone.
5.12.2008 3:18pm
TheGut (mail):
On the Gay Marriage being a denial of liberty quote, I would like to point out

A gay man has exactly the same rights as a heterosexual man.

A gay woman has exactly the same rights as a heterosexual woman.

The state declining to recognize "gay marriage" (which cannot exist, by definition) does not limit anyone's liberties.

That said, the state(s) should not recognize any marriage or coupling. All of that should strictly be between individuals. And any benefits of such couplings (or triplings, or whatever) should be strictly decided by whoever owns the facilities or means being accessed.
5.12.2008 3:25pm
rarango (mail):
Of course, in "the state of nature", individuals don't exist at all.

Ummm, Sig357--perhaps you were thinking about some more recent state of nature; Please read Leviathan and the Second treatise and get back to us on that. You only have to read the first part of Leviathan and can safely omit the ecclesiastical section.
5.12.2008 3:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
"At the end of the day, this Kathy G. provides no criterion by which to judge Schlafly against GWB against Al Gore aside from her own ex cathedra pronouncements.'

Then you didn't read Kathy G's full post. She gives quite a few reasons why Schlafly shouldn't be honored with this degree. Among them are her early pronouncements of conspiracy theories within the Republican party, her statements that sexual harassment doens't happen to virtuous women, that married women consent to sex and so cannot be raped, her opposition to women's rights, her pushing of religion in the public arena, her opposition to evolution and support of creationism, and so on.

These are things that we can readily judge Ms. Schafly, and in my judgment, no institution of higher learning (aside from perhaps Regent U.) should honor such nuttiness. One purpose of education is to have an open and inquiring mind, and she is one person who is opposed to open and inquiring minds. (I know, many liberals can be too, but the subject here is this woman getting an honorary degree).
5.12.2008 3:26pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
If you believe differing concepts of freedom of speech hinge on speech you disagree with, you've already buried Mill.

I was referring to your apparent willingness to ban speech based on content since you apparently think McCarthy got a bum rap.

As for the rest of your rather cryptic post, I really don't know what you are talking about.
5.12.2008 3:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
Thegut: "The state declining to recognize "gay marriage" (which cannot exist, by definition) does not limit anyone's liberties."

Except, of course, for those two men who wish to marry each other.

And gay marriage, by definition, certainly does exist in Massachusetts, Canada, Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium. Or do you deny that is exists there?

But then again, this is another example of conservatives choosing to ignore reality, which proves to others, and certainly the younger generation, how unhinged they are. Oppose gay marriage because you find it icky, or because your religion says you must, but to make silly arguments like this doesn't win any adherents.
5.12.2008 3:30pm
AndrewK (mail):
Randy R. : Yes, I read all that. Why are these particular views ones that are despicable? I doubt her characterization of Schlafly's views, but even assuming it is correct, why are these particular views ones that disqualify her? Is it because nobody holds the views?

That is my problem. This Kathy G. might as well say: "Schlafly believes that eating oranges is wrong." Assuming this is the case, why is this particular view one that disqualifies Schlafly, aside from Kathy G's ex cathedra pronouncement? What principled criterion can differentiate?
5.12.2008 3:33pm
SIG357:
One purpose of education is to have an open and inquiring mind

Judging by the products of higher education as exemplified by Kathy G, then education is a miserable failure.
5.12.2008 3:34pm
Latinist:
Volokh Groupie:
When I mentioned right-wingers dismissing liberal academics in the humanities, I wasn't actually thinking of Sokal, or of any other hard-scientists. The example I mentioned was Kors, a historian whose piece was linked to a few days ago on VC. Other examples that spring to mind include Victor Davis Hanson (he's in my general field, so I tend to notice him), and David Bernstein's occasional bits on this blog about how the Marxists and Freudians are ruining everything (though I don't know if Bernstein would go as far as the other two). There's a bit more similar stuff in the New Criterion issue that the Kors article was a part of, which doesn't seem to be, largely, by scientists. I'll bet a lot of commenters on this thread would agree that "all mainstream liberal academic work in the humanities is utterly worthless at best and fraudulent at worst"; any takers?
5.12.2008 3:34pm
Ronin:
Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.

This is the most telling piece of the quote and contrasted against some of the other comments here is interesting.

Who exactly plays which role in this comment? The southern Democrats (i.e. today's libs, see also, Sen. Byrd.) that systematically blocked civil rights legislation or the Republicans who actively pursued this agenda?

Which group brought forth an agenda 8 years ago for the start of Soc Sec privatization, that even FDR himself advocated? Who forced the changes in welfare that are generally considered to be beneficial to the system and beneficiaries.

The liberal playbook is to extend the apparatus of the state to incorporate as much of our daily lives as possible. I'm sure everyone one of us has examples of how this is not progress but throwbacks to previous failed systems of governance.

So if the default is to throwback to old systems of control, how exactly is that progress?
5.12.2008 3:35pm
SIG357:
Randy R

Except, of course, for those two men who wish to marry each other.

You have the "liberty" to "marry" whoever or whatever you like. And the rest of the world has the liberty not to recognize your marriage as valid.

When people like you use the word liberty, it's as a cudgel to force other people to give you what you want. You don't really believe in liberty at all. You only believe in yourself.
5.12.2008 3:37pm
hitnrun (www):

as much as conservatives may whine and scream to the contrary, liberalism and conservatism are not moral equivalents. Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.


Talk about living in the past!

You might as well be an adamant Republican and a diehard enemy of all things Democrat over the positions the parties have on the Slavery Question. Indeed, her past-tense usage says it all.

No significant number of people vote for liberals in modern times to "advance freedom" or "social justice" or "human rights." Social liberals are an electoral fringe of one political party. People elect liberals almost entirely for their financial promises.

Similarly, the only social issues on which modern conservatives run afoul of "justice" and wonder and happiness or whatever are the extremely ancillary topics of gay marriage and abortion. On the first issue they are a large majority, on the second barely a minority, but in any case if you think a "sane...genuinely distinguished...elder statesmen" should be shunned for having conservative positions on these issues, you probably need a new line of work with less public interaction.
5.12.2008 3:38pm
oledrunk (mail):
"Oh, and let's not forget hypocracy, which is the real award that Schafly should get. She is the leader of the anti-gay movement in America, yet her own son is openly gay. That's a fact that she finds rather uncomfortable."

She is not being hypocritical. She has been a perfect mother. It is the fault of liberal and permissive society that that her son is gay.
5.12.2008 3:40pm
SIG357:
Ummm, Sig357--perhaps you were thinking about some more recent state of nature; Please read Leviathan and the Second treatise and get back to us on that.

I'd prefer to observe what people are like in the actual state of nature. That's a far more accurate guide than whatever nonsense Hobbes came up with. And there are no individuals in the state of nature. Individuals are a societal construct.
5.12.2008 3:42pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Taking money from a foreign power for the purpose of ending my freedom may be an act of war. Marching through the country under foreign flags might be an act of war.

When and where did this happen? I must have missed it. Even if the Soviet Union funded the American Communist Party, this is a far cry from saying that individual members, past or present when they were hauled in front of the HUAC, received a penny from them. How many proven acts of espionage by U.S. citizens funded by the U.S.S.R. were there in the entire history of the Cold War. On balance, I bet just as many conservatives (e.g., Aldritch Ames, Robert Hanssen) have been caught spying for the Russians as "fellow travellers".
5.12.2008 3:43pm
SIG357:
Oh, and let's not forget hypocracy, which is the real award that Schafly should get. She is the leader of the anti-gay movement in America, yet her own son is openly gay.

Perhaps you can summon up your vast store of brain power and explain exactly HOW that is an example of her "hypocracy" [sic].


Is there any reason why the sort of people who warble on about hypocrisy can rarely spell the word correctly?
5.12.2008 3:45pm
Volokh Groupie:
@Randy

I think most people will agree that McCarthyism still was characterized by many undemocratic methods and results, but my point was simply that it wasn't as black and white as you claim.

Your response to the other parts also don't refute anything but simply suggests youre viewing those issues in the context of your biases.

For example with regards to prayer in schools (which I strongly oppose) your claim that most americans don't support it is simply wrong. As recently as 1999 over 2/3's of american's supported school prayer. During Reagan's time even more supported it:
ny times link


Furthermore, those who are concerned with separation of church and state would probably be sympathetic to the district court's ruling in the Newdow case, which had public opinion polls above 90% opposing the decision.

As for creationism (which also has majority support in polls) there are reasonable debates about whether it should be taught and how it should be taught (as a social study or in science class, etc). So I certainly don't see those issues as rights limiting impositions against the will of the people (that doesn't make them right of course).

As for environmentalism—i think your issue on this subject in terms of how certain people appear (for example mocking earth day or inhofe's pressure tactics w/regards to global warming) again arise from your perspective. The sources which disseminate the news you read likely are selling that narrative despite the fact that there are many examples to the contrary. First you rarely hear as much about a richard lindzen or roger pielke jr—two very legitimate skeptics (amongst many others). Conversely, there are many conservatives/republicans who encourage action against global warming (look at their current presidential nominee).

ANWR isn't a open and shut case like you seem to make it out to be—its interesting to note the relative silence over prudhoe bay. Aside from that other support from conservatives/republicans is almost ignored—for example Bush has probably funded more towards alternative energy and has pushed manned space exploration more than his predecessors. People also forget the clean air and water acts which were passed early on in this presidency, which wile flawed (Adler will know much more about this) did increase some restrictions to historic levels. On top of that its hard to argue some past republicans/conservatives like Nixon weren't environmentalists.


George Wallace was a dem by the way.
5.12.2008 3:45pm
SIG357:
I bet just as many conservatives (e.g., Aldritch Ames, Robert Hanssen) have been caught spying for the Russians as "fellow travellers".


What is it about Ames and Hanssen which leads you to describe them as conservatives?
5.12.2008 3:48pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Which group brought forth an agenda 8 years ago for the start of Soc Sec privatization, that even FDR himself advocated?

This is a deliberate misstatement of FDR's position expounded by Britt Hume during a news broadcast and never corrected. It is nothing less than an absolute lie.
5.12.2008 3:49pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
What is it about Ames and Hanssen which leads you to describe them as conservatives?

Everything that they believed in and stood for from their lifestyle to their religion (Hanssen was a member of Opus Dei). Hannsen's reasons for spying was justified, in his warped mind, because he thought it would draw attention to the flaws in the system and lead to tighter security.
5.12.2008 3:52pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
J.F.
The folks who worked to overthrow the government as members of CPUSA mostly did it on their own dime. Makes a difference how?
5.12.2008 3:52pm
Volokh Groupie:
@Latinist

I think you'll find conservative criticism of some humanities, but not a lot of mainstream humanities like history, sociology, philosophy or political science which do tend to be dominated by liberals. The issue conservatives have usually arises when you get separate departments or entire areas for specific interdisciplinary studies, extremely specific subtopics or literary based studies where peer review and hiring processes often ends up being picking ones friends in a crowded room.

I think it's completely fair game to discuss the merits of post modernism/various cultural and gender studies/etc.

I also don't think that such criticism necessarily invalidates concerns about the level of discourse allowed on supposedly open academic institutions.
5.12.2008 3:53pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
What makes you think they weren't?
5.12.2008 3:53pm
Volokh Groupie:
@JF

I think in one of my later posts I make clear that despite the fact that there is a lot of history on the period being rewritten I don't support the tactics or results of much of the mccarthyist period.
5.12.2008 3:55pm
Tim (mail):
"I guess my frustration is just with the fact that people are under the delusion that (a) you can actually have a level playing field that's fair to everyone, (b) that you can create one without damaging anyone else, and (c) that everyone is entitled to one."

You can, but just don't expect "equal results". We can discuss whether unqual results is real "damage". With unequal materials (some people are smarter, bigger, qucker, have different interests) either the input, or the output can be controlled, but not both. I can create an equal playing field, but I cannot guarentee who will win. I can ensure a result, only if I change the playing field.
5.12.2008 3:58pm
SIG357:
As far as I know, none of the gay marriage proposals would actually require anyone to marry someone of the same sex

All gay marriage proposals require everybody else to accept gay marriage as a legally valid contract. In that sense they impose a contract on all of us whether we like it or not, and are an infringment on everone elses liberty, the liberty to pick and chose which contracts are deserving of our support.
5.12.2008 3:58pm
Latinist:
More generally: I think people need to recognize that there is, in fact a problem of principle to be worked out here. When a university gives somebody an honorary degree, they're recognizing some kind of positive accomplishment. When people's accomplishments are political ones (or, for that matter, religious ones), there will be quite a lot of people who disagree about whether those accomplishments are positive or negative.
So it seems more or less legitimate (though it still bothers me a little) to not want to grant an honorary degree to someone on the grounds that their politics are wrong. But I think most people agree that there's a line between people who shouldn't be given honorary degrees, and people whose honors you should actively protest (I think that's the line Kathy G draws between Buckley etc. and Helms etc.). I, for one, agree that Schlafly (who recently reiterated her claim that married women cannot be raped by their husbands) falls into the latter category. But I admit I don't have a good rule of thumb for distinguishing the two. Anybody have suggestions? Is it just a question of how far wrong the person's beliefs are? Or the means they use to argue for them? Or something else?
5.12.2008 4:00pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The folks who worked to overthrow the government as members of CPUSA mostly did it on their own dime. Makes a difference how?

"Worked to overthrow" is a pretty vague term. Are you saying that anyone who believes that the U.S. government is hopelessly flawed and the only solution is a violent revolution to replace it with a more just system should be denied employment, imprisoned, or charged with a crime? There are far more right wing groups (just google "Christian Identity" if you don't believe me) who believe exactly that yet can freely spout their nonsense til the cows come home.

Heck, some of the posters on this site, and I daresay a couple of the hosts, think that overthrowing the government violently as a last resort is implicit in the Constitution itself through the 2nd Amendment.
5.12.2008 4:01pm
SIG357:
What is it about Ames and Hanssen which leads you to describe them as conservatives?

Everything that they believed in and stood for from their lifestyle to their religion (Hanssen was a member of Opus Dei).


An evasive answer. Everything that they believed in? What specifically did they believe in?

I'm amused that you consider being a practicing Catholic to be synonmous with being conservative. Was John Paul II really a conservative, in the sense that the term is employed in American politics?

If there's anything to your claim then you have not shown it yet.
5.12.2008 4:05pm
Neo (mail):
At my undergrad commencement, they gave a honorary degree to the Dean of the School for Clowns of Ringling Bros. and Barnum &Bailey Circus.

With that as a standard, who does that leave not due an honorary degree ?
5.12.2008 4:05pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
All gay marriage proposals require everybody else to accept gay marriage as a legally valid contract.

So do all marriages between previously divorced people (certainly not deserving of support of devout Catholics), between a Christian and non-Christian (not deserving of support of many fundamentalist protestents), or a non-temple sanctified marriage (not deserving of support by Mormons).

And let's not even touch the issue decided by Loving v. Virginia. A lot of people still have problems with that.
5.12.2008 4:06pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
liberalism is animated by the desire to help the weak; conservatism is animated by the desire to let people sink or swim on their own. That's just true.

No I don't think so.

Currently liberalism thinks that the way to help the weak is through theft (taxation). Conservatives thing the way to help is a strong economy and voluntary contributions. The conservative idea is that theft weakens the economy and reduces the ability to make voluntary contributions.

I think that economic growth and the improvements in technology that engenders have done more to help the weak than all the government programs put together.
5.12.2008 4:07pm
SIG357:
"Worked to overthrow" is a pretty vague term. Are you saying that anyone who believes that the U.S. government is hopelessly flawed and the only solution is a violent revolution to replace it with a more just system should be denied employment, imprisoned, or charged with a crime? There are far more right wing groups (just google "Christian Identity" if you don't believe me) who believe exactly that yet can freely spout their nonsense til the cows come home.



Assuming for the moment that there are in fact "far more" of these people, how many of them are working in the upper echelons of the our government, as Hiss was?


You throw around a lot of unsubstantiated allegations as if they were fact.
5.12.2008 4:08pm
SIG357:
So do all marriages between previously divorced people (certainly not deserving of support of devout Catholics), between a Christian and non-Christian (not deserving of support of many fundamentalist protestents), or a non-temple sanctified marriage (not deserving of support by Mormons).


I'm sure you think you made a point, but I have no idea what it was supposed to be.
5.12.2008 4:09pm
Latinist:
Volokh Groupie:
I don't think your claim -- that conservative complaints are limited to new fields -- fits, e.g., any of the examples I cited.

I think it's completely fair game to discuss the merits of post modernism/various cultural and gender studies/etc.

So do I. I wish conservatives would do it more often, rather than simply dismissing them as nonsense (as in the Kors article I keep referring to), or digging for the weirdest-sounding quotes, or taking things out of context and misinterpreting them.

Ah. On checking again, I find that you now have to sign in to see that Kors article. Sorry. Wasn't the case before. Anyway, he dismisses contemporary theory as "egregious nonsense, crude meta-theorizing, self-indulgence, and tendentious special pleading" without any actual discussion.
5.12.2008 4:10pm
Randy R. (mail):
"A gay man has exactly the same rights as a heterosexual man.
A gay woman has exactly the same rights as a heterosexual woman."

Actually, Gut, even this isn't true. In most states, a gay man or woman can be fired from their job simply for being gay. In most states, a gay man or woman can be evicted by their landlord simply for being gay.

The Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) is a bill that would prohibit firing or eviction of any person based on sexual orientation. This bill never even got out of committee when the Republicans controlled congress. However, in the last congress it passed the House, pretty much along party lines. This is a bill that is supported by about 70% of Americans. Although it isn't law yet, it WILL become law at some point in the future.

So go ahead -- you conservatives can keep on opposing gay rights. But when a generation passes, and people look back and wonder what the problem was for you, what will you say? No question, you folks are on the wrong side of history -- again.

So please, if you are going to oppose gay rights, by all means do so! But then don't complain when people point to you and say that you are the ones who oppose civil rights for people.
5.12.2008 4:12pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
KWC wrote:
How many libertarians would be willing to get rid of all this infrastructure built on the backs of slave labor in order to REALLY start from stratch. Let's start over on an island somewhere. With equal tools and true liberty. Let's see who would survive.

“Built on slave labor” — yeah, right.

Here are insightful French visitor Alexis de Tocqueville’s direct personal observations (made during the 1830’s) in this regard:

So the traveller who lets the current carry him down the Ohio till it joins the Mississippi sails, so to say, between freedom and slavery; and he has only to glance around him to see instantly which is best for mankind.

On the left bank of the river the population is sparse; from time to time one sees a troop of slaves loitering through half-deserted fields; the primeval forest is constantly reappearing; one might say that society had gone to sleep; it is nature that seems active and alive, whereas man is idle.

But on the right bank a confused hum proclaims from afar that men are busily at work; fine crops cover the fields; elegant dwellings testify to the taste and industry of the workers; on all sides there is evidence of comfort; man appears rich and contented; he works. […]

These contrasting effects of slavery and of freedom are easy to understand; they are enough to explain the differences between ancient civilization and modern.

On the left bank of the Ohio work is connected with the idea of slavery, but on the right with well-being and progress; on the one side it is degrading, but on the other honorable; on the left bank no white laborers are to be found, for they would be afraid of being like the slaves; for work people must rely on the Negroes; but one will never see a man of leisure on the right bank: the white man's intelligent activity is used for work of every sort. […]

The white man on the right bank, forced to live by his own endeavors, has made material well-being the main object of his existence; as he lives in a country offering inexhaustible resources to his industry and continual inducements to activity, his eagerness to possess things goes beyond the ordinary limits of human cupidity; tormented by a longing for wealth, he boldly follows every path to fortune that is open to him; he is equally prepared to turn into a sailor, pioneer, artisan, or cultivator, facing the labors or dangers of these various ways of life with even constancy; there is something wonderful in his resourcefulness and a sort of heroism in his greed for gain.

The American on the left bank scorns not only work itself but also enterprises in which work is necessary to success; living in idle ease, he has the tastes of idle men; money has lost some of its value in his eyes; he is less interested in wealth than in excitement and pleasure and expends in that direction the energy which his neighbor puts to other use; he is passionately fond of hunting and war; he enjoys all the most strenuous forms of bodily exercise; he is accustomed to the use of weapons and from childhood has been ready to risk his life in single combat. Slavery therefore not only prevents the white men from making their fortunes but even diverts them from wishing to do so.

The constant operation of these opposite influences throughout two centuries in the English North American colonies has in the end brought about a vast difference in the commercial capabilities of southerners and northerners. Today the North alone has ships, manufactures, railways, and canals.
5.12.2008 4:13pm
SIG357:
I, for one, agree that Schlafly (who recently reiterated her claim that married women cannot be raped by their husbands) falls into the latter category

Sounds to me like you're trying to impose your morality on everyone else.


Is it just a question of how far wrong the person's beliefs are?

Who are you to say that anyones beliefs are "wrong"?
5.12.2008 4:13pm
Paul from Hamburg:
It is clear from many of the posts that the liberals who are posting have no idea what "conservative" actually means. Kathy G, Randy R and others simply think conservative means "opposed to change". In a great many areas, it is only conservatives who are advocating change: An obvious examples is schools. Thousands of children are stuck in terrible public schools. Conservatives what to break the state-monopoly on schools. You may think charter schools are a bad idea, but it is a genuine attempt to make things better. Liberals ask for more money, but they offer no real alternatives. Liberals are the ones who are doing everything they can maintain the status quo. Phyllis Shafley is worthy of an honorary degree for the same reason: she has ideas. Liberals love to say that criticizing your country is the highest form of patriotism. If that is true, then isn't being willing to challenge academic orthodoxy the highest form of scholarship? In her post, Kathy G is basically saying "These are the ideas we are willing to discuss. Everything else is off limits". Any academy with that mindset is dead.
5.12.2008 4:14pm
Volokh Groupie:
VDH is a historian. I doubt he's knocking mainstay fields in general. If you mean these guys are issuing blanket condemnations of liberal scholars regardless of what humanities field or their individual work, I find that hard to believe with VDH (he and others may have philosophical problems with the nature of some of the new areas of study that have popped up)

I don't know Kors and unfortunately haven't read that Volokh linked piece, but I can't imagine I would find superficial criticism appealing regardless of what political idealogical stripes its coming from. It certainly wouldn't be very academic to make that type of critique.
5.12.2008 4:16pm
Latinist:
@Neo:
At my undergrad commencement, they gave a honorary degree to the Dean of the School for Clowns of Ringling Bros. and Barnum &Bailey Circus.

That seems to me to meet an extremely high standard: the guy brings joy to innumerable children, by instructing devoted artists in a noble profession. He should get a hundred honorary degrees. What have you got against the circus?

Also, he probably isn't an apologist for rape.
5.12.2008 4:17pm
Volokh Groupie:

Phyllis Shafley is worthy of an honorary degree for the same reason: she has ideas.



Over/Under on Godwinning?
5.12.2008 4:18pm
Michael B (mail):
The rule of thumb seems to have something to do with those who disagree with you, Latinist. You also fail to provide the context related to your "marriage rape" issue. The fuller context follows, within a question/answer session, emphasis added:

Could you clarify some of the statements that you made in Maine last year about martial rape?
"I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about, I don't know if maybe these girls missed sex ed. That doesn't mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn't rape, it's a he said-she said where it's just too easy to lie about it."
That's the fuller quote. I.e. she is expressing concern about legislation that would make it easy to lie, including post hoc lies, after the fact.

So your smear doesn't hold.

There are plenty of conservatives who disagree with various aspects of what she has proposed over the years. But again, this is about an honorary degree and it's about the Left attempting to insinuate and dictate and claim, via fiat, some type of moral authorization.
5.12.2008 4:21pm
SIG357:
In most states, a gay man or woman can be fired from their job simply for being gay. In most states, a gay man or woman can be evicted by their landlord simply for being gay.


And why is that not a fine example of liberty in action? Ever heard of freedom of contract and association?

You people pretend to care about liberty, but that's simply a flag of convienence as liberty is a more persusive argument at present. Forty years ago you could have (and were) arguing for the same outcomes based on "equality".

Your "liberty" is to real freedom what your "equality" was to genuine equal rights, a parody of the thing you claim to stand for.
5.12.2008 4:21pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Neo: "At my undergrad commencement, they gave a honorary degree to the Dean of the School for Clowns of Ringling Bros. and Barnum &Bailey Circus.

With that as a standard, who does that leave not due an honorary degree ?"

Good point. I take back my prior opposition. George Bush DOES qualify for an honorary degree by that standard.
5.12.2008 4:27pm
Randy R. (mail):
Sig: "All gay marriage proposals require everybody else to accept gay marriage as a legally valid contract. In that sense they impose a contract on all of us whether we like it or not, and are an infringment on everone elses liberty, the liberty to pick and chose which contracts are deserving of our support."

In the 1960s, just after Loving v. Virginia was decided, 80% of Americans opposed interracial marriage. That was, by your definiation, an infringement on your liberty to pick and chose which contracts are deserving of your support. Somehow, you survived the fact that interracial marriage is a non issue today.

Since conservatives routinely say that gays only make up less than 1% of the population, and most gays do not actually get married, the percentage of gay marriage in the US is quite small. Yes, somehow, you will survive it. Heck, if Canadians can survive gay marriage, I would think that tough red-blooded Americans can too.

"Perhaps you can summon up your vast store of brain power and explain exactly HOW that is an example of her "hypocracy" [sic]."

Very simple. She is quite vocal about opposing gay rights and the so-called homosexual lobby, and condemns us as deviates, sodomites, and so on, but when someone brings up the subject of her openly gay son, she says that is off limits. See, interview with Bill Maher's Real Time.

If she brings up the topic, then she shouldn't complain when people bring up the topic as well.

Volokh Groupie: I appreciate your comments, but I feel we are talking past one another. Conservatives by and large have opposed many of the major movements regarding civil rights in the 20th century. Not all have, many liberals did, and this is a vast simplification. But you cannot say that conservatives have supported progressive politics, since conservatives have *opposed* progressive politics. I will even concede that this is neither right nor wrong, depending upon your viewpoint.

However, conservatives have aligned themselves in the past few decades with the religious right, something even many Republicans find odious. Conservatives have held themselves up to be the movement of 'family values,' which is merely a code phrase for being anti-gay. Heck it's in the party platform! If you take a stance that opposes civil rights for blacks, voting rights for women, women's liberation, gay rights, oppose environmental regulation, by all means do so. But be proud of it, and don't complain when people say, this is why I don't like you.
5.12.2008 4:27pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Assuming for the moment that there are in fact "far more" of these people, how many of them are working in the upper echelons of the our government, as Hiss was?

Gee you cite one controversial example (whose espionage is still uncertain) who was convicted of perjury, not espionage (and not even unconvered by McCarthy).

Who else you got?
5.12.2008 4:27pm
Latinist:
If you mean these guys are issuing blanket condemnations of liberal scholars regardless of what humanities field or their individual work, I find that hard to believe with VDH (he and others may have philosophical problems with the nature of some of the new areas of study that have popped up

First of all, that is, more or less, what I mean. And if you find it hard to believe, you should read "Who Killed Homer?" (Spoiler alert: it was Professor Plum!). Admittedly, that book is limited to a single field (Classics), but the authors make no real claim (as far as I can remember) that liberal scholarship is better in other humanities disciplines. Hanson and Heath make it very clear that they think that all literary theory, feminist scholarship, studies related to race and sexuality, and basically anything that can be labeled "post-modern" is utterly without value. They are not trying to criticize "some new areas" of study: the whole point of the book is that the entire field is corrupted, perhaps beyond repair (hence the title).

(I should clarify that, in my earlier comment, when I said Hanson was "in my field," I meant classics, not history; he's an ancient historian.)
5.12.2008 4:27pm
Crafty Hunter (www):
I wonder if liberal morons (I know I repeat myself) such as the one mentioned above in the original post would be so quick to spout their hateful venom if they knew they'd be pervasively boycotted and shunned by conservatives and a great many other people such as ("small-l") libertarians. Being fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, thrown out of and banned from many restaurants and other businesses, and contemptuously ignored when in need of medical or other aid would do wonders for their snotty attitudes.
5.12.2008 4:32pm
Extraneus (mail):
Cornellian @ 10:58am:

I don't see many people around here trying to argue that GW Bush is genuinely distinguished, quite the opposite. Anyone here think Jesse Helms would be a good candidate for an honorary degree? That Dick Cheney is a champion of advancing liberty?

As to the last question, I think it's fair to say that Bush and Cheney have liberated more people -- tens of millions of them -- than most of all other American administrations in history combined. Democrats, many of whom voted for these liberations, could have rightly shared in the credit, but chose a craven political strategy instead. That doesn't change the fact that Cheney is a champion of advancing liberty, as is Bush.
5.12.2008 4:32pm
Latinist:
Michael B:
First of all, I didn't say she was in favor of wife-beating, just rape. Thanks for the clarification.

Second, though she does distract from it a bit by mentioning the problem of proof, she also says "I think that when you get married you have consented to sex", which seems to me pretty clearly to mean that she thinks that rape by one's husband is not rape, regardless of the evidence.

Maybe there's another interpretation of those words; but in that interview she's basically being invited to give one, and she doesn't.
5.12.2008 4:32pm
JRL:
Liberalism and conservatism are not moral equivalents. Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things liberals.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.
5.12.2008 4:32pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Ever heard of freedom of contract and association?

And why should a party to a contract be allowed to breach it for reasons completely unrelated to the performance of the contract?

If you hire someone to paint your house and halfway through painting it you find out he is gay (not because of anything the painter did but your neighbor comes by and says "oh, you hired that gay painter") and you fire him on the spot, he will sue you and you will lose. Not because you violated his rights as a gay man but because you breached the contract for no good reason. Why should an employment contract be any different?
5.12.2008 4:34pm
KWC (mail):
I hate when people use the word "troll" to describe people who disagree with them. It's disingenuous and annoying. Please learn what troll means before using it.
5.12.2008 4:34pm
Latinist:
Looking over that last comment, I should correct myself: She doesn't say (and I didn't originally accuse her of saying) that she's in favor of husbands forcing their wives into sex: just that it isn't rape. Sorry.
5.12.2008 4:35pm
Randy R. (mail):
SIG: "And why is that not a fine example of liberty in action? Ever heard of freedom of contract and association? "

Then at least be proud of the fact that you hate gays so much that you would like to have them fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes simply for being gay.

And if you are consistent, you no doubt oppose all housing and employment discrimination laws, since any employer should be able to not hire or fire anyone because they are black, female, pregnant, over 50, or a jew. Any restaurant should be able to refuse service to a black person. Freedom of association, right? It's your liberty at stake!

However, as I mentioned, the majority of Americans support these laws, as do most corporations. That argument was lost a generation ago. You are the exactly the type of person that young people find so odious and repellent. Now, of course, that's your right. But then don't complain when conservatives are pushed in the minority status for another generation, as many pundits now fear will happen.
5.12.2008 4:36pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
As to the last question, I think it's fair to say that Bush and Cheney have liberated more people -- tens of millions of them -- than most of all other American administrations in history combined.

We'll just gloss over FDR, Truman and Lincoln.

And of course, we all know that "Mission Accomplished" was premature. It is a bit premature to declare the citizens of either Afghanistan or Iraq "free".
5.12.2008 4:38pm
GeorgeW (mail):
"Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things."

How is it that the side that allegedly advances these goals used every tool at their disposal to deny each and every one of these basic human rights to Iraq? Kathy G.'s mismatched definition of a liberal better fits conservatives by a mile.
5.12.2008 4:38pm
Railroad Gin:
By definition conservatives are not forward thinkers.. . By definition, liberals are progressive.

That is pablum. This is what makes it so difficult to have intelligent debate with a liberal. A conservative can articulate basical philosophical differences between the two. A liberal just babbles that he cares and conservatives don't.

Some "change" that liberals oppose.

Concealed Weapon Permits
Serious Tax Reform
Social Security Reform
Faith-Based Initiative
School Vouchers
Balanced Budget Amendment
Welfare Reform
Abolishing Public Television, Amtrak, etc.
Buliding a fence on the Southern Border
Drilling in ANWR
Tort Reform

Not to mention liberal policies that have been entrenched for so long that they have become the status quo (affirmative action) legalized abortion. For that matter, the War in Iraq brought about "change."
5.12.2008 4:38pm
Randy R. (mail):
Crafty hunter: "Being fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, thrown out of and banned from many restaurants and other businesses, and contemptuously ignored when in need of medical or other aid would do wonders for their snotty attitudes."

Yes, because we all know that the Jim Crow laws worked just fine in keeping those uppity blacks from asking for more.

(sigh). And yet you folks *still* don't understand why conservatives have such a bad image amoung young people?
5.12.2008 4:40pm
SIG357:
yet you folks *still* don't understand why conservatives have such a bad image amoung young people?


I always assumed that it was because people like Randy are overrepresented in the schools and the media. If I believed one tenth of the nonsense written by people like you and Kathy G, I'd think conservatives were pure evil
as well.
5.12.2008 4:54pm
Crafty Hunter (www):
Way to invent nonsensical propaganda, Randy R., my boy. You've just equated a body of old racist force-backed laws to voluntary libertarian ostracism of hateful liberal jerkoffs who hysterically claim that being conservative in any way necessarily implies unwavering support for Hitler, Satan and Cthulhu.

I'll be kind and assume you've just been careless about taking your daily medications.
5.12.2008 4:55pm
Kman (mail):
Someone above is actually equating Phyllis Schlafly to Farrakhan and Duke? What on God's green earth is wrong with these people! These people are nuts! Absolutely nuts!
5.12.2008 4:59pm
SIG357:
Then at least be proud of the fact that you hate gays so much that you would like to have them fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes simply for being gay.


Do all you liberal drones have this inane trick programmed into you in some sort of brainwashing center? Look, you driveling moron, I said nothing at all which even suggested that I "hate gays".



And if you are consistent, you no doubt oppose all housing and employment discrimination laws

Golly, Einstein, ya think? Well, you'll be happy to hear that I'm consistent, and then you'll no doubt insist that I "hate" everyone in the world, or at least your own human shields.


However, as I mentioned, the majority of Americans support these laws

Wait, I'm confused - the tyranny of the majority is an evil which must be prevented, unless the majority agrees with you, in which case their agreement is the last word on the topic?

Of course, the "majority" was not consulted on such laws.
5.12.2008 5:02pm
83048304:
It's funny that people are actually trying to discuss matters in an intellectual manner with the likes of J.F. Thomas and KWC (the latter pretending not to be a hilarious "troll").
5.12.2008 5:03pm
SIG357:
Rand R

Yes, because we all know that the Jim Crow laws worked just fine in keeping those uppity blacks from asking for more.


Randy R is the single most dishonest commenter I've ever had the misfortune to come across at VC. There are liberals here, but usually they're a cut above this sort of DU fodder.
5.12.2008 5:05pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
How is it that the side that allegedly advances these goals used every tool at their disposal to deny each and every one of these basic human rights to Iraq?

First of all, not going to war against a country that was not a threat to us is not "denying" anyone rights. In fact we have to weigh the down side risks of 10s if not 100's of thousands of excess deaths, chaos and civil war, 4 million displaced persons, and lack of a clear postwar plan before an effort is made to liberate anyone. And of course, the reason we invaded in the first place was to disarm Saddam, not to liberate the Iraqi people.

Secondly, some of us (me included) thought that by invading Iraq we were neglecting Afghanistan at a critical time in that war and that invading Iraq would mean that our military and treasury would be stretched too thin to do either job properly. As far as I can tell, I was 100% right about that.
5.12.2008 5:08pm
billhilly:
If 80% of the public thinks discrimination is a bad thing, then why are anti discrimination laws even needed? If the café down the road won’t serve blacks, gays, Baptists, or whatever, then 80% of the public wouldn’t eat there and they’d go out of business right?
5.12.2008 5:09pm
83048304:

SIG357: Randy R is the single most dishonest commenter I've ever had the misfortune to come across at VC. There are liberals here, but usually they're a cut above this sort of DU fodder.



There are dishonest people of all political persuasions on this website, though it is generally above average. Still though, there are people, such as J.F. Thomas and KWC, who clearly don't care whether they make sense or not. What they seem to care about is spouting liberal talking points. They argue simply to argue. There are, however, smart, good-meaning liberals who are worth debating and discussing issues with, but sadly most of the liberals here aren't among them.
5.12.2008 5:14pm
Michael B (mail):
"Second, though she does distract from it a bit by mentioning the problem of proof, she also says "I think that when you get married you have consented to sex", which seems to me pretty clearly to mean that she thinks that rape by one's husband is not rape, regardless of the evidence." Latinist

We are simply going to disagree, but the extended quote, from Schlafly again and a final comment:

"I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about, I don't know if maybe these girls missed sex ed. That doesn't mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn't rape, it's a he said-she said where it's just too easy to lie about it."

It's a general or summary statement within a question and answer session, but she clearly is not advocating that husbands should be allowed to exerecise violence. By my reading she is concerned with what might be referred to as pomo excesses reified into law.
5.12.2008 5:14pm
Crafty Hunter (www):
Not to be a wet blanket or anything, but I detect the distinct smoky odor of a pointless Usenet-style flame war. Someone (*ahem*) has already mentioned Hitler, so I call Godwin's Law.

I'm off to pursue more productive uses of my time and energy. ^^
5.12.2008 5:14pm
SIG357:
As far as I can tell, I was 100% right about that.


I have never, ever, encountered a liberal who would admit that he was ever less than 100% right about everything. To the extent that bad things happened, they'll concede that "bad things happened", but they are always absolved completely of any blame. It's remarkable.
5.12.2008 5:17pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
anon252 wrote:
The one glimmer of hope in all this is that Kathy G is blogging anonymously, so perhaps she realizes how infantile she sounds even to her academic colleagues [...]

Oddly enough, "Snarky" abruptly quit posting when the question of Kathy G. following this discussion arose. Coincidence, I'm sure.
5.12.2008 5:20pm
Al (mail):

(sigh). And yet you folks *still* don't understand why conservatives have such a bad image amoung young people?


Perhaps because those "young people" have no memory of the Carter administration, or the Soviet Union, or the devotion that so many on the left had for the likes of Mao, Stalin, Kim Il-Sung, Castro, Ortega, etc.? If all I knew of "conservatives" was GWB's presidency and pork-addicted Republican Congressmen, I probably wouldn't be much of a conservative either.
5.12.2008 5:28pm
SenatorX (mail):
And there are no individuals in the state of nature. Individuals are a societal construct.

I would say it's the exact opposite. There are only individuals in nature and herd behavior is a societal construct. Every animal on this planet thinks he is the center of the universe and acts accordingly. Joining groups is done for the individual’s advantage. There is no altruism in nature AT ALL.

Your thinking though is typical of collectivist philosophy. Basically that herd is important and the individual is not. It is the reason why the left is so willing to trample on individual rights. They have the herd's hatred for those they think are so arrogant that they dare to not be a part of the group.
5.12.2008 5:29pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I don't see many people around here trying to argue that GW Bush is genuinely distinguished, quite the opposite. Anyone here think Jesse Helms would be a good candidate for an honorary degree? That Dick Cheney is a champion of advancing liberty?


As to the last question, I think it's fair to say that Bush and Cheney have liberated more people -- tens of millions of them -- than most of all other American administrations in history combined. Democrats, many of whom voted for these liberations, could have rightly shared in the credit, but chose a craven political strategy instead. That doesn't change the fact that Cheney is a champion of advancing liberty, as is Bush.


Good point, I’d also add the fact that Vice President Cheney supports tax cuts, free trade, letting workers invest part of their FICA into personal accounts, school choice and RTKBA also qualify him as a champion of advancing liberty.
5.12.2008 5:33pm
Crimso:

Are you saying that anyone who believes that the U.S. government is hopelessly flawed and the only solution is a violent revolution to replace it with a more just system should be denied employment, imprisoned, or charged with a crime? There are far more right wing groups (just google "Christian Identity" if you don't believe me) who believe exactly that yet can freely spout their nonsense til the cows come home.



And how many of their members are on faculty at UIC or Northwestern? Or are friends with a presumtpive nominee for POTUS?
5.12.2008 5:33pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
... Although I see now that anon252 may simply have meant that Kathy G wasn't using her full name on Crooked Timber. I took it to mean that she might be following this thread -- which in fact she might be.
5.12.2008 5:33pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
(sigh). And yet you folks *still* don't understand why conservatives have such a bad image amoung young people?


I would rather have people disagree with me when they’re young and less likely to participate politically and then come around to my way of thinking when they’re more experienced and more likely to vote than I would the other way around.
5.12.2008 5:36pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

I don't see many people around here trying to argue that GW Bush is genuinely distinguished, quite the opposite.


Dude, he's the President. Look up "distinguished" for God's sake.
5.12.2008 5:38pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I would say it's the exact opposite. There are only individuals in nature and herd behavior is a societal construct.

Is this conservative science again? You sound like Posner and his attempt to explain homosexuality as having an economic basis (it is so unintentionally bizarre and hilarious if you didn't know he was dead serious you would think it was satire worthy of Jonathon Swift).

There are of course solitary (or more correctly animals that get together only to mate) and social animals on this planet. We are evolved from social animals and our closest living relatives (the chimpanzees and the gorillas) are social animals with highly evolved social structures. Man has always lived in societies and history as always tended to ever more complex societies. The most advanced societies are the ones that managed to figure out how to live together peacefully and develop the most complex organizations.

Without altruism, society collapses. Even Rand didn't practice what she preached as she sacrificed and subsumed herself for love (hardly a concept that makes any sense economically).
5.12.2008 5:39pm
SIG357:
I would say it's the exact opposite. There are only individuals in nature and herd behavior is a societal construct.

Can you point to examples of individual humans in nature? Some animals, it's true, are solitary beasts. But humans are not like that, whether "in nature" or not. Humans are social animals, which even in the primitive hunter-gatherer stage work together in groups. Humans are not born, then abandoned to fend themselves, as is the case in some species. An individual adult human only exists because at least one other human willed it to.

Your thinking though is typical of collectivist philosophy.


No, my silly sloganeering friend, my thinking is scientific and empirical. Give it a shot sometime.

Basically that herd is important and the individual is not.

Humans have tribes rather than herds. And individual and tribe have a symbiotic relationship. Neither can exist without the other.


It is the reason why the left is so willing to trample on individual rights.

Break out of your little box and realise that all human behavior does not boil down to leftist style collectivism OR to leftish style individualism. And that individualism and collectivism are, at best, two signs of the same coin. They are not opposites and mortal enemies, but close friends and allies. If you oppose collectivism, you need to oppose individualism also.
5.12.2008 5:43pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
There are, however, smart, good-meaning liberals who are worth debating and discussing issues with, but sadly most of the liberals here aren't among them.

I really would like to know who these "smart, good-meaning liberals" are. I suspect they are actually people who are just a little less conservative than you.
5.12.2008 5:44pm
Sam Draper (mail):
I think it is funny that conservatives only become "genuinely distinguished" after they are dead. That was the case with Goldwater and Reagan, and now that seems to be happening to Buckley.
5.12.2008 5:48pm
SIG357:
Is this conservative science again?

It's science.

You sound like Posner

You wouldn't know Posner if he appeared on this thread.



Man has always lived in societies and history as always tended to ever more complex societies. The most advanced societies are the ones that managed to figure out how to live together peacefully and develop the most complex organizations.

Sounds like what you called "conservative science" when I said it. I forgot, it's only true when a liberal says it. So what are you saying, apart from the fact that you agree with me in a disagreeable fashion?
5.12.2008 5:48pm
SIG357:
I really would like to know who these "smart, good-meaning liberals" are.

Ones who use facts and logic and argue in good faith. Try it sometime.
5.12.2008 5:49pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
If all I knew of "conservatives" was GWB's presidency and pork-addicted Republican Congressmen, I probably wouldn't be much of a conservative either.

So when exactly was this golden age of conservatism? The Reagan years? When we cut and run from Beirut and invaded Grenada instead. (But of course according to David Bernstein apparently Republicans know exactly what to do in Lebanon unlike that idiot Obama). Ahh yes, the good old days when we supported Saddam (and looked the other way when he actually was committing genocide) because he was killing lots of Iranians. Or how about when we were supporting death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua because of the threat of those horrible communists down there?
5.12.2008 5:50pm
SIG357:
Sounds like what you called "conservative science" when I said it.

My mistake, replied to wrong commenter.
5.12.2008 5:51pm
SIG357:
Ahh yes, the good old days when we supported Saddam (and looked the other way when he actually was committing genocide) because he was killing lots of Iranians.


If liberals had their way, isn't that exactly what Saddam would be doing today? I don't understand the way liberals flip back and forth so effortlessly between realpolitik and idealism. Pick one and stick with it.



how about when we were supporting death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua because of the threat of those horrible communists down there

How about it? Are you defending commuinsim now?
5.12.2008 5:55pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
It's science.

No it's not, It's objectivism, which is bad philosophy. You tipped your hand when you threw in that nonsense about altruism.

Wolves, bees, ants, termites, chimps, gorillas, elephants, lions, and many other animals display traits that be described as "altruism". Heck, bees will even kill themselves to defend their hives.
5.12.2008 5:55pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
If liberals had their way, isn't that exactly what Saddam would be doing today? I don't understand the way liberals flip back and forth so effortlessly between realpolitik and idealism. Pick one and stick with it.

Sorry, I thought Reagan and Bush I were in office when Saddam was actually carrying out genocide. Last I checked, they were both Republicans. In 2003, there was no ongoing genocide in Iraq. Nobody ever made that claim.

How about it? Are you defending commuinsim now?

Now, I am condemning moral relativism. Murder and terror is just that even if carried out to oppose governments we don't necessarily like.
5.12.2008 6:00pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
My mistake, replied to wrong commenter

So did I.
5.12.2008 6:04pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Ones who use facts and logic and argue in good faith.

I'm not the one who lied about FDR wanting to privatize social security.
5.12.2008 6:05pm
SIG357:
Sorry, I thought Reagan and Bush I were in office yada yada

No, when I ask you "If liberals had their way, isn't that exactly what Saddam would be doing today?", that's an invitation to actually respond to the point being made.

It is NOT an invitation to go off on some silly rant about what Reagan and Bush I did or did not do.

Are you saying that liberals oppose Bush II knocking off Saddam, but that that you'd have supported Bush Sr or Reagan if they had done the same thing? You seem to be saying just that.

Try to respond to the actual question asked, instead of giving me your canned "Boo, Rethugs! Yay, Dems!" response.



Murder and terror is just that even if carried out to oppose governments we don't necessarily like.

Can I take it that you opposed WWII as well then? That was murder and terror on a scale to make the so-called death squads seem like choir boys.
5.12.2008 6:07pm
Perseus (mail):
But very rarely—in fact, almost never—do you see a great university honor someone who, throughout her public life has shown nothing but contempt for the values of the academia, values such as intellectual honesty and integrity, rational discourse, and the dispassionate pursuit of knowledge.

Only in the bubble of academia could someone say this with a straight face.

I can't believe that anyone would actually defend Schafly's receiving an honorary degree, and thankfully, no one has.

Given the cast of left-wing rabble rousers who have received such awards, I see no reason to deny one to Mrs. Schlafly.
5.12.2008 6:11pm
a097005 (mail):
KWC said:

"How many libertarians would be willing to get rid of all this infrastructure built on the backs of slave labor in order to REALLY start from stratch. Let's start over on an island somewhere. With equal tools and true liberty. Let's see who would survive."

Ok, so lets take everything from everybody and start over. Just once. Completely redistribute all assets fairly according to liberals. After 30 years, there would be inequality of results because some people are more capable than others. Some are stonger or weaker, some are good and some are evil. Might be the same people or it might be different people. But the point is it won't stay "fair".

Will you then surrender your victimhood philosophy? No? If not, you will need an ongoing hierarchy to "justly" redistribute wealth. But isn't that just changing the identity of who controls the wealth? Why, oh why, do liberals think people will become virtuous just because they are members of the government? The only real difference is that then they will have control of the police and armed forces. (See Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, etc, etc, etc).

Your error (and by you I mean leftists in general) is in thinking that life is ever going to be fair. It isn't. And the greatest irony is that liberals attack the system that has provided the greatest advantage to the poor and "downtrodden" of any system in the world in all of history - free market capitalism.

And referring to this blog post directly, the problem with Kathy G's position is that it is a manifestation of the condition that the liberal arts departments of American universities have moved so far to the left that students receive an unbalanced education. Universities should present all views, to include radical challenges to tradition, but not discarding tradition either, since it holds wisdom.

Joe
5.12.2008 6:17pm
Randy R. (mail):
"If 80% of the public thinks discrimination is a bad thing, then why are anti discrimination laws even needed? If the café down the road won’t serve blacks, gays, Baptists, or whatever, then 80% of the public wouldn’t eat there and they’d go out of business right?"

A black person might want to go to that restaurant because it has the best steak in town. If discrimination is so rare, then why were the laws needed in the first place?

" Look, you driveling moron, I said nothing at all which even suggested that I "hate gays"....

No of course not. You just want to ability to fire us for no reason at all. And yes, I can feel that love for gays....

"However, as I mentioned, the majority of Americans support these laws ...

Wait, I'm confused - the tyranny of the majority is an evil which must be prevented, unless the majority agrees with you, in which case their agreement is the last word on the topic?"

And where did you get that? Putting words in my mouth again?

"Of course, the "majority" was not consulted on such laws."

Now who is being dishonest? You mean to say that civil rights laws didn't pass the legislatures and were signed by executives, both at the federal and state levels? Representatives weren't consulted? And even if the majority wasn't consulted, where is the groundswell for repealing these laws?

Crafty Hunter posted this comment: "Being fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, thrown out of and banned from many restaurants and other businesses, and contemptuously ignored when in need of medical or other aid would do wonders for their snotty attitudes."

SIG, can you please explain what he was talking about? I assumed he was merely taking pot shots at minorities. So I replied thusly:

"Yes, because we all know that the Jim Crow laws worked just fine in keeping those uppity blacks from asking for more. "

I was being sarcastic because Crafty hunter appeared to me to be saying that certain minorities need to be fired from their jobs, denied medical treatment, evicted from homes, etc, and that when that happens, their 'snotty attitude' will change.

How else to respond to such insults than with sarcasm? And for this I am labeled 'dishones!" You might disagree with my comments, but please, by all means, identify what is dishonest in any of my posts. If I'm wrong, I'm willing to state so.

But if you have nothing left but insults, which is all I see from you, then this thread is dead.
5.12.2008 6:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
Crafty: "You've just equated a body of old racist force-backed laws to voluntary libertarian ostracism of hateful liberal jerkoffs."

Yes, of course. That's because under Jim Crow, you weren't required to fire blacks for being black. it merely allowed you to do so. You weren't *required* to deny medical treatment to blacks, but you could voluntary refuse to do so. This was ostracism. Same thing with 'liberal jerkoffs' -- you are suggesting that people be legally allowed to fire them, evict them, deny medical treatment and so on without requiring it.

If there is a difference, please explain. But if you can't do so without insulting me, then don't bother.
5.12.2008 6:23pm
MarkJ (mail):
So when exactly was this golden age of conservatism? The Reagan years? When we cut and run from Beirut and invaded Grenada instead. (But of course according to David Bernstein apparently Republicans know exactly what to do in Lebanon unlike that idiot Obama). Ahh yes, the good old days when we supported Saddam (and looked the other way when he actually was committing genocide) because he was killing lots of Iranians. Or how about when we were supporting death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua because of the threat of those horrible communists down there?

What's that old saying? "The United States has neither permanent enemies nor permanent friends; it has only permanent interests."

The problem with your guy Obama is that he's totally clueless when it comes to the above advice--and that's why he's so dangerous to you, me, and America in general.
5.12.2008 6:23pm
Al (mail):

So when exactly was this golden age of conservatism? The Reagan years? When we cut and run from Beirut and invaded Grenada instead. (But of course according to David Bernstein apparently Republicans know exactly what to do in Lebanon unlike that idiot Obama). Ahh yes, the good old days when we supported Saddam (and looked the other way when he actually was committing genocide) because he was killing lots of Iranians. Or how about when we were supporting death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua because of the threat of those horrible communists down there?


I'm not sure where I mentioned anything about a "golden age" for anything, but, yes, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet communism were pretty good days for freedom, as were the days when the Sandinistas lost at the ballot box (despite their control of the media) to opposition candidates backed by the so-called "death squads," and when El Salvador was able to have free and fair elections because of US assistance. As for Iraq (which of course was a Soviet client state and a favorite of French socialists), would you have preferred for the Iranians to have conquered Iraq and touched of a far larger war in the Middle East?
5.12.2008 6:23pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
"If liberals had their way, isn't that exactly what Saddam would be doing today?"

If by liberals, you mean those who thought invading Iraq in 2003 was a bad idea, the answer is a simple no.

Saddam stopped committing genocide shortly after the first Gulf War. His major genocides (and the use of chemical weapons to carry them out) were during the Iran-Iraq War when we definitely turned a blind eye to his atrocities.

So to say that Saddam would be committing mass murder today if we had not invaded is simply not supported by the facts or the situation on the ground as it existed in 2003 (it is impossible to speculate what would have transpired in the intervening 5 years). Our invasion made it painfully obvious that even the things we were accusing Saddam of (stockpiling WMDs and having active programs, including a nuclear weapons program) were simply wrong.
5.12.2008 6:23pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
to opposition candidates backed by the so-called "death squads,"

So what, the atrocities by right wing paramilitaries (including raping nuns and killing priests) was just some kind of communist propoganda?

And I am accused of not using facts or arguing in good faith.

Denying well documented facts doesn't make them less true.
5.12.2008 6:27pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
As for Iraq (which of course was a Soviet client state and a favorite of French socialists), would you have preferred for the Iranians to have conquered Iraq and touched of a far larger war in the Middle East?

It's really funny to see comments like this and also get accused of this

I don't understand the way liberals flip back and forth so effortlessly between realpolitik and idealism.

I honestly can't win, can I?
5.12.2008 6:33pm
Al (mail):

So what, the atrocities by right wing paramilitaries (including raping nuns and killing priests) was just some kind of communist propoganda?


You seem to be confusing Nicaragua with El Salvador and Columbia...perhaps you should get your facts straight before commenting further.

Also, in the Reagan era, the US supported the Duarte government in El Salvador, which was a moderate reformist government, and US military aid and training was a key factor in promoting human rights and professionalism in the Salvadoran military.
5.12.2008 6:36pm
Russ (mail):
This thread demonstrates exactly why political debate is so difficult in this country. Conservatives think liberals are naive and stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil, and political views are not the result of careful reasoning, but a moral choice that reflects on whether you are a good or bad person.

There are some liberals who will debate rationally, but most I have run into see conservatives as an enemy to be destroyed.

As to why most young people are not conservative, that's mainly a result of life experience up to now. Two life changing events occur that turn most of those "young people" into conservatives - the first is they get a real job where they pay real taxes. The second is they have a family, which changes their outlook on the world. However, voting habits take about ten years after the advent of both to change.
5.12.2008 6:49pm
eric (mail):
Randy R. said:


True, soime dems opposed civil rights legislation, but most approved it. That's why it became law, over the objections of the conservatives.


From Wikipedia on the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Vote totals

Totals are in "Yes-No" format:
. . .

By party

The original House version:

* Democratic Party: 164-96 (63%-37%)
* Republican Party: 138-34 (80%-20%)

The Senate version:

* Democratic Party: 46-22 (68%-32%)
* Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)

The Senate version, voted on by the House:

* Democratic Party: 153-91 (63%-37%)
* Republican Party: 136-35 (80%-20%)


It is certainly true that most dems approved of the Civil Rights Act, but a much higher perfectage of repubs approved of it.

I call bullshit on the constant redefining of conservative. Southern democrats may have been socially conservative, but their politics were decidedly populist and progressive on the economic front. But they are conservatives because they did something that is now almost universally viewed as wrong. Sure.
5.12.2008 7:08pm
Brian K (mail):
I have never, ever, encountered a liberal who would admit that he was ever less than 100% right about everything.

and

Ones who use facts and logic and argue in good faith. Try it sometime.

The same person has said both things. I love this site...conservatives do a much better job of making themselves look stupid than liberals ever could.
5.12.2008 7:11pm
SenatorX (mail):
Sig and JFT you live in a fantasy world if you think every living thing does what it does because it is being controlled. I have no doubt it makes you feel better to think so but the truth is every creature is doing what it does for itself at all times and that is where we are right now. I have spent years trying to determine if altruism exists and eventually gave up looking. An individual sacrificing himself for his species genetic survival is not altruism. Further many things appear to be altruistic because the gain for the individual is hidden inside them psychologically. I know many people who take much upon their backs in an appearance of altruism but it's not because they do these things to feel better about themselves. The only thing that matters is the individual’s perspective.

The reason why the distinction between collectivism and individualism matters is because collectivism creates conditions where the most horrible things can be done. For your view of herd values there is no morality except the group values. This allows any action to be ok as long as everyone in the group agrees. Worse it allows coercion against individuals who do not agree with the group. It is a nasty philosophy and the cause of histories worst behavior.

I am glad in America we have a long history of individual rights. For example our military follows the doctrine of autonomy where a soldier can refuse an order he finds immoral. In your world no such right should exist. The truth is, lacking coercion an individual will always do what they thing is best for them using all the perspective they have available. I don't dispute at all that man is a social animal. I have a bookshelf behind me filled on that subject. There are core philosophical problems that exist such as determinism vs. indeterminism and herd vs. individual values is one of them. Those that decide that the individual values are most important end up with libertarian (right) philosophies and those that decide the herd values are more important end up with the collectivist philosophies (communism, socialism, fascism - the left). The right is the side of moral superiority namely because it forsakes grand ideals of everyone working together or being equal in favor of non-coercion (freedom).
5.12.2008 7:18pm
Brian K (mail):
As to why most young people are not conservative, that's mainly a result of life experience up to now.

the fact that few liberals will debate rationally with you has nothing to do with the fact that they are liberals, but it has a lot to do with your attitude towards them. your entire post was nothing but a thinly veiled insult to liberals...why should they (we) debate rationally with you?
5.12.2008 7:19pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
Well, I think Schlafly's bio certainly supports an honorary degree.

Vice President Gore's accomplishments also support an honorary degree, even though I find certain of his political ideas repulsive. I suspect that we (conservatives, liberals and libertarians) could all find repulsive political ideas among the former Vice President's political repetoire.

Yours,
Wince
5.12.2008 7:46pm
Randy R. (mail):
Eric: "I call bullshit on the constant redefining of conservative. Southern democrats may have been socially conservative, but their politics were decidedly populist and progressive on the economic front. But they are conservatives because they did something that is now almost universally viewed as wrong."

I'm sorry, but this doesn't make sense. Then who opposed civil rights back in the 60s? Somebody did! And it wasn't liberals. Call them whatever you want, but conservatives like Nixon played the north-south strategy to win elections, which was to play up the racial issues.

The people who opposed civil rights in the 60s -- what did they call themselves? If you don't want to call them conservatives, then what term would you prefer? These weren't martians who came to earth to oppose rights for blacks, afterall.

(Oh there I go again, being dishonest!)

Russ:"s to why most young people are not conservative, that's mainly a result of life experience up to now. Two life changing events occur that turn most of those "young people" into conservatives - the first is they get a real job where they pay real taxes.'

Not really. In the 90s, young people self-identified as conservative up to aobut 60% or so. Some polls had them higher. Now, the numbers are down to less than 30%. Why were young 'uns conservative in the 90s and not now?

I know -- it's just so unfair and dishonest of me to ask questions and point out errors of logic. I should stop!
5.12.2008 7:49pm
Forsooth And:
Looking for advocates of freedom and human rights? Read Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. Advocating for greater human liberty is the opposite of advocating for greater entitlements, coercive policies, and taxation. Our present "liberals" are often quiet (or not so quiet) socialists and collectivists who support state control of people. This directly translates into human oppression and the quashing of the human spirit.
5.12.2008 7:54pm
Nate+ (mail):
J.F. Thomas: the "economic" interpretation of altruism (and here I mean "economic" as in utility/decision theoretic) is that altruism axiomatically doesn't exist. I act in what I believe is my own best interest. Standing outside looking in, we cannot know everything of someone's mind. I cannot know a priori what is truly your state of knowledge and perceived best interest (although I might guess at it).

If I end up pushing some anonymous toddler out of the way of an out of control bus, I did so because I value that toddler's life more than my own, or I valued action over inaction under those circumstances, etc.

In a sense, I'm debating semantics, but some of what you've written prompted me to include an alternate definition. For instance, your comment about A. Rand betraying her own philosophy. I'm not a "Randroid," but I can see how her actions would be wholly consistent with her philosophy without resorting to altruism as it is commonly used.
5.12.2008 8:04pm
LM (mail):

The people who opposed civil rights in the 60s -- what did they call themselves? If you don't want to call them conservatives, then what term would you prefer? These weren't martians who came to earth to oppose rights for blacks, afterall.

The easiest way to identify them is they were Democrats then, and they're Republicans now. A lot of Democrats obviously defected en masse to turn the old Democratic South solid red. Or was it the pro-civil rights Democrats who switched, leaving behind the racists, who inexplicably now support affirmative action? David Duke and his friends would find that amusing.
5.12.2008 8:12pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
I'm a conservative, and just to prove that conservatives value rights (As all good liberals know, one moving anecdote is unassailable proof of a universal truth.), I'm starting a movement to grant some really special rights to left-handed, red-headed, albino hermorphradites with 6 toes on each foot. I mean, can there be any argument that such disadvantaged folks have been sorely oppressed down through the ages? And as recently as last week, too? Donations - cash only please - will be sincerely appreciated until such time as we can get some pork into a convenient bill. So who says conservatives aren't compassionate now, Pookie?
5.12.2008 8:22pm
SenatorX (mail):
Looking for advocates of freedom and human rights? Read Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. Advocating for greater human liberty is the opposite of advocating for greater entitlements, coercive policies, and taxation. Our present "liberals" are often quiet (or not so quiet) socialists and collectivists who support state control of people. This directly translates into human oppression and the quashing of the human spirit.

That's exactly how I see it too Forsooth And. I would add F.A. Hayek, Lord Acton , Karl Popper and a look at "classical liberalism" to your required reading. I have trouble imagining someone actually reading about it and then still being a collectivist. I suspect today's liberals are simply unaware of the subject in any real depth.
5.12.2008 8:34pm
Nate+ (mail):
Randy R.:

You have for the most part displayed rational calm in this thread, however your comment: "Then at least be proud of the fact that you hate gays so much that you would like to have them fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes simply for being gay." seems rather unjustified. I couldn't find any comments in this thread where SIG357 displayed any animosity towards gays and you come away calling him mean for disagreeing with you.

This automatic association between policy choice and loathing of some select group of people is low rhetoric. If you truly think that the only motivation for someone opposing your favored piece of legislation is hatred, I suggest you get out and a little more and maybe speak with some conservatives, maybe even befriend one or two. In doing so, you might learn a little of how they think as well as make a favorable impression on them, as well.

Personally, I'm agnostic to "gay marriage." I think anyone with an opinion should first start with deep thought on what exactly marriage means. Some critics are of the opinion that writing gay marriage into law would open the door to legalized polygamy. Indeed, in Canada, polygamy may become a reality in the not so distant future. Personally, I'm fine with polygamy. However, many are not, including some liberals. Some of the opposition to what appears to benign legislation may be due to the belief that the new law will give birth to many not-so-benign unintended consequences.
5.12.2008 8:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
Thank you Nate. And indeed you are correct with regard to my comment to Sig. I don't agree with your view that gay marriage will lead to polygamy (They already have it in Texas, albeit illegally), but I understand your concern.

p rich. I would really love to know what special rights your oppressed friends are looking for. Perhaps they can get to head of the line of a popular movie? Or they get an extra scoop of ice cream at Ben and Jerry's?
5.12.2008 8:47pm
KWC (mail):
I am not a troll. I just don't agree with you. As insane as I sound to many of you, you sound just as insane to me for being so anti-gay and in denial about the racial reality in America.

I can explain all my opinions. Just ask me.
5.12.2008 9:10pm
TheGut (mail):
Randy R.

What you seem to be proposing is a reduction in liberty. Which all of the "civil rights" laws are a reduction in liberty. In a free country, a store owner should be able to sell or serve only those people that he wants to. If he doesn't want to sell to, or serve gays, blacks, redheads, mexicans, people with tattoos, Catholics, christians, wiccans, satanists, etc. He (or she) should not have to. Be requiring him to, you are restricting his liberty.
5.12.2008 9:21pm
83048304:

J. F. Thomas: I really would like to know who these "smart, good-meaning liberals" are. I suspect they are actually people who are just a little less conservative than you.


Uh huh, Troll.
5.12.2008 9:35pm
bobbob:
so long as the original "liberal" parses out the collectivist marxism from actual liberalism and freedom I could come closer to agreement.
5.13.2008 1:09am
83048304:
Like I said, they're well-meaning liberals with good points to make (notwithstanding J.F. Thomas, Trollus Maximus). Hopefully they will make themselves heard.
5.13.2008 1:11am
83048304:
When will the VC posters ban this clown? Does J. F. Thomas add anything to the discussion? Do I think his statements are silly? Of course, but I'd like to hear what he has to say.
5.13.2008 1:25am
83048304:
And when I say that "I'd like to hear what he has to say," I'm speaking solely as someone who is interested in hearing opposing viewpoints, but not dumb people!
5.13.2008 1:31am
83048304:
Good night.
5.13.2008 1:37am
LM (mail):
Nate,

With a few added words (highlighted), I endorse the part of your comment quoted below. It's more or less what I harangue my extremist friends on both sides with:

If you truly think that the only motivation for someone opposing your favored piece of legislation is hatred, I suggest you get out and (sic) a little more and maybe speak with some conservatives (or liberals, as applicable), maybe even befriend one or two. In doing so, you might learn a little of how they think as well as make a favorable impression on them[...].

So many of our otherwise constructive arguments are undone by spurious assumptions that the other side is hateful or evil. If we added the bad intentions ascribed by the left to the bad intentions ascribed by the left, we'd all be a pack of lying fascists. And if that's right, why even bother trying to convince one another, when we could be off somewhere hunting down real innocents to loot and pillage together?

Alternatively, we can: (1) imagine how we'd interpret controversial words or behavior if they came from someone we already trusted; (2) consider the possibility that that's what was actually intended; and (3) consider how the Golden Rule would apply to vilifying people based on shoddy conjecture that we'd reject if they were people we cared about.
5.13.2008 1:37am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

The easiest way to identify them is they were Democrats then, and they're Republicans now. A lot of Democrats obviously defected en masse to turn the old Democratic South solid red.



I’m not sure it is that “obvious.” It wasn’t until a generation after the civil rights movement that the South started to go reliably Republican in the 1990’s. Until the Gingrich revolution in 1994, there were a number of Southern States who still hadn’t elected a Republican to the Senate or in many House districts since Reconstruction.

Someone else pointed out the South may have been “socially conservative” in a lot of respects but was largely economically populist. Moreover a lot of more conservative attitudes about things like patriotism and Christianity remain a deep part of Southern culture. It’s undeniable IMO that the national Democrat Party has moved considerably to the left on issues like religion and the military then where it has been traditionally. Combine that with a changing economy in the South that makes them more amenable to Republican policies and you’ve got the recipe for a political realignment.
5.13.2008 1:45am
Kirk:
Looks like Kathy G. is just another idiot who wants a new civil war w/o having any real idea of the horrors that it would entail.

David, with all due respect, doesn't JFT arrive here pre-discredited?

And sorry, josh, but GWB received, in both absolute and relative terms, more votes than Clinton ever did. That is the public-opinion poll that actually means something.
5.13.2008 2:54am
good strategy (mail):
I wouldn't want any institution I was associated with to give honorary awards to those who knowingly trampled the Constitution and shamed our nation by instituting widespread torture as policy.

Jesse Helms is definitely a lunatic. Come on.

Honorary degrees are not like speaking engagements. If a school has no core institutional values that preclude honoring a politician for fear of offending a minority of the campus, then honor charitable and community leaders, scientists, and non-academics who contribute to intellectual life (e.g. Bowdoin awarded an honorary degree to Ken Burns).

If 1/3 of the country prefers Bush to Democrats, so be it, but if 1/3 of the country thinks he has been an honorable and competent President worthy of distinction, I feel sorry for them, and I surely don't want them on the faculty of any school I'd work at or attend.

Giving out honorary degrees to get a big name speaker at commencement is a feeble, vain practice that should be discontinued.
5.13.2008 3:26am
LM (mail):
Thorley,

Until the Gingrich revolution in 1994, there were a number of Southern States who still hadn’t elected a Republican to the Senate or in many House districts since Reconstruction.

You're right. I over-generalized. The migration was incremental over a few decades, with spikes. Something like political punctuated equilibrium.

The rest of your comment, though, is mostly consistent with the migration of southern civil rights opponents to the Republican Party. First, there are the indicators that the Jim Crow cohort who remain racist prefer the Republican Party: (1) The fringe public racists like David Duke are self-identified Republicans, largely out of attraction to the various factors you grouped as traditional southern culture. It's a fair assumption their Jim Crow compatriots who prefer to keep their racism private identify with the same cultural factors; and (2) The Democratic Party is the home of (a) affirmative action, (b) African Americans, (c) Jews, (d) hippies, (e) atheists, (f) Darwinists, (g) the Kennedys, (h) abortion rights, (i) gay rights, and (j) New York City, to name just a few things that don't exactly comport with traditional southern culture. I'm sure there are plenty more ways to say essentially the same thing, i.e., a Jim Crow racist retaining any meaningful part of his cultural and racial views has only one choice of political party.

That's not the whole answer, since by now many Jim Crow southerners have moderated or shed their racism. At least the opinion polls, unreliable though they may be on such matters, lead us to believe that's probably so. And among the reformed, there's certainly a contingent (e.g., Robert Byrd) that remained Democratic, choosing economic populism over the other cultural issues, while not being driven away by the presence of the elements perceived undesirable by the less tolerant. But the voting trends show that even they are a minority, with more of the reformed ex-racists also going Republican.
5.13.2008 4:32am
Rob Crawford (mail) (www):
So, LM, where do black racists like "Reverend" Wright fit into your pat little theory?

And are you aware of how the Republican party treated Duke? Who did the party endorse in his campaign?

Finally, reflect on Bobby Jindal, and some of the tactics used against him during his campaign.
5.13.2008 7:49am
Paul A (mail):
Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.


Just to sum up the flaws in this statement:

1. How effective has the liberal side been at those advances? Liberals haven't gone off and done those things on an island somewhere; they've done it in a society with some non-liberals. They may have the good intentions, but are they just paving the road to hell?

2. Which freedoms, which justice, and which rights? The liberal ideals are incompatible with the conservative/libertarian ones. Either there's a right to eat, or there's a right to keep the property you've earned. In the absense of food falling from the sky, not both. Which right takes precedence?

3. Do we want those liberal goals advanced in all cases? Is the thief the moral equivalent of the hard worker? If we acknowledge rights to be given certain properties and services, do we really want to give them to everyone? Shouldn't the slings and arrows of life be considered blessings at some point? To ask this question in liberal terms, if we had a national health care system, should it have to give Dick Cheney heart treatments?

4. On the flip of that, do we want no one to reap great individual benefits? By liberal lights, a person may do nothing and obtain some slight property. What about a person who wishes to obtain a lot of property, and is willing to do much to get it? Is the mere desire to be rich evil?

5. Even if we have concluded that the goals above are the right ones, is it right to use the force of law to achieve them? If we can't convince everyone involved by calm, dispassionate reason, how can they be right?

6. Even if we do conclude that force is warranted, need it be cloaked in the aura of nobility that government grants, rather than be clearly force, so people know it's coming?

As some liberals like to say, I'm simply asking questions. These are the questions behind political debate. They are not settled. For some liberals, they are not even asked. When a belief system has no reasons behind it, it becomes just another bigotry, deserving of no more consideration than the bigotry liberalism claims to want eliminated.
5.13.2008 7:52am
Happyshooter:
Yet because of McCarthy, we had a blacklist, and many people lost their jobs and livelihoods because of him. Freedom of speech was under attack. Is that an unfair assessment of Joe? perhaps. But no one should regard this as a shining moment in our democracy.

I challenge any person working in the modern academy to publicly say or publish any of the following positions:

1. Affirmative action harms its subjects
2. There are racial or gender differences in ability
3. There is no climate change
4. Homosexual rights harms society

Then you will see an actual blacklist, one carried out by a government wing, the university.
5.13.2008 9:28am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
For example our military follows the doctrine of autonomy where a soldier can refuse an order he finds immoral.

This of course is entirely untrue. A soldier must refuse an illegal order but must obey all legal orders. His or her personal sense of the morality of the order has absolutely nothing to do with it.
5.13.2008 11:06am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Finally, reflect on Bobby Jindal, and some of the tactics used against him during his campaign.

What on earth are you referring to?
5.13.2008 11:09am
KWC (mail):
Happyshooter:

There are academics who say such things. For example, Richard Sander wrote a paper called "A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools" that criticizes affirmative action. I think it was published in Stanford Law Journal.

Conservatives don't go into the academy not for fear of persecution, but (as I have already said), for fear of poverty. I bet you will find an earlier career of wealth behind MOST conseverative academics. It simply offends their notion that the mighty dollar is the most important to forgo it for the "grander" cause of ensuring academic balance in schools.
5.13.2008 11:58am
KWC (mail):
83048304:

"Troll" is the germanic word used to carry out the latin concept known as "ad hominem."
5.13.2008 12:03pm
SenatorX (mail):
JFT - you are just dodging like normal. The point is the power to decide what is an illegal/immoral order lies in the individual soldier. Each soldier is held accountable for their actions and cannot say "I was ordered to do it" as a way to dodge responsibility for their actions. I served in the military and not once was I trained on what is a legal order. I know it fits your worldview to have soldiers as robots but American soldiers are not.
5.13.2008 12:29pm
KWC (mail):
Yes, SenatorX, American soldiers are free-thinking agents. They don't enlist at the age of 18 from some remote town in Kansas, spend months in bootcamp having all individual identity beaten out of them, and then told to conform no matter what. They are perfectly at liberty to refuse an officer's orders on moral objection. That totally makes sense, and practically, I am sure that happens ALL the time.
5.13.2008 12:34pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The point is the power to decide what is an illegal/immoral order lies in the individual soldier.

I am not dodging at all. You are simply wrong. Your obligation as a soldier is to obey all legal orders and refuse all illegal ones. Show me where in the UCMJ individual moral objection is a defense to disobeying an otherwise legal order.
5.13.2008 12:44pm
mischief (mail):

Actually, Gut, even this isn't true. In most states, a gay man or woman can be fired from their job simply for being gay. In most states, a gay man or woman can be evicted by their landlord simply for being gay.


Are there legal obstacles to a person receiving the same fate because of heterosexuality?
5.13.2008 12:45pm
Randy R. (mail):
Gut: "What you seem to be proposing is a reduction in liberty. Which all of the "civil rights" laws are a reduction in liberty. "

of course, you are correct. But on the other hand, it increases the liberty for those groups that are denied access to business that they would not have before. And in any case, the issue is fairly moot, since we have had the laws on the books since the 60s, and there is widespread support for them.

"Are there legal obstacles to a person receiving the same fate because of heterosexuality?" Nope. As a gay man, I can own a business, and refuse to hire a person solely because they are heterosexual. Or I can fire him, if I find out that he is. The issue is that very few business or landlords are gay owned, and even fewer have ever taken action against anyone who is straight. And in most jurisdictions where there are a lot of gay people, like Washington, NYC, or SF, there are local laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. I would defy anyone to identify even one case in the US where a person lost his job or apartment because he or she was straight.

On the other hand, many gays have. Cracker Barrel was a famous example in the early 90s when they actually had a corporate policy of firing anyone who is gay or lesbian, and it was a completely legal policy. They eventually reversed it.
5.13.2008 12:59pm
83048304:

KWC: "Troll" is the germanic word used to carry out the latin concept known as "ad hominem."


This coming from a troll.
5.13.2008 1:24pm
SenatorX (mail):
KWC, your are right that it is very difficult to go against training which is to obey every command. Still it is there that you personally will be tried for say killing a child, or poisoning a well even though you are ordered to do it. They will tell you that you should have refused the order.

JFT a soldier doesn’t carry around the book of legal orders nor are they trained on what is a legal order vs. an illegal order. You are trained to obey all orders, period, because the argument goes that soldiers questioning orders will get other soldiers killed in combat. The only orders that you will escape a court-martial on refusing are those that are considered immoral. I would love to hear what you think the demarcation is between a legal and illegal order to a soldier. Do you think they are randomly generated by an AI or will you acknowledge that the "illegal" orders originate from questions of morality?

Feel free to comment again on altruism or individuality vs collectivism as well if you can move past cherry picking and ignoring arguments that defeat your perspective.
5.13.2008 4:18pm
83048304:

SenatorX: Feel free to comment again on altruism or individuality vs collectivism as well if you can move past cherry picking and ignoring arguments that defeat your perspective.


KWC and J. F. Thomas aren't serious commentators. They make arguments that they know are silly, i.e., they are trolls.
5.13.2008 4:21pm
KWC (mail):
83048304:

Pray tell, what do you call someone whose only contribution to a message board is to post comments accusing others of being a troll over and over and over again. Besides "boring twit," I think "troll" is an apt description.
5.13.2008 4:56pm
83048304:

KWC at 11:03am: "Troll" is the germanic word used to carry out the latin concept known as "ad hominem."

KWC at 3:56pm: "Pray tell, what do you call someone whose only contribution to a message board is to post comments accusing others of being a troll over and over and over again. Besides 'boring twit,' I think 'troll' is an apt description."


KWC, thank you for making my point.
5.13.2008 5:15pm
LM (mail):
83048304,

This thread has too many over-the-top attacks on conservatives and conservatism, and on liberals and liberalism to count. So that excess is bi-partisan. But I've only seen one iffy comment upthread by KWC that arguably extended the logic of one of SIG357's arguments beyond the point of personal civility. Do you want to compare that to how many times KWC, JFT and Randy R have been subjected to direct ad hominem attacks on this thread, including by you?

I may have missed something here or there, but the weight of incivility on this thread is not friendly to your argument.
5.13.2008 5:22pm
LM (mail):
OK, missed that one while scanning the thread to write my last message. Now there's two for your side.
5.13.2008 5:25pm
83048304:
.

LM: Do you want to compare that to how many times KWC, JFT and Randy R have been subjected to direct ad hominem attacks on this thread, including by you?

I may have missed something here or there, but the weight of incivility on this thread is not friendly to your argument


Including my me? Huh? Care to cite something I said?
5.13.2008 5:31pm
83048304:

LM: Do you want to compare that to how many times KWC, JFT and Randy R have been subjected to direct ad hominem attacks on this thread, including by you?



I take note of people who actually attempt to make intellectual arguments.

Did you notice that at May 12, 2008, 12:54pm, I wrote "SIG357, I don't agree with everything you've said."? Oh, wait, noting that wouldn't comport with your accusation against me...
5.13.2008 5:41pm
83048304:
Seriously LM, why should I take you seriously?
5.13.2008 5:43pm
LM (mail):
83048304,

Care to cite something I said?

Other than here, here, here, here, here, here, and here?

Nope.
5.13.2008 5:48pm
LM (mail):
83048304:

Seriously LM, why should I take you seriously?

I never said you should. That's up to you.
5.13.2008 5:49pm
83048304:
These are "ad hominem" attacks? Uh, how are these "ad hominem" attacks? Oh, and you have no comment on the fact you remarked that "I've only seen one iffy comment upthread by KWC that arguably extended the logic of one of SIG357's arguments beyond the point of personal civility" and I wrote that "SIG357, I don't agree with everything you've said."

Sorry, silly person, you're right that I shouldn't take you seriously.
5.13.2008 5:59pm
83048304:
LM, you cited things (at 4:48pm) that I said, but these things don't prove your point. Oooops!
5.13.2008 6:10pm
83048304:
Why should anyone care what certain people, such as LM, think?
5.13.2008 6:12pm
83048304:
There are people who care about making a good argument, and LM is such a person.
5.13.2008 6:15pm
LM (mail):

Uh, how are these "ad hominem" attacks?

If you don't understand why name-calling is ad hominem, I'm afraid you'll have to educate yourself.

Oh, and you have no comment on the fact you remarked that "I've only seen one iffy comment upthread by KWC that arguably extended the logic of one of SIG357's arguments beyond the point of personal civility" and I wrote that "SIG357, I don't agree with everything you've said."

I have no idea what that means.
5.13.2008 6:36pm
LM (mail):
83048304:

There are people who care about making a good argument, and LM is such a person.

Is that what you meant to say?
5.13.2008 6:37pm
KWC (mail):
83048304,

You have not made a SINGLE comment on this threat that has to do anything at all with the topic. Your ONLY comments have been attacks on the comments of others. None of those attacks have actually attacked the substance, but have instead accused the poster (oftentimes, me) of being a troll.

Where are these "good arguments" that you claim to care so greatly about?

The irony is that YOU are the troll. You don't make a single comment of substance and you existence here is entirely to rouse people. I have officially been a victim of trolling. Bravo, my numerically-named friend. Bravo.
5.13.2008 7:17pm
Russ (mail):
Senator X said - JFT a soldier doesn’t carry around the book of legal orders nor are they trained on what is a legal order vs. an illegal order. You are trained to obey all orders, period.

Now I disagree with JFT as much as anyone, but this is patently untrue. How do I know? Because I am a soldier, and have been for 13 years. We are trained on lawful vs unlawful orders, and at pretty regular intervals.

Just thought I'd clear that up.
5.13.2008 8:58pm
SenatorX (mail):
Russ maybe you can help some more. What is an unlawful order?
5.13.2008 9:33pm
83048304:
KWC at 11:03am: "Troll" is the germanic word used to carry out the latin concept known as "ad hominem."

KWC at 6:17pm:

You have not made a SINGLE comment on this threat that has to do anything at all with the topic. Your ONLY comments have been attacks on the comments of others. None of those attacks have actually attacked the substance, but have instead accused the poster (oftentimes, me) of being a troll.

Where are these "good arguments" that you claim to care so greatly about?

The irony is that YOU are the troll. You don't make a single comment of substance and you existence here is entirely to rouse people. I have officially been a victim of trolling. Bravo, my numerically-named friend. Bravo.


It's funny that you previously decried the concept of trollness -- remember pontificating about "latin concepts" such as ad hominem attacks? -- but you now embrace it. Um...okay.
5.13.2008 9:59pm
83048304:

There are people who care about making a good argument, and LM is such a person.

Is that what you meant to say?


No, I misspoke.


LM: If you don't understand why name-calling is ad hominem, I'm afraid you'll have to educate yourself.


Silly. I think everyone knows what "ad hominem" means, so your fears are unfounded.
5.13.2008 10:18pm
Russ (mail):
Russ maybe you can help some more. What is an unlawful order?

Here's one - "We need to get across that minefield. Make the enemy prisoners walk in front."

Or - "You are not to take prisoners."

Or - "That farmer's house is in our field of fire and limits our vision. Burn it down."

There is A LOT that would make an order illegal. And we have to know that stuff, or be held accountable.
5.13.2008 10:57pm
SenatorX (mail):
Thank you Russ. I don't remember any training on that but it was before your time so it's possible I forgot or things changed. I may be wrong on the particular of training for what is illegal vs immoral but I think my basic premise still stands. That the illegal orders flow from what is considered immoral and that soldiers are held acountable for their individual actions.
5.13.2008 11:41pm
Russ (mail):
What's immoral is not necessarily illegal, and vice versa sometimes, especially since some folks' moral compass is wildly different from others. An example is LT Watada - he considers the Iraq War immoral, but he has no right to refuse that order to deploy. OTOH, were he given an order to have prioners walk in front of his unit across a minefield, it would be illegal, despite many people having little moral objection since it would save the lives of friendly forces.

At the same time, there is a great deal of "gray" out there, and a soldier has but a split second in combat to decide what's legal and what's not, especially in the current conflict. Still, the old saying is always "better judged by 12 than carried by 6.
5.13.2008 11:58pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
And why should a party to a contract be allowed to breach it for reasons completely unrelated to the performance of the contract?

If you hire someone to paint your house and halfway through painting it you find out he is gay (not because of anything the painter did but your neighbor comes by and says "oh, you hired that gay painter") and you fire him on the spot, he will sue you and you will lose. Not because you violated his rights as a gay man but because you breached the contract for no good reason. Why should an employment contract be any different?
It shouldn't. I thought you pretended to be a lawyer from time to time, when you weren't pretending to be a scientist. You should know that none of this has anything to do with "employment contracts" -- for which there is already a legal remedy for breach -- but with at will employment situations.
5.14.2008 3:34am
David M. Nieporent (www):
If you don't understand why name-calling is ad hominem, I'm afraid you'll have to educate yourself.
Name calling is not ad hominem, so I think you need to educate yourself. Name-calling can be a component of an ad hominem argument, but name-calling by itself is not an ad hominem. It's just an insult.
5.14.2008 3:44am
LM (mail):
OK, I'm game. Maybe I'll learn something. When is responding to someone's argument by calling him names not ad hominem?
5.14.2008 5:01am
David M. Nieporent (www):
An ad hominem is a logical fallacy in which one argues that a proposition is false based on the personal characteristics of the speaker.

"Snarky's arguments against libertarianism are wrong because he's a poopyhead" would be an ad hominem. "Snarky is a poopyhead" would not be; it would just be an insult. (And "Snarky [/Fearless/Mr. Liberal/Mr. Impressive] -- he changes his handle regularly -- is a troll" would be a simple statement of fact.)
5.14.2008 11:39am
Quasi-Linguist (mail):
83048304:

Is it always this hard for you to follow basic concepts? The term "troll" may have had a valuable definition, but, alas, people like you have turned it into a cheap and intellectually dishonest method of criticizing someone's argument. That is what I was saying. Obviously.

Someone makes a point and your response is "He's a troll." I hope you are not a lawyer, because if you are, your clients should worry.

I can see it now:

Lawyer X: Your honor, Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed because they fail to state a claim. This is a tort claim and Plaintiff failed to allege causation.

Judge: Counsel, how do you respond?

83048304: He's a troll, he's a troll.

Judge: Pardon me, counsel?

83048304: He's a troll, he's a troll. That's all I know how to say.

Judge: Well, that's not going to be enough to defeat this motion to dismiss.

83048304: But, but...he's a troll.
5.14.2008 1:10pm
Quasi-Linguist (mail):
Quasi-Linguist = KWC
5.14.2008 1:11pm
Quasi-Linguist (mail):
David M. Nieporent:

Maybe Snarky changes his handle regularly because if he uses the same handle for every comment, his comments will be ignored, not because of their content, but rather because of the speaker. Hence, ad hominem.
5.14.2008 1:15pm
SenatorX (mail):
Russ you make good points and I think maybe I need to concede on this one and think more about it. My premise is busted by the fact that I can now imagine illegal orders that are not immoral. As much as it hurts to admit JFT is probably right about this one and I was wrong.
5.14.2008 3:26pm
LM (mail):
David M. Nieporent,

An ad hominem is a logical fallacy in which one argues that a proposition is false based on the personal characteristics of the speaker.

Agreed (though it could also be an argument for truth by the same method).

"Snarky's arguments against libertarianism are wrong because he's a poopyhead" would be an ad hominem.

Agreed.

"Snarky is a poopyhead" would not be; it would just be an insult.

Not necessarily, and certainly not in the context I was answering 83048304. If someone says "LM is a troll" on a thread I haven't commented on, that's just an insult. But if I comment, and someone chimes in, "LM is a troll," the implied reference to my argument is clear, and the logical fallacy applies.
5.14.2008 3:38pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):

I don't remember any training on that [refusing an illegal order]
It’s not in the Internet version.
5.14.2008 5:36pm
Michael B (mail):
"Snarky is a poopyhead" would not be; it would just be an insult.

But as the subject is logic, surely that would depend upon the veridical quality of the remark. If Snarky were literally a poopyhead then it would more simply reflect a fact, perhaps it would even be a helpful diagnosis, suggestive of a medical disorder (stercus a capite) in need of a remedy.
5.15.2008 1:04am
SenatorX (mail):
Sorry Lazarus but it's true and I did serve in the Army. I suspect you are used to being false in conversation so you are projecting. That's you though, not me.
5.16.2008 8:09pm