Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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World Economic Forum tells U.S. colleges to 're-educate the racists among us'

“Fighting racism demands confrontation at all levels on college campuses by uprooting racist institutional designs inherent in campus-wide admissions systems, recruitment, scholarships, cultures, and histories,” researchers from KAIST-Korea Policy Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution wrote.

The World Economic Forum is an organization that advocates for cooperation among the world’s largest governments and corporations. It is also known for its “The Great Reset” series, a provocation to redesign the global economy following COVID-19 and the lockdown-induced global recession.

The article calls for using “data-driven methods” to measure racial “climates,” as well as “promoting anti-racist culture and policies” through projects such as Centers for Racial Justice.

Additionally, universities must “support affected minorities at various levels,” which — includes “educating people to eradicate their hate” through mandatory diversity training, according to the researchers.

Aiming to solve underrepresentation among faculty and the student body, the researchers also propose a “diversity barometer'' that can “track such progress and hold university leadership accountable” through periodical reviews.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Anti-white bias in the classroom is real, and it's toxic

The Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state's largest teaching union, is providing its members with a seminar focused on the New York Times podcast, Nice White Parents, Todd Shepherd of Broad and Liberty reported. This podcast describes itself as a series dedicated to "building a better school system, and what gets in the way." And, as this advertisement shows, "what gets in the way" is merely a trope for "blame white people."

The seminar will happen through Zoom over three weekends between Oct. 4 and November. It is union-funded indoctrination at its worst. It is propaganda seeking to indoctrinate teachers across the state that, essentially, white parents are the root of all evil when it comes to education problems in our country. Teachers will then pass on this indoctrination to students.

"Nice White Parents is a halfway interesting, largely self-absorbed podcast that seeks to blame rich, white New York City liberals for lagging achievement in an urban school," Max Eden, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told Broad and Liberty.

"At a time when students are facing unprecedented learning loss and at the beginning of what’s certain to be another administratively and pedagogically fraught school year, the fact that Pennsylvania’s largest teachers union is conducting a lengthy seminar series on this New York Times podcast is worse than a bad joke," Eden said. "It shows that their priorities are on broadcasting culturally left bona fides rather than helping students recover and learn."

I understand that this is teachers union propaganda, designed mostly to shift blame from its own institution's role in destroying public education. It takes some gall to attack any parents, given that the teachers unions have put so much pressure on them and harmed their children so much by keeping schools closed. Yet the ugly racial aspect of this propaganda should not be overlooked, either.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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James Beard Awards will now require chefs to show a social-justice commitment

For the first time, winning James Beard Awards, long known as the top honors in the restaurant and food media world, won’t just depend on someone’s skill with a whisk or with words.

The organization that doles out the prestigious annual awards has retooled its criteria and now will also base decisions on whether candidates have shown a “demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, environmental sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.” The James Beard Foundation, which administers the awards, also announced a slate of other changes aimed at diversifying its judging committees — a move it ultimately hopes will lead to a more diverse group of winners — and screening for potentially problematic chefs taking the industry’s top honors.

The move comes as the foundation is positioning itself not just as the promoter of American cuisine, as it has for years, but of social-justice causes within the restaurant industry.

“Excellence in your craft, whether you’re a chef or a restaurateur or a writer, that’s still key,” Dawn Padmore, the vice president for awards, said in an interview. “It’s an awards program. But what else are we doing — all of us — to create a better industry and community? It’s aspirational for where we want to go.”

The changes were prompted in part by the controversy that surrounded its last awards cycle. In 2020, just before the traditional announcement of winners, the foundation announced it was scrapping the bulk of that year’s awards program and that it planned to return in 2022. Ostensibly, the reason was the pandemic that had shuttered many restaurants and inflicted pain across the industry, making some in the industry worry about the optics of self-celebration.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Inside ‘The Activist’ Meltdowns as the Entire Shitshow Spiraled Out of Control

It took just a few hours for CBS’s new reality competition The Activist to be globally panned. A Frankenstein mashup of a Hunger Games-style dystopian world mixed with hints of Survivor and The Apprentice, the show places six activists into teams and pairs them with a “high-profile public figure” to duke it out in challenges to promote their various causes. At the end of the five-episode series, they will have the chance to pitch their cause at the G20 Summit in Rome. Whoever secures the most funding wins the show.

Instead of world leaders or any sort of mission-driven experts being tapped to host the show, Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough will serve as co-hosts and offer up advice to the contestants.

The Daily Beast reviewed the six contestants’ social media accounts—including TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram profiles—which were all created in August. One posted, “Help me win by commenting and liking my posts through the next few missions!” Another contestant thanked his followers for donating to his GoFundMe, which went towards covering the unpaid time off he took as an elementary teacher in order to compete on the show.

Needless to say, the announcement of a show that pits serious causes against one another and then relies on superficial social media metrics to determine which campaign is more successful—in the middle of global pandemic—did not go over well.

And by Wednesday night, Global Citizen and Live Nation, who are both producers of the program, announced the show would be restructured into a documentary special, completely removing the competition element.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Barnard tried to force Jewish students to violate religious laws for COVID monitoring

Barnard College told its observant Jewish students that they would have to violate their religious beliefs and use a mobile application on Shabbat and during the high holidays for COVID-19 monitoring.

Observant Jews are prohibited from using technology on the Sabbath and high holy days, which includes Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The latter starts tonight.

Cynthia Yang, the head of Barnard’s Pandemic Response Team, sent an email to students who identified themselves as a "Sabbath-observer" to Barnard Residential Life and Housing Department.

The email came in just hours before the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, on Monday.

“We recognize that how you have practiced religious traditions in the past may not align with the use of technology during the high holy days or the Sabbath, but this year it is paramount for the community’s health and safety (as well as your own) that you abide by the Barnard pledge and follow the College’s policies and procedures,” Yang wrote.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Med school to host ‘body terrorism on fat LGBTQ+ people’ seminar

What are future doctors learning about in med school? Well, at the University of Louisville they’re learning about “the oppressive history of the Body Mass Index (BMI) within the medical industrial complex.”

But wait, there’s more. Those who sign up for Thursday’s online seminar will also discuss “the impact of body terrorism on fat LGBTQ+ people.”

The event is titled “The Intersection of Fatphobia and LGBTQ+ Health.” It aims to identify “best practices to reduce the harm experienced by fat LGBTQ+ patients in healthcare settings,” according to organizers.

Continuing education academic credits will also be offered for doctors, nurses and those in the social work and psychology fields who attend, according to the LGBTQ+ Affirming Healthcare Series’ website.

The fatphobia event will be facilitated by “Goldie (they/them),” but no last name or bio is given on the website. Upcoming topics in this series also include “An In-Depth Look at Gender Affirming Hormone Care” in October and the “Impact of Racism on LGBTQ+ Health & Healthcare” in November.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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English opera fires White musicians to increase diversity

The English Touring Opera (ETO) has fired half of its musicians in order to increase the diversity in its ensemble, resulting in the dismissal of 14 White people between 40 and 66 years of age. They were all informed that they will not be offered any new contracts for the new season beginning in spring 2022.

“English Touring Opera is committed to increasing all kinds of diversity in its team, and while there have been appreciable, steady advances on stage in this area, we have prioritized increased diversity in the orchestra. This is in line with the firm guidance of the Arts Council, the principal funder of ETO’s touring work, and of most of the trust funds that support ETO,” Daily Mail quotes from the letter of Director James Conway to the musicians concerned.

The musicians are officially freelancers who can be fired season-to-season, but many have played for the ETO for 20 years.

The musicians’ union condemned the measure, stating it was “horrified” by the move. After the lockdowns, artists said they were hoping to get back to work next spring to pay off debts accumulated during the pandemic.

There are currently no non-white musicians in the orchestra, which is scheduled to resume concerts in the coming month. Those who had their contracts terminated

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Where is the feminist outrage over Afghan migrant stabbing a German woman for ‘working’?

Any scenario in which a White Neo-Nazi or “incel” stabs a woman nearly to death merely for “working” would elicit outrage in Germany — and rightfully so.

After the attacks, extensive media coverage would undoubtedly follow, along with German politicians racing to be the first to offer their condemnation — again, rightfully so. Commentators would decry toxic masculinity, the danger of the White male patriarchy, and demand increased funding to fight right-wing terrorism and violence against women. Left-wing groups would also surely mobilize protests of their own.

Last week, an Afghan refugee stabbed a 58-year-old female gardener in the neck multiple times, then proceeded to stab an elderly man trying to intervene. The perpetrator told the police afterwards that he stabbed her because she was working, and that he did not approve of women working.

The attack has elicited little in terms media commentary in Germany, let alone outrage. From any point of view, the attack is abhorrent, but from the feminist perspective, it could not be a more clear case of misogyny: a woman attacked at random simply for doing her job.

Yet prominent German feminists, such as Margarete Stokowski and Sophie Passmann, are notably silent. They did not say a word in response to a woman being brutally stabbed simply for “working”, despite their usual habit of commenting on every triviality or microaggression on their Twitter accounts. The German media has been remarkably quiet as well, running short news blurbs such as Deutche Welle’s English-language headline: Berlin: Man attacks woman with knife for ‘working’. Even less content is provided in German-language pieces, such as the Focus headline, “Man stabs female gardener in the neck multiple times in a park – motive still unclear”

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Retroactive cancelation: College apologizes for operetta it staged 11 years ago, deletes old photos of it

The president of Muhlenberg College on Monday publicly apologized for its 2010 production of the operetta “The Mikado” and deleted all photos of the performance from its website.

And although President Kathleen Harring’s Sept. 13 apology statement did not mention it by name, the theater department also apologized for its 2004 production of the musical “Annie Get Your Gun” in its footnote on “racial stereotypes and deleted photos.”

“While these shows were performed more than 10 years ago, it is important to acknowledge the impact that the use of racial stereotypes had — and continues to have — on members of the Muhlenberg community,” Harring stated.

“Specifically, we were made aware of a 2010 production of The Mikado at Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre which featured examples of yellowface and a related photo gallery of the performance that was on our website. We removed the images and we provided a footnote explaining the reason for this action.”

Muhlenberg is a private college in Pennsylvania well known for its theater arts programs, but in the wake of George Floyd’s death, in June 2020, its Department of Theatre and Dance was accused of racism.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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The Masking of the Servant Class: Ugly COVID Images From the Met Gala Are Now Commonplace

Last month, a delightful event was hosted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for wealthy Democratic donors in Napa — the same wine region of choice for Gov. Newsom's notorious dinner party — at which the cheapest tickets were $100 each and a "chair” designation was available for $29,000. Video of the outdoor festivities showed an overwhelmingly white crowd of rich Democratic donors sitting maskless virtually on top of one another — not an iota of social distancing to be found — as Pelosi imparted her deep wisdom about public policy.

Pelosi's donor gala took place as millions face eviction, ongoing joblessness, and ever-emerging mandates of various types. It was also held just five days after the liberal county government of Los Angeles, in the name of Delta, imposed a countywide mask requirement for "major outdoor events.” In nearby San Francisco, where Pelosi's mansion is found, the liberal-run city government has maintained a more restrictive outdoor mask policy than the CDC: though masks were not required for outdoor exercising (such as jogging) or while consuming food, the city's rules for outdoor events required “that at any gathering where there are more than 300 people, masks are still required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.” Though Pelosi's fundraising lunch fell below the 10,000-person threshold for LA County's outdoor mask mandate, it may have fallen within San Francisco's mask mandate. Either way, it appears arbitrary at best: how would The Science™ of COVID risk have drastically changed for those sitting with no distancing, at densely packed tables, if there had been a few more tables of Pelosi donors? The CDC's latest guidelines for outdoor events urge people to “consider wearing a mask…for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.”

Trying to find a cogent scientific rationale for any of this is, by design, virtually impossible. The rules are sufficiently convoluted and often arbitrary that one can easily mount arguments to legally justify the Versailles-like conduct of one's favorite liberal political leaders. Beyond the legalities, everything one does can be simultaneously declared to be responsible or reckless, depending on the political needs of the moment. But what was most striking about Pelosi's donor event was not the possibility of legal infractions but rather the two-tiered system that was so viscerally and uncomfortably obvious.

Even though many of the wealthy white donors had no food in front of them and were not yet eating, there was not a mask in sight — except on the faces of the overwhelmingly non-white people hired as servants, all of whom had their gratuitous faces covered. Servants, apparently, are much more pleasant when they are dehumanized. There is no need for noses or mouths or other identifiable facial features for those who are converted into servile robots.

Similar scenes were visible at the even more opulent birthday bash which former President Barack Obama threw for himself to commemorate his 60 years on the planet. Held at his sprawling $12 million weekend estate on Martha's Vineyard, Obama and 400 of his closest maskless friends spent hours in indoor tents dancing, chatting in close circles, and yelling in each other's ears over the live music. While custom-made masks engraved with Obama's renowned humility were provided to the guests (“44×60”), only the servants were reported to have worn masks. Who can throw a Hawaiian luau-themed party at one of the country's wealthiest retreats in the middle of a pandemic and joblessness crisis while wearing disfiguring masks, however chic and carefully hand-crafted they might be?

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Belfast Stickers Defining “Woman” Declared “Transphobic”; Reported to Police

On September 3, 2021, the Belfast Telegraph reported that the Rainbow Project, an LGBT organization in Northern Ireland, had complained about “transphobic stickers” being placed in Belfast’s city centre and was planning to report this to the Police Service of Northern Ireland as “a targeted crime”.

The Rainbow Project also tweeted that razor blades were placed behind the stickers (this claim was excluded from the Belfast Telegraph article). Charges of razor blades behind stickers is an unsubstantiated accusation various activists make whenever reports of “transphobic stickers” emerge. No evidence of these allegations has ever surfaced.

Based on photos included in the article, the stickers included the dictionary definition of the word “woman” – adult human female – over a black background, the text “men’s sexual rights movement” placed over a blue, pink and white background (the colours and pattern of the original transgender flag), and the text “transwomen are men” over a red background.

Various local politicians condemned the reports of these stickers, with Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl tweeting they were “despicable”, People Before Profit leader Gerry Carrol saying it was “a scummy thing to do”, and Lisnasharragh councillor Seamas de Faoite stating they were “horrible”, and that everyone should be concerned “when small minded individuals seek to spread hate like this”.

Chief Inspector Rosie Thompson confirmed that police had received a report on September 3 by a member of the public that stickers “perceived to be offensive, had been placed on walls in the Waring Street area of Belfast”.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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It's Time to Acknowledge Anti-White Racism

Recently, Michael Tesler commented on “The Rise of White Identity Politics.” Tesler’s analysis draws on years of research into racialized politics, and he shows convincingly that there is a rise in white identity politics and that this rise is tied to “perceptions of anti-white discrimination.” However, when trying to explain why perceptions of anti-white bias might also be on the rise, his analysis falls flat. Supposedly, it has something to do with Republicans and Donald Trump.

Never once does the author speculate whether “perceptions” of such discrimination might be on the rise because anti-white racism is becoming increasingly common. In other words, perhaps white Americans are accurately perceiving a real phenomenon that is now pervasive in schools and the workplace.

[...]

A recent training program at Bank of America made the consequences of such commitments unmistakably clear. It instructed “white employees in particular” to “cede power to people of color.” There was no word that any member of Bank of America’s board of directors had offered to step down to make room for a replacement of color. Demands for self-denial are always made by persons who already hold seats of power and privilege (and who have no intention of giving them up). It is ever the less privileged employees who are expected to submit to degradation based on their race or sex.

Thus far, the discontent arising among marginalized employees is only being discussed in whispers. Anne Applebaum recently interviewed a couple of men who believe they were punished at work “because a white, male boss felt he had to publicly sacrifice another white man in order to protect his own position.” Yet Americans are reluctant to speak out about anti-white racism, lest they be accused of being anti-black.

Racism of any kind is never a single, defining act. It is death by a thousand cuts, and these cuts to white employees have become ubiquitous.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Woke Crescent: Like Obama, Biden bends the arc of the Left toward Islamism.

The Obama worldview is simple. The Muslim world is engaged in a multilateral civil war. Radically incompatible visions of Islamic faith, culture, and society are vying to define modern Islam. Because there’s no way to contain a convulsion involving more than a fifth of the globe, it’s incumbent upon all outsiders to find Islamic allies. That much is hard to dispute.

The problem comes in the allies that Western progressives have selected. Under progressive “intersectionality,” the authentic, and thus most worthy, voices of any non-Western group must be those that are angriest, most aggrieved, and most anti-Western; anything else represents a degrading sellout to centuries of imperial impositions. In today’s Islamic world, the voices that progressives deem authentic therefore belong to the Islamists—angry, intolerant, anti-liberal, anti-Western, antisemitic Muslim supremacists.

Islamist organizations vary widely on both strategy and tactics. The MB, now over 80 years old, is a tightly disciplined organization capable of taking a long view, pushing incremental advancement, and working through existing institutions. Most of the more spectacularly violent Sunni Islamist groups—including Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the PLO—trace their founding to impetuous Brothers who split with the MB because of their preference for action and notoriety.

Similarly, the Shiite Islamists running Iran have managed to temper their own revolutionary instincts enough to run a country and a movement simultaneously for more than 40 years—a feat requiring a certain amount of restraint, plausible deniability, and long-term thinking.

To woke progressives like those staffing the Obama and Biden administrations, these disciplined (though decidedly not moderate) Islamists are ideal Muslim allies. Biden’s abdication in Afghanistan arose because he decided that the Taliban had matured to the point that it too could demonstrate the sort of disciplined Islamism necessary to join the international community. His withdrawal did more than extricate the U.S. from a situation that had confounded Trump, Obama, and Bush—it signaled to Iran that the U.S. stood behind disciplined Islamists.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Environmentalism is a revolt against the people

To understand the green movement, really understand it, you could do worse than look at the photographs of today’s vast tailbacks on the M25. Here were thousands of ordinary people – workers, deliverymen, mums and dads, holidaymakers – delayed for hours by the self-righteousness of middle-class greens. Activists from a group called Insulate Britain – which, almost comically, agitates for the insulation of British homes – blocked various junctions on the M25, causing distress to people who had places to be. It was eco-elitism distilled: the sanctimonious zealots of the green religion disrupting the lives of the plebs to make some daft point.

The first notable thing about today’s act of public nuisance masquerading as a protest was the hilarity of the campaign group itself. Remember when radicals fought for higher wages or better working conditions or for a revolution to replace capitalism with something else? Not anymore. Today’s self-styled militants demand the insulation of houses. ‘What do we want? The creation of a thermal envelope in people’s homes! When do we want it? Now!’ What a crock to go to the barricades for. Also notable is the irony of supposed planet-lovers causing so much pollution by forcing hundreds of cars and trucks to sit still for ages, chugging fumes into the air for nought. Well played, greenies.

But the most striking thing about these kinds of protests is their sheer arrogance. Their inherently anti-democratic, anti-masses nature, where the aim is always, but always, to inconvenience the little people and teach us a lesson. You’re on your way to Heathrow for a much-needed jaunt to Malaga to escape the stresses of work? Not anymore, you’re not – the eco-elitists blocked junction 14, which leads to one of Heathrow’s terminals. You’re a knackered trucker who’s been driving all night long and now wants to get back to his family? Tough shit. These plummy alarmists have decided to make you the collateral damage of one of their narcissistic stunts.

It often seems as though environmentalism is the mask class hatred wears in the 21st century. Climate-change alarmists really seem to have it in for ordinary working people. Consider Insulate Britain’s parent group, the posh death cult that is Extinction Rebellion, whose Wicker Man-style prancing about on the streets of London seems expressly designed to disrupt the lives of people with jobs. Remember when XR twits mounted a tube train at Canning Town, only to be dragged down by angry working-class people who, funnily enough, don’t like being pontificated to by middle-class misanthropes at 8 in the morning. XR has also inconvenienced the working men of Smithfield Market, to make a point about the meat industry or something.

It’s always been this way. One of the most media-flattered green groups of the 2000s was Plane Stupid, a bunch of borderline aristocratic greens who were forever moaning about ‘cheap flights’. They openly demanded an end to the ‘binge-flying’ of the kind of people who attend stag nights in ‘Eastern European destinations chosen not for their architecture or culture but because people can fly there for 99p and get loaded for a tenner’. One of Plane Stupid’s leading agitators is now high up in Extinction Rebellion: Tamsin Omond. She’s the granddaughter of a baronet. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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UMich anti-racist hiring initiative to 'decolonize educational material'

The University of Michigan Department of Health Management and Policy is hiring for tenure-track research positions on “Anti-Racist Policy Analysis."

This new set of five hires will be distributed among the Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan Medical School, and School of Nursing, and School of Information.

Research will focus on “[r]acial bias and unintended racist consequences in health, health care, and the data and technologies that enable healthcare."

This research is part of a larger “five-year strategic objective to create an anti-racist curriculum and decolonize educational material, with the goal of developing anti-racist graduates.”

The cluster will also create an equity pedagogy to integrate “anti-racist and social justice methods will be integrated into all degree programs and professional development programs for faculty.”

Cost disease in action.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Trans Activist Allegedly Tries to Burn Lesbians at French Pride March

The footage, posted by radical feminist group Résistance Lesbienne, describes the incident as a "trans-identified male" from extremist group Antifa trying to burn the lesbians holding a pride march in the port city of Bordeaux.

The video shows a procession of women marching with signs opposing recent pushes to demand lesbians open up their sexual preferences to include trans-identified males, one reading "lesbians don't have penises."

The women are suddenly approached by a small group of individuals described to be trans actvists. They are holding a sign which reads "ANTI TERF" in red, with one of the activists holding a lit flare he is swinging towards the lesbian demonstrators.

At one point, the activist with the burning flare appears to charge at some of the women near the individual filming, leading to a scuffle and causing some of the women to rush away.

This is not the first incident of trans activists targetting lesbian demonstrations in France, with Résistance Lesbienne and other French feminist groups documenting multiple incidents in just the last few months.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Lowell got rid of competitive admissions. New data shows how that's impacted the school's diversity

Attorney Harmeet Dhillon, a critic of the new admissions policy, noted that before the change Lowell’s student body was 82% non-white.

The board’s problem is not underrepresentation, it is “a perceived over-representation of a community of color the Board disfavors — Asian Americans,” she wrote in a 14-page letter to the board after its decision in March.

Other opponents of the move, who filed a lawsuit over it in April, said the board’s February vote violated the state’s open meetings law by fast-tracking the issue and failing to gain proper public input.

They also argued that instead of ensuring that all students were qualified to attend and welcome at Lowell, they took away a point of pride in the city, one of the top-performing public schools in the country, which has perennially churned out prominent figures in politics, entertainment, literature and science.

“They failed the underrepresented students,” said attorney Christine Linnenbach, who represents the opponents, adding that the district has created a “false narrative that merit-based education cannot be equitable education.”

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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They took it: UTSA abolishes 'Come and Take It' football chant

The University of Texas at San Antonio is no longer using “Come and Take It” as a football chant.

In August, university President Taylor Eighmy expressed concern that “Come and Take It” is inseparably linked to political debates, including those over gun rights.

The chant is emblazoned on a flag waved at UTSA's football games and also used as a rallying cry during the fourth quarter.

The phrase has roots in the Battle of the Alamo, which occurred in San Antonio and preceded the formation of the Republic of Texas.

Eighmy created “task force” to explore the school’s continued usage of the “Come and Take It” imagery and on Tuesday told the university community that UTSA would cease endorsing the phrase.

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Don’t Be Evil: A Google employee program claims that America is a “system of white supremacy” and that all Americans are “raised to be racist.”

I have obtained a trove of whistleblower documents from inside Google that reveal the company’s extensive racial-reeducation program, based on the core tenets of critical race theory—including “intersectionality,” “white privilege,” and “systemic racism.” In a foundational training module called “Allyship in Action,” Google’s head of systemic allyship Randy Reyes and a team of consultants from The Ladipo Group train employees to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, and then rank themselves on a hierarchy of “power [and] privilege.” The trainers then instruct the employees to “manage [their] reactions to privilege”—which are likely to include feelings of “embarrassment, shame, fear, [and] anger”—through “body movement,” “deep breathing,” “accessing [their] ‘happy place,’” and “cry[ing].”

The program presents a series of video conversations promoting the idea that the United States was founded on white supremacy. In one video, Google’s former global lead for diversity strategy, Kamau Bobb—who was later reassigned to a non-diversity-related role at the company after being exposed for writing that Jews have “an insatiable appetite for war and killing”—discussed America’s founding with 1619 Project editor Nikole Hannah-Jones. Jones claimed that “the first Africans being sold on the White Lion [slave ship in 1619] is more foundational to the American story” than “the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock.” She claimed that she led the New York Times’s 1619 Project—a revisionist historical account of the American founding—to verify her “lifelong theory” that everything in the modern-day United States can be traced back to slavery. “If you name anything in America, I can relate it back to slavery,” Jones said in the video. At the end of the conversation, Jones concluded that all white Americans benefit from the system of white supremacy. “If you’re white in this country, then you have to understand that whether you personally are racist or not, whether you personally engage in racist behavior or not, you are the beneficiary of a 350-year system of white supremacy and racial hierarchy,” she said.

Next, Sherice Torres, Google’s then-global inclusion director (now a vice president of marketing at Facebook Financial), hosted a video discussion with Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi about racism in American life. Kendi argues that all Americans, including children as young as three months old, are fundamentally racist. “To be raised in the United States, is to be raised to be racist, and to be raised to be racist is to be raised to almost be addicted to racist ideas,” he said. “The youngest of people are not colorblind—between three and six months, our toddlers are beginning to understand race and see race.” The solution, Kendi claimed, is for all Americans to admit their complicity in racism and “respond in the same way that they respond when they are diagnosed with a serious illness.” Denying one’s complicity in racism, Kendi argued, is only further proof of a person’s racism. “For me, the heartbeat of racism is denial and the sound of that denial is ‘I’m not racist,’” he says. Ultimately, Kendi argued that policymakers should deem any racial disparities the result of racist policies—and work to undo the deep-seated racism that permeates every institution in our society. “Certainly, it’s a critically important step for Americans to no longer be in denial about their own racism or the racism of this country,” he said.

Finally, employees at Google created an internal document called “Anti-racism resources,” which contains reading lists, graphics, and racial-consciousness exercises. The document contains a disclaimer that it was “not legally reviewed” and, therefore, not to be considered official company policy—but it was created by Google diversity, equity, and inclusion lead Beth Foster, hosted on Google’s internal-resources server, and made available across the company. One graphic in the document claims that “colorblindness,” “[American] exceptionalism,” “Columbus Day,” “weaponized whiteness,” and “Make America Great Again” are all expressions of “covert white supremacy.” Another graphic, titled “The White Supremacy Pyramid,” advances the idea that conservative commentator Ben Shapiro represents a foundation of “white supremacy” and that Donald Trump is moving society on a path toward “mass murder” and “genocide.”

When reached for comment, Shapiro blasted Google’s depiction. “All it would take is one Google search to learn just how much white supremacists hate my work, or how often I’ve spoken out against their benighted philosophy,” Shapiro said. “The attempt to link everyone to the right of Hillary Clinton to white supremacism is disgusting, untrue, and malicious.” Google declined to comment on this story before publication.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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How the Guardian became the Pravda of the trans movement

Butler’s central thesis can be boiled down to the idea that no one can escape power structures, and that the best we can hope for is to subvert (or ‘queer’) our allotted gender roles. Under their burqas, women in Afghanistan can rest assured that all they need to do is to ‘queer’ their gendered performance. In the lengthy interview, Butler complains of an ‘anti-gender ideology movement, a global movement, insist[ing] that sex is biological and real’, as if two billion years of evolutionary fact is just a crackpot theory.

Butlerian theories have been fed to generations of gender-studies students. The ideas are laughable, but their social impact has been significant. Ever wondered where the fad for drag performances and the plethora of new genders have come from? Blame Butler.

The interview with Butler was conducted before the news broke that the ‘trans woman’ who was accused of flashing women and children at Wi Spa had been charged with indecent exposure. Previous Guardian articles had implied, as Gleeson’s question had done, that the whole incident was a hoax dreamt up by right-wingers. It later transpired that the accused, Darren Merager, is a registered sex offender with an extensive criminal history.

Merager’s crimes, and the inconvenient existence of his victims, put the Guardian in a tight spot. In its coverage of the Wi Spa incident, Guardian reporters cast doubt on the initial complainant’s claims. They also tried to draw links between the feminists protesting over women’s spaces with the far right and QAnon conspiracy theorists.

Instead of issuing an apology for its misleading articles, the Guardian chose to amend just one article: the Judith Butler interview. It erased Gleeson’s question on the Wi Spa incident and Butler’s response. Now, at the end of the updated article, the Guardian notes: ‘This article was edited on 7 September 2021 to reflect developments which occurred after the interview took place.’

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Shot: Canadian schools burn and destroy books to appease indigenous population

French-speaking schools in the Canadian province of Ontario removed almost 5,000 books and burned some of them in a “flame purification ceremony” to appease the local indigenous population, Radio Canada and the National Post reported.

A video prepared for students of some of the 30 schools on the subject said, “We bury the ashes of racism, discrimination and stereotypes in the hope that we will grow up in an inclusive country where all can live in prosperity and security.”

Lyne Cosette, a spokeswoman for the publicly funded francophone Catholic schools of Ontario, told the National Post newspaper, “Symbolically, some books were used as fertilizer,” as well.

On the one hand, she expressed “regret” that the board overseeing the schools did not “ensure a more appropriate plan for the commemorative ceremony and that it was offensive to some members of the community.”

On the other hand, she maintains that the removal of 4,700 books and counting over their subject matter is just fine.

Chaser: School board says it got burned in Indigenous book burning project

After torching 30 books they felt were offensive toward Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and delisting 4,700 others, Ontario’s Conseil scolaire catholique Providence has acknowledged they were not aware the Aboriginal credentials a person they partnered with on the project are in question.

“We are deeply troubled and concerned,” board spokesperson Lyne Cossette told the Toronto Sun on Thursday.

The person whose verification is under scrutiny is Barrie-area resident Suzy Kies, an outspoken First Nations advocate who has appeared on stage and in photographs with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

She has now resigned from her Indigenous leadership role within the Liberal Party.

In a statement to CBC’s Radio-Canada, Kies said, “I refuse to have my story used to harm Justin Trudeau and our party” and “this is the reason why I am resigning from my position as co-chair of the Indigenous peoples’ commission.”

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Live Like the Amish?

America’s traditional Mainline Protestant denominations are bleeding out so quickly they will likely be gone within 20 years. That is not my prediction, but their own. The ELCA (the main Lutheran branch) projects they’ll only have 16,000 worshippers by 2041; the PCUSA (the main Presbyterian branch) lost almost 40% of their members in the last decade, causing one analyst to note, “At its current rate of shrinkage the PC(USA) will not exist in about 20 years;” and data for the Episcopal Church shows the same 20-year timeline until the denomination runs out of people in the pews.

More conservative denominations used to chuckle at these headlines and say, “If only they preached the Gospel instead of liberal activism, they’d be growing like us.” But they don’t say that anymore. The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest of the Evangelical churches, has lost 14% of their members since 2006; the Methodists are losing members while in the middle of a brutal split; and for Catholics, according to Bishop Robert Barron while speaking at the 2019 bishops’ annual conference, “Half the kids that we baptized and confirmed in the last 30 years are now ex-Catholics or unaffiliated.”

There is one major exception, though: the Amish—a mustard seed that is growing into a large tree in front of our eyes. The Amish arrived in the United States shortly after their founder, Jakob Ammann, split with the Mennonites in 1693 for being too lax on enforcing their communal rules, as laid out in the Dordrecht Confession of Faith. For the next 200 years, the Amish were just a few eccentric families in Pennsylvania that spoke an archaic Swiss German. By 1920, these few families had grown to 5,000 people and since then have doubled about every 15 to 20 years, including between 2000 and 2020 when they doubled to 351,000.

Unless something changes drastically within their culture, this doubling is projected to continue. One demographer, Lyman Stone, showed that at their current rate of growth, they will easily make up a majority of the United States in 200 years. This means the current moment may mark the halfway point between them arriving as a small band of friends and their inheriting the most powerful nation on the planet. They may seem like a backwards remnant of the past, but in reality, they will almost certainly play a major role in the future. This will become more evident after they soon dwarf more well-known churches like the Episcopalians and Lutherans.

So, when virtually all other Christian groups are seeing plummeting, or at best stagnant, numbers, why are the Amish seeing growth like this? The answers people typically give are that they have a very high birth rate and an over 90% retention rate. But that’s like saying someone is wealthy because they made a lot of money and then saved most of it. It begs the question—how? How do they have such large families—with 6 or 7 children per woman—while the country at large has a below-replacement rate of 1.6 children? And how are they able to keep all those children within their communities?

Note: The author is incorrect about Pennsylfaanisch Deitsch having Swiss origins, it's a descendant of Pfälzischdeutsch. ‘Tis a fine article, but sure it is no pool, Englisch.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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The Wi Spa scandal is worse than we thought

There should be a lot of soul-searching in broadsheet newsrooms right now. For the way journalism’s self-styled warriors for decency initially responded to the Wi Spa incident was genuinely disturbing. They essentially tried to rubbish the viral-video woman’s claims. The incident could have been ‘faked’, said a headline in the Independent. It reported that LGBT activists believe ‘the video may be a hoax’. The word ‘hoax’ was on the lips of many a woke observer. ‘The Wi Spa video may have been a hoax’, said Slate, but it ‘inspired real anti-trans violence’. So the woman complaining of indecent exposure was essentially a liar and the real victims were trans people? Nice. ‘[T]here was likely no trans woman there to begin with’, said Slate; rather, this was a ‘hoax’ used as a ‘pretext’ for ‘outbursts from the far right’. Slate has now quietly added a note to its piece pointing out that a ‘serial sex offender’ has been charged with indecent exposure at Wi Spa.

The Guardian took a lead in casting doubts on the claims of indecent exposure. The headline of its feature article was ‘A nightmare scenario’ – though, remarkably, that was a reference not to the alleged sexual offence committed against women who just wanted to use a spa but rather to the subsequent online pushback against the trans ideology. The Guardian said it was ‘unclear whether a trans woman was actually present’. It said a spa employee claimed ‘there were no trans patrons with appointments that day’. So maybe, the Guardian’s intrepid reporters wrote, ‘the incident was staged’. There have been ‘no other witnesses’, they said, just Cubana Angela. We now know that isn’t true.

The worst element of the Guardian’s shoddy, partisan reportage was its nudge-nudge comments about Cubana Angel. Can this woman really be trusted, the Guardian essentially asked? After all, she’s a Christian. ‘Her social-media page frequently features Bible quotes’, we were told. The horror. She has also expressed opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. And? So what? Committed black Christians can be victims of sexual offences too, you know. The Guardian skirted perilously closely to saying Cubana Angel was not a reliable or convincing victim, like those sexist judges of old who would wonder out loud if women of ‘questionable’ morals could really be trusted on matters of sexual offence. What happened to ‘Believe Women’, the rallying cry of the #MeToo movement? It seems such belief is fully suspended when the woman is a Christian and the person she’s making accusations against is a man who allegedly identifies as trans.

And so we end up in the truly bizarre situation where the Guardian and others respond to an accusation of indecent exposure by crying ‘hoax’. Where so-called liberals took the side of a white man who allegedly showed his semi-erect penis to women and a girl over a black woman who raised the alarm about this alleged sexual offence. Where commentators like Owen Jones could denounce the ‘campaign of lies’ over Wi Spa before he knew the facts, and Laurie Penny could say to a mother worried that her daughter might see a naked man in a female changing area that her daughter should not ‘stare at other people’s genitals without their permission, because it’s rude’. Yeh, that’s the problem here – not blokes flashing their penises but rude girls looking at them. Victim-blaming on steroids.

This affair has exposed the confusions, dishonesty and moral contortionism of identity politics and of the transgender ideology in particular. It confirms that feminists are right to worry that some born males will seek to exploit self-ID loopholes to do harm to women and girls. And it confirms that the woke set’s devotion to the trans cause is now so singular, so unthinking, that their instant response to an allegation of a seeming trans person victimising women is to call the women liars and to accuse them of assisting the far right. What a low approach to matters of women’s safety and rights. As I say, we must wait to find out the full truth about what happened in Wi Spa. But one thing we know for certain already is that sections of the liberal media have abandoned truth-seeking for virtue-signalling, and that adherents to the cult of genderfluidity have become so dogmatic that they will respond with unforgiving intolerance to any incident or claim that challenges their holy narrative. Anyone who thinks any of this is ‘progressive’ is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Maiming a generation: The medicalisation of gender non-conforming young people is the biggest medical scandal of our time

We’re in the middle of another medical disaster that rivals — some would say dwarfs — the Thalidomide affair. But unlike previous scandals, the medicalisation of gender non-conforming (GNC) young people has continued for years after clinicians first raised concerns. Disturbingly, these whistleblowers have been maligned by the pro-transition lobby and, worse, by fellow clinicians for speaking up.

One of those was Sonia Appleby, children’s safeguarding lead for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust which runs the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), the UK’s only gender clinic for under-16s. Sonia was approached by several members of staff in 2016 and 2017 who expressed alarm that many young people waiting for assessment by GIDS were being provided with puberty-blocking drugs by a private GP.

Appleby raised numerous concerns in private; these ranged from the rogue GP to the lack of adequate record keeping at GIDS, to overworked staff and other serious safeguarding issues. Nor was hers a lone voice: in February 2019 GIDS governor Marcus Evans resigned, warning that the service had an “overvalued belief in [its own expertise] which is used to dismiss challenge and examination”.

A couple of months later five further clinicians resigned, saying they felt treatment amounted to “conversion therapy” for young lesbian and gay people. They told of homophobic parents bringing in their GNC children to “correct” their aberrant behaviour. “There was dark joke among staff that there would be no gay people left,” two of them told The Times. These concerns were reported by Newsnight last year:

There have been many times when the push to transition has come from families who are uncomfortable with the sexual orientation of their child [Newsnight reported]…some parents express real relief that their child is not gay or lesbian, suggesting being trans is a better outcome for their child.

More whistleblowers told their stories to the distinguished psychiatrist David Bell, who in 2018 wrote a report that wasn’t just ignored by GIDS: for unspecified legal reasons, the trust’s chief executive and chairman of the board both forbade him to send it to the council of governors; he was also told not to write or talk in public about anything “not directly connected to his NHS employment”.

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Merit system is unjust because it rewards productive individuals, professors argue

Professors from the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs are arguing that "success and merit" are "barriers" to the equity agenda.

“Admitting that the normative definitions of success and merit are in and of themselves barriers to achieving the goals of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion is necessary but not sufficient to create change,” professors Beth Mitchneck and Jessi L. Smith recently wrote for Inside Higher Education.

Mitchneck and Smith attributed those definitions to a "narrow definition of merit limited to a neoliberal view of the university." Specifically, they express concern that universities receive funding and recognition based on the individual performances of professors’ own work such as peer reviewed journals and studies.

Campus Reform reached out to Smith, asking what should be done to alter the merit system. Smith did not provide any alternatives.

The professors are not the only scholars in academia to critique the merit system. Last month, University of Illinois professor Eunmi Mun said that merit-based pay does not take "nonperformance-related factors" into account.

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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America’s Intersectional Caste System

The demonization of white people is linked, paradoxically, to the notion of their inherent white privilege, a concept derived from theoretical suppositions sheltered assiduously from data. Across the United States, white people, all 200 million of them, have been reduced to a uniform blob. Progressives enjoy talking about lived experiences, but they ignore the lived experiences of white people. After all, the lived experiences of a white Wall Street executive are very different from those of a white farm laborer in Montana. It is true that the very top of the American economic elite is disproportionately white, yet it is just as true that farmers commit suicide at three times the national rate, and  95 percent of American farmers are white. Within our intersectional caste system, though, facts, no matter how stark they may be, cannot compete with fallacious, emotionally-charged narratives.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, many minority groups earn considerably more than whites, from Pakistani Americans to Lebanese Americans, South African Americans to Sri Lankan Americans. Of all the ethnic groups, Indians are the highest earners. This should be celebrated: the United States, as promised, is a country where hardworking, diligent individuals, no matter their skin color or ethnicity, are rewarded for their efforts. So why do continue to hear that America is shot through with white supremacism?

Though Eric Weinstein’s concept of the gated institutional narrative (GIN) wasn’t necessarily designed to explain prejudice towards whites, it’s the perfect tool to explain this phenomenon. The GIN explains the ways in which heavily filtered information is presented to the public by the mainstream media and academics. The New York Times’ 1619 project, for example, which has been heavily criticized by respected historians, paints the United States as inherently racist. This narrative, either implicitly or explicitly, labels all whites oppressors, the beneficiaries of a despotic system, and is widely accepted across all elite sectors of society.

The GIN is like an exclusive nightclub. Only the right kind of people can enter. Heterodox thinkers and heterodox ideas are frowned upon. A very specific “dress code” is required, and very specific narratives must be adhered to. An increasing number of universities also subscribe to the GIN. Take Yale University, for example, where a lecturer recently shared her fantasies about murdering white people with students. 

Sadly, this type of racism has worked its way into government legislation. As the New York Post reported in March, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act explicitly discriminated against whites. Black farmers were offered debt relief. White farmers, meanwhile, were not. Another provision, according to the Post, “offered billions in aid to minority-owned and women-owned restaurants, but told struggling restaurant owners who happened to be white men that they had to go to the back of the line.” The infrastructure bill currently before Congress is full of anti-white racism. 

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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[Peter Boghossian] My University Sacrificed Ideas for Ideology. So Today I Quit: The more I spoke out against the illiberalism that has swallowed Portland State University, the more retaliation I faced.

So, in 2017, I co-published an intentionally garbled peer-reviewed paper that took aim at the new orthodoxy. Its title: “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” This example of pseudo-scholarship, which was published in Cogent Social Sciences, argued that penises were products of the human mind and responsible for climate change. Immediately thereafter, I revealed the article as a hoax designed to shed light on the flaws of the peer-review and academic publishing systems.

Shortly thereafter, swastikas in the bathroom with my name under them began appearing in two bathrooms near the philosophy department. They also occasionally showed up on my office door, in one instance accompanied by bags of feces. Our university remained silent. When it acted, it was against me, not the perpetrators.

I continued to believe, perhaps naively, that if I exposed the flawed thinking on which Portland State’s new values were based, I could shake the university from its madness. In 2018 I co-published a series of absurd or morally repugnant peer-reviewed articles in journals that focused on issues of race and gender. In one of them we argued that there was an epidemic of dog rape at dog parks and proposed that we leash men the way we leash dogs. Our purpose was to show that certain kinds of “scholarship” are based not on finding truth but on advancing social grievances. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous.

Administrators and faculty were so angered by the papers that they published an anonymous piece in the student paper and Portland State filed formal charges against me. Their accusation? “Research misconduct” based on the absurd premise that the journal editors who accepted our intentionally deranged articles were “human subjects.” I was found guilty of not receiving approval to experiment on human subjects.

Meanwhile, ideological intolerance continued to grow at Portland State. In March 2018, a tenured professor disrupted a public discussion I was holding with author Christina Hoff Sommers and evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying. In June 2018, someone triggered the fire alarm during my conversation with popular cultural critic Carl Benjamin. In October 2018, an activist pulled out the speaker wires to interrupt a panel with former Google engineer James Damore. The university did nothing to stop or address this behavior. No one was punished or disciplined.

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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[Freddie deBoer] Why Resist Blank Slate Thinking? For One, Look to No Child Left Behind: one of the worst and most consequential education laws in American history could only have sprung from a blank slate mindset

NCLB was, notoriously, a massive disaster. It was so obviously a disaster, in fact, that when the endless war between Barack Obama and the Republican Congress was at its height, the two sides still came together to get rid of the law. What made NCLB such a profound failure? Well, for one thing, the collision of Common Core and NCLB created onerous testing requirements that drove parents to rebel and passed down huge costs to states, resulting in the opt-out movement that has become woven into today’s social justice movement. More relevant here, NCLB essentially mandated perpetual improvement in student scores and in effect demanded 100% compliance with state standards. Schools that failed to meet these requirements faced harsh sanctions. This resulted in both states and the feds devising workarounds for what was the law of the land - states set standards that were so low it strained the very definition of a standard, and the Obama Department of Education issued exemptions by the bushel. It turns out that you can do a lot of talking tough about how you’re going to insist on excellence, but that doesn’t change the fact that excellence can never be mandated, particularly when dealing with the crooked timber of humanity. And while NCLB is gone, its replacement (the Every Student Succeeds Act) still enshrines unmeetable goals for our education system, just largely toothless ones. Meanwhile, states, schools, and teachers continue to shoulder the burden of the “no excuses” rhetoric that led to No Child Left Behind.

I really must underline this point. A little back-of-the-envelope math suggests that more than 100,000 public school teachers in this country operate under merit pay systems. Those teachers are seeing their wages fluctuate based on the outcomes of their students. Thousands of teachers in this country have been fired (or had their contracts not renewed) on the basis of poor academic performance in their classrooms, and hundreds of schools nationwide have been closed based on test scores and other quantitative educational metrics. But this whole edifice depends on the notion that student outcomes are more or less under the control of schools and teachers. If, on the other hand, we pay attention to decades of research, the experience of many teachers, and common sense, we would rather assume that different people have different levels of intrinsic underlying academic ability, and that this inequality prompts the remarkable stability of relative academic performance over time. And if we thought that way, we would have never passed NCLB in the first place. A truly ruinous law, passed with great fanfare by liberals and conservatives working together, would have been avoided had we taken genetic influence on cognition seriously. How could you say that this scenario doesn’t have policy relevance, Dr. Quiggin?

“No excuses” thinking was always based on blank slatism. The entire school reform movement was predicated on the assumption that talk of inherent ability was just excuse making, lazy teachers and corrupt unions trying to shirk their professional responsibilities. That movement, though wounded in the present moment, has had immense political and policy consequences. Meanwhile, speaking as someone who reads a lot of education research, the topic of student ability sort of flits around the field, not expressly forbidden but rigorously avoided. In study after study, including ones that expressly seek to understand parental influence, the question of any given student’s inherent tendency to struggle or excel is studiously avoided. Similarly, wonks of all types who work at nonprofits and in media conspicuously avoid discussing whether everyone has the same academic potential. When inherent ability is referenced at all in the literature it tends to be a vague handwave that does not factor into the final analysis. But if what we’re interested in is how people learn and why some succeed and some fail, this is totally nuts!

[...]

Again, I’m left with the same basic point: it is not remotely scientifically contentious to say that literally all elements of our physiological selves are influenced by our genome. If that’s true, how could it possibly be the case that there is no influence of our genes on our behavior or cognition, which arise from the physical bodies that we all acknowledged are built by DNA? That notion is so obviously untrue that almost no one is willing to come out and state it directly. But since denialists also don’t want to acknowledge that it’s unthinkable that our genomes could mean everything to our bodies but nothing to our behavior, they partake in the previously-mentioned lawyering as a means of avoidance. I have already read several reactions to Dr. Harden’s book that fixate on minute details, the typical methodological criticisms of kinship studies and GWAS, without once engaging with the question of whether it’s even remotely conceivable that bodies that are built with DNA can house minds that are completely uninfluenced by that DNA. But that’s the fundamental question, the essence of this whole debate. If given perfectly matched environments, will two people with different genomes have the exact same outcomes? And how could such a condition square with 150+ years of research suggesting that genes change everything?

Also, to return to Quiggin’s tweet, we are already changing the gene pool. Assortative mating, which has massively increased in recent decades, is among other things an effort in genetic engineering. Mate selection among humans is a very complicated thing, but there’s no doubt that we are in part selecting for reproductive fitness, broadly defined. If someone decides that they want to partner up with someone else because that person will help provide financial stability - a very common concern in marriage and a perfectly legitimate one - that person is, to some degree, selecting based on genes. Physical attraction is also, among other things, related to our perceptions of the desirability of the genes that potential partner might pass on to our children. But of course it is; we are the products of evolution, and evolution forces us to want to produce offspring who are more likely to produce lots of offspring. Those professional class liberals who are delaying marriage and kids until later and later in life are practicing excruciatingly exacting mate selection, looking for just the right person to make some babies with. That is genetic engineering; the fact that it’s the polite kind does not change the fact that, if such trends continue, on a long enough timescale we will have a rigidly stratified species based on genetic parentage. I do not need to share the extremely durable research showing that more highly-educated parents have more highly-educated children, which has serious consequences even if you suppose that influence is entirely environmental. If it’s even partially genetic, the consequences are civilization-altering. But how can we think through that condition if we must pretend genes and behavior are totally disconnected?

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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[Glenn Greenwald] The ACLU, Prior to COVID, Denounced Mandates and Coercive Measures to Fight Pandemics: In a New York Times op-ed this week, the group completely reversed its views, arguing vaccine mandates help civil liberties and bodily autonomy "is not absolute."

If you were surprised to see the ACLU heralding the civil liberties imperatives of "vaccine mandates” and "vaccine requirements” — whereby the government coerces adults to inject medicine into their own bodies that they do not want — the New York Times op-ed which the group promoted, written by two of its senior lawyers, was even more extreme. The article begins with this rhetorical question: “Do vaccine mandates violate civil liberties?” Noting that "some who have refused vaccination claim as much,” the ACLU lawyers say: “we disagree.” The op-ed then examines various civil liberties objections to mandates and state coercion — little things like, you know, bodily autonomy and freedom to choose — and the ACLU officials then invoke one authoritarian cliche after the next (“these rights are not absolute") to sweep aside such civil liberties concerns:

[W]hen it comes to Covid-19, all considerations point in the same direction. . . . In fact, far from compromising civil liberties, vaccine mandates actually further civil liberties. . . . .

[Many claim that] vaccines are a justifiable intrusion on autonomy and bodily integrity. That may sound ominous, because we all have the fundamental right to bodily integrity and to make our own health care decisions. But these rights are not absolute. They do not include the right to inflict harm on others. . . . While vaccine mandates are not always permissible, they rarely run afoul of civil liberties when they involve highly infectious and devastating diseases like Covid-19. . . .

While limited exceptions are necessary, most people can be required to be vaccinated. . . . . Where a vaccine is not medically contraindicated, however, avoiding a deadly threat to the public health typically outweighs personal autonomy and individual freedom.

The op-ed sounds like it was written by an NSA official justifying the need for mass surveillance (yes, fine, your privacy is important but it is not absolute; your privacy rights are outweighed by public safety; we are spying on you for your own good). And the op-ed appropriately ends with this perfect Orwellian flourish: “We care deeply about civil liberties and civil rights for all — which is precisely why we support vaccine mandates.”

What makes the ACLU's position so remarkable — besides the inherent shock of a civil liberties organization championing state mandates overriding individual choice — is that, very recently, the same group warned of the grave dangers of the very mindset it is now pushing. In 2008, the ACLU published a comprehensive report on pandemics which had one primary purpose: to denounce as dangerous and unnecessary attempts by the state to mandate, coerce, and control in the name of protecting the public from pandemics.

The title of the ACLU report, resurfaced by David Shane, reveals its primary point: "Pandemic Preparedness: The Need for a Public Health – Not a Law Enforcement/National Security – Approach.” To read this report is to feel that one is reading the anti-ACLU — or at least the actual ACLU prior to its Trump-era transformation. From start to finish, it reads as a warning of the perils of precisely the mindset which today's ACLU is now advocating for COVID.

In 2008, the group explained its purpose this way: “the following report examines the relationship between civil liberties and public health in contemporary U.S. pandemic planning and makes a series of recommendations for developing a more effective, civil liberties-friendly approach.” Its key warning: “Not all public health interventions have been benign or beneficial, however. Too often, fears aroused by disease and epidemics have encouraged abuses of state power. Atrocities, large and small, have been committed in the name of protecting the public’s health.”

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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[Freddie deBoer] Genes Believe in You

Here are three statements I’m willing to make, of descending certainty - that is, the first is just true, the second is a seemingly obvious extrapolation from the first, and the third is a supposition about the nature of the second.

  • People sort themselves into academic ability bands relative to peers at a very early age and at scale more or less remain in those bands throughout their academic lives. The star students in first grade are very likely to be the star students in college, again with exceptions but as a general rule with remarkable consistency. This general dynamic is observed across all manner of educational contexts and despite constant environmental changes over the course of life. I have made this case at great length here.

  • The prior statement suggests that there is such a thing as innate academic ability, an intrinsic property of individuals that inclines them to be better or worse in school. To attribute that condition to pure environmentalism requires truly immense amounts of mental work, given how dramatically environments change over the course of life without attendant dramatic changes in student outcomes. But an assumption of some innate property of educational ability fits perfectly with the basic contours of static educational hierarchy.

  • The most parsimonious explanation for such a quality as innate academic ability or tendency would be genes.

I’ve told this story before, but I feel moved to tell it again. In 2018 hundreds of verified users on Twitter and thousands of their unverified hangers-on started a meltdown about me. Their claim of injustice was that my book, recently under contract, was a pro-race science book. This claim was remarkable not just because it was false, but also because my book did not exist - I had not written it yet. They were making pronouncements with absolute confidence about the argumentative contents of a book that did not have contents. This was particularly strange because my elevator pitch to publishers literally began with the assertion that racial differences in education are not genetic - “someday we’ll close the racial and gender achievement gaps, but what will remain is even more insidious, the innate talent gap.” None of this stopped hundreds of journalists and academics, whose job it is to both collect and source information, from spreading this claim about my book with absolute confidence across thousands of tweets. When I searched for hours for the source of this idea I found that it came from a single unverified pseudonymous shitposting account with a Michael Cera avatar and a few hundred followers. That was the standard of information sufficient for people who now work at places like The New York Times and The Washington Post and Buzzfeed and many more, and at some of the most prestigious universities in the world, to assassinate my character and begin a campaign to get my book dropped by my publisher. To my knowledge not a single one, not one, has ever retracted the tweets or apologized, despite the fact that they have had over a year now to verify that the actual book is explicitly and unambiguously anti-race science.

This is the rhetorical environment in which Paige must now survive.

The rude thing is… I just don’t believe people, on this issue. When they say that they think all people have the same innate ability to perform well in school or on other cognitive tasks, that any difference is environmental, what I think inside is, I don’t believe that you believe that. When researchers in genetics and evolution who believe that the genome influences every aspect of our physiological selves say that they don’t believe that the genome has any influence on our behavioral selves, what I think inside is, I don’t believe you. I think people feel compelled to say this stuff because the idea of intrinsic differences in academic ability offend their sense of justice, and because the social and professional consequences of appearing to believe that idea are profound. But I think everyone who ever went to school as a kid knew in their heart back then that some kids were just smarter than others, and I think most people quietly believe that now. Like I said, it’s rude. But I can’t shake it.

What liberals don’t like, they mock. What they cannot refute, they ridicule.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Can Progressives Be Convinced That Genetics Matters?

On sabbatical for the 2015-16 academic year, Harden and Elliot Tucker-Drob, a colleague to whom she was married at the time, were invited to New York City with their two young children—a three-year-old boy and a nine-month-old girl—as visiting scholars-in-residence at the Russell Sage Foundation. Russell Sage, which occupies a handsome Philip Johnson building in Manhattan, primarily supports sociologists, journalists, and economists, but it had recently launched an initiative to integrate the biological sciences. Harden felt almost immediately unwelcome at the regular fellows’ lunches. Many of the left-leaning social scientists seemed certain that behavior-genetics research, no matter how well intentioned, was likely to lead us down the garden path to eugenics. The world would be better, Harden was told, if she quit. When their cohort went to see “Hamilton,” the others professed surprise that Harden and Tucker-Drob had enjoyed it, as if their work could be done only by people uncomfortable with an inclusive vision of American history.

Harden assumed that such leeriness was the vestige of a bygone era, when genes were described as the “hard-wiring” of individual fate, and that her critics might be reassured by updated information. Two weeks before her family was due to return to Texas, she e-mailed the fellows a new study, in Psychological Science, led by Daniel Belsky, at Duke. The paper drew upon a major international collaboration that had identified sites on the genome that evinced a statistically significant correlation with educational attainment; Belsky and his colleagues used that data to compile a “polygenic score”—a weighted sum of an individual’s relevant genetic variants—that could partly explain population variance in reading ability and years of schooling. His study sampled New Zealanders of northern-European descent and was carefully controlled for childhood socioeconomic status. “Hope that you find this interesting food for thought,” she wrote.

William Darity, a professor of public policy at Duke and perhaps the country’s leading scholar on the economics of racial inequality, answered curtly, starting a long chain of replies. Given the difficulties of distinguishing between genetic and environmental effects on social outcomes, he wrote, such investigations were at best futile: “There will be no reason to pursue these types of research programs at all, and they can be rendered to the same location as Holocaust denial research.” By the time he wrote again, several hours later, one of Harden’s few supporters among the fellows had changed the thread’s subject line from “new genetics paper” to “Seriously? Holocaust deniers?” Darity responded, “I feel just as strongly that we should not keep the notions that the world is 6000 years old or that climate change is a fabrication under consideration.”

Harden remarked that being called a climate skeptic was marginally preferable to being called a Holocaust denier. She offered to host a lunch to discuss the uncontroversial basics of genetics research for anyone interested. Darity was reluctant to let the matter go: “One final comment from me, and then I will withdraw into my pique.” In 1994, he wrote, the political scientist Charles Murray and the late psychologist Richard Herrnstein “published a bestseller that achieved great notoriety, The Bell Curve. Apart from its claims about a genetic basis for a ‘racial’ hierarchy in intelligence, the book claimed that social outcomes like poverty and inequality in earnings had a genetic foundation. Personally, I thought the book was outrageous and a saddening resuscitation of ideas that had increasingly been dismissed as ‘pseudoscience.’ Belsky’s work strikes me as an extension of the Murray-Herrnstein view of the world.” He concluded, “At some point, I think we need to say enough is enough.” (Darity told me, of his e-mails, “I stand by all that.”)

An admirer of Darity’s work—especially on reparations for slavery—Harden was surprised that she’d elicited such rancor from someone with whom she was otherwise in near-total political agreement. In the wake of the exchange, some of the other fellows stopped speaking to Harden, and the e-mail chain was forwarded to members of the foundation’s board. The next year, after winning the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology, Harden applied for a grant from Russell Sage’s biosciences initiative, which had supported similar research in the past. She received enthusiastic peer reviews from its scientific advisers, and was given to understand that the grant’s disbursal was a fait accompli. During a contentious meeting, however, the full board voted to overturn the scientific panel’s recommendation. Over the next year, a biosciences working group revised the program’s funding guidelines, stipulating in the final draft that it would not support any research into the first-order effects of genes on behavior or social outcomes. In the end, the board chose to disband the initiative entirely. (A spokesperson for Russell Sage told me by e-mail that the decision was based on the “consideration of numerous factors, including RSF’s relative lack of expertise in this area.”)

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’ The number of men enrolled at two- and four-year colleges has fallen behind women by record levels, in a widening education gap across the U.S.

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Professors in America and the U.K. fight back against the cancelation of Geoffrey Chaucer

Academics in both America and the United Kingdom have recently taken actions to prevent Geoffrey Chaucer, the “father of English literature,” from being labeled a rapist, racist and anti-Semite.

In late July, Cambridge University medieval and renaissance English Professor Jill Mann resigned from her position on the board of the Chaucer Review, an academic journal specializing in the work of “The Canterbury Tales” author.

The journal had published an essay called “New Feminist Approaches to Chaucer” in which authors Samantha Katz Seal and Nicole Sidhu argued it is time for feminists “to move past Chaucer” because: “He is a rapist, a racist, an anti-Semite; he speaks for a world in which the privileges of the male, the Christian, the wealthy, and the white are perceived to be an inalienable aspect of human existence.”

The authors also provide evidence that Chaucer himself was a rapist, relaying on a 14th century legal document in which a woman named Cecily Chaumpaigne accused Chaucer from a crime known as “De raptu meo.”

Other scholars have argued the word “raptus” could refer to an “abduction” and point out the legal document actually showed Chaumpaigne releasing Chaucer from any legal obligation related to the claim.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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[Freddie deBoer] All White Men Are White Men: If "white men" does not mean white men, how can "white men" hurt white men?

Categorical claims about people carry a certain amount of rhetorical force. They do so because we have a variety of psychological and political hang-ups about categories like race and gender, but also because categorical claims are, well, categorical - they do not permit exceptions. To be willing to say “yes, all X” seems extreme because we operate in a universe where there are exceptions to just about everything. (Indeed, this is why “yes, all X” is generally not a thing that smart people say.) Meanwhile people make exceptions to what would seem to be categorical thinking all the time, often in untoward ways. You would think therefore that those making categorical arguments for effect would make sure to speak carefully. Sadly….

There are a lot of complaints these days about white men, particularly online where confrontations are much less threatening. People make those complaints in lieu of gathering actual power, which is hard and takes time away from endlessly refreshing Twitter. These categorical claims about white men are existentially harmless no matter where they arise - who gives a shit? - but they are also quite weird when they come from white men. And boy, do woke white men love to complain about white men! Let’s check in with Dr. Grist.

Much could be said here! First and foremost is the fact that “ideas don’t arise from specific individual minds but from the flow of history and our contingent place within that history” is just a crude approximation of Marxism, a philosophy developed by a couple of white men and which famously has a lot of white male admirers. Or, if you squint a different way, you could maybe call this thinking a simplistic consequence of French poststructuralism, an intellectual tradition developed almost exclusively by white men. Etc. Honestly the entirety of 20th century philosophical development points squarely in the direction that Roberts is arguing, so his claim that it would appear deeply threatening to the vast population of white men seems a little odd. I am almost charmed by all of this, in the sense that Roberts has expressed a profoundly undergraduate vision of the history of ideas, one that ham-handedly mirrors more sophisticated and forceful versions developed by white men, and then posits it as both somehow novel and uniquely threatening to white men. Almost charmed, that is, because such a desperate play for the approval of other people (most of them white) dressed up as truth-telling can’t be genuinely charming.

It should go without saying that what Roberts is saying is utterly self-undermining. If Roberts believes that the opinions of white men are inherently suspect because they arise from a situated and contingent position within history, then his own position is inherently suspect because Dave Roberts is a white man. If, on the other hand, Roberts’s point is merely that white male opinions exist within the same contingent and uncertain epistemic status as everyone else’s, then that means that there is no reason to trust white men more but also no reason to trust us less. It’s just the interplay of different ideas, all arising from the inherent confusion of history. Which would mean that the ideas that should and will rule are those that arise from the interchange of ideas, from combat between them… in other words, from the processes of Reason1, which Roberts dismisses here with his usual mixture of confidence and confusion.

That’s all a bit more involved than what’s really going on here, though. Roberts does not really mean that all white men feel any particular way, even less that all white men are bad. After all, he is a white man and he is very nakedly trying to get people to like him more rather than less. (He who humbleth himself wishes to be exalted, always.) Roberts means some other white men, white men who do not share his magisterial political wisdom. He gets to speak about the origin of other white men’s feelings without thinking that his own feelings are similarly implicated because, well, he doesn’t really consider himself a white man. But this gives the whole game away, doesn’t it? Once you admit exceptions to the “white man” designator, you’re really just saying “conservative white men” or “unenlightened white men” or “white men who don’t think exactly like I do.” If you’ve done that, why bother with the categorical at all? Why not just restrict your critiques of believing stupid shit to people who believe stupid shit, which yes includes many white men but also includes Candace Owens and Dinesh D'Souza and those two Black Trumper ladies with the WWF tag team names I can never remember? I don’t understand why people make a big show of condemning entire classes of people while also making it very plain that they believe there are exceptions, most importantly themselves.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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University faculty training lists 'perfectionism,' and 'sense of urgency' as indicators of 'white supremacy'

Faculty and graduate students at Colorado University – Boulder were recently encouraged to reject “neoliberal” concepts of time, as well as to avoid "cultural norms of white supremacy" like “sense of urgency" and "individualism" in their classrooms.

[...]

Another tells instructors they should be “Decolonizing the classroom” by changing the way they approach the concept of time. The slide tells participants to “resist colonial and neoliberal coercion around time and productivity” by using flexible deadlines, allowing students to choose their own deadlines, or not penalizing late work. Attendees were advised to “help students become conscious of the colonial morality around the use of time (worth=productivity).” This idea is credited to Professor Sam Bullington, who teaches in the Community Studies Program within the school of education.

Ciancarelli’s presentation credits Bullington for several other cited methods of decolonization, including “incorporate[ing] connecting with the earth into assignments and classroom activities, and “help[ing] students recognize their complicity in promoting human exceptionalism/human superiority.”

Several of the suggestions for decolonizing relate to academic standards. “Critique the (white western masculine) disembodied rationality focus of the educational system,” one item reads. Another says “question the need for mastery, certainty and perfection.”

Other sessions at the conference included “Crafting a Social Justice Syllabus” and “Empowering Microaggression Reporting with your Syllabus.” A representative from CU Boulder tells Campus Reform that no presentation slides were used or recordings made of these sessions.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Inadequacies in the SES–Achievement model: Evidence from PISA and other studies

Abstract

Students’ socioeconomic status (SES) is central to much research and policy deliberation on educational inequalities. However, the SES model is under severe stress for several reasons. SES is an ill-defined concept, unlike parental education or family income. SES measures are frequently based on proxy reports from students; these are generally unreliable, sometimes endogenous to student achievement, only low to moderately intercorrelated, and exhibit low comparability across countries and over time. There are many explanations for SES inequalities in education, none of which achieves consensus among research and policy communities. SES has only moderate effects on student achievement, and its effects are especially weak when considering prior achievement, an important and relevant predictor. SES effects are substantially reduced when considering parent ability, which is causally prior to family SES. The alternative cognitive ability/genetic transmission model has far greater explanatory power; it provides logical and compelling explanations for a wide range of empirical findings from student achievement studies. The inadequacies of the SES model are hindering knowledge accumulation about student performance and the development of successful policies

[...]

CONCLUSION

The paper critiques the dominant SES model used in the analysis of student achievement. The SES model is failing for several reasons. Its conceptualisation is muddled and contradictory. SES data collected from students are often unreliable, and both parental education and 'books in the home' are, to some extent, endogenous to student achievement. There is also a lack of consistency between the measured components cross-nationally and, in some countries, over time, so it is difficult to sustain the idea that the same concept is being compared. Despite its high profile among researchers and policymakers, SES has only moderate effects on achievement. Even the expansive ESCS measure in PISA explains only modest amounts of variance in PISA test scores. SES effects are likely to be, to a considerable extent, proxies for the effects of parental ability. It is no accident that policies that focus on such an ambiguous and poor explanatory concept as SES are not successful.

We are not arguing that the home environment is completely irrelevant to student performance. Very wealthy and high-income families can send their children to private schools, which increases the chances of university entry (Jerrim et al., 2016). Undesirable changes in home circumstances (e.g., job loss, divorce) can adversely impact student performance (Lehti et al., 2019; Nilsen et al., 2020). Parents influence their children in myriads of ways and most parents monitor their children's education. However, the overall impact of the home environment, SES and parenting are much weaker than commonly assumed. The problem is that the SES model has become an idée fixe among researchers and policymakers, and they insist that it explains much of the variance in student achievement, is theoretically credible, and is sensitive to policies that aim to reduce educational inequalities.

The cognitive ability/genetic transmission model provides more compelling explanations than the SES model. It accounts for the SES–achievement relationship, the small or negligible SES effects when controlling for cognitive ability or prior achievement, or in fixed-effects analyses, the increasing intradomain correlations, the sizeable interdomain correlations, educational differentiation, the enduring effects of PISA test scores on subsequent educational and socioeconomic attainments, and the existence of ‘resilient’ students. Teachers’ judgements of students’ aptitudes are based largely on their test performance, not SES or cultural signals. The cognitive ability/genetic transmission model does not require ad hoc additions to maintain basic plausibility. It can be part of a vibrant growing understanding of student performance.

Although there is a great reluctance among research and policy communities to admit that cognitive ability plays a substantial role in student performance, nonetheless teachers, schools and educational authorities implicitly acknowledge its importance. Teachers routinely allocate students to different learning groups and set work based largely on their prior performance. Most primary schools provide remedial teaching, and at higher grades advanced or extension classes. In middle secondary school, streaming in mathematics and science is not uncommon. In upper secondary school, students are allocated, or allocate themselves, to more and less academically demanding subjects. Some school systems formally track students either on entry to secondary school, or a few years later based largely on their prior performance. So, acknowledging the importance of general and specific abilities would not change the organisation and practices of educational institutions. However, it would change the rhetoric surrounding, and the implementation of, and most likely the success of, educational policies

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Genetic and environmental contributions to IQ in adoptive and biological families with 30-year-old offspring

Highlights

  • Genetic and environmental sources of variance in IQ were estimated from 486 adoptive and biological families

  • Families include 419 mothers, 201 fathers, 415 adopted and 347 biological fully-adult offspring (M age = 31.8 years; SD = 2.7)

  • Proportion of variance in IQ attributable to environmentally mediated effects of parental IQs was estimated at .01 [95% CI 0.00, 0.02]

  • Heritability was estimated to be 0.42 [95% CI 0.21, 0.64]

  • Parent-offspring correlations for educational attainment polygenic scores show no evidence of adoption placement effect

Environmentalists BTFO.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Candace Owens Taking Matter To HHS After Being Denied Covid Test For Political Views. Doesn't she know they're a private company? Just build your own hospital!

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Chase Bank Unveils New “Reputation Risk” Campaign, Targeting Loyal Customers For Their Political Beliefs

On Tuesday Chase confirmed that the cancellation was real and aimed at Flynn’s wife, Lori. The company then tried to walk back the cancellation, claiming that it was all “mistake.” If there was any “mistake” in targeting Flynn’s family, it was in misjudging the PR backlash that would ensue from such an egregious display of political persecution.

Chase’s “mistaken” letter to General Flynn’s wife wasn’t the first time an organization has used “reputational risk” as a pretext for political censorship. In fact, weaponizing claims of “reputational risk” has become a favored tactic for the institutional left to deny its enemies the right to organize or even live normal day-to-day lives.

Long before Gen. Flynn became a target, none other than disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to use “reputational risk” as a means to topple the National Rifle Association.

The State of New York enjoys regulatory power over all banks and insurers chartered or registered in the state — a considerable power when one takes Wall Street into account. In the spring of 2018, Governor Cuomo invoked this regulatory authority in a thuggish attempt to make it impossible for the NRA to publicly campaign for gun rights.

It is typical for shared-interest groups, from the Habitat for Humanity to the New York Bar Association to the NRA, to partner with insurance companies to offer insurance policies to its members. The NRA insurance, known as Carry Guard, reimbursed policyholders for attorney fees and other legal expenses in the event that they used legally-owned guns in self-defense. The NRA’s program was entirely legal, and used routine insurance templates and market practices. However, Cuomo’s administration decided to target the Carry Guard program — and no other affinity-based insurance offerings — for supposed insurance-regulatory infirmities.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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WI Spa update

Sex offending suspect claims transgender harassment in Wi Spa case

In June, a group of women complained that a person who identified as female exposed their penis at the Wi Spa in Los Angeles. The incident led to months of sometimes violent protests, with media outlets declaring it an example of bias against the transgendered, or even that it didn’t happen. Slate said it was a “transphobic hoax.”

But on Monday, charges of indecent exposure were discretely filed against a serial sex offender for the Wi Spa incident, following an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Sources with knowledge of the case but not authorized to speak publicly say four women and a minor girl came forward to allege that Darren Agee Merager was partially erect in the women’s section of Wi Spa. Besides being a suspect in this case, Merager is facing multiple felony charges of indecent exposure over a separate incident in Los Angeles.

[...]

Law-enforcement sources revealed that Merager is a tier-one registered sex offender with two prior convictions of indecent exposure stemming from incidents in 2002 and 2003 in California. She declined to comment on the convictions. In 2008, she was convicted for failing to register as a sex offender.

A law passed by California Democrats that went into effect this year replaced the state’s lifetime registration requirement to a tiered system. The law allows lower-tiered sex offenders to petition to be removed from the list. However, Merager is not eligible due to ongoing criminal charges. She also has a long criminal history in California that includes nearly a dozen felony convictions for crimes ranging from sex offenses to burglary and escape.

Every. Single. Time.

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On the Transformation of Small-Souled Bugmen in the Age of Covid

In recent years Western society has given rise to the proliferation of a novel subspecies sometimes referred to as the bugman. The microcosm of the intellectually and morally decaying contemporary technological dystopia, this bugman is mentally and physically insipid, oversocialized, and undertested, devoid of purpose and even individual character. In my capacity as a freelance cultural entomologist, I previously analyzed the figure here. Comparable to the Nietzschean Last Man, we can think of him as a debased, shriveled puppet of the neoliberal elite.

As a result of the Covid agenda, however, the bugman has mutated into something almost unrecognizable. His familiar open-mouthed smile has been muzzled by white polypropylene and the childish glee in his eyes replaced with a look of unprepared apprehension. His life is now defined by an omnipresent feeling of dread that has infiltrated his mind through the array of digital screens he switches between throughout the day. What has happened is the bugman has been patched.

The new software update includes a brain augmentation which more deeply intertwines the bugman’s synapses with the media industrial machine. What we previously called the ‘small-souled’ bugman — the term is borrowed from the Aristotelian idea of being small in mind and spirit — is now almost extinct, outcompeted by the new bugman variant. What we have now is the ‘fear-addled’ bugman, a new generation model that disrupts feelings of self-confidence and independence to extraordinary new extents.

Plugged into the feed of social media-generated news, the bugman had initially been alarmed by ominous clips showing a plague wreaking havoc in China. At first his instinctive fears were soothed when trusted sources brushed off the threat and stressed the greater threat of racism. Soon enough, however, these same sources changed their tune and cranked the bugman’s panic levels to eleven, where they have remained ever since. Facing the most extensive and pervasive psychological campaign in human history he hunkered down at home to help flatten the curve. Lockdowns weren’t so bad, he thought, working now from home in his pajamas. They had given him a chance to reflect on life and watch shows on Netflix, order overpriced fast food from Uber Eats, and toy with the gizmos in his studio apartment.

As some began to recognize the virus itself was not the biggest problem, the bugman entertained himself with pure escapism. In an astonishing twist, he cheered as schools were closed, business owners had their lives destroyed, and mask compliance became total. A surveillance tech fanatic, the fear-addled bugman welcomed the announcements that the new technocratic order was intending to impose an all-consuming social credit score. Whatever keeps us safe, he said, whatever keeps us safe…

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Eco-warriors’ crappy vision of the future

Environmentalists really do seem committed to making life just that little bit shittier. Literally in the case of the British government’s latest green-inspired policy idea – a tax on disposable nappies.

The government isn’t planning on banning them. Not yet, anyway. ‘That would be too tough for parents’, a source said. No, it wants to price them out of everyday use. Turn them into a privilege. Something for special occasions, say, a first or second birthday.

It’s almost as if those in Westminster and Whitehall dreaming up such a proposal barely thought about its consequences. Which, to be fair, they probably didn’t. Many won’t be bothered about paying that bit more for pull-ups. And quite a few will just leave their nannies to bear the brunt of their latest wheeze.

But for most parents – and especially women, who are still responsible for the majority of childcare in the UK – the idea of being encouraged to spend a few more hours a week re-washing nappies, rather than simply bagging up and disposing of them, seems like a massive backward step.

Which it is. The invention of disposables in the late 1940s was a minor liberation. Like more celebrated labour-saving technologies, the humble Pampers nappy, ending the time-heavy process of re-laundering cloth nappies, played a part in releasing women from domestic drudgery. And now, in the name of saving the planet, policymakers and their green whiphands want to return child carers to that tedious, far less free era of thankless housework. Hence, when then environment secretary Michael Gove first mooted an attack on disposable nappies in 2018, director of Netmums called it ‘a bit of a retrograde step’.

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Christian students win exemption from vaccine mandate after legal threat

Loyola University Chicago has agreed to grant religious exemptions to its vaccine mandate instead of potentially going to court.

The Catholic university requires all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated, but denied exemptions to a number of Christian students who had objections to the vaccine. Its policy would have banned students from enrolling in classes and entering university buildings.

But at least 40 students have now obtained exemptions from the mandate after legal threats from Liberty Counsel, a conservative nonprofit.

[...]

“All Loyola students who have contacted Liberty Counsel after their exemptions were wrongfully denied have now been granted exemptions and are allowed to remain enrolled for the fall semester,” the legal group said.

“The students objected based on the fetal cell line/abortion connection since each of the three injections available were either produced or tested with fetal cell lines that originated in elective abortions.”

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[Matt Taibbi] NPR Trashes Free Speech. A Brief Response

The most important problem of speech regulation, as far as speech advocates have been concerned, has always been the identity of the people setting the rules. If there are going to be limits on speech, someone has to set those limits, which means some group is inherently going to wield extraordinary power over another. Speech rights are a political bulwark against such imbalances, defending the minority not only against government repression but against what Mill called “the tyranny of prevailing opinion.”

It’s unsurprising that NPR — whose tone these days is so precious and exclusive that five minutes of listening to any segment makes you feel like you’re wearing a cucumber mask at a Plaza spa — papers over this part of the equation, since it must seem a given to them that the intellectual vanguard setting limits would come from their audience. Who else is qualified?

By the end of the segment, Marantz and Gladstone seemed in cheerful agreement they’d demolished any arguments against “getting away from individual rights and the John Stuart Mill stuff.” They felt it more appropriate to embrace the thinking of a modern philosopher like Marantz favorite Richard Rorty, who believes in “replacing the whole framework” of society, which includes “not doing the individual rights thing anymore.”

It was all a near-perfect distillation of the pretensions of NPR’s current target audience, which clearly feels we’ve reached the blue-state version of the End of History, where all important truths are agreed upon, and there’s no longer need to indulge empty gestures to pluralism like the “marketplace of ideas.”

Mill ironically pointed out that “princes, or others who are accustomed to unlimited deference, usually feel this complete confidence in their own opinions on nearly all subjects.” Sound familiar? Yes, speech can be harmful, which is why journalists like me have always welcomed libel and incitement laws and myriad other restrictions, and why new rules will probably have to be concocted for some of the unique problems of the Internet age. But the most dangerous creatures in the speech landscape are always aristocrat know-it-alls who can’t wait to start scissoring out sections of the Bill of Rights. It’d be nice if public radio could find space for at least one voice willing to point that out.

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Woke Bacha Bazi: We looked the other way when our allies in Afghanistan molested boys. Pay attention as the sexual revolution seeks to enlist your children here in America.

Witness the recent Twitter tempest over Prostasia Foundation, a nonprofit that claims to combat child abuse but devotes much of its energy to apologizing for pedophiles. Prostasia has been around for a few years but was thrust into the social-media spotlight over the weekend, when it became widely known that Noah Berlatsky, a contributor to the Atlantic (among many other prestigious outlets), serves as the group’s communications director.

That prompted Atlantic writer Elizabeth Bruenig to showcase some of Prostasia’s greatest, most horrifying hits. The group, she noted, promotes the term “minor-attracted person,” or MAP—a naked attempt to reframe pedophilia as one more oppressed identity calling out for sympathy. The problem, according to Prostasia, arises when some “MAPs” act out on their desires, something that could be better prevented if pedophiles felt less marginalized. Or something.

A screen-captured tweet from Prostasia blog editor Sheila van den Heuvel-Collins read: “Merry Christmas to everyone, including the nepiophiles, pedophiles, hebephiles and ephebophiles who have to put up with . . . stigma every single day of the year.” A nepiophile is someone who wants to rape infants. There is much more where that came from. In a September 2018 blog post, Prostasia lamented Tumblr’s habit of “indiscriminately deleting MAPs’ and allies’ blogs.”

Thank God for stigma. Thank God for Tumblr censorship of “MAPs and allies.”

It’s true that a group like Prostasia exists on a fringe—for now. Then again, Berlatsky for years published in Bruenig’s own outlet, as well as the likes of the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, NBC Think, and Reason. This, even though he hardly made a secret of his views on pedophilia: He had raged against sex-offender registries as “racist” on Twitter and denounced police as “child sex workers’ biggest threat” in the New Republic. Even when Berlatsky came under fire recently, Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley rushed to his defense, accusing Berlatsky’s accusers of promoting “utterly terrifying, Nazi anti-Semitism” in a since-deleted tweet.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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[Abigail Shrier] Should Public Schools be Allowed to Deceive Parents?

Last week, I spoke with another mother who discovered her 12-year-old daughter’s middle school had changed the girl’s name and gender identity at school. The “Gender Support Plan” the district followed is an increasingly standard document which informs teachers of a child’s new chosen name and gender identity (“trans,” “agender,” “non-binary,” etc.) for all internal communications with the child. The school also provided the girl a year’s worth of counseling in support of her new identity, which in her case was “no gender.” Even the P.E. teachers were in on it. Left in the dark were her parents.

This duplicity is part of the “plan”: All documents sent home to mom and dad scrupulously maintained the daughter’s birth name and sex. But Mom noticed her daughter seemed to be suffering. Although far from alone in declaring a new identity - many girls in the school had adopted new names and gender pronouns – this girl’s grades fell apart. She became taciturn and moody.

When the mother failed to uncover the source of the girl’s distress, she met with teachers, hoping for insight. Instead, she slammed into a Wall of Silence: no teacher was evidently willing to let a worried mom know what the hell was going on. (Finally, one did.)

When I wrote Irreversible Damage, I documented that California and other public school systems had adopted a policy of creating two sets of documents around minor students’ gender. Similar policies have cropped up across the country, modeled on the one created by the activist organization Gender Spectrum.

A “gender support plan” isn’t merely a secret held between child and teacher, which might be bad enough. This is no private student confession, the silent whisperings of a troubled teenage heart. A Gender Support Plan, or any similar scheme, effects a schoolwide conspiracy to create a secret name and gender identity specifically withheld from parents. I’ve talked to a mom whose middle school daughter slept in the boys’ bunk on the school overnight before she learned her daughter’s school had, for more than a year, called her by a different name and openly referred to her as a boy.

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Thousands of pediatricians sue Biden over transgender policy

Shortly after Joe Biden took office, his Department of Health and Human Services issued a “reinterpretation” of federal medical guidelines when it comes to the treatment of gender dysphoria employing the use of hormone therapy or even “transitional” surgery. Under the new interpretation, medical providers could be held liable if they refused to perform such procedures, including on children, defining such a refusal as “discrimination” based on sex. Despite this order being politically popular on the far left, not all medical professionals were onboard with it. Now, more than three thousand of them have joined a lawsuit against the administration, seeking to force them to reverse the policy change. As with many similar lawsuits currently making their way through the courts, the plaintiffs in this case are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom. (Daily Wire)

Pediatricians and other health care workers are suing the Biden administration over a mandate tied to health care which would, according to the suit, require medical professionals to provide gender-related services and surgeries despite objections, medical or otherwise.

Objections, even to treating children, would be considered “discrimination,” pursuant to Biden’s reinterpretation of sex to include sexual orientation and “gender identity.”

“The American College of Pediatricians, the Catholic Medical Association, and an OB-GYN doctor who specializes in caring for adolescents filed suit in federal court to challenge a Biden administration mandate requiring doctors to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including a child, if the procedure violates a doctor’s medical judgment or religious beliefs,” read a press release from the Alliance Defending Freedom.

What’s truly sad about this case (among many sad factors) is the fact that not all medical associations have joined it. Unfortunately, the leadership of the American Medical Association has shifted so far to the woke side of politics in recent years that they actually support the policy change. But this is still a sufficiently large number of doctors and other providers to attract the attention of the courts and attempt to bring the situation under control.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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AU offers separate classroom, saying it's a ‘safe space for Black Students’

American University has created a Black-only course section, or classroom, for a class on racism, which freshmen are required to take.

Many universities use course sections to break larger cohorts into smaller-sized classrooms.

According to The Eagle, the university added a Black affinity course section to AUx2, a class where students learn about "race, social identity, and structures of power." In the course, students will "evaluate how racism intersects with other systems of oppression."

The student newspaper states that all-Black sections of the course began during the spring 2020 semester, an addition that had been considered for a few years.

“We’ve definitely heard from Black students and other students of color that the material can be a lot for them because it is part of their lived experiences,” Izzi Stern, the AUx program manager told the student newspaper. “And we wanted to create a space where they could be together in community and have an overall positive experience with the course.”

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Whites need not apply? Top German university job advertisement sparks outrage

The Humboldt University of Berlin, one Germany’s most prestigious higher-learning institutions, caused quite the stir last week when its advisory council posted a job advertisement for an ‘anti-discrimination counselor which asked people with white skin not to apply, national broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg 24 reports.

“We ask (…) White people to refrain from applying for this advice center,” the advertisement says, claiming that the consultations work best “when the consultant is Black or is a person of color”.

[...]

A revised version of the job posting, which appeared on Thursday evening, now says, “The counseling work has shown that this is best achieved by people who can advise from the perspective of how they are affected by racist discrimination. Therefore, we would particularly like to encourage people who have experienced racist discrimination to get on the spot to apply.”

This is not the first time that the Advisory Council at the Humboldt University of Berlin has published a racist job advertisement. According to a report from the German newspaper Bild, the council published a similar job advertisement in May 2021, which said that it “desired” the applicant to be “Black or a Person of Color”.

Over the past few years, expressions of anti-White racism have become increasingly acceptable and normal in a growing number of circles.

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Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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Australia is at breaking point

The world is starting to take notice. International media outlets spent most of 2020 filming bustling Australian streets. We had beaten Covid, they said. Now, they film those exact same streets again, but they are either deserted or filled with protesters battling police.

It really is as bad as it looks on the news. Two stories stand out from the past week. Bourke Shire Council, a rural council in New South Wales, decided last week that it would protect its community by shooting dead 15 impounded dogs. This was to prevent them being picked up by volunteers from a rescue centre in the town of Cobar. The council was so spooked by the Covid situation in New South Wales that it felt it could not risk anyone from Cobar coming across the state to collect the dogs. So the dogs were killed. There have been no new cases of Covid in Cobar in the past 28 days.

Over in Melbourne, the city’s sixth lockdown has brought people to breaking point. A video is circulating online of a child having his eyes wiped after allegedly being pepper sprayed by police. On Saturday, police fired rubber pellets at protesters. The violence was not all in one direction, though: six police officers were taken to hospital.

The police have gone to extreme lengths to enforce lockdown. Last week, a police bomb squad and helicopter were deployed to deal with teenagers partying on a Sydney beach at night.

Those of us who expressed concern about our disappearing freedoms were ignored last year – even while grandmothers were being chased off park benches because sitting there wasn’t ‘Covid-safe’. We were laughed at when we asked whether Australia was turning into a police state. No one is laughing now.

Off-Topic and Low-Effort CW Thread for August 23, 2021 by rwkastenBring on the dancing horses in CultureWarRoundup

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