Category Archives: Education

Rule Five Matter of Perspective Friday

When she was thirteen, Yeonmi Park fled North Korea with her mother.  The two escaped into China, where they were sold into slavery by human traffickers, then managed to escape again into Mongolia and then to South Korea.  Now she’s a student at Columbia University and has a dire warning for all of us.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

A woman who fled North Korea when she was a teenager and is now attending Columbia University said she is seeing a lot of similarities between the totalitarian regime she grew up in and the education she is now receiving in the United States.

Yeonmi Park and her mother fled North Korea to China over the frozen Yalu River in 2007, when she was just 13, and the two were sold into slavery by human traffickers. 

They were ultimately able to flee to Mongolia with the help of Christian missionaries and trekked across the Gobi Desert to eventually find refuge in South Korea, where Park, now 27, attended college before transferring to Columbia in 2016.

‘I literally crossed the Gobi Desert to be free and I realized I’m not free, America’s not free,’ she said. 

Certainly not on the campus of Columbia, you’re not.  The modern U.S. college campus is one of the most restrictive places in the Western world – so far.  “Free speech zones,” for example.  What horseshit.  My reaction to that kind of thing is simply, “I live in a free speech zone, assholes; it’s called the United States of America.”

She explained that when she started school at Columbia, she was excited to learn more about history, a subject she said was discouraged in her homeland. 

But when her teacher, discussing Western Civilization, asked if students had an issue with the name of the class topic, most did, saying there was a ‘colonial’ slant.

‘Every problem, they explained us, is because of white men,’ she said, reminding her of her home country where people were categorized based on their ancestors, according to the Post.

During her orientation, a professor asked who the class who liked classical books, like Jane Austen.

‘I said, ‘I love those books,’ Park said in an interview with FOX News. ‘I thought it was a good thing.’ 

‘Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’

Oh, the irony!  A professor makes a blatantly, inexcusably racist comment about Jane Austen’s books, then accuses Jane Austen of racism?  That’s rich.

‘Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,’ Park said, adding that she saw people dying of starvation by the time she was 13.

‘These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced,’ Park said of her fellow students. ‘They don’t know how hard it is to be free.’

‘I literally crossed through the middle of the Gobi Desert to be free,’ she continued, ‘but what I did was nothing – so many people fought harder than me and didn’t make it.’ 

But, she said, here in America people ‘are just dying to give their rights and power to the government.

‘That is what scares me the most,’ she said, adding: ‘Power can corrupt, that’s just the nature of power.’

Read the whole article.  This is a young woman who has seen real, no-shit oppression.  She lived her early years in a brutally repressive Stalinist shithole where much of the population is literally eating grass to stay alive while their “Dear Leader,” a stunted little gargoyle with bad hair from a line of stunted little gargoyles with bad hair, enjoys the finest cuisine money can buy.

And now she’s surrounded by malcontents, ne’er-do-wells, mendicants and nincompoops who think ‘oppression’ is not being given things for free, or hearing someone say something that they dislike, or (heaven forbid) having a President who sends mean tweets.

More people should be listening to Miss Park.  She has a perspective that most folks here could benefit from trying to understand.  However, unfortunately, like so many other folks with similar perspectives, the people who could profit most from her message will ignore her.

Rule Five Seventh Annual Commencement Speech Friday

It’s that time of year again, when high school and college graduates all over the country are trying on caps and gowns and making post-graduation plans. Today, for the seventh year, I will present here my own carefully prepared commencement speech to those grads – presented here because there’s damn little chance of my being asked to deliver it in person to a group of impressionable yutes.  And this year, this speech is dedicated to our granddaughter, who is graduating high school and entering a pre-med program this fall – on a full academic scholarship.

So, here it is. Enjoy.

“Graduates of the Class of 2021, let me be the first to extend to you my congratulations on this, your day of entry into reality.

For the last four years you have been working towards this goal, towards this day. That’s a good thing. One of the most important skills you will ever need, one of the most important ways to achieve success in the world into which you are about to enter, is the ability to formulate goals, to plan how to achieve those goals, and to see things through until you reach those goals. Today you’ve shown you can do that. Congratulations and good job.

Now, before you go out to enjoy the rest of this day, before you go out to celebrate this goal you have achieved, let me tell you a few harsh truths about the world you’re entering. I’m not going to give you any trigger warnings; if you can’t handle what I’m about to say, there’s damn little future for you out there in the real world, so cowboy up. Moments ago I congratulated you on your day of entry into reality, so to get you started off right, here is a hefty dose of reality for you.

In spite of what you may have been told during all your years of education, nobody owes you anything, and you aren’t special. Any perceived ‘need’ you may have does not entitle you to anything – most especially, not to one red cent of the product of anyone else’s effort. If any of your professors have told you that, then they are economic illiterates, moral frauds or outright charlatans.

Our wonderful Constitution, which has stood for well over two hundred years as the founding document of our Republic, guarantees you the opportunity to your pursuit of happiness. It does not require anyone to provide you the means to your happiness at their expense. You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You have no moral claim on anyone else’s productivity. Accept that fact and you are already one step ahead of most of your peers.

You are entitled to what you have earned through your own efforts, and not:

One.

Damn.

Thing.

More.

If you are accepting a degree today in LGBT Studies, or Women’s Studies, or any of the other assorted bullshit Underwater Dog Polishing degrees our universities crank out today, then you have my sympathies. You are the victim of a fraud perpetrated by our university system, a vicious and cynical fraud that has resulted in you spending a lot of money for no gain. But more importantly, you are the victim of your own poor judgement. You decided to pursue a useless degree, and now you’re stuck. Here is another harsh reality: You are responsible for your own situation. It’s not anybody else’s fault. Nobody else is responsible. You are.

Your university experience had one goal – producing a young adult with marketable skills, someone who can provide value to an employer and to the economy. In this your university has failed, and in choosing this degree, so did you. You have relegated yourself to uselessness in the workplace, and when a few years from now you are working as a barista or checkout clerk and crying over your six figures of student debt, remember what I said a few moments ago: You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You made a decision; now you get to deal with the consequences of that decision. Pull yourself up, look around at the other opportunities around you, and figure a way out of this mess your youthful indiscretion has landed you in.

But you still have one thing going for you. You have shown that you can set yourself a goal and achieve it. Do so now.

So, where do you go from here?

Because nobody owes you anything, including a living, one of the tasks ahead of you now is finding gainful employment. If you’re going to find employment, it will only be because you can demonstrate to the employer that you can provide value to him or her in excess of your costs of employment. Employment is an economic transaction. In any free market transaction, both parties have to realize a perceived gain in value or the transaction won’t happen. If a prospective employer doesn’t think you’re able to provide value to his/her business in excess of your cost of employment, which includes not only your salary but all the extra taxes, fees and other various government extortion that you never see in your pay stub – then they won’t hire you. So be able to present yourself as someone who can provide value, in whatever field you have been studying these last few years.

Once you have gained that employment, once you are in the workplace, remember these three rules for success:

  1. Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
  2. Work a little harder than the other guy,
  3. Never pass up a chance to learn something new.

Words that should never pass your lips include such things as “that’s not my job,” and “I don’t have time for that.” Your reputation in the workplace should be, to put it bluntly, the one who can get shit done. Results matter. Be the one that the boss can count on. Be the one who brings things in on time. Be the one who finishes the job. Be the one that produces value and you will never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

Bear in mind also that you are entering the workforce as a tablua rasa as far as potential employers are concerned. You’re not going to leave these halls and be CEO of General Motors. You will be working in an entry level job, probably not making a lot of money, probably doing work your longer-term co-workers don’t want to do. Suck it up. There are no lousy jobs, only lousy people. Any work that produces value is worth doing. How do you know if your work is producing value? The answer to that is trivially easy: If someone is willing to pay you to do the work, then you are producing value. Bear in mind also that the job belongs to the employer, not to you, and if you don’t meet the employer’s expectations, someone else will.

How do you meet those expectations? Better yet, how do you exceed them? When you are doing that job, keep these things in mind:

Be known for your integrity. Don’t say anything you don’t believe and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who means what you say and who delivers on your promises.

Be known for your reliability. Show up on time, every day, for every event. Show up on time for meetings. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who will always be there when you’re needed.

Be known for your responsibility. If you take on a task, finish it. If you commit to a timeline, meet it. If you accept responsibility for something, own it. It’s yours. Don’t expect anyone else to take care of it for you. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who, when put in charge, takes charge.

Be known for your dependability. Plan your tasks to bring them in on schedule. If that means long hours, work them. If that means working a Saturday, work it. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who can get the job done.

Success isn’t a mysterious thing. It’s not that elusive and it’s not even all that hard. I did it, and you can too, but it does involve one four-letter word:

Work.

Thomas Edison once said “people often fail to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it usually shows up in overalls and looks like work.” At these commencement events it’s common to be told to follow your dreams, and that’s nice, flowery stuff, but in most cases nobody is going to pay you to follow your dreams. They will pay you to produce value, and that means work. Follow your dreams on your own time.

Finally, I will leave you all with some unsolicited advice:

All through your life, people will promise you things. Most of them won’t deliver. Many of those people will be people seeking political office, and many more of them will be people pushing some sort of supposed business opportunity. Some years ago the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed a fundamental law of the universe, which law is represented by the acronym TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Remember that; if someone offers you something for nothing, they are lying. If someone is offering you something at someone else’s expense, they are offering to commit theft on your behalf. The only moral answer to such offers is outright refusal.

There are only three types of economic transactions and only one of those – a free, unfettered, voluntary exchange of value – is morally acceptable. If a transaction is done by force, that is theft. If a transaction is done by deceit, that is fraud. Have no interaction with anyone who advocates either.

Accept responsibility for your own successes. Accept responsibility for your own failures. Learn from both. Rely on yourself. Rely on your own skills, your own abilities. Many other people will let you down, but you can always rely on yourself.

In her epic novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand presents the protagonist, John Galt, describing his decision to solve society’s troubles by an epic act of creative destruction. He describes the ultimate moment of his decision process with two sentences, two sentences which I have found more inspiring than any long-winded ethical or political monologue ever delivered since the times of Plato and Aristotle. These words are the very essence of the self-directed man of achievement:

‘I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it.’

Those are good words to live by. Now, today, you graduates see what has to be done.

Go out and do it.

Thank you and good luck.”

If anyone was offended by anything contained in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Animal’s Daily Tradesman News

Libertarian scribe John Stossel describes the possibility of success without college.  Excerpt:

Americans took out $1.7 trillion in government loans for college tuition.

Now, some don’t want to pay it back.

President Joe Biden says they shouldn’t have to. He wants to cancel at least $10,000 and maybe $50,000 of every student’s debt.

“They’re in real trouble,” says Biden in my latest video, “having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent.”

Poor students!

But wait: Shouldn’t they have given some thought to debt payments when they signed up for overpriced colleges? When they majored in subjects like photography or women’s studies, unlikely to lead to good jobs? When they took six years to graduate (a third don’t graduate even after six years).

Shouldn’t politicians also acknowledge that it’s taxpayer loans that let bloated colleges keep increasing tuition at twice the rate of inflation?

Yes.

But they don’t.

“Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe points out that students’ demand for loan forgiveness is “kind of self-involved.”

“I know guys who worked hard to get a construction operation running. Some had to take out a loan on a big old diesel truck. Why would we forgive the cost of a degree but not the cost of a lease payment?”

It’s a good question.

“For some reason,” continues Rowe, “we think a tool that looks like a diploma is somehow more important than that big piece of metal in the driveway that allows the guy to build homes that you … are in.”

Once again, the solution seems obvious.  Get government out of the business of education.  If a young person wants a student loan, let them go to a lending institution and make their case.  Student loans, like any other loan, should be based first and foremost on an estimation of the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.  That would mean a problem, certainly, for the kid that shows up at the bank with a college application and announces their intent to pursue a degree in Underwater Gender Dog-Polishing, but it’s high time the university system stopped offering bullshit degrees anyway, and this would take care of that at a stroke.

Want to level the playing field?  That’s the term the Left uses, right?  Fine, let’s level the damn playing field, and stop this horseshit idea that every kid needs to go to college.  Many shouldn’t, and many would be better off if they didn’t.  And the various trades offer stable and lucrative opportunities.

Rule Five Mis-Education Friday

I first read this last week, but it took me a little while to digest.  Excerpt:

The parents in the backyard say that for every one of them, there are many more, too afraid to speak up. “I’ve talked to at least five couples who say: I get it. I think the way you do. I just don’t want the controversy right now,” related one mother. They are all eager for their story to be told—but not a single one would let me use their name. They worry about losing their jobs or hurting their children if their opposition to this ideology were known.

“The school can ask you to leave for any reason,” said one mother at Brentwood, another Los Angeles prep school. “Then you’ll be blacklisted from all the private schools and you’ll be known as a racist, which is worse than being called a murderer.”

One private school parent, born in a Communist nation, tells me: “I came to this country escaping the very same fear of retaliation that now my own child feels.” Another joked: “We need to feed our families. Oh, and pay $50,000 a year to have our children get indoctrinated.” A teacher in New York City put it most concisely: “To speak against this is to put all of your moral capital at risk.”

Parents who have spoken out against this ideology, even in private ways, say it hasn’t gone over well. “I had a conversation with a friend, and I asked him: ‘Is there anything about this movement we should question?’” said a father with children in two prep schools in Manhattan. “And he said: ‘Dude, that’s dangerous ground you’re on in our friendship.’ I’ve had enough of those conversations to know what happens.”

That fear is shared, deeply, by the children. For them, it’s not just the fear of getting a bad grade or getting turned down for a college recommendation, though that fear is potent. It’s the fear of social shaming. “If you publish my name, it would ruin my life. People would attack me for even questioning this ideology. I don’t even want people knowing I’m a capitalist,” a student at the Fieldston School in New York City told me, in a comment echoed by other students I spoke with. (Fieldston declined to comment for this article.) “The kids are scared of other kids,” says one Harvard-Westlake mother.

What does that read like to you?  To me it reads like the results of bullying, which I had thought was verboten in this modern era.

But to what else do you attribute these parents’ nervousness?

Here’s where I think these folks go wrong.  When I was a kid, bullies never lasted too long, because sooner or later they ran into a kid that was bigger and tougher than they were, and got their asses kicked, which usually put an end to the bullying.  That’s what needs to happen here, I think; these parents need to stand up to the assholes determining the curricula at these schools, demand that the schools react to their customers – the parents – and cease and desist the racist horseshit, forthwith.

Of course, the other side of that is that the majority of parents in this area may want this racist horseshit.  What’s the answer then?

Pull your kids out of those damned schools.

I don’t give a rat’s ass if that will make it harder for Little Precious to get into that Ivy League school that will grease the skids for a life of indolent, upper-level government service.  Hell, you think these kids are being fed horseshit now?  Wait until they get to Harvard or Yale.

Your kids would be better off if you kept them home and, for what you’re spending for this private school, hire a tutor.  Or why not have that group of oh-so-concerned parents here chip in and hire several tutors, for a wide range of subjects?

I understand that these folks are feeling put-upon because their kids are being taught racist horseshit that flies in the face of their parents’ evidently right-of-center views.  So, fine – quit your damn whining and do something about it!  Remember that fine old American can-do tradition?  That good old American ingenuity?  Try to rediscover some of that, grow some huevos, and abandon that awful, failing education bureaucracy.  Frankly, at this juncture, that’s really the only option.

We’re in a time where any chance at national unity seems to be fading away.  This (and, as always, please do read it all) article is just one more piece of evidence of that.  May as well acknowledge it, accept it as inevitable and start figuring how to deal with it.

Animal’s Daily Return of Jim Crow News

Before we start, I have the start of a new fiction series, Mystical Child, over at Glibertarians.  Check it out!

In other news:  As has been brewing for some time, segregation is returning to our schools.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

The US Department of Education suspended a decision that found racial “affinity groups” discriminated against students and staff, The Post has learned.

The goal of the programs — used by the New York City public school system and other school districts — is to separate students and staff by racial groups in order to help address discrimination and “white privilege.”

But the practice of separating schools into racial groups is discriminatory, a determination obtained by the Post found.

No shit, Sherlock.  Let’s ignore the “white privilege” horseshit for now – as Thomas Sowell points out, the very idea is suspect, as it posits that white coal miners in Appalachia enjoy privileges denied to black Harvard-educated lawyers in Manhattan.  But what the hell are racial “affinity groups?”  How in any sane world is the very notion not racist?

The DOE findings said the Evanston- Skokie School District violated civil rights law by:

— Separating administrators in a professional development training program in August, 2019 into two groups based on race — white and non-white.

— Offering various “racially exclusive affinity groups” that separated students, parents and community members by race.

— Implementing a disciplinary policy that included “explicit direction” to staffers to consider a student’s race when meting out discipline.

— Carried out a “Colorism Privilege Walk” that separated seventh and eight grade students into different groups based on race.

“If you are white take 2 steps forward. If you’re a person of color with dark skin, take 2 steps back. If you’re black, take 2 steps back,” the privilege walk exercise said..

The goal was for white students students to “learn more about white privilege, internalized dominance, microaggressions and how to act as an ally for students of color,” the lesson plan said.

Again, horseshit.  Segregation is segregation, no matter who initiates it.  And how in the living hell is this going to “bring people together?”  The only conclusion one can draw from this insanity is that disunity, not unity, is in fact the real, unstated goal.

But Ashely of the DOE concluded the school district “engaged in intentional race discrimination by coordinating and conducting racially exclusive affinity groups, which resulted in the separation of participants in district programs based on race in violation of the Title 6 regulation.”

She said “deliberately” segregating students and employees by race reduced them “to a set of racial stereotype.”

“These materials would have led students to be treated differently based on their race, depriving them of a class free from racial recrimination and hostility. Such treatment has no place in federally-funded programs or activities, nor is it protected by the First Amendment,” Ashley said.

She continued, “The District’s policy to impose racial discrimination in discipline has no part in federally funded education programs or activities,” Ashley said.

We do have segregated dorms on some college campuses.  Hell, why not go for lunch counters, sections on public buses and drinking fountains, while we’re at it?  But wait!  There’s more!  This story talks about “racially exclusive affinity groups,” which – let’s say this very softly – sounds an awful lot like the Ku Klux Klan to me.

But here’s the onion:

The teacher-complainant, who wished to remain anonymous, said she received a call from Ashley on January 6, who told her she issued a letter of finding that the Evanston-Skokie school district racial racial affinity group programs violated federal civil rights law.

But she was told she could not get a copy of the letter until the DOE reached a final compliance resolution with the school district within 90 days.

But on January 22 the teacher received a courtesy phone call from Ashley again, informing her that her case was being suspended due to President Biden’s new executive orders on equity to aid racial minorities and LGBT citizens. Biden has taken office just two days before.

So President Biden(‘s handlers) are perfectly OK with segregation, with “racial affinity groups” and, let’s just come right out and say it, blatantly and overtly racist practices in the public schools.

There’s no other conclusion a sane person can draw.

Rule Five University Reform Friday

Last week I stumbled across this, an interesting piece on higher education reform with several different perspectives.  Go, then, and read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts I found interesting, with my comments.

In their paper, Rogge and Goodrich outlined their ideal of a free society as one in which each individual was free to do anything that was peaceful, behaved responsibly, and not subjected to intimidation. But for such a society to exist, citizens must be educated accordingly. This, in turn, raises questions about the purpose of education, the political and economic arrangements that would best support this purpose, and what educational techniques should be deployed. For Rogge and Goodrich, the purpose of education should be left to the individual to decide and, because of this, the state should have no role in education. A private educational system rather than a public one would provide better educational opportunities to students and be more economically efficient for society.

I can’t agree with this strongly enough.  The current system of public education, for the most part, is not failing; it has failed.  With the exception of a few STEM programs (Colorado School of Mines comes to mind) a large part of the university system has shifted too many resources into bullshit Ethnic Underwater Dog-Polishing Studies and other such horseshit that do nothing, nothing whatsoever, to produce young adults with marketable skills.  A private system would at least be market-based, and also (biggest part, here) privately funded, meaning that taxpayer funding of horseshit would end.  Squishy private colleges would be free to offer these degrees, but it’s pretty obvious that without taxpayer props they wouldn’t last long churning out graduates suited for nothing more than waiting tables.

With respect to the liberal arts college, Rogge and Goodrich argued that these institutions should openly and honestly state their ideological perspective and believed that intelligent and thoughtful students would naturally gravitate to those schools who were committed to a free society. Faculty would be selected for their qualities as teachers and their commitment to a philosophy of a free society with their salaries dependent upon their effectiveness at teaching. There would be no departments and the curriculum would consist of the great books and optional reading lists from faculty.

It’s telling to note that this is the exact opposite of what goes on now.  But in fact, I suspect that the general liberal arts colleges would be greatly reduced in number, in favor of STEM schools and other such institutions narrowly aimed at teaching marketable skills.

Here’s the real pip, though:

However, Manne believed such an adoption of the free market to the American university was unlikely due to political reasons. He was equally pessimistic about a return to trustee’s authority over faculty, curriculum, and students, which was the organizational model of American higher education until the 19th century. Thus, we are left with the co-op model of joint ownership and management. Contending interest groups give up “responsibility for overall university affairs in exchange for the right to be financed and then left alone.” There was little incentive for innovation, each department became highly bureaucratized, and advancement in the system was through personal favor and aversion to risk rather than based on ability and talent. American higher education consequently attracted people who were inherently “collectivist, statist, and nonmarket” in their attitudes.

Read that last sentence again:

American higher education consequently attracted people who were inherently “collectivist, statist, and nonmarket” in their attitudes.

That, True Believers, is the bit we have to change.

When it comes to higher education, I’m at the “let’s burn it all down” stage.  I would love to add to my list of impossible dreams a Constitutional amendment prohibiting the Imperial government from funding or regulation education in any way, at any level.  No funding, no regulation, no incentivizing, no nothing, no kidding.  If possible extend it to the states.  Privatize all of it.  Any loans to be made for educational purposes would be privately sought and privately offered, based on prospects of repayment, just like any other loan.

That, right there, would go a long way toward cleaning up the current mess.  Of course, I’ve already added this to the long, long list of “things I can’t have,” but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, eh?

Animal’s Daily Debt Cancelling News

“Cancelling” student debt is a stupid idea, and here’s a good explanation as to why.  Excerpt:

An unthinkable conundrum is our reality: the dumbest people in your high school class are now in political power, making the same thoughtless demands they made back when you thought it was just their hormones. 

“I don’t feel like paying my debts because it’s too hard,” is the summary of their I WANT FREE STUFF demand du jour. 

“OK, so who should pay your debts?” you ask. “That’s selfish and racist,” is the response. Seriously. 

This would all be a fantastical, hysterical story, if it were not real.

In anticipation of Biden’s looming presidency, leftists began organizing their FREE STUFF priority lists. On the top of many lists you will find cancellation of student loan debt and free healthcare. Where do they think the money will come from? Why, your wallet, of course! Biden is expected to raise taxes to pay for that “free” stuff. 

Never forget this: the understanding that they must take money from the working to pay for the debts of those not working (or not earning as much) — is in itself proof that they know “free” or “cancel” is a lie. There is no such thing as free because someone always pays for it, and leftists know this. That’s why they call to raise taxes “on the rich” — a puffed lie because it is not wealth that is taxed yearly, but earnings, income, work product. It is work that is taxed, not “wealth.” 

The article makes a good point; advocacy of “cancelling” student debt is a direct subsidy of Gender Studies degrees by plumbers, carpenters, car salesman and every other productive citizen in the country.  That’s bad enough to condemn the idea in and of itself, but the most important thing that makes this a bad idea is missed in the linked article:

Responsibility.

Every damn one of these mindless brats yelling to have their loans paid by someone else – make no mistake, that’s what they are asking for – signed a furshlugginer loan agreement, detailing terms of repayment, interest rates, conditions for forbearance, and so on.  It’s the law.   Now they want a mulligan.

What’s next?  Will they buy a new Mercedes, and demand to have their car loan forgiven with no consequences?  Their mortgage?  To hell with that.  As go any loans, so go student loans:  You signed.  You agreed to the terms.  You pay.  End of story.

Animal’s Daily Pinker Affair News

Before we start, make sure to catch the last installment of Ten Minutes over at Glibertarians.

I found this interesting:  Lessons of the Pinker Affair.  Excerpts, with my comments:

Earlier this summer, over 600 signatories signed an open letter to the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), denouncing Steven Pinker for “speaking over genuine grievances and downplaying injustices, frequently by misrepresenting facts, and at the exact moments when Black and Brown people are mobilizing against systemic racism and for crucial changes.” I tweeted a link to the letter, and was glad to see my tweet gain traction as people were able to see the absurdity of the charges for themselves.

You can sum up the grievances of the 600 signatories as follows:  “RHHEEEEEE!”  None of these people should be taken seriously, as you’ll see.

Among the self-pity and neurosis, I did discern one argument that was actually interesting, and addressing it can tell us something about what has gone wrong with the academy.

As Kastner et al. point out, Steven Pinker is more prominent than anyone on the list. He proved in the aftermath of the affair that he was more than capable of defending himself. How, then, could he complain about a witch hunt carried out by a group that is mostly made up of graduate students and junior scholars? I received my PhD in 2018, and know that most graduate students do not feel particularly powerful. They have finished a four-year degree and are still making $20,000 a year, with years of additional study and postdocs ahead of them before they can have any hope of finding a job. If and when they do, they will have little control over where they live and make less money than a manager at Walmart. When they attack Steve Pinker, one of the most prominent public intellectuals of our time, grad students and junior scholars can understandably feel like they are actually speaking truth to power.

Note the careful wording of that last sentence:  “feel like they are actually speaking truth to power.”  In reality they aren’t speaking truth at all; it’s doubtful whether they have even a nodding acquaintance with truth.  As President Reagan said, “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

What is it that distinguishes, then, cancellation campaigns that cause outrage (talking about sex differences, IQ, genetics) and those that do not (flat-Earthers, creationists)? As far as I can tell, the targets in the former cases are saying things that are scientifically valid, while those in the latter are saying things that are not. For many thoughtful people this is the hill to die on, not the abstract commitment to platforming all voices, a standard that virtually no one will ever live up to. As Tyler Cowen wrote in response to the Harper’s letter of earlier this year, in deciding who to invite to sign the document, “the organizers had to ‘restrict free speech’ in a manner not altogether different than what they are objecting to.” They were therefore not objecting to restrictions on speech when they complained about “cancel culture,” but something else.

The correct response to the cancellers is not simply to say that they should respect free speech. Rather, one must say to them that you are attacking people for stating things which are true, while you are stating things which are false. It does not matter which side of the debate is more prominent, or which side has more minorities and women. The identity politics view of the world fundamentally misunderstands reality, and people who respect truth should be on the side of whoever stands against it, whether a grad student is attacking a famous intellectual, or vice versa.

In other words, as the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, people are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

The Pinker Affair, as the linked article demonstrates, has keenly illustrated higher education’s increasing disconnect from reality.  While the purpose of education should be to produce young adults with marketable skills, instead many of our major universities have essentially become bullshit factories.

Defund them.  Disconnect government from education.  Make financing of college a private-sector affair, where said financing will be dependent on the odds of the education obtained producing a return on investment.  That one step alone will remove most, if not all, of the bullshit from academia.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

We didn’t go out after sage grouse.  Mrs. Animal had a couple of tight deadlines to make for her publishing business, I had plenty of work around here to do to advance getting this Colorado house ready to sell and, to be honest, I didn’t really feel like getting up early and driving up to North Park by myself.

Might could get after some pheasants.

But there is plenty more upland bird hunting to be done; the pheasant population on the eastern plains is doing reasonably well as I hear it, and there are always waterfowl to pick up out there along the South Platte.  So we’ll see.

I might even lease a goose pit for a morning or two.  The Hate Birds, the Birds That Hate may hate, but they also are better than fair eating.

Now then…

On To the Links!

A Medal of Honor is always something special.

In a decision just issued in County of Butler, et al. v. Governor Wolf, et al., Judge William Stickman, IV of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has ruled that “(1) the congregate gathering limits imposed by Defendants’ mitigation orders violate the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment; (2) that the stay-at-home and business closure components of Defendants’ orders violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and (3) the business closure components of the Defendants’ orders violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”  A glimmer of hope?

Aww, dida po widdle baby getums widdle feewings hurt?

Speaking of which:  If the shoe fits, Queen Nancy.

School choice could be great for rural communities.  And urban communities.  And everywhere.  Hell, let’s just get government out of the business of education everywhere, at all levels.

Now this is a threat, especially given the violence and looting that’s been going on.  Note that this was 2018, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this kind of crap this year; in fact, I’ll be a bit surprised if both sides don’t do it.

Speaking of violence; two LA-area sheriff’s deputies were just shot from ambush.  And some protestors blocked the ER entrance where the officers were taken.  Honestly, at that point I wouldn’t have minded if officers opened fire.  This is the fruit of the “defund the cops” ranting.  Anyone still doubt that civil order is breaking down in our major cities?

Groper Joe’s campaign has been up to some shenanigans.  In other news, the sky is blue, water is wet and cake is fattening.

Round-Heels Kamala accidentally tells the truth.

Speaking of which, the Democrats may try a nuclear option to overturn the election.

Apparently folks have pissed off some orcas.

This Week’s Idiots:

Vanity Fair’s Eric Lutz is an idiot.

The Atlantic’s Ibram X. Kendi is an idiot.

Robert Reich is an idiot.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (Commie-MN) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Tom Engelhardt is an idiot.

Queen Nancy goes full-blown New Age loony-tunes.

And So:

No further comments; today I’ll leave you with the woman I believe to be one of the best, if not the best female vocalist alive today.  This is Mary Fahl, with a song based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid (the actual story, not the idiotic Disney take.)  This is Ariel.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

So, last weekend, this happened.  This is about five miles from where I sit right now.  At what point does this shit stop being “protest” and start being armed insurrection?

People have been killed.  Cops have been attacked.  Businesses have been burned, people have lost properties and homes.  That asshole Jerry Nadler is calling it a “myth,” talking as usual out of his ass, but most folks know better.

This coming weekend, I think I’ll get the shotgun back out of the workshop, stuff some 00 buck in it and keep it in the bedroom.  Just in case.  I’m afraid it’s time for live ammo.  I sure hope I don’t need that shotgun, but if I do, I’m sure as hell going to have it close at hand.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest:

On To the Links!

Newsweek?  Really?  Admitting that we had a good treatment for the Kung Flu all along?  They’re going against The Narrative!

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

I suspect Colorado’s leftists underestimate Lauren Boebert at their peril.  This year’s Colorado CD3 race will be very interesting indeed.

Duck!

Duck!

Goose!

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, round 2.

File this under “Who gives a shit?”

No masks in Sweden.  Here’s why.

I’m not even religious, but boy howdy am I on this guy’s side.  I may not share his belief in God, but I sure as hell believe in the First Amendment.

More on that topic:  You’ve gotta love this guy.

Roger Simon on how the Left is setting themselves up to reap the whirlwind.

A good question, indeed.

Fuck.  You.

Kudos for the no-contact delivery!

This Week’s Idiots:

The Seattle City Council are (still) all idiots.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is an idiot.

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof is an idiot.

The English Department at Rutgers is staffed with idiots.

Groper Joe’s energy policy advisors are all idiots.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is an idiot.

And So:

It’s not easy to watch your country being torn apart.

Remember all the rioting, looting and burning when Barack Obama was President?  All the right-wing militias that attacked cops, set fires, threw explosives and vandalized public property?

Me either.

And if you think it’s bad now, wait until President Trump is re-elected this fall.

Here’s some peaceful scenery from the Great Land to take all our minds off the bad news.