Invasion of the Infinite Realm 7

The brilliant researcher – and self-declared atheist and conservative – Heather Mac Donald writes:

Another academic year, another fattening of campus diversity bureaucracies. Most worrisomely, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are now prime targets for administrative diversity encroachment, with the commercial tech sector rapidly following suit.

The pursuit of discovery and understanding in the Infinite Realm of the mind is a venture in liberation. It does not matter there whether your body is strong or weak, what color your skin is, or what you feel. You hunger for nothing but knowledge. No other appetites – alimentary, sexual, hubristic – vex you there.

To enter it, you turn to the study of science, technology, engineering, mathematics. The study of the humanities will not get you through the door.

There are people – most perhaps – who do not want to leave bodily hungers, emotion, the self and its desires behind. If they visit the Infinite Realm at all, it is to view it from the deck of a cruise ship of the Studies Line, named Women Studies, Black Studies, Latino Studies, Diversity Studies, Gender Studies, Protest Studies, Oppression Studies, Peace Studies, Studies Without Borders.

And the glimpse they have of the Infinite Realm disturbs them. They see who goes in. For whom the door opens. The privileged.

And look – they are almost all men, too many of them white. You can tell they are unfeeling. They do not cast a compassionate glance at the tourist crowds leaning on the rails of the Studies ships, victims of exclusion oppression, yearning to be let in.

Oh, that unassailable citadel! Oh, that locked door! However many voyagers on the Studies ships were to batter it, it would not yield.

But the will of so many people, documented and undocumented, must not be frustrated.  If more women and “people of color” are not admitted in equal numbers to the white men, then the Infinite Realm must be changed. It can still be called the realm of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, but it must become a place where your body, your color, your sex, and above all your feelings matter. It must be feminized, diversified, gendered. It must become a temple where the new gods Diversity, Inclusion, Compassion preside.

The most significant new diversity sinecure has been established at the University of California, Los Angeles, where the engineering school just minted its first associate dean of diversity and inclusion. The purpose of this new position is to encourage engineering faculty to hire more females and underrepresented minorities, reports the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper. “One of my jobs,” the new dean, Scott Brandenberg, told the paper, is “to avoid implicit bias in the hiring process.”

The new engineering-diversity deanship supplements the work of UCLA’s lavishly paid, campus-wide Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Jerry Kang, whose 2016 salary was $444,000. Kang, one of the most influential proponents of the “implicit-bias” concept, already exerts enormous pressure throughout the university to hire for “diversity”. Even before his vice chancellorship was created, any UCLA professor hoping for the top rank of tenure had to write a “contributions to diversity” essay detailing his efforts to rectify any racial and gender imbalances in his department.

The addition of a localized diversity bureaucrat within the engineering school can only increase the focus on gender and race in hiring and admissions decisions. (Brandenberg, of course, expresses fealty to California’s beleaguered ban on racial and gender preferences in government. But it would be naive to think that the ubiquitous mandate to increase “diversity” does not inevitably tip the scale in favor of alleged victim groups.)

No evidence exists that implicit bias is a factor in the engineering school’s gender and racial composition. Its percentage of female undergraduate and graduate students – about one quarter – matches the national percentage reported by the American Society for Engineering Education. I asked the school’s spokesman, Amy Akmal, if UCLA Engineering was aware of any examples of the most qualified candidate being overlooked or rejected in a hiring search because of implicit bias; she ignored this fundamental question. (She also ignored a question about the new dean’s salary.)

Every science department in the country relentlessly strives to improve its national ranking through hiring the most prestigious researchers. It would be deeply contrary to their interests to reject a superior candidate because of gender or race. And given the pools of federal and private science funding available on the basis of gender and race, hiring managers have added incentive to favor “diverse” applicants. Contrary to the idea that females are being discriminated against in hiring, Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci found that female applicants for STEM tenure-track positions enjoyed a two-to-one advantage over similarly qualified males in paired resume experiments.

The director of UCLA’s Women in Engineering program trotted out the usual role model argument for gender-and race-conscious decision-making. Audrey Pool O’Neal told the Daily Bruin that she never saw anyone who looked like her (black and female) when she was an undergraduate and graduate student. “When I do teach classes, the female students let me know how much they appreciate seeing a woman in front of their classroom,” O’Neal said.

Why not appreciate seeing the best-trained scholar in front of your classroom? Any female who thinks that she needs a female in front of her in order to learn as much as she can, or to envision a career in a particular field, has declared herself a follower rather than a pioneer – and a follower based on a characteristic irrelevant to intellectual achievement. If it were really the case that a role model of the same gender is important to moving ahead, it would be impossible to alter the gender balance of a field, assuming such a mission to be worthwhile, which – absent a finding of actual discrimination – it is not. Marie Curie did not need female role models to investigate radioactivity; she was motivated by a passion to understand the world. That should be reason enough to plunge headlong into the search for knowledge.

The Columbia University Medical Center has just pledged $50 million to diversify its faculty and student body, reports the Wall Street Journal, part of a new $100 million diversity drive across the entire university. Never mind that Columbia University has already fruitlessly spent $85 million since 2005 toward the same end. Never mind that there is a huge gap between the MCAT scores of blacks and whites, which will affect the quality of subsequent hiring pools. Columbia’s vice provost for faculty diversity and inclusion regurgitates another classic of diversity boilerplate to justify this enormous waste of funds. “The reality is that you can’t really achieve excellence without diversity. It requires diverse thought to solve complex problems,” says vice provost Dennis Mitchell.

Mitchell’s statement is ludicrous on multiple fronts.Aside from the fact that the one thing never sought in the academic diversity hustle is “diverse thought”,  do Mitchell and his compatriots in the diversity industry believe that females and underrepresented minorities solve analytical problems differently from males, whites, and Asians? A core plank of left-wing academic thought is that gender and race are “socially constructed”. Why then would females and underrepresented minorities think differently if their alleged differences are simply a result of oppressive social categories?

Columbia’s science departments do not have 50/50 parity between males and females, which, according to Mitchell, keeps them from achieving “excellence”. Since 1903, Columbia faculty members have won 78 Nobel Prizes in the sciences and economics. The recipients were overwhelmingly male (and white and Asian); somehow, they managed to do groundbreaking work in science despite the relatively non-diverse composition of their departments.

The only thing that the academic diversity racket achieves is to bid up the salaries of plausibly qualified candidates, and redistribute those candidates to universities that can muster the most resources for diversity poaching. The dean of UCLA Engineering, Jayathi Murthy, laments that of the 900 females admitted to the undergraduate engineering program in 2016, only about 240 accepted the offer. “There are (about) 660 women there that are going somewhere else and the question is . . . is there an opportunity for us to do something differently,” she told the Daily Bruin.

Presumably, those 660 non-matriculants are getting engineering degrees at other institutions. If the goal (a dubious one) is to increase the number of female engineers overall, then it doesn’t matter where they graduate from. But every college wants its own set of “diverse” students and faculty, though one institution’s gain is another’s presumed loss.

The pressure to take irrelevant characteristics like race and sex into account in academic science is dangerous enough. But Silicon Valley continues to remake itself in the image of the campus diversity bureaucracy. Dell Technologies announced in September a new “chief diversity and inclusion officer” position. Per the usual administrator shuffle, the occupant of this new position, Brian Reaves, previously served as head of diversity and inclusion for software company SAP. Reaves will engage the company’s “leaders” in “candid conversations about the role of gender and diversity in the workplace,” said Dell chief customer officer Karen Quintos in a press statement. “Candid” means: you are free to confess your white cis-male privilege. “Candid” does not mean questioning Dell’s diversity assumptions, as this summer’s firing of computer engineer James Damore from Google made terrifyingly clear to any other potential heretics. …

Official scientific organizations have all turned obsessively to the diversity agenda. Any academic scientist who wants to move up in administration – or apply for grants, leave, or access to the conference circuit – must be on a crusade against his fellow scientists’ microaggressions and implicit bias. This is good news for the diversity industry, but bad news for America’s scientific competitiveness.

So why are scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians laughing?

Because, fortunately, university faculties of the STEM fields are not the Infinite Realm itself. Nor are the campuses of the Silicon Valley technology giants.

Funny that. The army of diversity administrators grows and grows. More and more STEM faculties in more and more universities appoint more and more diversity officers. But the frustration remains. Because that castle, which the people on the Studies cruises were told was the Infinite Realm, and which has been commandeered by the diversity police, and now has a day care annex, a free clinic, a gym, a safe place with coloring-in books and stuffed animal toys, a diner, unisex bathrooms, and 50 offices for diversity administrators (none for scientists, technologists, engineers or mathematicians), was not the real thing.

Truth is, the Infinite Realm is abstract. No matter who you are, of what tribe or caste or clan or breed or birth, if you can think you can enter. For the Infinite Realm is in your own head or else it does not exist for you at all. And no diversity officer, or law, or politically correct opinion, or Antifa riot, or grant from George Soros, can make any difference to that immutable fact.

Posted under education, liberty, Race, Sex by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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The great leap backward 5

Western Europe, a large part of the First World, is transforming itself into part of the Third World, a deliberate regression.

What are the rulers of western Europe thinking as they continue to insist on bringing hordes of hostile barbarians into their countries, eventually to rule over them? The demographic transformation costs an enormous chunk of each nation’s economy. The indigenous citizens suffer a huge increase of criminal attacks, rape, robbery, murder and terrorism. Yet the governments continue to invite vast numbers of aliens in; aliens whose culture, customs, morals, values, law, religion, ideology, and standards of everything from hygiene to education, are wholly incompatible with their own?

The indigenous populations are shrinking? They need more workers to maintain the welfare state? And if immigrants are parasites and not workers that’s still okay so there must some other reason? You’re sorry for them, they come from war-torn countries, you want to give them asylum because you want to show brotherly love to fellow-human-beings-in-distress? But aren’t these the very people who have made the wars? Aren’t these the same ones who are torturing and burning to death and drowning in boiling oil their fellow-human-beings-in-distress? Can’t they improve their own countries rather than wrecking yours by making yours quite as nasty as the ones they’ve left behind them?

Millions of Europeans don’t like losing their country, their property, and their lives to the barbarians, and they could stop it by changing their governments, but they don’t. They vote the same destroyers of their heritage back into power over and over again. Why?   

You say the answers to all these questions are in the mail? Or are they blowing in the wind?

Heather Mac Donald writes at Front Page:

Liberal ideology conceives of “safe spaces” in the context of alleged white patriarchy, but there was a real need for a “safe space” in Britain’s Manchester Arena on May 22, when 22-year-old terrorist Salman Abedi detonated his nail- and screw-filled suicide bomb after a concert by teen idol Ariana Grande. What was the “progressive” answer to yet another instance of Islamic terrorism in the West? Feckless calls for resisting hate, pledges of renewed diversity, and little else.

A rethinking of immigration policies is off the table. Nothing that an Islamic terrorist can do will ever shake the left-wing commitment to open borders—not mass sexual assaults, not the deliberate slaughter of gays, and not, as in Manchester last week, the killing of young girls. The real threat that radical Islam poses to feminism and gay rights must be disregarded in order to transform the West by Third World immigration. Defenders of the open-borders status quo inevitably claim that if a terrorist is a second-generation immigrant, like Abedi, immigration policy has nothing to do with his attack. (Abedi’s parents emigrated to Britain from Libya; his immediate family in Manchester lived in the world’s largest Libyan enclave outside Africa itself.) Media Matters ridiculed a comment about the Manchester bombing by Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt with the following headline: fox news host suggests ‘open borders’ are to blame for manchester attack carried out by british native.

Earhardt had asked how to prevent “what’s happening in Europe, with all these open borders, they’re not vetting, they’re opening their borders to families like this, and this is how they’re paid back in return”. Pace Media Matters, a second-generation Muslim immigrant with a zeal for suicide bombing is as much of an immigration issue as a first-generation immigrant with a terrorist bent. The fact that second-generation immigrants are not assimilating into Western culture makes immigration policy more, not less, of a pressing matter. It is absurd to suggest that Abedi picked up his terrorist leanings from reading William Shakespeare and William Wordsworth, rather than from the ideology of radical Islam that has been imported into Britain by mass immigration.

The Washington Post, too, editorialized that “defenders of vulnerable immigrants and asylum seekers, who in Britain as elsewhere in the West remain the targets of populist demagogues, could take some comfort from the fact that the assault apparently did not originate with those communities.” Well, where did the assault originate from — Buckingham Palace?

Since liberals and progressives will not allow a rethinking of open borders policy, perhaps they would support improved intelligence capacity so as to detect terror attacks in the planning stages? Nope. The Left still decries the modest expansions of surveillance power under the 2001 Patriot Act as the work of totalitarianism. Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly sought to gather publicly available information about dense Muslim neighborhoods in New York in order to monitor potential radicalization; his discontinued initiative is still denounced as anti-Muslim oppression. Internet companies protect encrypted communications from government access, to the applause of civil libertarians and the mainstream media. The National Security Agency’s mass data analysis, done by unconscious computer algorithms, is still being challenged in court. …

So what does the progressive and liberal bloc offer? Treacly bromides, combined with fatalism about the necessity of adjusting to future attacks.

A day after Manchester, the Washington Post admonished: 

As nations across the West have learned, it is not possible to prevent all such terrorist attacks, especially when they are staged by homegrown militants. What is possible is a response that focuses on uniting rather than dividing a diverse society. That’s what was happening in Manchester on Tuesday, as thousands of people of all races and faiths gathered for a vigil in the city’s Albert Square. “I’m not here as a person with brown skin or someone born Muslim,” a man named Amir Shah told a Guardian reporter. “I’m here as a Mancunian.” If that spirit prevails, the terrorists will have failed.

No, the terrorists will have failed if they can no longer slaughter children. They don’t care if a terror attack is met with candlelight vigils; they care if border restrictions and law enforcement make it impossible to destroy lives.

The flip side of the Post’s “terrorists will have failed if we light candles” conceit is the ubiquitous meme that the “terrorists will have won” if we modify our intelligence strategies or immigration policies in any way. The New York Times editorialized after the Manchester bombing: “It is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain — and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West — to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies.” This response is narcissistic. The attack was an effort to kill British girls and their parents, period. The terrorists win every time they pull off such massacres. They are not monitoring the legislative process and plotting how to move the needle on Western security protections in a way contrary to their own self-interest. If a society were exclusively Christian, Jewish, or even Muslim, it would be just as much the target of attack by ISIS or al-Qaida as a more “diverse” society.

Besides which, diversity per se is NOT a cherished value of the West. It is a suicidal policy of the Left. Western nations could and did accept newcomers of diverse origins if the immigrants were ready to live under the law of their hosts and were eager to be assimilated. But diversity in itself was not seen as a supremely good thing until the Left became obsessed with race and racism.

Moreover, how would the New York Times distinguish a terror attack that seeks to “sweep away . . . the inclusiveness of diverse societies” from one that was merely intended to kill? Any terror attack carries some chance (albeit an increasingly de minimis one) that it will result in a tightening of immigration or security policies, but that does not mean that such tightening is the goal of the attack.

Perhaps aware that the “candlelight vigil” strategy for fighting terrorism may seem a little wan, progressives make passing reference to actual security measures, but couched in such broad terms as to be almost meaningless. And they are only faking it, because those security measures would violate core tenets of progressive ideology.

The [New YorkTimes says .. it is … “critical that immigrants, especially Muslims, are not stigmatized” … “understanding is critical” and [it] inveighs against “whipping up divisive ethnic, racist and religious hatreds”.

Here’s painful irony. The bien pensants of the Left, whose organ is the New York Times, are themselves passionately dedicated, heart-mind-hand-and-voice, to “whipping up divisive ethnic, racist and religious hatreds”.   

When it comes to terrorism … a country is apparently not allowed to say: “Enough is enough, the status quo is not working, we need to rethink the policies that have allowed this mayhem to flourish.” …

The writer asks why the emotions triggered by the attack, “horror, anger, sadness, fear, revulsion”, should not be politicized. We agree with her that they should be. Why should we pretend not to be afraid of Muslim terrorism? We are terrorized. Political action needs to be taken against those who are terrorizing us. 

Islamic terrorism in the West is an immigration problem. Until we have the law enforcement and intelligence capacity to detect terror plots, immigration policy has to change, both in Europe and in the U.S.

The immigration of Third World barbarians – in particular Muslim barbarians – needs to be STOPPED.

The United States must not end up in the same situation. We need lower immigration levels and much tighter screening. The Manchester bombing vindicated President Donald Trump’s March 2017 executive order briefly limiting travel to the U.S. from half a dozen ISIS- and al-Qaida-riven countries, including Libya, while the administration reviews security screening in those countries. Yet three days after Manchester, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down that order, claiming that it “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination”. This judicial crusade against Trump’s travel pause cripples the executive’s ability to protect the country from attack, by exporting phantom constitutional rights to the world.  Progressives’ passivity in the face of Islamic terrorism is not a consistent philosophy. It is rather the outcome of their commitment to open borders at any cost. That ideology has taken too many lives and must be overcome.

Yes, it must be overcome. But how?

The mailed answers never arrive. Or the wind blows them away.

Raising a mercenary army of racists on public funds 6

Honors program at one university pays students to take “white privilege” and BLM courses

That is the headline of this article – a factual report with critical comment – at Liberty Unyielding:

The question that naturally arises is whether these students would take the courses if they weren’t bribed to do so, although knowing today’s campus climate, the answer is probably an emphatic yes.

An honors program at a public university gives students a scholarship and early course signup and lets them use laptops if they take classes on subjects like “white privilege” and Black Lives Matter [BLM], which both have community engagement components.

Sam Houston State University in Texas (SHSU) offers a scholarship of up to $2,800 to students who take these courses or others as part of its Elliott T. Bowers Honors College. Students who gain admission into the Honors College can sign up for courses earlier than their non-Honors peers, obtain access to a special computer center, and “automatically receive the Bowers Scholarship upon acceptance into the college”. The Honors students also graduate with distinction and gain usage of cameras, video cameras, and laptops for their class projects.

As SHSU is a taxpayer-funded public school, Americans of all colors, ethnicities, and political persuasions are financing this subversive course.

Subversive and racist:

Understanding Whiteness: Historic and Contemporary Viewpoints on Privilege,” asks SHSU Honors students “how might white people better understand white privilege and their potential role in dismantling systemic racism?” and requires students to “engage in personal self-reflection” and “educate others about white privilege through action research projects and community engagement initiatives.”

“Systemic racism” is treated as an established fact. The implication is that contempt for black people is mystically inherent in all white people because they are white, in the same way that Christians believe “original sin” is mystically inherent in all human beings because they are human.

The seminar examines “white privilege” from modern and historical perspectives — e.g., “the social construction of whiteness” — as well as “key historic events and movements advancing white privilege (eugenics, global colonization, holocaust).”

Eugenics is almost universally regarded as immoral.

Nations of various human colors have been colonizing foreign territories for millennia. At present, Islam is colonizing Europe.

Holocaust? As an example of “white privilege”?  Presumably the privilege of the white Germans. But weren’t the European Jews who were massacred also white?

The Black Lives Matter Honors College seminar is taught by associate professor Ervin Malakaj, who co-chairs SHSU’s Diversity Committee for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Ervin Malakaj is an associate professor of German at SHSU.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has called on Americans to address the racial violence, mass incarceration, and dehumanizing social policies directed at African Americans,” reads the seminar description.

The implication there is that “racial violence” is a carried out only or mainly by whites on blacks. That is not true.

Go here to read a superbly well-researched article by Heather Mac Donald on The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism, in which she demolishes false allegations of “mass incarceration” and racial inequity. “The most poisonous claim in the dominant narrative is that our criminal justice system is a product and a source of racial inequity,” she writes.

What “dehumanizing social policies directed at African Americans” are there?

The course seems to be intended to indoctrinate students with lies calculated to rouse distress and indignation.

Whose idea was it to pay people to be aggrieved and enraged?

And worse. To take action –  which is surely implied by the phrase “community engagement”:

The BLM course is part of SHSU’s Academic Community Engagement (ACE) program, which blends teaching with community engagement.

Are there no intelligent, rational, well-informed, pro-American sages in the universities objecting to proposals for degree courses that stoke racial hostility and potentially encourage violence? If there are, they must be a very small and ineffectual minority. Tenured teachers would not risk their jobs by making a public fuss about this inculcation of racist ideology into generations of  Americans.

Posted under Commentary, education, Race, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

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The police are not racist 1

Heather Mac Donald makes an absolutely convincing defense of the police.

Posted under Law, Race by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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The fire this time? 7

Two days ago (July 7, 2016), five police officers were shot dead in Dallas, Texas, and seven more wounded, all by a lone black gunman named Micah Xavier Johnson, during a “Black Lives Matter” protest.

Violence against police officers is becoming epidemic [we quote from PowerLine]. In Tennessee, Lakeem Scott shot four people, including a police officer, because he was “troubled by recent events involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country”. In Georgia, earlier today, “a phony 911 caller ambushed a patrolman when he responded to the suspect’s request for help”.  The Georgia Bureau of Investigation “said a motive for the shooting is not yet clear, but did mention the similarity between the crime and the shootings in Dallas”. This morning [July 8] in suburban St. Louis, “a motorist shot an officer three times as the officer walked back to his car during a traffic stop”.  The officer is in critical but stable condition. So far in 2016, 34 police officers have been murdered in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, most by gunfire and others by vehicular assault. Many more have been wounded.

So has the race war that the “Black Lives Matter” movement is agitating for begun?

The following is an extract from the transcript of a highly informative speech (which needs to be read in full), delivered on April 27, 2016, at Hillsdale College, by Heather Mac Donald:

For almost two years, a protest movement known as “Black Lives Matter” has convulsed the nation. Triggered by the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, the Black Lives Matter movement holds that racist police officers are the greatest threat facing young black men today. This belief has triggered riots, “die-ins”,  the murder and attempted murder of police officers, a campaign to eliminate traditional grand jury proceedings when police use lethal force, and a presidential task force on policing.

Even though the U.S. Justice Department has resoundingly disproven the lie that a pacific Michael Brown was shot in cold blood while trying to surrender, Brown is still venerated as a martyr. And now police officers are backing off of proactive policing in the face of the relentless venom directed at them on the street and in the media. As a result, violent crime is on the rise.

The need is urgent, therefore, to examine the Black Lives Matter movement’s central thesis — that police pose the greatest threat to young black men.

I propose two counter hypotheses: first, that there is no government agency more dedicated to the idea that black lives matter than the police; and second, that we have been talking obsessively about alleged police racism over the last 20 years in order to avoid talking about a far larger problem — black-on-black crime.

Every year, approximately 6,000 blacks are murdered. This is a number greater than white and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the national population. Blacks are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. In Los Angeles, blacks between the ages of 20 and 24 die at a rate 20 to 30 times the national mean. Who is killing them? Not the police, and not white civilians, but other blacks. The astronomical black death-by-homicide rate is a function of the black crime rate. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined. Blacks of all ages commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, and at eleven times the rate of whites alone. …

The black violent crime rate would actually predict that more than 26 percent of police victims would be black. Officer use of force will occur where the police interact most often with violent criminals, armed suspects, and those resisting arrest, and that is in black neighborhoods.

In America’s 75 largest counties in 2009, for example, blacks constituted 62 percent of all robbery defendants, 57 percent of all murder defendants, 45 percent of all assault defendants — but only 15 percent of the population. Moreover, 40 percent of all cop killers have been black over the last decade. And a larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths are a result of police killings than black homicide deaths — but don’t expect to hear that from the media or from the political enablers of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Twelve percent of all white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by police officers, compared to four percent of all black homicide victims. If we’re going to have a “Lives Matter” anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named “White and Hispanic Lives Matter”.

Standard anti-cop ideology, whether emanating from the ACLU or the academy, holds that law enforcement actions are racist if they don’t mirror population data. New York City illustrates why that expectation is so misguided. Blacks make up 23 percent of New York City’s population, but they commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime … Add Hispanic shootings and you account for 98 percent of all illegal gunfire in the city. Whites are 33 percent of the city’s population, but they commit fewer than two percent of all shootings, four percent of all robberies, and five percent of all violent crime. These disparities mean that virtually every time the police in New York are called out on a gun run — meaning that someone has just been shot — they are being summoned to minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects. …

This incidence of crime means that innocent black men have a much higher chance than innocent white men of being stopped by the police because they match the description of a suspect. This is not something the police choose. It is a reality forced on them by the facts of crime.

The geographic disparities are also huge. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, the per capita shooting rate is 81 times higher than in nearby Bay Ridge, Brooklyn — the first neighborhood predominantly black, the second neighborhood predominantly white and Asian. As a result, police presence and use of proactive tactics are much higher in Brownsville than in Bay Ridge. Every time there is a shooting, the police will flood the area looking to make stops in order to avert a retaliatory shooting. They are in Brownsville not because of racism, but because they want to provide protection to its many law-abiding residents who deserve safety. …

The crime victories of the last two decades, and the moral support on which law and order depends, are now in jeopardy thanks to the falsehoods of the Black Lives Matter movement. Police operating in inner-city neighborhoods now find themselves routinely surrounded by cursing, jeering crowds when they make a pedestrian stop or try to arrest a suspect. Sometimes bottles and rocks are thrown. Bystanders stick cell phones in the officers’ faces, daring them to proceed with their duties. Officers are worried about becoming the next racist cop of the week and possibly losing their livelihood thanks to an incomplete cell phone video that inevitably fails to show the antecedents to their use of force. …

As a result of the anti-cop campaign of the last two years and the resulting push-back in the streets, officers in urban areas are cutting back on precisely the kind of policing that led to the crime decline of the 1990s and 2000s. Arrests and summons are down, particularly for low-level offenses.

Police officers continue to rush to 911 calls when there is already a victim. But when it comes to making discretionary stops — such as getting out of their cars and questioning people hanging out on drug corners at 1:00 a.m.—many cops worry that doing so could put their careers on the line. …

When they are repeatedly called racist for stopping and questioning suspicious individuals in high-crime areas, they will perform less of those stops. That is not only understandable — in a sense, it is how things should work. Policing is political. If a powerful political block has denied the legitimacy of assertive policing, we will get less of it.

On the other hand, the people demanding that the police back off are by no means representative of the entire black community. Go to any police neighborhood meeting in Harlem, the South Bronx, or South Central Los Angeles, and you will invariably hear variants of the following: “We want the dealers off the corner.” “You arrest them and they’re back the next day.” “There are kids hanging out on my stoop. Why can’t you arrest them for loitering?” “I smell weed in my hallway. Can’t you do something?” … The irony is that the police cannot respond to these heartfelt requests for order without generating the racially disproportionate statistics that will be used against them in an ACLU or Justice Department lawsuit.

Unfortunately, when officers back off in high crime neighborhoods, crime shoots through the roof.

Our country is in the midst of the first sustained violent crime spike in two decades. Murders rose nearly 17 percent in the nation’s 50 largest cities in 2015, and it was in cities with large black populations where the violence increased the most. Baltimore’s per capita homicide rate last year was the highest in its history. Milwaukee had its deadliest year in a decade, with a 72 percent increase in homicides. Homicides in Cleveland increased 90 percent over the previous year. Murders rose 83 percent in Nashville, 54 percent in Washington, D.C., and 61 percent in Minneapolis. In Chicago, where pedestrian stops are down by 90 percent, shootings were up 80 percent through March 2016.

I first identified the increase in violent crime in May 2015 and dubbed it “the Ferguson effect“.  …

In August 2015, an officer in Birmingham, Alabama, was beaten unconscious by a convicted felon after a car stop. The suspect had grabbed the officer’s gun, as Michael Brown had tried to do in Ferguson, but the officer hesitated to use force against him for fear of being charged with racism. Such incidents will likely multiply as the media continues to amplify the Black Lives Matter activists’ poisonous slander against the nation’s police forces. The number of police officers killed in shootings more than doubled during the first three months of 2016. In fact, officers are at much greater risk from blacks than unarmed blacks are from the police. Over the last decade, an officer’s chance of getting killed by a black has been 18.5 times higher than the chance of an unarmed black getting killed by a cop.

The favorite conceit of the Black Lives Matter movement is, of course, the racist white officer gunning down a black man. According to available studies, it is a canard. A March 2015 Justice Department report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on “threat misperception,” i.e., the incorrect belief that a civilian is armed.

The April 2015 death of drug dealer Freddie Gray in Baltimore has been slotted into the Black Lives Matter master narrative, even though the three most consequential officers in Gray’s arrest and transport are black. There is no evidence that a white drug dealer in Gray’s circumstances, with a similar history of faking injuries, would have been treated any differently.

We have been here before. In the 1960s and early 1970s, black and white radicals directed hatred and occasional violence against the police. The difference today is that anti-cop ideology is embraced at the highest reaches of the establishment: by the President, by his Attorney General, by college presidents, by foundation heads, and by the press.

The presidential candidates of one party are competing to see who can out-demagogue President Obama’s persistent race-based calumnies against the criminal justice system, while those of the other party have not emphasized the issue as they might have.

I don’t know what will end the current frenzy against the police. What I do know is that we are playing with fire, and if it keeps spreading, it will be hard to put out.

It keeps spreading.

The evil agenda of the leftist media 11

At last! The comment on the shooting of black men by police officers in America that the world needs to hear.

It  is from PowerLine, by John Hinderaker, who supports his case with an important quotation from Heather Mac Donald:

One of this morning’s big news stories is the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Antonio Martin by a policeman in Berkeley, Missouri – a place that, the Associated Press tells us helpfully, is “just a few miles from Ferguson.” The Antonio Martin shooting is currently the top story on Google News, and it is being headlined on pretty much every newspaper’s website.

But why? What makes this a major news story? The Michael Brown and Eric Garner stories that preceded it, obviously. But what made them worldwide news? Or, to go back in time, what made the Trayvon Martin case a cause célèbre, commented on by the President of the United States and followed breathlessly by millions?

The Antonio Martin case won’t be as big a story as Brown’s and Garner’s deaths. Rather than being your typical “unarmed” 300-pounder, Martin apparently pulled a 9 mm. pistol on the policeman who responded by shooting him. But every shooting of a civilian by a police officer is now deemed an important news story – with the critical qualification that the civilian, but not the officer, be black.

Are these shootings worldwide news because of an epidemic of racist murders being carried out by American policemen? That is what Eric Holder, Bill DeBlasio and Al Sharpton would have us believe. But it obviously isn’t true.

Heather Mac Donald writes:

Police killings of blacks are an extremely rare feature of black life and are a minute fraction of black homicide deaths. The police could end all killings of civilians tomorrow and it would have no effect on the black homicide risk, which comes overwhelmingly from other blacks. In 2013, there were 6,261 black homicide victims in the U.S. — almost all killed by black civilians — resulting in a death risk in inner cities that is ten times higher for blacks than for whites. None of those killings triggered mass protests; they are deemed normal and beneath notice. The police, by contrast, according to published reports, kill roughly 200 blacks a year, most of them armed and dangerous, out of about 40 million police-civilian contacts a year. Blacks are in fact killed by police at a lower rate than their threat to officers would predict. In 2013, blacks made up 42 percent of all cop killers whose race was known, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population. The percentage of black suspects killed by the police nationally is 29 percent lower than the percentage of blacks mortally threatening them.

These stories about the killings of African-American men by police officers (or by a “neighborhood watch captain,” in Trayvon Martin’s case) are … plucked from a nearly endless supply of sad events that occur daily in a nation of 315 million, and are promoted because they further a political narrative.

An unholy alliance of activists and newspaper reporters and editors tries to distort our perception of reality by giving undue emphasis to them. Then, of course, reality begins to catch up with perception, and we have riots, murders of police officers, and so on. But understand that the decision to promote these stories, in preference to others that are equally or more newsworthy, is a choice that is consciously made by people with a political agenda.

Posted under Commentary, media, Progressivism, Race, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, December 24, 2014

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The harm that feminism has done 7

When a whole whimper of western women sex-changed into feminists – starting in the 1960s – they did not give up dependency, they simply switched from being dependent on a husband to being dependent on the state.

It was a bad move. It is generally far easier to negotiate for your wants with a single person whose life and comfort is bound up with your own, than with an indifferent bureaucracy.

Feminism is a Leftist movement – the ideology or faith of the Left being the belief that government, like a god who commands all the resources of the world and can forever pluck more out of the infinite, must and will supply your every need: cradle you, coddle you, teach you, care for you, shelter and protect you, and so give you joy.

The model American “woomin” in this dreary long age of Obama, is a fictitious feminist named Julia. Julia Government is her married name. Her channel of communication with her remote, powerful, immaterial spouse is gov dot com. She signals her needs to him, and he responds with grants and services throughout her life.

She has a child with his indirect assistance. She does not have to stay at home to care for it as women used to do. Government raises and educates it in the Faith. And to keep her occupied and in pocket, Government grants her a little business of her own – not too lucrative, nothing that would make an obscene private-sector type profit!

Generations of children have now grown up nurtured in the cold bosom of the state. Each generation is smaller than the last. “Wimmin” don’t see the point of having them, actually. And Government provides almost free contraception. And Planned Parenthood provides cheap abortions. So let the human species dwindle. It’s bad for the planet anyway.

And besides – life, the feminists say, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

So why don’t you try going back to the old ways, wimmin? Share a marriage bed with a person? Bear more children, raise them, teach them, enjoy making them happy and letting them make you happy?

No, no!, the feminists reply, we would be housebound. We would have to give the best years of our lives to changing diapers, and cooking, and putting clothes in washing machines!

Instead of?

Instead of what we’re doing now.

Which is?

Copulating with anyone we want when we want; accusing men of rape whether they’ve done it or not; having the occasional abortion; running a little business on a grant; or working for our master, the Government. You know – all that.

No downside to all that?

Well, (the wimmin tell us, deeply resenting our hostile questioning), even if being married to the state has its drawbacks, at least (they say, singing in their chains like the sea) – at least we’re free!

*

It profits me but little, after all, that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquility of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life. – Alexis de Tocqueville

Bruce Thornton quotes that wise saying in an article at Front Page, from which we extract these points:

California recently passed a law requiring that sexual encounters between students in universities and colleges can proceed only on the basis of “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement”. Failure to resist or to ask the partner to stop the encounter can no longer be taken as consent. Institutions that wish to receive state funds or financial aid must adhere to this standard when investigating charges of “sexual assault”, a phrase redefined to include behaviors once considered boorish or insensitive, but not legally actionable. The California law follows on the 2011 Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’s “dear colleague” letter that instructed schools investigating sexual assault complaints to use the “more likely than not” or “preponderance of the evidence” standard of evidence rather than the “clear and convincing” one.

The dangers to individual privacy and accountability that follow such regulatory intrusions into sexual intimacy between legal adults have been well documented, not the least being the violation of the rights of the accused, who now enter a hearing with a presumption of guilt rather than of innocence. Also problematic is the double standard inherent in such rules, particularly when both accuser and accused are drunk or otherwise incapacitated. …

The feminists’ championing of sexual autonomy for women reached a head in the 1960s. Before the modern age, sex was seen as a necessary but dangerous force that, if left uncontrolled, not just impaired the mind, but also destroyed whole civilizations. It was the illicit sexual passion of Paris and Helen that “burnt the topless towers” of Troy, as Christopher Marlow wrote. As such, sex had to be contained and channeled by social practices and cultural institutions. Virtues, taboos, and especially marriage all attempted to direct sexual energy to its most socially important goal, procreation and the family. …

By the late nineteenth century, many social and cultural developments had undermined this traditional sexual realism. Over the following decades, in the work of Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Sigmund Freud, Margaret Mead, Alfred Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, Norman O. Brown, Herbert Marcuse, and numerous others, sex was [regarded as] a natural phenomenon that science could understand and hence make more enjoyable and less damaging. The destructive effects of sex, in this view, were not inherent, but the consequence of repressive social institutions …

In the sixties, Cultural Marxism interpreted traditional limits on sexual behavior as the instruments of oppression and conformity, reinforcing the “false consciousness” that perpetuated the ruling class and its power.

Breaking sexual taboos and experiencing sexual pleasure thus became acts of liberation, leading to self-fulfillment and personal freedom.

Feminism embraced this notion of sexual liberation. The autonomy of women depended on their casting off the shackles of patriarchal misogyny most evident in male control of women’s sexuality – “our bodies, ourselves” became the battle cry. Women should have the equal power to choose sexual experiences and pleasure, and the unjust double standards that gave men but not women sexual autonomy should be discarded. The biological differences between men and women, especially nature’s subjection of women’s bodies to the relentless imperatives of procreation, were now discarded as arbitrary, unjust impediments to women’s freedom and autonomy. This process was moved along by the new technologies of reliable birth control and accessible and safe abortion.

In the ensuing decades, however, the malign consequences of sexual liberation became increasingly manifest – the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases, the wider access to demeaning pornography, and the explosion of out-of-wedlock childbirth and the attendant social dysfunctions that follow from children being raised without fathers.

Even for more privileged women, there were psychological costs to be paid for contending with male sexual predators and absolving them of responsibility for their behavior, given that now men and women were equally in control of their sexual choices, and that the traditional mores once enshrining male responsibility, such as chivalry, had been dismissed as patronizing and sexist.

But as the years passed, many women began to discover that there are indeed differences between men and women and their experiences of sex. Liberation did not lead to the sexual utopia of carefree and cost-free pleasure, but to the guilt, regret, and humiliation that follow being used as an object for somebody else’s transient enjoyment.

The response to these ill effects was to create rules and codes designed to eliminate the negative consequences of sexual freedom. But contrary to the assumptions of lawmakers who want to regulate sexual behavior, sex is not a game like tennis that can be pleasurable for the players provided the rules are followed. As Camille Paglia has pointed out, when it comes to sex, the more appropriate metaphor is to the old Roman arena, where there was no law. An act that is so physically and psychologically complicated, and that exposes our most intimate longings and hidden selves, cannot be rationalized and made cost-free, or its unpleasant effects neutralized, by reducing it to a “voluntary agreement” in which the terms and conditions are spelled out and followed as in a contract. …

Faced with the costs of sexual liberation, [feminists chose] to demand that the state use its coercive power to protect women not just from insensitive men, but from the consequences of their own choices. Sexual harassment law is the most widespread expression of this impulse to use the tutelary state to defend women from a “hostile and intimidating” environment. The vulgar joke or boorish innuendo is now not just a violation of social decorum, but a crime subject to law and punishment.

But nothing infantilizes women more than the sexual codes promulgated by numerous universities. Obviously, sexual assault properly defined is a crime that should be investigated and the guilty punished. But getting drunk and then sleeping with an equally intoxicated partner is not a crime. It’s a learning experience about taking responsibility for one’s actions, and practicing the virtues of prudence and self-control. …

At the same time that feminists still call for unlimited sexual freedom, they treat women as Victorian maidens who lack agency and resources of character, and thus must be defended against sexual cads and bounders. As the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald puts it, this “new order is a bizarre hybrid of liberationist and traditionalist values. It carefully preserves the prerogative of no-strings-attached sex while cabining it with legalistic caveats that allow females to revert at will to a stance of offended virtue.”

This strange demand for absolute freedom without responsibility for one’s choices is not just a symptom of feminism. It reaches into our broader culture. It has become the enabler of the entitlement state, which justifies its growing size and regulatory power over people’s lives by promising to protect them not just from the vicissitudes of life, but from the consequences of their own choices … Thus the feminist demand for government-subsidized birth control and abortion is of a piece with government bailouts for homeowners who over-borrowed on the equity of their homes or lied on their mortgage applications.

The demand for personal freedom without accountability contradicts the foundational philosophy of our republic. The right to liberty is not the right be absolved from the consequences of one’s actions. Taking that responsibility is what makes one worthy of freedom and equal to others who likewise must be accountable for their actions.

The low and lawless spirit of the Democratic Party 2

How deeply has the Democratic Party sunk into immorality and lawlessness?

Out of many possible examples of its descent into both, this is one.

We quote part of an article by Heather Mac Donald at the Wall Street Journal:

The Rev. Al Sharpton once epitomized New York’s bad old days of the 1980s, when the then-corpulent, gold-medallion-bedecked tub thumper inflamed racial hatred and courted violence. Today, against all expectations and at least 100 pounds lighter, he has been rehabilitated into the Democratic Party’s civil-rights leader of choice. Has Mr. Sharpton changed or simply outlasted his critics?

President Obama ’s embrace of Mr. Sharpton has been particularly intense this year. On Monday he called Mr. Sharpton’s radio show to discuss the Nov. 4 elections. In April the president appeared at a political rally organized by Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network. Mr. Obama’s closest adviser, Valerie Jarrett, conferred with Mr. Sharpton in August about the police killing of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., as Mr. Sharpton led protests against the Ferguson police.

The Democratic establishment is just as obsequious. It turned out in force earlier this month to celebrate Mr. Sharpton’s 60th birthday party at New York’s tony Four Seasons restaurant. Hillary Clinton phoned in with best wishes. Barack and Michelle Obama sent a congratulatory letter. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gushed: “He’s the nation’s Rev. Sharpton—and the nation is better for it.” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman , Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand , and Reps. Charles Rangel and Jerry Nadler rushed to pay their respects.

Obeisance to this louse, from the most powerful in the land! Such is the character of these Democrats.

Worrying as it might be for America to see Mr. Sharpton catapulted into the national limelight, that is nothing compared with the alarm felt by many New Yorkers now witnessing his emergence as a political power in their city.

When New Yorkers elected Bill de Blasio as mayor last year, they knew they were getting a self-styled “progressive” who pledged to soak the rich and shackle the New York Police Department. What they didn’t know was that they were also voting to bring Al Sharpton and his influence into the very heart of City Hall. The mayor’s alliance with the racial provocateur is now creating the biggest crisis of his mayoralty.

So far Mr. de Blasio is pretending not to notice. As the crisis escalated, involving a former Sharpton aide now working for the mayor’s wife, Mr. de Blasio ladled on the praise at the Four Seasons. “Al Sharpton has been a blessing for this city,” the mayor enthused. “He’s been a blessing for this nation. And the more people criticize him, the more I want to hang out with him. Because a lot of times, just look who’s doing the criticizing and the way they’re saying it—it makes you realize the Rev must be doing something right. You know, sometimes, your enemies are the best endorsers of the righteousness of your actions.”

Where to start in evaluating what a “blessing” Al Sharpton has been to New York and America? …

Heather Mac Donald recalls some of the worst instances of Al Sharpton’s supporting, condoning, inciting and personally directing criminal acts, from false accusations of rape to anti-Semitic riots in which people were beaten and burnt to death.

For a full history of Al Sharpton ‘s iniquitous career of race hustling, defying court orders, and generally flouting the law and getting away with it, go here.

In 2008 the Associated Press reported that Mr. Sharpton and his business entities owed nearly $1.5 million in taxes and penalties, as well as tens of thousands of dollars in fines for unpaid workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. By this year Mr. Sharpton’s tax liabilities had ballooned to $4.7 million, according to the New York Post. He still owes the Federal Election Commission $208,000 for the improper use of campaign money during his 2004 presidential bid.

Not relevant, apparently, to Mr. Sharpton’s increasing reach into Democratic circles. Mr. Sharpton believes that New York’s mayor owes him his job — a belief shared, it seems, by Mr. de Blasio himself. Mr. Sharpton pointedly declined to endorse the sole black candidate in the Democratic primary last year. That left the field open for a late-surging Mr. de Blasio, who had run a demagogic campaign against the New York Police Department, denouncing its stop-question-and-frisk policies as racist. Candidate de Blasio also pandered to black voters by prominently featuring his biracial son in campaign ads. “We won the election,” Mr. Sharpton later told CBS New York.

Mr. de Blasio’s first offering of thanks was to hire Mr. Sharpton’s longtime public-relations adviser as his wife’s $170,000-a-year chief of staff. Such a position was unprecedented, but the choice of Rachel Noerdlinger to fill it was even more startling. It put an Al Sharpton confidante at the center of city power.

Next, Mayor de Blasio implied that Mr. Sharpton was a major player in police affairs. In late July the mayor convened a meeting of “community advocates” to discuss the death of a black man following the man’s arrest for selling untaxed loose cigarettes. Mr. Sharpton’s inevitable protests against the NYPD had blamed the death on the enforcement of public-order laws, including the ban on selling loose cigarettes. Such enforcement is key to “broken windows” policing—stopping minor crimes as a way of preventing major ones.

Mr. Sharpton was led in to the mayor’s community meeting by his former aide, Ms. Noerdlinger, and seated on Mr. de Blasio’s left, with Police Commissioner William Bratton, serving his second tour as New York’s top law officer, on the mayor’s right. The symbolism was lost on no one, least of all police officers. The next day, a mock NYPD identification card circulated through police headquarters showing Mr. Sharpton as commissioner.

By the time of the Four Seasons birthday blowout, the mayor’s Noerdlinger-Sharpton connection was turning toxic. As the local press reported, the 43-year-old single mother had failed to disclose in her City Hall background check that she was living with an unemployed ex-convict who had served time for fatally shooting a man over a jacket and for drug dealing. The boyfriend, Hassaun McFarlan, had referred to the police as “pigs” on his now-vanished Facebook page.

Ms. Noerdlinger had received a waiver of the city’s residency requirement by citing her teenage son’s need to continue a physical-therapy regime in New Jersey following a traffic accident. She didn’t mention that he was fit enough to play linebacker on his high-school football team. Like Mr. McFarlan, that son has referred to the police as “pigs” on social media, and he has tweeted: “I’m convinced all white people are the devil.”

Ms. Noerdlinger has a federal tax lien against her, typical of the Sharpton inner circle, but failed to report it to the city’s conflict of interest board. She has been involved to varying degrees in McFarlan-related dust-ups with the law, including hundreds of dollars in unpaid traffic tickets issued to her Mercedes-Benz since her City Hall job began.

Mayor de Blasio has refused to discuss the implications for his administration of these and other revelations. Nor has he disciplined Ms. Noerdlinger for her multiple omissions on city background checks.

Police morale is plummeting, given the mayor’s stubborn allegiance to a former Sharpton aide and the seeming elevation of Mr. Sharpton to near-parity with Police Commissioner Bratton. Cops in certain high-crime precincts have all but abandoned pedestrian stops, which candidate de Blasio had so fiercely criticized.

As for Mr. Sharpton, he portrays the Noerdlinger fiasco as a conspiracy to bring down the de Blasio mayoralty and Mr. Sharpton’s connection to it. After leading a few rounds of “no justice, no peace” on a recent Saturday at his National Action Network headquarters — still little more than a shabby storefront despite the millions shoveled into it by supplicant corporate donors — Mr. Sharpton told his supporters: “They will keep trying to prevent [the mayor] from transforming this city, whether it’s Rachel”—Ms. Noerdlinger—“or it’s someone else. When Mayor de Blasio and his wife reached out and said they wanted Rachel to come, I said: ‘Don’t think that they won’t put a target on your back. They’ll find something. They gonna think I cut some deal.’ ”

The longer Mayor de Blasio sticks by Ms. Noerdlinger, the more it will appear that the mayor did cut a deal. But firing her would invite Mr. Sharpton’s wrath, jeopardizing Mr. de Blasio’s hopes for a second term. Worse, Mr. Sharpton is demanding an end to broken-windows policing, while Commissioner Bratton has vowed to continue it. Mayor de Blasio cannot satisfy both men.

Despite Mr. Sharpton’s current mainstream patina … he still peddles the dangerous lie that police officers are the greatest threat facing young black men and that racial discrimination is the main force holding blacks back.

In fact, it is other young black men who are responsible for the high homicide risk faced by black teens, and it is proactive policing that has dramatically reduced that risk, saving thousands of young lives in places like New York City.

Mr. Sharpton’s longevity as a public figure rests on the enduring power of racial grievance to elevate those politicians who accede to it, while distracting attention from the family and social breakdown afflicting the black community.

Al Sharpton embodies the spirit of the Democratic Party. So does Mayor de Blasio, for whose sleazy political biography go here.

Reason as the source of order and morality 11

This video is one of a series – a pleasure to watch in its entirety – in which Charles R. Kesler of the Claremont Institute interviews Heather Mac Donald. She thinks clearly and speaks plainly. Her ideas are genuinely profound.

Very rare, that. Most intellectuals are not very intelligent, and seem to hold to the precept: “I cannot be profound so I’ll be unintelligible – and trust that few who hear me can tell the difference.”

Heather Mac Donald is an atheist and a conservative. We expect most of our readers will be in agreement with what she says here:

The Golden Rule: Treat others as you want them to treat you.

Or (better): Don’t treat others as you’d hate to be treated yourself.

It is worth noting that belief in the Golden Rule is not common to all religions. Not even to all the “moral religions”.  There is nothing in the teaching of Islam that approximates to it, even with the most liberal interpretation of Muhammad’s less offensive doctrines.

The Golden Rule is, however, reasonable. Sensible human beings don’t need a message from a mystical sphere to see that it makes good sense.

Posted under Miscellaneous, Philosophy by Jillian Becker on Thursday, August 28, 2014

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Atheists and conservatives stir up a brouhaha 4

The organizers of an important Conservative conference have banned an atheist organization from attending it and setting out its stall.

The Conservative Political Action Committee, the largest and oldest gathering of conservatives, is run by the American Conservative Union and will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland’s National Harbor from March 6 to 8. Last year, the event brought together thousands of activists to listen to dozens of Republican leaders speak about everything from economics and foreign policy to social issues. The event has long been considered a required stop for Republican presidential hopefuls.

That and what follows we quote from CNN’s “belief blog”.

Organizers for the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference will not allow American Atheists to have an exhibition booth …

The decision comes just hours after American Atheists, the outspoken organization that advocates for atheists nationwide, announced that it would have a booth at the event. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, tells CNN that a groundswell of opposition from high-ranking members of CPAC compelled the group to pull the invite.

Meghan Snyder, a spokeswoman for CPAC, said in a statement to CNN that “American Atheists misrepresented itself about their willingness to engage in positive dialogue and work together to promote limited government.”

“I’m surprised and I’m saddened,” Silverman said in response to the announcement. “I think this is a very disappointing turn of events. I was really looking forward to going … It is very obvious to me they were looking for a reason to say no,” Silverman added. “Christianity is bad for conservatism and they did not want that message out there.” …

Silverman said his group [had] planned to use the booth to bring conservative atheists “out of the closet” and said he was not worried about making the Christian right angry because “the Christian right should be threatened by us.”

Snyder said CPAC spoke to Silverman about his divisive and inappropriate language.

He pledged that he will attack the very idea that Christianity is an important element of conservatism. People of any faith tradition should not be attacked for their beliefs, especially at our conference. …

But yes, Ms Snyder, it is precisely beliefs that ought to be attacked. Continually. Forever.

The critical examination of ideas is the essential task of civilized humankind. 

When [earlier] Snyder had confirmed to CNN that American Atheists would be at CPAC, she said in a statement that they were allowed to display at the confab because “conservatives have always stood for freedom of religion and freedom of expression.”

“The folks we have been working with stand for many of the same liberty-oriented policies and principles we stand for,” Snyder said. …

And so, she had thought, did American Atheists. But the decision to include them had outraged some conservatives.

Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative think-tank Family Research Council, expressed outrage at the decision, stating that the American Atheists did “not seek to add their voice to the chorus of freedom”. [He said] “CPAC’s mission is to be an umbrella for conservative organizations that advance liberty, traditional values and our national defense.” 

But –

Does the American Conservative Union really think the liberties and values they seek to preserve can be maintained when they partner with individuals and organizations that are undermining the understanding that our liberties come from God? Thomas Jefferson warned against such nonsense. If this is where the ACU is headed, they will have to pack up and put away the “C”‘ in CPAC!” …

The first “C” for “Conservative” we suppose is the one he meant. But why would it need to be packed away if atheists are allowed to have their say? Perhaps Perkins thinks it stands for “Christian”.

American Atheist is well known for its controversial billboards and media campaigns and is considered the in-your-face contingent in the world of atheist activists. The group’s members pride themselves as being the “Marines” of the atheist movement. …

In explaining why the group decided to join CPAC on Monday, Silverman cited a 2012 Pew Research study that found 20% of self-identified conservatives consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. While that does not mean they are atheists, Silverman believes learning more about atheism will make it more likely conservatives will choose to identify with those who believe there is no God.

Just as there are many closeted atheists in the church pews, I am extremely confident that there are many closeted atheists in the ranks of conservatives. This is really a serious outreach effort, and I am very pleased to be embarking on it.

The group has long targeted Republican lawmakers, although Silverman considers the organization nonpartisan.

In 2013, American Atheists launched a billboard campaign against three Republican politicians: former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. All three Republicans have spoken at CPAC in the past.

On one billboard, Santorum is pictured to the left of a quote attributed to him. “Our civil laws have to comport with a higher law. God’s law,” the quote reads. Underneath the graphic is a tagline: “GO GODLESS INSTEAD.”

Comment on this affair comes from National Review, by Charles C. W. Cooke: :

Yesterday, in response to one of the many brouhahas that CPAC seems always to invite, Brent Bozell issued the following statement:

The invitation extended by the ACU, Al Cardenas and CPAC to American Atheists to have a booth is more than an attack on conservative principles. It is an attack on God Himself. American Atheists is an organization devoted to the hatred of God. How on earth could CPAC, or the ACU and its board of directors, and Al Cardenas condone such an atrocity?

So Brent Bozell thinks that issuing the invitation was an attack on conservative principles. More, it was “an attack on God Himself”.  As such, it was a veritable “atrocity“!

The particular merits of the American Atheists group to one side, this is a rather astounding thing for Bozell to have said. In just 63 words, he confuses disbelief in God for “hatred” for God — a mistake that not only begs the question but is inherently absurd (one cannot very well hate what one does not believe is there); he condemns an entire conference on the basis of one participant — not a good look for a struggling movement, I’m afraid; and, most alarmingly perhaps, he insinuates that one cannot simultaneously be a conservative and an atheist. I reject this idea — and with force.

If atheism and conservatism are incompatible, then I am not a conservative. And nor, I am given to understand, are George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Anthony Daniels, Walter Olson, Heather Mac Donald, James Taranto, Allahpundit, or S. E. Cupp. There is no getting around this — no splitting the difference: I don’t believe there is a God. It’s not that I’m “not sure” or that I haven’t ever bothered to think about it; it’s that I actively think there isn’t a God — much as I think there are no fairies or unicorns or elves. The degree to which I’m confident in this view works on a scale, certainly: I’m much surer, for example, that the claims of particular religions are untrue and that there is no power intervening in the affairs of man than I am that there was no prime mover of any sort.

Rrrreally, Mr Cooke?

But, when it comes down to it, I don’t believe in any of those propositions.

Tha-at’s better!

Am I to be excommunicated from the Right?

One of the problems we have when thinking about atheism in the modern era is that the word has been hijacked and turned into a political position when it is no such thing. The Oxford English Dictionary defines an “atheist” as someone who exhibits “disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.” That’s me right there — and that really is the extent of it.

Okay, you can have a booth at any conference we ever organize.

Or have we spoken too soon? Repeat what you were mumbling, please?

No, I don’t dislike anyone who does believe that there is a God; no, with a few obvious exceptions, I am not angry at the religious; and no, I do not believe the devout to be in any way worse or less intelligent than myself. Insofar as the question inspires irritation in me at all it is largely reserved for the sneering, smarmy, and incomprehensibly self-satisfied New Atheist movement, which has turned the worthwhile writings of some extremely smart people into an organized means by which a cabal of semi-educated twentysomethings might berate the vast majority of the human population and then congratulate one another as to how clever they are.

What New Atheist movement? If it exists, we want to join it. What is incomprehensible about it? What suggests that “it” is self-satisifed? What worthwhile writings would those be? Who are these beraters? And are they not – in that they are atheists – cleverer than “the vast majority of the human population”?

Which is to say that, philosophically speaking,  I couldn’t really care less … and practically speaking I am actually pretty warm toward religion — at least as it is practiced in America. True or false, American religion plays a vital and welcome role in civil society, has provided a number of indispensable insights into the human condition, acts as a remarkably effective and necessary check on the ambitions of government and central social-planners, is worthy of respect and measured inquiry on the Burkean grounds that it has endured for this long and been adopted by so many, and has been instrumental in making the United States what it is today.

We would dispute almost every one of those propositions, especially that religion is “worthy of respect” – though of “measured inquiry”, yes, it is worthy, and should be subjected to it mercilessly.

We like most of what he goes on to say next. And he provides some interesting information:

None of this, however, excuses the manner in which conservatives often treat atheists such as myself. George H. W. Bush, who was more usually reticent on such topics, is reported to have said that he didn’t “know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic[because] this is one nation under God”.

Whether Bush ever uttered these words or not, this sentiment has been expressed by others elsewhere. It is a significant mistake. What “this nation” is, in fact, is one nation under the Constitution — a document that precedes the “under God” reference in the Gettysburg Address by more than seven decades and the inclusion of the phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance by 165 years. (“In God We Trust,” too, was a modern addition, replacing “E Pluribus Unum” as the national motto in 1956 after 174 years.)

Indeed, given the troubled waters into which American religious liberty has of late been pushed, it strikes me that conservatives ought to be courting atheists — not shunning them. I will happily take to the barricades for religious conscience rights, not least because my own security as a heretic is bound up with that of those who differ from me, and because a truly free country seeks to leave alone as many people as possible — however eccentric I might find their views or they might find mine. In my experience at least, it is Progressivism and not conservatism that is eternally hostile to variation and to individual belief, and, while we are constantly told that the opposite is the case, it is those [leftists] who pride themselves on being secular who seem more likely and more keen to abridge my liberties than those who pride themselves on being religious. That I do not share the convictions of the religious by no means implies that I wish for the state to reach into their lives. Nevertheless, religious conservatives will find themselves without many friends if they allow figures such as Mr. Bozell to shoo away the few atheists who are sympathetic to their broader cause.

As it happens, not only do I reject the claim that the two positions are antagonistic, but I’d venture that much of what informs my atheism informs my conservatism also. I am possessed of a latent skepticism of pretty much everything, a hostility toward the notion that one should believe things because they are a nice idea, a fear of holistic philosophies, a dislike of authority and of dogma, a strong belief in the Enlightenment as interpreted and experienced by the British and not the French, and a rather tenacious refusal to join groups.

Yes, a conservative should logically be skeptical of ideology as such. And impatient with the irrational. And religions are among the most irrational of ideologies.

Occasionally, I’m asked why I “believe there is no God,” which is a reasonable question in a vacuum but which nonetheless rather seems to invert the traditional order of things. After all, that’s not typically how we make our inquiries on the right, is it? Instead, we ask what evidence there is that something is true. …

A great deal of the friction between atheists and conservatives seems to derive from a reasonable question. “If you don’t consider that human beings are entitled to ‘God given’ liberties,” I am often asked, “don’t you believe that the unalienable rights that you spend your days defending are merely the product of ancient legal accidents or of the one-time whims of transient majorities?” Well, no, not really. As far as I can see, the American settlement can thrive perfectly well within my worldview. God or no God, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence are all built upon centuries of English law, human experience, and British and European philosophy, and the natural-law case for them stands nicely on its own.

And he then turns to Thomas Jefferson, who penned the Declaration, and, far from “warning against undermining the understanding that our liberties come from God” as Tony Perkins claims …

… rejected revealed religion because revealed religion suggests a violation of the laws of nature. For revelation or any miracle to occur, the laws of nature would necessarily be broken. Jefferson did not accept this violation of natural laws. He attributed to God only such qualities as reason suggested.

Which, as the quoted passage goes on to explain, are none:

“Of the nature of this being,” Jefferson wrote to John Adams in 1817, “we know nothing.”

Logically then, not even its existence, though Jefferson is not recorded as ever having said so.

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