What Universities Were Never For

A notion currently as fashionable as it is pernicious is the idea that free speech protections should only ever be legal protections. As long as the government respects our free speech rights, we citizens can and should feel free to use whatever legitimate private means of silencing speech we disagree with are available to us.…

Arguing about the Immigration Ban

Scott Adams (yes, that Scott Adams) has a post up where he tries to show how irrational the debate on immigration has gotten. I think he succeeds for the most part, but he can’t help putting his finger on a scale a bit to tilt it into the anti-immigration column. I don’t actually mind that…

Immigration in the Aftermath of Berlin

The Mirror has an article up about the Berlin Christmas Market Terror attack sounding all the superficially right notes about how to react to it. I agree with the overall sentiment, but since immigration is rapidly becoming the Issue of the Year, broad outlines aren’t enough. This is an issue we need to start talking…

The Kindest, Bravest, Warmest Person I Know

I complain on this blog a lot about bad political analogies. Today let’s try a twist on that: bad political analogies that are criticized for the wrong reasons. Step one – find a bad political analogy. Welp, there’s Trump’s now-infamous "skittles tweet". If you click through to the link, you’ll see a picture of a…

‘Splainin’ in 2016

100 days to go till Election Day … which means, as always, that I have some ‘splainin’ to do. Because every 4 years people who are barely heard from during the midterms come out of the woodwork to tell me that even though they are deeply distressed by having to choose between two obviously terrible…

Australia Proves Something about Guns

The blood’s barely dried on the Orlando mass murder shooting spree, and people on Facebook are already dredging up the New York Times classics claiming that Australia’s gun ban and buyback program eliminated all mass murders forever. To show that I’m not exaggerating the article’s implications: In the 18 years before the Port Arthur massacre,…

Disqualification Round – GO!

Now that primary season is de facto over, it’s time to start making peace with the Trump nomination – and by "making peace" I don’t mean approving of it so much as letting go of my (largely negative) emotions about it and thinking it through. Because whatever else it is, Trump’s nomination is a significant…

It’s the Disposition, Stupid

Ideology is an indispensible category in the construction of political movements as well as in their analysis. But the longer you spend invovled in politics, the more you come to notice that it’s not particularly useful in explaining what motivates people to support politicians and movements. On the ground ideology is more like an ex…

Confirmation Bias is the Mindkiller

Consider this a sequel to yesterday’s post. Or at least a good bit of serendipity. Because you can’t really ask for a better example of the kinds of things that were wrong with yesterday’s WSJ article than Bobby Azarian’s Why do Some People Respond to Trump?: it’s Biology 101. The thesis here is an oldie…