What the Standards are and How We Know

Google employee James Damore was fired three days ago for posting a memo on an internal listserv suggesting that entirely scientifically supported generalizations about sex-based cognitive differences might play enough of a role in explaining why Google doesn’t currently have a gender-balanced workforce that it should rethink some of its diversity initiatives. Predictably, the memo…

On Ken Livingstone’s Attitude Problem

Now that Venezuela is in full crisis, Ken Livingstone is in the news a lot doubling down on his support for the failed regime. Can’t ask the leopard to changes its spots, I guess. But I was surprised to learn from all this that Red Ken is suspended from the Labour Party for "bringing it…

Politics, Law and Concerts

Oh look! It’s one of those situations where everybody’s wrong! Wrong the first: Roger Waters is all over Thom Yorke because he wants to play a concert in Tel Aviv. Waters is a big supporter of BDS – a kind of comprehensive boycott of Israel that mirrors the actions taken in the 70s and 80s…

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Pass a Law

One thing that’s been circulating in the wake of yesterday’s shooting at a Congressional baseball game is Mo Brooks‘ excellent response to a reporter question about whether being shot at had changed his views on gun control. Not with respect to the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment right to bear arms is to ensure that…

The Defenestration of Reza Aslan

Reza Aslan has been "fired" (technically: not rehired) by CNN over a tweet calling President Trump a "piece of shit" for politicizing the recent islamist terror attacks in London before expressing sympathy for the victims. This piece of shit is not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He’s an embarrassment…

Equal Rights Means Everyone

Eugene Volokh, writing in the Wasington Post, makes most of the right points about the recent decision by the Charlotte Pride Parade to exclude a "Gays for Trump" float. He quotes the organizing committee noting that everyone who applies signs an acknowledgement that final say about whom to include rests with the committee and is…

Boring the Audience into a Frenzy

Whenever I watch a (political) lecture or read a (political) book by Noam Chomsky, I’m always struck by how out of place his rhetorical style seems. Normally you think of charismatic figures as having a really forceful speaking style; Chomsky’s is rambling and dull. The question is begged: do people respond to him because of…

Blowback

Matt Palumbo makes an important point about "blowback" as it relates to Islamic terrorism, but in, I think, the wrong way. The thesis: The "blowback" explanation for Islamist terrorism is masochistic nonsense. And the argument: Why is it that no other group of people "Western imperialism" has harmed has responded in the way that jihadists…

Witness for the Prosecution

Another two weeks go by, another islamist attack in Europe. This time, too, nothing changed. There are lots of vigils, lots of expressions of solidarity, and of course lots of reminders that not all muslims are violent extremists. Theresa May did break rank a bit and call out radical Islamism as an ideology, but this…

Freedom is Slavery

Todd Seavey, ahead of the curve back in 2009 in noticing that Will Wilkinson wasn’t really a libertarian, put it like this: "you have to admit that [Wilkinson’s] shtick is arguing that libertarians ought to accept elements of the welfare state." A socialist could say something similar about Freddie DeBoer I think. His shtick is…