Why are Christian colleges exempt from academic freedom?

If there’s anything that has demolished any patience I might have had for conservative discourse, it’s the sheer amount of projection that occurs. The whole “universities churning out fragile snowflake pee-see wimps” canard is painfully ironic considering how strictly controlled students, teachers, and the curricula are for conservative faith-based colleges:

Places like the College of the Ozarks have made the choice to erect barriers around their students in pursuit of comfortable sameness. They ensure that no student will ever be forced to encounter a significantly divergent idea in the classroom, and they preserve unity of thought by means such as requiring prospective faculty to submit letters of recommendations from their pastors. Such practices are common among evangelical universities, including at Wheaton College in the Chicago area. Sometimes called the “Harvard of Christian schools,” Wheaton tried to fire professor Larycia Hawkins last year for writing on Facebook that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.” Hawkins, an African-American political scientist, had clashed for several years with Wheaton authorities over her refusal to conform her personal theology to the confines of the Wheaton statement of faith and educational purpose. Here it’s not merely required that one be a Christian, as Hawkins is, but that one profess a specific set of theological principles.

To be clear, the hundreds of colleges that impose doctrine on their students are well within their rights to do so. Moreover, many religiously affiliated institutions rely on their spiritual identity as a foundation for engaging the broader world, rather than as a means to erect barriers around their students. Dominican, where I taught, is one of those. Somehow, though, America’s extensive discourse around academic freedom, political correctness, safe spaces, trigger warnings, and snowflakes never extends to talk about the explicitly exclusionary, safe, trigger-free (except on rifles), snowflake-ridden campuses like the College of the Ozarks.

Read more by David Perry.

-Shiv

 

They’re on to me!!!

Joe Miller and William Briggs apparently spoke on a Conservative radio show about a new brain study that has them in a tizzle. Now, brain studies which attempt to draw conclusions from “activity”–images where the exchange of oxygen are highlighted by pretty neon colours in the brain–are notoriously fickle. To me there have always been an indeterminate amount of dots to connect between x behaviour and y region of the brain being active during that behaviour. So this is less about the study, to which I am largely skeptical, and more about the hilarious and improbable panic displayed by Miller and Briggs:

Joe Miller and his guest William Briggs, a statistician and adjunct professor at Cornell University, had a long discussion about the recent UCLA study. According to a release by the University of York, the study sought to understand how the posterior medial frontal cortex influences ideology, specifically religion and nationalism.

Using transcranial magnets, the researchers were able target and temporarily shut down the region. Subjects were asked questions about death and to rate a negative essay about the United States they were told was written by an immigrant. The result of the magnetic destimulation of the area of the brain in question resulted in less belief in religion and greater acceptance of immigrants.

This prompted Briggs to fear that the study would lead to “eugenics” targeting conservatives.

Considering “religion” and “nationalism” are absolutely taught behaviours, there is no way to detect their presence in a newly fertilized zygote, and thus no way to terminate a zygote with these qualities (deemed, perhaps not unfairly, undesirable to progressives). So right away we’re off to a bad start.

“Basically what they’re doing is they’re trying to bring back eugenics even, in a way,” Briggs said, his voice wavering. “Because they’re identifying what they say are biological constituents for belief. Therefore they’re able to test for these biological constituents.”

This is a pretty stunning error. There is a much needed moment to slow down and define precisely what we mean by “biological.” Neurology forms because of biological constituents, yes, but it is influenced by its input from environment. It sounds like we’re stumbling down the nature/nurture distinction which desperately needs to be retired. It doesn’t really exist, because our nurture affects our nature (and frequently vice versa).

He worried that people might think he was joking or being paranoid.

“But no, this is exactly it,” he continued. “There was a story this week too.. that some employers are now asking for DNA samples, not just to detect potential medical maladies, but to look for these kind of character traits they think they have identified that make one a lesser person.”

I mean, as I said, causative mechanisms from “having a trait in DNA” to “having that trait’s phenotype” are far from a straight line. There is no way anyone with even basic genetics literacy would actually support this. While I imagine employers are trying to do this, it’s not immediately apparent why so-called liberals would favour it.

Then, here’s the bombshell:

Miller then hinted that the magnets may be used by transgender people against people of faith.

I don’t know if paranoid is my word of choice. “Improbable,” perhaps.

“The whole transgender crowd, they see their main opponent as being those of faith and so obviously they’re going to use any aggressive tactics they can to move forward that agenda,” Miller said. “This is still minority opinion though, right? In psychology and elsewhere?”

There it is folks. I’ve been doing it wrong the whole time. Screw fact-checking, consciousness raising, building community resilience, leafleting, campaigning, and education.

I’m using MAGNETS.

-Shiv

Libelous fascist to run Conservative 2019 campaign

Ah, but I repeat myself:

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer just appointed one of the founding directors of the alt-right Rebel Media website to run his 2019 election campaign.

Hamish Marshall, who helped Ezra Levant launch Rebel Media in 2015, was still listed as a Rebel Media director until only a few days before Scheer appointed him the 2019 Conservative campaign chair this week.

One day earlier, the Globe and Mail reported Marshall managed Scheer’s leadership campaign from an office inside Rebel Media’s Toronto studio – when questioned by reporters this week, Scheer offered a stuttering response and abruptly ended a press conference.

Conservatives are trying to downplay Marshall’s important role at Rebel Media.

Scheer recently portrayed the founding director of Rebel Media as simply a “small business owner” while Conservative surrogaters try to convince people Marshall was only the money man at a website which, for the record, one Conservative MPs recently described as “anti-Semitic” and “white supremacist.”

Scheer himself was unwilling to go that far – following Rebel Media’s sympathetic coverage of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August, the Conservative leader would only commit to a temporary pause on interviews until Rebel Media’s “editorial direction” changes.

Yet Scheer appeared as a Rebel Media guest several times as it broadcasted blatantly racist and hateful videos, something the Conservative leader would have you believe he was totally unaware of because he doesn’t “look at every story they write.”

Scheer, they are famous for lying. Badly, at that. Of course that’s entirely consistent with previous Conservative campaigning, so this isn’t totally surprising.

Rebel Media’s Gavin McInnes earned high praise from neo-Nazis and a Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard when he filmed a rambling video in Israel questioning the Holocaustand suggesting “the Jews” were responsible for the Ukrainian genocide and starting World War II. McInnes also published videos on Rebel Media titled “A Nazi take on Israel” and “10 things I hate about Jews,” generating embarrassing headlines around the globe.

Goldy also travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia in August to attend a deadly white supremacist rally. Filming herself on a live stream, Goldy proudly declared that “there has been a rising in white racial consciousness” only moments before a neo-Nazi crashed his car into a crowd of people a few steps away from Goldy, killing one person.

One day after a white nationalist terror attack on a Québec City mosque that left six dead, Ezra Levant used the tragedy for a fundraising e-mail. Levant questioned whether “the mainstream media” was telling “the truth” about who the terrorist really was and, without evidence, speculated that the attacker might in fact be a Muslim. The e-mail then concluded by soliciting donations “to uncover the truth.”

Sounds like prime campaign management material.

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, former Rebel Media host Lauren Southern offered a head scratching defence of fascism, a political philosophy she thinks has been unfairly tarnished by Hitler – um, sorry, what?

Oh please, the Conservatives will hire Tomi Lahren North to be their talking head, a sort of hellish Canuck version of Ann Poultergeist.

Then there was the time New York-based Rebel Media correspondent Laura Loomer, whose salary was subsidized through a fellowship from an American anti-Muslim think tank, was arrested after disrupting a performance of Shakespeare in the Park. As Loomer stormed the stage to denounce Julius Caesar’s alleged anti-Trump bias, former Rebel Media White House correspondent Jack Posobiec screamed at the audience: “You are all Goebbels! You are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels … You are inciting terrorists!”

Sure. This is exactly the crowd I want running my campaign for global domination.

More migraines here.

-Shiv

BREAKING NEWS: Jason Kenney lies.

Listen, certain political pundits who shall not be named figured out United Conservative Party leadership candidate Jason Kenney’s number a while ago. He’s not exactly subtle. If the news wants to hire a pundit that’s actually correct about things, they can pay me their mediocre white dude’s salary:

United Conservative Party leadership candidate Brian Jean on Wednesday accused Jason Kenney’s campaign team of spreading lies about him.

“My vision is a positive vision and I believe a positive vision is what most Albertans, including millennials, want,” Jean said during a UCP leadership debate in Fort McMurray.

The latter remark is a bit of a stretch given that millennials have been straining under the pressure of boomer greed our entire lives, but okay Jean.

“You see, they’re sick and tired of politicians lying about each other.

I don’t really care about what they do to each other, actually. I’m sick of them lying to me.

In fact, right now there is a politician on this stage that his team is lying about me, lying about my Christian values, lying about my position on Bill 6 … even lying about other things.”

When asked after the debate about Jean’s remarks, Kenney said he had no idea what his opponent was talking about.

Jean confirmed after the debate he was referring to Kenney’s campaign. He said someone on Kenney’s team has also falsely alleged he is against gun owners.

“I don’t think anybody else has rifles here except for me,” Jean said. “I’ve had them most of my life.”

Only in a Conservative leadership race could “look at all my guns” be a relevant talking point.

“If he has a particular complaint about something, he should say what it is, but we’ve been running a positive campaign. I’m proud of that,” Kenney said.

FACT CHECK: No he fucking hasn’t.

Jean has said he is a “church-going, God-fearing Baptist” who attended a Christian high school prior to university.

There is no part of that sentence that doesn’t make me gag. Didn’t Jean get the memo the millennials are the gayest godless generation yet?

The winner will be announced Oct. 28.

Theocrat or kleptocrat. Such inspiring politics.

-Shiv

The “liberal echo chamber” is not a thing

I has data:

The media landscape is distinctly asymmetric.

The structure of the overall media landscape shows media systems on the left and right operate differently. The asymmetric polarization of media is evident in both open web linking and social media sharing measures. Prominent media on the left are well distributed across the center, center-left, and left. On the right, prominent media are highly partisan.

From all of these perspectives, conservative media is more partisan and more insular than the left.

The center-left and the far right are the principal poles of the media landscape. 
The center of gravity of the overall landscape is the center-left. Partisan media sources on the left are integrated into this landscape and are of lesser importance than the major media outlets of the center-left. The center of attention and influence for conservative media is on the far right. The center-right is of minor importance and is the least represented portion of the media spectrum.

Conservative media disrupted.
Breitbart emerges as the nexus of conservative media. The Wall Street Journal is treated by social media users as centrist and less influential. The rising prominence of Breitbart along with relatively new outlets such as the Daily Caller marks a significant reshaping of the conservative media landscape over the past several years.

So there it is. Right-wing politics are coalescing around conspiracy websites, while left-wing politics remain broad in scope. The echo-chamber is not ours.

Of course, as a person who is paid to fact-check bullshit, I could have told you that. The “liberal bias” my blag has been accused of is actually just a reflection of right-wing politicians’ tendency to charge through reality as if facts are porcelain pots that can be broken if enough force is applied. It’s not like I’m hiding my criticisms of left-wing woo; it’s just that woo is a little too busy twirling in a corn maze to get anywhere, so the focus will be proportional to the batshittery that is getting somewhere.

-Shiv

Why yes, I do indeed see pee

Alberta’s political landscape has been shifting rapidly in the past few months, and I just haven’t had time to write about it. Now that the dust is starting to settle, we can get back to business as usual in the Texas of Canada. Starting with: The you-see-pee.

By now it can’t have escaped the attention of anyone who follows Alberta politics that members of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties have voted to merge their parties into a single political entity by percentages worthy of a North Korean election.

The Yes vote percentage for both parties was, coincidentally, 95 per cent – that is to say, for those of you who like to know these things to the precise percentage point, 94.9 per cent for the PCs now led by Jason Kenney and 95.4 per cent for the Wildrosers now led by Brian Jean.

While the favourable result was not unexpected, it seems likely a merger endorsement with numbers that stratospheric should be enough to settle down any remaining conspiratorially minded skeptics in Wildrose ranks about the outcome of the vote in spite of Friday’s party PIN problems.

The numbers of PCs and Wildrosers who voted to create the “United Conservative Party” – the Alberta right’s answer to the Vulcan mind meld – were curiously similar too.

A total of 24,598 Wildrosers voted, and 23,466 said yes to the merger, while 27,060 PCs voted and 25,692 said yes. The Wildrosers said that was about 60 per cent of the voters eligible, the CBC reported from the party’s special meeting yesterday in Red Deer. The Conservatives don’t seem to have said, but with a claimed membership of around 50,000, the turnout would be about 55 per cent. Given the importance of the vote, the turnout is probably a worthy topic of some future interpretation.

In the mean time, it almost seemed as if the same people were voting in both parties – which, come to think of it, may have been the case!

Given that the raging, foaming misogynist redneck vote was split between the Dickweeds and Regressive Preservatives, it is in fact a possibility that enough ridings will swing back into nihilist neocon hands in the next election to unseat our refreshingly reality-based government. It’s way too far off to make a reasonable prediction with any degree of accuracy–but most commentators (who aren’t highly paid conservative pundits–so, nobody in print news) agree that it means, at minimum, a harder campaign for the New Democratic Party.

So now that country bumpkins, racist asshats, Christian theocrats, and alt-right goons have rallied under one banner, what have they been up to with their new found unity?

AtG favourite Derek Fildebrant has been grifting taxpayers to subsidize his renting scheme. Subsidies? What a communist! Also that surely meets some definition of “misappropriation of funds.”

Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney has still been vowing to publicly out every student who joins a student-run gay-straight alliance in public school.

And Brian Jean wants to gut healthcare’s budget to post-Ralph Klein levels. Despite the fact that we are twice as populous as we were then (effectively making his proposal a 75% reduction in the healthcare budget). Hey, at least if you start dying in the emergency room, you won’t have to pay for an ambulance!

In other words: I fucking told y’all so.

There are no moderate conservatives. There are only criminals and fools in denial.

-Shiv

Four days. Zero arrests.

Meanwhile, in Durham County:

RALEIGH, N.C.—More protesters were arrested Wednesday for participating in a demonstration that toppled a Confederate statue in North Carolina.

The statue in Durham came down Monday night when a protester climbed a ladder to attach a rope and demonstrators on the ground pulled the bronze soldier from its pedestal.

On Wednesday, Dante Strobino and Ngoc Loan Tran were led away in handcuffs when they came to a court hearing for the woman who climbed the ladder.

The Durham County Sheriff’s office said Tran and Strobino are charged with two felonies related to inciting and participating in a riot that damaged property. The woman who climbed the ladder, Takiyah Thompson, was charged with the same counts Tuesday.

The three are affiliated with the Workers World Party, which helped organize the Durham protest in response to deadly violence over the weekend during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

That took less than a day.

Still waiting for a single fucking white supremacist to be arrested for their participation in their riot.

-Shiv

Autogynephilia: A method of character assassination, not a scientific theory

Content Notice: Trans-antagonistic nonsense of many varieties.

Miranda Yardley has, much to my despair, started clogging the “transgender” tag on Medium, which is one of many ways I try to track what is being discussed about gender variance. For those of you who don’t know her–congratulations, count yourself lucky–she’s a self-described “transsexual male” who has politically aligned herself with a group of people who gleefully argue for her own subordination. She gallivants about the United Kingdom, coasting in on the benefits hard won for her by trans activism, all while arguing how harmful trans activism is. It’s the sort of hypocritical blinkered nonsense you typically see from the forced-birther movement, who often access the very services they protest. She is, basically, a British Blaire White, carving out a niche in profiting from telling the trans-suspicious what they want to hear while being simultaneously trans. This includes her latest invocation of one of the anti-trans types’ favourite cudgel: Autogynephilia, an idea (calling it a “theory” would be an insult to science) promoted by Dr. Ray “transsexuals will sort themselves out later” Blanchard.

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